The Law, Before & After Faith

The Law Before Faith:

No one could keep the Law, as Paul wrote,

Romans 7:7-11, 

7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”

8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 

9 And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; 

10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 

11 for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.

The Law which was to result in life, instead resulted in death, for rather than stopping sin, it enticed it, and sin became alive, which resulted in death for mankind. The grass is always greener on the other side to all of mankind because sin dwells in us and that sin draws us to the other side. The Law doesn’t draw us, the sin in us draws us away from the Law, that is, in contrast to the Law and in defiance of it.

For this reason, regardless of whatever good works we did, sin still dwelt in us, and would always raise its ugly head from time to time, and we could not prevent it because it was such an innate part of us. 

The Law After Faith:

When grace through faith was introduced to mankind sin took a backseat to righteousness because of one man, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Through Him, mankind may now have their sinful selves taken away and walk in the newness of life in the Holy Spirit. 

Although Jesus was sinless He became sin for us by hanging on a tree,  for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,” Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:22-23.

The sin in the flesh of each person was conquered on the cross of Christ, for He bore the sins of all mankind. We need only consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. If we do this with faith in the promises of God, He will lead us down a path where He will teach us obedience, as He did with Jesus (all who are without discipline are illegitimate children and not sons).

Now that we have been crucified with Christ, buried with Him through baptism, and raised with Him in heavenly places, we can turn away from our old selves and love others as God loves them. In so doing our works are now of the Spirit with whom we have been filled and we are led by Him through the works God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

These works are not mixed with sinful deeds because they come from the living God and not from ourselves. Our old man is of earth and has been crucified with Jesus and our new man is of heaven and is a part of the body of the risen Christ. And all things done in Christ are done by faith. 

Romans 6:5-7,

5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, 

6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; 

7 for he who has died is freed from sin.  

The Law still exists and will exist until the end of the creation for it applies to the lawless and sinners of all types. Those who follow Christ Jesus abide by another law, the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so prove themselves to be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves, James 1:25. This is also known as the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:2.

1 Timothy 1:8–11,

8 But we know that the Law is good if one uses it lawfully, 

9 realizing the fact that law is NOT made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers

10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 

11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

No one who abides in Christ sins. So, yes, if we walk by the Spirit we will not fulfill the desire of the flesh ( see Galatians 5:16), but if we walk by the flesh we cannot help but fulfill its desire (see Romans 7:19-21). This is why Jesus told us to abide in Him. Only in Him can we overcome the sin that dwells in us.

Romans 8:12–14,

12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—

13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.