Learn To Live The Spirit of God’s Law

In our daily lives how can we learn to live the spirit of God’s law? For instance, let’s consider the 4th commandment. We all understand that God’s Holy Sabbath is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. There is no gray area involved as to the exact time boundaries of the Sabbath. In the legal profession such clear lines of demarcation are called the black letter of the law. There is no question about the interpretation of the law in such an instance. But what is the spiritual application of keeping those 24 hours? Is everything black or white concerning how we actually live those 24 hours?

Christ gives us a good example of applying the spiritual law of God’s Sabbath in Matthew 12:11-13.

Matthew 12:11-13: 11 “He said to them, ‘If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ 13 Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.” NIV

In explaining it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, Christ was using the well-known exception to the rule of not working on the Sabbath. The Jews were quite familiar with the exception it is acceptable on the Sabbath to rescue an animal that has fallen in a ditch and is in distress. He then asked the question, wasn’t a man more valuable than a sheep?

Why did Christ find it so easy to understand and explain the spiritual application of the law of the Sabbath when the Pharisees condemned his actions of healing the man’s arm on the Sabbath? The reason the Pharisees could not understand his application of the spirit of the law was due to their hard hearts. Hard-heartedness results in self-righteousness and a closed mind. It is the opposite of being spiritually minded.

To be spiritually minded as Christ and to apply God’s law with mercy, justice, and faithfulness, we have to go deeper than just our own personal rules or regulations concerning God’s great and perfect law. The key to understanding the spiritual application of God’s law is to grasp the original intent and purpose of the law. That is what Christ was explaining when he asked, which was of more value, the man or the sheep? He was trying to get them to consider the purpose and intent of the Sabbath law:

Mark 2:27: 27 And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: KJV

God made the Sabbath for man. Therefore, should this crippled man be denied healing on the very day God made for mankind to be freed of the physical burdens of this world? What greater spiritual application of God’s Sabbath law than to be in the presence of the Lord God who created the Sabbath for mankind and to have this crippling burden removed?

We should always remember to look to the original intent and purpose of God’s Law with the attitude that all of God’s laws are always a blessing when we strive to keep them in the spirit as well as the letter of the law.