The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant? – Part 12b
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
So, with all of these references to God’s laws in the New Testament and that we are required to be in obedience to our heavenly Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, how did Christians ever arrive at the false conclusion that we are no longer required to keep God’s laws? It can be stated with one word….namely, ‘Rebellion!’
How does this relate to rebellion? Again, what did the Lord Jesus Christ command? Did not the Lord Jesus say, “If ye love me, KEEP my COMMANDMENTS?” Yes, He did. With this in mind, when we choose to not keep the Lord’s commandments, we place ourselves into a state of rebellion.
So as this series has progressed through the various Scriptures that have been used incorrectly in an attempt to establish the idea that Christians do not have to obey the laws of God, we now will look at some of the Scriptures in the book of Galatians. The book of Galatians has been used more than the other Scriptures to establish this very point.
And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus that they might bring us into bondage.
So what is this ‘bondage’ that Paul speaks about? Again, let’s not just assign our own meanings to God’s Word; rather let us look in the wider context to gain our equilibrium. In verse 3 we read that Paul is referring to circumcision and that Titus was not required to submit himself to circumcision. However, there were some Jewish people who apparently were pretending to be Christian, whom Paul labels as ‘false brethren’ who were asserting that before unbelievers could become Christian, they had to be circumcised according to Mosaic Law. Paul sets them straight on this issue and states emphatically that they went along with this idea….NO! They did not give place to this idea…not even for one hour.
As Chapter 2 progresses, we read that the Apostle Peter had been sent to those who were of the circumcision i.e., the Jews; but that the Apostle Paul had been sent to those who were of the Gentiles. The next scene we read is when Peter came to Antioch; Paul had to withstand him face to face because Peter was living as the Gentiles did. However, when certain notable, high-ranking Jews came to Antioch, then Peter withdrew himself and returned to Jewish ideals regarding the following of Mosaic Laws. Thus, Paul called him on the carpet for this and called Peter a hypocrite. Why? Because apparently, Peter was compelling the Gentiles to live as the Jews lived even while he was living as the Gentiles lived. In verse 16 we read
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.
The ‘works of the law’ should not be equated with the Ten Commandments of God. The works of the law pertains to keeping the Mosaic laws. Keeping these laws eventually produced a works-righteousness mentality which feeds pride and caused the ‘doer’ to think that s/he could stand in the presence of the Lord God Almighty and say: “Oh, what a good boy/girl am I!” This is what the Apostle Paul is renouncing, preferring to say that believing in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, and HIS WORKS, is what brings about our salvation. Attempting to keep the Mosaic Laws…Paul stated in verse 16b ff
…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.
There is not anyone who can through their own power, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and make themselves appear to be righteous before God. Please keep in mind that these works of the law have nothing to do with the works of righteousness that we are required to do AFTER we are born again. More to come…so stay tuned!