The Law of Liberty
By Larry White
July 11, 2015
Any community of people is held together and defined by a common law that must be codified in rules and regulations. We have different names for these groups according to their size. People are grouped into Towns, Cities, Counties, States, and Nations. But there are so many people who are Christians that we can only be considered a Nation; God calls us a Kingdom or Empire with Jesus at the head. Do we have a law that we must follow?
There are four references to Christians abiding by a law. One is by Paul in Gal. 6:2 about bearing each other's burdens and so "fulfilling the law of Christ", which is of course, to love your neighbor.
Then Secondly there is the Royal law that James mentions, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Jam. 2:8)
He then adds a Third reference of a law by saying that we should behave as those who will be judged by a law of liberty. (Jam. 2:12)
Fourthly, Paul confuses us a bit by telling the Corinthians that he was without law, though not without law to God but in the law of Christ. (1Cor. 9:20-21). His meaning is that although he didn't follow a codified law, just as the Gentile Corinthians didn't, he was not an anarchist toward God but because of his relationship to Christ, the rule of Christ was in him and he in Christ. All things were lawful for him, but not all things were an expedient. That is, he could do whatever he wanted in his liberty in Christ but not everything was advantageous to his spiritual growth and not everything would aid him in reaching his goal of maturity in Christ and the resurrection. Being a spiritual adult who didn't need rules, he had to discern the difference and be responsible.
This internal law that governs him, which is our Fourth reference, Paul names as "the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" that has made us free from the dominion of sin and death. (Rom. 8:4) It is not a legal system but a rule of conduct that is written on our hearts by the Spirit of God (Jer. 31:31-34). Our guiding principle is spiritual life itself that we have been given by the Spirit of God, (2Cor. 3). It is a perfect law of Liberty, (Jam. 2:8), i.e. we can do anything we please, nothing is illegal or unlawful to us, (1Cor. 10:23).
We are just like our Father in that regard - it is part of growing up spiritually. Does God have a set of rules that govern him? Is anything illegal to God? Does anything prohibit God from doing anything he pleases? He is governed by his very nature, which is love (1Jno. 4:8), which is manifested in his holiness, goodness, truth and righteousness. Therefore we, like him, partake of the divine nature and walk in love - our law of liberty. (2 Pet. 1:4)
There is no law against anything that you can truly do in love while being led by the Spirit - therefore the Christian is not under law. (Gal. 5:22-23)
"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
I say then: Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law."