As Christians, are we to keep the law?
Real Fulfillment: The Ricans
The day had come that we had to leave Belgium, and with it, my beloved mom, who is at a nursing home as a result of Alzheimer’s. We were feeling a little down, and we certainly didn’t expect the taxi driver’s gratefulness. He was a seventy-two years old gentleman who still enjoyed working to the best of his ability. When he found out we were Canadians, a tear slipped from one of his eyes and he told us the following with some emotion: “The Canadians are the ones who liberated us from the Germans! I was there when their tanks came into our town. I have only admiration for people like you. It wasn’t your war, but you still came to our rescue. Who knows where we would be now if you hadn’t come. From the depth of my heart I thank you.”
Sixty-three years after the fact, he was still grateful that unknown soldiers would give their lives to buy his freedom.
Michel Sardou, a French singer, dedicated a song to the Americans, called “Les Ricans”. He, too, felt indebted to the American soldiers who came all the way to Europe to free the people of France.
I am also grateful for the dedication of our armed forces, for those of you who put your lives on the line daily for our liberty. Way to go guys!
Like soldiers who died in the name of liberty in unknown regions of far-away countries, Jesus also died for our freedom. But unlike them, he knew and loved each of the ones he died for (See Heb 12:2), which included the entire world (See John 3:16). I still can’t believe His love for you and me. Never could anyone love me the way He does. That He would willingly die because He loves me so much and wants me to experience real living is beyond comprehension! He loves me completely. He loves me thoroughly! Love was and still is his motivation. He died for one thing and one thing alone: love for you and for me.
This is why Jesus’ new command involves all what He truly is: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
How can we say we are following in His footsteps if we don’t love those that He died for! And that includes our “archenemies”, and even radical terrorists! But there is no disputing that this is His command: It is written all over the New Testament!
“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” (1 John 3:23 NIV)
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8 NIV)
And not like the love of religious people, who are often legalists, either: “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.'” (Matt 23:5-7 ” NIV)
Everything they do is done to show off, and there is no love in it. They try to follow the letter of the law, but they have never been able to fulfill the law like Jesus did!
Truly “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18 NIV) It’s unheard of that someone loves us so much that He would die for us, even less so when we are so sinful! But His loves encourages us to love like no one ever did!
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col 2:13-15 NIV)
Jesus forgave my sins. He literally forgave me of every one. His love drove Him to pay the price of my sin, and through His death, he “cancelled the written code, with is regulations” that was condemning me! His love saved me! It’s not what I try to do that can save me. It’s all about love!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-10 NIV)
It’s also all about trust. If we don’t trust Him, we will try to redeem ourselves through our own efforts, making a mockery of His true love towards each one of us: “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom 11:6 NIV)
“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.'” (Rom 4:5-8 NIV)
But if the written code, with its regulations, has been cancelled, does it mean we can live in debauchery?
Who in his right mind would do such a thing? Would a slave want to go back into slavery once he is freed? “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Rom 6:15 NIV)
We are here not to follow the letter of the law, but to fulfill it. We are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps: to love like no one else ever has.
“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Rom 7:6 NIV)
We are to be like that Good Samaritan who, though everyone hated him, loved beyond anyone’s imagination: “The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'” (Luke 10:37 NIV)
This is why there is no condemnation hanging over us. It’s all because of Jesus and His revolutionary love towards each one of us. He is the One who set us free from loveless legalism. Jesus died for love, wooing us to reciprocate His love.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:1-4 NIV)
His love urges us to live by faith as “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:4 NIV)
We are to follow in His steps and fulfill the law through utter love. Imagine if we all committed to that kind of love! Would there be any wars left on our planet?
“Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom 13:10 NIV)
I am so thankful that Jesus showed me the way! Help me Jesus to live according to your revolutionary love, and through you, to fulfill the law as you did!
“I can’t thank Jesus enough every day for the changes he’s made in my life and I wish more people could actually ‘see’ the truth beyond what the world has successfully shunned through the mainstream media, etc.” Dusty Vandergriff