(Cooperating with the Spirit of God in, and being Restored by, the Transformation Process so that His Law will be fulfilled in Us – His people – and the Grace of God will not be frustrated.)
We know that obedience to God – and His Law - positions us for The Blessing of God.At least we are aware that this is what it says in Deuteronomy. The rub, of course, is that we are entirely unable to obey the Law of God! And that unfortunate reality, of course, is why we need a Savior!
And this understanding, on the place of Grace and Obedience in the life of one redeemed, is further complicated by the fact that, because of a very real enemy, there is a gross misunderstanding of the work and purpose of Grace and the Law. God's Grace is not a camouflage to shield us from obedience to the Law, nor is it some kind of peremptory note! It is rather the power and Anointing of the LORD to overcome each area of rebellion to God, thereby enabling us to obey His Law. It is the enabling power to keep the Law – not an excuse to step around it! It is the Anointing which inscribes the Law upon our hearts, so that it is generated from within, instead of being imperfectly imposed from without!
Our LORD was the first man, since the fall, to keep the Law of God perfectly. He said plainly that He did NOT come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it – in us. He came to “be about His Father's business” - which was fully stated on Sinai, and fully explained in Deuteronomy. This required obedience was pitifully represented in Temple worship – and existed as a mere holdover until the appointed time for Messiah was accomplished. It was mere representation, not the sum total. It was a bandage, not the cure.
However, let me quickly add (lest we look with reproach on those trying to uphold it then, as has become the habit of the mostly scripturally illiterate church-going masses) that it has been even more misrepresented in most main-line doctrinal institutions for multiplied decades! God's Law has largely been thrown over, and replaced with twisted doctrines and worthless rituals – which have mixed His Word with practices of heathen idolatry - so that His intentions for mankind are barely discernible! THAT is frustrating the Grace of God! Not an insistence that the LAW can and must be kept by those empowered to do so!
Yeshua never indicated that the Law was to be replaced by man-made, sub-par, lifeless, doctrines and rituals. Nor that people should trade one form of religious chainmail for another! May it never be!!! He came that we might have LIFE abundantly – which is a Life that is blessed by God and reflects His image, and is effused with His aroma. So the problem of disobedient flesh had to be resolved.
Thus The Anointed One was appointed and anointed to deliver us from the fallen flesh and all of its curse - which stemmed from disobedience to the Law! The LORD came to make us Holy unto GOD again, as we were first designed to be! His sacrifice was meant to restore to us God's Holy Character traits – which is what distinguishes us from fallen flesh which has dominated mankind since the first Garden(Eden), and for which Christ interceded and overcame in the second Garden (Gethsemane)! His OWN blood purifies us, cleansing us from sin, just as the blood in the Holy of Holies once cleansed those who presented their offerings of repentance to the Priests – the Levites - who were called of God to fulfill their duty there, in the Most Holy Place. That effort made a covering for their sin - for that season.
But if God was satisfied with sin being only covered, then there was no more to be done. Indeed, it says that if that we could obey the Law within ourselves Christ has died in vain! But of course He did not die in vain! That frequent, temporary offering in the temple merely “covered” their sin. But it was God's will that sin be entirely eradicated. Their relief was temporary. But it was God's will that our rest can be eternal, due to the Atonement of Christ and the Anointing that he left behind.
That minimal obedience satisfied the immediate need, but it did not answer the darkened heart of rebellion that beat behind those forced, fear-motivated, acts of obedience. God was after a wholeness, a purity, and restoration/transformation back to His very image and character! This could not be accomplished by a mere outward form of obedience. He wanted obedience from the heart, that was consistent all through because of a love and gratefulness to Himself. So he made a sacrifice for us that was forever. And left behind an instructor to guide us, and an Anointing which could free us from the captivity to rebellion, and free us to choose righteousness with a whole – God shaped – love-motivated heart!
He therefore sent the Anointed One, with an Anointing which remains under the Instruction and Transformation of His Spirit - who applies His Word, His Law, to our lives! A Law which, when humbly obeyed, brings the Blessing of God on our lives! His blessing brings His presence into our Lives! And with His presence comes manifestations of favor. As we, enabled by His Spirit, grasp His Word and take it into our hearts, then we are changed, transformed from flesh to Spirit - from fallen man to the Image of Almighty God!
But it all of this is not accomplished in a one time decision, or a brief moment of wonder or revelation. It is a life-long process. It is an increasingly faithful discipline, by which we become His disciples! It is a deliberate act of loyalty - on a daily basis - a continued growing in freedom and grace - by which we are restored to His image. His Character, which is then manifested in our lives, choices, and actions, by the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
Religion tends to produce a lot of toot, but little fruit! Most religious people have little to no proof of His presence - and very little of HIS character showing! The only thing which separates most religious people from the world at large are negatives - like things they can't or won't do, lest they sully their imagined whiteness! But without the character of God to keep us, the other spiritual or natural gifts will have little, if any, benefit! Gifts can take us to places that an unredeemed, untransformed, weak, fleshly character can't keep us. If His fruit, or character, is not increasing in us, then we need to stop and make sure we've been grafted into the right vine. Rapid growth is not the only sign of a healthy spiritual life people, that can be an indicator of a malignancy as well!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.…” Galatians 5:22-23
His Blessing displaces the curse of sin, because His Holiness displaces that sin. The Fruit of the Spirit is the manifestation of God's Character in our lives! And the more we submit to it, the freer of sin we become, and the more His Law of Life lives through us!
His Love displaces hatred. His Joy displaces depression. His Peace displaces strife. His Patience displaces stress. His Kindness displaces critical spirit. His Goodness displaces all Evil. His Faithfulness displaces slack, irresponsibility. His Gentleness displaces harsh negativity. His Self-control displaces addictive bondage. And...there is NO LAW against these positive character qualities - because LOVE is the ultimate fulfillment of the LAW!
And such is the work of Grace! Not to deny the Law, but to support it from a whole, freed, redeemed, restored heart! Grace is not just a “Get out of hell free card”! It is the Key to escape sin and live a life of blessing on this earth! We do get to get out of hell AND live FREE! Now! And THAT my friends is the “GOOD NEWS” which we are supposed to preach and demonstrate.
But we have to get our facts straight first. We have to learn to stop frustrating the grace of God by trying to keep the Law on our own, in our own fleshly ways, sacrificing things to strange gods, etc. - OR - by trying to deny the Law's existence and importance entirely! His mercy and grace are predicated upon obedience to His Law. His Law was a means to His given to us as a means to His Highest Life! It was never meant to bring a curse!
As anything, however, the way it is used, or misused, determines the outcome. But it can not be ignored. We are either obeying or disobeying God and His Law at any given moment. We are always choosing either life or death, blessing or cursing. But if we are truly IN CHRIST – we will be transformed into the Holy Character of our beloved God, and will keep the Law from our redeemed, transformed hearts - and we will choose Life!
Romans 5:18-21 “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. 20God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. 21So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We must embrace both the Grace and Spirit of God as the catalyst to holy, real, obedience in our lives!
And of course, in order to embrace obedience we must be clear on just what it is we are to obey! His Law in our hearts, by the Spirit = Grace! Lest His great sacrifice go unused, and given in vain.
L'Chaim, Chavarim! Shabbat Shalom! T.G.I.F.!
(Thank God It's Friday! - or - Thank God I'm Forgiven! - Or - Transforming Grace Is Fulfilling!)