At the heart of the LORD’s teaching and example unto the sons of men, is the clear and unequivocal message of humility before GOD and one another. “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.” (Php 2:6-8)
No trait (i.e.; humility) is more at odds with the nature of men than this. A hatred of humility is at the heart of Adam’s transgression of the LORD’s simple commandment and the innate pride of men manifests itself in their continued rebellion against HIM. Men will always exalt their own free will above the Law of GOD, and feel that they have the “right” to do as they please, in disregarding the revelation of GOD HIMSELF and of the precepts which HE has set forth for men to follow. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” (Rom 1:20-23)
Thus, they have been given over to the lusts of their flesh and they will pursue their own interests in satisfying those lusts. Whether it be through the profligacy and concupiscence of their basest desires or it be in the pursuit of religion of all sorts, men will not submit themselves to GOD. “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Rom 3:11-12)
The Law of GOD has been set forth before men, long before, it was codified in tables of stone, which were delivered to Moses upon Mt. Sinai for the children of Israel. This Law is summed up in two principles by the LORD. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40) According to Paul this Law is written upon the hearts of men and they are without excuse before GOD. (see Rom.2:12-16) Men cannot escape the witness of the glory of GOD which surrounds them in creation even though they rebel against it with many philosophies. Nor can they deny that they desire for others to love them even though they may choose not to love those same fellow men. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom.3:20) This is the Law by which all men shall be judged. None shall escape its condemnation for they are all without excuse.
Thus, we find men in a predicament from which they have no escape. Their problem is not in an ignorance of the Law of GOD but rather the very root of their mind and heart which cannot and will not submit to the WAY of GOD. The gospel of the glory of the blessed GOD reveals (i.e.; “brings life and immortality to light”) the purpose of GOD to redeem those which HE chose in CHRIST from before the foundation of the world. The only begotten SON of GOD has come into the world made in the likeness of sinful flesh, to fulfill this purpose in manifesting HIMSELF as the REDEEMER of sinners. Yet left to themselves; those for whom HE has purchased an everlasting salvation could never have any knowledge or appreciation for it. They would wander in darkness even as others who have no hope, blind to the unfolding of HIS Kingdom and still a rebel against HIS precepts.
The LORD explained this dilemma to Nicodemus as HE set forth the only manner in which any man might find himself reconciled to GOD. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7) HE went on to explain the “spiritual transformation” that must take place in order for a man to “enter” this Kingdom. Paul describes it thusly, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Cor 5:17) This is that “work of the SPIRIT”, which “blows” upon the sons of GOD, giving them “LIFE” from above. They have no power to cause this WIND to blow, nor can they prevent it, yet this event leaves a telltale witness as they are caused to submit themselves unto their MASTER gladly.
Paul describes the blessed state that they are brought into which is quite in contrast to that state which they found themselves in “by nature”. “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 principle of “sin and death” was their constant companion when they “walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph 2:2) Condemnation hid behind every corner even though they were oblivious to it. Whereas they were then ungrateful, they are now, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:12-14)
Now we are certain that in all of these “changes” which occur in the lives of the sons of GOD, the Law of GOD has not and does not change. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”(Rom 3:31) We are equally certain that CHRIST has fulfilled that law in its jot and tittle, for those for whom HE came as a REDEEMER. The Law could never minister LIFE and apart from the work of CHRIST we would perish in weakness. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:3-4)
There is an abiding sense of guilt to all of those who are yet “under the Law” for the Law only has the power to reveal sin and minister condemnation as Paul said, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor 15:56-57) To be “under the Law” as a man would sit at the base of Sinai with its fire and smoke, is a place of bondage where all who are not in the LIGHT which comes from Calvary must of necessity be. CHRIST does not leave HIS people trembling before the Law, but rather performs in them that which the Law could never do. The Law says “do this and live” but the gospel says, “live for CHRIST has done this.”
There is a profound difference in walking in obedience to CHRIST because the Law demands it and walking in obedience because it is the delight of those who have been made willing bondslaves to CHRIST their REDEEMER. There is no shortage of those who press the Law upon the sons of GOD as a “requirement” which they “must” perform, and many religious men dutifully go about (even as the rich young ruler) to keep that Law. We certainly have no quarrel with any who desire to walk in CHRIST’s precepts, for we understand that such is the delight of those who have been constrained by the love of CHRIST. Yet those who are made new creatures in CHRIST operate upon a different principle which is illustrated by the widow who cast her last two mites into the treasury of the temple. She was not constrained by any requirement of Law, but rather by the desire which was given her to honor the ONE who taught her to love HIS way above all else. Is this not the happy servitude of those whose MASTER has called them from darkness to LIGHT. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23)