The Law Is Dead!

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Pastor Mark Mikels – August 9, 2009
“THE LAW IS DEAD!”
(Colossians 2:13-14)

Intro … Last week, in conjunction with our Firstfruits Service, we focused our attention upon this Scripture taken from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthian Church …

“Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup
You proclaim the Lord’s death …”
(1 Corinthians 11:26)

Last week, in an introductory way, we “proclaimed” not only the fact of the Lord’s Death but also the fuller scope of blessings that His Death provides for those who are His. For the rest of this month, we will be examining those blessings in greater detail.

Keep in mind that these “blessings” can only be enjoyed by those who have been born-again through faith in Jesus Christ – Keep in mind also that not every born-again believer does in fact enjoy them. In fact, some Christians live as though these blessings don’t even exist. Thus, the importance of the “proclamation”.

Blessing #1 …
“When Jesus Died On The Cross, The LAW Died With Him.”
(Colossians 2:13-14)

Here’s how the Apostle Paul expressed it:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

In other words … “The Law Is Dead!”

Now that’s a big deal but in order to know just how big a deal it is, we need to know a few things about the Law.

Consider these four things …

* The Law ESTABLISHED The STANDARD
(Exodus 24:12; Joshua 1:8; Romans 10:5; Romans 2:14-15)

“The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here,
and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands
I have written for their instruction.” (Exodus 24:12)

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it
day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”
(Joshua 1:8)

“Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law:
“The man who does these things will live by them.”
(Romans 10:5)

“When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required
by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have
the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written
on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and
their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”
(Romans 2:14-15)

The Law established the standard by which mankind would be judged …
Its basic precepts are known and acknowledged by all men everywhere.

* The Law IDENTIFIED Us As SINNERS
(Deuteronomy 31:26; Romans 3:19-20, Romans 3:23)

“Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.”
(Deuteronomy 31:26)

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law,
so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law;
rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (Romans 3:19-20)

“… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
(Romans 3:23)

There is no one (other than Jesus) who has ever met the standard … there is no one who is actually ignorant of that fact … all men fail to live up to their understanding of the standard – they all fall short and they know it.

* The Law PREPARED Us For The SAVIOR
(Galatians 3:23-24)

“Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up
until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us
to Christ that we might be justified by faith..”

Like some kind of celestial sheriff, the law arrests and holds in bondage all who violate its precepts … it’s not a comfortable jail. It’s a place full of disappointment and regret. Each human being is assigned his own unique cell – held prisoner by standards that no man can keep. And there they wait some kind of rescue – a rescue that Jesus Christ came to provide.

* The Law CEASED With Christ’s SACRIFICE
(Galatians 3:25; Colossians 2:13-14)

“Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.”
(Galatians 3:25)

God’s goal all along was to bring man to a place where the Law would be no longer needed – to a place where internal principles for living have replaced the external precepts.

“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
(Jeremiah 31:33)

Just as an aside … that’s actually the goal of every person in authority … particularly Christians. Rules and regulations are only needed until the principles behind the rules have been internalized. The longer a person or an institution “lives by and relies upon rules” to achieve its purposes the less likely that that person or institution will ever reach responsible maturity. God’s goal is that His born-again children reach maturity so it was imperative that the life of external law come to an end.
And so once again the Scripture passage with which we began …

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed
to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

On the Cross of Jesus Christ, the Law that stood against us – the law that routinely condemned us – was itself put to death for us once and for all.

Thus Paul’s triumphant words in Romans chapter eight …

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life
set me free from the law of sin and death.

The Law in its Standards and its Practices pictured the Person and the Work of Jesus Christ … With His Coming its purpose was fulfilled and those who receive Him have no more need of it in their lives. In fact, if it remains, it can actually become a detriment to their growth in grace!

Here are two examples of what I mean:

* The Law Will Undermine The Believer’s LIFE Of LOVE
(Mark 12:30-31; John 13:34-35)

“The most important Commandment,” answered Jesus, “is this: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:30-31)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35)

Key Questions For A Child Of God …

How well am I expressing my love for my God and for my fellow man?
Am I developing more and more of a “heart relationship” with them?
Am I acting freely on the impulses of my heart as I respond to them?

The Law would undermine and de-rail that kind of thinking …

You see, the Law would seek to focus my attention upon the “things” that I am doing/or trying to “get done” …

And that attention upon “production” can cause me to see people as “tools to use”
to accomplish my tasks and “using” and “loving” are not the same thing.

A resurgent law can in fact lead to “legalism” … a form of Christianity that leads one more often toward rebellion than towards maturity.

There’s no question that the “Law” if allowed to direct my life, will undermine the “Life of Sincere Love” that Christ would have me lead.

Now there’s a second thing that follows closely behind the first …

* The Law Will Undermine The Believer’s SENSE Of WELL-BEING
(Colossians 2:16-23; Romans 8:15-17)

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility
and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in
restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:16-23)

Living according to a performance-based law and living under the critical eye of those who monitor it create incredible insecurity.

It’s like being the quarterback of an NFL football team – the only thing that matters to the fans is … “What have you done for me lately?”

The law with its unending judgment makes impossible any permanent sense of well-being …

I wake up every day having to “prove myself” all over again. There is little rest and even less satisfaction.

This is not what God intends for His Born-Again Children … for them the law has done its job … the insecurity that the law naturally creates has been most useful in bringing them to Christ but once they have found Christ the law’s work is done.

Here’s what God wants His Sons and Daughters to understand …

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ …”
(Romans 8:15-17)

Now it doesn’t get any better than that emotionally … to know that God has “declared us” to be His Children …

He includes us with Christ in the family embrace …
We are saved/We are secure/We are Forever HIS.

The Law can never provide that sense of well-being – The law is in fact designed to do just the opposite.

Is it any wonder that God “nailed the law to the cross” and allowed it to die right along with His Son!

Final Thot … God intends the LAW To STAY DEAD –
Don’t let it come BACK To LIFE!

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