Summary: Although ignorance is a major problem in the Christian world, our biggest issue involves being rightly related to God. Many, sadly, look to law-keeping as the way to know God or receive His forgiveness. This simply will not work; we need regeneration, the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
Why the Law Cannot Fix Us
1. Happy Mother’s Day to all our moms. Moms come with all sorts of personalities and approaches toward parenting.
A mother is trying to get her son to eat carrots. “Carrots are good for your eyes,” she says.
“How do you know?” the boy asks.
The mother replies, “Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?”
2. Some moms are positive, while others are negative.
3. My cousin was in love and wanted to introduce his bride-to-be to his hypercritical mother. But in order to get an unbiased opinion, he invited over three other female friends as well and didn’t tell his mom which one he intended to marry. After the four women left, he asked his mother, "Can you guess which one I want to marry?" rd.com
"The one with short hair."
"Yes! How’d you know?"
"Because that’s the one I didn’t like." —Fatima Farhat
Main Idea: Although ignorance is a major problem in the Christian world, our biggest issue involves being rightly related to God. Many, sadly, look to law-keeping as the way to know God or receive His forgiveness. This simply will not work; we need regeneration, the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
I. In A Sense, Coming to Christ Begins Our SECOND Spiritual Marriage (1-6).
A. This is not an extensive teaching about marriage and remarriage, but an ILLUSTRATION.
B. Our first “spiritual marriage” was a WORKS-based failed relationship.
1. Sometimes to the Torah given by Moses to the Jewish people
2. Sometimes Paul uses the word “law” to refer to commandments and restrictions.
3. Sometimes “law” refers to external observance in contrast to the Spirit’s work.
4. Sometimes to a principle, such as the law of gravity.
C. We died in Christ, and so are REMARRIED to Christ with a grace-based relationship.
1. "Rabbi Yochanan said, 'What is meant by the phrase, "With the dead, free" (Psalm 88:6)? That when a man dies he becomes free from the Torah and from the commandments.'"(Shabbat 30a: similar passages are found at Shabbat 151b. Niddah 61 b, a
2. Sally was married to Bill for many years. Then one evening Bill had a heart attack and died. Several years latter Sally remarried a man named Jack. Jack was in many ways different than Bill. Bill didn’t like to eat breakfast (he just grabbed a cup of coffee and headed out the door) and Jack liked to start his day with a big country breakfast. Bill didn’t care if the house was kept clean and Jack wanted the house to be neat and tidy.
After Jack and Sally had been married for a year, Jack was beginning to get aggravated. He came down the stairs hoping to find things different but the house was messy and as he went into the kitchen hoping to smell bacon and eggs cooking on the stove, he only found a cup of cold coffee. When Jack voiced his dissatisfaction with the situation Sally said "well that’s the way Bill liked things".
Jack said " Sally, Bill is dead. You are my wife now. You have to stop living like you are still married to Bill.
3. The story of Bill and Jack pictures a problem in the early church: Many Jewish believers continued to use the Law as though they were still living under the Old Covenant.
4. There was nothing wrong with a Jewish believer living as a Messianic Jew and being zealous to follow the Law in the power of the Holy Spirit; it is the Holy Spirit’s provision of power and a new nature that is the heart of the New Covenant, not the standards God gives, but the way in which believers are internally energized and motivated. Motives, means, & tedium (legalism).
D. The issue is not obedience, but the source of our obedience: from the heart by the SPIRIT, or proudly or under coercion from the FLESH (6).
II. The Law by Itself SEALS Our Doom (7-11).
• This refers to both the first and second use of the word “Law,” the Torah or restrictions.
• Paul contrast Law to Grace sometimes referring to an attempt to justified, right before God.
• The sin of Adam and Eve was not one against the Torah of Moses, but God’s law.
A. The Law’s ability to make sin more APPEALING (7-9).
1. Paul could not avoid facing that he was, at times, covetous.
2. Under grace, we know we are accepted in Christ. Our focus is positive, on walking in the Spirit, sin avoidance of part of the equation, but not the focus.
3. Focusing upon avoiding every infraction ended up making sin more appealing & addictive.
4. "Rabbi Yitzchak said, 'At first sin is like an occasional visitor, then like a guest who stays awhile, and finally like the master of the house.'"(Genesis Rabbah 22:6; the same teaching is attributed to Raba in the Talmud, Sukkah 52b; compare Ya 1:14-15)