Friday, July 31, 2009

The Spirit of the Law - Part 8

The Law Has Been Magnified

The Scriptures directly address the assertion that Christians must keep the law.

"But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave NO such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.

For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." Acts 15:5-29

Some were claiming that Gentiles had to be circumsized and "keep the law". However, the Apostles were clear that they had given "NO such commandment".

Not only were the Apostles themselves not attempting to keep the Old Testament laws, but they specifically stated that the Gentiles are not commanded to either.

Let that sink in for a minute.

When considering the Old Covenant law, it was good in the eyes of the Holy Spirit that neither the Apostles nor any other Christian be exhorted to keep the law.

In fact, the Apostles said that efforts to get them to keep the law were done to "subvert their souls".

Further, when they took the time to decide what commands should be given, did the listing of these "necessary things" include keeping the law? No.

Was there an implicit assumption that the people just knew they had to keep the law? NO. Why? Because no such commandment had been given, not implicitly nor directly.

There was NO command to keep the law.

If we have been born again to allow us to keep the law, then why is this not mentioned? When considering what things were "necessary" for Christians to do, why deny any requirement to keep the law if in fact there IS a requirement to keep the law?

The Scriptures tells us that the law has passed away, been done away with, disanulled, taken away, and has ended for those who are in Christ.

Does this make us lawless? No.

It places us under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus where we obey Jesus' commands by nature, not because we hold to a letter, but because we are made new in the Spirit.

According to Scripture, those who point you back to the law are attempting to subvert your souls (Acts 15:24), are adulterers in trying to be "married" to both covenants at one time (Romans 7:3), and are in bondage (Galatians 4:24).

The law being spiritual means that it addresses or deals with the inner man. That is what Jesus did when He magnified the law.

"The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable." Isaiah 42:21

To magnify means to "make larger", to "increase", to "broaden", to "grow up", to make more "excellent". When something is magnified, you focus in on the minute components of that substance, not just the physical, outward appearance.

Jesus "magnified" the law by delving past the letter (outward appearance) and getting to its true underlying composition, the Spirit.

So, some will ask, what does it mean to obey the law of the Spirit? There are examples provided throughout the Scriptures.

As we look at these examples, consider which law deals with the fruit of sin versus the root of sin.

The law says put no gods before Him; the Spirit commands us to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The law says to just make no carved images or idols; the Spirit commands that we bear His image in our inward man.

The law says not to use God's name in vain; the Spirit says only those who are born again belong to Him.

The law says reserve one day to rest and honor Him; the Spirit calls us to enter into His rest as a living sacrifice so that He can work through us every day.

The law says to honor your mother and your father; the Spirit says our brothers and sisters in Christ are our family members.

The law says avoid committing murder; the Spirit says not to be unjustly angry.

The law says not to commit adultery; the Spirit says do not lust in our hearts.

The law says do not take what belongs to others; the Spirit says give what we have for the benefit others.

The law says do not lie; the Spirit says keep your word in all things.

The law says do not covet what others have; the Spirit says take no thought for your life.

Do you see how the law is magnified or made larger by Jesus?

Jesus never drew man's attention to the letter, which was only a shadow of the fullness of God's love. He would frequently quote the law and say, "you have heard..." and then expound upon the true meaning behind the law saying, "but I say unto you...".

He always contrasted the letter of the law against the Spirit of the law in an effort to get the people to appreciate this difference, but many could never see past the letter.

Remember, sin is not an outward act. Sin starts in the heart. Once sin has been dealt with at the source (in the heart of man), there is no need for an outward constraint on man's actions because a man's actions will always be the fruit or manifestation of what is in his heart.

The hardest thing for people to accept is that the law of the Spirit is not a set of rules and regulations, it is a life laid down for Jesus so that He can live.

The law of the Spirit requires us to be constantly looking to, listening for, submitting to, and following God. It moves us past performance and into relationship. Again, this is what God has been after, an intimate relationship with man...and such cannot be accomplished by the law.

The commandments we are urged to keep in the New Testament are not the Ten Commandments, for the Ten Commandments could never give man life. It is the commandment to love, which we can only do once we have been born again through faith in Jesus.

In Christ, we are finally able to do what we could never do by following the letter, give ourselves in love to God so that the Spirit of His law can be fulfilled in us as He lives through us.

Spirit of the Law Series
The 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


  1. Thank you so much for the clarity in which you have explained the nature of the law of the Spirit and its place in the life of the believer. I myself was an Adventist (7th Day) for many years and am personally aquainted with the never ending struggle that one endures in trying to keep the law. It was a huge shock to find out the many scriptural errors the denomination holds and the fact that they interpret the Bible through the writings of so called anointed teachers mainly Ellen White. The person who put the Jayzee and the freemason connetion video together is definately an adventist, especially recognised by the unique endtime scenario they hold. There are many sincere belivers there who are struggling but dont know why, so intricate are the errors that they are not readily detected. Please pray for them, that God will build a foundation under them so that when the errors are revealed they will not lose their faith in Him. It has taken me 3 years to come to a greater understanding and at times I do waver thinking that I need to keep all the ten commandments literally. This series has helped consolidate me in the truth. Thank you and God bless you all.

  2. Brilliant. Thank you. I knew this subconsciously from the time I was born again - and have even written on the subject - but I've been absolutely bombarded by legalism over the past few weeks and needed some clarity - sometimes you can read Romans 30 times but still be lured by the words of men.

    Let me know if there's ever anything I can help you with (obviously not doctrine!) @

    God bless you.

    1. Hi Ben,

      I am glad this series could help you and confirm what God has already shown you in the matter. I love how the Lord does that! I do believe that we will continue to see a sharp rise in legalism as the great falling away continues. The only option for religious people who forsake Christ (or don't want to go all the way with Him) is legalism. It is a psuedo-holiness that appeals to the flesh whereby repentance crucifies the flesh.

      Thank you for the offers of assistance. I cannot say that my doctrine is foolproof, but I only post what I sincerely believe. If there are errors, I trust that God will make that plain, either directly or through the brethren. So never hesitate to share your thoughts, whether they differ from what is posted here or not.

      God Bless you too!


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