The Law of Christ

The “Law of Moses” could not free anyone from the power of sin or compel us to be righteous through coercion or threats. Paul says that particular Law actually stirred up more sin.

So, if the “Law of Christ” can free us from another law, it means it is much stronger than the old law. Which reminds me of Christ speaking about “plundering” the strong man, but only after overcoming and binding him (Mark 3:27). Some take this to mean that sin literally no longer has power over us and we “cannot sin” in the truest sense of the word, according to their interpretation of 1 John 3:9 and Paul’s declaration in Romans 6.

But, we are also told that the Law of Christ sets us free from condemnation AND the law of sin and death. The “law of sin and death” IS the Law of Moses, correct? Isn’t that what Paul was emphasizing in Romans 7?

So, we are no longer under the condemnation that comes as a result of breaking Moses’ Law, our natural inclination, but the law of Christ is the OT law fulfilled for us in Christ and we are freed from it’s implied punishments. Which means we are released from spiritual death, because, obviously, no one is freed from physical death.setfree

So, when we do sin, does that imply we are temporarily “slaves” of the flesh? I struggle with where the line is drawn in Paul’s statement that says “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? ” (Romans 6:16 ESV)

When do we cease being slaves of Christ and become slaves of sin? Is there a specific tally or type of sin that causes us to switch masters? Or are we truly “free” and simply trapped in bodies that want to sin? I believe that is the case, especially when we consider Paul’s conclusions at the end of Romans 7, “So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” and again “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:23 ESV)

It was a great enlightenment to me to see that Paul emphasizes that what counts, and is evidence of our salvation, is whether or not we are spiritually MINDED. The emphasis is no longer on what we do, but on what we honestly WANT to do, don’t you think? A carnal and unregenerate sinner doesn’t want to be righteous and doesn’t care if he sins, as long as he can postpone any consequences. Those who are in Christ DO want to be righteous and hate and detest it when they sin through their flesh.

The attitude of our hearts (our true mindset and interests) is what Paul says is what counts as righteousness, because only the Spirit of God can affect such a change of mind. This change of the mind is the effect of the Law of Christ.

Being spiritually minded is what makes you a Christian. If you are not spiritually minded, then you do not have the Spirit of God. You are still a slave to the flesh, who has not been set free in Christ.

Do you agree?

Note: This post is actually a rather lengthy response to an article on Scott Shifferd’s site .

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11 responses to this post.

  1. “Being spiritually minded is what makes you a Christian.”

    What makes me a Christian is that I am declared righteous for Jesus sake…and that I trust that declaration (by Jesus)on my behalf.

    Is my trusting, being “spiritually minded”?

    I guess it is, in a sense. But since He is the One that gives me the capacity to believe it, I like to give Him all the credit.

    I am spiritually minded because He has given me the mind of Christ, even as my own mind rebels against HIm.

    Saint and Sinner at the same time.

    Good post!

  2. I agree, Steve, with one change to your statement: “I am spiritually minded because He has given me the mind of Christ, even as my own FLESH rebels against Him.”

    If your mind is against Christ then you are not saved. (Romans 8:7) That is the point of my article; your mind is what is renewed when you are born again (Romans 12:12). What the Bible refers to as “your heart” is literally your mind, the seat of your thoughts and emotions.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean our physical brains!

  3. PK,

    I’ll buy that!

    I think you are absolutely right.

  4. Posted by randellcraiger on July 16, 2009 at 5:41 am

    Hi Steve,

    You raise some good and interesting points; ones I have pondered quite a bit too. Those who think otherwise are often the ones attempting to be righteous by their deeds and by their law-keeping. Please note, I am not saying we just do as we please, but lets be honest..no matter how well we live up to the laws, we still ALL fall short. Thank God for sending His Son to do what we could not do then nor do now. It is really sad that so many people today within the Church of Christ live their Christian life from a standpoint of performance.

    Thanks,
    Randy

  5. Amen, Randy!

    Thank the Lord we are judged by our attitudes and what we do is balanced against that. Praise God for grace!

  6. Posted by coreydavis on July 20, 2009 at 8:49 am

    This is a difficult topic, and the answer may not be as black-and-white as we wish it would be. Look at this:

    1 Corinthians 6: 9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    The difference, it seems to me, is in those who actively live in such conditions as listed above and those who occasionally fall to temptation. I think that is what the Hebrews writer was getting at when he wrote:

    For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (10:26)

    Even with good intentions, we will not always do what we should. Thankfully we have Jesus to cleanse us when such occurs. However, when we give up trying and just hope we’re covered anyway, we are mistaken. There is no sacrifice remaining to cover us then. That is scary, but undeniably true.

  7. I agree with your clarification Corey. I re-read my comment above, and am afraid that I appear to say as long as we have a good attitude it doesn’t matter what we do. What I meant to say is that while God does judge us by the attitude of our hearts, one cannot willfully sin and consider themselves judged righteous unless they repent with godly sorrow for their rebellion. Peter seemed to doubt that Simon the sorcerer would find repentance because of his heart condition. And the Hebrews author warns us agaianst becoming hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, which could damn us, I believe.

    I appreciate your input, brother.

  8. Posted by coreydavis on July 22, 2009 at 5:02 am

    Steve – Just so you know, I never thought you meant that a good attitude trumps whatever actions we might take. I was just trying to post scriptures that would show us where the line appears to be drawn.

    I think your point is important though – that those with a good heart will stumble, yet they will strive to correct their problems.

  9. Coreydavis,

    Christians do not live in sin.We do not throw ourselves into sin. But we do stumble (in my case everyday).

    But He gives us a repentant heart.

    Thanks!

  10. Posted by sreneetn1 on July 24, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Steve,

    Thanks for this post –
    and the comments were just as enriching.

    sherry

  11. Sherry, sister, it’s good to hear from you again! I have worried a bit about you and have prayed for you. I do stop in at Faith Defenders once in a while, so you may find me there sometimes.

    Thanks for the comment!

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