I realize I have been going on for quite a bit about the Law and grace but there is a vital lesson here that most people are not understanding today. Some people are still basing their salvation on following the Ten Commandments. Others are turning parts of the New Testament into a new law to live by. We must understand that there is a difference now with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Law has been lifted off the parchments and has been written on our hearts. The Law has become part of us because of Jesus Christ but it is a deeper thing; obedience is provoked by love not fear. And where we fail, because fail we will, the cocoon of God's grace covers us. This is a relationship thing, not a salvation thing. Salvation only has one source and that is the work of Jesus.
Today we make up our own laws to observe because they are easier than the law the Spirit writes on our heart. We make Bible reading, prayer, worship, church attendance part of this law to earn our salvation, but these things are relationship things. The same with acts of kindness which we turn into works for salvation instead of a loving response to God's love for us. The Word is very clear on this matter:
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10)
It is very simple with God's law: You break one part of the Law, you have broken all of it. We cannot win God's favour by living by any law because we cannot do it. No matter what you set up as a law you will fail. If you use Bible reading as a means of salvation, or prayer, or worship, what happens when you miss a day? Does that mean you are now condemned? Of course it does. No matter what you try to do to earn God's favour, even if you could outside of Jesus, you would fail because we are too weak in ourselves.
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” (v. 11)
It sounds easy but we are a people who are prone to trust no one and to rely on our own resources. It is our downfall in our relationship with God. If we are not aware of our weakness we will slowly slip away from faith and fall back into doing what we think is the right thing to do, relying on our own wisdom and strength. But the righteous must live by faith. There is no other way. Simply put:
The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” (v. 12)
Any law we may try to live by, to earn the favour of God, removes faith from our lives. Our life should not be complicated, or burdened, filled with worry or fear. Peace has been promised to us and is ours when we learn that faith means trusting God with everything, especially our salvation. If we do not have faith that he loves us and has poured his blessings out on us, why even bother pretending to serve him? However, for those who live by faith, the truth is a simple thing:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (vv. 13-14)
And there is the part that much of the Church fails to understand, "so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit". The Spirit is absolutely vital to a continued walk of faith. The Spirit is vital to everything to do with us and Jesus. Without the Spirit we have nothing, we do not have Jesus yet he is everything to us. Jesus is absolutely everything, our very life, our sustenance, but without the Spirit we do not have Jesus.
Without faith we cannot please God. Without faith we cannot have the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit we do not have Jesus. Without Jesus we do not have salvation. Without salvation we are facing destruction. The Law ends up working against us when we try to live it. The Law only produces death. It is holy and perfect but it's purpose was to show us how much we needed a saviour; how much we need Jesus. Live by faith, according to the grace of our Father and allow the Spirit to write the law on your heart. Trust that when Jesus declares you redeemed that you are redeemed and stop trying to save yourself. Relax in the Spirit and do the things that burn in your heart to do out of obedience and not in a desire to win favour with God.