Updated: Oct 1, 2021
For context sake here is Part 1: (https://www.thegospelperspective.com/post/what-are-the-effects-of-the-law-part-1)
The Gospel Perspective is all about the viewpoint of what Jesus accomplished in His death, burial and resurrection. Can you imagine how powerful the resurrection must have been? Jesus conquered sin and death, and purchased redemption for all mankind.
This is exactly the context of 1 Corinthians 15:56.
1 Corinthians 15:56-57 “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus’ resurrection was so powerful that even our physical bodies will take part in being remade one day. One day, even physical death will be done away with once-for-all.
Right now, our spirits have been quickened and made alive unto God. We have died with Christ and are now risen with him and seated in heavenly places in Christ.
Ephesians 2:5-6 “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” Christ
This is important because we are dead to the law and risen with Christ. We are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God. God’s desires are now written on our hearts and we live from Christ who is on the inside (Hebrews 10:16, Galatians 6:15, Galatians 5:18).
The Sting of Death Is Sin
According to 1 Corinthians 15:56 the sting of death is sin. This is a phrase that is referring to an animal sting when maybe a creature like that of a scorpion strikes you and the poison results in fatality. Sin brings death. Death and sin hold hands and are found together. Jesus honored this union by His submission to death (Phil. 2:8) and by becoming sin for us that we might be made righteous and live through him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Sin has power, but where does sin get its power from? I thought you would never ask!
The Strength of Sin Is The Law
Can we address something? If the Bible says it should we not believe it? I don’t think scripture could be any clearer on this one particular issue. In the first part of this topic “What Are The Effects of The Law?” We established that the human effort exerted to follow and obey the law actually resulted in sin.
When Paul focused on not coveting, he confessed that the commandment produced sin in the form of every kind of coveting that exists. (Romans 7:8).
In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul explicitly addresses two ministries. The ministry of death (the law and more specifically The Ten Commandments) and the ministry of The Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:7-8 “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?”
This can give us some insight as to why the strength and power of sin is the law of Moses.
First of all, you would not know what sin was unless God gave you a line not to cross. (Romans 7:7)
Second, how would he pronounce you guilty unless He had a law to hold you to? (Galatians 3:3, Romans 3:19)
God will judge every unbeliever by the perfection of the law. No one can measure up to it. No one except Jesus.
Trying to follow the law does two things in the life of anyone who tries to perform it: the law will defeat you if you are honest, or it will make you a hypocrite if you are dishonest. No one fights the law and wins.
Paul makes it very clear in 2 Corinthians 3 that the letter (referring to the law) kills. Seriously, the law kills. Why are we trying to prescribe something that kills and expecting it to turn out well?
2 Corinthians 3:6 “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”
The Truth That Sets Us Free
The truth is, the law produces sin which leads to condemnation and death. The Ten Commandments do not hold the key to our success or righteousness personal or otherwise. Paul says they are a ministry of death. The law, although glorious, has no comparison to the ministry of life through the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:11). The Old Covenant has no glory compared to The New Covenant.
Jesus said that the truth shall set you free (John 8:32). Notice the context of why he said that.
John 8:34-36 “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
We are set free from the law because we are dead to it (Romans 7:6). We are set free from sin because we are dead to the law (Romans 6:6-7).
Do you see that?
Jesus took these ordinances that we could never perform to God’s standard and then nailed them to the cross after fulfilling them. He did this to set us free from bondage of the law (Galatians 5:1), and in doing so, Jesus set us free from what causes sin, death and condemnation in our lives.
Colossians 2:13-14 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
The truth is, it all comes down to where your focus is. Is it on the law or Jesus? Is the focus of your life your performance, or Jesus? Does The Spirit of Christ have your attention or does the law of commandments that condemn you have your attention?
I am not saying that our behavior doesn’t reflect the flesh from time to time. I am also not saying that behavior doesn’t matter. However, if we come short it’s because we chose to look at something besides Jesus. Sometimes, that might even be our performance of something that we are dead to, like the law.
Paul said that the goal of his life in Christ was not to have “righteousness through the law”. Truthfully that doesn’t exist because we aren’t capable of keeping it to God’s standard. The Christian life isn’t striving to keep the law, even morally. The goal is knowing and trusting Jesus.
Philippians 3:9-11 “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
Sin doesn’t have dominion over us. We have died to the law. We have died to sin. We are alive to serve in newness of The Spirit and not in the old way of the letter (Romans 7:6). We don’t want to sin. We no longer serve sin. We are servants of righteousness. The Gospel has changed us. Grace has secured our freedom from sin. The law is good, it’s just not good for us.
Romans 6:14 (KJV) “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”