The following are three examples of how the Law can creep up on Christians:
- Sitting in a Christian meeting where the 10 Commandments or some of the laws in the Bible are read and you are told this is what you have to do to be blessed or accepted by God.
- Feeling guilty or condemned that you don’t do enough for God or that you don’t go to church or pray or read the Bible enough.
- Feeling that God doesn’t hear your prayers because you have sinned in some way.
All of the above symptoms are signs of the law that is trying to creep up on you.
The Bible says there is now no more Law, and where there is no Law, there is no transgression of the Law.
Rom. 4:15: because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. (NKJV)
From the time of Adam and Eve until the time when the law was given to Moses and the Israelites, there was no law in the world. God treated all those who believed in Him with love and grace, regardless of their obedience or disobedience. He never punished their sins. For example, even after Cain killed his brother Abel, God still put a mark on Cain to prevent anybody from killing him, and He even said that if anybody tried to kill Cain, that Cain would be avenged seven fold! Yes Cain’s actions caused him to be cursed from the earth (Gen. 4:12) and perhaps even hated by people, but he wasn’t cursed by God. God still loved him the same.
In Genesis 12 Abraham lied to the Pharaoh about Sarah (his wife) to save his own neck, and even though Abraham was clearly in the wrong, God rebuked the Pharaoh! And Abraham even left Egypt laden with slaves and cattle and wealth!
We can follow this thread of God’s grace right through the Bible for all the people who believed in God, up to the time where the law was given (Exodus 19-20). In spite of all Israel’s murmuring and complaining in the desert, God always provided for them (manna, water out of a rock, pillar of fire, etc.). He never punished or killed one single person who believed in Him. But after Israel had received the Law (and as a result they had to obey the Law perfectly in order to be blessed and accepted by God), God started sending plagues (Numbers 16 and Numbers 25) and serpents (Numbers 21) and all sorts of calamities onto them, because they didn’t fully obey the Law. In Numbers 16 God sent a plague and 14,700 people died. In Numbers 25 God sent another plague and 24,000 people died.
The following verse clenches it:
Rom. 5:13: For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (NKJV)
This says that before the law had been given through Moses, even though people sinned, God didn’t count their sins against them because there was no law to break. Dear friend, you and I have also been freed from the law! God does not punish us or count our sins against us anymore, because the law was crucified with Jesus!!
Col. 2:14: having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (NKJV)
There is therefore no more law to keep or to break, and thus we can approach God with boldness, no matter if we had just messed up! You see, where there is no law there is no transgression of the law. And where there is no transgression, there is no punishment. We only have to remember this confidence is not in ourselves, but in what Jesus has done for us.
2 Cor. 5:21: For He (the Father) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJV, annotations added)
This is sometimes called the “great exchange”: The punishment that was supposed to come on us was given to Him, and the rewards and blessings for obedience that He earned have been given to us. And this is the grounds for our confidence before God! We don’t even have to have a guilty conscience anymore, because how can we sin or break the law if there is no law?
Heb. 10:19: Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (NKJV)