If you rely on law, you rely on death

I couldn’t agree less with this tweet,

That’s because the Bible disagrees with it entirely:

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. …

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:3, 6.)

The “tablets of stone” in verse 3 are the Ten Commandments Mr. DeYoung relies upon for prosperity.

Moses with the Tablets of the law, Rembrandt (1606-1679) Wikipedia

But the Apostle Paul expands further on the problem with such reliance:

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? (2 Corinthians 3:7-8.)

The letters on stone are a ministry that brings death, plain and simple, according to the Apostolic teaching found in the Bible. Why would a modern preacher want to teach anyone to go back to it?

For those still not convinced, let’s read what else Paul says in that passage:

If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! (2 Corinthians 3:9-11.)

The lesser glory of the Ten Commandments has gone away, and that way lies death. Remember, too, who it is that wants you to pursue a ministry of death: Satan, the Thief.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10.)

The greater glory of the Spirit of Christ lasts forever, though, and as Jesus said it brings true eternal prosperity in greater abundance than you could ever imagine.

I am not saying the law has no place. It does. (The Goodness of the Law – an answer to legalistic doctrine.) It just doesn’t have a place in bringing life. This is the meaning of Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount when he said:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17.)

As he went on to say in that sermon, it takes greater righteousness than even the most righteous people of that time to enter the kingdom of God. It takes Jesus’ righteousness. Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets – the entire will of God for his people – so we don’t have to.

So don’t let anyone, whether a bestselling pastor and conference speaker or anyone else, tell you that a “better, safer, and more prosperous life” is found in following rules.

Life is found in following Jesus.


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20 Responses to If you rely on law, you rely on death

  1. “Life is found in following Jesus.”

    Amen and amen!

  2. Such a mentality seems to go against Jesus’ mission. Jesus says things like in Mark 2:17, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Or in Luke 5:32 where he says “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

    The problem is that belief that we are following the law, whether they’re the ten commandments or any other law can lead us to believe that we’re not needing the grace and forgiveness of God. Not to mention the Sermon on the Mount takes the Ten Commandments and deepens their application as to highlight the fact that we can’t completely obey the Ten Commandments, no matter how prosperous such an accomplishment would make us.

    • Tim says:

      Good points, Jeremy. We hear a lot of preachers say we would do better if only followed God’s law, yet no one has ever followed God’s law to its fulfillment except Jesus himself. I am so glad he – in his grace and love – did it for me.

  3. I totally agree, Tim. A friend of mine, in response to a similar comment to DeYoung’s put it this way: “Doesn’t he know the Bible has two Testaments?” Sure, the world would be better, safer, etc. — but WE can’t bring that about, and striving to do so only leads to despair. As one of my favourite worship songs says,

    Lord, I’m grateful, amazed at what You’ve done; my finest efforts are filthy rags
    But I’m made righteous by trusting in the Son; I have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
    ‘Cause it’s grace, there’s nothing I can do
    To make You love me more, to make You love me less than You do
    And by faith I’m standing on this stone of Christ and Christ alone
    Your righteousness is all that I need, ’cause it’s GRACE!

    (OK, now I’ll be snapping my fingers and bopping to that all day…. 🙂 )

    • Tim says:

      The fullness of God is in Christ, and the fullness of following God is in him as well. I am glad his grace reaches out to us so we can find fulfillment in him and not keep trying to achieve it ourselves. No one but Jesus has ever done it or ever will.

  4. What is missing in the law is mercy and love for everyone who doesn’t come up to our own high standards (ha!). That is why the law of the Spirit, Jesus’ new commandment, “love you neighbour as yourself” can fulfil the old law (not very loving to steal from your neighbour is it?) while showing the same love and mercy to our neighbour as God has poured out on us.

  5. DragonLady says:

    “Life is found in following Jesus.” <—– This!

  6. The Ten Commandments were not the whole Law, for one thing, and the trouble with having any list of sins is that the list would go on and on and on. That’s why the Law didn’t work. God, desiring mercy not sacrifice, sacrifices Himself for our sake. I’m sure the world would be better if everyone followed the Ten Commandments, but following rules is not grace.
    There was a young man who came to Jesus who said “I follow all the rules! What do I do next to go to heaven?” And Jesus told him to give all he had to the poor, because the Law alone was not and is not enough. Jesus came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the Law – and that is where love fills in all the gaps of our imperfect, rule-following souls 🙂

  7. Of course, Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17) Therefore, as we walk in Him, it is fulfilled, having been written on our hearts. However, for the unbelieving, Paul writes, “…the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24) The law’s value is in revealing our inability to keep the law, to expose our need for a savior.

    Once we come to know Him, the Spirit is our law. “Those who live by the Spirit are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:18).

    However, in defense of Tweet’s author, I think he was writing of earthly laws which are appropriate to establish general societal rules and limitations, as well as penalties, for failing to respect other persons and their property… Anarchy is not an alternative in a fallen world.

    • Tim says:

      I wish I could read his tweet and get that message about earthly laws, but it’s so clear he is speaking of spiritual matters when he explicitly references the 10 Commandments. Sad.

  8. Boston Lady says:

    Unfortunately, DeYoung and Piper teach a false gospel, from a false theology. They are detrimental to your spiritual health.

    [Comment edited in order to stay in line with comment guidelines for this blog.]

  9. Acts 15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

    DeYoung must hate this verse.

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