This past week I was struck anew with Romans 7:6 "We have been delivered from the law,...so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit." Read the Daily Bread Devotional.
As I pondered this verse, I stopped to think and dwell upon what was the law to the Jews in the 1st century and just how did being delivered from it impact their relationship with God.
Many people may simply think of the Ten Commandments when their thoughts go to the law. And rightly so, as these were the first of the Law. No man or woman has truly kept all ten all their life except for Christ Jesus. So the Ten Commandments condemn us all to death and separation from God. Jesus' death on the cross frees us from this. Praise God!!
But it goes so far beyond just this! The 1st century Jew was laden with many more laws from Deuteronomy & Leviticus. And the many shadings, explanations and such that those in authority had added to the original texts. To be a "good" Jew was a very involved and sometimes burdensome set of rules and regulations.
Worship: Under the Law, the only place they could come into the presence of the Lord was in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. Only certain priests could even enter this area and only at appointed times. Under the Blood, all who believe and accept Christ's free gift of salvation can come into the very presence of God any time, any where. Christ sits on the right hand of The Father, as our High Priest. The Holy Spirit indwells us. God is actually with us - within us!!! - all the time. We don't have to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem! We can worship anywhere. We don't have to bring or buy offerings!! Christ was The Offering! At home, in the woods, gathered together in church, relaxing by the seashore...we can worship our God!!
Prayer: The 1st century Jew had certain postures, he had a prayer shawl, there were memorized prayers for different situations and times. He had always to worry if his prayers would be acceptable and received. But thanks to the Holy Spirit and Jesus at The Father's right hand, we can pray any time, anywhere, with a shawl or without, by our own words or let the Spirit make intercession for us!!! We can go to the alter at church, or pray kneeling by our bed, or pray on our commute to work. We can pray any time!
Confession & Forgiveness: The first century Jew had to travel to Jerusalem and give a sacrifice over to the priest to have his sins forgiven. This involved time, money, possible hardship, etc. But Our Lord and Savior is there to receive our heartfelt admission of guilt and there before the Father, He says, "I have this one covered." as he shows the nail scars to all in the Throne Room and the angels rejoice!!! Forgiveness is as easy as recognizing we have sinned and earnestly repenting of it!!! And we even have help in that from the Holy Spirit who will needle us, convicting us of what we've done wrong or what we've left undone!!! Ask Him to search your heart today and show you.
This is just a drop in the bucket of all the freedom we have in Christ Jesus!!! Thank you Lord! If you have yet to enjoy this freedom, won't you begin today?