Every human being has a decision to make with regards to where he/she is going to live spiritually. We have to decide whether we are going to live in the world, in the law, or in the Spirit. Those that choose to live in the world are those that have chosen not to know about God and so live a life controlled by the river of this world which flows right towards the water fall of emptiness/deep spiritual void while bruising the individual with every inanimate object contained within the river. These are the people that have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For those of us that believe in Jesus Christ and have the Holy Spirit living in us, two options remain – whether to live in the law or live in the Spirit.
Wait you say! I thought that I am now living in the Spirit because I have accepted the Spirit. Not true! Paul tells us that if we have the Spirit, let us also walk (live) in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25). So there is a difference. Yes, we are given the Spirit upon believing with our hearts and confessing with our mouths (see Romans 10:9-10) but the glorious inheritance of the goodies of the kingdom of heaven which includes a life of love, joy, peace, self-control and much more are reserved for those who live in the Spirit. See, we do not miss the mark (sin) when we are walking in the Spirit for there is no sin in God; hence we only miss the mark when we are walking out of the Spirit. Note: Only Jesus was able to walk in the Spirit perfectly for He had no sin.
The snag today for too many of us is that we spend most of our time walking out of the Spirit and instead in the law. We think we are alright as long as we do not walk in the world. No! The law only condemns and brings death. We find that the incessant walking in the law results in the church body being very little different from the world – same lack of victory, same divorce rates, same lack of self-control, same fear projection and mongering! No wonder the influence of the church in many places seems to be dwindling. Part of the issue is our law-mongering which produces no tangible fruit for the world to be attracted towards!
Law mongering causes us to apply the word of God to our situation (most of the time based on our feelings) rather than allow God to speak His word to our circumstance. What is the difference you ask? The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness illustrates the difference: Although Satan and Jesus were both quoting from the scripture (law), only the scripture (law) that was given to Jesus by the Holy Spirit (Word) brought life. Conversely, the word spoken by the devil was obviously not from the Word (Holy Spirit). Thus, we see that the Holy Spirit speaks the ‘word of the law’ that brings life, but the devil speaks the ‘word of the law’ that brings death.
Likewise, we should not apply the word of the law as we ‘think’ it applies, but should allow the Holy Spirit to apply the word of the law that will bring liberty (instead of bondage). For example, we should not decide whether we are going to discipline our children (Proverbs 22:15) or pardon their offense (Colossians 3:21) but allow the Spirit of God to tell us which one we should do. See, both actions are scriptural, but only the one the Holy Spirit directs us to do for the specific situation brings life. If we are not living in the Spirit, we choose the word of the law to apply based on emotions, history, circumstance, and upbringing and so put ourselves into bondage when we invariably get it wrong.
So what is the point of the law? The law is useful for a myriad of reasons including testing of the spirits speaking to us. It lets us prove that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us, for the Holy Spirit will not contradict what is contained within the bible. This is why Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the law! The law makes the nature of God tangible to us and allows us to choose Him.
In summary, to have life, we must be doers of the word instead of being doers of the law. We must allow the law to speak to us through the Holy Spirit rather than speaking and acting out the law to our circumstance. We must allow the Spirit to guide us through life and so enjoy the benefits of walking in the Spirit.
Food for Thought: Walking in the law is walking in the flesh; walking in the law makes us Pharisees.