The principle of “law” is ingrained in the very flesh of men. Yet the same flesh is described as lawless, disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. On the one hand men love “law” and on the other despise it. This is clearly seen in the self-love which men demonstrate daily. The same man who will steal something from another man will react with anger when something is stolen from him. The same man who expects forgiveness from those who he has wronged will demand satisfaction from those who have wronged him.
Paul describes this scenario in the first chapter of Romans, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” (Rom 2:14-15) It is for this reason that he said, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” (Rom 2:1)
Is it any wonder that man in his religious flesh supposes that the sin of men can somehow be abrogated or remedied by the means of law and turns to the law of Moses for that purpose? This very tendency has been clearly demonstrated from the earliest days of the New Testament Church and continues on to the present time by those who are not quite clear as to the weakness of that law and the utter impossibility of that law of sin and death ever being a means whereby sin is mitigated or diminished in any sense.
We are convinced that the Law is good, righteous, and holy, but we are equally convinced that it cannot do anything for men except manifest their sin, simply because men are weak in the flesh and sinners by nature and choice. Religious men suppose that they can keep the law in some fashion. Few men would testify that they keep it perfectly, but they generally suppose that the keeping of it in part is of greater benefit than not keeping it at all. Yet the truth of the matter is that if the law is broken in one point it is completely broken and any supposed benefit is forfeited.
This is the exact lesson that the LORD taught the rich young ruler who supposed that he had kept the law from his youth. Yet the LORD plainly told him he was far from “perfect”. When the LORD is pleased to reveal HIS law to men, it always brings sorrow, because it always reveals their sin. Paul testified of this when he said, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Rom 7:5-11)
The LORD ordained the law, not as a standard whereby a man might gauge his relative morality, but rather as a display of his sin. We must keep in mind that the law is given for the unrighteous. In this manifestation it has served as a “schoolmaster” to bring us to CHRIST, who ALONE is the REMEDY for sin. All reliance on the law must be forsaken if a man truly grasps the extent of his problem and the necessity and success of that REMEDY.
Laying a foundation of moral principles in our homes for our children’s sake is a noble undertaking, even as was demonstrated in the life of Timothy, (see I Tim.3:15) For indeed “all scripture is profitable.” But it is sheer folly to think that this teaching will in some measure curb their natural appetite for sin any more than the broadcasting of it from the housetops will reduce crime in the nation. Unless the LORD is pleased to apply that law in the conviction of sin, it will fall upon deaf ears and only serve to stir up the wickedness of the flesh, and enable a self-righteous spirit as was demonstrated by the life of Paul, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, as touching the law blameless. (see Phil. 3:6) “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2Cor 3:6)
Religion and morality go hand in hand and are both quite appealing to the flesh, yet neither is a substitute for a work of grace wrought in a man by the operation of the SPIRIT of GOD. Well-meaning men often suppose that the teaching of morality will serve as a remedy for sin, yet the truth is that only CHRIST can do helpless sinners good. There is no true REMEDY for sin besides that which is the work of CHRIST and the teaching of the law in its letter only reinforces self-righteousness because of the weakness of the flesh. Even as Paul declared to the Galatians, “Are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal 3:3) So are we opposed to the declaration of the law? Of course not, so long as it is not laid upon the free born sons of GOD as a yoke (which neither they nor their fathers could bear), thinking that their walk with CHRIST will somehow be enhanced or they will become more “spiritual” as a result.
Sin produces several maladies which beset the sons of Adam, and CHRIST has indeed purchased healing for all of them in the behalf of HIS elect bride, by the shedding of HIS blood on Calvary’s cross.
The penalty of sin. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Eze 18:20) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Gal 3:13) Indeed HE has become sin for us and paid our debt.
A self-righteous spirit. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” (Phi 2:5-9) As Paul said, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal 6:14)
The guilt and condemnation of sin. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Heb 9:14-15) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:1-2)
The unrestrained practice of sin. “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” (1John 3:5-6) “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1Cor 6:11-12)mam