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What if We lived under the Law

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We talk a lot about Law and Grace. For the Christian, we live under Grace and not under the Law, but we often seem to put ourselves under the LAW.
Romans 6:14 NLT
14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
This verse says that we as Christians are no longer under the law, but under grace.
What does this mean?
We know we have been set free from the power of sin because we are IN Christ. Because of this, we don’t have to sin anymore because we have the spirit of God living in us.
We are also free from the LAW

What is the Law?

There are three types of the Law.
1. Ceremonial Law
This is made up of sacrifices, rituals, offerings, food restrictions… all the things you wonder why they did them
2. Civil Law.
The part that has to do with the nation of Israel itself, the rules of government, regulations for the nation, the way the country is to be operated, governmental Laws, judgements, judicial Laws.
3. Moral Law.
This is the part we're most familiar with. The Ten Commandments is the key example of moral Law. God has some ethical standards of behavior that He wants us to follow.
So when we talk about the Law in general we're actually talking about three different parts: moral Law, civil Law and ceremonial Law.

What was the Purpose of the Law?

Why was the Law given? You can't just make a blanket statement. That's why we need to study it tonight. In the New Testament there are at least seven different descriptions of the Law. You need to understand the purposes of the Law so you'll realize that as a Christian you're not under the Law but under grace. If you understand this it's going to make a tremendous impact in your life.
We're going to look outside of Romans to explain what Romans 6:14 looks at. Fortunately we have a lot of material written about this very verse. Paul wrote an entire other book simply to explain this verse. That book is called Galatians. The book of Galatians basically explains Romans 6:14.

1. The Law is pictured as a yoke.

Galatians 5:1 NLT
1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
Yoke of Slavery = The Law
A yoke is put on cattle. It's purpose is to control an animal. The purpose of the Law is to control us. Not to change us but to control us. The Law was given to control us. This is easy to understand.
What if we had a world that didn't have any Laws in it. Would there be any control? No. If there wasn't a Law that said you have to drive on the right side of the highway, would there be trouble? Most likely. What if there were no stop lights? Would there be trouble? Definitely. What if there was a Law that said you could drive any speed limit you want? Obviously you have to have Laws to bring order or some semblance of order or control to a situation.
The point I want to make is this: A yoke does not change a cow into a horse or into a chicken. It doesn't change a cow into anything else. It will always have the nature of a cow. Likewise the yoke of the Law does not change you in any sense at all. All it does is control you. Many people think if they just obey the Law they can change. No. The Law was never meant to make you a different person. The Law was simply to bring control. The fact is people do act like animals, don't they?
Paul says don't let yourselves be enslaved again, burdened down by a yoke of slavery -- talking about the Law.
Compare that to what Jesus said
Matthew 11:28–29 NLT
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
When you became a Christian, the Bible says you gave up one yoke and took on another. You gave up the yoke of the Law which is heavy, condemning, burdening, frustrating and took on the yoke of Jesus which is easy and light and gentle. When you became a Christian you simply exchanged yokes. You gave up an external yoke of legalism for an internal yoke of love in Christ.
You will always be a slave to something… to the Law which burdens you down or to Jesus who sets you free.
The first purpose of the Law is to control us not to change us.

2. The Law is pictured as a guardian.

Galatians 4:1–7 NLT
1 Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. 2 They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. 3 And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. 4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
The Law is like a guardian for immature people. Israel was an immature nation… Immature people need rules, so God gave ghe Law to Israel to control them.
When the time was right, when Israel matured, God sent his son. He told them, I am going to treat you like sons and daughters. Listen, the closer relationship you have with Jesus, the less need you have for rules.
You cannot mature spiritually if you live under the Law.
You can't go back and keep all those Laws in the Old Testament and then God will like you. That's missing the whole point of the Law. God doesn't want slaves to serve Him out of fear. He wants children who love Him out of love and act to Him in a relationship. He says, "I didn't come to leave you in a regulation mode but I came to turn it into a relationship."
Paul went to Galatia (over in the east Mediterranean area -- the Balkan area ‑- Turkey) and while he was there he started some churches in Galatian and later he wrote this letter to them. He had taught them they were to live under grace. "You guys are Gentiles and you don't have to become a Jew to become a Christian. You can directly become a Christian. You don't have to keep circumcision. You don't have to keep the Law, the Jewish ceremonies. Just believe!"
After Paul left there were some people who came in called Judaizers. They said, "Yes, to be a Christian you must believe in Jesus, but you must also keep all the Jewish Laws." There are people today, Christians, who think you must keep all the Jewish Laws too -- Seventh Day Adventists are a good example. They worship on the Sabbath because it says Saturday in the Old Testament. They keep all the dietary Laws, a lot of the ceremonial Laws. They believe those are still valid. So Paul is writing this letter telling them that after he had left, these people came in and told them they had to add all of these things -- he says you're missing the point. Just believe!
Galatians 4:21–23 NIV
21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
Remember the story of Hagar. Abraham at 99 years of age still didn't have a kid so he went to Plan B. Sarah said, Take my handmaiden. And Abraham by the handmaiden of Sarah had a child. They named the son Ishmael who was the father of the Arab race. That wasn't God's plan. God's plan was that Sarah would miraculously have a baby and that baby was Isaac.
Paul says we can learn a lesson from that truth.
Figuratively the women represent two covenants. The Law which always enslaves… Hagar and her descendants. The other woman, Sarah represents the new covenant - GRACE.
Galatians 4:28 NIV
28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.
Christians are to live under Grace.

3. The Law is pictured as a slave girl.

Galatians 4:21–29 NLT
21 Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? 22 The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. 23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. 24 These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. 25 And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. 26 But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. 27 As Isaiah said, “Rejoice, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into a joyful shout, you who have never been in labor! For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband!” 28 And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. 29 But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.
Hagar was Sarah's slave girl. This story is illustrating the point that Hagar represents the Law and Sarah represents grace. The point he's making is that Abraham was never supposed to marry Hagar. He was never supposed to have a relationship with Hagar. Likewise you were never supposed to have a relationship to the Law. Abraham was supposed to have a relationship to Sarah which represents grace.
Galatians 4:30–31 NLT
30 But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.
When we live by Grace, we are the legitimate family of God.
We have seen the Law as Guardian, Yoke, and as a slave girl.

4. The Law is pictured as a debt that we could not pay.

Colossians 2:13–15 NLT
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
We had a sin debt we could not pay. We have broken so many Laws in our lifetime there is no way we could repay them all! But there was a person who paid it. Jesus Christ. Jesus paid all our debt and canceled all the written codes and regulations.
All the ceremonies have been fulfilled. The moment Jesus died the veil in the Temple was split from the top to the bottom -- God split it from the top to the bottom. The veil represented the outer court and the inner court and the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies represented where God was and the outer court represented where man was and the veil represents a barrier between God and man. God is holy and man is sinful and never can the two come together. There is always a separation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, God split the veil and that meant the separation has been removed. The barrier has been removed. There was only one person who could go behind that veil and only once a year. That was the High Priest. He could go behind the veil of the temple on the day of atonement and make sacrifice.
Now he says there is no need for any priest any more. Everybody has free access to God. It used to be that the way you got to God was go through the priest. Now you don't need a priest. No Christian needs a priest. We have direct access to God. The veil has been split and you can talk to God anytime. You don't have to go through somebody else. You come in Jesus' name and have direct access to God.
Christians are no longer in debt to the Law.

5. The Law is pictured as a shadow.

Colossians 2:16–17 NLT
16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.
The OT law was a shadow of what Jesus would do later.
What causes a shadow? Light! Where ever you have a shadow, you have light. The shadow is temporary and what is really going to come is the light. You will walk in the light. Who is the Light? Jesus
Hebrews 10:1 NLT
1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.
We don't need the sacrificial system any more. All of those requirements of the Old Testament about how they were to sacrifice -- that was just a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice who was coming to earth, Jesus. Once Jesus came and we saw the real sacrifice for sin, we don't need these other sacrifices any more. People talk about the Temple has to be rebuilt in Israel so that the sacrificial system can be reinstated. Hebrews says it will never be reinstated. It doesn't need to be. It's worthless. It was just a shadow of what was to come. Reality was that Jesus Christ was the sacrifice.
The reality of the Christian life is found in a person -- Jesus

6. The Law is pictured as a mirror.

James 1:22–25 NIV
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
The law is a mirror. I’m sure some of you maybe got dirty when you were out playing and your mom said something like, You ought to see yourself. Then you would look at a mirror and see just how dirty you were. James is saying the Law is a mirror that shows you how dirty you are… how sinful you are. But just like a mirror, the law does nothing to clean you up.
The Law reveals my condition but doesn’t cure it.
What can change you?
2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
When Moses went to the Mountain, he had to put a veil over his face to hide the glory of the Lord. Sadly, once the glory faded, he kept wearing the veil so people would not know it was gone.
Paul says we don't have a veil over our face. We can't pretend. We're all sinners and we're all on equal standing when it comes to making mistakes. I'm no better than you are, but God loves us all alike.
As we look at the the Glory of the Lord and contemplate it, we are changed into different people… more and more like HIM. This is important because whatever we focus on, we will become like it. If we focus on the negative in our lives, in other people, in our church, we will become like what we are focusing on… negative. If we focus on the Lord, we become like him.
We can’t see him face to face right now, but One day we will. Right now, we look at his reflection in the WOG. Thats why we have Bible study so we can become more and more like Jesus.
The Christian life is not rules and regulations. The Christian life is a person... Jesus Christ. It's a relationship.
We saw the law as a yoke -- it's purpose is to control us.
We saw the law as a guardian -- it's purpose is to guide us while we're immature.
We saw the law as a slave-girl -- God said He never met for us to have a relationship with the law (the slave girl) but a relationship with grace.
We saw the law as a mirror.
Now

7. The Law is pictured as a Husband.

Romans 7:1–4 NLT
1 Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? 2 For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. 3 So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries. 4 So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.
The point here is that the Law is only good while you are alive. When you die, you are dead to it. Before Jesus came, the Jews were married to the Law… and the Law was a harsh husband. But now, they have been set free.
Romans 7:6 NLT
6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
First we're married to the Law, now we're married to Christ. That's the relationship God wants. It's a loving relationship not a harsh domineering relationship. It's one of grace. He's saying we obey Christ not out of fear, but because He loves us and because we love Him, because He wants the best for us, and He sacrificed Himself for us.
The lesson is that we serve Jesus out of love, not legalism.
We serve him because we want to.
The phrase "we have been released from the Law... we have been freed from the Law..." What does this mean? How are we free from the Law?

How are we Free from the Law?

We're free from all the old religious laws in the Old Testament, we're free from them in two ways. This is what Paul is trying to teach when he says we're not under law but under grace. How are we free from the Law? Two ways:

1. We don’t have to keep the law to get to heaven.

Keeping the Ten Commandments will not get anybody into heaven because nobody can keep them all. We've all stumbled and made mistakes. We don't get to heaven by keeping the Law.
Romans 3:20 NLT
20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
That's the mirror. Nobody is made righteous through the Law. The Jews were not saved by the Law. They never were. The Law was simply to point out where we blow it and the need for a Messiah. They were saved by looking forward in faith as now we look back in faith toward the Messiah. People say the Old Testament was Law and the New Testament was grace. No. There's grace all through both testaments. God has always saved people the same way. Law is simply to show us where we make mistakes but nobody is saved that way.
John 1:17 NLT
17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.
Moses gave the Law but Jesus brings Grace and Truth.
John 8:32 NLT
32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Law puts you in bondage, but the Truth sets you free.
John 8:36 NLT
36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
Freedom does not come from the Law, but from Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:4 NLT
4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
Righteousness or right standing with God comes through Believing.

2. We are free from the Law’s Punishment.

Galatians 3:13 NLT
13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
Jesus took the Law and all of our violations of it and placed it upon himself and paid the price for it. He took the curse so you and I don’t have to. What does that mean to us?
Romans 8:1 NLT
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Christians will not go through judgement in the sense that non-believers will. Christians will go through the rewards judgement -- where God hands out the rewards, but Christians will not go through the same judgement that unbelievers are going to go through where God says, "Depart from Me ye who work iniquity." There is no condemnation, the judgement has already been taken, the payment has already been made.

How does a Christian relate to the Law?

If we are free from the Law -- it's taught all through the New Testament -- then do we just throw out the Old Testament? Why should we teach the Ten Commandments? How is a Christian to relate to the Law? Three ways.

1. The Ceremonial Law

What does God say is our relationship with the ceremonial laws?
Hebrews 8:13 NLT
13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.
You have no obligation at all to keep the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament. That is the old covenant and we're in the new covenant now. Jesus said when He gave the Lord's supper "This is the New Covenant." The entire book of Hebrews teaches one basic truth: the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament are now unnecessary and abolished.

2. The Civil Law

The laws involving the nation of Israel.
Before Jesus, there was a divide in humanity… Jews and Gentiles. He says God has not only broken down the wall between us and God but He's broken down the wall between Jew and Gentile. God sees us all as the same in His sight now.
Ephesians 2:11–16 NLT
11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. 14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
God’s plan for the world is ONE group - Christians. No longer should there be Jew and no longer should there be Gentile. He has broken down the barrier even there and put them into one and saying "Let's just have Christians." It doesn’t matter what race you are, what nationality you are… we are one in Christ.

3. The Moral Law

Romans 6:14 NLT
14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
We're not bound by the civil law or the ceremonial law. Does this mean we're not bound by the moral law? No
Romans 6:15 NLT
15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not!
He's saying we still have a responsibility to the moral law. It has meaning for us today not as a means for salvation, as a means to get us into heaven, but as guidelines for happy living. Not to put you in a better standing with God -- if you ever keep the sabbath or not is not going to change whether God loves you or not. It is simply for your own benefit here on earth.
Paul is talking about the moral law, the ethical behavior in ...
Romans 3:31 NLT
31 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.
Just because we live by grace by faith doesn't give us a license to do anything we want to do. It doesn't mean we have the freedom to do anything we want to do. We still have a moral responsibility.
Romans 13:9 NLT
9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It's interesting to me that Paul who was so adamantly opposed to Gentiles having to keep the law to be saved and even in this book of Romans he writes several chapters saying we're not under the law but in Romans 13:9 he lists four of the Ten Commandments.
Romans 13:9 NLT
9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
That's grace, a loving relationship, not a legalistic ritual. We are to keep the moral law, not to prove ourselves to God, but for our own benefit and as an act of love.

There are two Extremes:

Legalism - Keeping all the laws so God will love you
License - do whatever you want to do
In Romans 7 there is a balance between legalism and license and in the middle there is Liberty - Grace is the freedom to love God.
Matthew 5:17–19 NLT
17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 5:21 NLT
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’
Jesus said not even get angry with someone else.
Matthew 5:27 NLT
27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’
Jesus said not to lust. Jesus took commandments further. He could do this because he knew the fulfillment was not in the Law but in Himself.
What do we want to say about the Law? We don't keep it to get to heaven. We're free from it's punishment. We're free from the penalty of it. So what value is it to the Christian?
1 Timothy 1:8 NLT
8 We know that the law is good when used correctly.
… not to get to heaven, not to earn brownie points with God, not to say, "Hey, God, look what a great guy I am.", not to compensate for all my sins. We use it properly. How do you use the Law properly?
Galatians 3:23–24 NLT
23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. 24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.
The Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ. How do we use it properly? We use it to lead ourselves to Christ. There is no way we can keep all those Laws so we have to depend on grace, we have to come to Christ and ask Him to save us.
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