If I can keep most of the law is it okay if I’m not perfect at it? Or can I work on the law a little bit at a time?

Gal 3:10; James 2:9-11

Gal 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Jas 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Mat 5:48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Deu 28:15  But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…

 

The idea that you can work towards law keeping a “little at a time” is not supported by the Scripture.  James says if you offend in one point, you are guilty of the whole of the law.  This is why Paul said that to be under the law is to be under the curse, because “cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the things that are written in the book of the law to do them.”

The law does promise blessings to those who can keep it, but it also promises curses on those who do not obey it.  The New Testament makes it clear that we are guilty of the whole law if we are in violation of a single point, and this means that if we are under the law, we are subject to the entirety of its curse.

Anyone who thinks that he will be blessed because of his law keeping is not thinking in line with what the scripture reveals about the purpose of the law.  I have been a Christian for 18 years, and have been led in and out of many environments that had strong theological error.  In all of these environments, the error had a central theme – that blessing would come as a result of law keeping and performance.

In some cases this error was blatant and extreme, and in other cases the error was much more subtle.  But it seems to one of the primary methods that Satan has used to try to damage my conscience and overturn my faith.

Christians often naively think that Satan just attacks with lusts and sinful things.  But as Christians these things don’t have the attraction to us they once did, and we have a sincere desire to follow the Lord.  So it seems that what he does is try to damage our relationship with God by putting us under a performance system, (under law).  He promises that if we’ll just do “x,y,z” we will receive blessing.

Over time we discover that all we experience is frustration, fear, guilt and condemnation.  These things damage our conscience and our bold approach to God.  This in turn damages our witness and our effectiveness as Christians, because we have lost the joy of being in God’s presence.  (The judgement of the law hurls us out of God’s presence in our experience because it destroys our confidence in which we approach Him!)

Eventually our view of the law has to line up with what Paul especially says about it.  That the law is not to be the “rule of life” for the Christian.  Its purpose is to expose the hopelessness of our condition apart from Christ.

Once we understand this and fully agree with the law’s judgement on the flesh, we need to get our eyes off the law.  The sooner the better, but we are naturally law oriented and our tendency is to stubbornly persist in legalism until the law does its full work of revealing our corruption to us.  Eventually though, in exhaustion, we will turn away from ourselves and to the Gospel which describes Christ as our hope!

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