Derek Prince - The Law Is God's Diagnostic
This excerpt is from: The Holy Spirit As Guide
So, going on, all right. Verse 14: for we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. Now, only Paul ever had this problem, I’m sure you’ll agree. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for what I will to do that I do not practice, but what I hate that I do. How many would be honest enough to say I know from experience what that means? Would you put your hand up and say that’s true. It’s certainly true in my life. All right. and Paul says I don’t understand it. Here I am, I’m really wanting to do the right thing. I can remember months when I struggled with this problem. I don’t understand why these things enslave me. In the end I decided to be a good slave, that’s all I decided. I won’t fight, I’ll just give way. But God in His mercy decreed otherwise.
All right. Verse 16: If then I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law, that it is good. Now I’m saying the law is right, that’s what I should be doing. I’m not criticizing the law. But now is the crux of the matter. But now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. When I make up my mind to do the right thing I agree it’s the right thing, I agree with what the law says. I say I’m going to do it and I do the exact opposite. Then I discover it isn’t really me that’s doing it, it’s sin that’s dwelling in me. And so you can say if you like that the law is God’s diagnostic. You know what a diagnostic is? Diagnoses your problem. You see? You go to any doctor and say, Doctor, I’ve got a pain in my stomach. He doesn’t just reach out and take a bottle of pills, He tries to diagnose the cause of the pain. Because when he knows the cause then he can find the cure. And God has provided this diagnosis for us. Here is how we can find out the real problem. It’s sin dwelling in me. In a certain sense it’s isolated sin.
I am certainly no pharmacologist but one of the jobs of a pharmacologist in taking a specimen is to isolate the particular thing that causes the sickness. And God has done that by the law. He’s diagnosed the root of the problem. It’s sin dwelling in me. It’s not me, it’s something else. I’m responsible but it’s not I that’s doing it. All right. Now let’s go on to the other way. We’ve said that we can’t achieve righteousness with God by keeping a law. Not because there’s anything wrong with the law, but because of this problem in us. Basically you have to come to that point If you’re really going to accept God’s way of righteousness. God’s way is grace, not law. Grace is God’s goodness that we don’t deserve. I find religious people find it hard to receive the grace of God because their thinking is I’ve got to do something to earn it.
Now when I got saved I ceased to be religious so I just plunged in and got everything. Saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit, got gifts of the Holy Spirit within a week. At the same time the other soldier that went with me to the same meeting was a very earnest religious type and it took him weeks to get what I got in a few days. Because, he kept trying to earn it. See, he thought he had to be good enough to get it. I’ve talked with scores of people who don’t receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit because they think they’ve got to be good enough to earn it. You will never be good enough to earn the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Nothing you can do will ever make you good enough for God the third person to come and dwell in your physical body. It’s grace. Let’s say this together. Grace cannot be earned. Will you say that? Grace cannot be earned. That’s right. Turn around to the person next to you and say grace cannot be earned. All right.
So we’re talking about something, If God hadn’t chosen to do it it would have never happened. We will never understand the grace of God but we can receive it. All right. now we’re coming to the crux of this matter which is it’s either law or grace but you can’t have it both ways. Romans 6 verse 14 Paul is speaking to people who’ve received the grace of God And he says: For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under law but under grace. Notice they’re mutually exclusive. If you’re under law you’re not under grace. If you’re under grace you’re not under law. You cannot be under both. And notice also he says sin will not have dominion over you because you are not under the law. What’s the implication? If you are under the law sin will have dominion over you. See that? That’s a very important verse. It teaches us two things. If we try to achieve righteousness by law, sin will have dominion over us. Secondly, if we want to achieve righteousness by grace we cannot achieve it by law. We’ve got to make up our minds it’s one or the other.
And then if you look on in Romans chapter 8 to verse 14, we’ve looked at it already: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. How do we live as sons of God? By keeping a set of rules? No, By what? By being led by the Holy Spirit. That’s the only way we can live as God’s mature, grown up children. Now, turning on to Galatians, and you’ll find there’s a lot of correspondence between Romans and Galatians Galatians chapter 5 Galatians 5 verse 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. See that? How can you become a son of God? By being led by the Spirit. But if you’re led by the Spirit you’re not under the law. You cannot have it both ways, you have to make a choice. Actually, for most professing Christians, law or a set of rules is like a crutch. They limp around supporting themselves on the crutch. God says throw the crutch away and trust me. And we say but what will I do without the crutch? I mean, I have discovered that it frightens people to trust God’s grace, really to commit themselves to that. We all want to hang on to a little set of rules that we keep, that’s our crutch. It doesn’t work.