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Newness of the Spirit Doesn't Excuse Breaking the Letter of the Law
by Gregory John Monroe
2/01/2015 / Education
"But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter." Rom.7: 6
There are Christians who sometimes seem a bit too eager to point out that believers aren't under the Law. They're now under grace. In their minds, the Law has been abolished. I propose that most often this statement is offered as justification for not keeping God's Law in its entirety.
I sense it is for that same reason that a lot of Christians are quick to say that believers now serve in newness of the Spirit rather than in the old letter of the Law. The statement is usually tendered in the sense that the Spirit now allows one to lean on his or her own understanding; as if the Spirit is no longer in agreement with His own Wordthe Law.
These Christians, too, think that the Law has been abolished. It hasn't. It still remains to point out sin and to lead people to Jesus. It is still God's glorious standard of living. Serving in newness of the Spirit means this: Jesus is allowed to live in and through the person.
One doesn't look to the Law to be made righteous, as good and perfect as it is. Instead, one surrenders to the only way to be made righteous. That would be by keeping faith in Jesus; the only human to ever perfectly keep the Law.
One serves in newness of the Spirit by submitting to Jesus' wisdom as to how to live rightly on the highest levelGod's point of view. And make no mistake about it; God's view is in alignment with His Law. It has to be. It's the eternal basis of the Lord's government.
Now although the letter of the Law doesn't impute nor impart righteousness, nor provides salvation; it is the reference point from which the newness of Spirit alerts our unconscious hearts and minds to the presence of any sin in our attitudes and motives toward others.
For example, in Matt. 5: 28, Jesus said, "Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." In 1 John 3: 15, it is said that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer.
Serving in newness of the Spirit gives insight into the holistic nature of both the Law and sin. We come to understand that sin is just not a physical act. Sin is sin even in the heart and mind.
When one serves in newness of the Spirit, one surrenders to Jesus' indwelling righteousness. In this way, with repentance, sin isn't allowed to manifest in the physical.
It must be remembered that the Law its letter and the Spirit behind it is Jesus' character. Having faith in Him develops that same character in the believer. The Law, fulfilled in Jesus, becomes fulfilled in the Christian.
This means that instead of adhering to the letter of the Law as a checklist; the Law, in its full dimension, becomes the believer's life and is as instinctively natural as breathing. In other words, when Christians walk in newness of the Spirit, letting Jesus live in and through them, their lives inevitably become the Ten Commandments.
So don't be fooled. Being released from the Law and now serving in newness of the Spirit doesn't mean that the Law goes away. Being released means Christians are no longer under the Law's penalty of death, having died to it in Christ Jesus.
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