“The Law is a list of Do’s and Don’ts, most believers forgot that the Do’s are in there.” — Brook Potter
When I preach about grace, and the finished work of the Cross, often I talk about the Law and our freedom from it. Most believers agree that we are free from the Law to some degree, as we live now by faith in Christ. But what most believers don’t understand is that the law has two sides and can apply to things outside the writings of Moses, and may I even say, even to something we do in faith communities.
Most believers will identify the Law as a List of things Not to do; the great “Thou Shalt Nots!” Herein is the problem, the Law is also a List of “Thou Shalts!” In the 10 Commandments listed in Exodus 20, include two of them; Thou Shalt Remember the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8), and Thou Shalt Honour your Father and mother (Exodus 20:12). So keeping the Law is not only what you don’t do, it’s also what you do!
Jesus himself said that the greatest commandment in the Law was, “Thou Shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all they mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” He is quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5, and yes, loving God and Loving Others is part of the Law.
Here are some examples we have in the church today; Thou Shalt come to church every Sunday! Thou shalt read your bible everyday! Thou shalt give faithfully, your tithes and offerings! Thou Shalt spend an hour in prayer everyday! Thou Shalt Share your faith with everyone that you meet! Thou Shalt Confess and Repent for Forgiveness when you sin! These are all Good Things to do, but if the motive behind them is to get God to respond to our actions and do something, it’s already too late and it’s a dead work.
In the words of Jeff Turner, the Law will always take on this Format. “If… Then… But…” In other words, If you do something, Then God will respond to your action and Do something, But if you don’t do that something, God will not do his part. In the law, the responsibility is on us to Initiate the gesture, and maintain things long enough until God Responds. If we fall short, we have to start all over again, and “really mean it this time.”
While the New Covenant, God says “I Will… It is Finished!” In the New Covenant, God is the one who initiates and maintain things, until we believe to enjoy the benefits of something that happened 2000 years ago. Things are based on what Jesus has done, not our own efforts. Going to Church, Fasting, Praying and Confession do nothing to affect the work that Jesus has already accomplished on behalf of all humanity. Those things serve us, in building our relationships with fellow believers and with God, but they do nothing to add to us spiritually, because we already have ALL Spiritual Blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
Everything in the old Covenant fades over time and requires constant maintenance. If your Christian walk is filled with those kinds of activities just to maintain your Christianity, there is a very good chance you are under Law. If you need to be fed every week at Church, and constantly seeking after new books, going to conferences and trying to get more of God, you are probably under the Law in some area of your life.
The New Covenant does not fade; rather it grows from Glory to Glory. It is a spring of living water welling up to bring abundant life to every area of your existence. You don’t need to be fed every week, because you know you have Jesus, and you will never hunger and thirst again (John 6:35 ). One new covenant revelation of the Christ in Us, and our Completeness in Him, is enough to sustain you all the days of your life. The Gospel is really that Good, that we can stop striving in the law masquerading around as Christian obligations and duties, and find rest in the finished work of Jesus and rather that going to church to be fed, we can be the Church everywhere we go to the benefit of others.
Paul White talking about living by the Spirit.