THE PROBLEM WITH THE LAW
In my last post I set about establishing the need for the law, now I want to look at the limiting factor to it’s effectiveness.
We looked at the need for the law to highlight right from wrong, good from bad.
The law was given by Moses, but the first law we ever see in scripture was communicated to the first man and the first woman.
Later God wrote the ten commandments on stone, delivered ‘downhill’ by Moses.
That first ‘law’ given to a man named Adam and a woman named Eve was:
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[c] shall surely die.”
For mankind’s highest good a prohibition was instituted by God. A law, in other words. “You shall not eat etc…”
Woman and man violated that law, with catastrophic consequences.
God’s created mankind were now in rebellion, having inherited a fallen nature.
Fast forwarding, we understand that the giving of the law previous to the New Testament, as in the ten commandments and as in Leviticus etc. was half the answer.
It was incomplete as a way of addressing the sin problem. If you like it was the first half of a whole.
There was a divine order of things, first the law was given, then the second covenant arrived in the timing of God.
That’s why Christ came to fulfil/complete the law. Not only pointing out the problem, but providing the answer as to how it (sin) could be defeated and righteousness restored to the human race.
Speaking He says: Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
However, although the law is pure and holy, something more was needed than pointing out the sin problem. What was needed was the impartation of the ability to overcome sin.
So the law was limited until the bringing in of a better hope took place, in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
He fulfilled the requirements of the law and offered His power, the power of an endless life, to His disciples, thus providing the enablement necessary to overcome sin’s dominion in our lives.
The law called for the perfect standard of God. But it was rendered ineffective by man’s fallen nature (flesh), and our inherent inability to respond to the law’s demands:
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh…
The law can only accomplish it’s life changing work in the hand of The Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit of God alone, who takes the word of God and instead of it being written on stone – He writes it on the human mind and spirit.
But He must be invited to do so by mankind.
This enables us to have the mind of Christ, and with it, His enablement to live like Him.
Because we still live in this body, we often fail to attain Christ’s standard and are become transgressors of the law again, when we stop relying on The Holy Spirit and the Living Word of God, to keep our minds pure and free.
We are told that the law on it’s own was an incomplete answer by the expression here, of ‘For what the law could not do…’
So there was something the law could not do. Regardless of what that was, it reveals the truth that it was not complete as a solution to the problem, due to the fallen nature of man and his inability to keep it.
The law did not change man, but remained to educate him as a schoolmaster, teaching him he was wrong, and pointing him to the coming solution.
We are told that it was the fallen nature of man, that rendered the law ineffective (weak through the flesh), when it came to overcoming sin in our lives.
Christ came therefore to fulfil the law by taking the punishment for sin that the law demanded, becoming the required sacrifice for sin – it (the law) – also demanded for justice to be done, and forgiveness and atonement through Christ The Lamb of God – came to be released.
Restoration of the sinner could then take place – with release from the law’s penalty – then following, to the repentant sinner who believes.
His sacrifice provided forgiveness, because our sin was now atoned for. Forgiveness must be sought, and the gift of His righteousness received by a willing heart.
So the law is good and acceptable, but because of the fallen nature we each live in – it is unable to change us. Only Christ working in us by The Holy Spirit can change us.
The New Testament, the New Covenant, the New Agreement, God wishes us to enter into in partnership with Him – is joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is freedom from the dominion of sin, it is life and life more abundantly, it is the inner spirit of man coming alive.
The cross of Christ is the place and time in history when this New Agreement was released to mankind for the receiving.
Refuse to receive and we are left under the law – condemned and guilty.
This is a vast subject, it is part of the mystery that was hidden from man until the appropriate time.
There is much to say.
But a post is limited in it’s content, nevertheless those who have ears to hear will hear!