Freedom from the Law
"As sure as you are in the law, you are in judgement, and judge everybody. Law is always judgement, and no one is right except those people who are keeping the law.They are full of judgement. But we have passed from death, from judgement, from criticism, from harshness, and from hardness of heart.''
- Smith Wigglesworth -
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty where with Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1).
If you read what Paul is saying in context, you will find that Paul wasn't talking about sin as bondage, but the law as bondage. That's right; the law is bondage. Now we know that sin is bondage, but so is the law. That's why Jesus made a way for us to be free from both. Why, after we have converted to Christ, do we still feel that we must practice the Law? If you really take the time to study out the book of Galatians, you will find that Paul was combatting a spirit of legalism within the church of Galatia. Those that taught the law taught that it wasn't enough for them to receive Christ by faith. According to Paul, the church was doing well before this happened.
"You did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth" (Galatians 5:7).
What is legalism? It is a mindset that says, I am righteous because of what I have done. It is a false humility that stems from pride and self-righteousness. God will never be pleased with it. It is a spirit that brings a mindset upon people that isn't composed of simple faith. The simplest way to define legalism is this: unbelief. What makes the gospel so amazing is that none of us deserved it and couldn't do enough to earn it, but Jesus gave it to us freely.
"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6).
What is the leaven of the Pharisees? It's unbelief. Jesus was warning his disciples not to be subject to their mindset. The Pharisees saw many of the miracles, signs, and wonders that Jesus performed, but never came to the conclusion that he was the Messiah. They couldn't enter into faith because of their unbelief. This is what polluted the church in Galatia.
What was the purpose of the Law?
Paul said that the Law was good (Romans 7:12). Why is the Law good? The law came to point the way to Christ .
"Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith" ( Galatians 3:24 NASB.)
The Law was given to expose a sinful nature in man, and reveal to man a need for a savior. The Law was entirely based upon man's performance to try to be righteous and holy through works. Yet, man cannot do it. The New Covenant is based upon our faith in what Christ accomplished on our behalf. "...not by works lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:9) By grace, through faith, we receive it.
"Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).
Though it is clear that righteousness can only be received by faith alone, this legalistic mindset that we must work our way into righteousness is still at work in the church today. Somehow we have bought into the lie that we need to mix our salvation with law.
"Christ is the end of the Law" (Romans 10:4).
Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for your sin and mine. All your self-effort and sacrifice to become holy could never measure up to the price that Christ paid. Righteousness is a free gift that we have the privilege of accepting by faith. When we repent and come to Christ, we are made free from the works of the Law, free from it's bondage.
"My righteousness is just as good as Jesus' righteousness, because it is Jesus' righteousness." - E.W. Kenyon
I love this quote by E.W. Kenyon because it is so true; we are partakers of Christ righteousness. This is how the father sees us: justified before him, or just as if we have never sinned. The Bible says that, "He hath made him to be sin for us who knew know sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV).
Isaiah said our righteousness is as filthy rages. Yes, if you are claiming your righteousness based on what you have done, then it's self-righteousness that equals nothing. But we are not claiming our own righteousness, we are claiming Christ's righteousness.
Walking in Righteousness
Am I saying that since we are saved, we should live however we want to live? Absolutely not. Am I saying that the Lord won't ask you to repent of certain things? Absolutely, he will. Yet, the answer isn't following after the law. The answer isn't, let's live however we want, because there is an abundance of grace. The answer is in the cross. Peter said that we are ''partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The moment that you received Christ, he placed his word on the inside of you, his nature, his power. His nature inside of you empowers you to overcome this world, it empowers you to walk without sin, to resist every temptation. God expects the believer to develop faith in the righteousness that has freely been given, so that you and I can walk in righteousness.
The Ministry of Death and Condemnation
"For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. for even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious" (2 Corinthians 3:9-11KJV).
The Law was a ministry of death and condemnation. Its glory was to be done away with. The New Covenant is a ministry that is more glorious, because it is a ministry of righteousness. It is a ministry of mercy, rather than judgement.
Read this quote below by church father and general, Smith Wigglesworth,
"The Lord has brought in a new covenant, putting his law in our minds and writing it in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) - this new law of the spirit of life. As the holy spirit comes in, he fills us with love and liberty, and we shout for joy, "Done away! Done away!"
There is a new cry in our hearts: 'I delight to do your will, O my God'" (Psalms 40:8).
"He takes away the first that he may establish the second" (Hebrews 10:9).
In other words, he takes away "the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones" (2 Corinthians 3:7), so that he may establish "the ministry of righteousness." You ask, does a man who is filled with the Spirit cease to keep the commandments? I simply repeat what the Spirit of God has told us here, that this "ministry of death, written and engraved on stones" (and you know that the ten commandments were written in stones) is "done away (with)" (v.11 KJV). However, the man who becomes a living epistle of Christ, written by the Spirit of the living God, has ceased to be an adulterer, or a murder, or a covetous man: the will of God is his delight. I love to do the will of God; there is no irksomeness to it. It is no trial to pray, no trouble to read the Word of God."
- Smith Wigglesworth -
"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" (Hebrews 10:17 KJV).
The Old Testament law is not what is written upon the believer's heart. It is a new nature!
"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered to by us, written not with ink, but the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart" (2 Corinthians 3:3 KJV).
Christ is the word of God; he moved inside of you and brought his nature with him.
"Therefore seeing we have received this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 4:1 KJV).
Paul is talking here about how we are ministers of the new covenant, not of the old covenant. The old covenant is the "letter that kills." The law was a letter that was impossible to perform; it brought judgement and condemnation. The new covenant is "the spirit that gives life." We are ministers of the new covenant, which is a ministry of the spirit which brings life. I have often heard people say, you cannot have too much word because it kills. No, the word of God imparts life and power to you. The word of God is not a letter that kills! Jesus said, "the words I speak unto you, they are spirit and life" (John 6:63 KJV).
"God want you in a new order. It is "the law of the Spirit" (Romans 8:2). It is a law of life. It is not a law of death and bondage."
- Smith Wigglesworth