(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 1)
Instead of me putting my own arguments down on this issue of whether you must keep the law under the Old Testament, I prefer to let the Bible, which is God’s Word, speak for itself. There are other scriptures which address this question but for today, I will focus on only a few of these.
Before I commence, it is important that you know, the following facts:
- The Old Testament law, otherwise known as ‘the law of ordinances’ or just ‘the law’ (which included, among many others, the ten commandments and the requirement for men to be circumcised) was given by God through Moses, to his specially loved, chosen people, the Israelites with whom he first had a covenant (referred to as “the First Covenant” or “the Old Covenant”);
- Outside of God’s chosen people the Israelites (sometimes referred to as ‘Hebrews’, ‘Jews’ or ‘the Circumcised’), there was only one other category under which all human beings fell, which was that of Gentiles (sometimes referred to as ‘Greek’ or ‘the Uncircumcised’);
- Gentiles were those who God deemed to be ungodly, the heathen, those who did not know God, had no relationship with him, were not God’s chosen people, estranged from the commonwealth or blessings of Israel and therefore, without hope or a future;
- Unless you are an Israelite who descended from Abraham’s lineage therefore, you, along with the whole human race that are not Israelites are considered by the Bible to have been born a Gentile;
- When Jesus Christ came to earth, he died to make atonement for the sins of the whole world, including Israelites and Gentiles, given that God, displeased with both categories of people, had concluded all to be guilty under sin;
- When Jesus came to earth and died, in mercy, he abolished the Old Testament law (which the Israelites had failed miserably in keeping under the Old Covenant) and made access to heaven possible for all human beings, through an easier route, that is, of FAITH, under a New Covenant, otherwise referred to as ‘the Second Covenant’. In Hebrews 10:9, it states of Jesus, “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”
- In taking away the First Covenant and establishing the Second Covenant, Jesus broke down the wall of partition which existed between Israelites and Gentiles. In so doing, he granted both equal access to heaven, if they chose to accept Jesus into their hearts by believing IN FAITH, that he rose from the dead on the third day and by confessing the truth with their mouths, that he is Lord;
- Today and under the New Testament, whether a person is born an Israelite or a Gentile therefore, if in FAITH he believes that Jesus rose from the dead and confesses with the mouth that he is Lord, thereby submitting his life to his Lordship, that person will be adopted into God’s royal family, be a part of the Church (otherwise referred to as the Bride of Christ) and under this New Covenant, the Church is now God’s chosen and special people;
- Given that Jesus is Lord, he has not left the Church to do as it pleases but he has given commands, rules and instructions to the Church in the New Testament, as to how they are to live after they have been saved, what they are to do and how they are to please God. These commands and the GRACE by which a person can be saved and justified or made acceptable to God through simple FAITH in Jesus Christ are sometimes referred to in the Bible as ‘the Law of the Spirit of Life IN Christ Jesus‘ or ‘the Ministration of the Spirit‘. It is different from the Old Testament Law which was previously given to the Israelites under the Old Covenant, which, although it was good, given that it was practically impossible to keep and therefore burdensome with dire consequences, it is referred to in the Bible historically as ‘the Law of Sin and Death’ or ‘the Ministration of Death‘.
- In the Bible therefore, it is important to note that there is a distinction made between two (2) sets of concepts, one describing THE LAW of the Old Testament under the Old Covenant and the other describing THE GRACE that has come through Faith in Jesus Christ, under the New Covenant.
- That is:
- On the one hand, there is ‘the Old Testament’, on the other, there is ‘the New Testament‘.
- On the one hand there is ‘the Law’, on the other hand, there is ‘Grace by Faith in Jesus Christ‘.
- On the one hand there is ‘the Law of Works’, on the other hand, there is ‘the Law of Faith’.
- On the one hand there is ‘the Old Covenant’, on the other hand, there is ‘the New Covenant’.
- On the one hand, there is ‘the Law of Sin and Death’, on the other hand, there is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus‘.
- On the one hand, there is ‘the Ministration of Death’, on the other hand, there is ‘the Ministration of the Spirit‘.
- On the one hand, there is ‘the Ministration of Condemnation’, on the other hand, there is ‘the Ministration of Righteousness‘.
- On the one hand there is ‘the Oldness of the Letter’, on the other hand, there is ‘the Newness of the Spirit‘.
- On the one hand, there is ‘Bondage’, on the other hand, there is ‘Liberty‘.
- Finally, on the one hand, there is ‘the Law of Ordinances’ or ‘the Law of Commandments’, on the other hand, there is ‘the Law of Liberty‘ or ‘the Law of Christ‘.
Now that I have listed the above facts, we can begin to look at the scriptures, on the issue of whether you are to keep the law or not. Note that any use of the term ‘the Law’ in the verses, refers to the Old Testament Law, otherwise known in the Bible as ‘the Law of Ordinances’ or aspects of it as ‘the Law of Commandments’ or ‘the Law of Sin and Death’.
In Ephesians 2:11-19, Paul, an Israelite, wrote to some Gentiles at Ephesus, who by faith in Jesus Christ, had become Christians:
- “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past GENTILES in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
- But now IN Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For THROUGH HIM we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God”.
Galatians 3:22-28 also reads:
- “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by FAITH of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before FAITH came, we were kept under THE LAW, shut up unto THE FAITH which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore THE LAW was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by FAITH. But after that FAITH is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by FAITH in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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.”
Acts 15:1-12 reads of an issue that arose with some Gentiles, who became Christians after believing on and confessing the Lord Jesus Christ. Unlike the Israelites, these Gentiles (now Christians), had not been circumcised as Israelites were required to do under the Old Testament Law and the Old Covenant. This therefore created an issue with the Israelites who had also become Christians by FAITH in Jesus Christ. Given their history, they mistakenly believed that Gentiles who became Christians by faith in Jesus Christ, still needed to be circumcised, as the Old Testament LAW required. The scripture reads:
- “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
- And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the GENTILES…But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them and to command them to keep the LAW of Moses…
- And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter…And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the GENTILES by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us. And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts BY FAITH. Now therefore WHY TEMPT YE GOD, TO PUT A YOKE UPON THE NECK OF THE DISCIPLES, WHICH NEITHER OUR FATHERS NOR WE WERE ABLE TO BEAR?
- But we believe that through the GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST we shall be saved, even as they.”
On a side note, the last sentence in the above verses emphasize that it is through the grace of Jesus Christ AND NOTHING ELSE, that a person obtains salvation. It is not Jesus & Mary (NO!) It is not Jesus & the Law. (NO!) Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH in Jesus Christ ALONE. (YES!)
In Galatians 5, Paul wrote to the Christians at Galatia, telling them:
- “STAND FAST therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ had made us free and BE NOT ENTANGLED AGAIN WITH THE YOKE OF BONDAGE. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you NOTHING. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of NO EFFECT UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER OF YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW; YE ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE.
- For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness BY FAITH. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but FAITH which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did HINDER YOU that ye should NOT OBEY THE TRUTH?
- This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump…But he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. And I brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
- I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto LIBERTY…For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself….But if ye be led of the Spirit, YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW.”
In Romans 10: 1-4, Paul wrote in relation to his fellow Israelites that were still, in New Testament times and under the establishment of a New Covenant which was by FAITH in Jesus Christ alone, clinging to the Old Testament Law given under the Old Covenant, in the mistaken belief that this could save them. He wrote:
- “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them record that THEY HAVE A ZEAL OF GOD, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. FOR CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
In Colossians 2:8-23, the Christians at Colosse were warned:
- “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, AFTER THE TRADITION OF MEN, after the rudiments of the world AND NOT AFTER CHRIST. For in HIM DWELLETH ALL THE FULNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY. And ye are COMPLETE IN HIM, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also YE ARE CIRCUMCISED WITH THE CIRCUMCISION MADE WITHOUT HANDS, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh BY THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST…Blotting out THE HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES that was against us, which was contrary to us, and TOOK IT OUT OF THE WAY, NAILING IT TO HIS CROSS…
- Let no man therefore judge you, in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; Which are a SHADOW of things to come; but the body is of Christ…Let no man beguile you of your reward…Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, WHY, AS THOUGH LIVING IN THE WORLD, ARE YE SUBJECT TO ORDINANCES, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) AFTER THE COMMANDMENTS AND DOCTRINES OF MEN? Which things have indeed A SHOW OF WISDOM in will worship and humility and neglecting of your body…”
Hebrews 10:1 & 9 & 10 reads:-
- “FOR THE LAW HAVING A SHADOW OF GOOD THINGS TO COME AND NOT THE VERY IMAGE OF THE THINGS, can NEVER with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the corners thereunto perfect…Then said HE, LO, I COME to do thy will, O God. HE TAKETH AWAY THE FIRST, THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH THE SECOND. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Hebrews 7:18-19 reads:
- “For there is verily A DISANNULLING OF THE COMMANDMENT GOING BEFORE for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
Romans 7: 4 & 6 reads:
- “Wherefore my brethren, ye also are BECOME DEAD TO THE LAW BY THE BODY OF CHRIST; that ye should be married TO ANOTHER, EVEN TO HIM WHO IS RAISED FROM THE DEAD…But now WE ARE DELIVERED FROM THE LAW…that we should serve in newness of spirit and NOT in the oldness of the letter.”
It is clear from the above scriptures therefore, that the law of the Old Testament was abolished by Jesus Christ, who, when he came and died and rose again from the dead, made salvation accessible through FAITH in him alone and not the keeping of any Old Testament law. For those who argue that the law that was abolished referred only to the Mosaic laws and did not extend to the ten commandments, it is interesting to note that in Romans 7: 7-11, the ten commandments are referred to, as being included in the use of the general term ‘the law’. For example, the commandment: ‘Thou shalt not covet’ is referred to as being part of ‘the law’.
It thereby follows that whenever the scriptures refer to ‘the law’, like the scripture that states that ‘the law’ was abolished by Jesus, it includes the Old Testament Commandments.
Romans 7: 7-25 states:
- “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, 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. And THE COMMANDMENT, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For, sin, taking occasion by THE COMMANDMENT, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore THE LAW is holy AND THE COMMANDMENT holy, and just, and good…But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD…”
Romans 7-25 therefore makes it clear, that the law (although it has now been abolished by Jesus Christ who is far better and more glorious than the law), was not something bad but good, as it pointed out sin. However, given our exceeding sinful nature and the fact that all humanity failed in reaching the high standards required by the law and were therefore condemned to die, the verses highlight the fact that there was need for deliverance from the law, which condemned us because of our sin and that this deliverance came by GRACE through our trusting in and having FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Once we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ and are IN him, we are no longer condemned by the law which exhibited our sin. We have been liberated therefore from the law and its condemnation.
It is important to note at this juncture, that unless Jesus gave a fresh command, rule or instruction to the Church in the New Testament, which resulted in an Old Testament command being repeated and therefore being applicable to the Church in the New Testament, it is no longer applicable.
For example, there are verses in the New Testament that tell the Church afresh, that they are not to covet, not to steal and not to lie. These therefore are to be complied with not because they were written in the Old Testament Commandments (which have been abolished) but because Jesus gave them as fresh commands to the Church. They are therefore applicable to the New Covenant. The Old Testament Commandment of keeping the sabbath was not given as a fresh command in the New Testament by Jesus and therefore, it is not applicable to the Church.
1 Timothy 4:1-6 states:
- “…that thou mightest charge some that they TEACH NO OTHER DOCTRINE, NEITHER GIVE HEED TO FABLES and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith…Now THE END OF THE COMMANDMENT IS CHARITY OUT OF A PURE HEART AND A GOOD CONSCIENCE AND OF FAITH UNFEIGNED: FROM WHICH SOME HAVING SWERVED HAVE TURNED ASIDE UNTO VAIN JANGLING; DESIRING TO BE TEACHERS OF THE LAW; UNDERSTANDING NEITHER WHAT THEY SAY, NOR WHEREOF THEY AFFIRM. But we know that the law is good, IF a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that THE LAW IS NOT MADE FOR A RIGHTEOUS MAN but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners…”
Galatians 2:16,18-21 states:
- “Knowing that A MAN IS NOT JUSTIFIED BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW BUT BY THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, THAT WE MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED BY THE FAITH OF CHRIST, AND NOT BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW, for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified…For if I build again the things which are destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. For I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by THE FAITH of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the GRACE of God: FOR IF RIGHTEOUSNESS COME BY THE LAW, THEN CHRIST IS DEAD IN VAIN.”
In Galatians 3:1-3, 10-14, 16-17, 19, 22-26 it reads:
- “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?…Received ye the Spirit by THE WORKS OF THE LAW, OR BY THE HEARING OF FAITH? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?…FOR AS MANY AS ARE OF THE WORKS OF THE LAW ARE UNDER THE CURSE: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
- But that NO MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, it is evident: for the just shall live by FAITH. And the law is NOT OF FAITH: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
- CHRIST HATH REDEEMED US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the GENTILES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit THROUGH FAITH….
- Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And TO THY SEED, WHICH IS CHRIST. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God IN CHRIST, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, CANNOT DISANNUL, that it should make the promise of none effect…Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, TILL THE SEED SHOULD COME to whom the promise was made…
- But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST might be given to them that believe.
- But BEFORE FAITH came, we were kept UNDER THE LAW, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore THE LAW WAS OUR SCHOOLMASTER TO BRING US UNTO CHRIST, that we might be justified BY FAITH. But after THAT FAITH IS COME, WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER A SCHOOLMASTER. For ye are all the children of God BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.”
John 1:17 states: “For the LAW was given by Moses BUT GRACE AND TRUTH CAME BY JESUS CHRIST.”
Romans 7: 6, 2 Corinthians 3:5-17 and Romans 8: 1-3 speak of the LETTER OF THE LAW (which referred to the law given to the Israelites during Moses’ time which was temporary and has now been abolished by Jesus’ death and resurrection) versus the LIBERTY that has now been granted from that law, by the Spirit through FAITH in Jesus Christ as Lord. The verses state:
- “BUT NOW WE ARE DELIVERED FROM THE LAW, that being dead wherein we were held: that WE SHOULD SERVE IN THE NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT and NOT IN THE OLDNESS OF THE LETTER.
- “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the NEW TESTAMENT; NOT OF THE LETTER, but of THE SPIRIT: for the letter killeth, but THE SPIRIT giveth life. But if THE MINISTRATION OF DEATH, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; WHICH GLORY WAS TO BE DONE AWAY WITH: How shall not THE MINISTRATION OF THE SPIRIT be rather glorious? For if the MINISTRATION OF CONDEMNATION be glory, much more doth the MINISTRATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS exceed in glory.
- For even that which was made glorious (note: referring to THE LAW) had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth (note: referring to JESUS CHRIST). For if that WHICH IS DONE AWAY WAS glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that WHICH IS ABOLISHED: BUT THEIR MINDS WERE BLINDED: FOR UNTIL THIS DAY REMAINETH THE SAME VEIL UNTAKEN AWAY IN THE READING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; WHICH VEIL IS DONE AWAY IN CHRIST….NOW THE LORD IS THAT SPIRIT: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY.”
- “…There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are IN CHRIST JESUS, who walk not after the flesh but after THE SPIRIT. For THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS hath made me free from THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
1 Timothy 3:4 states:
- “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times SOME SHALL DEPART FROM THE FAITH, GIVING HEED TO SEDUCING SPIRITS, and THE DOCTRINES OF DEVILS; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, AND COMMANDING TO ABSTAIN FROM MEATS, WHICH GOD HATH CREATED TO BE RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING of them which believe and know the truth. For EVERY CREATURE OF GOD IS GOOD and NOTHING TO BE REFUSED, IF IT BE RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING: FOR IT IS SANCTIFIED BY THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in THE WORDS OF FAITH AND OF A GOOD DOCTRINE.“
On a side note, this is truth. God’s Word speaks for itself. Do NOT be deceived. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump and what a large lump of DECEPTION there is today! Many have A FORM of godliness but are DENYING the POWER thereof. (2 Timothy 3:5) For example, God’s Word states quite clearly that all meat is good for consumption and nothing to be refused because they have all been sanctified by God’s Word and prayer and should therefore be received with thanksgiving. Yet, certain persons and denominations today, consisting of people who are not even Israelites, try to put a yoke of bondage on God’s people, by relying on Old Testament Laws that have been abolished and stating that certain meats are prohibited.
Ironically, Romans 2:14 states of Gentiles, to whom the Law of the Old Testament was never given in the first place: “For when the GENTILES, which HAVE NOT THE LAW, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, ARE A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES.”
What Jesus Christ did on the cross, his death and his resurrection is sufficient and powerful enough and in itself to provide salvation to those who receive HIM by FAITH in HIM alone.
You DENY the POWER when you think that it is JESUS + the law or JESUS + anything else that will gain you favour and acceptance with God.
It is JESUS and JESUS ALONE. His NAME is sufficient. His work on the cross is FINISHED. There is POWER in HIS NAME ALONE. Any man that wishes to come to the Father and to be reconciled with him, must do so by coming to JESUS alone. HE is THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE (John 14:6)
Philippians 3:10 states, “That I may know HIM and the POWER of his resurrection…” It does not state that I may know the law but HIM, meaning Jesus Christ.
Similarly, John 1:12 states, “But as many as received HIM, to them gave he POWER to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on HIS NAME. Notably, it does not state ‘but as many as did the law’. It states ‘ but as many as received HIM’. It also does not state, ‘even to them that believe on the law’ but ‘even to them that believe on HIS NAME.’
The New Testament makes it clear that the law is not a bad thing but it is so strict in its penalty for sin that we have ALL already failed and will continue to fail if we try to abide by it in its entirety. It makes no sense therefore, according to the scripture, to try to obtain your justification before God or access to heaven, by doing some of the law or even trying to do all of it. You will fail like the Israelites did and have already failed because the law demands a perfect standard.
Instead, God in his mercy offers justification freely through GRACE. That is, you get the opportunity to be justified freely without you having to try to work for it by trying (but failing miserably) to keep all of the law, 100% of the time. This gift of justification which provides access to heaven, can be received by ALL who believe on God’s Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:9-12 and 19 states of the reality of our sad condition, when weighed by the perfect standard that the law requires:
- “…we have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are ALL under sin. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is NONE that doeth good, no, not one…Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God. Therefore BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW THERE SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED IN HIS SIGHT: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Romans 3:21-28 and Chapter 4:5 however, now give us hope of redemption, by the much more lenient standard of GRACE that has been provided by God, in his mercy, through our FAITH in Jesus Christ alone. It states:
- “BUT NOW the righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST unto ALL and upon ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE…For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; Being JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE through redemption that is IN CHRIST JESUS:Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God…that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth IN JESUS.
- Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of FAITH. THEREFORE WE CONCLUDE THAT A MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH WITHOUT THE DEEDS OF THE LAW…Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt. But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
When it comes to the Law and Grace, think of it this way: It is like a LEASE for land versus a PERMISSION (LICENCE) to use land.
Under the Lease, there are strictly defined penalties for your breach of any term and condition, even the smallest and you have unfortunately, already breached it left, right and centre. You are therefore deserving of the penalties for breach like eviction because you are guilty before the Landlord and have no basis upon which to stand.
The Landlord in his mercy though is willing to be lenient and instead of asserting his strict rights under the Lease against you, he is GRACIOUSLY offering you a Licence or Permission to use the land free of charge, without you having to feel pressured by your need to comply with all the terms and conditions. Once you accept this GRACIOUS offer, your Licence or Permission will begin and you will no longer be under the Lease and therefore not be required to pay the penalty under it for your endless breaches. The Licence therefore provides an avenue of escape, although you are guilty under the strict terms of the Lease and deserve to be punished.
The Landlord has made it clear though, that this permission he has granted, while free, ought not to be exploited. It does not mean that you can do as you please. For, it may seem like you are getting a free pass but it is coming at great cost to the Landlord.
If the Landlord is willing to write off your bad debt under the Lease and allow you to stay based on his GRACIOUSNESS alone and rent free to boot, why do you insist on going back to operate under the old Lease, the standard of which you have already incurred penalties from you breaches and will undoubtedly continue to fail to meet?
Clearly, operating under the old system which is the Lease is burdensome and not to your benefit. Choosing to operate under the new system of the Permission or Licence is the better and easier way to go. For, your debt will be erased completely and you will get to continue living in that apartment without having to worry about rent payments.
If you insist though on operating under the Lease and refuse to turn your back on that Lease, then the Landlord will have no choice but to deal with you according to the strict terms of the Lease and because you will fail (as you, your ancestors and other tenants have ALL done on countless occasions in the past), you will suffer the full brunt of the law and be evicted. It didn’t have to be this way but this is the path that YOU chose. You put yourself under the yoke of this bondage by choosing to go back to the terms of the Lease, instead of accepting what the Landlord was now offering, under a Licence (Permission).
You cannot also mix the old system with the new and tell the Landlord that you want to hold on to the Lease while having the Licence. It is impossible to operate under both the Lease and the Licence. You cannot say, for example, I will accept the Licence but I still want to comply with the terms and conditions under the Lease.
It doesn’t work that way. You have to choose which you are going to operate by because they are mutually exclusive. It is one or the other.
Having used that example to explain the situation with the Old Testament Law and the Grace that God now offers freely by Faith through Jesus Christ, my question to you is this: Which is your choice? GRACE or LAW?
(Written on 28th June, 2017)
Dear Reader, please also read Part 2 in Article 243 entitled: “WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT KEEPING THE LAW (PART 2/3). Also, if you found the above Article to be informative, eye-opening, edifying, beneficial or interesting, I recommend that you also read the following:
- Note 82 – ‘Trying To Be The Best You Can Is Not Is Not Enough – Jesus Is The Answer’
- Note 237 – ‘Why Your Good Deeds/Works Are Not Enough To Earn You A Space In Heaven‘
- Note 243 – ‘What The Bible Says About Keeping The Law (Part 2/3)‘
- Note 244 – ‘Are You Trying To Establish Your Own Righteousness?‘
- Note 246 – ‘To Those Who Insist On Keeping The Law (Part 3/3)‘
Under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:
- Note 184 – ‘Could You Be Sincerely Wrong?’