Why The Law Won't Save You

Thread starter #1
This was for the recent post "It's a wonderful death* ! " but since it is lengthy I'll put it here. Read slowly?! :wink:
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I’ve talked to many thousands of Christians over decades of ministry and it never ceases to amaze me how many of us are convinced that God wants us, as believers, to follow the law. We are convinced that the law will keep us from sinning. But the law is not God’s rescue plan for humanity— Jesus is. The law cannot work the way so many believers think it will, and here’s why...

Why The Law Won't Save You

Reason 1: Sin gets power from the law.

The more you sincerely try to follow the law, the more you are going to sin. As shocking as this statement might seem to you, we’re going to discover that it’s absolutely biblical. Before we get to that though, it’s crucial for you to hear this: there is nothing wrong with the law. The law is holy, perfect and good. It came to us with a wonderful purpose: It kills and condemns us (II Corinthians 3:6-7, 9). It destroys the lie of the garden that we can be as God, and keeps us from the false hope that one day we just might be able to make it by ourselves. The law drives us to put our faith in Jesus (Galatians 3:24.) Glorious!

However, there is another actor in the drama of life, a villain we need to know about. Its name is “The Power of Sin” and it plays a sinister role in our lives. God Himself warned us about this villain in three crucially important verses. If we are going to find victory over sin in our walk with God, we must understand and assimilate these verses in our lives.

The first verse is 1 Corinthians 15:56, which says, “The sting of death is sin, and THE POWER OF SIN IS THE LAW” (emphasis mine). Did you see that? Sin gets its power from the law! This means that if we focus on the law as a means of sanctification, sin will become a powerful foe against us, and we will find ourselves sinning even more because of following the law. These are surprising words, no question, but they are the words of the Holy Spirit.

What kind of sins are we likely to find if we follow the law?

Drunkenness, adultery, or fornication? Probably not, because those sins are too blatantly wrong to be found in a person who exalts the law. What we’re likely to find are the more “socially acceptable” sins like pride, greed, and slander. Remember, the law breeds an environment of competition, criticism, and judgment. If we follow the law, we will function like the Pharisee in Luke 18, who spent so much time putting down the sinner, that he failed to see his own sin of pride and arrogance. That’s why following the law will never work. Doing so only fuels sin, making it function more powerfully in our lives. As Jesus said in that parable, it was the one who sought mercy from God who went home justified, and not the Pharisee who was consumed with his own self-righteousness derived from his keeping portions of the law, but neglecting those weightier things like love and mercy.

Reason 2: The law does not restrain sin.

Why do we make rules? There are laws against commit- ting murder. States and cities make speed limit laws. Why do we do that? We make laws to prevent dangerous behavior from occurring. We do that because we want to provide an environment of harmony and safety in community. This is normal practice for the world we live in. Parents make rules for their children like, “Don’t run in the house.” They do that to keep kids from running in the house with the goal that they will be safe from harm. Put simply, among humanity, we establish laws to promote good behavior.

When it comes to laws, God’s purpose is radically differ- ent. He says in Romans 5:20, “The Law came in SO THAT the transgression would INCREASE.” When did you ever hear that verse taught in church? When humanity chose to live by law by eating from the tree of good and evil (right and wrong), God knew it wouldn’t stop or curb our sinful behavior. In fact, He provided the written law, given to the nation of Israel, which they in turn were to share with the rest of humanity. He did this to provide mankind with a tangible target to aim at in their following of the law. But listen to the Spirit's words in Romans 5:20. The words “so that” indicate purpose. Do you realize what this verse is saying? The law came in with the purpose that we would sin more with the law, than without the law!

Why would God do that? So that the guilt, shame, conflict, frustration, and failure we experience under the law will cause us to get sick of living under the law. In our desperation, we would cry out to God, “This just isn’t working! God, is there a better way?”

Then, to the cry of our weary hearts, God can answer, “Yes, My child! You don’t know how much I’ve longed to hear you say those words! There is a better way and that way is Jesus, My Son, Who is the way, the truth, and the life!”

Oh, my friend, do you realize the incredible thing God has done? People chose the wrong way, the wrong tree. In the garden we chose the tree of law, the tree of performing, which ultimately leads to death. Incredibly, God uses that choice to drive us back to Jesus, the better way, the tree of life we should have chosen in the first place. Do you realize what that means? Man choosing law was the ultimate opportunity for God to prove to us that all things work together for good, to those that love Him (Romans 8:28.) God took what we chose, the tree of law, and used it against us, to drive us to the choice we should have made - Jesus: The Tree of Life! God is so awesome in His working in our lives, He even took the worst event in history and used it to achieve the greatest event in history, our redemption in Christ - through the law which drove us to Jesus. Wow!

Reason 3: Sin’s favorite tool is the law.

This brings us to the third reason the law will never work. Let’s examine Romans 7:8, “But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind.” Sin is so sinful, it actually uses the law to cause us to sin even more. Our problem is not with the law but with the power of sin. Let me illustrate this idea.

“Keep off the grass.” What do you want to do? Suddenly, the grass looks so inviting. “Wet paint. Do not touch.” I can hear some of you right now saying, “Oh yeah? Watch me!” These are trivial, playful examples, but they demonstrate clearly the power of sin at work in all our lives. As soon as we’re told to NOT do something, the power of sin stirs up the want to do that exact something. This process is precisely why most diets fail. The law of diet says, “Do not eat the cookie.” What are you going to do? Eat the cookie, right? No, the power of sin will compel you to eat half the bag. This is how sin works! It uses the law to stir up even more sin.

What we should say, is as those who walk in the grace and freedom of Christ is, “I am free to eat cookies, but how many do I WANT to eat?” The New Covenant economy is not one of should, ought, or must, but want. As those with new hearts, our "want" has been changed. We want what God wants for our lives, because we have brand new spirits that are in union and harmony with God's own Spirit. WOW!

So - a quick review regarding the law.
1. Sin actually gets its power from the law.
2. The law does not restrain sin (contrary to what many believe)
3. Sin uses the law, to cause us to sin even more.

There is a better way, the way of the Lord Jesus, Who has given us His Spirit, His life, a life that fulfills the righteousness of the law when we walk by faith. Wow!

New Testament Commandments

One of the things that many people who come to grace fail to realize, is that the New Covenant did not remove the imperative mood from the New Testament. The New Testament is filled with commandments, and Jesus Himself said that if we love Him, we would keep His commandments.
So, what about the New Testament commandments? If we are free from the law, how are we to understand all those commandments directed to us as believers? That is a great question.
The New Testament is full of commands for us to follow: don’t steal, don’t gossip, don’t boast. When we look at those commands, we need to interpret them in the context of the complete teachings of the New Testament. They don’t function as laws that secure merit with God. We already have merit with God through Jesus. We need to view these commandments differently from the way we view the law. We view them through New Covenant understanding, in two ways:

First: Is to view those commands as affirmations of our new identity in Christ. When we read, “Don’t steal,” that is a reminder of our new identity in Christ. We don’t steal because we are no longer thieves. When the New Testament says, “Don’t commit adultery,” we are being reminded that we are not adulterers, but faithful spouses in Christ.

Second" Is to view those commands as promises from God. God always provides the resources to accomplish what He calls us to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says this clearly: “Faithful is He Who called you, and He will do it” (paraphrased).

When we see the command to be kind, we are being reminded that God will express His kindness through us, as we trust Him to do so. When we read that we are commanded to forgive, we under- stand that God will provide the power for us to forgive as we trust Him to live His powerfully forgiving life in us, instead of us trying to follow that command in our own resources.

The commands in the New Testament are assurances that He will be the power to fulfill the principles He has called us to. He will be all He is, to all we need, in the moment of faith.
As we walk in our new identity and trust Him, He produces His righteous life through us. As others observe us walking in the Spirit, they might say something like:
“You’re a religious person, aren’t you?”
“Oh no, I hate religion.”
“Well, you follow the Ten Commandments, don’t you?”
“No, actually, I don’t.”
“Well, do you steal? “No.”
“Do you kill?” “No.”
“Do you commit adultery?” “Heaven forbid!”
“Then you’re following the Ten Commandments.”“
No, I’m not. What you see in me is the life of Jesus being lived out through me as I trust Him. By faith, He is living in me, loving others through me, and fulfilling the righteousness of the law in my life" (Romans 8:3-4.)

This is great glory. In the New Covenant, we who walk by faith actually fulfill the righteousness of the law, by not following the law, but instead following the Spirit!" Again - WOW!

Grace Does What the Law Can’t

The law brings isolation. When you’re under the law you’re constantly evaluating yourself and others. Not only that, you’re constantly being judged and criticized by yourself and others who are also walking by the law. Grace, however, creates safety in relationships because we are no longer competing and judging behavior. Grace has put all of us on the same level playing field of securing righteousness in Christ, and in Him alone. That is why Paul said that there is no room for boasting in our lives, who have RECEIVED from God, the righteousness that is ours in Him. Our boast is in Christ alone!

Here’s a simple challenge.

If you want to test how you are doing in your walk in the grace of God in Christ, go to the people closest to you and ask them these questions, encouraging them to be honest in their answer. Ask them if they feel safe around you. Ask them if they are able to relax and be themselves when they are with you, or if they have to be on guard with what they say and do. Their answers will be a great indicator of whether you are someone who is living in grace, or just talking about grace.
Consider this: no one was ever afraid to be in Jesus’ presence—not the greatest sinner, and not even His enemies. When we walk in our true identities in Christ, filled with His love and acceptance, we will become the same safe harbor for others today, that He was to people then. This is glory...
Jesus said that if we have freely received (what grace is all about), we should also freely give.

Something to ponder---

You are loved,
Pastor Frank Friedmann

For more on this subject: Consider readying Frank's book:
"Stunned by Grace - It's Beyond Amazing"
 
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Good read, it almost seems like it would be a sin if one did try to keep the Old Testament Law. If Jesus was the salvation from that Law that the Father sent for that purpose then wouldn't it be a sin to try and keep it?
If not a sin then at least a slap in the face of Jesus so to speak. Seems like at some point it would be Legalism.
 
Thread starter #3
Good read, it almost seems like it would be a sin if one did try to keep the Old Testament Law. If Jesus was the salvation from that Law that the Father sent for that purpose then wouldn't it be a sin to try and keep it?
If not a sin then at least a slap in the face of Jesus so to speak. Seems like at some point it would be Legalism.
It just means we aren't walking in simple faith, trust and dependence. That's what makes the gospel so rich, it frees us from the tyranny of self sufficiency.
Great add, thanks.
 
Thread starter #4
On attempting to not be confusing, I thought this practical reflection might help. I amen the encouragement.
-Walter

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"We all talk about a need to be intimate with God, but we turn around and present God as one with whom it is almost impossible to be intimate. There is little intimacy with God for most Christians because legalism has distorted our view of what He is like.
We say to the lost that God is love, but we don’t believe it for ourselves, at least not in the sense that His love translates into His approval of us. I cannot become intimate with anyone who constantly disapproves of me and requires changes on my part to have fellowship.
It is no wonder to me why we must cajole people into having a “quiet time” with God or even consistently reading the Word.
Some people’s view of God as a disapproving parent and cold enforcer of good behavior destroys any desire for intimacy. None of my family and friends with whom I am intimate treat me that way. Are they more loving than God, my heavenly Father, who loves me with a perfect and everlasting love? Legalism says so. If you view the Word of God as a rule book, or thru the lens of law (see op), or a treatise on how to act to please God, you will not be able to receive from it the life that God designed it to give.

A legalistic mindset always reduces the precious revelation of God and His purposes and ways into a condemnatory rule book and reduces you to being a slave.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of religion and am eagerly pursuing the truth about my heavenly Father. He loves me, likes being with me, and delights in spending time with me. I feel the same way about Him! He is my Father and my Friend. These two unchangeable things provide a hope that leads me behind the veil into the glorious presence of God. His throne has become a throne of grace for me. God is the most gracious entity in existence, and He loves me as much as He loves His only begotten Son."

-- Whitten, Clark. Pure Grace: The Life Changing Power of Uncontaminated Grace (pp. 68-69). Destiny Image. Kindle Edition.
 

gordon 2

Senior Member
Brother Whitten is sick of religion, all but his own. Ok. :) My mama never raised a clean freak... but hey...to each his own.

I was listening to a preacher the other night he entertained the idea that we had to keep the Sabbath on the Seventh day... or else. I think brother Whitten with him would have had a fit. All this shepherding is so confusing.
 
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Thread starter #6
All this shepherding is so confusing.
For clarification there is a definition of the word religion that bears noting.
From Latin; "Re" and "ligion",
Re - return to;
Ligion - bondage.
A return to bondage is what we would put ourselves thru under the Old, yet thankfully it is removed in the New ...
Hebrews 7:19 KJV "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."

The other use of the word religion is aptly seen in James 1:27, I've used an amplified translation to help...
Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and ·without fault [undefiled] is this: caring for orphans and widows [2:1–13, 15–16; Ex. 22:22; Deut. 14:29] ·who need help [L in their trouble/distress/persecution], and keeping yourself ·free from the world’s evil influence [L unstained/unpolluted by the world; 4:4–10].

The latter use of the word is the by product of what James calls the law of Liberty earlier in the chapter,
James 1:25 "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

Hope this helps.
 

gordon 2

Senior Member
For clarification there is a definition of the word religion that bears noting.
From Latin; "Re" and "ligion",
Re - return to;
Ligion - bondage.
A return to bondage is what we would put ourselves thru under the Old, yet thankfully it is removed in the New ...
Hebrews 7:19 KJV "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."

The other use of the word religion is aptly seen in James 1:27, I've used an amplified translation to help...
Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and ·without fault [undefiled] is this: caring for orphans and widows [2:1–13, 15–16; Ex. 22:22; Deut. 14:29] ·who need help [L in their trouble/distress/persecution], and keeping yourself ·free from the world’s evil influence [L unstained/unpolluted by the world; 4:4–10].

The latter use of the word is the by product of what James calls the law of Liberty earlier in the chapter,
James 1:25 "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

Hope this helps.

To have a bond does not mean necessarily that bondage is of a pejorative sense. To someone who has a bond of marriage for example. I have a bond to my nation. I have a bond to University or College or High School, to fraternity. I have a bond to my military unit. It does not mean I have bondage for these bonds although some days it does.

Latin religare ‘to bind’. Do you have a KJV dictionary of etymology too? A book is bound. A monk binds books and has a bond to his order. Bond of marriage. Lier and relier in fr. equals to bind, to tie and rebind or tie again.
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Now James and his religion. I'm betting that all Christians claim that with their religion( bond to dogma and affiliation to their assembly) what ever that might be they are caring towards others and considerate of others and keep themselves free of the world's evil influences.

I submit here is one thing that a man knows about power: Twelve men equipped differently and working alone are not as efficient as twelve men equipped similarly and thought or trained to work as a team.

When it come to my life with God and others, I keep this in mind. And I keep in mind that the individual freedom fighter's ministry is not mine and it wasn't Jesus'. Jesus did not send out an Alexander The Great to evangelize. His anointing was not to one even a favorite who would anoint in turn. It was given to twelve different and individual persons as a team these things and things to do. They were given authority to bond and to loose. And this is my bond today even, to these, more than to James even or brother Ellis though they are wiser than I am.

When it comes to "fight"... "our fight is not against flesh and blood" I prefer to fight with the bondage of religion ( a team of at least twelve) cause despite all the problems that are prone to this, it can be more effective than if I'm a lone ranger and design my own custom fitted religion and I think Jesus knows this and that is why he did not send out just one disciple to seek out converts.
 
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gordon 2

Senior Member
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world...

and

against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
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In this fight I will not fight alone... sorry. I will not fight alone with Christ in my heart, I will fight with others who have an inward trained like my own. I will not fight with generals who drop off to fight on their own and who find better politics or doctrines disregarding the 12. And I will submit to authority with this in mind. But hey, that's me and by my own understanding I am but a small part in the scheme of things.

My religion is the religion of the twelve that my reach may sound the fundamental source of what it is to be in Christ. I'm a fundamentalist I guess. :)
 
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Thread starter #9
Binding - to the Lord, of course. In Him do we live and move and have our being.

Bound to the chains of the old? Burdensome, consider,

7 But if the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stones (10 commandments), came with glory so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,
8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?
9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory (it does, in it being a tutor to bring hearts to Christ), much more does the ministry of righteousness excel in glory.

10 For indeed what had glory in this case has no glory (the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stones), because of the glory that surpasses it (Christ thru the cross & resurrection).
11 For if that which fades away was [d]with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

The verses you've quoted in Eph 6 are a encouraging part of the knowing where the struggle really lies. Not against flesh and blood. But what do the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms attempt to do?

In short, blind the mind from the loving gift of the New Life in Christ, the very power of the gospel!

Right after the Eph 6:12 verses, Paul makes this remark:

Eph 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (literally, our victories against the evil one come by faith, not thru old law "observances", etc. )
And,
17 Take the helmet of salvation (the protection of our mind is the assurance of Christ saving us fully)
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Christ is referred to as the Word, or Living Word in John 1 and other areas of scripture. The bible/scriptures lead us into knowing, by grace thru faith, our relational awareness of His victorious Life to us and within us.)


The law: a "ministry of condemnation",
Christ: (the gospel): the ministry of righteousness, full of glory and grace.



Peace.
 
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Madman

Senior Member
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world...

and

against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
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In this fight I will not fight alone... sorry. I will not fight alone with Christ in my heart, I will fight with others who have an inward trained like my own. I will not fight with generals who drop off to fight on their own and who find better politics or doctrines disregarding the 12. And I will submit to authority with this in mind. But hey, that's me and by my own understanding I am but a small part in the scheme of things.

My religion is the religion of the twelve that my reach may sound the fundamental source of what it is to be in Christ. I'm a fundamentalist I guess. :)
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

I will follow the Lord, and remain in His Church.
 
Read slowly?! :wink:
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Why The Law Won't Save You

2 Cor. 3
"4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

The Law won't save you because it can only be properly understood through The Spirit. If, by Grace, you have The Spirit, you are saved. Scripture AND Spirit.

Chapter 6 [IV.]—The Teaching of Law Without the Life-Giving Spirit is “The Letter that Killeth.”

For that teaching which brings to us the command to live in chastity and righteousness is “the letter that killeth,” unless accompanied with “the spirit that giveth life.” For that is not the sole meaning of the passage, “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life,”722 which merely prescribes that we should not take in the literal sense any figurative phrase which in the proper meaning of its words would produce only nonsense, but should consider what else it signifies, nourishing the inner man by our spiritual intelligence, since “being carnally-minded is death, whilst to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.”723 If, for instance, a man were to take in a literal and carnal sense much that is written in the Song of Solomon, he would minister not to the fruit of a luminous charity, but to the feeling of a libidinous desire. Therefore, the apostle is not to be confined to the limited application just mentioned, when he says, “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life;”724 but this is also (and indeed especially) equivalent to what he says elsewhere in the plainest words: “I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet;”725 and again, immediately after: “Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.”726 Now from this you may see what is meant by “the letter that killeth.” There is, of course, nothing said figuratively which is not to be accepted in its plain sense, when it is said, “Thou shall not covet;” but this is a very plain and salutary precept, and any man who shall fulfil it will have no sin at all. The apostle, indeed, purposely selected this general precept, in which he embraced everything, as if this were the voice of the law, prohibiting us from all sin, when he says, “Thou shalt not covet;” for there is no sin committed except by evil concupiscence; so that the law which prohibits this is a good and praiseworthy law. But, when the Holy Ghost withholds His help, which inspires us with a good desire instead of this evil desire (in other words, diffuses love in our hearts), that law, however good in itself, only augments the evil desire by forbidding it. Just as the rush of water which flows incessantly in a particular direction, becomes more violent when it meets with any impediment, and when it has overcome the stoppage, falls in a greater bulk, and with increased impetuosity hurries forward in its downward course. In some strange way the very object which we covet becomes all the more pleasant when it is forbidden. And this is the sin which by the commandment deceives and by it slays, whenever transgression is actually added, which occurs not where there is no law.727

722 2 Cor. iii. 6.
723 Rom. viii. 6.
724 2 Cor. iii. 6.
725 Rom. vii. 7.
726 Rom. vii. 11.
727 Rom. iv. 15.

Philip Schaff: NPNF1-05. St. Augustine: Anti-Pelagian Writings - Christian Classics Ethereal Library (ccel.org)

Ch. 5 sets the stage.
Ch. 7 might inspire you to read the whole of the treatise.
 

gordon 2

Senior Member
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

I guess there is an excitement to be had from a flirt with death.
 
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Thread starter #13
New Covenant, Biblical hope is not wishful thinking, or uncertainty! It is most definite and absolute when we place it (hope) properly on He who promised.
The letter slays us,
The Promiser gives life. Amen
 
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