Day 207 – Law & Liberty
On: May 26, 2015 | By: SWLadmin
| Under: Blog
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“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Luke 16:16-18
Why did Luke include these verses here? They seem entirely random! Was he writing on his laptop, copied a verse from another passage, accidentally hit “Paste”, and then failed to spot it had landed in the wrong place?! Can’t ignore them though, as the middle verse says that not “the least stroke of a pen” can be allowed “to drop out of the Law.”!
There were those, clearly, who were saying that Jesus was a new broom, sweeping away all the legalism of the Old Testament Law and ushering in a new age of freedom. Maybe financial wheeling and dealing was part of a new liberty that some were presenting as compatible with being a follower of Jesus? And, in light of Jesus’ words, maybe also marital licence, where traditional commitment to a spouse was being cast aside as and when convenient?
Jesus would have none of it. He came, not to replace, but to fulfil the Law – as He made clear in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” Matthew 5:17. This would inevitably have created a tension: how do I exercise freedom when the rules remain?
We have to live with the same tension today. For example, do I keep Sunday special or exercise my liberty to do as I choose – with all the effect that will have on others? In fact the tension is even more acute, as Jesus was quite clear that higher standards than of old would characterise His followers: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27,28
And yet: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1. This is a challenge : how do I decide on a right relationship in my life between between Law and Liberty? One thing for sure, we have not been set free for Licentiousness. Liberty is a very different thing. Not freedom from restraint; rather freedom to do good.
The key, I would suggest, is that we have been given the Holy Spirit as a guide for living. He will not only show us the right thing to do, but will give us the power to do it. If, of course, we invite Him into our life and follow His leading. That is the real challenge.
Father God, fill me afresh today with the Holy Spirit, that I might be clear as to the path You would have me follow. Amen