"Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! 'Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of the old life and into the new!" Kenneth Grahame - Wind in the Willows


Perfect Law of Liberty, Royal Law of Love

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, and without walls. Proverbs 25:28
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. James 2:8
So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:12
Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, and instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. Romans 2:17-20
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. Romans 3:31
For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all… Romans 4:13-16
But the fruit of the Spirit is love… Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Therefore the law is holy,and the commandment holy and just and good. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. Romans 7:12,14,22
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. …that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:2,4
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 [Matthew 22:34-40]
And yet I show you a more excellent way. 1 Corinthians 12:31
Chapter 1
The law of liberty and the law of love in James are one and the same, merely spoken of from differing aspects of the same law. Law is an affirmative rule of action. It may on one hand address what is not allowed, but on the other hand law addresses what is both allowed, desired, and provided for.
The law of liberty is God’s established declaration of our freedom in Christ – therefore Paul, in Romans 8:1-4, speaks of one law that sets us free from another law. Law either enforces bondage or it enforces freedom. Both the perfect law of liberty and the royal law of love enforce, on our behalf, the freedom from the bondage of our flesh which is subject to law which restricts it.
Thus the law of Moses, in Romans 7, is described by Paul as being holy, just, good, and spiritual. In Romans 8:3 he clearly states that the weakness and inability of the law to justify and liberate the ungodly was not in the law but in the flesh. For this reason when Old Testament saints such as David, Samuel, Joshua, Ezra, etc., meditated on the law they found liberty in it because they did not attempt to live under it by their flesh but they lived by it through the understanding of grace that it gave them.
Moses, immediately upon receiving the law from the hand of God, implores God that He would continue to give him the grace that He had been so freely giving up to that time. Moses well understand that the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was not occasioned by any merit that the children of Israel could show either nationally or individually. It was the grace of God that delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh, and it was the grace of God that provided for them in the freedom of that deliverance.
Joshua was specifically directed by God to meditate on the law day and night for the assurance of fulfilling the will of God for his life. This could only be possible if he perceived and understood the grace that was inherent in the law. What victory he demonstrated by his faithfulness to the law. How paradoxical this is to those of us who generally demean the law as being in itself something that is contrary to grace and liberty. The godly men and women who lived before Christ esteemed the law more than their necessary food. Today we have a tendency to despise it because we do not fully understand the depth of our depravity that completely nullifies the law.
Yes, the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. But the “failure” of the law to justify was the success of the law to bring us to Christ. The reason Moses and David could fulfill the will of God for their lives was not because they rejected the law but because they rejected their flesh which the law condemned. They realized that it must be of grace and not of works, lest any man should boast in himself. It seems that the Old Testament saints had a much greater orientation to grace than most Christians have. Having meditated fully on the law as law they saw the impossibility of any hope of living under it in their own ability and wholly appropriated the ability of God to enable them to live unto Him under the law.
Christ states this clearly in His expression of astonishment that Nicodemus, who was a teacher in Israel, should be so thoroughly ignorant of the grace of God. Paul likewise addresses the Jew in Romans 2 with the inconsistency of having the law and not understanding grace; teaching others that in which they themselves fall so far short and condemning the others when they also fall short. Romans 1:1-3:23 is an indictment not of the law but of our flesh. Paul said, the flesh being what it is, the law could only condemn anyone that thought they would be justified by the ability of their flesh to fulfill the righteousness of God.
Without this understanding of the law as the mediator of the grace of God in that it clearly reveals that grace is the only possible means of acceptance and victory with God, we will not have a clear understanding of grace as grace. Grace is grace by necessity. Where there is no necessity there is no grace. “If it be of works, then it is no more grace.” Any other concept of the grace of God is mere mental gymnastics on the part of the person, or worse, it is another gospel, be it from man or angel. And the result of that concept of grace will be a severe disqualification of that person to fellowship with the living God. “Anathama, Maranatha!”
Chapter 2
Law then, is grace in disguise. We go from law as law to law as liberty because we go from grace to grace, faith to faith, and strength to strength. Law has brought us to this place or we have not yet come here. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” Galatians 3:24. What greater expression of grace can we find anywhere in the Scriptures? If the law had done anything other than bringing us to Christ we might well despise it. But here we see the necessity of the severity of the law in that it must reveal to us the necessity of grace – the absolute desperation of our need for Christ. Christ the end of the law to all whom believe; the end in that the inherent grace of the law, though hidden under such a forbidding exterior, brought us to the inherent grace of Jesus Christ.
But what has it brought us to? Who is this Christ and what is our relationship toward and with Him? Peter speaks of this in I Peter 5:10. “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
“The God of all grace…” What can this possibly mean other than that every work of God toward man is grace. “…that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them…” 2 Corinthians 5:19. God does everything through the person of Jesus Christ. He can act in no other way. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand,” John 3:35. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, and everything that comes to man through Christ is of and by grace and truth.
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24
When Christ spoke to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus concerning Himself, He began with Moses. “The law came by Moses.” Christ spoke to them from the law about Himself. The one by whom grace and truth came spoke about Himself from the one by whom the law came. What a contrary thought to the average believer. How can grace be gotten from the law. It is like Samson’s riddle in Judges 14:14:
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”

Samson says that from that which would bring death there came life.
This is Christ’s understanding of the law. For this reason Paul says in Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Christ was born under the law because in the mind of God there is no conflict between law and grace. Both alike express His nature, and both alike bring man to an understanding of who God is and how He works on behalf of man.
Chapter 3
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled,” Matthew 5:17-18.
“Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law,” Romans 3:31
Neither Christ nor Paul ever spoke disparagingly of the law. Of those pseudo-religious leaders that insisted that a person has to keep the law to warrant the favor of God, they both were vehemently opposed. Those who think they are justified by law are rejected by God, not because of the law, but because of their flesh that they are presenting to God as being righteous.
So Christ said He would fulfill the law. It would be ludicrous to think that Christ would fulfill something that was inherently faulty. And Paul says that his doctrine establishes the law. How is this possible?
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit,” Romans 8:3-4
The purpose of God is to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law in us! This is not possible unless the law agrees with grace! Christ is equally revealed both in the law and in grace. But Christ is revealed, and the law is fulfilled, in us (not here for us, for justification) “who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
The law never condemns and never enslaves who I am in Christ. And grace always agrees with the law in reference to who I am in Christ. There is no conflict here. The conflict is only between the law and my flesh, my sin nature, and my sins. But the same conflict exists between grace and these things. Grace can never condone my sin nor can it overlook it by excusing it somehow. Grace will always bring me to the same conclusion regarding my sin as that to which the law has brought me. It is an offense against God, and destructive to myself and others.
The law was my schoolmaster to bring me to the realization of my need for Christ because of my sin. Grace always bring me to the same realization. Neither grace nor the law ever provide a means by which I can go back to being accepted in Christ in my own righteousness.
If I perceive that I am in bondage under the law I must come to understand that to the extent that I am actually under bondage is the extent to which I am living in my own ability apart from the presence and resulting power of the Holy Spirit living in me. Only my flesh can ever be in bondage in any sense of the word. Paul said to the Galatians, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (3:3) He did not say, “are you now being made perfect by the law?” Certainly those who reject grace as the means of coming to God will try to live by the law, if they are religious people. But it is that they are trying to have God approve of their flesh, and their use of the law suits their purpose. If they use the law for the purpose for which it was given they would have no desire to have God approve of their sinful flesh.
Chapter 4
1 Timothy 1
5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
“The purpose of the commandment is love…” Paul reiterates what Christ Himself had said to the teacher of the law who asked which was the greatest commandment. No Christian has ever rejected the idea that the highest good one can do is to love God. And no Christian has ever been able to do that except by grace. The holiness of God is a quality of the love of God which is His nature. God is holy because His nature is love. Therefore the greatest commandment spoken of by Christ and the purpose of the commandment spoken of by Paul are the same as the highest purpose of grace.
Matthew 22
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
“On these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets.” What a statement that is. All of divine revelation in the Old Testament is based on the simple commandments to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the finest and highest point of the law and it is the place where man must necessarily realize the futility of the flesh and the fullness of the grace of God.
But Paul continues speaking about the law in 1 Timothy 1 and says that there are those who have left the purpose of the law and have begun to teach it without understanding what it is they are talking about. They do not see how the law promotes love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. So instead of revealing the grace of God they impose the obligation of man upon their listeners.
Paul uncovers their error by asserting the reality of the law, that as a moral code of conduct it is not made for the righteous. The righteous do not need a moral code to direct and correct their flesh because they have totally abandoned any attempt to be righteous. The law has brought them to Christ and He is their righteousness.
The righteous still live in the purpose of the commandment, but they do so, not by the works of the law performed by their flesh, but by the law of the Spirit of life which sets them free from the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death operates in their members if they live in their flesh, and so the law of Moses must condemn what their flesh is and what it produces.
If they will live, then, in agreement with the law of Moses it will only be as they live in law of the Spirit of life. Then they are being led by that same Spirit, and the law of Moses and the law of the Spirit of life are fulfilled in them because in Christ there is no distinction between the two. God has never changed His mind about the law which He gave by Moses. Man must change his mind about his ability to fulfill that law through his own ability and efforts.
Chapter 5
“And yet I show you a more excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:31
Love is the more excellent way. It is superior to both law and grace because it the source and motivating force of both. The source and cause is always greater than the product and effect. God is greater than the sum of His attributes. Love is not an attribute of God; it is His very nature. Law and grace are both expressions of His nature.
The purpose of law and the purpose of grace are the same: to bring us to the knowledge of the love of God. If we try to attain to righteousness through either the law or grace, and do not understand that righteousness is simply an attribute of God’s love, we are nothing.
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
Lucifer was “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,” and was in the presence of God (Ezekiel 28:12, 14), but he never came to know and understand the nature of God. His own beauty, what he knew about himself, prevented him from seeing the beauty of God (Ezekiel 28:17), and caused him to exalt himself against God whose nature is love.
This is the same with everyone who tries to be righteous through their own ability to keep the law. They are self absorbed with their own beauty, that is, the goodness they imagine to be inherent in their fallen nature. And Satan’s rebellion after his fall is how those act who realize they cannot keep the law and yet refuse the grace of God.
But those who have the law, whether written on tables of stone or on the tables of their hearts, and allow that law to bring them to Christ; these realize that God is love and that all His ways with man are done in the perfection of that holy love which is His nature. They come to rest in His eternal love that has never changed, whether expressed through the law or through grace, and never will change for all eternity.
"I have loved you from all eternity, because I have loved you, because I AM love; therefore I have drawn you to Myself with loving-kindness throughout all the days of your life." Jeremiah 31:3 (paraphrased)
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25

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