The Torah, The Law and Legalism

In "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", page 18, I write:

 

 

Ephesians 2:14 – 16

For he (Christ) himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself (here is our fellowship with him) one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

 

 

The hostility to God that is in the flesh has been killed!
The law of commandments expressed in ordinances has been eliminated, done away with, repealed, abolished!
 
Since publishing this book, there has been several extended conversations about the word "abolish". It is obvious that what is called the "Torah" has not been eliminated, done away with; it has not come to an end. God's teachings about how to live a godly life has not changed! 
 
So, what has changed? What has been "abolished" by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ? It is "Legalism" which has been abolished for those who have Jesus Christ as their savior. The legal requirements have been fulfilled by Jesus Christ; he has been our legal substitute, paying the penalties which were against us. The result of his accomplishments is that we are "dead to the law" as it says in Romans. There is another way to state this; Due to the accomplishments of Jesus Christ, we and our relationship to the Law and Legalism has changed. Being dead to the Law, we are no longer bound by the Law or its requirements. In this case, has the Law itself ceased to exist? Not at all.
 
The laws of commandments contained in ordinances have three distinct sections dealing with: The Atonement, The Mediator and Right Living. The Mediator is Jesus Christ. The Atonement has been accomplished by one man, the messiah, our mediator, Jesus Christ. Right Living remains "right living" without legalistic consequences for us. 
 
Most give lip-service or mental assent to the Atonement provided by the accomplishments of Jesus Christ. There is little recognition in the religious realm of the effect that the Atonement has. 
 
Sin and sin consciousness is a key factor which enables religion to exist and flourish. By deception, religion has stolen the atonement from the messiah, claiming the atoning action for itself. Religion claims to be the mediator. This is why religion and religious people fight so hard to retain sin, sin consciousness and its position as mediator; without these things, religion would cease to exist!
 
It is thought that being dead to the law is equivalent to being lawless. The religious mind, centered solely on the world and on the flesh, concludes that only legalism restrains the believers from a debased life of depravity. This is a false conclusion; the truth of the matter excludes the existence and functioning of religion.
 
Paul states the truth so simply – the law and legalism is ineffective because of the weakness of the flesh. This is true before and after salvation. What is the solution? Paul reveals that we no longer serve or live by a written standard. It is with the flesh he serves sin, yet with the mind (the mind of the new spiritual self or the mind of Christ) he serves the law of God. This "law of God" cannot be religious legalism to which we have died. This "law of God" is revealed, known, understood and obeyed as we walk by the (gift of holy) spirit. This "law of God", written in the innermost part of our being is NOT legalism; it exists outside of the bondage of religion and its man made legalism. Note that none of this invalidates or brings an end to the Torah. Our relationship to the Torah has changed because of the accomplishments of Jesus Christ.
 
Ephesians 5: 1, 2
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
 
Religion, legalism and sin consciousness will never enable a person to fulfill this wonderful admonition in Ephesians. This is a much greater calling than living by a written legalistic standard. Religion cannot accommodate, facilitate or tolerate such a calling. Note that we are to "…walk in love as Christ loved us…". Christ did not love us by adhering to a written, legalistic standard. He loved us as he walked by the spirit. Jesus Christ cast off his own will and replaced it with God's will. He did this consistently in detail for each specific situation. 
 
Jesus Christ demonstrated that the expression of God's love is personally tailored for each one of us. The expression of God's love and God's will is manifested by us as we walk by the spirit. To walk by the spirit is to sacrifice our own will and replace it with God's will. It is to cast aside the identity of the old self of the flesh and take on the identity of the new self of the spirit. It is by way of this new self of the spirit that we are able to be imitators of God, we are able to love others as God would have them loved.
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
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(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe