Law Factories

1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.  4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter (Romans 7).

    Free from the law — oh, happy condition!

    Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;

    Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,

    Christ hath redeemed us once for all. 

So goes the old hymn written by Philip P. Bliss and often sung by Ira Sankey in evangelistic crusades with D.L. Moody.  In fact, this was the solo chosen by Sankey at the very first meeting of such crusades in England in 1872, knowing that they would be met with opposition by many for not singing exclusively songs from the Psalms.

John Calvin taught how the human heart is “a factory of idols.”  I believe it can also be a factory of laws.  We create all kinds of laws (like singing only from the Psalms) in order to justify ourselves religiously through strict adherence to them. 

Thank You, Lord, for releasing us from the Law (and all man-made religious laws), and binding us instead to grace.  Help us This Day to live in the freedom brought through Christ’s death, and not to place any yoke of religious burdens either upon ourselves or upon others.  Amen.