a question many denominations have definitions for, some of
which are used to beat up on other denominations and their
interpretations. Some take the route of explaining grace as having
to do with unmerited pardon and that the Law of God is done
away, you are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ
and that's it, period. Others say, yes, your past sins are forgiven
through unmerited pardon through faith in Jesus Christ, but
upon accepting Jesus Christ, you're supposed to keep the Law
of God. Who's right?
True Christians of every persuasion who have the Holy
Spirit dwelling within them, all, regardless of what is taught
or believed on this question--all seem to be living by the
royal Law of God and it seems to be their lifestyle (after
they've been saved for awhile--if they're growing in the Lord). So what gives? If Jesus through the indwelling Holy Spirit
is actually writing the royal Law of God within the hearts
and minds of those who are truly his, over the period of their
lifetimes, then what's all the disagreement about?
If both the Holy Spirit filled, led, and inspired believing
Christians from the "Grace & Faith Alone" side, along
with those on the Torah observant Sabbatarian (derogatorily
termed legalists) side of the body of Christ
are all living the same lifestyle--as inspired, enabled and
empowered within us from God's precious indwelling Holy Spirit--then
whatever the argument is over is due to misunderstanding in
how each group defines the Grace of God.
Here is what I came up with on the subject while meditating
on it. I have dwelt
within Holy Spirit inspired and led churches who dwell on
both sides of this doctrinal fence and here is what I believe
God inspired me to see. By the way, I spent 25 years in a Torah observant
Sabbatarian Christian church and 10 years in non-Torah observant,
grace & faith alone oriented Christian churches. What I found is that the two groups differ greatly
in the language of how they describe what
the grace of God is, but they do not
differ on the substance of their Christian lifestyle. This indicates to me that something is dramatically
wrong with the way both sides are describing the subject of
on 35 years worth of Bible study and being taught in God's
Word, here is what I have come to believe the Grace of God
means: "Grace" never equates to disobedience to
God's Law, but represents and is made up of four essential
elements: 1) the covering sacrificial blood atonement and
imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ through faith alone,
2) time, the lifetime of the believer, 3) Mercy, the continued and unmerited
mercy of God toward the believer, and 4) the enabling power
of God's indwelling Holy Spirit, placed within the believer. The time
element, essentially the lifetime of the believer, is given
so the believer can, through all the other elements within
God's grace, come into living compliance and obedience to
God's royal Law. Now all you "grace & faith alone" people, hold on a minute. Hear me out on this. You have to look at all the Scripture on the
subject. Each side
looks at only what they seem to choose to and never the whole
Scriptural picture. Now, which royal
Law is the Bible talking about?
Paul says, that according to what you believe it is,
that is your choice, and you'd better adhere to it and base
your lifestyle on it. If your Christian conscience guides you to believe
that God wants you to be obeying the Old Testament law of
God (Ten Commandments, Sabbath, Holy Days, dietary laws),
then that is the standard you should use and adhere to.
If your Christian conscience guides you to believe
that the New Testament law of Christ is the law God wants
you to be obeying, then that is the standard you should use
and adhere to. (The
New Testament law of Christ, by the way, makes no mention
of Sabbath, Holy Days or Old Testament dietary laws.)
If you want to read Paul's words on this, read Romans
14, especially verses 22-23.
Our obedience to God's Law does not equate
to works (as many grace and faith alone people accuse the other side
of teaching)--not in any way, shape or manner does it equate
to works, not even good works.
Why? It is due to the fact that our obedience is
enabled by God's indwelling Holy Spirit, one of the essential
four ingredients of God's grace.
Our own efforts at obedience will always fail. Let's read the whole chapter of Romans 7 to
see what our human efforts at obedience amount to.
Now, let me finish the thought here--our own efforts at obedience
will always fail unless they are coupled to and empowered by God's Holy Spirit
which he places within each believer. Romans 7 appears to be the apostle Paul's description
of his own human efforts to keep God's royal law, and his
utter failure to do so. It
graphically describes mankind's utter inability to keep God's
law all on their own. Paul, at the same time, describes the
transforming power of God's Holy Spirit within us, who actually
writes within us God's royal law.
In the first part of Romans 7 Paul says that we are
dead to the law of God, set free from it. What does he mean? Many are thrown off by the statement in Romans
7:1-6, which states "Do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law--that
the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound
to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband
dies, she is released from the law of marriage.
So then, if she marries another man while her husband
is still alive, she is called an adulteress.
But if her husband dies, she is released from that
law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another
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."
Let's stop right there. Here is where believers are thrown off tract
by Paul's description. How
did we die to the law of God?
What does the sacrificial blood of Jesus do for us?
It covers us, so believers are dead to the penalty
of God's law--that's what we're dead to--the penalty of God's
law! Paul goes on to say the law of God itself is
good. Let's read on,
and see the entire text, and put it in context with other
vital Scriptures on the subject. Continuing in verse 5, ".For we were controlled by the sinful
nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work
in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been
released from the law [essentially, released from the penalty
of the law, which is death] so that we serve the new way of
the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code."
What is this "new way of the Spirit"?
In Matthew 5:17-48, Jesus not only says the law is
not done away, but brings the law to it's spiritual intent,
to the thought level. This is the new way of the Spirit. It is none other than the Law of God brought
by Jesus to its lofty spiritual intent.
Do look up and read Matthew 5:17-48 in its entirety,
to put this in context.
Purpose of God's Law: Let's get back to Romans 7. Paul next shows us what the purpose of the law
is (just as James does in James 1:22-25)--he shows us that
the royal law of God is a spiritual mirror, showing us where
the dirt is. Paul also shows in the same verses that this
spiritual law-mirror has absolutely no power in the hands
of humans to clean the spiritual dirt off which it reveals.
What I am saying, and what Paul is saying here is:
There is no power in the Law of God itself to spiritually
"clean up" those who read it, no matter how hard they try,
if they are trying all on their own to use God's law this
way. This will become
clearer as we go. Lets
read what Paul says, and then look at what James says.
Romans 7:7-13, "What shall
we say, then? Is the
law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except
through the law. For
I would not have known what coveting really was if the law
had not said, 'Do not covet' [Exodus 20:17; Deut. 5:11] But
sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment,
produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from the law, sin is dead [i.e. the
knowledge of sin is dead, the knowledge that we're sinning
is dead, is what I think Paul is getting at].
Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment
came, sin sprang to life and I died.
I found that the very commandment that was intended
to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by
the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment
put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment
is holy, righteous and good."
"Did that which is good, then, become death to me?
By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as
sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that
through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful." This is the exact purpose of a spiritual mirror--which
God's law is. Paul
goes on to describe a person who is reading the law of God
and trying to obey it all on his own.
He is describing a person without the indwelling power
of the Holy Spirit actually writing those laws in his heart
and mind. Let's read
on and see the futility of trying to keep the law of God all
on your own. Paul is most descriptive here, as this must
have been his own struggle penned for our benefit.
Romans 7:14-25, "We know that the law is spiritual;
but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.
I do not understand what I do.
For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate
I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree
that the law is good. As
it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living
in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is,
in my sinful nature. For
I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it
out. For what I do is not the good I want to do;
no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is
no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does
find this law at work: When
I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I
see another law at work in the members of my body, waging
war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of
the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law,
but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."
So we find Paul has just described a person
who has discovered God's law, but is not yet at the point
of living a Holy Spirit filled and guided life.
This person is now looking into the spiritual mirror
of God's law and seeing himself maybe for the very first time,
or maybe this is a
Christian who for some reason has back-slidden, maybe intense
spiritual warfare and the trials of life have worn him/her
down so they've grown weak in the spiritual sense.
This can happen to the best of us.
But nonetheless, Paul in Romans 7:25 is describing
the attempts of someone trying to obey God's law all on their
own, without the aid of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Before we go on to read Paul's solution to this problem,
let us re-focus on the theme which he brought out about the
purpose of God's law in the very verses we just read, that
of it being a spiritual mirror (Romans 7:7-8).
Turn to James 1 and let's read verses 22-25.
James 1:22-25, "Do not merely listen to the Word, and
so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not
what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets
what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives
freedom, and continues to do this, not
forgetting what he has heard [or read and studied], but doing
it--he will be blessed in what he does."
Now turn to Exodus 30:17-21. God commanded that the Israelites make a brazen
or bronze basin for the priests to wash themselves in before
entering the temple or tabernacle to do their service.
This bronze basin is very symbolic, as were all the temple
utensils and rites carried out therein.
First, we'll read of God's command concerning this
basin, and how the priests were to use it, then we'll read
about its construction. Exodus 30:17-21, "Then the Lord said to Moses,
'Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the
altar, and put water in it.
Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet
with water from it. Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting [the
Tabernacle, which later became the Temple], they shall wash
with water so that they will not die.
Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting
an offering made to the Lord by fire, they shall wash their
hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron
and his descendants for the generations to come.'" Now let's look at this bronze basin's construction.
Exodus 38:8, "They made the bronze basin and its bronze
stand from the mirrors of the
women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting." Now let's draw some conclusions. We've seen both Paul and James, the flesh and
blood brother of Jesus, say the Law of God is a spiritual
mirror. Mirrors don't wash people. Mirrors are
used to show where the dirt is, but they have no ability to
wash people. Say you
look in the mirror and see dirt.
If you then just try to rub it off, what happens?
You have to turn on the water, fill up the sink, and
use soap and water to clean the dirt off your face.
This bronze basin was similar, except the reflective
mirrors were on the inside of the basin, and water filled
it up, so that those washing themselves, saw their image as
they looked into the basin, under the water.
It was a strange place for the reflective mirrors,
but it symbolized something greater than its physical purpose.
Without the washing of the Holy Spirit, the same thing
Paul described in Romans 7, the dirt, sin, remains, and just
gets smeared around a bit.
What does it take to wash dirt off?
It takes water (and soap, usually).
are the royal priesthood of Jesus (see 1 Peter 2:9-10) How
do we use the Law of God?
The Law of God is symbolized by this bronze basin made
of women's mirrors, highly polished brass or bronze.
If we just look into it and rub the dirt, the sin that
we see, it doesn't come off.
We can't rid ourselves of it.
Water must be added. What is the water? In the Bible, water has been used as a symbol
for God's Holy Spirit. God's
Holy Spirit must be added to this mirrored basin, which is
his royal law, and then the dirt of sin can be washed off.
Let's see if this is what Paul says.
Go to Romans 8. Romans
8 is a continuation of Paul's dialogue which started in Romans 7. Romans 7 dealt with this problem
of how we should use God's law, and the impossible struggle
that ensues when a person tries to use God's law, his spiritual
mirror, all on his own to clean the sin.
Romans 8 goes on to show how to solve this problem
of the sin which God's law reveals in us. Romans 8 describes the "water" that we are supposed to put into the reflective bronze
basin of God's law. Romans 8:1-17, "There is
therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ
Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath
made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do [all on its own, without the
indwelling Holy Spirit], in that it was weak through the flesh [the
law isn't weak, it's just a mirror, it is we that are weak,
in the flesh, without God's indwelling Holy Spirit, that's
what Paul is getting at], God sending his own Son
in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin
in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be
fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the
Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the
things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the
things of the Spirit. For
to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded
is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can
be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please
God."--And here's the key verse: remember,
the law of God is just a mirror. When you are carnally, fleshly
minded, you are not subject to the law of God, can't keep
it. Paul just said that. How is one spiritually minded? How can we use God's mirror and make it work,
cleaning off the dirt and living a holy, Godly life? What's the key ingredient? With the bronze basin, it was water (and I assume,
some kind of soap)--"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be
that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is
none of his. And if Christ be in you"--how? By the
Holy Spirit dwelling in you, Paul just said that!--"the body is dead because
of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus
from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from
the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit
that dwelleth in you. [This
is talking about a spiritual quickening, taking us from spiritual
death (disobedience) to spiritual life.
Read on and take that last statement in context with
the next few verses, using proper Bible interpretation.] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors,
not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit [Holy Spirit] do mortify
the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God. For ye have not received
the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received
the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs
with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may
be also glorified together" (Romans 8:1-17, King James Version). Did you get
royal law--whether the Old Testament 10 Commandment law or
the New Testament law of Christ--is a spiritual mirror. The Holy
Spirit which God places within each believer, is the water
placed on top of the bronze-mirror-basin of God's law. Sabbatarians
and Torah observant Messianic believers chose to use the Old
Testament version of God's law as their spiritual mirror.
Gentile Christians and non-Torah observant Messianic believers
chose to use the New Testament law of Christ as their spiritual
mirror. Don't forget,
Paul said whichever version of the law you chose to use as
your own personal spiritual mirror is a free choice of Christian
conscience. You alone
have the right of choice.
Read the entire chapter of Romans 14, especially verses
22-23 to see Paul's clear statement on the subject of Christian
God's law as our spiritual mirror and washing off the sin
in our lives using the power and ability of Jesus in us--the
Holy Spirit--is not legalism in any way, shape, or manner! This is not our works, but the works of Jesus
within us, the works of the Holy Spirit acting within us,
writing God's royal law in our hearts and minds.
This is the proper application of applying the grace
of God into our Christian lives and lifestyle.
us as sinless because of the sacrificial blood atonement of
Jesus Christ that covers us--regardless of our imperfect obedience
and stumbling in and out of sin from time to time. Please understand, no matter
how hard we try--even using the washing power of God's Holy
Spirit--we will never achieve perfect obedience
to God's royal law. We
will enter eternal life with the righteous covering and sacrificial
blood atonement of Jesus Christ.
This blood atonement covers those who have faith in
Jesus and Jesus alone for this covering, thus we are cloaked
in Jesus Christ's own righteousness, not our own. This is the essential first ingredient of the Grace
[To read some real in-depth studies about this essential
first part of God's grace, log onto: http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/Romans3-34-25.htm
list again the four main ingredients of God's Grace: 1) Jesus Christ's atoning blood sacrifice that covers
us who believe in Jesus and his sacrifice alone as being sufficient. 2) time, the time God gives us, 3) Mercy, God's
mercy he extends us, and 4) God's Holy Spirit whom he places
These four ingredients are all given to us as believers
so God within us can bring us into a condition of having "his law
written on our hearts and minds", which is the definition
of the new covenant, given both in the New Testament and the
Old Testament (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Hebrews 8:6-10, read
both). Grace is never a license to sin or go in
the opposite direction of this definition given by God in
both Testaments. (This doesn't mean it won't happen from time to time
in a believers life.) Jesus--upon a new believer's conversion,
being born-again--comes into that believer's life via the
indwelling Holy Spirit he places right inside each believer. Jesus lives his life afresh, anew, within that
new believer to the degree that believer yields himself or
herself to God, Jesus. God's
law has been described by some Bible scholars and teachers
as the written expression of the mind of God.
When Jesus asked the lawyer which was the greatest
of the commandments, he responded that the two greatest commandments
were 'to love the Lord God with all your heart and mind, and
the second, like unto it, to love your neighbor as yourself.' Jesus commended the lawyer for his astute answer
and told him he was not far from the kingdom of heaven. Those two laws the lawyer quoted are a summation
of the Ten Commandments. The
first four represented by the first, and the last six by the
second. All God's commandments boil down to one word,
love, agape-love-a deep abiding love for our spiritual parent,
God, and outgoing concern for others equal to our
love for self. The
whole epistle of 1 John is full of statements linking agape-love
to the commandments of God (for they are inseparable).
How God writes his laws into our hearts and minds: Now lets
read about how God dwells within each born-again believer
in Jesus, Yeshua, writing his laws in their hearts and minds. We're going to read some key verses in John
chapters 14-16. It
is God that does the writing of his royal Law on the hearts and minds of the believer.
He does this whether the believer is using the Old
Testament Ten Commandment Law of God, or the New Testament
Law of Christ as his
chosen spiritual mirror. Since I have
lived and dwelled for long periods of time in both groups,
Torah observant Sabbatarian [25 years] and new covenant grace
oriented churches that teach faith in Jesus alone [10 years],
I have seen within both groups large numbers of Holy
Spirit filled, led and inspired people. So whichever version of the royal Law your Christian
conscience guides you to use as being the proper one is totally
left up to you--the believer--by God, and this is according
to Paul in Romans 14. Let's
turn to John 14, 15 and 16 and see what Jesus said about the
Holy Spirit whom he promised to put inside believers.
John 14:15-21, "If you love
me [Jesus talking] you will obey what I command"--king James
Version says "If ye love me, keep my commandments"--"And I
will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor
to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither
sees him nor knows him. But
you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come
to you. Before long,
the world will not see me.
Because I live, you also will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father,
and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is
the one who loves me."
What were Jesus' commands? Read Matthew 5:17-48 where he re-iterated many
of the Ten Commandments and brought them to their lofty spiritual
intent--those are Jesus' commands.
All throughout the New Testament, Paul, Peter and James
bring that same group of commandments--9 of the 10 Commandments--to
their lofty spiritual intent.
But how does Jesus write these commandments "into
our hearts and minds"? Let's
look at the last part of verse
21: "He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too
will love him and show myself to him." Let's read on in verses 23-27, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching, and my Father will love
him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.
These words you hear are not my own; they belong to
the Father who sent me. All
this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you all things and will remind you of everything
I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 15:9-14, 26-27, "As the Father has loved me, so
have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in
my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain
in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in
you and that your joy may be complete.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved
you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay
down his life for his friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.When the
Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who goes out form the Father, he will
testify about me. And
you also must testify, for you have been with me from the
beginning." Jesus continues
to describe the Holy Spirit in John 16. Jesus is describing the work of the Holy Spirit
within the believer in all these verses in John 14-16.
Jesus gives another work the Holy Spirit does in believers
here in John 16. Let's
read John 16:5-7, 13-15, "Now I am going to him who sent me,
yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'
Because I have said these things, you are filled with
grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good
that I am going away. Unless
I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go,
I will send him to you.But when he, the Spirit of
truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what
he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring
to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from
what is mine and make it known to you."
in the process: It is the believer's job to ingest the whole Word
of God, which contains both versions of this royal law. Your personal Bible studies should be on a frequent
(preferably daily) basis, coupled with daily prayer. It is in this way that we commune with God and
strengthen the influence of the Holy Spirit within us. God cannot do much
writing of his law within our hearts and minds if the influence of his Holy Spirit within
us is weak.
It's our job through this daily communing to keep that
influence strong, or else the influence of Satan's world around
us will overwhelm us, and not much will be written on our
hearts and minds by God. It's our choice, and it's a life choice. We--as believers in Jesus, Yeshua--cannot possibly
"keep" God's Law as humans, on our own. It is only possible by and through the indwelling
Holy Spirit and the power imparted within us by the Holy Spirit
that we can use God's law as a spiritual mirror and clean
the dirt off, the dirt being sin.
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of God's Law. 1 John
3:4, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law:
for sin is the transgression of the law."
1 John chapters 1-5 is full of teaching about keeping
God's commands equating to loving God, and being filled with
the Holy Spirit enabling us to be able to do so--all these
The essential thing to remember, it is God who does the writing of his laws
in our hearts and minds. When God is doing this writing, it is reflected in our ever-changing and ever-growing
Christian lifestyle. This
Christian lifestyle grows ever more in tune with God's royal
law being internalized into our "hearts and minds."
It is not some legalistic trip believers go through,
it is more like a spiritual empowerment to apply and internalize
spiritual laws into our lives , laws that 99.99 percent of
the Old Testament children of Israel were powerless on their
own to apply and internalize.
So this is not some legalistic trip for believers.
These next Scriptures show this, and are the Bible's
very definition of what the new covenant is. Let's turn to
Jeremiah 31:31-33 and then to Hebrews 8:8-10 and see the new
covenant defined in both Old and New Testaments.
Putting it in context, Jeremiah is prophecying about
when the House of Israel and the House of Judah would come
into the state of being in the new covenant--at Yeshua's,
Jesus' 2nd coming.
Paul is showing in Hebrews that starting with the Church
age at the vital Pentecost in Acts 2, all Christians are now
under the new covenant. You'll
see why when you read what the terms of this covenant are. Jeremiah 31:31-33: "'The time is coming' declares
the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house
of Israel and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their
forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out
of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband
to them' declares the Lord. This is
the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that
time,' declares the Lord.
'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their
hearts. I will be their
God, and they will be my people.'" Hebrews
8:7-13, "For if there had been nothing wrong with the first
covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:
'The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a
new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of
Judah. It will not be like the covenant I make with
their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them
out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is
the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that
time, declares the Lord. I
will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be
their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his
brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know
me, from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember
their sins no more.' By calling this covenant "new," he has
made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging
will soon disappear."
you can plainly see, it is God who writes his law in our hearts
and minds. As Paul
showed us in Romans 7, when a human being tries to do the
writing and placing of God's law into his heart and mind on
his or her own, nothing but utter failure results.
In Romans 8, Paul then shows that when the writing
and placing is done by God through the indwelling Holy Spirit,
we have victory over sin [transgression of God's law, cf.
1 John 3:4]. Anyone who says that such obedience to God's law is legalistic or preaching
works is way off base. If
any works are involved in our obedience, they are the works
of God within our hearts and minds.
Even when we as Christians strive to obey with God's
help, the real success of our efforts really lie with God.
All of the glory for our success in obedience belong
to God. It is God who
grants us the power, who does the writing of his law in our
hearts and in our minds. That
is not legalism or preaching of works in any way, fashion
or manner-no way! Those who preach Jesus Christ as being sufficient
and that we don't need anything else, are technically correct. Why? Because
it is due to the fact that Jesus through the Holy Spirit is
doing the writing. But
we do have something to understand and perform.
Understand, these folks are being simplistic in their
explanation, which can deprive the new believer of understanding
how the process of grace works.
This is a serious hindrance to growth for many believers,
both new and old. Such
teachers do a serious disservice to those whom they teach.
We are to look into the perfect
law of liberty, as James says, and continue in it, and we
have seen, empowered by God through his Holy Spirit. How do we do that? We do that by having daily prayer and Bible
study, ingesting the Word of God on a constant and daily basis. Also, it doesn't hurt to study God's law, both in the
Old and New Testament versions, letting God's Holy Spirit
speak to you as you study and read.
As you read, God is writing his laws within you.
That is an essential key to spiritual growth.
No Bible reading, no Bible study--no growth-it's that
simple. Prayer alone is not sufficient. When you come across a sin in your life revealed
by looking into God's mirror, what
happens? You take it
to God in prayer--correct? God then will help you overcome
your confessed sin with and through the power he imparts into
you by his Holy Spirit. So
if any "works" are involved, they are the works of God's Holy
Spirit within you, not your own works!
One important suggestion: I might
add here, that it helps tremendously to be attending a church
that teaches from the whole Word of God in a concise, accurate
manner. Try to find
a Christian church that doesn't dwell on any one part of God's
Word over others, but feeds it's believers with a steady diet
of the whole Word of God (preferably going through the whole
Bible in its sermon-teaching format from year to year). There are churches and denominations out there
that fit this description.
It's up to you as a believer to find them, should you
desire this more thorough level of Bible teaching.
It's your life! You're given one lifetime to apply and utilize
God's grace, growing as Peter said in the grace and knowledge
of the Lord. Let's
turn there. 2 Peter 3:18, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be
glory both now and forever!
Amen." In closing,
Deuteronomy 30:19, "This day I call heaven and earth
as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and
death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may
live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his
voice, and hold fast to him.
For he is your life."
[Desire to chose a church?
Log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/choosingachurch.htm for some helpful ideas and suggestions.]