We are observing the forty days of fasting as Jesus did in the wilderness and are meditating on the ‘Seven Words’ uttered by our Saviour on the cross. Year after year we remember the suffering of Jesus Christ, even after a lapse of two thousand years. We do this with better understanding through the fulfilment of prophecy and the teaching of Jesus about eternal life. But the people who lived during the time of Jesus had the law as their deterrent without understanding its importance of implying it in their life. The law acted as a parameter to levy punishment rather than people adhering to it. By the same law Jesus was convicted for blasphemy.
LAW AND ITS CONVICTION
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3
He was left alone. Every one judged him as a sinner. No one was brave enough to support him. No one had understood the truth. All they understood was that Jesus was guilty. ‘Son of God was not allowed to call Himself as son of God’. Law blinded the eyes of the people and prevented them from understanding the truth that had been revealed by Jesus Himself. No one was ready to be with Him.
“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Law can only give us the knowledge of sin but cannot help us overcome sin. As Jesus does not come under law, He does not have the knowledge of sin, so He was guiltless. Knowledge of sin evidently makes a man commit sin. Eve understood that eating the fruit of ‘Good and Evil Tree’ in spite of God’s warning is a sin and so she could not resist eating the fruit of knowledge . Cain knew that offering his best will please God but he could not offer the best and sinned.
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7
We have the knowledge of sin through law and sin is waiting for an opportunity to take over us. Paul reiterates the same in his letter to the Romans.
“But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.” Romans 7:8
JESUS HAS CANCELLED OUR DEBTS
Satan induces every one either in private or in public to sin. Once sin is committed, satan lists out our sins to accuse us before God to grant punishment. A legal demand to recommend punishment to every human. Jesus cancelled this legal demand publicly on the cross.
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses , by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:13-15
Whole mass of people gathered together to judge and mock Jesus according to the law. Something unique happened when Jesus gave His life on the cross. There was a tremor, unusual darkness and the curtain of the altar in the temple of God tore upward into two.
“Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.” Luke 23: 47-48
There may be a situation in your life where everyone would have gathered against you to blame you publicly for your good deed. Law might have blinded their eyes from understanding the good you are doing. They will see that you are innocent. God had gathered people not to mock Jesus but to listen to the witness of the centurion – certainly this man is innocent. To understand the truth that one should die to the law.
“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” Romans 7:4-6
JESUS HAS BROKEN THE DIVIDING WALL OF HOSTILITY
Right from the establishment of early churches the law had played its role as a dividing factor. Hence Paul addressed the situation very carefully placing himself in a neutral position. This maturity of Paul is the need of the hour. Paul talked about a sect who were near God and a sect who were at a distance and explained how Jesus had removed the dividing wall, the law, from both the sect and reconciled both of them to God. Law is not a dividing factor any more. If law is adhered because of the love of God, then it is a uniting factor.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. Ephesians 2:13-16
Law of commandments expressed through ordinances were abolished. And a law of commandments expressed through utter obedience to God by Jesus is established. Earlier law pronounced death. Latter law establishes eternal life. (2 Cor 3:6)
Jesus said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17