Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he is alive, but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”
Paul, in Romans 7:2
God did not give his Law to the Egyptians, or to the Moabites, or to the Greeks, or to any Gentile nation. He gave his Law only to the circumcised nation; that is, the Israelites. Since that is true, we can say that under the Old Covenant, in order for the Law to apply to a man he had to be an Israelite. That was the first condition under the Law of being acceptable to God. God accepted only Israelite priests, Israelite sacrifices, and Israelite worship. God did not accept the ministry of Gentile priests, Gentile prophets, Gentile sacrifices, or Gentile doctrines. Nor did He judge the Gentiles by the Law that He gave Israel. Because his Law did not apply to Gentiles, God judged them by a different standard. “For as many as have sinned without Law shall also perish without Law, and as many as have sinned in the Law shall be judged by the law. . . . For when the Gentiles who have not the Law do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the Law, are a law unto themselves, who show the work of the Law written in their hearts” (Rom. 2:12, 14-15).
Another condition that had to be met in order for the Law of God to apply to any man was that he had to be alive. That sounds simplistic, but it has a necessary New Testament meaning. The New Covenant applies only to those who are alive in Christ, and being alive in Christ is made a reality only when a person receives the holy Ghost from God, for “the Spirit is life” (Rom. 8:10).
Sometimes Jesus spoke of ordinary human beings as if they were dead. Once, when he called a young man to follow him, the young man requested to be allowed first to go bury his father, but Jesus replied (Luke 9:60), “Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” Jesus understood that the holy Spirit gives real life, eternal life, to all who receive it. This is God’s life, and it is so much greater than ordinary human life that those without it can rightly be judged as “dead”. When a person receives the holy Ghost, he becomes alive to God, a new-born member “of the Israel of God”. From the moment of his birth into this nation of saints, the New Testament Law of God applies to him.
The requirement that one must “worship the Father in spirit and in truth” applies only to those with the spirit of God because those without the Spirit are dead and are unable to worship God acceptably at all. The will of God in this New Testament may be comprehended and enjoyed only by those who have been baptized by the Spirit into Christ, because they alone have been given life by God. These are the only people that Jesus considers to be alive, the only people that He nurtures, and the only people He will save.
When a sinner begins to seek God, he must first seek God’s life because without coming to life in Christ, nothing in the New Testament applies to him. God’s Law applies only to God’s people, and Paul said, “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” But from the moment that a sinner satisfied God with his repentance and receives “the Spirit of life”, he does belong to God as His child, and every element of the Law of God applies to him.
So, if anyone should want God’s will (His Law) in this New Testament to apply to him, let him first seek the holy Ghost, the life of God, so that he may come alive to what is of God. In Romans 14:17, Paul said, “The kingdom of God . . . is righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Ghost.” Remember that, and listen to what Jesus told sinners to do if they desire to qualify to be under God’s holy Law. He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
So, first seek life; that is, first seek the holy Ghost. When God gives it to you, then everything else He has commanded will apply to you, as one of His people.