…sounds like a rock band. ( of which I may or may not consider starting. ;))
The Bible calls the Law, ‘the ministry of death‘, ‘the Government of Death‘, and ‘the Government of Condemnation‘.
The Government of Death, its constitution chiseled on stone tablets, had a dazzling inaugural. –2 Corinthians 3:7
I don’t know why this stuff surprises me, but it does. I was taught the same thing, in a church pew, that most everyone else was taught. However, actually studying scripture and paying attention to what it says, instead of trying to make it fit what I was taught, still blows my mind. I can’t make this stuff up. It’s why I write.
So, back to the ministry of death.
The name is appropriate because the rules only point out where you’re wrong. Not only that, they make things you didn’t even know were wrong, wrong.
Anytime you talk about the Law, or rules, you run the risk of making them look like the bad guy, especially when you compare them to Jesus. However, when compared to Jesus, they are.
If the Government of Condemnation was impressive, how about this Government of Affirmation? Bright as that old government was, it would look downright dull alongside this new one. -2 Corinthians 3:9-10
Rules had (past tense) a purpose, but the rules are spirit and we, who try to follow the rules, are flesh. We’re doomed. The rules doom us. (Unless you think you can follow them, then you’re on your own. You don’t need Jesus.) People wouldn’t be called hypocrites if they would take a cue from the Master and stop spouting off rules to keep you forgiven. If you follow a set of rules, why do you need to be forgiven? Rules don’t keep you forgiven, ‘forgiven’ is a free gift. Rules give you an alternative to the gift.
God gave us His law to babysit us until Jesus came. Now that His work is ‘finished’, the rules are obsolete. ‘There is no condemnation…’ because, without the rules, there is no wrong.
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. –Romans 4:15 ESV
You can’t break the rules if there are no rules.
If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it. –Romans 4:14-15
God gave us a promise. His promise was sealed by Jesus. The promise is, there is nothing you can do that can make Him turn His back on you. You can’t mess this up. As mean as you can be, as wrong as you can be, as many mistakes as you can make, you still can’t mess this up. It’s a promise, sealed by Jesus, experienced through belief, and that’s it.
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith… -Romans 4:16 ESV (emphasis mine)
There are those who are terrified of what this means. They think that if you don’t give people guidelines, they’ll go nuts. God has done away with the babysitter and put His Spirit inside us. We have right and wrong written on our hearts and no longer need the stone tablets.
In Matthew 15:1-3, the religious people were asking Jesus why he played ‘fast and loose with the rules’. It appeared that He gave no regard for religion or anything that any God fearing person regarded. Jesus’ response was perfect. He asked them why they ‘used their rules to play fast and loose with God’s command.’
The most important command in scripture, besides loving God, is to love others. According to scripture (see, we can’t make up our own minds what these things mean), loving others means never giving up on them and not keeping a record of their sins, among other things. What do you see the religious people currently doing? Disassociating themselves from people who mess up. In order to do this, they have to keep a record of their sins. They do give up on people. Using ‘their rules to play fast and loose with God’s command’.
Jesus is the failure’s best ally. Scripture is the best news for the complete screw up. If you’re having a hard time feeling accepted by the Christian community, bypass them and get right into scripture. You know those, who really know God, by their Love. Those are who your brothers and sisters are. All the others are just disoriented for a bit, but they’ll get there.