What Christ Did and Did Not Do for You

Posted on December 22, 2010


“The Law”

The term conjures up all kinds of ideas in the mind of a Christian. When some think of the law, they also think of the 10 commandments. Others think of all those sacrifices, feasts, and dietary rules adhered to by the ancient Jews. To others, the law was just the principle God used to deal with people in the Old Testament. Its difficult to understand what exactly “the law” refers to in the Bible.

Then, if that’s not difficult enough, try to figure out what the law has to do with us as New Testament believers. That’s a really tough one. Romans 10:4 says, “Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one who believes.” According to this verse, some Christians choose to ignore the law altogether. They say that the law is over. Now God deals with His people through grace, and that’s that.

On the other hand, there’s verses like Matthew 5:17 where Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” So Jesus didn’t abolish the law after all? That doesn’t seem to line up with Romans 10:4 very well. This seeming contradiction in the scriptures can be very troubling to Christians who are seeking to love and live for God. Some just eventually throw up their hands and say, “Well, I just live by the 10 commandments.” Others, with equal exasperation exclaim “The whole thing’s impossible anyway, so why try?”

To reconcile this issue, we need a proper understanding of the law. When the Bible uses the term “the law,” it can actually mean one of three things. Without seeing these three aspects, it is hard to understand the law.

The Principle of the Law

The first aspect of the law is the principle of the law. This is the way in which God deals with His people. In the Old Testament, God gave His people the law and his command was to live by that law. Today, God deals with His people according to the principle of Grace. We are not justified by our works, but by our faith in Christ. Christ is the end of the principle of the law.

The Ritual of the Law

The ritual of the law includes outward things like keeping the Sabbath and offering sacrifices. These practices were all stopped because the Old Testament dispensation is over. All these practices are shadows or pictures. Instead of shadows and pictures, we have Christ who is the fulfillment of all of the rituals of the law. Christ ended the ritual of the law.

The Commandments of the Law

The third aspect of the law are the commandments of the law. These are the moral commandments like “do not murder” and “do not steal.” Jesus did not end the commandments of the law. Think about it. Do you think that now that we are in the age of Grace, we can murder and steal? Absolutely not. In fact, in Matthew 5-7, Jesus uplifted this law to an even higher standard than before.

We as New Testament believers need to understand what has and has not been abolished. Otherwise, how can we know what we’re accountable for? The principle and the rituals of the law have been abolished, but we are still accountable for the commandments of the law.

So I should try to keep the 10 commandments?

So we know that we are accountable for the commandments of the law. Let me tell you what the wrong response to this fact is: immitation. Do not try to immitate the law. That’s not the point. The uplifted commandments of the law are to expose us so that we give up all hope in ourselves. We may try to immitate them, but we get exposed, we realize that our natural life is hopeless, and we turn to the divine life of the Father within us.

There is an alternative to immitation. It is called “walking by the Sprit” in Romans 8:3. When we were saved, the Spirit came into our spirit. When He entered our spirit, He brought the Father’s divine life. Now, we are God’s children, living by the Father’s life.

So do you need to imitate the Father? No. What you need to do is grow in your Father’s life. The more you grow, the more you will express your Father. We grow by turning to our spirit and walking by the Spirit. If you do not see what Jesus did and did not do for you, you will never realize how important it is for you to walk by the Spirit.