Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

God's Laws and Man's Laws

This might not be understood by some of you, but here goes anyway.

People are subject to two kinds of laws: God’s laws and man’s laws. We are to obey them or be punished by them. There is a way we can get out from under man’s laws—die! And there is a way to get out from under God’s laws—die! However, there is a difference in the way we die. In the first case when we die physically, the 55mph speed limit has no authority over us. In the second case we can die to the law and remain alive physically.

“Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.” Romans 7:4 (NIV)

God’s moral law is good in content, but it has another, different effect upon sinful man. The command “You shall not commit adultery” has no more power to keep people from committing adultery than the 55 mph speed limit has the power to make people drive less than 55. God’s moral law does three other things.

“For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20 (NIV)

“Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Romans 5:20 (NIV)

God’s moral law 1) does not make people righteous, 2) makes people conscious of sin, and 3) increases the sin of people.

When we die to the law, we are made righteous by grace. When we die to the law, our conscience is made clean. When we die to the law, it no longer increases sin.

There is a connection between God’s law and our sin nature. Our sin nature is rebellious.

“What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I should not have known sin. I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, wrought in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead.” Romans 7:7, 8 (NIV)

When we die to the law, we die to sin.

“How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:2 (NIV)

“The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.” Romans 6:10 (NIV)

When we die to the law we are made alive in Christ, and obedience increases as opposed to sin increasing.

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3, 4 (NIV

Suggested reading: Romans, chapters 1-8.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

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