Lapsed Law

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Ordained Chaplain
Oct 12, 2011
United States
“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Gal 3:24, 25). It was a schoolmaster up to the time of the Lord Jesus; then faith came and Judaism ceased for a time. “The law is the strength of sin” (because it shows man his sin—NC - 1Co 15:56), and is useful only to bring guilt on the conscience, and the sense that there is no possibility of being freed from the power of sin while on its ground.

The law does not manifest God’s moral perfections (it’s for man’s morality—NC), nor does it pretend to do so. The Lord Jesus Christ does that. The law tells us perfectly what the creature ought to be and feel, not what God is and feels. Hence, it is not the adequate direction of a Christian’s faith. There were two parts of the Lord Jesus’ Life—He was born under law, but He was also the manifestation of the Father. Now, surely He kept the law, and died under its curse for them who were under it, who were thus delivered from the law, which could only condemn them, or lose its authority if it did not.

But the manifestation of the Father is our pattern. He acts in grace, sends rain of the just and the unjust (Mat 5:45), and loves His enemies. This, the law cannot allow. The Lord Jesus laid down His Life for us. “We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1Jo 3:16). In a word, the Lord Jesus, as manifesting the Father, is the source of our walk; and the fruit of the Spirit, which refers the heart wholly to the Lord Jesus, is what is looked for in him who has the Spirit. The law is not what I can look to as an object, for the Lord Jesus is my Object, and I cannot serve two masters, or, to use the figure of Romans Seven on this point, have two husbands at one time—law and Christ risen (the reason why so many lean to the law is because it relates to works, which anyone can mimic, but not so if done with a sinless nature; works do not wash away sins, only faith in Christ does—NC).

Whosoever sets himself under the law in any way is under its authority, and cannot keep it (because of the sin nature—NC), yet hopes not to be under its curse (Gal 3:10); and he seeks to use the Lord Jesus not for redemption and power of deliverance, but to make allowance for failure in us and make void the law which would condemn us. If he has delivered me from it, bearing its curse, He has glorified its authority and delivered me by power from sin in the flesh, that I may bring forth fruit unto God.

As a rule of life the law is inadequate, because grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, and He is my rule of Life (Col 3:4)—not the law which was given by Moses and which is not grace (shown in the difference between grace and law - Rom 6:14 – the sole purpose of the Law was to inform man of his guilt and thus justifiably condemn him—NC). Those who would place the Christian under the law do not believe that is us, that is, in our flesh (our sin nature, not the physical body - Gal 5:17—NC) dwelleth no good thing,” nor ever will; or they do not know what they are saying or insisting on. It would be well for them to weigh the force of this: “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law”; “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom 7:5; 6:14).

The law was then for Israel, connected with God’s direct government as its sanction, a means of temporal, earthly blessing. But that has ceased, and will again be in force in the millennial kingdom (Jer 31:31; Eze 36:24-27). God’s spiritual intention in the law was to make offence “abound” (Rom 5:20). It does not manifest His moral perfections (godliness—NC), but in its nature claims it is the rule of man’s duties (natural goodness to one another—NC). The Ten Commandments do no not give the instruction needed by a redeemed people (whom function via godliness of Christ—NC): a redeemed people cannot now be rightly under the law. Sin has dominion over them that are under law—and all are wretched people (1Ti 1:9). The Lord Jesus Christ alone is the rule, source, light and instruction of the believer.

—William Kelly

M J Stanford’s daily devotional excerpt for April 11

“We never question how He works, once we know Him for who He is. When I gain the treasure of knowing Him, I can well afford to trust Him.” -MJS

“The heart that is captivated by an object could never be at rest until it was with the one who had won it; for satisfaction you must be where He is. Love really does not think of anyone but its Object until it is quite sure of its place with Him, and then when at rest about itself it studies the mind and heart of the Object.

“I find that Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me when I was in a most unattractive state; but He makes me suitable to Himself, and I am so assured of the permanency of His love and of my association with Him that my heart is free to study Him. The more I am in His company, the more I acquire the tastes and characteristics which answer to His mind.”

“There is an amazing effect of beholding the Lord’s glory. You may be transformed from some old taste without even feeling it; but you are transformed, and you cannot tell how. It is not the process that occupies you, but you are engrossed with the Lord. We are united to the glorified Lord where He is at home, and, blessed by God. That is our home, our life is there.” -J.B. Stoney (1814-1897)