Christians are Dead to Laws, and Alive in Christ
“Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness to everyone who believes.”
I’ve been asking God to take me deeper into my relationship with Him. My actual prayer is, “Lord, help me to know you on the deepest level possible. I want to go even further.”
That type of prayer used to make me cringe because I knew He was going to pull something or someone out of my hand in order to get me to depend on Him only. Lots of difficult lessons have been learned, growth through excruciating emotional pain has happened, and now fine-tuning is taking place.
When I started asking to know Him deeper, the Holy Spirit led me to learn more, and more, and more about laws and commandments of the Old Testament–also known as Mosaic Law. 613 laws and commandments in all–ten of those being the Ten Commandments. How do these apply to me as a believer in Jesus? Shockingly, I discovered the answer: they don’t. Not one.
Once Jesus died, the Mosaic Law became obsolete for all who would believe in Him as the Savior of their sin (see Hebrews 8:13, Romans 10:4). The law’s current use is to lead non-believers into a narrow gate of grace by faith in the Messiah. Christ Himself explains this truth after preaching the stringency of the law in Matthew 5, 6, and 7.
Remember, when the Gospels were written there were no dividing chapters for easy searching. It all ran together, so you had to read around each passage to get the full context. With that in mind, let’s start here and work backwards:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)
That narrow gate is Jesus, the wide gate is Mosaic Law. So how wide is the wide gate? 613 laws and commandments wide. This verse is not talking about the ways of the non-believing world, as so many have incorrectly contextualized it. This wide gate is referring to the tradition of the Jews. Just look at the previous verse:
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
The Law and the Prophets? Do you see it? Jesus was setting up the legalists in the crowd, the white-washed tombs. He was calling them out on their religion and into the field of grace. He was saying, “If you want Moses, then the standard is this. If you want me, then the standard is this. My way is much easier. Believe in me.”
Let me be clear about something else: the law has not died, been modified, nor has it gone away. It is still in full force and has the same affect it’s always had on people. It shows the “law abiders” they are failures in need of a simpler way to righteousness. We believers have received the easier way! It’s Jesus! (See John 14:6). So the law hasn’t died, instead, we’ve died to the law so that we can live for God!
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.” (Galatians 2:19)
“So, my brothers and sisters, 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 for God.” (See Romans 7:4)
The law is alive, but we died to it. What does that mean? Here’s an example: let’s say a man is robbing a bank and the cops block off the doors to trap him inside. He is about to be arrested for breaking the law. However, when he decides to give up and raises his hands, he has a heart attack and dies.
He died to the law, therefore, there is no more punishment to be had from the law. It cannot convict him of any crime because he is not alive to face the punishment of any law. Same with us Christians. The Law of Moses is still law, but it does not apply to anyone who believes in Christ. How is this possible if we are still breathing air? BECAUSE WE HAVE SUPERNATURALLY DIED. That’s what happens to our sinful, law-breaking spirit, from the moment we first believe in Jesus! (See Romans 6:6,7).
Why does this matter? Because we are going to live out who we think we are! If we think we are sinful law-breakers, what better an excuse to live that way?
However, we didn’t just die, we’ve been supernaturally resurrected as new, perfect spirits! Spirits who want what God wants! But wait, there’s more! Our spotless spirits are then conjoined with Christ’s Spirit like wicker in a wicker chair! Just look!
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
In this verse, Paul is telling the Galatians their old “I”–the one which was condemned by law–died. Then they got a new “I” which is now one with Jesus! He informs the Corinthians and Colossians of the same thing!
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
We are literally in Christ! This could only happen if we die to the law! And although we are dead to the law, its use is still at an all-time high for those who are self-righteous. I tried to word that sentence in a graceful way, but that’s the best I could come up with. If a person wants to live according to the law they are unrighteous. Paul tells the young pastor, Timothy:
“We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels” (See 1 Timothy 1:9)
Who are the righteous? We are! We are not unrighteous in any way! Sure, we might have unrighteous actions and attitudes, but our identity is sanctified and holy!
“He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Who are the lawbreakers and rebels? Anyone who breaks a single law put in place by Moses. From gossip to murder, they all deserve death (see Romans 6:23). Further, obeying law is an all-or-nothing proposition. If a person chooses to live by any of the Mosaic Law, first, they have to be Jewish (non-Jews were never invited to the law). Second, they must never fail–as in ever. God does not grade on a curve if we choose to obey law rather than live by faith:
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10)
We must be perfect! Jesus said so Himself!
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
The great news is we can only be perfect by dying to the law and becoming reborn in Christ! (See John 3:6,7). Jesus was speaking literally when He said we must be perfect, but He was not talking about what we do and don’t do–He was talking about us! We are spirits! He was saying we must be reborn as flawless spirits who are fused together with Him! How do we do this? BELIEVE! Believe He has forgiven you and He has! Believe and God will make you His child!
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12)
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (See 1 John 3:1)
The grace-confused person will yell at me because these Scriptures aren’t enough for them, “No way, Matt! You can’t just believe! Even the demons believe and they shudder!”
Friend, I know the demons believe, but they are already damned to hell–we aren’t. They aren’t believing on Jesus for salvation–we are! That verse, James 2:19, has been taken out of context to create fear in the souls of Christians. Yes! The demons believe and they tremble! They have their theology correct and know full well: JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD! But once we put our faith in Christ we don’t have to tremble like the demons! We become family! As children of God, His love for us is perfect and casts out all fear! (See 1 John 4:18)
What do we have to be afraid of, punishment for sin? No! What did Jesus do? He was punished for our sin! The Cross was a huge success! This is why we don’t have to fear God any longer! There is no fear in our Dad’s great love! We can be confident right now and when our physical bodies die–or when Christ returns:
“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” (See 1 John 4:18)
Do you see that we are already like Jesus? Yes! In our spirits we are! Our minds are being renewed by His Holy Spirit in us, day by day, but we are good to go! How? Because we died to the law and became alive in Christ! Why? So that we can bear good fruit! Fruit that grows organically in our lives from God’s Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23)
Re-read what I’ve underlined, “against such things there is no law.” You cannot legislate any of these wonderful characteristics because they are coming from the heart. Stuff that comes from the heart doesn’t need to be forced with threats of punishment. This is why we’ve died to the law so that we can bear God’s supernatural fruit–the stuff that changes the world for the better.
So today, my friends, know this: We live by the Spirit of God, not by any laws. I’m not talking about the laws of the land, I’m talking about the Law of Moses. You are free! Yes, this freedom will cause you to ask, “Well what do I do now?”…Just be yourself. Trust yourself. Sure, you’ll mess up, but you’ll learn and grow. You are not the mess up. You are one with God and He’ll always guide you into the right direction! He’ll guide you into unconditional love, never-ending forgiveness, personal responsibility, peace, and a sound mind! Listen to Him, and be yourself!
A prayer for you: Father, today I want to thank you for the revelation of your amazing grace through the new covenant. The harder I tried to obey laws and commandments, the more frustrated I became. Thank you for revealing to me how to rest in your grace; a grace so deep and wide, nothing can override it—not even the sin of the whole world! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who don’t understand all of this stuff yet, begin to teach them the difference between the old and new covenants. Let them know just how free they truly are! It was for freedom that Christ died, so teach them how to live that freedom out! In His name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days For Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!