It is not law, but love that produces obedience. If laws could make people do right, then, there would be no wrongdoers in America. Think about it; this country has more laws than you can shake a stick at. Still, lawlessness abounds in today’s America.

According to the Apostle Paul, God’s law didn’t stop men from sinning, but actually stirred up sin within men (Romans 7:7-13). Its purpose was not to save us from our sin, but to convict us of our sin. God’s purpose in giving the law was threefold: (1) to prove our guilt (2) to leave us without an excuse, and (3) to make known to us our sin problem (Romans 3:19-20). Once convinced by God’s law of our sin problem, we were prepared for God’s Son to come, knowing at last our desperate need of a Savior.

Whereas the “letter” of the law kills, the “spirit” of the law gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). Jesus came in the “spirit” of the law to give us life, both abundant and eternal (John 10:10). For instance, consider the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). The letter of the Old Testament law called for her stoning, but Christ, in the New Testament’s spirit of the law, gave her salvation. After experiencing the love and forgiveness of Christ, the woman went away with her life changed. No longer would she live a life of sin, but she would now strive to “sin no more.”

According to the Apostle John, it is our experiencing of God’s love in Christ that makes God’s “commandments” no longer “grievous” (1 John 5:3). Once we’ve fallen in love with Christ we will want to do what He commands. As Jesus said Himself, those who love Him keep His commandments (John 14:15; 15:10). Indeed, it is their love of Him and relationship with Him that makes obedience to Him their delight.

Is serving Christ something that you do with gladness (Psalm 100:2)? Are His commandments grievous to you? Is His law your delight or an absolute drudgery (Psalm 119:77, 174)? Is your Christian life about relationship or rules; are you freely obeying Him or always having to force yourself to do so? Your answers to these questions speak volumes about the condition of your current relationship with Christ!