Do Christians have a “law” to follow?
Many people in America find themselves living under a double-standard. They love the tremendous freedoms and privileges American citizenship offers, and yet they protest the very laws that govern them. They fail to realize that in order to receive the benefits, it’s imperative that they submit to the laws this country stands for. Much of the same attitude permeates the world of denominational “Christianity.” Many well-intentioned people have argued that the only requirement of the Christian is belief that Jesus is the risen Christ. They preach that rules and regulations have no part in their religion, often citing the apostle Paul who wrote, “…for you are not under law but under grace,” (Rom. 6:14). It is certainly true that that we are no longer under the Mosaic Law as a requirement for salvation (Rom. 7:6). However, does that mean there are no laws that govern the Christian walk? Does our New Testament advocate a “belief-only” Christianity?
As we study through the Scriptures we find that Paul, and the other biblical writers, would strongly disagree with this teaching. Just three chapters earlier Paul affirmed that Christians are living under the “law of faith” (Rom. 3:27). Later in Romans we find that Christians are under “the law of the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). The apostle Paul commands the Galatians to “fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). James commands us to look intently at “the perfect law, the law of liberty” and follow it closely (Jas. 1:25). Paul found it necessary to mention that he was bound by “the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). As we study throughout the New Testament it’s true that we are free from the Law of Moses, but Christians are most certainly under “law.”
The objection many religious people cite in regards to requiring that Christians must observe the laws of God found in the Bible is that, “Jesus just wants us to love Him and treat others the same way.” We must ask ourselves, “How are we supposed to love God?” Do we get to define “love” or should we inquire of the Lord? According to the inspired apostle John, “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments…” (1 John 5:3). If we want to know how to love Jesus, He Himself said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” (John 14:15). According to the Savior Himself, loving God means to follow His laws in our lives. It’s not a works-based religion, because keeping laws will not earn our salvation. However, we learn from Scripture that our faith relationship with Christ is inadequate if we don’t write God’s laws on our hearts and live them in our lives (Heb. 8:10).