Something better than the law

Week beginning: 29th October, 2017 | By Graham Whitworth | Sunbury-on-Thames

"For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

Romans 8:3-4 (ESV UK)

When I was studying law, a friend gave me a birthday card in which was written (I assumed light-heartedly) "Luke 11:52", which commences, "Woe to you lawyers!" Jesus was berating teachers of the Mosaic Law and the regulations they had added to it. He accused them in verse 46 of loading people with hard burdens, without giving them any help.

Although the law we practise is different, our training can give us a tendency to set a high standard and condemn those who fail to attain it. The New Testament is clear that any kind of law has its limitations: it cannot actually change people and free them from sin. As Paul put it, regulations "are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:23).

But, praise God, there is a way people can be changed! Through Jesus' death in our place, not only are we counted by God as righteous the moment we believe, but we can walk "according to the Spirit" and thus avoid gratifying the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Learning to walk this way is a gradual process during which God's grace covers our failures. For those who do not know Christ, no amount of moralising will change them – only the Gospel.

Prayer point:

1.  Ask God for the ability to live in the good of His grace, to reject the accusations of Satan and to make allowance for the failures of fellow believers (without condoning any sinful behaviour).

2. Pray for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with colleagues, clients and others, and for help to avoid coming across as a morally superior person who looks down on them.