From law to freedom
In America, we have various laws that govern our cities, states and country. These laws have been set into motion and monitored for the safety and prosperity of the citizens that call the United States their home. If a citizen chooses to break one of the governing laws their will be an infraction or consequence suffered. Example: if you choose to speed on the roads of your city and an officer of the law witnesses this act you will receive a citation that will cost you. Breaking laws always has a cost. Sometimes the price can be extremely high. Laws are set in place to ensure quality of life.
In the Christian life we tend to see the word LAW as a very negative image. However, the word of God tells us that the law was our schoolmaster that taught us our need for salvation. Law was the prologue to grace. Without the certainty of the law, there is no need for grace. These laws have been put in place by God to create an environment for healthy life. However, unlike the laws that regulate our country, God’s laws cannot be easily obeyed. As a matter of fact it is absolutely impossible to follow the law. Let’s look at the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:6-22:
1) You shall have no other Gods before me
2) You shall not worship any idols
3) You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain
4) You shall make the Sabbath day holy
5) You shall honor your Father and your Mother
6) You shall not murder
7) You shall not commit adultery
8) You shall not steal
9) You shall not bear false witness
10) You shall not covet anything from your neighbor
At first glance we read these laws with a “this is a no-brainer” type of attitude. Most of us would probably say, “Duh, these are just common sense guidelines.” If they are just common sense then most of us have experienced the death of common sense. Jesus begins to open our eyes in Matthew 5:17-21 to the depths of the law.
17″Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother] will be subject to judgment.
This bar of the law just got raised beyond my ability to hurdle it! My legs aren’t that long! Let’s read this again, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment.
The ability to obey the law just went from difficult to impossible. Webster’s Dictionary needs to redefine the word Murder to Anger. I don’t know about you but I should be serving time for multiple counts of manslaughter and murder for crimes of anger towards my brothers and sisters. I don’t have enough years left to pay the debt that I owe for my crimes. Do you?
God desires and demands more from you than just following the rules. He wants your heart. Jesus’ statements rocked the world of his disciples. The Pharisees and Sadducee s were infamous for their ability to follow the rules and regulations…to excess and abusive levels. With Jesus’ words about the heart, the benchmark of righteousness was moved from a list of external rules to an honest accounting of our internal motives. In a few short sentences, Jesus changed everything. He went from outside to inside. The only righteousness that satisfies God’s standard is a heart completely renewed through faith in Jesus Christ.
The laws of God have been a guide to a life filled with faith, grace and mercy. However, many of us have lived under the condemnation of defeating cycles from which we just can’t break free. It doesn’t matter if the cycles of dysfunction are relational, addictions, depression, fears, anger or anything else. It just doesn’t seem to be working. We are trying to receive our healing from the law instead of the free gift of grace that is released when we exercise our faith. Trying harder is not getting it done.
The law has never comforted me before. As a matter of fact it only reflects the magnitude of how far I am missing it! The law was designed to show you your need of Jesus Christ as your savior and the Holy Spirit to walk out this Christian life.
Most of us understand this when it comes to our salvation. Jesus was and is the payment to our sentence, our life sentence. But folks, I have to tell you that the good news of this goes far beyond our salvation. Freedom from the cell is available here and now. Freedom is not just in heaven. It exists on earth for those who choose to walk in the light of Jesus. We are free!