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Building up believers and the New Testament church

The Righteousness of Faith

DOES A CHRISTIAN KEEP THE LAW?

In the beginning we asked questions about the law. It seems that many today are going back to the Old Testament and saying we need to keep the law to be righteous before God. Their argument is something like this: If God has done away with the law, are we allowed to murder? Are we allowed to steal? Can we now covet our neighbor's wife? If we cannot do those things, on what basis do we not remember the Sabbath, since it is included in the same law? They agree that God has done away with the ceremonial aspects of the law that point to Christ ("the law of Moses"), but they consider that the Ten Commandments are the "law of God" and it has not been done away with; therefore we must keep the Sabbath.

On the surface the argument sounds good. There is a great deal in the Old Testament about the Sabbath, and the judgment for not keeping it was severe. However, I believe the answer to the question is not in a myriad of scriptures but in a revelation of what God has done in Christ and who we are in Him. If we do not clearly see the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, we will not be able to answer the question correctly.

Let me ask this simple question. Does a man or woman who has partaken of the divine nature of God through the promises (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) need the law to tell him not to murder or steal? If so, why? Did Christ have to be told not to murder or steal? The whole basis of the New Covenant is that God has done a miracle work in our hearts, and the law of God is now written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Christ now dwells in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Consider these scriptures:

"Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart" (2 Corinthians 3:1-3).

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.' In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:7-13).

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:14-19).

I believe the basic question is this: have we truly partaken of His divine nature? If we have, that nature does not need a law written in stone to tell us what is right and wrong. We know what the will of God is, and faith walks in that divine knowledge. If we have not partaken of His nature, we do need a law to instruct us, but then we are outside of the grace of God and living only in the righteousness that was possible under the law. But God does not accept that righteousness, because He has made a new and living way available to us in Christ. The Old has been rejected and the New has come. We are now responsible to live in the New.