Is the Law Useful?
Thank you so much for your wonderful work on the site and the posts. You are truly gifted as a teacher and really desire to share with others a good understanding of Scripture. People (like me) need that. God has been working through you, and I'm thankful for His work.
In your post here (http://www.jcblog.net/hebrews/7/12/changing-the-priesthood-means-changing-the-law) on Hebrews 7:12, you gave a great idea about the utility of the law. Jesus also talked about not a portion of the law would be changed when he came (Matthew 5:18). In light of that, you're still right; because the Law was fulfilled. We are no longer under the law (Galatians 3:23-26), as Paul had written by Inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Is the utility of sermons on law, then, is to understand what sin is, and then to bring others to continued repentance? Not following what the law says is not a good thing, I think (this being my own opinion, and I don't have a reference to back that up :P); but following the law or not following the law isn't going to earn favour with God, for even our best actions are like filthy rags before our God (Isaiah 64:6). I wonder if the law only serves to define sin to understand what offends God and grieves the Holy Spirit, which we're commanded not to do (Ephesians 4:30).
What do you think? Or is taking sermons on law not terribly useful? Is the Spirit itself a guide to prevent transgressing the law?
Thanks so much for your ministry. I look forward to reading more of your work, your blog and learning more from you about the Word. The Holy Spirit has mightily taught you and given you courage.
Thank you for you kind words and for contacting me. I always enjoying hearing from other believers, I also enjoyed your scriptural insight...
Your observations are right. I don't believe we should live contrary to the law, even though it has been fulfilled, the precepts are still holy, just and right (Romans 7), However, as New Testament believers those laws are now also written on our hearts and minds so doing what the law says is part of our born again nature. We don't need to focus on the law because we now have the Holy Spirit living inside us to show us how to live. By simply walking in His ways we will naturally do those things anyway. I believe that we as believers should spend time teaching this principle of walking after the Spirit (Romans 8, Galatians 5) rather than telling people to live by rules because then we can easily become legalistic and miss the whole point.
To answer your question... yes, the law defines what is sin, it shows us God's holiness so in contrast we can see the separation sin created (Romans 7). So we must understand the purpose of the Law, it was given to point us to Christ so that we could be justified by faith. Which is why loving God and loving our neighbors sums up the entire law. I have actually written extensively on this very thing here are links to some articles that have written on this subject. I hope these help to clarify my position. Let me know if you have any questions.
Romans 3:19-20 - The Purpose of the Law
Romans 3:21 - A Righteousness Apart From the Law
Romans 3:22-24 - By Faith We Are Justified Freely
Romans 3:26 – God is both Just and the Justifier
Romans 2:26-27 - The Righteousness of the Law vs. the Letter of the Law
Romans 2:14-15 - The Requirements of the Law Are Written On Our Hearts
Romans 4:4-5 - Wages of Sin verses Gift of Grace
Romans 4:14 - The Law Makes the Promise Worthless
Romans 5:13 - Absent of the Law, Sin is Not Imputed
Romans 5:16-19 - The Sin Nature, The Source of All Grief, is Defeated in the Born Again Believer
Romans 5:20-21 - Trespasses Brought the Law, the Law Brought Death
Romans 6:19 - The Cause of Holiness
Romans 7:2-3 - An Illustration From Marriage
Romans 7:7 - Is The Law Sin?
Romans 7:8 - Apart From the Law, Sin is Dead
Romans 7:10 – The Commandment Brought Death, Jesus Brought Life
Romans 7:11 – Sin Used the Commandments to Deceive us
Romans 8:4 - The Righteous Requirements of the Law Are Fulfilled In You
As I was pasting all of these links, I realized how zealous I am to share everything I've written on this topic... so please don't feel that you do not have to read all of these, I get ambitious:) and I like to make sure I send all resources. Just look for the titles that appeal to you and read if you have time. Here is also a link to my site's site map for further searches: www.jcblog.net/sitemap
God bless and thank you for contacting me! have a wonderful day!
In Christ, Juli