I remember a time when I saw myself as an outsider trying to get into God’s presence. If my life was right, my prayers were fervent, and I was patient waiting on Him… eventually he would let me into that place of experiencing him. Instead of Jesus standing at the door and knocking, I was the one, knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.
Practically it looked like “tarrying”, constant introspection and sin-awareness. It meant not being sure that when I prayed for someone, that I was connected enough, or that I had prayed enough to get God to show up in my preaching or ministry.
What about you? Do you feel like you are never quite “right” with God? Feel like God answers prayers and does things for others but not for you because you aren’t quite good enough?
Religion is trying to do good to get in, repenting enough to get in, praying enough, etc. The Law is religion. Do good, avoid evil and then you will be blessed and favored.
But the gospel is that Christ brought you “in” and you are invited to believe it! What if I told you that you are as right with God the Father as Jesus is? Would you believe it? It’s true! Spurgeon said,
The Master came one night to the door, and knocked with the iron hand of the law; the door shook and trembled upon its hinges; but the man piled every piece of furniture which he could find against the door, for he said, “I will not admit the man.”
The Master turned away, but by-and-bye he came back, and with his own soft hand, using most that part where the nail had penetrated, he knocked again—oh, so softly and tenderly. This time the door did not shake, but, strange to say, it opened, and there upon his knees the once unwilling host was found rejoicing to receive his guest. “Come in, come in; thou hast so knocked that my [innermost being] is moved for thee. I could not think of thy pierced hand leaving its blood-mark on my door, and of thy going away houseless, ‘Thy head filled with dew, and thy locks with the drops of the night.’ I yield, I yield, thy love has won my heart.”
So in every case: lovingkindness wins the day. What Moses with the tablets of stone could never do, Christ does with his pierced hand… (Spurgeon, Charles H., Morning and Evening, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.)
The Law, including the 10 Commandments, had several purposes:
1. To silence boasting (Rom. 3:19, 27)
2. To reveal how all have sinned (Rom. 3:19, 23)
3. To define sin-death (Rom. 3:20)
4. To make sin exceedingly sinful and strengthen sin (Rom. 7:13; 1 Cor. 15:56)
5. By bringing striving out from within, revealing THE sin was the attempt to become like God instead of resting in God (Rom. 5, 7)
But it was never meant to make anyone righteous. Through the Law was the knowledge of sin, not the knowledge of God! At the giving of the Law THEY said, this will be righteousness to us (Deut. 6:25). God didn’t say it, they did.
So how do we get free of the law? As Gentiles we were never under the Law to begin with, though according to Paul we were all still subject to sin-death even without the law.
The Law is dead and gone. It is not that you are simply not under the Law but under grace… (see my article You Were Born Into Grace). The Law has been abolished and removed permanently. It doesn’t exist anymore. It was a shadow, while the reality is Christ. Hebrews 8:13 says that the New Covenant made the old obsolete, but it was still fading away after the cross. It didn’t completely disappear until AD 70 when the temple, the Levitical priesthood, the sacrifices and the city were destroyed by the Romans.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, 18, that UNTIL ALL the Law was fulfilled, not one single crossing of the “t” nor dotting of the “i” could be changed. Jesus did not fulfill the Law at the cross because there were still many unfulfilled prophesies that HAD to be fulfilled before it could be abolished. (See Hebrews 10:30 Deuteronomy 32:35 for instance). You can read more about that in my article Why It is Finished was Finished in AD 70.
How You Became An Insider
Here is the beautiful truth:
Romans 7:1-4, “Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law THROUGH THE BODY OF CHRIST, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” (NIV)
Just like a person is free to re-marry if their spouse dies, so in a similar way, because Jesus died, he was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Law and free to establish a New Covenant. But that is not all.
You ALSO died to the Law THROUGH the body of Christ… through his representation of all humanity within himself as the Son of Man, so that everyone was free of the jurisdiction of the Law’s authority.
God set things right with himself, THROUGH the incarnational-representative work of Christ. When Christ died, you died with him (2 Cor. 5:14, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”).
The Jews in Paul’s day, were free of the Law’s demands, but refused to embrace that freedom through Christ and instead ran headlong into their own destruction and self-inflicted violence in AD 70 just as the Law promised.
Paul said in Romans 1:16,17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. For in it the righteousness from God is revealed from faith to faith, for it is written the just shall live by faith.”
God included all humanity in Christ's death on the cross. It is HIS way of making us “right” or setting us in right relationship with himself.
Is Christ righteous? Through “his body” whatever happened to Jesus was happening to you. This was God’s way of “righteousness”. In other words, you are as right with God as Jesus is.
You are not on the outside looking in. You are being invited to believe the good news (of a past event).
Just like death/sin was passed to humanity through Adam by no merit of our own, Christ’s righteousness and life is credited to us through no merit of our own! We are to wholeheartedly yield to it in faith!
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The reason most of us struggle in our relationship with God is because we don't understand what happened in the death, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification of Christ. For instance, do you know exactly what happened on the cross? Do you understand the implications of Jesus being in Hades for 3 Days?
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