Monday, September 25, 2017

Liberated from the Law

"So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God." (Romans 7:4)

Romans 7:1–6 is sometimes misinterpreted to mean that the law has died, and so Christians need no longer pay any attention to it. It is not the law that has died here, however, but it is we who have died. In our death—to the degree we have died—we have been liberated from the law.

In what sense have we died to the law? We have died with Christ. Our old self has been put to death in the death of Jesus Christ. The destructive fruit that the law worked in us, inciting us to sin, has died. We have been made alive in our inward self. The law has not died, but our former selves have died. Our new selves are alive. We still have a relationship to the law, but it is a radically different relationship from the one we had before.

The ideal purpose of the law in the Old Testament was this: It was a rule to spell out for us what righteousness required. It showed what the fruit of godly living would be. But it became the occasion for the curse to be laid on us, because all of us broke the law and none of us brought forth the required fruit of holiness. In our flesh we could not obey it. As a result, the relationship we had to the law was a relationship of curse and death.

But now the flesh has been put to death, and we have been resurrected into a new life in Christ. We have been grafted into Christ, and this is so that we might bring forth fruit unto God. What the law failed to elicit from us, Christ wants to see born from our relationship to Him. We still must heed the law, because we are still called to “serve,” or obey. The law no longer is a curse to us, though. Instead, it helps us see what Jesus wants us to do. In our new resurrected life we can now call God’s law our friend.

The psalmist cries, “Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97). Is this your response to God’s law? Or do you fear it, and view it as an enemy? The Christian no longer needs to fear the law. Today ask God to give you a hunger and thirst to know His law, not as a threat against you but as a guide for pleasing Him.