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Vieraskieliset / In-english

The law of God and its me­a­ning

Vieraskieliset / In-english
11.5.2015 14.32

The law is strict and de­man­ding. Je­sus taught that even a wrong­ful thought in one’s he­art transg­res­ses against the will of God. No one is ca­pab­le of li­ving his or her life in a way that does not transg­ress against the will of God. Ne­vert­he­less, the law is un­con­di­ti­o­nal and de­mands comp­le­te obe­dien­ce.

The per­fect work of Christ

Paul taught: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sen­ding his own Son in the li­ke­ness of sin­ful flesh, and for sin, con­dem­ned sin in the flesh.” (Rom 8:3)

Be­cau­se man is not per­fect and is not ab­le to live wit­hout transg­res­sing against the will of God, God Him­self has done it in our be­half. The Son of God was born in­to this world as man to re­deem all who are li­ving un­der the law (Gal 4:4–5).

On­ly Je­sus has li­ved en­ti­re­ly ac­cor­ding to the will of God. Our re­demp­ti­on is not ba­sed on our own in­no­cent life, but ins­te­ad on the per­fect­ness of Christ. The way to fel­lows­hip with God is not obe­dien­ce to the law, but rat­her Je­sus Christ. The pur­po­se of the law is to awa­ken pe­ni­ten­ce and drive an awa­ke­ned per­son to Christ, to his flock of fol­lo­wers. Through the po­wer of the Spi­rit Christ’s own have the gos­pel that gi­ves life. The Holy Spi­rit awa­kens faith in a per­son, which faith al­lows that per­son to own the per­fect work of Christ.

Righ­te­ous­ness of the law and righ­te­ous­ness of faith

The Scrip­tu­res cle­ar­ly dif­fe­ren­ti­a­te bet­ween righ­te­ous­ness ba­sed on obe­dien­ce to the law and righ­te­ous­ness of faith. In his te­ac­hings Paul used Ab­ra­ham, the fo­re­fat­her of faith, as an examp­le. Ab­ra­ham be­lie­ved in God’s pro­mi­se and it was coun­ted un­to him for righ­te­ous­ness. Ab­ra­ham was not righ­te­ous, me­a­ning he was not ac­cep­tab­le to God on the ba­sis of his own deeds, but on the ba­sis of faith. But, those who trust in obe­dien­ce to the law are un­der its cur­se (Gal 3; Rom 4).

Paul emp­ha­si­zed: “And the law is not of faith: but, The man that do­eth them shall live in them. Christ hath re­dee­med us from the cur­se of the law, being made a cur­se for us: for it is writ­ten, Cur­sed is eve­ry one that han­geth on a tree: That the bles­sing of Ab­ra­ham might come on the Gen­ti­les through Je­sus Christ; that we might re­cei­ve the pro­mi­se of the Spi­rit through faith.” (Gal 3:12–14)

Righ­te­ous­ness ba­sed on obe­dien­ce to the law and righ­te­ous­ness of faith do not fit to­get­her. They exc­lu­de each ot­her. Paul stres­sed this to the Ga­la­ti­ans: “Christ is be­co­me of no ef­fect un­to you, who­so­e­ver of you are jus­ti­fied by the law; ye are fal­len from grace.” (Gal 5:4)

Bon­da­ge un­der the law and free­dom of the Spi­rit

Paul inst­ruc­ted: “Stand fast the­re­fo­re in the li­ber­ty whe­re­with Christ hath made us free, and be not en­tang­led again with the yo­ke of bon­da­ge.” (Gal 5:1) The law does not give po­wer to obey the law, it on­ly pla­ces de­mands and re­qui­re­ments on a per­son. That is why Paul cal­ls li­ving un­der the law bon­da­ge and says that Chris­ti­ans should not con­sent to doing so. A slave has to obey the will and de­mands of his mas­ter in all things.

Bon­da­ge un­der the law me­ans fol­lo­wing ru­les. The hu­man mind might think a pre­pa­red list of ru­les would make be­lie­ving and life as a be­lie­ver ea­sier. They ap­pe­al to re­a­son. Ho­we­ver, li­ving faith is not obe­dien­ce to ru­les. No one is ac­cep­tab­le to God simp­ly by obey­ing out­ward ru­les, and it is not pos­sib­le to com­pi­le inst­ruc­ti­ons or ope­ra­ting mo­dels for eve­ryt­hing. God through His Son has freed Chris­ti­ans from nee­ding to even at­tempt it. God Him­self gui­des them through His Holy Spi­rit, which He has gi­ven in­to the he­art of eve­ry be­lie­ver. A Chris­ti­an’s cons­cien­ce is bound to the word of God. The Holy Spi­rit al­so inst­ructs in mat­ters re­la­ted to faith and life wit­hin the cong­re­ga­ti­on of God.

The law dri­ves a per­son as if from the out­si­de. On the cont­ra­ry, the Holy Spi­rit gui­des a be­lie­ving per­son from wit­hin. Chris­ti­ans obey the will of God vo­lun­ta­ri­ly. The Spi­rit of God te­ac­hes that the will of God is right and good, and gi­ves the de­si­re to be obe­dient to His will. The grace of God te­ac­hes us to deny all un­god­li­ness (Tit 2:11–12). The Holy Spi­rit al­so inst­ructs when a Chris­ti­an has transg­res­sed against the will of God and fal­len in­to sin. Then the Spi­rit inst­ructs to ask for for­gi­ve­ness and cor­rect the transg­res­si­on, and it al­so gi­ves the po­wer to do so. The Re­dee­mer’s per­fect work rec­ti­fies man’s fai­lings be­fo­re God, but man must bear tem­po­ral res­pon­si­bi­li­ty for his deeds him­self.

Text: Ilk­ka Leh­to

Trans­la­ti­on: KK

Sour­ce: Kris­ti­tyn va­paus, Ajan­koh­tais­ta 2014

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä kie­li­liit­tees­sä 6.5.2015.