Galatians 5:18. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
There’s an important point of theology that emerges from this simple statement. YOU CANNOT BE UNDER BOTH SPIRIT AND LAW AT THE SAME TIME.
Unfortunately this is how every one of us actually lives- in some sort of “hodge-podge” mix of Spirit and law. “I live by the Spirit with just a little bit of law for good measure, just to cover my bases and feel good about my Christianity.”
So are we throwing out the law all together? NO, NO, [a thousand times] NO! We need the law to do its job- point us to the Spirit/Grace/Christ/Gospel. But here’s the thing, you can be under law or you can be under Spirit, but not both at the same time. (I mean you can try, but it never works out.) The law does not complete the gospel, nor does the gospel complete the law. They are completely distinct ways of life.
The truth is the gospel can get you to God, OR the law can get you to God. That’s right. The law can get you to God, it is complete in itself. You just have to obey every single point of it perfectly. Once we realize how perfect the law is, and finally adopt a high view of law, we can begin to see our daily need for Spirit/Grace/Christ/Gospel. It is a low view of the law that actually makes us think we can obey it, or that others should be obeying it.
The gospel can do what the law could never do- move us from our heart. The law is static, dead, heartless, and condemning. The Spirit is alive, dynamic, personal, and non condemning. The Spirit is Christ. And both are love.
Confusing or mixing gospel and law is a deadly thing. It will leave you in a place where you are constantly seeking new and more vigorous affirmations from every corner of your life. It will leave you burning in guilt or pride depending on how today went for you. It will leave your relationships in ruins from the entrenched expectations that you hold over others’ heads.
“To live is Christ” replaces the law in our lives. It kicks it out. They cannot co-exist as the operating system. It replaces “If…then,” with “It is finished!” If you are in Christ, then you are not under the law. Do you believe this? Seeing it on the screen like this is easy, but can you see it in your actual life? Christian, you are under the Spirit. When you return to law it is “temporary insanity.” The law can be the default of your flesh, but it is not the deepest desire of your spirit- Christ’s grace is.
Have you been trying to mix law and gospel together as your operating system for life? Do you have a low view of law- believing you can actually keep it or that others can? Where do you feel your deepest desires moving you toward the Spirit – Christ’s love and grace?