Archives- Jerusalem Council
Scripture Reference: Acts 15:1-11
A. No one was ever saved by the law
B. The gospel has no add-ons
Scripture Reference: Acts 15:27-29
C. But how you live matters...a lot
THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT
By Ashley Bumgarner
When we think “law,” we think rules. There’s so many rules. There’s countless levels of instruction, and a heap of books full of teachings. There were 613 laws and ordinances at the time of Jesus. But what if all of these things, from the beginning of time until now, were removed? We would be lacking direction. There would be no resources or guidance. We would endlessly circle our mistakes in bewilderment as to our next decision.
“Do I, don’t I, should I, can I?”
The questions are endless.
Thank God for His law to the Israelites! His people were pulled from a place of darkness that corrupted their understanding. They had no direction and their only guide, Moses, seemed a fool in their eyes. They fought tooth and nail to have their way. They rebelled, cursed, and complained against the very God that delivered them from bondage. Oh, how we have not changed in our flesh! We have grumbled, complained, rebelled, behaved immorally, lived in drunkenness, sought after the things of this world, and turned away from our Savior. Thank you, Jesus, for delivering us from the law of the flesh and transferring us to the Law of the Spirit.
If we live by the Spirit, we must keep in step with the Spirit. How does a soldier fight a war without instruction? He must be instructed. He must be led by his Commander in Chief. The Law of the Spirit is no longer written upon tablets of stone, but now is written upon the hearts of those in Christ Jesus. We are now being instructed unto righteousness. The law has been fulfilled in Christ Jesus. The punishment and curses of the law have fallen upon Jesus in His flesh. No more do we have the bondage of the law.
However, brothers and sisters, God does expect us to obey Him. Galatians 5:19-21 states that if we are quick to run to sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and many forms of disobedience, then we grieve the Holy Spirit by whom we are sealed for the day of redemption. We are subject to the law of the flesh if we disobey the law of the Spirit. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. This is not freedom to live as we once lived according to our sinful lusts, but to live by the Spirit and the peaceable fruit of righteousness; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. By these things, there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23) If we truly say we have Christ in us, then we will turn away from our sins and press toward the higher call of Jesus Christ.
We mustn’t do away with the righteousness of the law that comes through Jesus Christ. We must understand we did not, nor ever will obtain righteousness apart from Jesus Christ. He has filled all and all things are His. The Holy Spirit is the one doing the work in you to bring you to completion and, ultimately, perfection. You are unable in and of yourself to make this possible. But God has mercifully given you His righteousness. If you sin, quickly repent and turn from your sin. Go, and sin no more. Do not disregard what the law has said, for this will lead to destruction; the law is summed up by two commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Questions To Ponder
- If the law doesn’t save, then what was it’s purpose?
- What does it mean that Jesus fulfills the law?
- What sorts of add-ons do people put on the gospel?
- What are some things that aren’t sinful but would be wise to avoid for other reasons?
- How does the way you live your life affect others?