During this marvelous spiritual journey I find myself on I have thought a lot about The Law part of the gospel.
The scriptures are full of references to laws. There are laws for different kingdoms, the Law of Moses, fulfilled laws, etc. Some of these laws are in opposition to each other!
As I've been striving to learn what law God wants me to live, I feel I have learned something very profound. So simple.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Now, before you comment that it isn't that simple and we have a billion other rules to follow, just stop and let this truth flow over you. Love. Love fulfills ALL the laws.
Now, you can go to dictionary.com and see the different definitions of the word "fulfilled." It means to complete, finish, to satisfy or to bring to realization. All that can be done by LOVING our neighbor as ourselves. This is such an amazing thing!
I used to think that by loving God and neighbor I would automatically live (works) all the other laws, rules and commandments. Now my understanding has shifted. It is the love of God and neighbor (and self) that FULFILLS all the law.
In this way, the laws that do not really come from our Father will naturally fall away. For example, we can easily see that how many steps we take on Sunday or what color shirt we wear to pass the Sacrament in doesn't matter to God.
Just to be completely heretical, I believe that according to scripture there are those who are NOT under the law. They are not bound to it and do not have to abide by it. Shocking, I know!
Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
And if you are not under the law, you are FREE. No longer a prisoner of sin.
But, how do we know if we are walking in the Spirit?
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
You will exhibit the fruits of the Spirit! The Light of Christ will shine for all to see. God will work through you.
Those who are not under the law are claimed by Mercy on the day of judgement. This is something that makes my heart sing, but makes many others cringe. Yes, I believe that there are scriptures to support this idea that those claimed by mercy will escape judgement of their own works. I don't pretend to fully comprehend this wonderful promise of God, but I do put my faith in it.
I don't think a person claimed by mercy will be judged by their own works because they will not be doing their own works!
Going back to the law for a minute:
Alma 42:17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?
It is because there is a law that there is sin! If there was no law, there would be no sin. So, if one has fulfilled the law through love (charity) he can no longer sin. Why? Because he is not under the law.
Joseph Smith taught a sermon in 1843 about the priesthood and talked about how the Levitical priesthood was only able to administer cursings and the carnal commandments! I highly recommend reading the notes on this because it contains several amazing tidbits of information about the law and the priesthood.
I interpret what I read in that sermon to mean that the carnal commandments ARE a curse. However, I believe that they serve a purpose. They frustrate and humble us enough that we come unto Christ for release.
Our works can NEVER save us. We cannot earn our salvation.
The Toscano's say it perfectly in their book Strangers in Paradox:
"Jesus brought closure to salvation by law and initiated salvation by love."