Spirit Versus Law  

 It may be surprising to Christians that there are three ways to define the word Spirit. For the most part we in the Christian community think of Spirit as being of the nature of a holy God and secondly the inner man or the intellect of man. The worldly person thinks of spirits as an alcoholic drink. The third kind relates to a national spirit like that seen in the story regarding the tower of Babel.

In this story man had a common language and was of one mind so that they began to plan and work together for common goals.  From the story we learn that a national spirit developed so that everyone in Babel was working to build a tower that would reach the heavens. In the New Testament church this ďnational spiritĒ reached by the people of Babel would be called being in one accord. A national spirit is where a group of people established common goals through agreement and then unites to complete the goal.

For the most part the law is rigid instrument and intolerant of those who violate it. It is a foundational set of rules that establishes the acceptable behavior of the citizens willing to live under the law of the land. Within the law there is usually a mandatory penalty that does not allow for compassion or mercy.  The purpose of Godís law provided a way for his people to become a holy people. The penalty of the law served two purposes. The death of the person who sinned purged the camp or congregation of sin and death served as an incentive and encouragement to obey the law.  

The sacrificial system was a way for those who violated the law to be made holy. However, the animal they sacrificed was substitutionary for the sin committed by a person. The problem was that no man was able to obey all of the law and that resulted in an endless stream of burnt offerings to  be acceptable before a holy God. So many that God said.

How does a forgiving God who is gracious and compassionate slow to anger and abounding in love, who desires mercy, not sacrifice, live by the spirit of the law? And how does Godís law work for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose? How does man survive such a rigid law when all have sinned and deserve to die?

The bible tells us that,

It was through a loving, compassionate God who desired mercy rather than sacrifice that the law was fulfilled.  God sent his son, the Lamb of God to bear the sins of the world once for all.  His work on the cross canceled the written code, with its regulations.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law so that by faith in Jesus Christ we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Faith has come so we are no longer under the supervision of the law but under grace. The bible tells us that we are saved by grace not by works. However, man is utterly sinful and helpless without God because man can not obey the full extent of Godís law. The bible tells us that,

James tells us that our own evil desire conceives sin and when that desire matures it gives birth to death. Paul writes that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set man free from the law of sin and death. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God as the spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26)     

As children of God we have a common goal and the plan of salvation to work from. The royal law demands that we love God with our entire being and to love God properly we must develop a personal relationship with him. To reach our goal we must unite with God and realize that we cannot do everything ourselves. We are saved by Godís grace and are dependent on God. In the plan of salvation Jesus has his part to fulfill and we have our part to complete. In this plan we live in a spirit of agreement and work with the spirit of God to reach our goal.

We are not under the law but are saved by the grace of God.  The law will judge those who have fallen from Godís grace and resort back to obeying the law. To live by the spirit we must live by faith trusting the promises that God has given us.  


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