I keep hearing about the law, and our salvation being likened to punitive courtroom justice theology. How Jesus is a defense attorney for us who believe, but on the flip side, that would also mean He was prosecution for the unbeliever, siding with The Accuser. If Jesus sides with Satan at any time, then He could not be trusted. However. There’s a better way to view Jesus and His work. A better way to view The Law.
The typical view of The Law is as a list of do and don’t. That’s how it reads in the most literal, dead letter, way of reading it. Thou shalt not…
According to Romans, The Law was given to increase sin. I would posit some ideas this evening as I write to you.
The word for Sin, Hamartia, is to miss the mark, also as a mistaken identity. In 1 John 3, we are told that those who sin are lawless and that sin is lawlessness. Looking back at Romans, we are told that we now are those who establish the Law. Not the Law of Moses, but the Law of God, which is the truly Royal Law, that of Love. The ancient prayers of Israel, in Judaism as I understand, were these: Hear o Israel! The Lord your God is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, souls, mind, and strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I would put forth that when we act in a place that does not demonstrate His Love, we are missing the mark, being lawless, and remaining separate from our identity. That is true lawlessness.
I do not believe that sin has to do with human style law based transgressions, but is rather a disease of the Soul. One which we need to be liberated from and healed of. Again. Jesus is not a lawyer. He is a doctor.
The Law, also known as the Old Covenant, for indeed, the scriptures tell us that the Ten Commandments are the parameters, are a diagnosis and a prescription. Often we are told that it was put in place to show us our need for a savior. If that’s in the scriptures, I haven’t seen it.. but I’ll run with it. It’s the diagnosis that shows our need for a cure.
We don’t need the Law to tell us we are broken. Ask anyone who has been addicted to pornography or drugs. Especially those who are trying to quit. They KNOW they’re broken. It’s a disease of their souls. They know it. I have a friend who experienced it firsthand. And when Jesus revealed to him who his true identity is, as God declares in the beginning, Good. Made in the image of God. And then Christ revealed who He is in this Brother. And he has been freed ever since. Salvation is not some golden ticket to heaven, it is better translated as Liberation. Healing. It is a conglomerate word with many meanings. But ALL have to do with liberation and healing. Not some afterlife destination. (I’m not dismissing the afterlife at all. Just pointing out we know very little for sure about it, and that salvation doesn’t speak of it.)
One thing I’ve noticed for myself, is the issue of faith. Many claim we are saved by OUR faith in Christ, but scholars of translations across the board speak that it should have been translated as the faith OF Christ that saves us. Many believe that we get to choose, and have free will in the matter. But they also believe that we are all so fallen by original sin that we are depraved individuals. Total depravity. It’s total crap, but let’s suggest for a moment that it’s true. If we are so depraved, then by definition we could NOT have chosen Christ. We call evil good and good evil. We do what is right, or good, in our own eyes. Choosing Christ would not be possible. The idea of free will, however, is also a fraud. Our will can never be free. It is always influenced by something. Whether God or our own mistaken ideas and supposed identity. We are free to choose, that much is true. But that saying Americans are so fond of? Freedom isn’t free? It applies to the idea of free will. I freely say of myself: I’m condemned to salvation, a prisoner of Hope! Gladly. My will, my true identity, is bound up in the very fabric of God, in Christ. I need not say anything else about who I am, but to be what He says I am. The blood of Christ was the cure for the most ancient disease of all, Hamartia. One might even call it a mental health disease, since it primarily affects the mind and we act out of it. But I digress.
The Law is a diagnosis for the disease of Sin. Jesus is the cure, and the prescription the entirety of scripture points us to. Even if we disagree, those western Christians, with the Eastern Christians, this is one thing most of us agree on. Everything points to Christ. And it is in Christ we are to live. No exceptions or excuse. If you claim to follow Christ, we have got to start taking Him seriously.
~ The Christian Mystic