When we make statements such as,
'Law is the ministry of death', - 2 Cor 3:7
'Those who are under the law are under a curse', - Galatians 3:10
'Law kills us' etc, Romans 7:10
some people get it as if we are saying the law itself is bad and unholy. They immediately put on the coat of defense and start quoting Scriptures such as,
the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. - Romans 7:12
law is spiritual - Romans 7:14
This seems apparently contradicting and to make it even worse both those contrasting statements were made by Apostle Paul.
What can we conclude from this? Either Paul is contradicting himself or we are missing something.
Let's see if we can get this straight...
If law is holy, righteous and good, why would Paul spend so many pages of the Bible telling us that we, as believers should be totally free from the law?
Paul says, law cannot justify us (which many people agree) and he also says, law cannot help us to live a righteous life AFTER our justification (where many disagree).
Here are some verses clearly saying we are not to live by the law even after our salvation:
by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. - Romans 7:6
Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. - Galatians 3:25
(There are many other verses, but this is good for now)
So many honest, dedicated, well meaning Christians want to live a holy life and they earnestly try to follow the law. I admire their desire. But there is only one problem : they will burn out and fail and knowingly or unknowingly they are under a curse!
If the law is holy, good and righteous, why in the world the people who are trying to follow the holy, good and righteous law are under a curse?
Apostle Paul graciously answers this question (I love this guy).
He says, when the law said 'do not covet' (which is a holy, good and righteous command), the 'sin' in him, 'seized the opportunity' and 'produced every kind of covetous desire in me'
Was it a problem of the law? No!
Was it a problem of Apostle Paul himself? No!
What was the problem then? The 'sin' living in him.
This is the very reason he said,
the law gives sin its power. - 1 Cor. 15:56
Law empowers the sin in us. Law stirs up the sin in us. Is law bad? No! Are we (believers) bad? No! What is bad? The sin living in us.
When we look in the mirror, we see the dirt on our face. Is that a problem of the mirror? No. Is that a problem of our face? No. What is the problem? The dirt on our face.
Have you ever wondered why God introduced a 'New' covenant? Was the old covenant bad?
Absolutely not! Why would God make a bad covenant?
What then was the problem of the old covenant?
For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people - Heb 8:7-8
The problem was the people! They couldn't keep it. So even before laying the foundation of the earth, God in His awesome grace and mercy, designed a NEW covenant in which He said, "I will remember your sins no more" and to accomplish it, He sent His own Son to earth to take away our sins!
Folks, this is good news! It is mind blowing! You can only sit down and look at this God with an overflowing heart of gratitude.
Okay, now the question is, if the law can only do bad in a believer's life, how are we to live a righteous life? a self-controlled life? upright, godly life?
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It (grace, the unconditional love of God) teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age - Titus 2:11-12
We live by grace, guys! And it teaches us how to handle our freedom. It is the forgiveness of God what encourages me to forgive others. It is the love of God what motivates me to love others. It is my acceptance by God with all my weaknesses what enables me to accept others with all their weaknesses.
Let's soak ourselves in this great love and let's be careful not to give an opportunity to sin to 'seize' us by our neck, by putting ourselves under the law. Live in grace! Live in freedom!