Led by the Spirit or under the Law? Is that the right question?

I’m reminded of a passage in Galatians 5 that is often interpreted by the church as justification for not obeying the commandments of God;

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (ESV)

When do you become “under the law”? When you violate the law. As long as I do not violate the law, I am not subject to the penalty of the law, therefore I am not under the law. So, if I am led by the Spirit to be obedient to the law, I am not “under the law”. Pretty simple, really. I’m not a lawyer, but even I understand that.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (ESV)

And just where, pray, are these things all defined as sin? From Exodus to Deuteronomy! The Torah! Sha’ul (Paul’s Hebrew name) is teaching Torah!

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)

Of course there is no law against such things, because these things are all found in the positive commandments of Torah! These are things that Christians already (try to) do and live by. They just don’t realise where they came from originally!

Sha’ul wasn’t teaching anything new, he was simply teaching what was true. We do well to study Torah and put Sha’ul’s teachings back into their proper context. Did he preach salvation by works? Absolutely Not! Nor do I. Salvation is by grace, through faith, as shown by the life of Abraham. But obedience comes out of relationship; the Holy Spirit writes Torah on our hearts and “leads us into all truth”. YHVH be praised!

Rodney posted at כ״ב בשבט ה׳תש״ע (February 6, 2010) Category: Torah