What “law” is the Christian to follow? “The Moral”? “The Mosaic”? Christians debate this vigorously. It divides them. But, what if scripture offered something which might help in this schismatic, war of words, and divisive, flag planting amongst the children of God? Might such a thing exist which could possibly end this tension?
Scripture tells us that there is something which does not violate the law; nor is there any law ever given by God which is against it either.
What is this incredible thing?
The Fruit of the Spirit
Paul tells the church in Galatia what it is…
Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
There is no law which is against the fruit of the Spirit… none. This means that when the fruit of the Spirit is in play, no law is then needed. More importantly, it means that whether it’s the “Moral Law” or the “Mosaic Law” which is in view, neither is against the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, when the Christian exhibits the fruit of the Spirit, regardless of whether the “Moral” or the “Mosaic” are what’s being used to conduct the evaluation of virtue at that moment, neither one has a law which is capable of condemnation in this regard, because neither contains a law which is opposed to it.
This is why Paul told Timothy that…
1 Timothy 1:9 (HCSB)
“We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers…”
The “lawless and rebellious” do not exude the fruit of the Spirit. They instead, exude what I would call “the rotten fruit of the flesh.” Therefore, the law is meant for them. But, the law (regardless of which one is being referenced) is not meant for the righteous person. For the person who manifests the fruit of the Spirit… “against such things there is no law.” In other words, there is no law which is needed to censure the righteous person. It is “not meant” for them. The law is meant for “…the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers…”
The Christian is called to be “holy.” Not “kinda holy” or “almost holy,” but “holy,” pure and simple…
1 Peter 1:13-16 (HCSB)
“…with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.”
It doesn’t matter whether the “Moral Law” or even the “Mosaic Law” confronts the holy person. Either way, when one is holy, one stands tall, unwavering, unchallenged, in the midst of such stipulations. We (Christians) are called to be what is impossible for us apart from Christ.
Here’s the thing, we are in Christ… therefore it’s not impossible. The Christian is to be “ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.” In other words, we are to exude what the law is not against.
As Christians, yes, we will be tempted in this life. However, because of the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to walk away from any temptation which comes our way…
1 Corinthians 10:13-14 (HCSB)
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”
We have the power to “flee from idolatry” because God “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.” In other words, every moment of our lives is an opportunity to either walk with Christ or to walk away from Christ. The point is…
It’s not about which law is for us and which law is not, but are we each fulfilling the whole law? Are we each accomplishing the law’s requirement by walking according to the Spirit?
Romans 8:3-4 (HCSB)
“What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
This is the more important question, no?
Maybe, just maybe, we (Christians) ought to be more concerned about bearing one another’s burdens, rather than adding weight to them by debating…
“What ‘law’ is the Christian to follow?”
When we instead bear burdens rather than add to them, we then fulfill what Paul labels as the law of Christ…
Galatians 5:13 – 6:2 (HCSB)
“For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another. I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance — as I told you before — that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Godspeed, to the brethren!