The law - The Gospel
The law has no good news for mankind.
The law can not save anyone.
The law can not cleanse the heart.
The law can not remove sin.
The law can not sanctify anyone.
The law can not make anyone perfect.
The law can not make anyone holy.
The law can not give anyone Life.
The law makes demands but offers no ability to perform its requirements.
The law can not produce faith.
The law can not produce Love.
The law can not justify anyone.
The law can not make anyone righteous.
The law can only produce death, guilt and condemnation.
The law can not bring anyone in union with God.
The law can not transform anyone to be "God-like"
The law can not remove guilt.
The law can not produce any required obedience.
The law can not open anyone's eyes.
The law can not renew the mind.
The law increases sin.
Preaching the law actually provides a license to sin because it only strengthens sin.
Contrary to what most of us have heard in church for years, attempting to follow the law is not intended to make us closer to God. Rather, it's to show us just how far away we are from Him. That's why there were all those rules and rituals for offerings and sacrifices in which blood had to be shed. They demonstrated the severity of the consequences of our sins. The penalty of sin is death and nothing less.
The law of God is good because it accomplishes an important function. But many Christians have misunderstood the purpose of the law. The law was given to cause men to see their own absolute inadequacy to live a life that glorifies God. The Law in the Old Testament revealed to Israel the righteous standard that God demands. The story of the Hebrew people gives the story of their repeated failure to live up to God's laws.
Remember that God is omniscient and knew before He even gave the law that they wouldn't keep it. Through the law God revealed that righteousness cannot come from external regulations. We all understood that at the time of our salvation, but somehow many seem to believe that the rules change after a person is saved. Some people who are quick to point out that keeping religious rules won't cause anybody to become a Christian have come to believe that keeping certain rules will help you grow in your Christian life. These folks generally spend their lifetime trying to improve their spiritual performance.
The law scolds people into submission, but offers no strength by which anyone could possibly respond.
Heb. 7:19, "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."
1 Tim. 1:9, "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers."
The law doesn't care about people. Rules are the only thing that matter to the legalist.
The Law of Moses was given to Israel to reveal their sinfulness in not acknowledging God as the LORD God. Through the law, which consisted of over 600 different commands, it was impossible for Israel to perfectly obey. The sin sacrifices of the Law were a part of pointing them to Jesus; the One Pure Lamb who would come to "take away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)
The law can only show us our utter helplessness and hopelessness, and so it becomes "our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ," (Galatians 3:24) the only One who, by the grace of God, can save us, and deliver us, and reconcile us to God, and make us safe for all eternity.
The law was established to shame and condemn us by pointing out our faults, our guilt, our sins. It is supposed to stop us from bragging about how good we are and to show us how desperately we need God's mercy. The law's goal is to break through our stubborn pride and lead us to Jesus Christ for salvation.
For if the ministration of condemnation - Of Moses in giving the Law, the effect of which is to produce condemnation. Law condemns the guilty; it does not save them. It denounces punishment; it contains no provisions of pardon. To pardon is to depart from the Law; and must be done under the operation of another system - since a law which contains a provision for the pardon of offenders, and permits them to escape, would be mockery in legislation. The tendency of the law therefore, was to produce a sense of condemnation and guilt and the only result of any who attempt to be justified by the Law.
God never intended the law to be the solution for sin and mankind's problem of separation from God. Jesus Christ the Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world. The Gospel is the good news of what God in Christ has already accomplished for us and in us.
The core of the gospel message is that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit made a Covenant together which is an irrevocable commitment which CAN NOT be broken under any circumstance. This Covenant was made between God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ before the world was created. You did not and could not have any part of it.
This Covenant was not made make with mankind. We are just the recipients and participants of this Covenant. We really have no part to keep other than to just enjoy what He has already accomplished for us. There is no other way possible! God has already totally solved the problem with sin and mankind's condition once and for all. Any attempt you make to fix the unfixable is not only sin but is totally impossible.
Now as a result what God has already accomplished for you, your old sinful self was crucified with Christ and that you no longer live. Your old sinful self has died, and you no longer have a life. You have received His all-sufficient Life in exchange for your old corrupt self. Now the Christian life isn't yours to live. God does not depend on you to live His Life for Him. He knows that it impossible for you to live His life, so you experienced His life when you were born again. You do not live for Him - He lives for you. (See Romans 6)
You were made one with Him by an irrevocable act of God that made you in perfect union with Him. You have been made one with God. We are truly one with Him and we can experience His Divine continual presence and power. He has taken away our old stony heart and has now given us His heart. We now have a heart of flesh, a tender, living, loving heart.
We now have His Life within us. It is by His Almighty Power and Love, breathing and working in us, that He makes the promise true, "I will cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments." We now have a heart in perfect harmony with Him, a life and walk in His way - God is engaged in Covenant to work in us. HE UNDERTAKES FOR OUR PART IN THE COVENANT AS MUCH AS FOR HIS OWN.
Romans 1:16-17, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe to the Jew first, and then to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed."
The message of the Gospel of what God in Christ has already accomplished in us and for us is the ONLY message that contains the power to truly transform lives to be "God-like". The message of the Gospel always encourages and energizes us to live the life to which God has called us.
Romans 8:3-4, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Jer. 32:39-40, "I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good, and I will put the fear of me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from me."
Ezek. 36:25-27, "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean, I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols. Moreover I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances."
Deut. 30:6, "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou may live."
Jer. 24:7, "And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."
Jer. 31:31-34, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Ezek. 11:19-20 "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
Heb. 8:8b, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
2 Cor. 5:17-21, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Heb 10:19-20, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh."
Heb. 9:28, "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
Heb. 10:10, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Heb. 10:12-14, "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
Heb. 10:16-17, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Acts 15:8-9, "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."
Romans 7:4-8, "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead."
2 Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Romans 3:22, "Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe, for there is no distinction."
Romans 3:26, "For the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who as faith in Jesus."
Gal. 2:16, "Nevertheless knowing that a man is no justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."
Gal. 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."
Gal. 3:22, "But the Scripture has shut up all me under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."
Eph. 3:12, "In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him."
Phil. 3:9, "And may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."
1 Cor. 15:56-57, "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 4:14-15, "For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: "
2 Cor. 3:7, "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression."
1 Cor. 1:30-31, "But of Him (His doing) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Perhaps the best definition of the message of the Gospel is "God has done it." The primary declaration of Christianity is not "this do," but "Look what God has already done." The Gospel is not an announcement of something to do, but the good news of what has been accomplished.
Martin Luther said, "The law says do this and never is it done. Grace says believe in this One and it is already done. We don't do anything, we don't give anything to God, but we receive and allow someone else to do all the work for us and in us and it's God that does it". God is the subject and we are the object. Of course it helps greatly to be a receptive and responsive object. The gospel is the good news of what God has done, not an announcement of what we are to do. What we are to do is to respond to what God has done. We respond by faith to God's gracious provision for us."
Since rules and laws can only stimulate sinful passions leading one to sin (Romans 7:5), what is the believer to do with the commandments of the New Testament? Didn't Jesus say that if we love him, we will keep His commandments? (John 14:15) He did indeed. Yet when Christ rules one's life, this person will approach the commandments of the New Testament with a totally different attitude than the legalist. Legalism presents the commandments as divine ultimatums coming from a harsh Judge. When law rules a person, the tone of the words of Jesus are heard like this: "If you love me, you had better keep my commandments."
The message of the Gospel causes the Christian to see the commandments with eager anticipation, not with fear and intimidation. We have been given Christ's very nature and holy dispositions. We actually now have, Christ's Love, Christ's Faith, and Christ's obedience within us. We understand the words of Jesus when He said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Obedience is the natural response of the Christian who realizes and sees what God in Christ has already accomplished for him in and in him. We should know that without love, the only thing we have to offer is lifeless compliance. It is Christ's Love within us that is the source and basis for our obedience, not laws.
2 Cor. 5:14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:"
I am excited that God in Christ has already accomplished everything that I have listed that the law could not do.