THE LAW OF CHRIST

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For the records, this is an edit to a teaching I made in 2015 titled “The Law of Christ: Ultimately living above sin”. There has been a progressive revelation in that direction and I needed to update it. God updates us everyday by the Holy Spirit, making every crooked way straight. That teaching has been replaced with this.

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So many times, we want to think the law of Christ as routine of various religious founders to give their followers certain rules and regulations to heed to if they must enjoy the dividends and promises offered in their religion. We also want to think the law of Christ as a replacement to the law of Moses but that would mean undermining the extent of the salvation Jesus offered us. Concerning the law of Moses, Jesus didn’t replace it, He didn’t rebrand it, He didn’t edit it, He simply brought it to fulfillment, it’s intent was brought to completion and it’s “active-ness” ended. Jesus didn’t condemn the laws of Moses, He ended it. To condemn it means saying “the law has always been a lie” to fulfill it means “while the law was given for a purpose, that purpose has been met.” Jesus is therefore the fulfillment of the law.
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What then is the law of Christ? How are we to keep this law? Where are the commandments listed and like every other laws,what is the punishment awaiting the offenders? Let’s do some Bible study.
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“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah…This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:31&33
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“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Hebrews 8:10
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It was God’s desire and plan to put His law in the minds and heart of His people. While He remains God, at that time people will willingly accept Him as their God on a very personal level. This is where we are today. When we love God, we obey his commandments as Jesus rightly said. However, we must understand something profound here. It takes love to believe in Jesus for when His love for us is communicated, we respond back with love. Concerning the law, the Bible says we aren’t subject to it any longer, the things the law was meant to make us do has been programmed in our Spirit so we can do them without the law. That is what it means for the law to be written in our hearts. The Bible says “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” Romans 6:14
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This is not a prayer point. Our victory over sin isn’t what we implement by prayers, the Bible didn’t say “sin can no longer…” it says “sin shall no longer…” The word “shall” comes with a command and assurance undertone. Had it been “sin can no longer…” it would mean there is a possibility of sin not having power over us but no, what the Bible communicates here is bigger than that. Let me put it this way “sin has lost its ability of having dominion over you. There is no possibility of that anymore.” You don’t pray about it, you don’t start commanding sin to loose it’s hold because it lost it already. Sin isn’t just far from a believer, sin doesn’t exist to a believer. A believer can act sinfully but sin as a nature is non-existent in the world of a believer. It is very clear that the ultimate command we are to obey is to believe the gospel of Jesus which is the only way we are not just saved but united with God.
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Now, Jesus says in John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.”
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What commandment do we really keep? Jesus went on to answer it in that same chapter saying “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” -John 14:23
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I want us to be careful how we interpret the Bible. As a matter of fact, it isn’t our duty to interpret the Bible, God has given us His Spirit so we can be able to grasp the truth of the word in its depth. To audience of Jesus here was not born again people, there was no born again person at that time and therefore Jesus was giving a prophetic word in John 14:23, He was talking about the new creatures, He wasn’t saying ordinary men can obey His teachings, He was referring to what was going to happen. Rememeber in John 3:16, Jesus had said “whosoever believes shall not perish…”, it was a command meant to be obeyed. The command says “Anyone who believes shall not perish but have eternal life which is God’s life. He is saying concerning believers “Anyone who loves me has received the ability to obey my teaching. He is loved of my father and I and my Father will take our residence in him.” This was to happen after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus would not have lived in us before dying on the cross. That verse was fulfilled the day the Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of Christ was poured out to men. I said earlier that we can only accept Jesus after we have heard about His love and love Him back. To like Jesus and to love Him isn’t the same. Some religions claim to love Jesus but they actually like Jesus, they don’t love Him because they don’t believe He is the saviour. So, the start point of living in obedience to Christ is accepting Him and having Him make us a dwelling place. Jesus didn’t say “Anyone who loves me should obey my teachings…” After all, the Bible already says “God loves the world…” but it is in believing that this love is made perfect.
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To obey and to fulfill aren’t the same thing. You need to understand this very well. To obey means to comply and when we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior we have complied with Him, we have obeyed! But to fulfill means to meet the expectations of something. When the Bible says in Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will always fulfill the law of Christ .” It means that by carrying one another’s burden, we are meeting the expectations of the law of Christ which we have already obeyed. To carry one another’s burden isn’t how to obey, it is an expectation meant to be met, it is an expression of the love of God in us. Only people who have obeyed can truly do that. The peculiarity of the Law of Christ is that it has no list of dos and donts. However, we have a strong guide which is the greatest of all commandments as defined in Mark:28-31 which says
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‘Which commandment is the most important of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’
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The law of Christ expresses love! This is why we were told that it is expected of us to carry one another’s burden. The Bible didn’t say we obey the Law of Christ by carrying one another’s burden but we meet the expectations of the law of Christ by doing so. God’s love has been shed abroad in our hearts and for that reason, we are expected to love. Love has also been the purpose of the Old testament law although the law was not expected to bring the nature of love, it was meant to show man their inability of loving except love is shed abroad in their hearts. It is by the shedding of God’s love generously in our heart that the law is written our heart. I want us to understand something so that we don’t get unnecessarily confused with English. Jesus fulfilled the law, it is past tense! He has fulfilled it, He has meet its expectations on our behalf. We haven’t fulfilled the law of Christ, we are fulfilling it
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In Mark 12:32–33 , the scribe who asked Jesus questions concerning the greatest commandment also responded with,
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“To love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
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In this, Jesus and the scribe agreed that those two commands are the core of the entire Old Testament Law. All of the Old Testament Law can be placed in the categories of “loving God” or “loving others.” Various New Testament scriptures states that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Law, bringing it to completion and conclusion (Romans 10:4 ; Galatians 3:23–25 ; Ephesians 2:15 ). How did He do that? He lived out the purpose of the law.
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We don’t have to cram the over 600 commandments in the old testament or try to remember them! We don’t trying pulling a long list to check where we failed and where we made it. It is worthy to note, that even though the law was given only to Israelites, it automatically condemned the gentiles who had no law to live by. But the law of Christ has been inscribed is in our hearts and the Holy Spirit has been given to teach us all things! We need not ask how to obey the law of Christ, we have obeyed already as believers and we have the Holy Spirit to teach us all things and help us fulfill the law of Christ…. As John wrote in 1 John 2:27
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“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you (you don’t need any list of commandments to be read to you). But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.”…. (Emphasis are mine)
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“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”- John 14:26
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So the Spirit keeps reminding and teaching us the words of Jesus even as he speaks to us through the scriptures.
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Christ freed us from the bondage of the hundreds of commands in the Old Testament Law and has given us the ability to love 1 John 4:7–8 declares,
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“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
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1 John 5:3 continues, “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.”
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A careful look in 1 John 4:7-8 shows us a profound truth. It says that whoever loves has been born of God. Another translation says “whoever loves is born of God.” It doesn’t mean we are born of God because we love it means only those born of God truly has the ability to love genuinely like God and not like man.
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For a believer, the avoidance of sin against people and God is accomplished out of love for God and love for others. Love is our motivation. When we recognize the value of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, our response is that of love, gratitude, and obedience. When we understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us and others, our response is to follow His example in expressing love to others. By believing in Jesus alone, we have obeyed! That is the starting point of obedience.
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Our motivation should be love, not a desire to legalistically obey a series of commandments. Sin has been overcome, we have obeyed the law of Christ because we love Him, not so that we can check off a list of commands that we successfully obeyed because we aren’t subject to any law. The very amazing reality of every believer isn’t even that we are trying to obey the laws of Christ, we aren’t struggling to do that, we are obedient to Christ already as our lives isn’t our own anymore but Christ’s. If love is the law of Christ, it has already being perfected in us as the Bible says in 1 John 4:17
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“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”
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We are just like Christ is. We are His express image here on earth and so the law of Christ being written or formed in our heart means we are the embodiment of that law. We don’t try obeying, we are already living it. One may wonder “but a certain believer didn’t treat me with love yesterday.” That is true, it doesn’t mean they don’t have that perfect love in them, the problem is they have refused to walk in it, they are ignorant of who they are. The Bible says in Philippians 2:12
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“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
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A lot of believers have not only misunderstood this verse but have also taught wrongly from it. They have a problem understanding the English of this translation. Another translation makes it easier! The Bible never asked us to gain our own salvation by works. The word “fear” doesn’t even indicate being afraid. The New Living Translation says “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”
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Something would bring a little confusion here and it is this line that says “obeying God with deep reverence and fear…” one would want to think we are not obedient already. Our Spirit man is already obedient, this is talking about allowing what has happened in the Spirit reflect in the physical. The next verse clears this saying “for God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
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The Bible says in Romans 6:17 “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” Every believer have obeyed from the heart and that is what makes us believers. Obedience begins from the heart and relents in our actions and words for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
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Blessings.
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#GracefulGeorge