* Addendum: Towards the bottom of the post I write… “This is why focusing on Christ and staying away from language that would place the onus back onto ourselves is so important. One drop of poison (the law) in a glass of pure fresh water will taint the whole glass. Jesus Christ and His forgiveness is enough. It is enough. He always has been and He always will be.”
By this I do not mean that the law should not be preached ‘at all’ , but rather that it should not be preached after the gospel has been proclaimed to add something to the gospel, or to enhance the gospel, or to make us better Christians.
Since we constantly stray, we constantly need to be brought back inside the gate. This is done with the law (to kill us off…again) and the gospel (to raise us…again).
They apply to God’s creatures…not His children.
Now hold on a minute. Don’t break out the tar and feathers just yet.
The 10 Commandments are God’s law. “Christ is the end of the law that every one who has faith may be justified.” (Romans 10:4) God’s law was intended as a corale for us, that He might rein in evil for us and enable us to live together reasonably well. And also as an instrument of death, that it crush us and kill us who would establish a righteousness based on our own performance, instead of His perfect righteousness.
When a creature of God becomes a child of God through the gift of faith, he is no longer under the dominion of the law (that which we do), but rather he is now under the dominion of Jesus Christ. The new man or woman is now a slave of Christ. The Holy Spirit acts in and through the new person according to His will. This will not be obvious to any of us, neither the Christian, nor the observer. This new life is lived by faith, not by sight. ‘Sight’ is under the realm evidence, or our action…faith is in the realm of trust…in the Lord. We don’t need to do, say, or feel anything at all…to trust that we are saved. This is the faith that is given to us in our baptisms, in the sacrament of the altar, in the preaching of the gospel. This faith is not given to us in the law.
St. Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians that the 10 Commandments (on tablets of stone) is the ministry of death for all those that would use it towards their righteousness. He is speaking to us, not just to the Jews of his time. Law is law, is law, is law. Anything that we should, ought, or must be doing to fullfill the demand that our existence places upon us…is law. God will have none of it towards righteousness.
If all that is true, then what do we do? Nothing. God has already given to us the righteousness that we need (His righteousness). He frees us from the condemnation of the law and gives us a new life in Himself. Does He then give us permission to trash His law? By no means! The law is still there, in effect until the new creation is ushered in by Christ Himself.
Confusing? It can be. There is a dual nature of the Christian. There is the new man or woman and then there is the old Adam or Eve. Inasmuch as we still inhabit this sinful world and our sinful bodies, we are subject to the demands of God’s law. There is no escaping it, and it will have it’s way with us unto the grave. While we are subject to it, it brings no authentic life, only temporary fixes, and then death. The realm of the old Adam revolves around the self justification project.
If we want life, real authentic life, that is governed not by a task master (the law), but rather by completeness, wholeness, purity and love…then we must look only to the gospel. This is where our focus ought be. The prescribtions of law meant to make us better Christians, can only make us worse for they shift the light away from Jesus and place it upon ourselves.
This is why focusing on Christ and staying away from language that would place the onus back onto ourselves is so important. One drop of poison (the law) in a glass of pure fresh water will taint the whole glass.
Jesus Christ and His forgiveness is enough. It is enough. He always has been and He always will be.
OK…now roll out the boiling vat of tar. Easy on the feathers…I’m ticklish!
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