Life in His Spirit
There is much confusion concerning what place and role the Old Testament Scriptures have in the life of the church. Some have removed it from their Bible completely, while others teach the Law is still for the church today. You will need your Bible for this article so I'll wait....hmm....halleluiah...da, da...OK, are you back? Good. Let's go!
What was the purpose of the Law?
Gal.3:24 - Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
So the law had many operations, but its sole purpose was to bring us to Christ, in whom is the end of the law to everyone who believes.
The law was death. Let me ask you this question: When my first born son came into this world I went to the hospital and rejoiced over the new life. My wife had gone through much travail to give him life, and now her pain is dissipating as her brush with death has birthed life. What would you say if I went to the morgue and took a corpse and dragged into the hospital, went to my infant son's little bed, and I laid that decaying corpse right next to him? That is what we do when we bring any part of the Old testament law and place in the New Testament, we place death in the covenant of life.
II Cor.3:7 - But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away with...
When Moses received the law from the hand of Almighty God, he had to cover his face with a veil because the glory of God shone on his countenance so brightly the people could not look upon him. And Paul calls it the ministration (or ministry) of death and teaches that it has been done away with, completely. So when anyone tells you we are still under the law you can reply "Get that corpse away from me, I am under a living covenant of the Spirit purchased by the blood of the Lamb". That is why it is fairly useless for us to fight to hang up the ten commandments anywhere, following them will send you to hell without Jesus. I might be persuaded to be in favor of hanging up John 3:16, but the ten commandments, they without Christ are the ministry of death and now have no glory. Our message has never been national morality, our message is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
II Cor.3:6 - ...for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
The law will kill you unless the Holy Spirit uses some of it to "convict of sin" (Jn.16:9) and draw a person to Christ. You see the lost community feels that we are preaching morality when we get involved with these issues when in fact our mandate and commission is to preach the gospel to all the world. The world cannot understand much less adhere to Biblical morality, no, they need Christ and Him crucified, period. Only the entrance of the Holy Spirit can give a person light and life, and only becoming a believing follower can a person receive the Spirit. So the chicken or the egg principle applies here also. And what is more deadly is moral people who claim adherence to the ten commandments who have never been born again. Death...eternally.
Now are we supposed to be moral? Of course, but not because of the law, because of the Spirit.
Rom.8:1-2 - 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 has made me free from the law of sin and death.
As I travel down the highway before I'm saved I see road signs that say 60 mph and I must obey them or the law will bring justice to me. But after I'm saved there are no exterior road signs, there is the voice of the Spirit inside me saying "You're going too fast". And in a metaphor if I continue to go too fast and I have an accident God does not come to me as a judge to pronounce sentence upon me, no, He comes to chasten me as a Father and in love He also forgives me, although I may bear the earthly consequences of my actions. And what about later when they pull up my record?
Rom.4:8 - Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
My record is hidden in the scars on the figure hanging on Calvary's cross. It is like this...how many sins did Adam commit to experience Spiritual death? The answer of course is one, and it was a comparatively small sin, albeit still rebellion. Do you and I ever sin? Bigger sins than eating a forbidden fruit? Then why do you and I not die Spiritually? Because we are dead already to this world and our life is hidden in Christ in the heavenlies. We have already died and this life we now live, although still outwardly resembling the former person, is not a refurbished or even an extreme makeover version of the former life, no, this is a new man made after Christ.
II Cor.5:16-17 - Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: Yes, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
When we give our testimony we speak of a dead man that had been pronounced guilty before the Judge of all the Universe who was killed at Golgotha. That old man is dead and received in the crucified Christ the deserved sentence, death. Now when we became believing followers of Jesus we were "born again" as a brand new man, and when Christ came out of the tomb a new "us" resurrected also. Made in His likeness but still retaining a unique and personal identity, the life that we now live in the flesh we live by faith of the Son of God, and in a mystery we still live, but not us, but Christ which lives in us. A life now free in His Spirit, free from the judicial punishment by the Judge of all Living but under the loving correction of our Heavenly Father.
Now the implications of this freedom in the Spirit are pervasive across the board when in comes to the church. No more law, no more Jew or Gentile, no more male or female, and only the specific New Testament teachings are to be observed as commandments from Christ to His Spiritual body. That is why it is confusing when churches continue forms of liturgical worship. Gowns, candles, altars, and other outward forms of worship are actually shadows of the law and the Old Testament tabernacle, but we are to worship in Spirit and in truth completely separate from the dictates of a former system that was to be done away with in Christ.
The promise that God gave to Abraham was actually fulfilled in the "promise of the Spirit" on the Day of Pentecost, and only those born of His Spirit are His people and His church. And there is infinite liberty in Christ that frees the spirit to worship and obey our Lord. And to return to the law is not only putting on old grave clothes, it is self righteous at its core because we still break it. Jesus is to be high and lifted up, the fulfiller of the law, and the Author of a new and better covenant made with better promises.
And all this provides a greater understanding of the basis of our praise and worship which, by the way, soars infinitely beyond our comprehension until we are given our bodies of Spirit and can in person bow before our Risen Lord and offer unto Him all the worship He deserves...forever.