When I was a youngster my father, possibly detecting an inclination in me to disobey, showed me his leather shaving strop which he kept on a hook under the kitchen sink, and he said, “Now look boy, remember where this is. If I need it to tan your backside it is ready to hand.” The fact is he never had to use it for tanning my buttocks! I didn’t get out of hand, and if I failed with a minor task, he was always there to support and help me.
I recognised my Dad’s authority, and I appreciated his deterrent, but I appreciated much more his care, love and concern for me. He was a good father; he was never loud or selfish and he was always kind. Why would I have wanted to disobey him?
As I consider my Heavenly Father, I see in Him a Figure far more caring, far more loving; a Father who sacrificed His only Son (John 3:16) so that I shall have an inheritance in His kingdom (John 14:2), where there will be no need for a deterrent to make me think twice about disobeying Him. His kingdom is a kingdom of love, where all its citizens are like Him (1 John 3:2), the God who is Love (1 John 4:8). This is a place where the only rule is ‘love’, and the only desire is to love (1 Corinthians 13:13). It is a state of complete freedom (John 8:36).
Jesus, the Son of God, who died in my place demonstrated His love for me (Romans 5:8) by obeying His Father unto death on a cross (Matthew 26:42; Luke 22:42). He came to earth to fulfil the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). Not once did he sin (Hebrew 4:15); not once did He disobey; not once did He not love, but He paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving His life in exchange for mine (Romans 5:8). This act of selfless love satisfied the just wrath of His Father for my sin and for my sinning against Him (Romans 3:25). Jesus was punished and suffered on my behalf (1 Peter 4:1).
Those who are in Him, i.e., true believing Christians, are not required to obey the Law of Moses (Hebrews 8:13) which was only applicable to the Old Testament Jews (Exodus 19:5) and was uniquely and obediently fulfilled by Jesus (Matthew 5:17). Believers in Him have been given freedom from that Law through the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus (Matthew 26:28), which made the Old Testament law obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). That does not mean Christians are free to sin; far from it (Romans 6:15)! They are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is the law of love. They are to love God and to love one another (1 John 4:7) and to love their neighbours as themselves – even to love those who hate them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27).
While here on the earth each saint lives in the ‘tent’ of his body (2 Peter 1:13, 14), which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). His desire is to live a holy life, obedient to God (Acts 5:32), as Christ was obedient to His Father (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:8). He looks to the total redemption of his body and soul when he will be united with the Father and the Son in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10, 11, 22). There the indwelling Spirit (Romans 8:9) will reside in him and all the saints.
In this final, perfect kingdom of God, there will be no disciplining for the breaking of God’s law, for all will dwell in Him (John 14:17, 18; 17:20-23) in a state of perfect freedom (Romans 8:2; Galatians 5:1).