“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) How many times have you heard this scripture in sermons that justify the sinful nature of a person? Typically it goes like this: “Well even Paul called himself a wretched man, that he’s a sinner. And if Paul was like this, then what can we say about ourselves?” But what is Paul really writing about here? Is this the condition (the condition of a wretched man) of a person who is born again, born from above? Paul is writing about the condition of war, a condition where you are in constant battle between the law (which is good) and sin (which is bad). This is the condition of a person who is under the law. Christ came to free us from the law and from the wretched state, from sin!
“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:35-40). “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16).
Why was there religious life by the law prior to John the Baptist and after John the Baptist began the New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ? (Matthew 26:26). The answer is found in the scripture, “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God… By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament” (Hebrews 7:18-22). “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Roman 3:20). “And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:49) – because of Him, Jesus Christ. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14). “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 18-20). “For ye are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4). The law did not bring anyone to perfection, it couldn’t free anyone from the law of sin and death, but instead put power in sin (1 Corinthians 15:16). Therefore in place of the Old Testament, the New Testament took over and the mediator is Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 9:15) He, Jesus Christ, is not only the mediator of the new covenant but He is also the high priest and the priest of the tabernacle of truth (the church), which the Lord has built, and not man. (Hebrews 8:12)
The law demands holiness, “Be ye holy; for I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:16) so that man with his own will power seeks holiness by the law. But to become holy by completely following the law is impossible, “for by the law is the knowledge of sin,” (Romans 3:20). God, loving humanity, sent His Son to save those who believe in Him. Jesus Christ took the sins of the whole world upon Himself, died for all people, rose from the dead so that God could be our holiness and righteousness, something the law demands, (1 Corinthians 1:30 and Romans 8:1-2). And through this way the justification of the law has been fulfilled in us, who walk according to the spirit and not according to the flesh (Romans 8:4). Christ died for the law, so then we are forever freed from it, by dying with the body of Christ for the law, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead… But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:4-6).
So by accepting Jesus Christ, Christ becomes your holiness and righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30, Galatians 3:26-28; Revelation 19:8). The law required the man to do many deeds and now the New Testament is the opposite, does not make man follow law or deeds but rather give himself to God by faith and the God living within the person will use him, at his discretion for divine affairs (Romans 6:13,19-22, Romans 12:1-8, Romans 8:14, Romans 15:17-19).
In the New Testament, Christ is one’s light, mind, love, joy, peace, hope, faith, meekness, humility, food, drink, clothing, truth, way, his all and all! A person following the law tries to do all of this and is in desperate need, wants Christ to be his all and all, but he believes and tries to defeat sin because he understands and sees himself sinning all the time! And he thinks: “as soon as I stop sinning, become free from sin, then Christ will dwell in my heart and will become my all in all!”
The pity of today is that people do not understand the New Testament! When they talk about the law of the letter, they understand it like the Old Testament that it means to follow the Sabbath, not to eat pork, and that all of it has been abolished and that we completely do not adhere to it. With this misunderstanding, the New Testament is turned into the law and with their own strength and mind people try to fulfill it, seeing this as holiness and attempting to please God. Such people have not parted with the old Adam, they continue to fight with the old Adam, but whoever does not part with the old Adam will always be under the law of slavery because: a man is a sinner and cannot help but sin! A person can understand the law with their mind, which allows one thing and prohibits another. Understanding with the mind that the price for sin is death, the person tries with all his strength to withstand sin, but is always defeated and continues to sin!
Such a person does not believe and has not accepted that the Calvary was given to him, to mankind! They proclaim to believe it but remain in the old Adam and continue to wage a bitter struggle with him, always trying to change himself, re-educate, to make himself holy and righteous, but never succeed! Years go by and the struggle continues depending on their zealousness for God and they cannot understand why they have not attained success- why? Because it is necessary to believe in the Calvary by the Truth!
With the body of Christ, we died for the law of the letter, that is, for the law of Moses, the Old Testament, which kills and condemns, and it is impossible to be saved by it today. It is written: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4). If one does not understand this – does not understand the end of the law – they can never be righteous, the law will never allow it!
On the basis of what is written above it becomes clear that: The Old Testament came to an end at the time of John the Baptist, and now the time of grace and the New Testament has arrived. The Old Testament has come completely to an end and now salvation is through the New Testament, with Christ and in Christ.