Does love break the law? No! So why not keep the law then? But of course this is the wrong question to ask. The question should be: How can my sin be justified? Some might say that sin is justified (or balanced out) by my love or good works toward others. Others might say that what is needed is strict adherence to the law.
Its the chicken and the egg all over again!
Law reveals sin in my life –> Jesus died for my sin –> I therefore love Jesus –> my love for him produces a desire to do what is right by him –> law shows what is right –> law reveals sin in my life –> ……..
Where do we start in the cycle? Paul helps us in Galatians 5:4-6
4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
It starts with Christ and ends with Christ.
Christ is the goal of the law. The law: 1. reveals sin, 2. shows that we cannot achieve sinlessness as we continue to fall short of the law, 3. The law then points to needing some other method of absolving sin, 4. Therefore the law points to the need for Christ. Therefore faith in Christ is the goal of the law.
Like signposts in the road pointing to a destination, our goal is to reach the destination and not to keep coming back to the sign post. So once we have reached Jesus then why keep returning to the sign of the law?
But how does the law point to Jesus? The law is a covenant agreement between God’s people and God himself. Every point of the law reveals something about this special relationship with God. What does circumcision tell us about our relationship with God? Circumcision was a sign of the covenant – like a wax seal of the king on a promissory note. God gave circumcision as a reminder that they were to be set apart for him, and that he would fulfil his promise to make them in to a mighty nation. Every act of procreation would remind husband and wife of this promise. In our second reading from Genesis 48, Jacob recalls this promise when speaking with his son Joseph:
3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’
This promise was completed in Christ. All those “in Christ” are the special people of God – his mighty nation. Paul reminds us of that in Gal 5:6
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.
So therefore the signpost of circumcision is no longer needed. God’s plan has arrived at its destination in Christ.
So a question to ponder and discuss:
What about other laws like not committing homosexual acts or abstaining from eating shellfish? Have they been nullified by Christ?