In the New Testament there are a few places where the words, “No law,” are found. It occurs twice in the book of Romans and once in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. One of these instances is in a passage that we recently studied, but didn’t include last time. In Romans five the apostle Paul connected sin entering the world through Adam with the reign of death. He did so by speaking of no law. He writes,
For until the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not charged when there is no law.Romans 5:13
This concept of sin not being charged when there is no law is intriguing to me. One simple reason is because we don’t find it very often in the Bible. Despite its rarity, he actually made a very similar statement in the prior chapter. That being,
For the law produces wrath, for where there is no law, neither is there disobedience.Romans 4:15
Both of these verses help us understand the necessity of a law to punish sin. If Adam and Eve were never given the command concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then they couldn’t have sinned in that way. Without a law there is nothing to disobey. Moreover, wrath is only produced when there is a law. For my own application, it reminds me that I shouldn’t view people as having sinned when there is no law against what they did.
Furthermore, God tells us His expectations for us in His Word. He only judges us against something when we disobey what He taught us about. I think this is a good principle for us to follow. My wife and I keep it in mind when teaching our children. Although they sometimes do things that we don’t approve of, we only punish them for what they’ve been told before. If they do something that is inappropriate, but haven’t been instructed about it previously, then we don’t punish them for it.
I think that such a perspective is appropriate based on the couple of verses shared above. Even though I doubt that there is much teaching on the concept of no law, I bring it up for a reason. That is to reflect on the one other place where the statement is found.
There Is No Law Against the Fruit of the Spirit
In Galatians 5 the apostle Paul speaks of many things, but two of them are the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. After sharing a multitude of sins that will keep one from inheriting the kingdom of God, he contrasts them with the fruit of the Spirit. They are as follows,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
This is an excellent list of the characteristics of a child of God. I suspect that many students of the Bible will be familiar with the first three. When I think of it, love, joy, and peace come to mind easily. Some of the others are more difficult to remember.
That’s a shame because all of these fruits are magnificent and worthy of being demonstrated in our daily lives. If we hold to godly love, goodness, and so on, then we will not transgress the law of God. No sins or disobedience are done when we manifest these fruits to the world. We should strive to show them to a people who are in desperate need of the living waters of Christ (John 4:13-14, 7:37-39).
So many individuals are rightly concerned about a continuing pandemic and an upcoming election in the United States of America. Both of these are serious matters. However, they can be handled with compassion and peace if we are mindful of how we are to walk in this life. Bearing fruit of the Spirit will always be of benefit to those around us. Our brothers and sisters in the Faith will be edified and encouraged by us. Those in the world will know that there are some who look to God and have a greater degree of peace than most.
Hopefully some of those who are outside of Christ will take these difficult times to seek after Him and not rely on their own strength and pride. Being more afraid of God than a virus is also appropriate. We who are a part of the Body of Christ need to remember that kindness and goodness are also fruits of the Spirit. We cannot be arrogant and boastful in our dealings with others. Words and actions with humility will speak more than the alternative. Demonstrating self-control by walking in faith with a spirit of gentleness is right and good. There is no law against doing so, along with all the other fruits of the Spirit.
May we all be mindful of that as we go throughout this week.
Fruit Cut Out in the Shape of Hearts by silviarita from Pixabay.