Matthew 5:17 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
If you claim to be saved, and have Christ in you, how can his Spirit lead you into sin? He did not sin. He was sinless. He kept the law perfectly. He fulfilled the law. When we are saved, the Bible says we have the Spirit of Christ. This is why he went to heaven, so he could give us of his Spirit. So if we are being led of the Spirit, how can his Spirit be leading us contrary to the law? If someone can live in open contradiction to the word of God, they are not truly saved. 1 John says And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. Christ’s Spirit does not lead us to sin. Jesus said, if you love me, keep my commandments.
Romans says that the law is good. 1 John says that God’s commandments are not grievous. The Old Testament continuously talks of delighting in and meditating on and obeying the law. The law is good for us. Before we are saved though, all we have is our sinful fleshly nature. The law condemns this nature, because our nature is contrary to the law. The law shows us our sin. It shows us our condemnation. It shows us the holiness of God. It shows us God’s character compared to our character. It leads us to repentance. It leads us to Jesus. Thou shalt not kill. This is a good law. A society without this law is chaos, anarchy, violence, death. God’s laws are good. We need laws to live. There is freedom in God’s laws. To the unbelieving carnal mind, this cannot make sense, it seems paradoxical. But imagine if there were no laws where you lived, and where anyone did whatever they pleased, would you feel safe enough to leave your house? When we are saved, truly saved, we receive the Spirit of Christ which kept the law. Now we love the law, now we delight in the law. Our conversation is in heaven. We are seated in heavenly places. Our way of life is transformed. We are no longer under the curse. We do not have to sin. We can now obey God. We are born again. We do, out of love.
The Bible says that true love is keeping God’s commandments. True love fulfills the law. We do not kill someone because we love them. Not because it is on a list of do’s and don’ts. Jesus took the law, which could not change our hearts, and took it to a spiritual level, he dealt with internal. God looks on the inside. God changes us inside which transforms us outwardly. The law could not change us, it could not change our identity, it could not change our hearts. It is possible to keep many aspects of the law outwardly, while breaking them in our hearts. This is what Jesus dealt with on the sermon on the mount – Matthew 5 – 7. You may not physically murder someone, but you can murder them in your heart. God wants to change your heart, not just polish the exterior. This is what Jesus said repeatedly of the Pharisees in Matthew 23, they were all about outward show but in reality inwardly they were full of sin, deceit, lies. New leaves wither. The only real change you will ever have will be by having Christ’s Spirit inside you, which does change you.
Now many people will point to laws such as stoning the rebellious son. Most people (not all, there are always genuine people) who would argue this way are just doing what Satan does, pulling verses out of context, because they are not really interested in God and what God says, and fail to rightly divide the word of truth. Firstly, I would ask you – do you have a better way than God? The world as it is is a mess. Sure, we can live in our protected bubble, our little fantasy reality, our comfort zone, where things are going nicely, but really if you see the real world a world of sin, pain, violence, suffering, grief, turmoil, murder, rape, poverty, inequality we see that man’s way fails. Are you bold enough to say you have a better way than God? Do you know more than your own Creator? Do you have the audacity to put your righteousness of his righteousness? God gives account of himself to no man. He is not subject to us. He does not need your approval. He does not and will not explain himself to you. God reveals himself to the humble and broken spirit, not to the proud and haughty heart.
To the point though, the law shows us the supreme, complete and utter holiness of God. It shows us the penalty for our sins. It shows us what we deserve. It condemns our filthy flesh. It shows the authority of God over his creation. When the Israelites stoned an adulteress, they were not meant to see how righteous they were, but rather how righteous God is. We all deserve to be stoned. We see the seriousness of sin. But then Jesus came. We first had to see the penalty before we could appreciate God’s provision. If we did not have the law, we wouldn’t have seen the need for a Saviour. He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. Jesus was not excusing her sin, he said sin no more to the woman. But what Jesus was revealing was the hypocrisy of her accusers, they were all as guilty as she was. Jesus knew their hearts, he knows what is in man. The law should not make us self righteous, it should make us thankful for our Saviour, and pleading of his mercy and grace. We are all sinners. We all deserve eternal hell fire. We are utterly filthy. We hate in our hearts. We murder with our tongues. We deceive our neighbor. We do seemingly good things for selfish glory. We love vanity. We devote our lives to things that don’t matter. We don’t truly care about others. We don’t love our brother. We laugh at the very notion of God. We scoff at his way. We are offended by him.
Jesus forgives us. Jesus has mercy. John says that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Come to Jesus for mercy and grace today, and he will save you. And after he gives you eternal life, he will give you life more abundantly. Jesus will set you free. He will make you free indeed.