If we have been released from the law, then how do we as Christians, relate to the law? According to Jewish tradition, the law was divided into two categories; the moral laws of God and the ceremonial laws of God. Gentiles divided them as well.
Under the ceremonial law and the dietary laws; the feasts and the sacrifices and things; then the dietary, things that were clean and unclean.
Under the moral laws; the Ten Commandments and then the Jewish laws. We get our murder and manslaughter laws from the Bible. God tells us the difference between the two. When we take the Ten Commandments and the laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, there were 613 laws that God gave.
There is a reason God gave these laws and why we still need to live by the moral laws. As believers, we are not “married” to the law, but when we get saved, Jesus writes His laws on our hearts!
The only way the Jews knew how to relate to God was through the law. Then Jesus showed up and the Bible says He was “grace” and “truth.” So, Jesus had to make some clarifying statements about the law. Paul also had to do the same.
Matthew 5:17 – “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (Verse 18) “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (Verse 19) “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Apparently, Jesus is talking to believers, because He says, “Is the least in heaven,” not hell. God does not want us to live immoral lives. He wrote the laws and wants us to live “moral’ lives.
In today’s society, people believe in “Subjective Morality.” That’s believing what is right according to “him,” or “her,” themselves. It’s whatever they think is right or wrong.
For instance: We lock our doors and houses up at night because there are people that think it would be alright to break in and rob or even kill us. If everyone thinks morality is according to their own opinion of what’s right or wrong, then they will do what they please, whether it harms another or not. So we have to have “Objective Morality, which is the word of God.
The Law Is A Master
Galatians 3:24 – Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Verse 25) But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
The word tutor doesn’t have the same meaning in the Greek tradition as it does to us. In the Greek tradition, the tutor is not the teacher. The tutor’s job was to get the young boy from home to the school and then from school to home again. Greek boys were taught from the age of 6 to 16.
So the law’s job, is to bring us to the “Teacher.” The law’s job before we met Christ was, do this, don’t do this and so on. It seemed we could never do everything right and could not do it perfectly either. So essentially, what was the law saying to us before we were saved? “You need Jesus!” That is the law’s job. To bring us to Jesus. However, until you are born again, you live under the law and will be judged accordingly.
What does the law mean to us after we are saved? It is still saying, “You still need Jesus!” The law always shows us we can’t do it on our own! We need Jesus before we are saved and after we are saved. We never stop needing Him.
After we are saved, we transfer from the law being our teacher to Jesus being our teacher, where He gently guides us into understanding and forgiveness instead of punishment.
The Law Is Also A Mirror
James 1:23 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; (Verse 24) for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. (Verse 25) But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
Did you notice that the verse said,”continues in it?” They are not only hearers of the perfect laws of God, through the eyes of grace, but doers and it shows them who they really are, doing what’s in the word of God and everything they do will be blessed.The law reflects the moral standards of God. If we want to know if something is good or bad for us, read the moral laws of God.
For instance: Is God for or against adultery? He’s against it because God is “for” people and adultery hurts people, just as murder does. Lying, stealing, and deceiving people is all in our conscience, knowing it is wrong without having to ask.
Romans 7:7 – What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”
The law helps us understand the moral standards of God, and if we want to walk morally through the power of the Holy Spirit, through the grace of Jesus Christ, it will help our lives not to have huge “train wrecks.” It’s a mirror!
The law reflects the perimeter, the boundaries of God’s desires, but it does not reflect the boundaries of His love. Does everyone in the world keep God’s law? No. But does God love the world? Yes. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
This helps us relate to other people also. Let’s say you have a child that is headed down a path of destruction; you still love that child, but what they are doing and how they are living is not what you desire for them. You warn them that they are headed toward a train wreck. The parent still reflects the desire for the child, but they still love them and God still loves them.
When the woman was caught in the act of adultery, the Pharisees said, “Stone her.” Jesus told her, after they all had walked away that, He didn’t condemn her, but “go and sin no more.” In other words: “Don’t continue in this life style.” And that was “Grace” and “Truth.”
The Law Is A Measure
It shows us how we are doing by keeping the moral laws of God. God wrote His laws on our hearts, so there is now an internal compass that God gives us to be able to walk morally so that we can enjoy life.
Think about it this way: Maybe before you were saved, you were a liar. After you got saved, you might tell someone that you have a problem with exaggeration. No, that’s a problem with “Lying!” Some will think that they just “embellish,” when they tell a “whopper!” It’s still lying.
Law keeping is not the true measure of true spirituality. If law keeping had been the measure of true spirituality, then the Pharisees would have been the most spiritual. Not everyone gets everything right the minute they get saved. That takes a life time and maturity, but we still have many flaws. We all do.
The Law Is Not A Machete
The law is not something we use to whack other people with, but some Christians do just that! God never intended His moral laws to be used to condemn others by us pointing out their sins all the time. (However, we do have laws in this country against murder, stealing, and other more serious crimes.) Most Christians know when they sin. We, as mature Christians can guide others, but we don’t tear others down because of our own convictions or they don’t match up to our standards that we have set for ourselves.
The law is basically a test, but not to show God how well we are doing. It is to show us how well we are doing. It also is not to show others how great we are doing. His Son already took that test for us and He had a perfect score! The best part is that if you accept Him, you can have “His grade!”