– another perspective
Whatever may be said about the Law of Christ, it must be acknowledged that it does not mean that the saints are now under the tutelage/enslavement of a new body of covenanted legal regulations sprinkled with blood, as was the OC community, with blessings/cursing contingent upon their conditional obedience. In fact, the New Covenant way of serving God is no longer the same as in the Old administration – “in the old way of the written code”. We now serve in the “new way of the Spirit”. This is a radical departure from the Old Covenant economy, primarily because the new community of Jesus Christ consists entirely of Spirit-born/filled/sealed saints. It is no longer a mixed multitude consisting of a majority of unbelievers with only a small believing remnant, needing to be led around as profligate children under an enslaving, written taskmaster (Law).
Much more gloriously, the NC saints are now under the immediate and direct leading of the Spirit of God, who now indwells and teaches them from within as they bask in His written Word. And the Spirit’s express ministry is to always lead the saints to walk in the paths of the Law’s eschatological Fulfillment, namely Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Christ, in union with ALL the Scriptures, produces godly character, divine love, and heavenly fruit that reflects the very image of the Son who is in living union with them.
Jesus, the living WORD who was with God, and who was God from the beginning, is now the Living WORD/Torah of the New Covenant, bodily enfleshed, crucified, and raised to glory. Indeed, He is the very substance of the Covenant contract itself, the glorified WORD of the Covenant, having taken up residence, not on legal tablets of stone, located within earthen temples made with hands, nor even on the pages of the NT as a new body of “law” commandments. Rather, He has taken up permanent residence within the Holy Temple of His saints, by His Spirit, having written and sealed Himself upon their hearts and sprinkled them with His blood. This is a massive departure from the conditional and external nature of the Old Covenant economy, with its written tablets/book of the Law, sprinkled with blood, their placement in the Tabernacle, its bloody rites, and the condemning testimony against the community for their continual failure to keep the covenant.
Under the New Covenant administration, Jesus gives himself unconditionally as Covenant obedience and righteousness, not as external written demands to be fulfilled by the saints in order acquire/maintain covenantal blessings. Rather, He freely en-graces Himself to them as their living Head, dwelling WITHIN their renewed hearts, along with every spiritual blessing, as the very blood-sprinkled living WORD. He has become their obedience and righteousness, fulfilled for them and in them.
As the incarnated WORD, Jesus is to be feasted upon as the true bread and living water sent from heaven, through meditating on the living words of written Scripture and walking by the Spirit. In this way, the believer’s obedience of faith does not at all diminish or negate the objective written Word/commands/imperatives of Scripture in the believer’s life. Rather the saint’s obedience to Christ demands and necessitates them. For it is only the written Word which reveals the hidden mystery of Jesus Christ to the eyes of their faith. It is the written Word that is living and powerful, sharper than two edged steel, and is profitable for teaching in righteousness.
Through the written Word, Jesus is to be freely received and intentionally worked/lived out (obeyed) by His resurrection life working powerfully in us, so that the heavenly transformation that takes place is His own, but simultaneously ours, graciously given, Spirit-taught and Word-quickened. We grow up spiritually into Christ the Vine as the result of our abiding in Him through savouring, obeying, and following Him in ALL the Scriptures, by the Spirit. And yet, for the New Covenant saint, the Scripture, in any form, does not constitute a new list of covenantal Law(s) to kept slavishly or as a legal means of counting/magnifying sin. Objective, yes! the truths, imperative commands, warnings, and injunctions of Scripture are all written to be explicitly obeyed, consciously and volitionally. But for the saint, these commands are not a new, or even renewed, body of law code, attended with penal sanctions, condemnation, and fear. For we are no longer under penal law code, at any theological or spiritual level, but we rest fully under the lavish grace provided to us through the cross, forever accepted in the beloved. Law code is given only to excite sin, count sin, arraign sinners, condemn sinners, and execute the just penalty of death. And our Lord Jesus Christ died precisely to take that all away, and at the same time become his elect’s new and living Righteousness, revealed apart from the Law, writing Himself as the holy writ (Torah/WORD) of the Covenant upon their hearts, never more to count their sins against them or condemn them.
The objective written commands of Scripture, therefore, do not stand contrary to the New Covenant paradigm of the saints not being under Law/written legal code. Because if we understand that the Covenant is now the person of Jesus Christ, and His covenantal written contract is Himself, as living WORD, written upon the heart of His bride, THEN we can understand the written commands of Scripture, not as fearful legal imprecations to arraign and condemn, but as authoritative and loving commands of life and grace and peace from the very lips of our Redeemer Husband, Our Righteousness, highly exalted, powerfully indwelling, the lover of our souls. The Law of Christ, then, is not a new or renewed covenant legal code by which to beat, bully, intimidate, or enslave the sheep. It is Jesus Christ himself and all He says to us in grace and love through the Scriptures and the inner teaching of His Spirit . . . so read of Him, learn of Him, and obey His commandments, as His sweet Spirit gives your hearts spiritual light and understanding to do His will and grow up into His glorious image.
~ John Dunn