"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

WHERE ARE YOU? LAW or GRACE? PART - 2

By James Fire
Now we continue in this study of the LAW or GRACE, picking up where we left off in Galatians, the third Chapter. Let us carefully examine precisely what the Word says about these two supremely important aspects of the Scripture and our spiritual relationship to them both:

GALATIANS 3:26-29
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.


Note that: “according to the promise”, a promise made by God given to us by His grace – this refutes that we the church are heirs of the Jewish faith according to the Mosaic covenant with all of its admonition to keep the Law, the Feasts, holy days and customs. If one were to seek justification through the Mosaic covenant, one should be aware that there are 613 such commandments contained in Old Testament canon: does such a one who desires to adhere to OT Law intend on keeping all of those hundreds of laws? Including all of those peculiar laws that are somewhat obscure in nature:

“. . . the Old Testament contains many laws that seem strange to modern readers; e.g., 'Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk,' Exod. 34:26; 'Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material,' Lev. 19:19; 'Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear,' Deut. 22:12. 'A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing,' Deut. 22:5; 'Rise in the presence of the aged,' Lev. 19:32; 'The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses,' Deut. 14:8 

The above quotes were taken from www.biblicalstudies.org as is the following:

“The distinctions between the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws are arbitrary, imposed on the text from outside the text. The Old Testament itself gives no hint of any such distinctions. For example 'love your neighbor as yourself' (Lev. 19:18) is followed in the very next verse by the law 'do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material' (19:19). Should verse 18 be applied as binding, while verse 19 is dismissed as nonapplicable altogether? The text gives no indication that any kind of hermeneutical shift has taken place between the two verses. On what basis can one decide that one verse is universal and timeless even for believers in the Christian era, while the commandment in the very next verse is rejected? Many of the so-called moral, civil, and ceremonial laws occur together like this without any textual indicators that there are differences between them.”
“In addition it is often difficult to determine into which category a particular law falls. Because the Mosaic Law defined the covenant relationship between God and Israel, it was by nature theological. All of the Law had theological content. Can a law be a theological law but not a moral law? For example Leviticus 19:19 commands, 'Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.' One of the central themes running throughout Leviticus is the holiness of God. The discourse by God in Leviticus 19 is prefaced by the commandment, 'Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.' Part of this theme is the teaching that holy things must be kept separate from profane things. While the significance of these commands against mixing seed or mixing cloth material may not be fully understood, it is clear that they relate back to the holiness of God. In fact all of the levitical laws regarding separation seem to relate to the overarching principle of God's holiness and the separation required because of that holiness. How then can this law not be moral?”

To read this article in full, go here: Applying the Old Testament Law Today

GALATIANS 4:1-7
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

We were “under the law” in the sense that the law testified against us, against our sinfulness towards a holy God – and this heavy burden was lifted when Jesus Christ, Himself under the Law, but unlike us, proven wholly righteous and totally blameless redeemed us from it – and delivered us by His Spirit to God as His adopted children! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! If then we are born of the Spirit, and as a result, are led of the Spirit, then this demonstrates that we are no longer “under the law” (GAL. 5:18).

GALATIANS 4:21-31
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

 The two covenants (The Mosaic covenant and the new covenant/testament) are here presented in allegory. The bondwoman (a slave) is related to Sinai - connecting her with the giving of the Law by Moses in that particular Mount; the free woman (Sarah) is related to Jerusalem which “is free, which is the mother of us all.” Just as the Law had to be obeyed by the works prescribed in it, and by obedience receive blessing; the promise and all the blessings associated with it, are according to that which was made in Jerusalem – or that is to say in Zion (where Abraham offered up Isaac) is granted by grace: “God will provide Himself a lamb” (GEN. 22:8). We, like Isaac, are children of promise only by the grace of God, apart from obedience to Law (which is considered work).

GALATIANS 5:1-4
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace

Paul here admonishes the Galatian church to stand fast in the liberty purchased by Christ, and not be entangled with the yoke of bondage – one that the Jews couldn't carry, nor could any of the Gentiles (ACTS 15:10)! Paul instructs them that if they intend to look to circumcision, then the sacrifice of Christ will do nothing for them, as they seek to justify themselves by the Law – the holy Law that they would be obligating themselves to fulfill entirely (all 613 of them!?). That such a course would disallow them to access the grace of God: “fallen from grace” indeed!

GALATIANS 5:5-8
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you

Jew or Gentile – it makes no difference where faith is concerned: all may come, apart from the Law and enter into covenant of God through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ and His supreme offering for our sin! All are welcome into the ekklesia – which is the church (MATT.16:18). To be contrary to this doctrine of salvation by grace through the LORD Jesus Christ is being disobedient to the truth, according to vs. 7 here!

Finally a passage from GALATIANS Ch. 6:

GALATIANS 6:12-16
12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Paul testfies that those who have been referred to as Judaizers by expositors today seek to glory in making converts, yet neither their converts nor they themselves were ever able to keep the Law! See MATT. 23:15. Paul contrasted this behavior with His own: that rather than glory in making converts to the Law that he would attempt to follow himself – he glories in “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” which produces the genuine salvation as well as the sanctification of the circumcision of the heart for “the Israel of God” (ROM. 2:29)!

Now let's turn to a passage in ROMANS:

ROMANS 4:7-17, 20-25
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

To reiterate, the blessedness of forgiveness of sin comes upon (1) the circumcision (who follow the faith of Abraham and resulting in circumcision as Jews) and (2) the uncircumcision (who follow the faith of Abraham prior to his circumcision, but nonetheless have the same kind of faith in receiving the promises – apart from the Law, and have righteousness imputed to them, just as do the Jews by faith).

Again, Paul plainly declares that those of the law will not be heirs according to promise and faith is useless; the law can only “work wrath”. Abraham, the father of Israel and other nations besides – this household of faith, that places such faith in the LORD Jesus Christ, the “seed” by which Abraham would be a blessing to all the world! This promised seed, the 'seed of the woman' of GEN. 3:15 that has crushed the serpent's head, “who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” has finished the work for us in fulfilling all the Law – where we couldn't, but may now express faith in His righteousness and the Holy Work of His cross!

By the Spirit of God, we may now fulfill the righteousness of the Law in walking after the LORD in a simple love relationship untangled by the deeds of the Law that no one will ever be justified by (ROM. 3:20).

A comprehensive study of the book of Hebrews would be of great benefit to the Christian who seeks to understand the concepts of grace and law, how both are provided for us by God to lead us to the truth regarding our hearts and God's own. Along with Hebrews, an in-depth study of Galatians and Romans would be a great undertaking that would produce good fruit in understanding of these things (resources for Galatians and Romans provided below – or find some biblical teachings of these two books as the LORD leads.

Two key passages of HEBREWS that points to the New Testament rather than the Old is found in:

HEBREWS 9:14-16
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Note carefully vs. 15 where it mentions “the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament!

HEBREWS 8:10-13
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away

Thus we know that there is a terminus to the old covenant and this has been fulfilled primarily by the cross of Christ (During the millennnial reign, the rule of the Messiah on Earth from Jerusalem, there will be memorial sacrifices as outlined in Ezekiel, Scriptures that pertain to the millennial temple and its sacrifices (EZEKIEL 40 and 41) the Law of the LORD will be the governing principle for Israel as a nation, only at that time, the Jewish people will be indwelt by the Spirit and all "shall know the LORD" (ISAIAH 11:9; HABAKKUK 2:14)

(See also: MATT. 26:28; 1 COR. 11:25; 2 COR. 3:6)

It should be stressed that even though we as Christians are no longer under the Law but under the grace of God, that this doesn't provide Divine permission to sin freely, so that we may be freely forgiven. Every where the Word of God admonishes us to flee from sin, to no longer be a servant of unrighteousness, to no longer let sin reign in our members, but to walk in holiness and in purity.
See 1 COR. 6:18; ROM. 6:16-18; 6:13; 1 PET. 1:16; 1 TIM. 4:12.

Using the search engine at TTUF, you may access the entire book of ROMANS in an expositional study, for your edification. Here is a link to the first teaching:

ROMANS: On the ROAD of RIGHTEOUSNESS Ch. 1


Also Josh Boubion of The HOUSE of TRUTH fellowship has taught on the entire book of GALATIANS, and you may access these teachings on the church's youtube channel, but here is a link to the introductory and second teachings:

GALATIANS 1:1-5 AUTHORITY in PREACHING

GALATIANS 1:6-10 GOSPEL PRIORITY ALERT

Finally – some might protest that the Law is good, and that we should follow the Law today, because every where in the Old Testament, the Law of God is extolled and seems essential for the saints.
You will find no quarrel with me about the goodness, indeed the absolute holiness of the Law; and therein lies the problem for sinful man. Even the saints, who still (for this present time on Earth) retain their sinful nature (“the flesh”), fail the perfection of the Law which requires absolute obedience.

One might say, Where we fail in keeping the Law, we have Jesus to forgive, but that doesn't excuse ignoring the Law. We do indeed fulfill all the Law by the Spirit in these two from the lips of our LORD Himself:

MATTHEW 22:35-40
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

We don't need to bother ourselves with 613 laws – these two, by the Spirit of grace are all that is necessary: simply love the LORD, and others! 

In considering the Law as spoken of in the Old Testament, I can find no better reference than Psalm 119 where it is mentioned no less than twenty five times!

In this awesome, beautiful chapter of God's most Holy and precious Word we find other words mentioned in association with “law” - such as precepts, testimonies, commandments, statutes and judgments. Collectively, they are all words that express the Word of God in all of its revelation (see PS. 119:9, 16-17, 25, 28, 38 etc.). 
Note that the Psalmist understood, as do we, that our ways are not always directed to the LORD, that we tend to wander from His way (PS. 119:5), but he that would follow the Law must be a doer of the Law (ROM. 2:13) and the standard of Law keeping must be on par with the LORD Jesus Christ if we ever hope to be justified by the Law! But we in our sinful flesh can never be justified by the Law (ROM. 3:20).

As believers of Jesus Christ, as followers of the New Testament, we may behold the Law and admire God for His holiness, we may yield to His Spirit and fulfill the righteous intent of the Law by living righteously but according to the Spirit of grace and not the letter of the law (2 COR. 3:6).

The Law indeed is made to reveal our sin, and show the holy standard that God requires – which the LORD Jesus fulfilled perfectly, so that we may look to Him as the holy Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, and grants us the holy righteousness that the LORD God requires, robes of righteousness and His garment of salvation!

ISAIAH 61:10
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels

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