The Law wasn’t designed to save men, but to show them their weakness and need for God. Putting your faith in Christ, and walking to his Spirit is how you please God.
- Why was the law given?
- What happens went you focus on keeping the law?
- How do we please God today if not through the law?
- Evidence of fulfillment of the law
- Should we keep all the laws: Dietary? Sabbath?
- Difference between Morals and Customs
- How to walk in the Spirit?
Many Israelites today believe if they keep the law God will be pleased and the curses will be removed. Scripture seems to suggest this:
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee… (Deuteronomy 28:15)
This isn’t the whole counsel of God. First of all:
- The law is good (Romans 7:12).
- Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).
- Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).
- He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love (1 John 4:8).
- One fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22-23).
Given the entire council of God, in order to keep the law we must have the Spirit of God. Seeing as the Holy Spirit didn’t dwell in men until after Pentecost, we see how Israel kept failing to keep God’s commandments.
This is a response to the many comments I get from Israelites regarding my article Why I can’t join the Black Hebrew Israelites. In it, one of the reasons I can’t join is because some of them preach that you must keep the law to be saved.
Hopefully, many Israelites can get out of bondage to the law, and walk in freedom of the Spirit. This article can also be applied to the Seventh Day Adventist (who keep the Sabbath) and any other legalistic Christian group.
When I’m talking about the law, I’m talking about the 10 Commandments and the Mosaic laws—all as one group. It’s said that there’s a total of 613 laws! Here’s what the bible says about these laws:
Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law (James 2:10-11).
So when I hear an Israelite say they’re keeping the whole law, I doubt it.
Why was the law given?
We first need to understand the main reason the law was given. The law was given to show the wicked what sin was:
We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Tim 1:8-10)
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet (Romans 7:7).
The book of Galatians tells us again that the law was given to show people their sins:
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator (Gal 3:19).
The New Living Translation says it even clearer:
Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people (Gal 3:19 NLT).
Here we see that the law was given to show people their sins and that the law was temporary.
What happens went you focus on keeping the law?
So, let’s see what happens to people who attempt to keep the law:
When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. (Roman 7:5-6 NLT).
So we see here the result of the law is that it arouses sin. Why? Because that’s what it was designed to do—to show us how wicked we are. Paul continues on:
7 Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” 8 But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.
9 At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10 and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11 Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. 12 But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
13 But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.
14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin (Romans 7:7-25 NLT)
So we see here what the law does to us. While the law is good, the weakness of man cannot fulfill it and so all the Law does is reveal our sinfulness and our weakness. So, can you see why trying to keep the law leads to death? Romans chapter 3 tells us the outcome of such practices:
For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are (Rom 3:20 NLT).
How do we please God today if not through the law?
The Remedy: Faith and the Spirit
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. (Rom 3:21-22 NLT)
So we see that faith in Christ is all that’s required. But faith in Christ for what though? Answer: Faith that Christ’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit) will give us the power to please God. For more on Faith in God, please see the book, The Misunderstanding of Faith.
You see, what we really needed this whole time was faith—the belief that if we yield to the Spirit of God he would give us power over sin and by default we would keep the law. However, the focus shouldn’t be the law, but the Spirit of God. Here’s the proof that if we walk in the Spirit, the law is fulfilled in us:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom 8:1-4)
We see here that we are now able to keep the law, but only by the power of Holy Spirit. This is the New Covenant, it’s the grace of God and our faith in God which saves us:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8-10).
Evidence of fulfillment of the law
So, what does keeping the law look like. There must be some evidence. The modern day Church says they’re not under the law, but under grace and faith, but they live like the world. The Bible gives us assurance to know if we’re living in the Spirit and thus fulfilling the law:
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:13-25).
As we can see here, how we behave is the evidence of whether or not we walk in the Spirit. Therefore, no one can fake being in the Spirit because their actions will give them away.
We see that love is also mentioned as well. Love is the fulfillment of the law and therefore an indication of a person who walks in the Spirit (Rom 13:10; Mark 12:29-33; James 2:7-9). So if you see love on display from your brothers, it’s a clear sign they’re walking in the Spirit, and the law is being fulfilled in their life. However, there are many people who have a misunderstanding of what love really is and so I encourage readers to visit my other study on what love really is.
Should we keep all the laws: Dietary? Sabbath?
The quick answer is: be led by the Spirit. In doing so you will be led to please God. The Spirit helps us to understand the intent of the law and how to apply it. The focus should be the Spirit and not the law.
Should we eat pork?
If you’re being led by the Spirit, no man would make Ham a part of his diet because the Spirit reveals to him the toxic nature of this animal. However, if there’s nothing else to eat, the Spirit may direct the man or woman of God to eat the pig. In this case it would be sanctified and cleansed and wouldn’t hurt the follower of God.
This goes to show us that when following the Spirit, he may reveal other things to avoid which may seem harmless. For instance, wheat. Wheat is a grain made by God that comes from the ground. But if evil men are genetically modifying the wheat seeds and the byproduct is a plant that is harmful to humans, then the Spirit would lead us to avoid that kind of wheat.
Should we keep the Sabbath?
If you’re being led by the Spirit of God you would, because it’s important for the body to rest and get at least one day with God in study and prayer, but if you can’t rest on Saturday (due to a work schedule) are you in sin? No. The point is: to rest at least one day of the week. Jesus talked about the Sabbath quite a bit. One thing he said was: The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27).
Should we wear fringes on the borders of our garments?
Let’s see what the origins of this practice were for:
Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: 39 and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: 40 that ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. (Numbers 15:38-40)
We see here that this practice was done to help Israelites remember the commandments of the Lord and to do them. But now that the Spirit of God dwells in the New Covenant Israelite, adding fringes to the border of our garments is unnecessary. Doing so would only be a fashion statement. The Spirit now keeps the laws written in the heart of the Israelite and gives him power to keep them.
Difference between Morals and Customs
I have to state this because I’ve seen people take the bible and twist it to commit sin. They say, “since we’re not under law, I can do whatever the Spirit leads; and the Spirit led me to tell lies.” But the bible says: You shall not lie, deceive, or bear false witness against your neighbor (Lev 19:11; Ex 20:16); then it goes on to say that “all liars have their part in the lake of fire” (Rev 21:8). 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21 details a list of other immoral behavior that will get your soul thrown into the lake of fire. So what’s going on here?
The moral laws are set in stone and will always be in place. The Spirit of God will never lead you to break these.
The moral laws are set in stone and will always be in place. The Spirit of God will never lead you to break these. However, the customary laws of the Israelites, say for instance, the burning of blood sacrifices and offerings have been done away with because of Jesus’ sacrifice. The fringes, as we seen earlier, are no longer necessary either; and as you’re led by the Spirit you find other customary laws that may or may not be observed according to the Spirit.
For the many other customary laws, you can chose to follow them all you want, but you would be in error to believe they will lead to your salvation. You will also sin greatly if you teach that other people are going to hell for not following the customary laws. Only through faith in Jesus and being led by the Spirit can one be saved.
How to walk in the Spirit?
Therefore all we have to do is recognize our weakness in keeping the law, ask the Holy Spirit for the power to obey God and then believe he will empower us, and at last, we’ll live our lives pleasing to God. We now have access to the Spirit of God again. Let’s walk in the Spirit to please God.