Wednesday, January 11, 2012
“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10 KJV).
The “yoke” of today’s Scripture, according to Acts 15:1-5 and Galatians 5:1-4, is the Mosaic Law (physical circumcision and Judaism). In the Old Testament, God commanded the nation Israel to keep His covenant with them and obey the Law of Moses (the “Mitzvot,” the 613 laws of Judaism). What a burden! (They failed, by the way!)
The Mosaic Law was perfect because it was God’s laws: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). If the Law is “good,” how can it be “a yoke of bondage?” Because we sinners are not good. The Law is “weak through [our] flesh” (Romans 8:3). Whether saved or lost, we cannot keep the Law in our own strength.
Throughout Romans chapter 7, Paul, even as a saved man, admits he cannot obey the Mosaic Law. Paul concludes the chapter in defeat (verse 24), “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
God’s purpose in giving Israel the Mosaic Law was to show every human was a sinner, Jew and Gentile (Romans 3:9-20). God has already proven that we cannot measure up to His standard of perfection. Consequently, our performance and our righteousness are not the issue today.
Romans 3:21,22 says, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifest… Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon them that believe….” Through Calvary’s cross, God did away with Israel’s performance-based system, and replaced it with our grace system (Romans 6:14,15; Colossians 2:13,14). As long as we Christians are submissive to the Holy Spirit working in us, and not giving heed to our sinful Adamic nature, God will work in us to generate the righteousness that the Law demanded (Romans 8:1-15; Galatians 5:16-26).
The only way to enjoy the grace life is to cast off works-religion and legalism. Cast off the “yoke of bondage!”