In summary, the Scriptures show that ALL of the law, including the Ten Commandments are done away with in Christ so that we may be free to serve in the Spirit of the law and not the letter. This is important because if we are trying to meet the letter of the law, we are not grasping the fullness of what God is after with us.
Since this started with my daughter, I thought it would be fitting to end with her.
Let’s say I give my daughter a checklist of things to do to clean her room. Vacuum, make the bed, wash dirty clothes, put up your toys, clean the windows, etc. When she does those things, she will be in compliance with what I have asked. But are these specific tasks REALLY what I am after? No. I really just want her to clean her room.
But, if I just said “clean your room” without giving the specific examples, she may not do even the minimum of what I am after. The instruction to just “clean your room” won’t produce what I am after because her standards for what is clean will not meet my standards.
So, I have to give her examples. I have to identify for her specific tasks that help her understand what I mean by “cleaning her room.”
Left in that condition, the list could become a crutch to her. It is predictable and unchanging, but requires less accountability & responsibility. If I come in and say, “Your closet is a mess! Why didn’t you straighten it up?” She could always say, “That wasn’t on the list!”
But, what if I could impart to her my understanding of what this means?
Then I could just say, “clean your room” and because my nature was reflected in her, she could go about accomplishing what I really want: a clean room. I could now put away the list, because she understands the heart of what I am after.
My preference is not for her to have a checklist of tasks, but to look around seeing what needs to be done in order for her room to be tidy…and do that! Does not having a list mean that she is free not to clean? No, in fact it means the exact opposite. It means that she is now even MORE accountable for completing the task according to my standards than she was before.
Fulfilling the spirit behind my command to clean her room requires her to know me; to know what I like and dislike, and to even see things as I see them.
She would never fully understand what I am after if all she could see is a list of specific tasks. This is what happened with the Ten Commandments in the minds of many people.
Even though God commanded man to “love Him”, man’s sinful nature made that impossible. Therefore, God – through the Ten Commandments and the rest of the law – gave examples of what it means to love God until His remedy for sin could be manifested. However, God's REAL objective was always for man to love Him and thereby love others.
God crucified His only begotten Son, so that we could finally fulfill His commandments for us to love by being born again. Now we can be perfected, not because we follow a list of commands, but because we follow Jesus Christ who IS perfect and who allows us to know God; know what He likes & dislikes and even see things as He sees them.
Now - being converted in our inner man - God can say, “love me” and we not only understand what He means by that, but He has equipped us to live in that through the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Being under the law of the Spirit is a much higher calling than obeying a list of commands because it requires us to look to God for everything; it requires us to get in touch with God’s heart. It requires us to follow Him.
It would be a shame - once my daughter has my character reflected in her, and she understands what I mean by cleaning her room - for her to return to having her actions dictated by the list. In doing so, she is shirking away from the full responsibility of which I have called her to walk in. She is downgrading her accountability to do what I have asked. Yet, she will be without excuse. For she and I will both know that she knows better.
Spirit of the Law SeriesThe Spirit of the Law – Part 1, Are Christians Under the Law?
The Spirit of the Law – Part 2, What the New Testament Says About the Law
The Spirit of the Law – Part 3, Jesus Fulfilled the Law
The Spirit of the Law – Part 4, Christians Must Still Follow the Ten Commandments
The Spirit of the Law – Part 5, God Says “Keep My Commandments”
The Spirit of the Law – Part 6, All of God's Commandments
The Spirit of the Law – Part 7, Love, the Fulfillment of the Commandment
The Spirit of the Law – Part 8, The Law Has Been Magnified
The Spirit of the Law - A Summary