Law is a system of of preconceiving, of learning, that seeks to impress upon the mind of man, a pattern that calls for conformity to its structure.
Civil laws might say do not exceed the speed limit. There are penalties attached to disobeying the law, in order to bring about, to “force” conformity to them, so as to satisfy the design and intention, the purpose, of that law, that the requirement might be met, for whatever the intended purpose was supposed to be.
The penalties are meant so people take the law seriously, and they give serious thought to what might happen to them if they “disobey” the law. Of course there are lots of civil laws.
Religious law may or may not be a serious matter, depending firstly on whether or not it is “true”, and whether or not there are penalties which could be applied, and whether or not they are likely to be applied. This may depend on the country you are in.
If you are in the “wrong” (primitive) country, you could be killed for contravening one of these religious laws. It would be a matter of how serious the effect of that contravention would be seen by the “religious authorities”. [In the Western world, the religious authorities have no such power as to be able to kill or imprison, or effect ones living in any way, unless you are a part of that organisation, where the worst that could happen to you would be that your fellow members would “shun” (avoid) you]
So what could be seen as so serious as to deprive you of life? It seems that it may be someones idea of whether or not their deity or god has been offended. This offence would then be taken up by those who hold to the power and intention of this “god”. It may involve old documents where the specifics of the requirements are provided, and are used to prove an answerable case to such said “offense”.
In the days of the Jews the laws were essentially to provide stability to an emerging nation. They also provided the moral base for their communal behaviour. Such was the seriousness of those days that severe penalties were imposed for some offences against the ordained order. They came about through communication with the God who had chosen them from among the nations, to be his representative and living example of his existence and purpose.
So law is a pattern and impression of ideas, of specific, not random, structure, to suit a particular purpose. This pattern is imprinted on the mind, or in the mind, according to the strength of the authority behind it.
The Jews had the law of Moses, better known in its simplest form as “The ten commandments”‘ Although plainly stated in the New Testament as being temporary, abolished, as being “the ministry of death”, and only a schoolmaster until Christ came: “Now that Christ is here, we are no longer under the jurisdiction of the law”, that law was made for bad men, not good, and a whole host of other references and contexts that plainly say there has been a shift from law to grace; and there is a new age of the Spirit that is itself plainly positioned in “opposition” to the principle of law; people continue to insist that “the law” is still in the driver’s seat.
The point being, that if man tries to operate to a system of regulated, required response towards a system of law, it is not going to work. [because he is guilty]. Man has to be involved in the process, not be subject to it as a mindless slave to some preordered requirement. [in context]
Any patterning of his mind has to be of his own free will, even if it means his free will then willingly submits itself to some authority. This is what occurs under the gospel when man is placed once more in the correct context of life in free submission and subjection to righteousness. But this submission and new form of patterning of the mind comes through the free flow of the Spirit, in accordance with the initial design and intention of his maker, his creator.
It is the release from a prison of needing to conform to the imposed patterning on the mind as instigated by those who would impose law on us, that frees us in all parts of our being to be able to serve God by being that creature he had always intended us to be, by the free flowing patterning of the Spirit.
The presence of law and laws in our inner structure, ensured that we were bound, and therefore bound to sin. Sin is the stepping outside of laws processes, not so much as in breaking a law, although there are primary examples of that, but as in the principle of lawlessness, of operating without moral structure, through ignorance, and later hopelessness frustration and futility. [the internalised law gives power to inner sin to declare the “wrath” of God]
“Once I was alive apart from law, but when law came, sin revived and I died. The very thing that was meant to bring life brought death”. The only patterning of our minds that allows life to exist and flourish, is that which is provided by the living Spirit of the living Christ.
“If a law could have been given by which life would come, then life indeed could have come by law”? But all things were imprisoned in sin until such time as Christ came? It was by promise, so it could be accessed by faith, by all and for all.
“For the sting of death is sin, and the POWER of sin is THE LAW”. It was the law that enabled sin its power to flourish and dominate us. It is release from law that empowers us to gain the Spirit, and the Spirit empowers our release from law; on the basis of his death and love for us. Law is not just the law of Moses. Law is any authority, principle, rule, or system of governance that seeks to control us other than that control being through the love of Christ and his Spirit. The law had the role of teaching us of the futility of self determination, of autonomy, that without him “we can do nothing”. It revealed our separation from God.
“Taking every thought captive to Christ”. The “law” (patterning) of the Spirit of life in Christ, and now in us, sets us free from the law (Mosaic) of sin and death.
Law is cause and effect. The penalty imposed by law, reflects the degree of damage suffered by a healthy conscience. The penalty is enacted as an exterior action upon the “perpetrator”, in order to reveal the degree of damage done to God’s creative plan. It also reveals to the “sinner” his degree of separation from God’s righteousness. [resulting in inner guilt]
The law is now revealed to be a statement of our unrighteousness and God’s righteousness.
God’s righteousness is now seen as the perfect “law” that deals with sin and removes it from his creation, as depicted through Christ on the cross. That the nature of love is such that it suffers at its own cost, the failings, wrong actions, and inadequacies of man. At the same time, in being the perfect “buffer” between man and sin, he removes the reasons and prime cause for sin to be empowered in man in the first place. [that man operates alone]
So “The law” describes the actions of sin in man, and grace in Christ describes the removal of sin by his love, giving us a new “law”, the “law” of the Spirit of life in Christ, which sets us free from the old law, [sin and death] so we can engage with the new, with his love, the “law” of life.