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“THE LAW IS THE LAW” – April 4

April 4, 2013

“Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall!  Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” Acts 23:3

Scales of Justice Brisbane Courts-1=A week ago, I participated in a mediation process on behalf of my company to try and settle a dispute.  Mediation is a strange process.  The adversaries are isolated in separate rooms and the mediator moves back and forth between the rooms in an attempt to resolve the dispute.  However, there is no real resolution.  The core of mediation is an attempt by the mediator to find a compromise at which both parties are willing to let go of the dispute.  There is no determination of right or wrong.  There is no judgment rendered.  There are a variety of issues that come into play; the strength of the case, what can be proven, the cost of litigation, the provable damages, the duration of litigation, etc.  There comes a point in the mediation when you are no longer talking about the issues of the dispute.  You are merely talking about money.  Mediation is the calculation of tangible and intangible costs measured against risk.

Mediation is not justice.

I am not an attorney and I have never pondered very deeply about the law.  However, I have always correlated the law with justice.  I have held that somehow the laws passed by representative governments ensure justice for its citizens.  My latest experience with injustice (from my perspective) and the law has caused me to take a slightly more jaded view of the law.  One of my attorneys told me, after a particularly eloquent rant about the injustice of my whole situation, that I was trying to get the law to be something that it is not.  The law is not justice.

The law is the law.

The law is a tool.  There are some things that the law can be used for.  There are some things that it cannot be used for.  The law can be used with good intentions and it can be used with bad intentions.  The law can be a shield and it can be a sword.

I think that many people have a similar misconception about God’s law.

They think that their justification is in keeping the law.  The law is not justification.

They think that their sanctification is in keeping the law.  The law is not sanctification.

The law is the law.

God’s law is a tool.

“Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.” (Galatians 3:19)

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”  (Galatians 3:24-25)

God’s law was given to us as a guardian to train us, pointing out sin and punishing it.  The condemnation that the law was pointing out is now removed from those who are in Christ Jesus.  There is no punishment from the law for those in Christ.  We still have God’s law to help train us.  It still points out sin.  However, the law is the law.  The law does not save.  The law does not remove our condemnation.

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)

We get into trouble when we start to expect the law to be something that it is not.  We get into more trouble when we use the law in ways that it was never intended.  Paul was struck by a man who was wielding the law like a sword.  Yet, he violated the very same law in his zealous effort to protect the law.  The “whitewashed wall,” as Paul called him, believed that the law was something that it was not.

Obey the Law of God and State

Obey the Law of God and State (Photo credit: Frank DeFreitas)

I wonder how often we are similar whitewashed walls when we live in accordance to our stringent list of “do’s and don’ts.”  Are we living as if our pious performance is achieving something that it can never do?  Many people believe that they will make it to heaven because they hope that their “good deeds” will out-weigh their “bad deeds” on the grand scale of God’s law.  That is a false hope because it is expecting the law to be something that it is not. The law is the law.  It is a tool to point us to the true source of salvation, Christ Jesus.

We need to examine why we are living in obedience to God’s commandments.  Is your obedience coming from a heart that wholly loves your Lord and Savior as a gift or is it coming as an obligation from an unwilling mind that is doing what it must?

Obedience from a grateful heart is an expression of love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)  Obedience is an expression of love.

Obedience as a duty has an expectation of the law that it can never be.  That sort of obedience leads only to other sins – pride, not loving our neighbor, gossip, hate, coveting, etc.

The law is the law. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law.  Our hope is in Him and Him alone.

What are your expectations of your adherence to the law?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for freeing us from the law.  Thank you for using it as a tool to show me my sin and my need for a Savior.  Lord, may my obedience be a pleasing fragrance to You.  Examine my heart and my motivation for all that I do.  May my keeping of your commandments be a demonstration of my love for You.  Keep me from sinning in my obedience.  Grant me a heart that is undivided and a willing mind that serves You in gratitude and love.  Amen

13 comments

  1. Well conceived, and well developed, JD. For your readers: I posted a series on Galatians recently; clicking here will bring up the last posts about “laying down the law”: http://blcasey.wordpress.com/category/scripture/galatians/


  2. “my mind was thinking mediation but my fingers were feeling meditation
    Yes, my eyes were seeing mediation, but my mind was reading meditation too. Is that because we don’t really want mediation? Do we want our ‘just’ rights, or do we just want our rights?


  3. Good post:)


  4. I was just reading in romans on this earlier and I had been pondering it all day…i really needed this great confirmation! I like how you broke it down…


  5. This is great,i was just reading in romans earlier about this same thing and I have been thinking on it all day…thanks this really helped!


  6. John says “the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Great reminder, thanks JD.


  7. Great post as usual, but you mean mediation, not meditation.


    • Thanks Ann Marie – my mind was thinking mediation but my fingers were feeling meditation.


  8. JD, This is so dead on. I love it.


  9. The law is such a troubling topic for Christians… does Jesus alleviate the law or does he fulfill it? Great, tough, topic to delve into. Blessed by the work God does through your blogs. (it’s amazing ow he can work and encourage… can you imagine if this existed when Paul was alive…. He would have been the ultimate blogger… lol)


  10. I really enjoyed this post and shared it on facebook. But I think in the beginning you wrote “meditation” when you meant to write “mediation”? But I believe this article clearly explains the differences between a spirit-led life and one led purely by what we see and the world around us. Worldly thinking follows just laws because they “have to” (and maybe not even then!) But a love for God and his Word drives us to follow laws and his law from a stance of devotion and obedience…. that was my take on this… still learning!!


    • Thanks for pointing out that unwanted “t”. I feel for those trying to learn English. A “t” can be really important; changes the whole meaning and sound of a word.


      • Yes, at first I thought your post was going to be about meditation and prayer and not mediation and the law. I enjoyed it and it was timely for me. Yesterday I was asked a lot of questions about why I choose to follow Jesus… this really helped me.



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