THE BURDEN OF THE LAW
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:1-5 AV)
How often are we admonished from the pulpit to take hold of our moral bootstraps and work the various elements of the law or to walk the tightrope of legal demands with the fear of falling from grace. Such preachments demean the power of Christ and God’s Holy Ghost to keep His body, the Church from sin. Of our self, we are nothing, and can do nothing, yet our pastors demand us to do what the Jews could not do, walk in our own holiness before the Lord, a stench in His nostrils.
The reason Jesus came was because we had no power of our self to stand against the wiles of the enemy, our flesh. The Jews had all prophesy working for them to receive Christ for their salvation, but rejected Him because of their pride and lack of faith. But today we have the sure Word of God to prove to us this wonderful truth, with witnesses of our Lord’s fulfillment of all the law and prophets on our behalf. The Jews had the prophets, but we have the person. The Jews may have lacked faith to their hurt, but our church leaders are rejecting the truth given them by the sure Word of God to their flock’s confusion and hurt.
Paul put his finger on the problem when he rebuked the Galatians for beginning in the Spirit, and then reverting to their perfecting the flesh. Our Lord also warned us about our struggle with the flesh, our victory in the Spirit. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 AV)
Again to the church at Corinth, Paul gives the same warning; we are to find the New Testament life in the work of the Spirit, not of the flesh. “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6 AV)
The ‘born-again’ experience of the believer, whereby he knows he has passed from death into life is the earnest of the Spirit. He also knows he is a new creation in Christ, and has by faith His righteousness and His Spirit working with God’s Holy Ghost to keep him from sin, holy before God. This is the hope of the Christian’s testimony. But those who say they can’t live a day without sinning have a testimony of defeat because of the victory of the flesh. They say, “we are all sinners and cannot help it”, seeking to bring all into their denial. But Paul says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16 AV)