Dying to the Law

In my journey with Christ, I could honestly say the Apostle Paul stood out to me most with his teachings. Of the 27 books in the New Testament, 13 or 14 are traditionally attributed to Paul. His faith inspires me incredibly as he really suffered a lot in his life but still proclaimed Joy saying that "for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

Philippians 4:11-13

He wore his purpose like a treasured robe even to the end of his life. How can someone walk into his life as a killer of Jesus followers and walk out dying for Jesus? Only God's power can do such. And that power that raised Jesus from the dead also lives in us when we give our lives to Christ.

This artwork is about dying to the law and sanctification. Sanctification is the outworking of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. Growing up in the church it was clear to me that I need to follow the commandments in order to be fully loved by God. That it was my good works that pleased God and my bad works that caused his anger towards me.  That I needed to find a way to stop sinning. And the more I couldn't, the more guilt I felt. It was hopeless really, until I actually read the Bible for myself. I came to realise that the truth is I couldn't overcome any sin in my life without Jesus and all my efforts were useless without his spirit working in and through me. As I started reading the Bible and learning the truth that, "oh! we are all sinners, not just me", and there is no point I will get to somewhere in my adulthood where I would have finally finished sinning - like I thought to myself. Jesus died for our sins - I honestly thought that he was just doing us a favor and that because he did this I now have to repay him by living in guilt for the rest of my life as I struggle to quit addictions, in trying not to be prideful or lying and all the other sins. If I don't figure out how to stop - I thought "well I'm on my way to hell basically". I know - hectic.

So when the Holy Spirit started revealing the Bible to me and giving me knowledge and understanding, I started seeing that Jesus dying on the cross was him literally giving up his life and emptying himself so that I could become full. He rose again making resurrection possible so I will live again after I die. It also made it possible for me to be cleansed from my sins if I repent. So when I believed in him he gave me his spirit, a helper to help me through this life thing.

This freed me. It gave me perspective to see if He is in me spiritually, that means he knows exactly how I feel all the time and sees my heart. He understands me more than I understand myself. I started trusting him because I know he knows exactly how it feels to be rejected, to be lonely, frustrated, tempted, poor, and ridiculed for his beliefs. In Hebrews 4 verse 15, it says "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin."

So Paul says that my main requirement isn't the commandments. My main requirement as a believer is to get to know Jesus so that in him he can help me follow the commandments. Roman's 3 verse 20, says that the law reveals sin but cannot fix it. So I asked myself what's the point of the law? The answer was - to reveal what is good and what is evil. If we didn't have the law, I think there would probably be a sport in the Olympics where people would basically slaughter each other for a medal and we would all cheer for the person who killed the most people - watching on our TV screens. We probably wouldn't consider anything to be evil.

In the artwork, I show a target with arrows shot through it. The shooting is done by me in the artwork Demon Slayer. I am shooting at a paper written: "the law" to remind myself that I have been called out of a world of trying to prove my worth and my value by what I do or possess. I am deeply loved by God for who I am and not what I do. The artwork has holes that are missing the target and some arrows as well, to show that this is a work in progress, dying to the law is not something I fully comprehend yet. But it is something the Holy Spirit is helping me understand slowly but surely.

So in finality, Paul says I can't do both. I can't want to live to keep the God's commands by myself and think that will make me Holy. I need to die to the commandments and find my life in knowing Christ. In Galatians 3 verse 1, Paul basically says to go back to the law after embracing faith is “stupid”.

The Modern Tabernacle

Artist’s Statement

Because my body is a temple, "it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing."

Galatians 2 vs 20-21

The encompassing of this scripture in my life is currently moving and has moved me into depths I could have never imagined for myself. This series of artworks is about my experience as a follower of Christ. The grappling to understand and to seek him in a relationship and not religion. This scripture by my favorite Apostle Paul, constantly reminds me that God chose to die for me and live in me even while I was still a sinner. That my body has now become a temple where his spirit dwells and teaches and loves in and through me. In the Old Testament, the Tabernacle (Exodus 25) during the time of Moses was a temple where God's spirit rested and ruled. It was a place of worship. It was treated with honor, respect, and reverence. Now in the New Testament, His presence left the Tabernacle/Temple and now He resides in me. And as the chosen dwelling of the Lord, He calls me to value, respect, and honor myself. This is something I'm learning in the journey with him. I have not yet attained it but I am recognizing that it is a process of unlearning all the self-judgment and criticism I indulge in. In the journey of my life, I picked up certain things along the way. I was taught that self-love was a form of vanity. That to find any worth or value I needed to be valuable by what I do and what I have to show. This entailed being good at something or performing my identity in ways, pleased people. So, people-pleasing became a part of my identity.

 When I began my walk with Christ, learning that I was loved fully and that there was nothing I did or could do to deserve it - became a struggle for me. I was a performance-based Christian and that's not the kind of relationship Christ was calling me into. And so, He is helping me slowly unlearn being approved, loved, or acknowledged for how I perform but rather start learning how I am valuable to him just because I simply am. In all the artworks I use 3 colours. Red, Purple and Blue. These 3 colours symbolize the veil of the temple. This veil, described first and most fully in descriptions of the tabernacle, was made of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen. Generally, this veil separated the holy place from the holy of holies. This place (the holy of holies) was thought to be a replica of heaven in the tabernacle. Hebrews 10:20 tells us that this veil typifies Christ’s body. When His body was offered on the cross, the veil in the temple tore from top to bottom. The veil being torn in two speaks of the body of Jesus Christ being broken on our behalf to make access to Him possible. It means that the barrier between us and him has been removed.

  • Dying to the Law
  • Jolie Graca
  • 2021
  • Oil on Canvas
  • Unframed
  • 75 x 75 cm
  • ZAR 7,070.00
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