Have you ever reflected on the following verse?
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.
Let’s break it down:
I. Through the law he died to the law
This is an interesting statement. It’s kind of like saying “through the water I died to the water.” It would be much easier to simply say, “I drowned.” That is of course, unless you meant to emphasize more than the mere result.
Paul states both the means (the law) and the result (death to the law). It was through an understanding of the true purposes and limitations of the law that brought about the death of the law’s abiding power in Paul’s life. It seems that the law was keeping Paul from a greater purpose. The law was ineffective in accomplishing the higher goal to which Paul aspired. It’s limitations brought about its own demise.
II. So that he might live for God.
Here’s the real deal. In being dead to the law Paul was now able to live for God. But do you really think that living for God did not involve the law? Did Paul now reject the ten commandments? Was it okay for Paul to lie, steal, and kill?
Of course not. Paul’s “living for God” certainly involved moral principles and practices. Whereas Paul lived for the law in the past, that way of life was now dead. He now lived “for God” and his morality flowed out of this relationship.
Are you living for the law or God? Are you trying to build moral character to please God, or are you seeking to live for Him based on his unconditional acceptance of you?
One of the greatest enemies of grace is legalism. Legalism is anything that you trust in or cling to in order to merit favor with God. Legalism is man’s attempt to earn God’s favor.
Die to legalism so that you can live for God. Stop making legalistic standards an end in and of themselves. You might be scared of the liberty you have in Christ, but I gurantee you won’t miss serving a cruel master like legalism.
Consider adopting a modern day paraphrase of Paul’s words: