THE PLACE OF LAW IN GRACE

BY:  JONATHAN MITCHELL

SEPTEMBER 3, 2004

“If we should say that we have no failure (or: that we do not constantly hold sin; that we are not habitually holding a mistake or having made an error), we are continuously leading ourselves astray (deceiving ourselves), and the Truth is not (does not exist) within us.  If we may constantly confess (admit; avow) our sin (failure; error; mistake), He is constantly faithful and just (in accord with the Way pointed out; in fair and right relationship), to the end that He should send away for us (dismiss or pardon for us) the sins (mistakes in trying to hit the target) [some MSS read: our sins] and should can [other MSS: He will cleanse] us from all injustice (all that is contrary to the Way pointed out; every unrighteousness; all that is not in right relationship, fair or equitable).  If we should say that we have not failed to hit the target (sinned; made a mistake; failed), and exist thus, we habitually make Him a liar (One who utters falsehood), and His Word does not exist (is not) within us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you (for you) to the end that you may not fail to hit the target (that you should not sin).  And if anyone should fail (commit sin; make a mistake), we constantly have (hold) One called alongside to help us toward the Father: Jesus Christ, the One in accord with the way pointed out (the Just One; the Fair One; the One in right relationship).  And He Himself exists continually being a propitiatory shelter around our sins (the act by which our sins are made ineffective, effecting appeasement), yet not only around those pertaining to us, but further, even around the whole ordered system (world)!”  1 John 1:8-2:2

Obviously, the Holy Spirit, speaking through John, realized that the body of Christ (God’s children) yet had issues regarding sin, or sins.  The good news is: we have constant provision regarding our failures and mistakes (sins!) Jesus Christ!  Yet Paul tells us in Rom. 3:20-22 that “through Law [comes] a full, clear and exact knowledge, gained by intimate experience, of Sin (failure; a missing of the target).  Yet now, apart from Law, a righteousness of God (God’s fair and equitable dealings; God’s just acts and decisions; God’s justice and pointing out of the Way) has been manifested and remains displayed in clear light being continuously attested in witness by means of the Law [Torah] and the Prophets yet a righteousness of God through Jesus Christ’s faith, into all also upon all those believing, for there exists no distinction!”  

The concept of “righteousness” has to do with doing what is right; of being in right relationship with God and with humans; of being fair and equitable.  The root concept of the Greek word for “righteousness” came from the word “to point,” then what was right (righteous; just) came to be known as “the way pointed out.”

God’s Word, His commands and precepts His laws described “the way pointed out the right way to live the way to truly live (or: the way, the truth and the life).”

We all know that mankind could not of himself live this way or be righteous.  We needed Grace.  Grace came in Jesus Christ, and we received that grace by being placed within Him, and He planting Himself within us, joining His Spirit to our spirit, to where we are now one spirit/Spirit.  He is “the Way pointed out” and thus are we, when we are joined to Him.  In John 15 Jesus used the metaphor of the Vine and its branches to stress the importance of remaining, dwelling, abiding within Him.  He also pointed out that it is possible to not do this, and that if we are not bearing His fruit, the fruit of the Spirit which correlates to living within the Way pointed out that the Father would take us out of the Vine and cast us into His fire for cleansing.

It’s either His blood, coursing through the veins of the Body and continuously cleansing us from sin (1 John 1:7 a good reason to remain joined to the Body, in fellowship and the communal flow of His life), or it’s His baptism of fire to thoroughly purge His threshing-floor.  But either way, we, His Body, are faced with the reality that we sin we make mistakes, and need this “continual cleansing.”

Now “the Law of the spirit of The Life within Christ Jesus (or: the Spirit’s law of life within Christ Jesus; the Law of Life’s spirit, within Christ Jesus) frees you (sets you free) away from the Law of the Sin (the Failure; the Mistake) and of Death.”  Rom. 8:2.  We are under the New Covenant, with His Law (Christ) written within our hearts.  We are free from the cultic laws of the Old Covenant, yet the Christ that was within that shadow is now within our hearts.  He is our rule, our law, our life, our Way.  Within Him are all the laws of the universe.  We do not need to look at the letter, but unto the Spirit.  “Looking away unto Jesus…” Heb. 12:2 But it does not mean that the letter is no longer there.  The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is still within the Garden.  We can still look at the Law, but now we see Jesus, and through Him, through Love, we fulfill the Law all laws.

But it is foolishness to think that we can discard the Law as being of no value to us.  We deceive ourselves if we think that we cannot still learn and grow as Christ, now to us, begins “at Moses (the Law) and ALL the prophets, [and] expounds unto [us] in ALL the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”  Lu. 24:27

“All Scripture [is] God-breathed, and [is] beneficial to furtherance toward instruction (or: Every inspired-of-God [temple] writing [is] also profitable {of advantage; [gives] augmentation} with a view to teaching), toward (with a view to) testing unto proof (or, negatively: exposure; laying bare), toward full restoration to straightness (or: straightening-up upon), toward child-training (discipline) of the one within the Way pointed out (the one in right relationship with fair and equitable dealing).”  2 Tim. 3:16

Now when Paul wrote this, the Scripture he was referring to was what we call the Old Testament.  It is by grace, through His faith implanted within us, but it is not to be disregarded.  Christ can be seen within it, and can teach us from it. 

If the Word is God, then it is eternal.  The old arrangement has been done away, and we now are the antitype of all those types the reality which casts all those shadows but He put His wisdom and knowledge within all the Scripture.

In love for all of you folks,

 

THE PLACE of LAW in GRACE [Jonathan Mitchell]          1

 

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