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Amy is co-host and blogger for both Stand Up for the Truth and Naomi's Table, two ministries that give her the opportunity to write and talk about Jesus all day long. She has written, produced and broadcast in the realm of television and radio news, magazine business journals and marketing materials. She continues her freelance work as a writer and social media consultant.

Are we under God's Law?

1-10 commandments

There is a lot of misunderstanding about how the Mosaic Law applies to Christians today.  Why was the Law given, and to whom?  If Jesus fulfilled it, are we expected to keep the Law?  We’re going to do programs in the future to help put Christ’s atonement and the Law in perspective.

It’s still morning as I write this and already I have sinned, and I’ll bet you have too. Just waking up? Give it a few moments and you’ll come to realize that holy perfection just can’t be done. The truth is, not one of us is holy and righteous enough to keep the commandments of God. As much as we strive to be obedient and sinless, we break these daily.

Doesn’t it seem like the closer we get to our perfect God, the more we realize that our own righteousness is about as sweet as filthy rags?  Apart from what Jesus has done on the cross for us, we’re not worthy. But He exchanged his perfection for our sins, and pardoned us. And while His grace doesn’t give us a license to sin by any means, our freedom is in Him!

Here’s a great discussion-starter about God’s Law from guest columnist Dan Delzell over at the Christian Post. Give it a look and let us know in the comments what your thoughts are about keeping the Law.

God’s Law Wasn’t Given to Sanctify Unbelievers

“If only people would start obeying the 10 Commandments, this world would be a much better place.” That’s true….but it’s not as easy to pull off as it might appear at first blush.

God gave the 10 Commandments to His people about 3500 years ago. These commands were given specifically to Israel….and not to the other nations in the Old Testament. When we move into New Testament times, “Israel” takes on a new flavor. All of a sudden we are told that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” (Romans 9:6) What? Really?

That’s right. God makes all things new. There is a new covenant for the people of God beginning with Jesus Christ. God redefines what it means to be a “Jew.” Starting in New Testament times 2000 years ago, “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly.” (Romans 2:28) Just let that sink in for a moment. It’s no small transition from the way it had been for the first 4000 years of human history. Beginning in the New Testament era, there has to be an “internal adoption,” and not just a biological pedigree. There has to be “new birth.” (1 Peter 1:3) And there has to be sanctification. A person literally becomes a new creation the moment the living God comes to dwell inside his body when he is converted through faith in Christ. (see 2 Cor. 5:17 & 1 Cor. 6:19)

The Ten Commandments

OK. So….how does all this “new creation” stuff come to pass? Through the 10 Commandments? Not exactly. That is to say, it’s not as simple as man launching out with moralistic fervor in an attempt to obey God’s commands. Whenever and wherever man does that, he falls far short of God’s perfection….and God’s perfect Law….and he remains unconverted.

So do the 10 Commandments have a unique and special purpose for the unbeliever? Yes….namely, “the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.” (Gal. 3:24) In the Old Testament, the Law was given to those who were already in relationship with God as His chosen people. In the New Testament, you can’t just embrace the commands of God as your own until you first enter a relationship with God. You have to become a “New Testament Jew” so to speak. You have to belong to the family of God….and that only happens by birth….spiritual birth that is.

The Law leads a person to Christ by showing him that he is a lawbreaker. It’s similar to when a doctor shows a patient test results which point to a terminal illness. The Law brings us face to face with our sin….and the awful sickness in our soul….and we see just how far we fall short of God’s requirements. Without that insight from the Law, man is left feeling pretty good about where he stands with God. Man generally feels fairly satisfied about himself and his level of morality. Why shouldn’t he? It is in man’s nature to assume that he is righteous enough to gain God’s approval.

The truth is that we are all guilty, and exceedingly so. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The Law proves it. Before the Law leads a man to Christ, he tends to be deceived about his true spiritual condition. The Law cannot save his soul….it can only reveal his soul’s condition without Christ.

So what is the solution to man’s problem? Jesus said, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7) There it is….the path to relationship….the way to get in the family. In your own family, you were either born into it….or adopted into it. A Christian has been “born” in, and “adopted” into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ. (see Ephesians 1:5) Then and only then do you get to claim the rules for yourself. Then you can honestly say with the Psalmist, “Oh how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (Psalm 119:97) No one truly loves God’s Law unless he is already in relationship with God. Rules without relationships lead to rebellion….and they do not produce a love for God.

If you want to see how this plays out in everyday life, try giving only rules to your kids….but no love. See how they respond. It will get ugly in a hurry. The loving relationship must be in place for the rules to be properly accepted, understood, and followed. That is the way we were designed by our Creator.

Once you are in a loving relationship with your Creator, the rules become a way that you are able to demonstrate your love for Him. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) Prior to your new birth, you never pleased God….because you were always imperfect. No matter how hard you tried, you fell far short of His standards. But now through faith….you are in the family….and you are under grace….and God sees you as perfect in His sight through the lens of His Son, Jesus. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us and makes us as white as snow in God’s eyes. (see 1 John 1:7) That motivates us to want to obey His commands….because He first loved us, and we now love Him too.

The Holy Spirit inside the believer is the Person who creates within us a genuine love for God. It is a very tender thing, and man is unable to generate this love. It must be placed inside of him by the Lord. God is the author of this love. Imagine that….God gives us the very love that we need to have in order to truly love the Lord. He enables us to love Him in sincerity and truth. Without the Holy Spirit living inside a person through faith in Jesus Christ, a man might claim to love God….but it is usually just a “selfish” kind of “love.” Only God can give us the real thing….the kind of love that flows out of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You know….the kind of personal relationship that the original disciples had with Jesus both before and after his death and resurrection.

So you see….God’s Law wasn’t given to sanctify unbelievers. God gave it to those in His family. For those outside His family, the Law will lead you to Christ by showing you that you are a sinner and in desperate need of what Jesus did on the cross to pay for your sins. That is where the Law leads you….or at least where the Holy Spirit desires to lead you. Are you open to His leading? Are you open to having God to show you how your sin separates you from Him? If so, you may be close to getting adopted into His family….and born into it….by repenting of your sin and trusting in Jesus as your Savior. From then on, you will follow the One who saved you.

The next time you attempt to share God’s Law with someone who does not yet know the Lord, just remember this: “The law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.” (Gal. 3:24) It was not given to sanctify unbelievers. The Law is very good. In fact, it is perfect….and it has a purpose for both the believer and the unbeliever. If we don’t understand the proper distinction between God’s Law, and His Gospel, then we get the whole thing jumbled up and confused in our thinking.

There is an order to God’s work. There is an order to being in God’s family. It isn’t automatic. Being born in this world does not guarantee the new birth. We need God’s Law to show us our sin….and the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin. (see John 16:8) And we need the good news of the Gospel to bring us forgiveness and a relationship with the Lord through faith. Once that is in place, we get to spend the rest of our life living for Him as we seek daily to “find out what pleases the Lord.” (Eph. 5:10) The Holy Spirit produces that process of sanctification and those holy desires in the life of every Christian who is grateful to be in the family of God.

How about you? Have you allowed God’s Law to lead you to Christ? And if so, are you thrilled beyond measure to belong to God’s family….or is it all just rather boring to you? It would be a shame for you or I to to miss out on what God can do in the life of someone who gets adopted into His eternal family.

Nothing this world has to offer….and I mean nothing….can touch that reality and the benefits that come from belonging to your Creator….as compared to living as though He didn’t create you, and He didn’t die on the cross for your sins. Those two different ways to live are at opposite ends of the spectrum….and they provide completely opposite results which extend throughout eternity.

If you are an unbeliever, it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can get in on this thing. God would love to adopt you into His family….but the question is this: Do you want to be in it?

 

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7 Responses to “Are we under God's Law?”

  1. Dan #

    For anyone reading this post thinking in their hearts I will wait until I am old and to tired to follow after the world. This thinking is filled with presumption and evil.

    Proverbs 1:27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

    30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

    33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

    Hearken onto the Lord while He may be found. Cry out to God with your whole heart that through Christ who is called Jesus, God's Only Begotten Son, that through His sacrifice you may be saved from your sins and not perish in the Lord's wrath which is coming upon all mankind. Plead with Him to take out your heart of stone which is wholly against him and to give you a new heart. A heart of flesh that desires to do the Father's good pleasure. Ask Him if He would write His law upon your heart and b y His Holy Spirit cause you to follow in His ways but not for your own sake. But that through you and your weakness God may demonstrate His glory and power that His name, His great name would be magnified in the eyes of His people. That you may be granted to proclaim Him who is mighty to save to a lost and dying world. That if it would please the Lord that He may grant us zeal for His holiness and that we would seek to follow in it for ourselves and in others who tremble at His word.

    Oh that He would grant, we would be willing to lay down our lives for His glory. That the testimony of Christ would not depart from our lips even as we pass from this present life only to be clothed in future immortality. May God grant to us knowledge of the futility that is the world's desires, that they are wholly meaningless filled with empty promises. A mere chasing after wind.

    May God grant you come quickly.

    Amen!

    December 19, 2012 at 2:47 PM Reply
  2. Dan #

    Here is a thought, next time you are sharing the ten commandments with someone and they are showing you contempt for what they are hearing, ask them what do they hate about God's Law?

    "Honor your father and your mother, Do you think we shouldn't?

    "You shall not murder. Do you think we should murder?

    "You shall not commit adultery. Do you think we should commit adultery?

    "You shall not steal. Do you think it is good to steal?

    "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Do you think we should give false testimony?

    "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Do you think we should desire the property of others so we can take it for ourselves?

    Exodus 20:12-17

    By and large our problem is not with the law but the one who gave it. We do not hate the law we think parts of the law is good. But there is one who authored it, this is the one we hated until the daystar arose in our hearts.

    "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me.
    "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
    You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

    but showing love to a thousand [ generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

    "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.

    For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
    Exodus 20:2-11

    But now Christ Jesus has become our sabbath rest and every day is Holy for every day our Lord does what is good. And we are to do what we see our master doing and walk as He himself walked.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:03 AM Reply
  3. Tony #

    Incase any of you hasnt figured it out yet the laws of Moses where only meant for the Jews! Especially the 10 commandments! If the 10 commandments where meant for the gentiles than why didnt God tell Moses to spread his law to the neighbouring people so that they ould make atonement at his temple?

    January 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM Reply
    • For your consideration: Exodus 12:19, 38, 49 – Leviticus 19:34, 24:22 – Numbers 9:14, 15:15-16, 29 – Ephesians 2:10-13

      January 14, 2013 at 12:07 PM Reply
      • Antichus "Tony& #

        thats the problem it says that only gentiles who visit israel must obey the law of yahweh and Ephesians contradicts the rest of the tanakh by saying that oh now gentiles are under mosaic law

        January 16, 2013 at 1:17 PM Reply
        • It wasn't regarding "visiting" in any sense (at least, from what I see). The "mixed multitude" that went up with Israel out of Egypt were becoming part of Israel, joining them in worship of the One True God. In fact, much of the scriptures referenced above were BEFORE the children of Israel even entered the Promised Land.

          January 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM Reply
          • Tony #

            go ask any jew about gentiles and the ten commandments

            January 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

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