Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?

Philip Henry
In this day and age, we have lost some of the valuable truths that were once preached and taught by men like Philip Henry, who was the godly father of Matthew Henry, the author of the famous Commentary on the Whole Bible.  Philip Henry was born in 1631 and died in 1696 at sixty-five years of age.  What follows is an excerpt from The Life of Rev. Philip Henry, A.M. by the Rev. Matthew Henry, V.D.M.

[Excerpt begins]

He preached the Ten Commandments
In the years 1677, and 1679, in the course of his ministry at Broad Oak, he preached over the Ten Commandments, and largely opened from other texts of Scripture, the duties required, and sins forbidden, in each commandment. For though none delighted more than he in preaching Christ and gospel-grace; yet he knew that Christ came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill; and that though, through grace, we are not under the law as a covenant, yet we are under it as a rule; under the law to Christ. He was very large and particular in pressing second-table duties, as essential to Christianity. We have known those, saith he, that have called preaching on such subjects, good moral preaching; but let them call it as they will, I am sure it is necessary, and as much now as ever. How earnestly would he press upon the people the necessity of righteousness and honesty upon their whole conversation. A good Christian, he used to say, will be a good husband, a good father, and a good master, and a good subject, and a good neighbour, and so in other relations. How often would he urge to this purpose, that it is the will and command of the great God, the character of all the citizens of Sion, the beauty and ornament of our Christian profession; and the surest way to thrive and prosper in the world. Honesty is the best policy. He would say, that these are things in which the children of this world are competent judges. They that know not what belongs to faith, and repentance and prayer, yet know what belongs to the making of an honest bargain; they are also parties concerned, and oftentimes are themselves careful in these things; and therefore, those who profess religion, should walk very circumspectly, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed, nor religion wounded through their sides.

Legal Preaching?
[How sensible he was of the dislike frequently felt to practical preaching, as well as of the importance of such preaching, appears in the following extract. Having explained, a course of sermons, the Redeemer’s sayings, as recorded in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, he pressed, in his last discourse, the importance, the necessity, of doing, as well as hearing, from the divine assurance,-- that a stormy day is coming shortly, when hearers only will be found fools, and suffer loss; whereas hearers and doers will be owned for wise people, and will have the comfort of it. What ado, he remarks, some one will object, is here about doing; doing! If I had preached, he proceeds, these sermons, I know where, I had certainly been called a legal preacher, if not a papist, a Jesuit, a preacher of works; and some would have said, we will never hear him again. If to preach on these things be legal preaching, then our Lord himself was a legal preacher, for you see they were his sayings all along that I took for my text to each sermon. Such a preacher as he was, may I be, in my poor measure. I cannot write after a better copy. I cannot tread in better steps. His sayings must be done, as well as heard, that we may answer his end in saying them, which was to promote holiness, --that we may approve ourselves his true kindred, --that God may be glorified, --that our profession may be beautified, --and that our building may stand. But they must be done aright. The tree must be good. All must be done by faith, and in the name of the Lord Jesus. Hebrews xi. 6. Colossians iii. 17. --with evenness and constancy, --with humility and self-denial, --in charity, --and with perseverance, and continuance.

Do all you do as those who are under a covenant of grace, which, though it requires perfect, yet accepts of sincere, obedience. While the hand is doing, let the eye be looking at Jesus Christ, both for assistance and acceptance. This is the life of faith. Be resolved in duty. Look often at the recompense of reward.

Thus he preached, and his constant practice was a comment upon it. One thing I remember, he was more than ordinarily enlarged in the pressing of, which was, --upon the ninth commandment, --to speak evil of no man, from Titus iii. 2. If we can say no good of persons, we must say nothing of them. He gave it as a rule, -- Never to speak of any one’s faults to others, till we have first spoken of them to the offender himself. He was himself an eminent example of this rule. Some that have conversed much with him, have said, That they never heard him speak evil of any body; nor could he bear to hear any spoken evil, but often drove away a backbiting tongue with an angry countenance. He was known to be as faithful a patron of offenders before others, as he was a faithful reprover of them to themselves.

Whenever he preached of moral duties, he would always have something of Christ in his sermon; either his life, as the great pattern of the duty, or his love, as the great motive to it; or his merit, as making atonement for the neglect of it.

[Excerpt ends]

A Bold Non-Conformist
Philip Henry was a bold non-conformist preacher.  In 1662, England enacted a new law called the Act of Uniformity that standardized acceptable doctrine, and was radically opposed to all that Puritans like Henry stood for. Philip chose to stand by the Word of God and preach the truth, being ejected as a minister from the Church of England, losing his living, rather than comply with The Act of Uniformity, and enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while.  According to an article by the European American Evangelistic Crusades, "Philip thus left his charge at Worthenbury, Shropshire, and took up residence a few miles away at Iscoed, Flintshire...a Christian community that lay ‘under the cross’ of state harassment and persecution."

According to Wikipedia, the act, "Prescribed the form of public prayers, administration of sacraments, and other rites of the Established Church of England, following all the rites and ceremonies and doctrines prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer. Adherence to this was required in order to hold any office in government or the church...An immediate result of this Act, over 2,000 clergymen refused to take the oath and were expelled from the Church of England in what became known as the Great Ejection of 1662. Although there had already been ministers outside the established church, this created the concept of non-conformity, with a substantial section of English society excluded from public affairs for a century and a half."

As a matter of fact, that act was still partly in force in Great Britain at the end of 2010.  And look how far they have fallen!  According to Wikipedia, " The Church of England, the mother church of the Communion, currently maintains (according to the statement Issues in Human Sexuality) that same-sex partnerships are acceptable for laypersons but gay clergy are expected to be abstinent."  On the other hand, in 2003 the Episcopal Church, which is the American body (province) of the Anglican Communion, approved Gene Robinson to the bishopric of the diocese of New Hampshire. Bishop Gene Robinson is the first openly gay (non-celibate) clergy to be ordained to the episcopate..."  Moreover, the article continues, "The Anglican Church of New Zealand has decided to allow non-celibate homosexuals to become clergy."  They are no different from the apostate Roman Catholic Church, whose own Pope Frances Supports Homosexuality.

The reason that the Church of England and the Episcopal Church have fallen so far away from Scripture is because the foundation was faulty all the way back to the seventeenth century.  It was not built upon the foundation of the Jesus Christ and His Word, which Philip Henry had based his life and ministry upon.  Therefore, if you have a problem with Philip Henry's life and ministry, then take heed to what has now become of the Church that once rejected him and men like him.

Putting it All Together
I want to meet this great man of God some day in heaven.  As Tim Challies states, "Matthew Henry was raised by godly parents in the Puritan way (daily Bible reading, prayer, self-examination, etc.)."  As you can see, I underlined almost everything in this excerpt for emphasis.  I highly recommend reading the entire book.  Although I have not read every page, I would like to, if I had the time, and have read portions of it, which are extremely edifying.

Philip Henry preached over the Ten Commandments, the duties required, and sins forbidden, in each commandment. He delighted more than anyone else in preaching Christ and gospel-grace. "Yet he knew that Christ came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill; and that though, through grace, we are not under the law as a covenant, yet we are under it as a rule; under the law to Christ."  Such good moral preaching is necessary, and as much now as ever!

He was very sensitive to the dislike his listeners frequently felt to such preaching on the need to practice righteousness.  But he was also keenly aware of the importance of such preaching.  He taught a sermon series on the hard sayings of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7).  And he concluded by emphasizing the importance, the necessity, of doing, as well as hearing.  We can be sure that a stormy day is coming shortly, when those who only hear and do not act upon the Words of Christ will be found fools, and suffer loss; whereas hearers and doers will be revealed to all as wise people, and they will enjoy the comfort of it.

He knew that some one would object to all this preaching on "Doing; doing!"  In 1662, the year his son Matthew was born, England had passed the Act of Uniformity, which forbid the preaching of any doctrine that did not comply with the Church of England.  But Philip was a non-conformist.  He was aware that if he had preached such sermons from the pulpit in the Church of England, he certainly would have been called a legal preacher, and a preacher of works.  He knew that some would have said, "We will never hear him again." But as he said, if to preach on these things be legal preaching, then our Lord himself was a legal preacher.  For you see they were our Lord's sayings all along that Philip took for his text to each sermon. He wanted to be such a preacher as Jesus was, and so do I.

Let those who consider legalistic the articles I have written take heed to this wise man's words, who lived so many centuries ago.  I refuse to preach the cheap grace that is uniformly preached in churches throughout the world, which is used by so many as a license to sin.  I will preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is Costly Grace.  He is the source of salvation for all who obey Him (Heb 5:9).

Obey the Gospel of God (1 Pe 4:17).  Live for the will of God (1 Pe 4:2).  It is hard for the righteous to be saved (1 Pe 4:18a).  That is why we must live for God and for His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for us and rose again (2 Co 5:15), which means we now live for righteousness (1 Pe 2:24).  The end of all things is near (1 Pe 4:7), therefore, we ought to live holy and godly lives (2 Pe 3:11b). Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5), and if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).

I encourage you to read the other articles I have written on the need for obedience in Working God's Way and Eternal Destinations, as well as in Seeking the Lord, which provide a clear and biblical response to the concerns that some of my teaching is legalism, especially the following ones, beginning with the first three articles in the left-hand column:

Is Obedience Optional?
The Law of Christ 
Faith Works!
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The Cost of Discipleship
The New Covenant
Costly Grace
Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?
Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?
Righteousness by Faith not Law
The Law is Good if Used Lawfully    
The Obedience of Faith
Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God
Aim for Perfection
Righteous Deeds and White Robes
Doing What is Right
Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice
Partaking of the Divine Nature
Walking in the Perfect Will of God
Pressing on Toward the Goal
Obedience by the Spirit
What Then Must We Observe?

Author's note Also see The Spirit's Law of Life, The Spirit of the Law, as well as Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him. And see my other articles called, Restored Truth, Practicing Your Righteousness, Obedience by the Spirit, Pleasing the Lord, The Person of the Holy Spirit, and Baptized with the Spirit. You can access the Main Directory for Working God's Way, or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Spirit of the Law

Dear Kingdom workers, in my previous article, The Spirit’s Law of Life, I indicated that the Law of the Spirit and the Law of Christ agree with the Law of God.  Having posted that, I feel the need to write here today about the Spirit of the Law to ensure that I am making myself clear.

I can say with the apostle Paul that I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as a follower of Jesus Christ, and I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets. I have the hope in God that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Ac 24:14-16)

If you need to know God’s definition of sin, read the Law and Prophets. For starters, in order to get an elementary level of understanding, go back and read The Ten Commandments, and realize that none of them have been abolished, not even the Fourth Commandment -- not one (Ex 20:1-17; Mt 5:17-20).

So am I suggesting we seek by the flesh to fulfill only the letter of the Law? Certainly not! The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.  As the apostle Paul said:

"He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Co 3:6)

As a Gentile follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am no longer looking for instructions about circumcision, various gifts, sacrifices, food, drink, and ceremonial washings, which were merely shadows of the realities we have found in Christ (although I can still learn about God through those passages).  I’m not looking for laws to perform with regard to religious festivals, New Moon celebrations, or Sabbath days, since they are "things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." (Col 2:16, 17).

By the way, the word for the Sabbath is the Greek word "sabbaton," which means "the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension...the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: - sabbath (day), week."  (Strongs). The apostle Paul's statement that "no one is to act as your judge in respect to...a Sabbath day," simply means not to let any man judge you with regard to this.  You must not let any man judge you with regard to how we keep the Sabbath, as the Pharisees did in accusing Jesus of breaking it by healing on that day, or doing anything else that is good and right in God's sight, or breaking traditions of men on that day.  You must keep it holy according to God's Word, and He will be the one to judge you if you truly break it.  One application of this is let no man judge you for not keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, as some people are known to be quite judgmental of others in this regard.  As I said, you must do what is right in the sight of God.

Since we know Paul agreed with the Ten Commandments, and everything written in the Law (Ac 24:14-16), and he upheld the Law (Rom 3:31), and he said that what matters is the keeping of God's commandments (1 Co 7:19), we know he was not suggesting we break the Fourth Commandment.  Some think he may have been referring to the plural form of Sabbath (as in "Sabbaths"), rather than the weekly "Sabbath Day."  If so, that would refer to other “special Sabbaths”, like what we would call national holidays that occur throughout the year.  Likewise, he may have meant "weeks," such as "the Three Weeks of Sorrow" and "the Seven Weeks of Comfort".  If so, that would explain why he said that these are "things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." (Col 2:17). Therefore, I am not suggesting we break the Fourth Commandment. But we are living according to the Spirit that gives life, and not the letter.  That means that we most surely honor the Lord’s day and keep it holy (1 Co 16:2; Re 1:10).  (See my blogs Resting from Work, Keeping Sundays Holy, Keeping Sundays Holy - Part II, and The Lord's Day).

Moreover, it’s a higher standard spiritually than what is written. Remember, Jesus explained God’s standard regarding the commandments in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).  God looks at the thoughts and intentions of the heart, and His standard is high. This means we should always uphold the spirit of the law, and ask the Lord what His heart is for us today for His holy people with respect to these things. His heart is always that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourself. (Mark 12:29-31) His heart is always that we restrain sensual indulgence (Co 2:23) by the power of the Holy Spirit, taking up our cross. His heart is always that we pursue holiness, know the Truth, and seek His righteousness (Mt 6:33; Heb 12:14, Ro 14:17; Jn 8:32-36; 14:6). His heart is always the message of the cross, repentance and forgiveness of sins, believing the gospel of the kingdom, and following Jesus in His eternal purposes (1 Co 1:18; Ac 2:38; Jn 3:16-21; Jn 4:24) Lk 13:5; Lk 24:46-47). His heart is always preaching the gospel of salvation to all creation, and rescuing lost souls from perishing in hell. (Mk 16:15; Lk 15:1-7; 2 Pe 3:9). His heart is always to destroy the works of the evil one (1 Jn 3:8). His heart is always for us to do good, do what is right, obey His commands, help the weak, the orphans, and the widows, and keep ourselves unstained by the world. (Ps 82: 3-4; 1 Jn 3:7-8; 5:3; 2:15-17; Jas 1:27).

The Holy Spirit may lead you to celebrate a special Sabbath found in the law, as a time of putting aside everything else to seek Him personally or corporately, or He may lead you to celebrate a Jewish feast found in the law as a time to worship the Lord Jesus, who is typified in all the feasts. But if you are not led to do so, don't let any man judge you with respect to such things.

By the same token, you will be viewed as odd or even judged, in these last and evil days, if you do not celebrate the so-called Christian holidays on the certain days -- and in the worldly ways -- that the apostate Church celebrates them. But if you are going to look for feasts and holidays to celebrate by gathering together, and you feel a need for that, then why not look at the Hebrew feasts that are already in Scripture? Aren’t they good enough?

Obedience is Essential for Disciples
Here are just some of the other blogs I have written, which provide a clear and biblical response to the concerns that my obedience doctrine is legalism, especially the first three in the left-hand column:

Is Obedience Optional?
The Law of Christ 
Faith Works!
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The Cost of Discipleship
The New Covenant
Costly Grace
Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?
Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?
Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?
The Law is Good if Used Lawfully    
The Obedience of Faith
Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God
Aim for Perfection
Righteous Deeds and White Robes
Doing What is Right
Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice
Partaking of the Divine Nature
Walking in the Perfect Will of God
Pressing on Toward the Goal
Obedience by the Spirit
What Then Must We Observe?

Putting it All Together
We should believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets.  The Lord Jesus did.  The apostle Paul did.  The apostle John did. The apostle James did.  If you think I am being legalistic, then you will have to also call the Lord Jesus and the apostles legalistic.  As a matter of fact, you would also have to say the same about John Wesley, D.L. Moody, Philip Henry, and his son Matthew Henry, the author of the famous, Bible commentary.

Let’s get back to the Bible and seek to live our lives according to God’s Word, not according to the letter, but in the new way of the Spirit. "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." (Rom 7:6b). Do not rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5), and if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thes 3:12-4:1).

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.  The "Holy Spirit" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note Also see part one, called The Spirit's Law of Life and my other articles called, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, Obedience by the Spirit, The Person of the Holy Spirit, and Baptized with the Spirit. You can access the Main Directory for Working God's Way, or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Spirit's Law of Life

Dear Kingdom workers, I know that there are some preachers who speak against God's Law, as though it were something sinful, so I want to encourage you today not to listen to the enemy's lies.  He twists the Scriptures, but the Holy Spirit leads us into all Truth.

The Spirit's Law
In his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul referred to the Law as the law of the Spirit of Life.  “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Rom 8:2). First of all, this means it is the Spirit’s Law, which should not surprise us, since it is God’s Law, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself.  As Paul says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2Ti 3:16-17). 

“What shall we say, then? Is the Law sin? Certainly not!” (Rom 7:7a).  Yet most preachers treat it as though it is sin.  Quite the contrary!  “We know that the Law is spiritual.” (Rom 7:14a). Since the Law is spiritual, and it is the Spirit's Law, pure and holy, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we need to be careful never to treat it as if it is sinful.

The problem is not with the God’s Law.  The problem is with man’s sinful nature.  However, through Christ Jesus, I am set free from sin and death. This is the same Christ Jesus that was typified in the Law and about whom Moses prophesied in the Law.  It was through Christ Jesus that the law of the Spirit set me free.  Now that I am free from sin and death, I have power over sin and death.  And although I am no longer under the Law, yet because I am in Christ Jesus, I approach the Law differently now.  Now “the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Ro 8:4b).

Proper Understanding of the Law
Here is the way you must understand the Law. 

Law Leads Us to Christ to Be Justified by Faith
God’s Law was a tutor that led you to Christ. "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24).  We could illustrate the relationship between us and the Law (before we know Christ) like this:
Law -- > Christ.

Christ is the Goal of the Law
Another way to put this is to say that the goal of the Law is to lead us to Christ. Christ is the goal of the Law. "For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Rom 10:3-4)

In Christ, the Righteous Requirements of the Law are Fulfilled in Us
Once you enter into Christ by faith, and are in Him, then the Spirit’s Law sets you free from the law of sin and death.  Once you put to death the sinful nature, which was the real problem to begin with, you approach the Law differently.  You are now a dead person as it relates to sin.  What was once a law of sin and death, because of the weakness of my sinful nature, has now through Christ Jesus become for me the Spirit’s Law of Life and love.  We could illustrate the relationship between us and the Law after we know Christ like this:
Christ -- > Law of Life (righteous requirements of the Law fully met in us).

The Law leads sinful man to Christ.  Then Christ leads the one, whom He sets free from sin, into the Spirit’s Law of Life.  Now I can truly love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as myself, which are the two commandments that fulfill all the Law and the Prophets. Now I approach the Law not to be justified by the Mosaic covenant, but desiring to obey God’s commandments by the Spirit, so that the righteousness requirements of the Law might be fully met in me.

The New Way of the Spirit
I am not living according to the sinful nature any more, but according to the Spirit (Rom 8:4b). I do not serve in the old way of the written code, but in the new way of the Spirit (Rom 7:6).  I am no longer looking for instructions about circumcision, various gifts, sacrifices, food, drink, and ceremonial washings, which were merely shadows of the realities we have found in Christ (although I can still learn about God through those passages).  What matters now is keeping God’s commandments (1 Co 7:19). And that is only possible by the power of the Spirit.

I live my life for Christ by the Spirit, being led by the Spirit.  “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Rom 8:13-14).
 
Any good fruit you see coming forth from my life is the Spirit’s fruit, not mine. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23). 

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5). I am no longer a slave to sin, but now in Christ I have become a slave to righteousness.  “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Rom 6:18)

If we claim to live by the Law of the Spirit of Life, then let us always say, "Yes, Lord!" to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Let's be controlled by the Spirit, Who takes from the Law.  Let's live for righteousness, and submit to God's righteousness, rather than seeking to establish a righteousness of our own.  

The Difference Between Serving in the New Way vs the Old Way
Here is an example that shows the difference between serving in the new way of the spirit, rather than in the old way of the written code.  If we were serving according to the old way of the written code, we would read, "You shall not murder." Since our sinful nature would still be alive, as soon as we would receive the commandment not to murder, we would be tempted to do just that.  There would be times when we would get angry enough with people that we feel hatred toward them and say angry words against them like, "You fool!" or "You idiot!"  But as long as we did not physically take the life of another human being, we would assume that we have not broken the commandment and that we are righteous. 

On the contrary, if we are serving in the new way of the Spirit, our sinful nature has been put to death. So the Holy Spirit leads us to go beyond simply not murdering our neighbor, and we also do not even utter angry words like, "You fool!"  We do not harbor bitterness and resentment toward others.  We actually pray for our enemies, forgive them, and even love them.  Thus through Christ Jesus, and by the power of the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, we live a truly holy life, and the righteous requirements of that commandment are fully met in us.  That is the Law of the Spirit of Life.

As Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."  (Mt 5:22-23)

Now take that illustration using that one commandment, and apply that to any other commandment.  In every case, the Law of the Spirit of Life goes way beyond the written code.  It is the high and holy intent of God's Law that the Holy Spirit always fulfills in those who are led by the Spirit.  It produces the fruit of the Spirit, against which you will never find a Law in the Bible.

It’s as if the written code was the maximum level of righteousness that one living under the Law could attain, but it is the minimum level for the one set free by the Law of the Spirit of Life.  For those of us who are in Christ, we are already righteous by faith, having received God’s own perfect righteousness.  Therefore, that is our starting point, in the realm of the Spirit; and the maximum level of fruitfulness we could potentially produce by the Spirit is without limit, since God is infinite, and He gives The Spirit without Limit.

For the man living under the Law, the glass of righteousness is half full, and he is always seeking to fill it.  For the man living by the Spirit, the glass of righteousness is already full to the brim, and he is always overflowing.  That is, he is always overflowing, provided he practices righteousness and doesn't practice lawlessness.  "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness." (1Jn 3:4; cf., 1 Jn 3:8-10)

Those Led by the Spirit Can Submit to God's Righteousness
The apostle Paul explained it like this: "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." (Rom 8:6-9).

The implication of this passage is that while those who live according to the sinful nature cannot submit to God's law, those who live in accordance with the Spirit can and do in fact submit to God's righteousness, because their minds are set on what the Spirit desires. He enables us to put to death the misdeeds of the body (Rom 8:13), and leads us to pray and live according to God's will (Rom 8:27).

The Law is Profitable
As I have already mentioned, Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2Ti 3:16-17). 

For those who are in Christ, the Law will always continue to be profitable, along with the rest of the Scriptures.  We do not neglect to teach from the Law, and focus only on the Scriptures written after Christ. It is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. The reason we are supposed to use all Scripture for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, is so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  If we omit parts of Scripture that are unpopular, then the man of God will not be adequate or equipped for every good work.  Therefore, we must preach the whole counsel of God, as Paul did.

Seven Different Laws?
Scripture speaks of "the law of God" (Rom. 7:22,25; 8:7; 1Co. 9:21), "the law of Christ" (1Co. 9:21; Gal. 6:2), "the law of faith" (Rom 3:27), and "the law of the Spirit of Life" (Ro 8:2).  Then there is the "royal law" (Js 2:8), which is the law of love, also known as the "law of liberty" (Js 2:12).  These are not seven different laws are they?  Even if you think they are, do you think they contradict one another on principle? There is one God and Father, one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ His Son, and one Spirit.  God's will is supreme and there is no contradiction within Him.

Jesus said He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, indicating He was in full agreement with the law of God.  "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 5:17-20).  

This is something to consider and pray about.  There is law and order in God's kingdom.  It's not a lawless kingdom. "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness." (1Jn 3:4). Christ will one day tell those who practice lawlessness to depart from Him (Mat. 7:23), and they will be thrown into the furnace of fire (Mat 13:41). 

On the other hand, when you are living according to the law of the Spirit, He will convict you concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;  (Joh 16:8).

Moreover, when you are living by the law of the Spirit, He will guide you into all truth. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you."  (Joh 16:13-15).

The Spirit of God does not speak on His own initiative.  He takes of what is Christ's and discloses it to the disciple of Christ. And all things that the Father has are Christ's. Therefore, what the Spirit discloses to the disciple of Christ is that which belongs to the Father. This is how the law of the Spirit of Life works.  He discloses to us the law of Christ, the law of faith, the royal law of love, also known as the law of liberty. And since the Author of this law is the same as the Author of the law of God, there is harmony between the law of God and all things that the Spirit discloses.

Obedience is Essential for Disciples
Here are just some of the other article I have written, which provide a clear and biblical response to the concerns that my obedience doctrine is legalism, especially the first three in the left-hand column:

Is Obedience Optional?
The Law of Christ 
Faith Works!
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The Cost of Discipleship
The New Covenant
Costly Grace
Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?
Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?
Practical Righteousness, a Lost Truth?      
The Obedience of Faith
Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God
Aim for Perfection
Righteous Deeds and White Robes
Doing What is Right
Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice
Partaking of the Divine Nature
Walking in the Perfect Will of God
Pressing on Toward the Goal
Obedience by the Spirit
Led by the Spirit                        

Putting it All Together
The Law is not sin.  On the contrary, it is spiritual.  It's the Spirit's Law and it brings life for those who are in Christ. It was intended to lead us to Christ, so we could be justified by faith.  But once we are in Christ, through Him, the Spirit's law of life sets us free from the law of sin and death.

Then the Spirit of God leads the one who is in Christ to walk in love (in fulfillment of the Law) without interference from the sinful nature and without death.  Now in Christ and by the Spirit, the righteous requirements of the Law may be fully met in us. I emphasize "in Christ," since we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5). We have our minds set on what the Holy Spirit desires (Rom 8:5), and He enables us to actually produce the fruit of the Spirit, against which you will never find a Law in the Bible.

We are no longer under the Law, as if it were our means of justification. We are not under a law of works! You cannot rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  We are not keeping up the law of Moses in conjunction with the gospel. However, we profit from the lessons in righteousness found in the Law, as the Spirit takes from the Law.  Since we live for Christ, as slaves to righteousness, our hearts are beating to keep God's commandments, and to find out what pleases Him.  "As the apostle Paul said, "Find out what pleases the Lord." (Eph 5:10).  The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a clear conscience and a sincere faith.  And if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).

The Spirit of the Law (Part II of this article)

 Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Love the Lord with All Your Heart" by my fifteen-year old daughter, C.V. on the blog, A Brush with Life

Author's note:  If you enjoyed this post, please see Part II, called The Spirit of the Law, as well as Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him.  You may also like Law of Love in the New Testament, Led by the Spirit, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Garments of Godliness, Keeping Sundays Holy, Is Tithing Required?, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, and the other posts available through the links on the Home page.  You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.