but if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. [galatians 5:18]
in galatians it has been emphasized that we are not under the law–but it is important to understand that what happens when we are truly lead by the Holy Spirit, we go above and beyond what the letter of the law requires through Christ’s death on our behalf:
in the old testament God’s people are told not to commit adultery:
“if a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” [leviticus 20:10]
but in Christ we have a higher standard for purity.
“you have heard that it was said, ‘you shall not commit adultery.’ but i say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. [matt 5:27-28]
in the old testament God’s people are given a standard of giving:
so you shall also present a contribution to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. and from it you shall give the Lord’s contribution to aaron the priest. [numbers 18:28]
bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. [malachi 3:10]
but in Christ we have a higher standard of giving:
“woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. [matthew 23:23]
and he called his disciples to him and said to them, “truly, i say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. [mark 12:43]
do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [matthew 6:19-21]
in the old testament abraham is commanded to practice circumcision:
this is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: every male among you shall be circumcised [genesis 17:10]
but in Christ we have a higher standard of circumcision:
him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. [colossians 2:11-12]
we will stop asking questions like “how far can we go and not sin?” and “what is the exact number i should give to the church?”, “is this thing ‘technically’ sin?” when we saturate in the Word, searching the scriptures, praying diligently, walking by the Spirit and living a life of confession of repentance, becoming aware more and more of the depth of our sin and the height of God’s glory!
if we live a life of bowing our knee in submission to God, if we live day by day in the Spirit, we stop “checking the box” and “technically” following the law and really press into the goodness that God has for us in obedience. there is more, more, more–we are not under the law, we are over and above it because we are seeking God who fulfills every iota of it in Christ!
“do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; i have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
soli Deo gloria!
~ conor eastman