The Two Laws

Believers enjoy talking about their freedom from the law. We get this phrase from Romans 8, “free from the law of sin and death.”

We are indeed free from the law of sin and death, but note the beginning of the verse: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” There is another law that makes us free from the law of sin and death!

How many laws are we dealing with here? We’re dealing with two laws: a spiritual law, the law of God, and the law of sin and death. This is not a different way of using the same law, but two different laws.

“I see then another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind” “Another” means another, a different one. It’s not just how your flesh views the Ten Commandments and how the Spirit views them, but another law entirely.

Clarifying example: David ate the shewbread from the tabernacle. According to the law of stone, the external law, the law of sin that stirs up sin, David broke the law, this was sin.

But David was deemed righteous in so doing this, it wasn’t a sin even though it was a violation of the Law, except it wasn’t! Why not? Because it’s a different law.

There is a law that comes from the Spirit, is motivated from the inside, not a law on stone heard by a stoney heart, but God’s spiritual law that is only operated under by the Spirit.

The law is spiritual but I am carnal (flesh). If someone else had come to the tabernacle that day and asked for a snack they would have violated the law and been punished. But not David, because he was motivated from a pure, spiritual heart and thus was judged, not by the letter of the law on stone, but by God’s spiritual law.

Judge righteous judgment! We’re not under the external law attempted to be followed externally. We’re under the perfect law of liberty, under the law to Christ, the law that is only known and followed by the Spirit. It was true for David and it’s true for us.

3 thoughts on “The Two Laws”

  1. I see it this way, tell me if we are on the same page.

    There is the external law. The OT commandments and regs, the NT with its frequent admonitions. These laws are good and even perfect, but a mere external commitment will always fail, because we cannot uphold the whole of the law, therefore we stand as sinners and condemned.
    Then there is the internal law, the one that is written on our hearts. This is the law that responds to God our of reverence and love for him from a heart that is broken. This is the publican bowing his head and asking for forgiveness, while the Pharisee only thanks God that he is not like the sinners in his hearing. This is standing in grace and working out that grace in awe of the God who provided it.

  2. I think what you are trying to say is what I am trying to say, yes! I think your example is spot on. The external law, kept in the flesh is only something that leads to self-righteousness and pride and ultimately death. Pharisees, even Paul, considered himself blameless concerning the law Philippians 3:6, and yet when he met Christ saw that all his supposed law blamelessness was dung.

    The internal law is always what God was aiming for, not an external obedience but an internal transformation where the law of God takes root. External flesh obedience only leads to sin, often disguised as self-righteousness, but ultimately brings forth the fruit of death rather than life.

  3. I find these thoughts not so clear.

    1. The Law was given to lead to Christ. (Gal. 3:24). Therefore, it was not designed to lead to self-righteousness.

    2. The Old Covenant led to bondage (Gal. 4:24). Here is where the real problem lies…it is our assumption that we are good enough to keep the Law. (which, by the way, includes faith, for faith is one of the “weightier matters of the law”…therefore it is just as easy for us to assume that we have all the faith needed for salvation, when in fact it is just our imagination.).

    3. You cannot know sin except by the Law (Rom. 7:7). Therefore, we absolutely need the ministry of the Law, it is not something that passed away when Jesus died. True, “when faith is come” we are no longer “under the schoolmaster,” but that is only because we have attained to what the Law required: ie. pure and perfect obedience from the heart.

    Therefore, I would never discourage someone from rendering obedience to the Law. In fact, we should strive with all our striving to render perfect obedience to that Law, both internally and externally. It is only by doing so that we will discover where the sin lies within us.

    To refuse this obedience is to be like the man who buried his talent because he “knew that God was a hard master, reaping where he had not sowed.”

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