Many times I have read through chapters in the Bible, over and over, yet found all my understanding unfruitful. In spite of all my schooling, education and so called intelligence, my understanding was void. In fact the more I read, the more confusing the writings sounded. But as a Christian, I am certain that as it is written, “God is not the author of confusion”.
Just the other day, I was reading Paul’s letter to the Romans over and over and over again. This continued for three days, when finally, I confessed to God my understanding was indeed unfruitful but I was not giving up until He gave me the understanding. I read it once more and as my mind surrendered, God dropped the understanding into my heart. And as I sat there, it came out like “springs of living water”. For it came as a gift of God by grace through faith leaving no room to boast. For what I then had was that which I received of Him and not myself.
And so, I take my pen and lay this revelation to words on paper that I might share the blessing with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. I write this preface in hope that if there be any praise in this work; it might go to God, the giver of understanding and not the receiver.
ALL THINGS ARE LAWFUL TO ME
Though these words come from a letter written by Paul to the Corinthians, the revelation is based primarily on references to his text in the Epistle to the Romans .These simple six words seem to contradict our understanding of the law and commandments, yet they serve to further open our understanding to the glory of God.
Paul said [1Cor 10:23] “ALL things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful to me, but all things edify not.” Just what did Paul have in mind when he said “All things are lawful to me”? He meant exactly what he said literally! And when he said “but all things are ‘not expedient’” he meant not appropriate for a particular purpose. And by “all things edify not” he meant all things do not build up or improve ones development whether it is moral or spiritual. If I’m trying to save money, wasting it is lawful but not expedient. If I am trying to help a person, I can lawfully yell at him but it edifieth not him.
When Paul says “ALL things are lawful for me” he is including all things even that which might appear to be sin to many. Paul could make that statement because he was a Christian and lived in the spirit. [Rom 8:2] “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Not only could Paul make that statement but in his letter to the Romans, [Rom 7:4] “that we his brothers have also become dead to the law by the body of Christ. [Rom 6:11] Also, likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The problem in understanding comes in discerning just what ‘dead to sin’ and ‘free from the law’ really means. I will explain this later in an example.
Let’s now examine the teachings in Matthew, Chapter 12, where we find Jesus working on the Sabbath in his healing ministry. Also we find his disciples picking corn to eat on the Sabbath. According to the Law of Moses and understanding in the eyes of the Pharisees, this was a sin. What the Pharisees did not understand was that [Rom 7:14] ‘the Law is spiritual’, not carnal or of the flesh for it was given to Moses by God.
[2Cor 3:6] The ‘letter of the law’ (or the fleshly interpretation as written) killeth but the spirit giveth life. This you will see as I continue. To gain a clearer understanding let me contrast the law in today’s terms.
Not long ago in SOME states, there existed no maximum speed limit law on interstate highways. This can be likened unto the days before Moses when there was no law given men from God. [Rom 4:15] And where there is no law, there is no transgression. [Rom 5:13] “For until the law, sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” And again, [Rom 7:8] “for without the law, sin was dead.”
Now we can all agree if there is no maximum speed limit law that we can lawfully travel at 90 mph on that highway and not be accountable to the law, nor judged by the judge. Therefore, what we now call speeding was before the law, ‘lawful’ but as you can plainly see, not ‘always expedient’. If our purpose was to conserve on gas, speeding was ‘not appropriate’ to that purpose. If our purpose was to live a long life, we would exercise caution and driving at that speed is ‘not expedient’, even though it is ‘lawful’. There might be cases such as in emergencies where it is expedient but we can still say that in the absence of law that ALL speeding is lawful but not all speeding is expedient.
THEN CAME THE LAW
Moses with the commandments and the States with the 55mph law. Thou shalt not speed or you will be guilty of the law. And as Moses law slew all the people so does the abundance of mans law of which speeding is only one used for example. The reason man is slain by the law is because of his nature. Mans nature [Rom 7:14] is carnal but the law of God is spiritual.
Man’s nature is in the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Man breaks the speeding law for a multitude of reasons. He may be hurrying to a party, late for work, showing off, or impressing a date. In all cases, his mind is on the things of this life. [Rom 8:5] “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh” more than the law.
[Rom 3:20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Just as there are many man-made laws concerning driving, everyone that minds the things of this life will someday be found guilty of a law though he might not get caught.
But with God’s law none shall escape for [James 2:10] “whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”. For he that said do not kill also said do not covet. Those that live in the flesh shall die [Rom 8:7] “because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”.
So what do we do! Shall we give up and sin! Heaven forbid. [Rom 8:9] Know ye not that ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if so be that if you so dwell in the Spirit you will not mind the things of the flesh. But [Rom 8:13] through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh. For we are free from the law of sin through faith in Christ Jesus.
How you ask! And shall we now that are free from the law go out and sin? God forbid! [Rom 7:12] For the law and commandments are just and holy and good. [Rom 3:31] “Do we then make void the law through faith? No we establish the law.
Let me explain. The 55mph law is a good and just. It is for the protection and conservation of our people and natural resources. If I as a rescue worker exceed the speed limit to save a person’s life will the judge sentence me if he is fair and just? If I am driving a fire truck on my way to help others will the judge find me guilty? If I am a national security agent on an official mission for the benefit of others will I be condemned if I speed in necessary performance of my duty? Though I serve not the letter of the law in the above examples, do I not still live by the Spirit of the law? Am I not free of the law?
You see the rescue worker, the fireman, and the security agent were on a mission not seeking their own fleshly good, but a higher good. Such is the mission of the Christian living in the Spirit. [Rom 8:1] “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” If we live in the spirit with our new nature how shall we be able to sin [Rom 8:2] for we are free from the law of sin through faith in Christ Jesus.
Knowing now that the law and commandments of God are Spiritual we will keep the spirit of all the laws because we seek not our own as those who live in the flesh. What may appear as sin to one who lives in the flesh is not sin to he who lives in the Spirit. For it is lawful for me to do that which appears as sin, but I myself commit no sin as [1 Cor 10:31-32] I do it to the glory of God giving no offence to my fellow man.
Yes brother, [1 Cor 6:12] All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. For this can lead to the sliding away of faith. Yes all things are lawful to those who have faith. [Rom 14:22] “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God.” [Rom 14:23] Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
In light of the message I have covered, many Bible stories that appear to transgress the law can be understood as not transgressing the Spirit of the law. Judgment is not by the letter of the law, thank God. Else there would none be saved. [Rom 3:20] For by the deeds of the law there would be no flesh justified in his sight. [Rom3:24] But now we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”.
If we seek not our own, [Gal 5:22-23] “ but the fruits of the spirit being love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. Neither is there any death, but everlasting life.”
May God Richly bless you in these fruits is my prayer.