4

I found myself at a bewilderment when, yesterday during our Prayer/Bible study group, a member of the group started teaching us the concept of "We are the living law".

His reasoning/support behind this?

  • Christ died and fulfilled the Law, but it's not done away with.

  • We are appointed to die once, and when we accept Christ we experience that death and have "the righteous blood [of Christ] applied [to us]."

There were a few other points I can't recall at the moment, but I will edit the question if I remember.

My question is - are there any denominations that teach this doctrine? I found this particular teaching very uncomfortable, as the "head" if our group. I apologize if this question is unclear. If there are edits to be made, do please suggest them.

In short, I'm curious if there is a biblical basis for this teaching - and if so - if there are any other denominations that teach this.

  • 2
    I've heard variations on this a couple times but nothing consistent enough to pin down. It could be coming from somewhere, but when I've questioned it there has been nothing but really shaky exegesis of bits of verses like "dead to sin". I've yet to run across it fleshed out and agreed on by any group, but that doesn't mean its not out there. – Caleb Mar 7 '15 at 15:30
  • As have I. I recall now, when I asked for his Scriptural support (as I tend to do, for everything), he became increasingly irritable to the point of talking over me to tell me how wrong I was. Naturally, this isn't the kind of behavior I find acceptable from any Christian. Hence my question for a biblical basis. (Sorry if this comment appears chatty) – Jesse Mar 7 '15 at 16:47
2

Your nemesis(!) is at least partially right. Doctrinally, at least from an Evangelical perspective, he or she is spot on. The person's behavior, on the other hand, is far from Christ-like.

Paul is quite clear in Romans that the Law of God is a good thing (as Martha Stewart is wont to say--except she leaves out the words about God's Law):

So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good (7:12).

He also is clear about the role God's Law is to play in the lives of believers.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin. He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit
(Romans 8:2-4, NASB, my italics)

Put differently, this time in Jeremiah's words,

"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will plant the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the offspring of men and of animals. Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant," declares the LORD. "In those days people will no longer say, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes--his own teeth will be set on edge. "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, " declares the LORD. "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"
(31:27-33 my italics)

And in Ezekiel's words,

"For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws"
(36:26 ff., NIV, my italics)

In this Age of Grace in which we live, the Holy Spirit empowers us to fulfill the Law's just requirements. We are not to be antinomianists (i.e., people who consider themselves free from the Law of God, since we're "saved by Grace"), having the attitude, "Hey, the more I sin, the more gracious God will be!" To that statement, Paul would lend us his emphatic, "By no means!" or "God forbid!" (see Romans 6:1 ff.).

The point Paul and others make in this regard is this: While we cannot earn our salvation by fulfilling the Law of God--for then, our salvation would be of works and not of faith, we have been freed from the curse attached to our disobedience to the Law.

"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
(Ezekiel 18:4)

We have been freed from fulfilling the just requirements of the Law for our salvation. Jesus made this freedom possible through his shed blood. On the other hand, we have not been freed from fulfilling the just requirements of the Law in the power of the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us once we are regenerated. The former has to do with salvation. The latter has to do with sanctification.

In other words, we cannot be saved by obeying the Law, because whoever has committed one sin (or a million sins)--and we all have--"shall die." We can, however, prove to ourselves and others that we are indeed saved by fulfilling the Law's just demands through our way of life as followers of Jesus Christ. For Christ has set us free for this very purpose, since He fulfilled every single one of the Law's just requirements as the sinless and spotless Lamb of God. That is why he could be the perfect sacrifice for sin.

In conclusion, your "friend" is correct, doctrinally. In his obligation to live a life of love, he is sadly lacking. Go to him or her in private, in keeping with Matthew 5:23-24 and Matthew 18:15-18. Best wishes to you!

  • 1
    I like your answer, rhetorician. However, there are many points missed in your argument our other "congregation" members bring up. We are not antinomianists btw. First is Romans 10:4, which clearly states Christ is the end of the law. Jumping back in Romans 2:12 we see Paul state all who sin apart from the law will perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. He also tells us in Galatians 2:16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. – Jesse Mar 7 '15 at 20:06
  • I have +1'd since it provides... somewhat of a scriptural basis. But I haven't chosen this as an answer because the verses cited in your answer are easily shown to not be so in our day by Paul (refer above, we do not observe the law, for it has ended) as well as Jesus' great commandment in Mark & Matthew. To emphasize, I don't believe in antinomianism because we are told not to sin, regardless of the law being gone. – Jesse Mar 7 '15 at 20:08
  • 1
    @Jesse: As usual, I didn't make myself clear enough. First, I do not accuse you and/or your church of being antinomianists. Only those Christians who live like hell because they figure they aren't bound by God's commands once they are saved by God's grace are antinomianists. You and your church aren't like that, are you? Second, the "end of the Law" is ONLY "the end of the Law" as a MEANS of salvation" (Gal 2:16). We're justified by God IN SPITE OF our law-breaking ways. Once saved and indwelt by the H.S., we "flesh out" obedience to God's Law both IN and BY the Spirit's power. Big difference – rhetorician Mar 8 '15 at 16:55
  • 2
    We are free from the law in regard to observing its requirement in order to be saved, but now, by the power of the Holy Spirit we are also free from practicing sin and falling under the judgement of the law. everything the law called wrong is still wrong. The law was a pointer to our sinful nature and our need for a savior: a school master, that kept the people in waiting for the coming of the redeemer. – alainlompo Mar 15 '15 at 16:29
  • 1
    Well thought out answer and very solid scriptural basis @rhetorician. Great comment @alainlompo! I would add, the write of Hebrews, believed to be the Apostle Paul quotes from Jeremiah 31 in Hebrews 8:10. – user3558931 Mar 21 '15 at 2:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.