The Law of Christ
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So there was need for God to change this old covenant and bring a new one. Jesus Christ was and is the author of the new covenant while the old covenant the law came through Moses. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ John The old laws were all abolished on the cross in bringing in the new law, and in and with Jesus Christ the old law old covenant is dead and still nailed on the cross.
The old had to and has to die for new to be brought out, the purpose of Jesus death. This is exactly what happened on the cross. Or do you not know, brethren for I speak to those who know the law , that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives.
But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another —to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.
For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful Romans The new Law was delivered to us, not through a man, but by the Son of God Himself. This is the blood of God which made the seal of the new covenant. The law Jesus brought was greater than what Moses brought.
Because it was brought to us and authored by Jesus, it is then referred to as the law of Christ. It is this law that Christians live in and under. In other words, nobody who lives by the law of Christ and in the power of Christ can say about a brother's or sister's sin: "That's not my business. I don't have to add that to my burdens. It's his problem, not mine. But I have been around Bethlehem long enough to learn that that is exactly the attitude of some of you toward sin in the church.
I know of some attitudes and behaviors in this church that are so clearly contrary to the Word of Christ they should have been confronted and repaired long ago by some of you. But, for whatever reason, an atmosphere of silence and neglect has been cultivated—not forgiveness, mind you, for behind closed doors those sins are talked about aplenty.
It may take us a long time, but I pray that we can continue to cultivate an atmosphere at Bethlehem where love is so great that we take the breakdown of sin seriously and serve each other as merciful mechanics. Ultimately, only Christ can forgive and repair the breakdown of sin. Primarily, therefore, our job is to admonish or rebuke or warn each other about attitudes and habits and plans which are wrong, and then point each other to the Great Mechanic who can fix any broken-down jalopy. That's the main point of the passage, then: Bear each other's burdens; specifically, take on the trouble of helping people realize their sin and get it repaired.
If it seems easy for you to help a person bear the burden of sickness, or unemployment, or loss of a loved one, or loneliness, or rejection, but too hard for you to bear the burden of confronting a person because of sin, meditate on this thought: a sinful attitude or a sinful habit is much more harmful to a person than any of those other burdens.
Therefore, if we really care about a person's ultimate welfare, we will confront them with their sin as well as comfort them in their trouble. Wouldn't it be great to belong to a family of believers who loved each other so much that they simply could not look the other way while a brother or sister hardens into a habit of sin!
Passages for Further Study
Let's be that family! If we are not, we do not fulfill the law of Christ. Now, having made that main point, everything else in Galatians —5 is a warning against the danger of pride in those of us who take on the burden of correcting and restoring a fellow believer. It is not a warning against correcting and admonishing and restoring a person; it is a warning against doing it arrogantly.
Unlike some of us, Paul will not throw out the baby of confrontation with the bath water of pride. Paul does not say, "You are all proud and sinful; therefore you have no business pointing out anyone else's sin.
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But the clean and healthy baby of loving, humble confrontation must stay. So I assume that from here on out those of you who belong to Christ and long to follow his law of love will seek to bear each other's burdens and especially to correct and admonish each other about sins in each other's lives. So let's spend the rest of our time listening to Paul's instructions how to knock the legs out from under the ladder of our pride.
In verse 1 he says that you should be "spiritual" before you take on the burden of confrontation. That simply means that you should be "led by the Spirit" , "walking by the Spirit" , 25 , "bearing the fruit of the Spirit" It is not a reference to upper-echelon Christianity, but normal Spirit-filled Christianity. Spiritual people are ordinary people relying on an extraordinary Spirit who produces through them love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or meekness. And there's the link between and —gentleness meekness.
Look to yourself lest you fall prey to the temptation to rely on yourself, or exalt yourself.
Remember you are a basket case of sin apart from God's gracious Spirit. Therefore, total reliance on him produces gentleness or meekness, and meekness is the twin sister of humility which is the opposite of pride and boasting. Paul said in 1 Corinthians , "What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though it were not a gift?
It is all of God. Examine yourself, Paul says, to see if you are relying on the Spirit in meekness like a needy child, or whether you are puffed up with self-reliance. The spiritual person will help the erring brother or sister by pointing only to Christ where there is healing. The proud person will not help, because attention will be drawn to himself where there is no healing at all.
Christ and the Law
Verse 3 is the most radical attack on pride in the passage, and it is given as a ground or basis for the meekness with which we bear the burden of loving confrontation: " For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. If you don't have enough so-called assertiveness to confront someone, or if you do, but act arrogantly, most contemporary preachers and counselors Christian and non-Christian will tell you that your problem is lack of self-esteem. Paul says that your problem is that you think you are something, when in fact you are nothing.
Someone may say, "Oh, no. The reason I don't confront people is because I'm afraid, not because I'm proud. The fear of man may feel humble, but it is rooted in pride, says the Lord. So the Word of God remains: our failure to fulfill the law of Christ is because we think we are something, when we are nothing.
Paul is speaking morally here, not physically. Of course we exist, and in that sense we are something. What he means is that apart from the special grace of God in us we amount to a moral zero because of our sinfulness. Again in 1 Corinthians Paul says, "Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
As far as moral capacities are concerned, man without Christ can only say one thing honestly: I am nothing; God be merciful to me, a sinner.
Passages for Further Study
But then when God is merciful and Christ enters our life and enables us to love, we ought not to start talking about self-esteem but Christ-esteem. What we need to break out of the shackles of our assertive pride and our timid pride is not the bolstering of self-esteem, but a radical confidence in the incomparable Christ who came into the world to save utterly unworthy sinners!
When you are looking wholly to Christ for your forgiveness, guidance, love, and joy, the sinner you admonish and restore will know you do not come in the spirit of pride. Finally, in verses 4 and 5 Paul says, "Let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.
For each man will have to bear his own load. And verse 4 sounds just the opposite of verse 3: are we or are we not supposed to boast in ourselves? Briefly, here is what I think these verses mean.