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The law, the world, and salvation

By Scott Tibbs, August 6, 2014

The Law can be a tricky subject for Christians. The following is my understanding of the Law and its application to the life of the Christian as well as how it applies universally.

There are three segments of the Law: The ceremonial law, the civil law for the theocratic nation of Israel and moral law. The ceremonial and civil laws were fulfilled by Jesus Christ, while the moral law reflects God's holiness and therefore predates creation. An example of the ceremonial law that was fulfilled is God's commandment to Apostle Peter in Acts 10:9-16. The Apostle Paul's statement on this in 1 Timothy 4 is even more striking, writing that those who would forbid eating of meats are advancing a doctrine of devils. This is why there is no logical basis for accusations of "hypocrisy" against Christians who do not follow things like the Old testament dietary laws.

Moral law is binding on all people at all time, regardless of whether or not they accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or not. So when I refer to the Law from this point forward, I am referring to God's eternal and unchanging moral law.

While we are commanded by God to keep the moral law, keeping the law cannot save us. In fact, it is impossible to keep the Law. The Law is to show us our sin, our helpless state, our impending damnation and our need for the grace of Jesus Christ. But the fact that it is impossible to keep the Law does not negate our obligation to keep it, and a true Christian will strive to avoid sinning against God's Law.

Some would immediately be taken aback by this statement, saying that I am reverting to legalism. In answer to that, I ask a very simple question: Can Christians still sin? Obviously, the answer is yes. Christians fall into sin all the time. Jesus assumes that Christians will sin against each other, and provides a method for dealing with that sin in Matthew 18:16-22. We are all fallen men and women and sin will be committed, even in the church.

Not only is the Law binding on Christians, it is binding on all men and women. We are all creations of God and are subject to His divine authority. This is why Jesus Christ orders His disciples to go into the world and teach all of the nations "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" after He declares that all authority has been given to Him both in Heaven and on Earth.

The Law is a good thing. It keeps the peace, protects the innocent and restrains the evil in men's hearts. We should treasure God's Law, while remaining thankful that our inability to keep it does not condemn us to His wrath.