The scriptures by Paul,one whom Christ used to reveal great mysteries of the kingdom to the Church had been misinterpreted by a lot of believers. He was given much revelation as regards the law and the bearing it has on our life as Christians.
Despite the so many writings of Paul about Christ,the law and Christians.Yet, many Christians are divided on this issue of the relevance of the law in this time.
A great number of Christians believed that we have nothing to do with the law.They say that the law has been done away with, since the coming of Christ,His death and resurrection.
But is that really true?
Let go through the scriptures to find out if truly we have nothing to do with the law anymore.
Law in the Old Testament
Right from the books of Genesis,the law was in effect.Pointedly in the life of Adam and Eve, the first family,God commanded them to eat all the fruits of the trees in the garden but they should not eat the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.They were given commandments,which is also laws.
You know the story.They disobeyed the law and they were rebuked and punished by God. After that,their children Cain and Abel was placed under the government of God.They were told to offer sacrifice to God.They did brought their sacrifices.But, God accepted that of Abel and rejected Cain’s offering.
Cain became bitter and envious of his brother. God intervened and told Cain to make amends and pointed out to him that if he fail to make amends,sin is lying at his door.
Note carefully. How would God say sins is lying at the door of Cain if bitterness, anger and hatred against someone is not sin.That shows us that there had been laws known by them about not harboring bitterness or hatred against anybody .
Noah’s time, the Lord God regretted he made mankind and decided He would destroy the whole earth.It was because the world has corrupted himself and was filled with violence.
May I bring your attention to this again. What is corruption or violence if not rebellion and disobedience to laws?
Abraham came on the scene and he was called to leave his father house and relatives to a place where God will show him.He obeyed.
Later,after his demise,God told his son Isaac and hear Him:
“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;”
“Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
Genesis 26 vs.4-5.
Plainly, God told Isaac that the reason why He was committed to fulfilling His covenant promise on him is because his father,obeyed God’s voice,kept his commandments and laws.
Here we can see that there existed laws and commandments in the time of Abraham and his descendants even before the Lord gave the Israelite law on Mount Sinai.
Law and the Israelite
On mount Sinai,the Lord in a thunderous voice spoke to the children of Israel by giving them His laws.In the books of Exodus 20 from vs 1,you find the laws listed, which is commonly called the ten commandments.
Many do not understand that it was not some sets of new laws,that the Lord God gave to the Israelite. God brought to their mind the laws they had forgotten while they had been slaves in the land of Egypt.These laws had been revealed long ago right from creation to man.
While Israelite got into Egypt,they lost those laws and they fell into idolatry just like the Egyptians.Since the Lord God was making them his people and beloved nations,he had to bring to their knowledge the laws that would guide this new beloved nation.
The whole ten commandments talks about a core principle and that is love.The first 6 laws,talks about our relationship with God,while the last 4 is about our relationship with our fellow human or neighbors.
Some other laws which involves sacrifices of bull,goats,sheep and rams was to atone for their sins in order that the Lord may live among them.That was why the Lord gave Moses the Tabernacle for worship and sacrifices for Israel.
Law,Christ and the New Testament
Now,having seen the above background about the law,it is pertinent that we see what our Lord Jesus Christ says about the law and his attitude to it.
In the books of Matthew 5 vs.17-
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Here we have it from our Lord Jesus.Take notes of the following:
He said he didn’t come to destroy the law but fulfill it.That is, all the laws that God had given to man and Israel as His nation,he would never destroy any of them, but by his life he will show us how to obey those laws.
He said that even if the heaven and earth ends, no minutest parts of the law will not be fulfilled.That is, every part of God’s laws is relevant for our existence in this world.
Jesus then said that any disobedience to any of the least of these laws and contrary teaching to people to do so, such person will become the least in the kingdom of God.
You can see that Christ forbids us to ignore the law,let alone disobeying them.
Observe Jesus statement from vs 21,referring to the old testament ten commandments and then expounding each of these laws by telling us the spirit of this laws.He showed us that God demands not just keeping the letter but the principle that the laws carry.
Luke 10 vs.25:
“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
“He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?”
A lawyer wanting to tempt Jesus asked how he can have eternal life.Jesus knowing his mind,told him to tell him what the law says.
It is understandable that Jesus was pointing out that the way to eternal life is keeping the law.
Paul and Law
what many teachers and pastors had wrongly interpreted is the writings of Paul as regards law.This is because many of them fail to study and dig deep to understand the language Paul used.
The often misinterpreted passage is Romans 6 vs 14
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
The use of the word “under” is the main reason for this misinterpretation.
The passage is addressing our state now as a christian.Paul says that since Christ had died and raised from dead,we now have power to overcome the struggles against sins and flesh.But he said that we are not under law but under grace as long as we are Christians.
The under the law Paul said as some interpret, is that they take it to mean that we have nothing to do with laws.That the old testaments laws is no longer our concern.We are only to concern ourselves with the laws of Christ.
What are the laws of Christ, if not the laws of God as revealed from the beginning.
What Paul really mean here is that as Christians we are no longer slaves,in bondage to sins and flesh.That is what “under” mean.But, that now we are under grace. That is, we are servants to obeying what the grace of God tells us to do.
See what the next verses says in verse 16-18.
In the books of Romans 3 vs.31
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
Plainly and without mincing words, we cannot say the laws of God never exist or is never binding on us while in faith.Our faith has empowered us to keep the law of God.
Except we want to continue to read our own meaning to God’s words. We have establish clearly that laws had been given to Man right from the beginning and till now, it remains binding on us.We are better equipped as christian because of the indwelling Holy Spirit to obey and keep all the laws of God.
You and I have no excuses to say that law is not for us.Only the ceremonies and sacrifices had been done away with by Christ.