The Spirit of the Law

Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:97

As a Christian mystic living under grace, I often hear other Christians argue misguidedly that the Law is done away with and there is no purpose in studying the Old Testament. It’s all ritual sacrifices and meaningless cultural traditions that Jesus freed us from, goes the reasoning. But this is a gross misapplication of Paul’s teaching, which is far more nuanced. Romans 3:20 states “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The Law instructs us as to what sin is. People living before Pentecost did not have access to the Spirit like we now do, and the Spirit is the ultimate teacher of the Law.

God revealed to me the relationship between the Spirit and the Law through Psalm 119:97-104 and Romans, and I’m here to share that revelation. The first step is to love His law and meditate (which, in Jewish custom, meant muttering the words over and over again under one’s breath) on it throughout the day. This is very similar to the concept of holding every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:3-5); filling your mind with the Law is one way to control your thought life.

You, through your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are every with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients,
Because I have kept your precepts
Psalm 119:98-100

Here the promise of knowing the Law and keeping it is knowledge beyond that of any teacher and all the ancients. The Spirit can give us these testimonies and precepts if we train ourselves to hear His voice. Romans 7:6 expands upon the relationship between the Spirit and the Law by saying “…we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” The Spirit will never contradict itself nor will it teach one man to follow a certain commandment and teach another to break the same commandment; God cannot contradict Himself. But learning to listen to the Spirit is the trick.

Why did Yeshua come into the world?

Grace and peace to you,

Why did Yeshua (Jesus) come into this world? This is a profound question with a profound answer. Many would say that He came to save us, to die for our sins, to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, and he certainly did come for these reasons. But what reason does He Himself give for coming? It can be found in John 18:37: “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

This is a very important statement. Yeshua is asserting that there is an absolute truth, and that his entire purpose in coming into the world was to bear witness to (or testify of, depending upon your translation) that truth. Elsewhere in the Gospel of John (8:32) is that famous quotation, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The cosmic spiritual battle is a battle of truth versus lies. Being caught up in sin is being caught up in deception. The battle for your soul begins with the battle in your own mind.

Elsewhere I have written about how the stoic philosophers taught that our thoughts were the only things we truly had control over. The primacy of thought in the Christian life is found all over the Bible, from the Old Testament and binding the Law to one’s head to the New Testament and calls to repentance. To repent litearlly means to change one’s thinking. The thoughts we think in our head control the motives and intents of our heart which in turn influence the words we speak with our mouth, and this trinity describes our soul life (our soul being our mind, will and emotions).

In truth, no one is an addict. No one has a chronic mental illness which requires life long medication. These are deceptions by the enemy designed to keep us in bondage and to keep us in fear. The enemy loves to keep us in fear because fear breeds worry and doubt, and from these he can gain an even greater foothold in our lives. From worry and doubt proceed depression and even suicide. If he can get a toehold in your mind he’ll take it all the way.

This is why spiritual warfare, according to the scriptures, is framed almost entirely in the language of debates. Take for instance this passage from 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” The goal of spiritual warfare is to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ – obedience of Christ being the truth. We are to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God. Pay attention to the verbage in that passage – it is speaking clearly of a debate we must all partake in.

Be vigilant. Pay attention to your thoughts and question where they are coming from. Your thoughts inform your heart which informs your tongue. Are you holding every thought captive to Christ, so that the intents of your heart are pure and the words you speak are words of truth and love? Or are you listening to deceptions and lies – holding yourself in condemnation, judging others, believing yourself to be in bondage to sins that are impossible to break free from, and so on? Remember, Yeshua said that “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Get to know the truth by pursuing a personal relationship with Yeshua, and by renewing your mind through the reading and washing of the word.

With love,

JWD