"You are not under law but under grace"
Pondering this Scripture I wondered. What exactly does this mean and is it a good thing?
Relax, I'm not advocating legalism and a return to the rules and regs of the Law with all the ancillary precautions enacted to avoid any inadvertent infractions. For sake of discussion, let's assume that the Law is completely null and void. What would now be considered permissible?
Many Christians would sigh with relief. The issue of tithes and offerings is settled; these wouldn't be required, not that most do this. No more money guilt trips.
Skim through Leviticus 9 and you'll discover what would be the new norm.
- Sex with anyone, including close family members and animals is ok, even if not consensual.
- Everyone from parents on down can be treated with the utmost disrespect.
- All charitable giving is eliminated and it is everyman for himself.
- One is free to: steal, lie, deceive, bear false witness, defraud and cheat anyone including employees. Your business can short change customers at will, so buyer beware.
- Perverting and enabling the miscarriage of justice is now the new rule of law.
- Slander and libel permit anyone to be defamed and their character and reputation ruined without any fear of reprisal.
- One can hold grudges and take revenge into their own hands.
- Sorcery, divination and any sort of witchcraft have no natural repercussions. Good luck avoiding the spiritual ones.
- Got financial problems - sell your kids into prostitution. No one will care.
This list is incomplete. Without the parameters of the Law to set healthy boundaries one can indulge in all types of behavior that for now are deemed illegal, immoral and unethical, confident that they can expect the same treatment in return. Throw out the Law and the curses go with it. Sweet!
Before you cheer too loud think again. If the Law is now passé, the blessings associated with it are also gone.
- You'll no longer be blessed going in and going out.
- Expect every area of your life to be barren and unfruitful.
- Get used to lack, you'll always have more than enough.
- All defenses against your enemies are now eliminated.
- Accept the reality that weather conditions will work against and not for you.
- You'll no longer be blessed and prosperous, so don't expect good things to come your way.
- Forget about being the lender, you're conscripted to the borrower's status.
This too is a partial list. What's important to remember is this, no Law, no blessings.
I doubt that is what Paul had in mind when he wrote his letter to the Galatians. He provided a reasonable alternative in 5:8.
"But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law."
Walking in concert with the Spirit frees you from the compulsion of the Law, but doesn't violate or contradict it. The difference is a change of heart. Rather than trying to obey the Law in order to obtain God's favor or good graces, the believer's spirit moves in sync with the Spirit of God Who leads them away from undesirable behaviors and their inevitable consequences.
Being led by the Spirit is superior to attempting to keep the Law in one's own strength and ability. Realize that the prohibitions contained in the Law provided society with a strong foundation to live safe and productive lives. Remove the barriers in the name of "freedom" and all hell breaks loose.
How about you? What type of an environment would you like to live in? If anything goes and there are no absolutes, how will you deal with the fluid dynamics of a society whose standards are arbitrarily set by each individual? How would you like to have to constantly adjust to the environment around you? Where would you find peace and serenity? Would being Spirit led and not Law driven be an acceptable alternative to maintain the blessings of God in your life?