Part 5 of 7

The Outer “Law” versus the Indwelling “Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ”


What exactly does the word “law” mean?

In the Bible the word “law” is translated from the Greek word “nomos,” which means “regulation.” There are two primary kinds of Biblical “laws” or methods to regulate ones behavior.

  1. There are outer written laws that are generally used to “regulate” behavior; e.g. “Moses law… and the Law of God,” which was written on stone. “The Law” was used in an attempt to regulate the behavior of the nation and people of Israel . There also are manmade secular laws that are written as federal, state and local statutes; these are designed to regulate the behavior of the citizens. These outer kinds of law are all “dead laws,” they do not enable or empower one to keep these laws.
  2. There are other laws that are not dead. Rather, these are “living laws,” which are innate and inborn. These are based upon a “life” that empowers those who bear that “life.” Consider that the “physical life” we have in our physical body regulates the beat of our heart, our blood pressure and the glucose level in our blood. Without physical “life” our eyes, ears and other organs simply would not function at all. These physical laws operate automatically and are regulated by the laws of our “physical life.”

Similar to the living laws that operate the “physical life,” there is yet another kind of living law. It is called “the law of the spirit of LIFE in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2a). This “living law” works to regulate the believer’s entire being from within their human spirit, where Christ as “the Spirit of life” dwells. Christ thereby prompts, guides, convicts, restrains, and empowers believers who come to “know” and trust the truth of His literal indwelling life.

The outer written “Law” of God is a law that is external to men; it is inert, lifeless, impotent and therefore fruitless. I suspect that the Ten Commandments were written on lifeless, rigid, tables of “stone” to emphasize that “the Law” is lifeless and unable to make or help one to be righteous.

Galatians 2:21b IF righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Romans 8:3a what THE LAW COULD NOT DO, in that it was weak through (due to) the flesh (of man)

In contrast to the “dead” written “Law,” Christ Himself is called “the life (John 14:6).

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1John 5:11-12)

Paul writes of “Christ who is our LIFE…” ( Col 3:4a). The word “life” here and in almost every verse where Jesus is spoken of as life and/or as giving life (e.g., John 3:16, 10:10, etc.) is the Greek word “Zoe,” meaning, the only genuine life, “God’s unique eternal spirit-life.” God’s desire, eternal purpose, and plan is that every person could and would literally become a partaker of Christ’s “life” and with that, His “divine nature” (2Peter 1:4); this is the issue of the ages.

It is the regulation or operation believers have by Christ’s “…the spirit of LIFE…” (Rom 8:2a) within them that “HATH MADE US FREE from THE LAW (OPERATION) OF SIN AND DEATH (Rom 8:2).

In Rom 8:2 (above) we see where the real overcoming power for living the Christian life is located. Christ’s resurrected “Spirit of life” is the only power that is able to overcome Sin, enable one to endure life’s situations in rest and peace, and raise believers from the dead. Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (give life) your mortal bodies BY HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU.

Christ’s automatic spontaneous “law (regulation) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is internal to the believer. Christ is alive within every believer’s spirit from the moment they received Christ as their personal savior ( Col 1:27, Col 3:4a, 1John 5:11-12).


Romans 8:9-10 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELL IN YOU. Now IF ANY MAN HAVE NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE IS NONE OF HIS. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but THE SPIRIT IS LIFE because of righteousness.

Just as fallen mankind is inherently sinful, God by nature is inherently righteous. Christ’s “Spirit of life” is the only righteous and overcoming life in the universe. He alone is able to empower the believer toward righteousness when they simply trust Him to renew them and guide them in their daily living. 2 Cor. 5:21 God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that IN HIM WE MIGHT BECOME the righteousness of God. Thankfully, to believers, God is not afar off. The deposit of Christ’s overcoming “Spirit of life” into every believer’s human spirit (1Cor 6:17) brings them the inherently righteous “life” of Christ Himself.

As we’ve already seen in Part 4, “… the (external) law is the power of Sin” (1Cor 15:56b). The written “Law,” which came via Moses for Israel , is the Law of God. It may be quite surprising to most Christians that the written “Law of God” is powerfully strong toward provoking Sin, and… it is absolutely powerless toward enabling one to live righteous. “The Law (Moses)” PROVOKES the flesh of man negatively… toward Sin! Just as the Serpent had said to Eve (Gen 3:5), Adam and Eve in fact did gain “the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:26)…but Adam still lacked the kind of capable “lifethat could match that knowledge or awareness of God’s righteous standard. Men, apart from Christ in them, lack the life to live in accord with their “knowledge of good and evil.”

The fact is that mankind has been set-up… by God’s written (outer) laws… to have us fail! This is to work for the good. You see, God expects our failure under the written “Law”; otherwise…we would never turn to Christ to trust Him as “our (new) life.” So, don’t be disappointed in yourself. God is not disappointed in you! He is trying to turn you from self-reliance to trust “Christ in you”!

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of GLORY:

Glory actually means “expression.” Our only “hope of GLORY,” that is our hope of ever expressing Christ’s righteousness is by reliance upon Christ’s very “Spirit of life” within us.

As we read Paul’s epistles it becomes abundantly clear that God wants believers to know they are delivered from…. the demand of the outer written “LAW,” that was given to Israel . Christ fulfilled the Law’s demands on our behalf of all those who would trust in Him as the Savior and as their very life.

Matt 5:17 Think not that I (Jesus) am come to destroy “the Law”, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of “the Law”, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

2 Cor. 5:21 For he (the Father) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Col. 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and (He) took it out of the way, nailing it to his (Jesus’) cross;

The burden of “the Law” was fully satisfied by the one offering of Christ upon the cross for all time. Christ paid the debt due for our sins but also at the same time liberated us from the tyranny and power of “Sin” that indwells our flesh body. By our co-death with Christ, He has disarmed Sin, by removing the source of power … “the Law.” Our death in and with Christ has liberated us from the dominion of Sin because Sin cannot rule a dead person.

Galatians 2:20 I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith (that is) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:14 For SIN SHALL NOT HAVE DOMINION over you: for ye are not under “the Law”, but under grace.

Romans 6:7 For HE THAT IS DEAD IS FREED FROM SIN (Sin’s tyranny).

So, it is our co-death with Christ that has freed us from Sin’s tyranny. Sin cannot dominate a dead person. Do you really know and believe that you have died to Sin with Christ?

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. HOW SHALL WE, THAT ARE DEAD TO SIN, LIVE ANY LONGER THEREIN?

Sadly many, if not most, Christians still think … “We can please God by trying to keep God’s laws.” So they put their selves under of “the Law” (at least their version of the Law, with the bar not so high as to cause them to fail). This effort is often out of pride, so as to “be seen” as a good Christian. External law-keeping gives us a way “to appear” as being holy and perhaps above others.

Law-keeping is an impersonal method that some may prefer because one may still want to be the “God of their own life.” Some may prefer outer Law-keeping because it is a fixed, mechanical routine without understanding or thought or dependence upon Christ. Law-keeping avoids intimacy and union with Christ. They know such closeness may cost them their “self-rule.” It’s seems better to some that they follow some few external rules or reciting wrote prayers in repetition (which Jesus said are not worthy, see Matt 6:7), or make some physical sacrifice (e.g., don’t eat meat, etc.), than to live by the intimate union we have by Christ in us.

Even as Christians, many of us still prefer our independence and self-reliance. Law-keeping is to act on our own, outside of and apart from the living Christ. Under Law-keeping, we live by our own wits and self-abilities – which must fail. All Law-keeping keeps us separated from the Christ who lives within us; but all the while He is the only one who is the righteous life and power to live the Christian life!

Sometimes I’ve shared these truths with Pastors who will say; “You’re right about grace, but we still need at least some laws or these people won’t come to church.” So they mix law and grace (which is not grace at all) to manipulate the people. They thereby, emasculate Christ as life. Again…read this verse carefully;

Romans 11:6 if by grace, then is it no (o%) more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works (even 1%), then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.