I recently read an online comment suggesting an “excellent grace teacher” (a YouTuber). Yet after listening to several of this person’s videos I learned that she encourages Christians to keep the Law, to “do what Jesus said.” She even went so far as to say that we believers are held to a higher standard than the Israelites; that in fact, we must, “be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
This illustrates a clear misunderstanding of WHERE to divide the Word of God. She is incorrectly dividing the Old Covenant from the New Covenant.
Are Christians supposed to “do what Jesus said”? When we rightly divide the Word of truth, the answer is clear: no!
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)
Why? Because Jesus taught the Old Covenant. The New Covenant went into effect at His death.
So, when Jesus said things like this (below), remember that He was trying to show the religious Israelites that they did NOT perfectly obey the Law of Moses, and therefore needed to come to the Messiah for salvation.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brotherc will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21,22, ESV)
We “rightly divide” the word of truth by understanding that the New Covenant begins with the book of Acts.
Thus, we can finally relax when we read the four books of the gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — knowing that Jesus was NOT talking to us, or telling us what to do, or how to live.
Believers, we are living in the days of the the New Covenant. Let’s live in freedom as recipients of the eternal inheritance! 😁
Therefore Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died to redeem them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.(Hebrews 9:15, BSB)
Does an understanding of our freedom in Christ motivate us to sin? I don’t think so. I would argue that an understanding of our complete and total forgiveness motivates believers to receive something better: our true purpose and meaning.
Personally, although I know that I have total freedom in Christ, that freedom doesn’t provoke me to sin; instead it encourages me to live according to the New Covenant with its new law: the law of the Spirit of life.
The law of the Spirit of life! Have you heard of it? Paul mentions it in his letter to the Romans…
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1&2, NASB)
So what is the law of the Spirit of life? As Romans 8 makes clear, it is the complete opposite of the law of sin and death, the Mosaic Law. This means that believers should not be led by the commandments and laws of the Old Covenant (or any set of laws!) Just let the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, lead you.
You know? ‘Cause you are free! 😀
“It is for freedom that Christ Jesus has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NIV)
Paul the apostle is constantly encouraging us to live a life of freedom. In his letter to the Colossians, he tells us that living a life according to a bunch of rules is not a REAL life. It’s a fake, false life; a life in the shadows.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. (Colossians 2:17, NLT)
Interesting, huh!? 🤓 The religion of the Old Covenant was the shadow, “For these rules are only shadows of the reality.” They were a shadow of things yet to come. The life of faith in which we are governed by the law of the spirit of life is the reality that has come!
Paul says, “don’t let anyone condemn you.” A logical warning, because we can’t escape religious people. And for those Christians who still live in the shadow, condemning others is natural. Why? Because they themselves are governed by the law of sin and death.
You know what I am talking about, right!? We all have regularly experienced condemnation from the Christians with whom we interact.
It was common for me to come home from work feeling “beat up” by condemnation during the five years that I worked at a large Christian K-12 homeschool enrichment program. It was simply status quo for the ladies and teen girls that I interacted with; condemnation just sort of flows out of their mouths like a leaky faucet.
Why? Well there is a reason. It’s because they are still under “the law of sin and death.” They are still under the Old Covenant, which means that they mistakenly think that God still holds their sins against them. Living under this delusion makes them mean!
They do not intend to be mean . . . but they can’t help it. On one hand, they are sweet and kind and friendly and were fun to work with, but on the other hand, condemnation flows out of them nonetheless. (Usually during Staff Meetings when we are discussing “everyone else.”)
I am sharing this with you – not to bad-mouth homeschoolers — but to illustrate the point that most Christians are still under the law. They need to be set free!
So then, how shall we live? Well, we no longer live according to rules and regulations. We allow the law of the Spirit of Life to guide us. We no longer try to earn God’s favor by obeying the laws He gave to Moses. Instead we believe the truth that HE was obedient to the law on our behalf, and then died for the forgiveness of all sin.
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17, NASB)
He fulfilled the Law, and then nailed it all to the cross. Obedience to the law has come to an end.
God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. (Colossians 2:14, CEV)
The result of all of this is that we are SET FREE to live according to the Spirit! The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the Law of Sin and death.
So when you feel that someone is condemning you for not obeying some rule; for not keeping the Sabbath; for not being good enough or holy enough . . . for whatever standard that they feel you are not living up to . . . just remember Paul’s word to the Colossian church: don’t let anyone condemn you. And remember his words to the church in Rome: there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
My site is called Mom for Freedom, because I just so happen to be a Mom who is FOR freedom. I am pro-freedom. I desperately want my brothers and sisters to be set free – set free to live a life of peace and rest, growing in grace and getting to know Jesus better with each passing year.