Revealing the simplicity that’s in Christ

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Simple questions - “Am I under the law?”, the final part

Let’s look at Heb 4:1-2 — “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. (2) For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” The key word in understanding this passage is the word “seem” in v.1. This word is a word of uncertainty and implies that one hasn’t grasped the reality of what grace has provided — which is rest — he thinks that he has come short of it.

But the good news is that God, through Christ Jesus, has provided everything for you and me to be at rest in Him!

You probably have noticed, like I have, that much of the New Testament letters that were written by Paul, James, John, Peter and Jude, were written to correct believers’ misunderstandings and false doctrines (And this was also Jesus’ messages to the churches in Rev 2 and 3). Have you ever wondered why this was the case? It was because many believers, usually ignorant of what the gospel is, or the grace that it provides, were trying to mix law, as seen in the Old Testament, and grace, as seen in the New Testament, together in one spiritual pot.

Someone may think that I, just like Paul was accused of, am being “antinomian” (anti-law). As I am against the law as seen in the Old Testament, because that covenant is old and no longer valid, I am not advocating for one to be without any law (Because then one would be“lawless”, and Jesus said that because of this, hearts grow cold, see Matt 24:12). As we’re going to see in this week’s lesson, the true message of the gospel of grace is not a message of lawlessness, because grace has certain laws that are attached to it, or else grace would be “structureless” and not having any order to it. And also, if grace did not have laws attached to it, then every believer would be automatically walking in the grace of “life more abundantly” life of John 10:10, without having any godly character in his life, and we know, that’s not the case at all! But it’s equally important for us to know that these laws of grace are completely and diametrically opposed to the laws of the Old Covenant (These laws are not the 10 Commandments only, but there were 600 plus other commandments, regulations and statutes that were to be kept).

there’s nothing new under the sun

This is why many believers are confused (especially among the leadership) when it comes to the message of grace (the gospel) and end up buying into the idea that “grace is a license to sin”, because after all they think that believers need laws to keep, to keep them structured so that they won’t run wild after their flesh. This confusion about grace is not new — it’s been here since the Church first started in Acts 2. It might surprise you that this is exactly what happened with the first leadership of the Church. Look at what we read in Acts 15:28-29 — “(28) For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: (29) that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.  Farewell.” This leadership that was in Jerusalem consisted of the original 11 Apostles (because of course, Judas killed himself after denying Jesus, who was replaced with Matthias) and among them was Paul and Barnabas. They all consented in writing this letter to the Gentile believers in Christ, giving them specific laws to keep. The words “no greater burden”, implies that there was a slight burden imposed to them. Of course as time went on and these leaders grew in grace, they removed such barriers of law-keeping. My point is that it’s hard for people to really grasp the freedom that we have in Christ, without attaching laws to it — YES, even the very men that walked with Jesus in His earthly ministry!

the kingdom-legislation of grace

Look at this amazing prophetic scripture from Isa 9:6 and 7 of the present day reality of grace — “(6) … And the government will be upon His (Jesus’) shoulder… (7) Of the increase of His (Jesus’) government and peace There will be no end”. The word “government” is in there twice and refers to the kingdom of God that indwells you. I want you to see that God’s indwelling kingdom has a government, a legislation to it, or else His kingdom would be unstructured and have disorder and that isn’t how God operates.

Look at what we read in Heb 10:16-17 — “(16) ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them (His laws),’ (17) then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’” Notice that God said that in this new agreement made by Jesus, He Himself will put and write His LAWS in our hearts and minds. So what are these laws of grace? These laws that He writes and puts upon our hearts and minds are what I like to call “grace-protocols” — protocols about how He’ll work inside us as we believe! See the 613 laws of the Old Covenant were OUTWARD commandments to keep (man’s faithfulness to God), but these grace-laws are INWARD instructions of what He’ll keep (His faithfulness to us).

These grace-protocols are what He builds inside your heart — where your character and personality flows from — through the revelation of Jesus Christ!

These grace-protocols came into your spirit when it was reborn and recreated in Christ, because this is when God’s kingdom came inside you. These grace-laws are written on your heart by the Spirit, as Jesus personally teaches you His Redemptive work (This is described as the “PUTTING OFF” and the “PUTING ON” in being renewed in the spirit of your mind,see Eph 4:20-24).

Now I’ll briefly go over each one of these grace-laws as presented to us in the New Testament.

1) the law of the Spirit. This grace-protocol inside you is the very “life-force” of the Spirit. The Greek word for life is “zoe” and is the very substance that makes God who He is! Look at what Paul said about this grace-law in Rom 8:1-2 — “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life (“ZOE”) in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Think about those words for a moment — “THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT”! It’s the kind of law that comes directly from the Spirit — ZOE” HIMSELF! It’s His life-principle on the inside of you that made you completely free from the old law of sin and death (It’s like pouring acid on meat — the old law of sin and death that once operated in your spirit has been burned completely up!)

This grace-law of the Spirit written in your heart by the revelation of Christ and says to you in every situation, “NO CONDEMNATION” — because as Jesus is, so are you in this world, see 1 John 4:17-19!

2) the law of liberty. This grace-protocol has its essence in the perfect work of Redemption and your identification with Christ in all that He did in His death, burial and resurrection. Look at what we read regarding this law in James 1:25 — “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” This law produced in you a deliverance from the power of darkness and conveyed you into the kingdom of God, see Col 1:13-14!

When this grace-law is written on your heart by the revelation of Jesus Christ, you’ll have complete confidence that you’re completely free from the works of darkness! And this causes you in becoming “a doer of the work” (that’s a doer of Jesus’ work, not a doer of your own works). A “doer” is a faith word and it comes from the position of resting in Christ (It’s your spiritual reflex)! It’s also by this grace-law, that we’re to judge ourselves in all that we do in this life, see James 2:12-13.

3) the law of faith. Look at what we read about this law in Rom 3:27 — “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” There’s been a misconception about the word “FAITH” into meaning something that is achieved by one’s actions. But the honest truth is that faith and believing come from the same Greek root, where “faith” is the noun and “believing” is the verb. So faith is believing and believing is faith. So this grace-protocol refers to your believing in what Jesus has done, not in what you can do, see Rom 10:9-10.

Paul said in Gal 3:12, that the Old Covenant law was not of faith, because people had to keep working, and true faith is resting, see Heb 4:9-10. It’s when this grace-law is written on your heart by the revelation of Jesus Christ, you’ll be resting in the finished work of Christ, living the abundant life of grace, see Gal 2:20-21.

4) the law of Christ. Look at what we read about this law in Gal 6:1-2 — “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (2) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This grace-protocol refers to our ministry to one another in bringing RESTORATION to the Body of Christ (Many have brought division to the Body by their different beliefs). Notice that it’s the grace-law that comes directly from Christ seen in John 13, as He demonstrated it to us in washing the feet of the disciples. Then from that event, He commanded to love one another in the same way. He said that the world will know that you are His disciple (His “learning one”) through this kind of ministry to one another, see John 13:34-35.

The word “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name, but it’s His title as the Old Testament Messiah. Christ refers to His anointing and from this same anointing, every believer shares in, see 1 John 2:20 and 27. This anointing that you have is initially for you in teaching you kingdom things, but it’s ultimately for others in washing their feet with the same “water” that Jesus used in washing your feet (Referring to the revelation of Jesus Christ).

When this grace-law is written on your heart by the revelation of Jesus Christ, you’ll be “others-minded” in serving them, instead of being “self-minded”, see Phil 2:1-5 for further details on this.

That’s it! These 4 laws of grace are working in you at this time, see Phil 2:13-14. And these laws are written in your heart through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So I hope that from this week’s lesson, you’ll start seeing the answer to our question, “Am I under the law?” For that question is really a “No and Yes” answer. No, of course you’re not under any of the laws that are seen in the Old Testament, because you have died to it! But because you’re now under grace, there are certain laws that are at work inside you and when they are written on your heart through the revelation of Jesus Christ, they become a part of your character and personality in maturing in Christ!

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