I believe that one reason, if not the primary one, that believers fail to experience the abundant life and the victory that Jesus purchased for them is condemnation. More specifically, this is the condemnation that we feel from trying to live under law. Living under condemnation makes it nearly impossible to trust God and to walk in faith to experience His blessings.
The Jews had a law. In fact, there were 613 laws that they needed to keep. Each law, though an expression of God’s love, became muddied through human tradition and sin nature. The law of God, which Paul said was holy, just, and good, became an instrument in the hand of Satan to afflict God’s children with feelings of guilt, condemnation, and unworthiness. It is still the weapon of choice in the hand of the Accuser today. Satan does not need to personally destroy you; he does not have the power to do that. He is a powerless tyrant without a throne and without a kingdom. So how does he do it?
Satan is a master of deception. He takes God’s law and turns it on us. He uses it to accuse us of sin and inflict discouragement and condemnation. To try to live under the law, whether it be the old covenant law, or any rule- based relationship, is to forfeit God’s grace from working in our lives and sentence ourselves to life through our own abilities.
The Apostle Paul made a startling discovery in the book of Romans, which I want to share with you. I believe that this will be a key that helps you walk out of condemnation and into the grace to live a victorious and fulfilled life. In chapter 4 he says:
“Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 4:20
The Phillips translation makes this very clear:
“No man can justify himself before God by a perfect performance of the Law’s demands. Indeed, it is the straight edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are." Romans 4:20 Phillips Translation
The straight edge of the law shows us how crooked we are; however, the law can never straighten us out. The more we look into the law to make us straight the more discouraged we will become, and the more introspective and self-condemned we will be. In that state of introspection, it is nearly impossible to operate in faith.
So, what is the cure? I’m glad you asked. Paul gives the answer in chapter 7. Using an example from marriage, he explains that as long as a woman is married, to marry another man would be adultery. But if the husband dies, she is free to remarry.
To quote again from The Passion Translation, he goes on to say.
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, the same principle applies to your relationship with God. For you died to your first husband, the law, by being co-crucified with the body of the Messiah. So, you are now free to “marry” another—the one who was raised from the dead so that you may now bear spiritual fruit for God. When we were merely living natural lives, the law, through defining sin, actually awakened sinful desires within us, which resulted in bearing the fruit of death. ” Romans 6:4-5 TPT.
Living under law will sterilize you. You will experience no fruit, no joy, and no union. It is impossible to have a relationship with two pieces of stone. The 10 commandments, though the moral law of God, cannot in and of themselves make you moral and right, nor can they bring you into relationship with God. They do their job, which is to kill you. They kill your self-righteousness and condemn you as a law breaker.
But here is the Good News:
“But now that we have been fully released from the power of the law, we are dead to what once controlled us. And our lives are no longer motivated by the obsolete way of following the written code, so that now we may serve God by living in the freshness of a new life in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 7:6 TPT
Through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, the law’s condemnation of you was put to rest. The accusations that the enemy held over your head were cancelled and reversed. To live under law is to live under condemnation and to deny the reality of what Jesus did for you.
As a new covenant believer, we are set free from a written code and rule-based system. We are brought under a new government. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit and called to serve God in this new way of life in the Spirit. We are not lawless, but we now are free to live under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Which sets us free from the law of sin and of death (Romans 8:20).
So, what’s the answer? Honor the law and see it for what is- holy, just, and good. But never, and I mean never, make it the basis for your relationship with God. Never think that your ability to keep the law makes you one bit more loved and accepted before your Father. Never look to your performance to validate you in His sight.
~ Nate Tanner
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