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Sunday, 10 October 2010

We Are No Longer Under Law But Under Grace! What Does That Really Mean?

Originally Posted 29 Jan 2010 But Revised and  Updated 27 Oct 2010.  Also Important Addition On 20th July 2012 (see bottom of this article for that  addition)


There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst most Christians regarding the verse which quotes "we are no longer under law but under grace".  These words tend to get wrongly quoted to mean that we no longer need rules within the church but should trust our experiences of the Holy Spirit within us, instead. They consider that rules and Law are the same thing and both lead to legalism, which the Christian should avoid. They, therefore say that we should be selective in what we read or how we interpret.


Clearly the scriptures DO teach us that "the letter kills (ie, legalism kills) but the Spirit gives life" (more details on this later)  but rules or instructions about how to be disciples are completely different from legalism or keeping the law. This article will explain what "we are no longer under Law, but under grace" actually means and prove it doesn't mean what a lot of Christians think it means.


The misinterpretation of those verses is the thin end of the wedge leading to a growth of apostasy within the churches because many are now ditching the Word of God in favour of their experiences. This is why I write this article to encourage us all to study the Bible, be Bereans, check these things out and so save ourselves from the slippery road into apostasy. By the way,  I don't reject experiences provided they are scriptural and measure up with the Bible. John told us to "test the spirits to see whether they be of God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1)


I believe the Lord has called me (according to 2 Tim 2:15) to be a workman rightly dividing (handling) the word of truth. Therefore, I will share the real meaning of the text just as God taught me.

Let us first look at the whole context of  “we are no longer under law but under grace” found in Romans 6:14. 


Paul was speaking about the condemnation and hell judgement that the law of Moses brought to us. He said that before the law was given he would not have been aware of his sinful nature and its tendency to yield to temptation, but because the law was given (since the time of Moses) it revealed to him how sinful he was.


Paul goes on to say that the law of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from that law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). So, never again does the judgement, condemnation of the  law hang over us (showing us our sin leading to spiritual death),  because we are living in the grace (unmerited favour, mercy, forgiveness) of God which gives us Spiritual life, release and liberty within us. We are set free from God's judgement and the fear that that brings.

Although, we now have now become transformed within, this does not mean that we do not need to follow guidelines. We still follow guidelines or commandments in the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t follow the Mosaic law of works in order to receive God’s salvation as it has been already given by GRACE. As our sins have been washed away,  the Holy Spirit now lives in us enabling us to live under the new covenant with ability to submit to God and to His laws of the new covenant.

Paul is referring to what it was like before grace came - before Jesus rescued us from the consequences of the Law.  When Paul talks about the law of sin and death he is talking about the result of trying to obey the Law. The Law highlights to us how sinful we are (whenever we try to be obedient to the Law). It also results in our spiritual death when we fail. So, it is a law that brings about sin and death in us. We cannot (in our own strength) fulfil it. This is why Paul cried out "who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to Jesus!".


We talk about the laws of physics eg law of gravity. There is a principle (or condition) and a consequence. If you drop a heavy object it will fall. The condition "if you drop a heavy object" and a consequence "it will fall".


So, this could also be read (but means the same thing):
"the condition" of 'disobeying the Law or sinning, gives a "consequence" of death (spiritual death)". However, the "condition" of  being in Christ Jesus brings "consequence" Life (spiritual life). The law of life in Christ Jesus (because of continuous forgiveness and cleansing) through the power of the Holy Spirit, sets me free from 
that other law (principle) which works spiritual death in me. James 1:13-15 explains even clearer the principle (law) of sin and death as follows: 


"When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

If Paul was really saying that there are no longer any laws/rules to follow, he would not have then listed a lot of rules/guidelines etc to all the churches - especially to the Corinthian church. If he is saying we are no longer to follow rules, then what he said afterwards would be a contradiction.  As all scripture is inspired by God and NOT contradictory it means that Paul was not contradicting himself.


This means Romans 6 to 8 must have been referring to the Mosaic law (Old Covenant) only when he said that we are no longer under it (which resulted in spiritual death). However, we are now within the New Covenant of Grace with different laws of life and freedom but we are now empowered by the Holy Spirit who enables us to follow them. So the guidelines and rules within the New testament lead us to spiritual life and vitality and not to death, but (as you can see) there ARE rules!

This is what it means to read in context, ie compare scripture with scripture to arrive at the true meaning of the text. So for example when Paul said that women should not teach or have authority over men and that wives should submit to their husbands and husbands should love their wives he means just that. Paul refers to unseen spiritual forces that would seek to divide and destroy God’s work, so there MUST be order and guidelines within the church and within relationships – God is not a god of confusion but a God of peace. You cannot apply "we are no longer under law" to these guidelines because that verse refers to something else as stated above.

You may ask me to show in the Bible where it says that all revelations should be measured against the Bible. Although there are many places, I think this is surely the strongest proof. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New King James Version)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Bible is the completed WORD OF GOD. The Bible is “is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” Psalm 119:105 and (as quoted above) is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Why? that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In other words, the bible has everything we need to base our lives on. We do not need extra biblical revelation as the Bible is the complete Revelation of God to man. Paul said that if anyone preaches a different or contradictory message to the one already given by those inspired by God, (ie the inspired apostles) they should be rejected.
Therefore, all teaching, prophecies, revelations should be measured and weighed up against scripture. When Jesus said my sheep hear my voice it was in the context of recognising truth from error. They will recognise false teaching because they keep His Word. Jesus said, To the Jews who had believed him:

John 8:31-33
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (NIV)

If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV)

It doesn’t say if you abide in your experiences but if you abide in my Word and abide in the vine ie abide in Jesus. Whatever way you look at it, our experiences MUST measure up to the Bible and come after receiving the truth not the other way round ie experiences should not determine truth. The Bible does have plenty enough experiences quoted (including the context in which the experiences happened) for us to use as a guide for our experiences today.


There is another false teaching around today which misquotes the verse "the letter kills but the spirit gives life" to confirm that experiences are more powerful than reading the Bible. Actually, this verse is not saying that. Let us get it into context by first quoting the full verses:


2 Corinthians 3:6-8  “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?"

Paul is making a distinction between the Old Covenant written on stone and the New Covenant that is presented inside us by the Spirit. The old (the law) brought death, because no one could keep its directives, whereas the new brings life through the life-giving Spirit. 

The letter (the law) killed because no one was able to keep it. It made us guilty, while the New Covenant sets us free from the condemnation of the law. The law was fulfilled in the only person who could have fulfilled it, the God/man Jesus Christ. Now we have the spirit of God inside us all because of this new covenant that is superior to the old covenant."

 I will now quote another verse to prove this further: "the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword" Heb 4:12. 


This shows that there is LIFE in the words (it is breathed by God) certainly not dead but alive. With the Spirit of God within us, the words of the Bible come alive within us. Let us not be carried away by those who would keep us from reading the Bible in preference to experiences. These people are deceivers who do not want you to find out the truth for yourselves.


We should trust the bible completely as the inspired Word Of God!    Why  should we trust the Bible?  Please click on this shortcut link which takes you to an article which fully explains and proves why the Bible IS the Word of God:  How The Bible Was Put Together and Proving Why It IS The Inspired Inerrant Word Of God
Having explained why the Bible can be trusted and used to base our lives upon, please now click on the next shortcut link to read another article which was written to show why relying on experiences is a dangerous thing 



Are Our Experiences More Important In Our Christian Faith Than knowing Him through His Word?


Important Addition 20 July 2012


Does That Mean We Should Keep The OT Commandments and Some Laws
The above was for the benefit of those believers who no longer see the need of applying "rules" or even "guidelines" in their Christian lives. However, there are those who go to the other extreme and still follow the "letter" and legalism (more obviously are the Seven Day Adventists and Judaizers within Messianic Fellowships). This now addresses such people.

Remember that when Paul mentions the law he is actually referring mostly to the 10 commandments. We are no longer under those 10 commandments because Jesus fulfilled it.

Ephesians 2:15
"by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations".

Those who have been "born again" by the Holy Spirit,  now have Jesus within us (by the Holy Spirit) who has fulfilled the Law for us and enables us to fulfil the only 2 commandments that are now required of believers which are based upon love.

"you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and strength and love your neighbour as yourself".

Jesus also said said something further on this.

John 13:34
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another".

We are no longer under the OT laws, but we DO now have rules or guidelines for Christian living as revealed in the NT. The OT laws were specifically given for the Jews as a special Covenant between them and God, as His chosen people, who were supposed to be a light to the gentile world.

It wasn't aimed at the Gentiles. A new covenant was opened up to Jew and Gentile alike in the NT according to Hebrews 8

Hebrews 8:6-13
"But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 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:
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. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

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
."


Notice the parts in bold. Look at how the apostle Paul (in his various letters) and in Acts makes a distinction that the gentiles have never been under the OT law. His message regarding the law is usually to convince the Jewish believers that it is THEY who are no longer under the OT law also.

Together Jew and Gentile have been brought together into a united new covenant based upon GRACE extended to ALL mankind and is based upon what Jesus HAS DONE in freeing us from the condemnation of the law. However, it is still a covenant and requires new/better rules and guidelines. However, these rules/guidelines DO NOT save us but are advantageous to follow)

8 comments:

Expected Imminently said...

Hello John

It occurs to me that it may be helpful to share with others a puzzle I have had to deal with over the past few months.

I was told by a Purpose Driven soul, that it was ‘bad’ for me to read so much Scripture. I was going too deep into doctrine and it would make me ill. The hint behind this was it would make me loopy.

I was dumbfounded at first; I couldn’t credit how a Christian could believe such a thing. I was left feeling bemused by this ‘accusation’ as we are encouraged to study doctrine; and one verse in particular is straight to the point.

1Timothy 4:13 “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to DOCTRINE.”

We are encouraged to study God’s Word.

2Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.

Recently I came to realise that this is just one of many of Rick Warren and Company’s twisting of Scriptures. By misquoting 2 Corinthians 3:6 they remove from the verse “…THE LETTER KILLETH, BUT THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE.”

What better way to keep the sheep dumb and ignorant than to warn them off relying upon God’s Word in their daily walk of Faith in Jesus saying “Don’t read too much of the Bible, it will make you ill”!

What is ‘doctrine’? It is simply ‘teaching’. The Bible contains the Teaching of God, and with the guidance of The Holy Spirit we gradually come to know what The Lord wants us to know and understand.

All things Purpose Driven/ Seeker Sensitive/ Church Growth Movement/ Emergent/Word of 'Faith'--- are allegorizing Scripture to deceive and to support their apostate teachings. They have an idea, then find a Scripture, and by removing it from its context, use it to ‘Biblically’ support their heresy. Satan did the same thing to Jesus during the temptation in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11.

2Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear".

So what of 2Cor.3:6, what is GOD telling us in the entire context of this verse?


Let Us Reason

by Mike Oppenheimer

"* 2 Corinthians 3:6 (The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life) is allegorized in its interpretation to mean that Scripture is a dead letter and only the Spirit is what is important. So we need to heed new and fresh words from the Spirit.

But this is not what the Apostle Paul is saying. Again if we read it in context (before and after the portion that is lifted out to mean something other than the author wrote) we find the true meaning.

2 Corinthians 3:6-8 “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?"

Paul is making a distinction between the Old Covenant written on stone and the New Covenant that is presented inside us by the Spirit. The old (the law) brought death, because no one could keep its directives, whereas the new brings life through the life-giving Spirit.

The letter (the law) killed because no one was able to keep it. It made us guilty, while the New Covenant sets us free from the condemnation of the law. The law was fulfilled in the only person who could have fulfilled it, the God/man Jesus Christ.

Now we have the spirit of God inside us all because of this new covenant that is superior to the old covenant."

http://www.letusreason.org/default.htm


John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.

Sue

John Chingford said...

I received an anonymous comment on my article "Christian Protestant Denominations In 2010 Are They Now All Apostate? (Of Course Not). This Blog's Statement"
on http://watchmanforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/09/present-state-of-denominational.html.

I replied to that comment there, but because it is SO applicable to this article, I now paste the comments here too (especially my reply regarding the Sabbath). This was my reply to Anonymous:


Re My comments on The Sabbath and my apparent manipulation of the scriptures:

Hi Anonymous

I do everything I can to ensure that I do not manipulate the Bible because I preach against those who do such things. I always compare scripture with scripture thoroughly checking through the whole Bible (which I have read through many times over 30 plus years.

If I see a verse which does not fit in, I cannot rest until I check it out and ask myself "do I need to adapt my current viewpoints based on this revelation".

So I recheck all other verses that seem to counter this one. So, I then compare all these verses and the whole context in which they appear. This helps me to arrive at the overall truth.

In doing this I also consider the various interpretations given by other Christian leaders to see if their interpretations make sense or not.

In answer to your question on the Sabbath lets consider the facts.

1) Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible. Although the Patriarchs would have passed on (by word of mouth) God's dealings with them throughout the time leading up to Moses) it was Moses who wrote it down.

John Chingford said...

Cont Part 2
2) Moses was in the very presence of God for 80 days (2 lots of 40). During that time God spoke face to face with Moses. God had ample time to inform Moses what should be written. The history of Genesis would have been reminded to Moses.

The NT says that the Holy Spirit would remind the Apostles of everything that Jesus said, so it is reasonable that God reminded Moses in the same way and also showed him the creation of the world.

3) God told Moses about the Sabbath. Up to that time no-one practiced it. Check it up, you will see that this is true. If anybody can show me (in Genesis) that the Sabbath was observed, I will change my views. I have checked thorougly but cannot trace anything.

The only reference we have in Genesis is in chapter 2 verses 2-3

"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."

Does it use the word "sabbath" here. Also, it was Moses who wrote this. Did the people (before Moses) figure out that they should keep the seventh day special because God rested on it

Indeed, did they even know that God created everything in 6 days? Remember it was a revelation by God to Moses. Did anybody know about this or practice the Sabbath before this law was given?

Paul wrote in Romans 7:7-9

"I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died."

Paul is stating that the people did not know the Laws until the Law was given.

I need to clarify my last remark. Up until those verses Paul was explaining why God gave us the Commandments (or Law). It was to reveal (to us) our inner sinful nature and our need to be saved. Paul was identifying himself with the Jewish people (him also being Jewish) at the time the 10 Commandments were given.

Beforehand, everybody still carried with them their sinful nature inherited from Adam and Eve. However, they could not be fully aware of how sinful they were until the Law came into force and told them "do not".

So, if Paul says they were not aware of the Law until then, it must also apply to the Sabbath which was one of the Commandments.

John Chingford said...

I have just teceived an email from someone which highlights that I need to include something important here.

My following comment here can well be applied to Seven Day Adventists and to the Jusaizers amongst Messianic fellowships.

My article was for the benefit of those believers who no longer see the need of applying "rules" or even "guidelines" in their Christian lives. However, there are those who go to the other extreme and still follow the "letter" and legalism. This now addresses such people:

Remember that when Paul mentions the law he is actually referring mostly to the 10 commandments. We are no longer under those 10 commandments because Jesus fulfilled it.

Ephesians 2:15
"by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations".

We now have Jesus within us (by the Holy Spirit) who has fulfilled the Law for us and enables us to fulfil the only 2 commandments that are now required of believers which are based upon love.

"you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and strength and love your neighbour as yourself".

Jesus also said said something further on this.

John 13:34
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another".

We are no longer under the OT laws, but we DO now have rules or guidelines for Christian living as revealed in the NT. The OT laws were specifically given for the Jews as a special Covenant between them and God, as His chosen people, who were supposed to be a light to the gentile world.

It wasn't aimed at the Gentiles. A new covenant was opened up to Jew and Gentile alike in the NT according to Hebrews 8

Hebrews 8:6-13
"But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 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:
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. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

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."

Notice the parts in bold. Look at how the apostle Paul (in his various letters) and in Acts makes a distinction that the gentiles have never been under the OT law. His message regarding the law is usually to convince the Jewish believers that it is THEY who are no longer under the OT law also.

Together Jew and Gentile have been brought together into a united new covenant based upon GRACE extended to ALL mankind and is based upon what Jesus HAS DONE in freeing us from the condemnation of the law. However, it is still a covenant and requires new/better guidelines

John Chingford said...

Hi, I received a reply to my last comment by email. I would like to now show my response to that email, because it is a good continuance of this subject matter:

"Matthew 5:17 'Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil' was spoken by Jesus before He died for our sins. He had to fulfil the law in every respect (specifically dying as the sacrificial lamb).

Paul says in Romans that the law was not given to make us holy but to show us how sinful we are. The law leads us to salvation because NONE of us can fulfil the law and therefore it shows us how sinful our human nature is and reveals to us that we need to be saved.

Because Jesus fulfilled it He can save us. Jesus said that HE ALONE came to fulfil the law. He didn't preach that He expected us to fulfil it because He knows we cannot.

After saying these things now please reread Ephesians 2:15 "by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations" which NOW makes sense and is not contradictory.

In other words Jesus abolished the law as He hung and died on the cross - His FLESH died and at the same time the law was totally fulfilled by Jesus bringing the law to an end.

If you read the whole of the book of Hebrews (in context) you will see that the writer is telling us how Christ fulfilled the Law and that if we decide to continue following the law we are effectively nailing Jesus back on to the cross. See Hebrews 6:6 "To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace" which (in context) is talking about those who continue to follow the Law and the sacrifices.

The book of Hebrews was written for that very reason because many of the new founded church were returning back to the sacrificial system and the Law as if the sacrifice of Jesus was not enough.

Regarding Hebrews 4:11. The sabbath rest being referred to (in context) can be understood in two ways:

1st way: it is in the future. The writer is talking about the future kingdom of God when Christ returns. God rested on the seventh day.

It is interesting that Peter said one day is as a thousand years when referring to Jesus Second Coming. We are now in that 6th day or within the 6000 years. The 1000 years reign of Christ will take place on the 7th day, ie the sabbath rest for the people of God.

2nd way: Hebrews does not tell us that we should observe the sabbath, because the people of God have already had their sins forgiven standing righteously in God's eyes because of their acceptance of Jesus.

These are now at rest empowered in that state by the Holy Spirit. Their SOULS are at rest from their sins. When it says "Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish" it is saying that those who are born again into Jesus enter into holy rest and will not perish, just as Jesus said "for God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not PERISH.

As said above I repeat: if we decide to continue following the law we are effectively nailing Jesus back on to the cross. See Hebrews 6:6 which (in context) is talking about those who continue to follow the Law and the sacrifices. The book of Hebrews was written for that very reason because many of the new founded church were returning back to the sacrificial system and the Law as if the sacrifice of Jesus was not enough.

Colin said...

John, I really do heartily agree with the main thrust of your exegesis. Certainly there is NO other salvation other than through the the sacrifice of the perfect sinless Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Before the cross, righteous Law (Torah) observant Jews (Israelites) would live by the commandments. If they were convicted of their sins, ignorantly or otherwise, they would faithfully read the Torah and diligently enquire as to what animal or bird was required by God's prescribed Levitical system of atonement. They would then go to the temple at Jerusalem (or the tabernacle before Solomon's time)and I suppose wait in the queue for their offering.

As you well know, by NT times this system had become very corrupt, (Matthew 21.13, Mark 11.17 and Luke 19.46). Obviously the bible teaches clearly that salvation was indeed possible by 'keeping the Law'in the OT dispensation. However this whole sacrificial system only ever pointed to the Saviour Himself, they were but a 'shadow'; Hebrews 10.1.

After THE ATONEMENT, then clearly the temple system was abolished, and in AD 70 the temple itself was demolished. This as we know was prophesied by the Lord Himself, Matthew 24.1-3.

As for the so-called 'Law vs Grace' conundrum, then clearly today we know that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be 'saved by Law' as attempting to do so would be 'trampling Him underfoot' Hebrews 10.29. There is so much else in the NT that speaks on this theme. Having said all this, what SHOULD our attitude be to the so-called dreaded 'LAW'?

John you are so right when you say that we should be rooted in the Word (or words to that effect). Can we really trust our 'experiences'? There is so much trash out there which is being sold as 'of God' that is leading so many astray. Things are so bad today that we have 'false teachers' exposing 'false teachers'! Surely any 'right thinking' Christian or 'Messianic' believer would KNOW that there is 'No other salvation' Acts 4.12 etc.

We therefore can understand, (hopefully) that by trying to keep (all 613) of the commandments in order to save ourselves is utter foolishness, or, rather much worse. I think that well worn analogy; 'Don't chuck the baby out with the bath water' will suffice here! The law is 'Good if a man use it lawfully' 1 Timothy 1.8 (please read the context).

I know that by trying to 'perfectly' observe the Jewish Sabbath and living by the Law will NOT save me! (I used to belong to a Messianic congregation). When I came to the 'end of myself' I realised just how big Jesus Was,is and will be!! (I stopped eating pork,shellfish etc, saying 'Jesus', and 'kept' the 7th day Sabbath etc,etc).

Only the Lord Jesus Christ makes us Kosher; NOTHING ELSE! The Law, then convicts us of our sinful nature and our need of a Saviour. As your respondent well said, the Lord did not come to 'Destroy the law', we SHOULD try our best to 'live by it', BUT! Not with legalism! Herein lies the problem!!

John, when you say that we are 'No longer under the 10 commandments', as regards SALVATION, most assuredly you are most verily correct.

BUT, as regards how we live our lives?! You are correct when you say that these commandments 'are guidelines for Christian living'. As I understand God's Holy Word, the two commandments that you speak of ARE the Ten commandments rolled into two great commandments. They are paraphrased thus; the first four of the Decalogue are between God and man (the first great commandment) and the second six, these are for man and his fellow man (the second great commandment). 'Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven'. Matthew 5.19.

John Chingford said...

Hi Colin,

As you say, the Scriptures are clear throughout that believers are not to religiously focus on the law and commandments for their salvation. If we look throughout the first half of the book of Romans, the book of Galatians and Hebrews (as well as the verses I have already quoted on previous comments) it is clear that Jesus has abolished the law and commandments through His death.

Paul made it clear in Galatians and in Romans that those who seek to be justified by keeping the law have fallen from grace i.e, they are no longer depending on grace to save them but effectively saying that the death of Jesus is NOT all sufficient for our salvation.

Paul said some very strong words to say to those who were teaching this i.e “that they should be accursed”.

The whole point is that we no longer need to observe the law and commandments for our salvation because we are ALREADY saved.

As you so rightly alluded to when you said "look at the context" of 1 Timothy 1:8, let us look at the next verse 1 Timothy 1:9
“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers………..”

In other words , the law (especially the commandments) is for those outside of Christ who have not been made righteous by accepting the blood of Christ to save them from their sins, making them righteous in God’s sight.
Therefore, the law has not passed away for those unsaved. God knows that society needs a “good” law and judges to keep an unregenerate society under control.

Romans 7 is a great chapter which explains in what way the law is good but that it no longer applies to believers especially verses 4-6:

“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Regarding what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”

On first glance it would appear that this is a contradiction to the rest of the NT writings on that subject. However, let us consider the context. Carry on reading and you will see that Jesus is looking far deeper than the literal commandments. He is looking at the depth of our sinful hearts and showing us that deep within we are all capable of breaking all of the commandments because it starts within our sinful hearts.

John Chingford said...

Cont. Part 2



He says that a man who looks at a woman lustfully has already (effectively) committed adultery. Could it be that Jesus is referring to the “spirit of the law” rather than just the external commandments?

In the same way that Paul said that the law is for the unrighteous, therefore the unsaved STILL need the law to reveal how sinful they are.

Notice Jesus didn’t just say that He came to fulfil the LAW only but the law and the PROPHETS. In other words, Jesus came to be the fulfilment of the WHOLE Bible. He is the full representation and completion of the whole Bible because the WHOLE OT spoke about Jesus through the law and the prophets.

Remember Jesus spoke to the men on the road to Emmaus showing them how HE fulfilled the “law and the prophets” by His death and resurrection.

For the believer, they have received the law of the Spirit of LIFE in Christ Jesus. The “spirit of the law” that Jesus spoke about is possible to be fulfilled in believers through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Putting it all together, the law DOES remain (for the unbeliever) until Jesus returns to reign on Earth, but for the believer they live in the power of the Holy Spirit and do not need to observe the code of the law for their salvation but they live in a completely new code of freedom by the power of the Holy Spirit with much greater capabilities to live according to the new and better rules or guidelines as given by the NT.