Confusion and misunderstanding abounds on the subject of law and the Christian. Christians have not been able to settle their different views on the subject. What laws apply, what laws don’t apply, and are there any laws at all? We seem to go from one extreme to the other, from legalism to lawlessness or from asceticism to lasciviousness.
We know about the Law of Moses or the Law God gave through Moses to the children of Israel Exodus 19-31; John 1:17. The Law of Moses was given to Israel only (Exodus 19:3, Romans 9:4) not to Gentiles (Deuteronomy 4:8, Romans 2:14) and not to the Church (Acts 15:24, Romans 6:14). (There is also evidence that there is an Eternal Moral Law of God that existed before the Law given to Moses simply by observing that there were Laws in Eden Genesis 2:16, 17and Laws after the Flood Genesis 9:5, 6 but that is another subject for another time).
We know Christians are not under the Mosaic Law but under grace (Romans 6:14) but that does not mean there are no laws under grace in the New Testament, that we are anti-law, or that we are lawless. The word “law” is used in many ways in the Bible and we need to observe the context to know what law is being spoken of. The word for law is “nomos” in the New Testament which first means “what is proper” and therefore it comes to apply very broadly to any norm, rule, custom, usage, or tradition. It generally is describing a principle, a regulation, or a principle that regulates. There are several laws mentioned in the New Testament that are spiritual forces and powers, that can influence a Believer’s life:
- Law of conscience Romans 2:14, 15.
- Law of faith Romans 3:27.
- Law of the mind Romans 7:23.
- Law of sin and death Romans 7:21, 23, 25; 8:2.
- Law of the spirit of life Romans 8:2.
- Laws of ordained authorities (man’s laws) Romans 13.
- The law of Christ Galatians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 9:21
- Law of sowing and reaping Galatians 6:7.
- Law of liberty James 1:25.
- Law of love James 2:8.
May the Lord give us all the spirit of wisdom and understanding to help us comprehend the power of the Spirit, our new nature in Christ, and all that is ours in the New Testament under grace.