We were last studying in the books of Galatians and the Gospel of John to define the issue of what happened to the Laws of God once the Lord Jesus Christ became the final and perfect sacrifice; who took our place and received unto Himself the total judgment and wrath of God Almighty for us, subsequently dying in our place. As we saw in Part 14 and more importantly in the Scriptures, that the Laws of God did not actually end, as some have erroneously taught, but rather that they migrated from an external place to a permanent internal place, that is, within our born again spirits. Let us read in
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that 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 that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
So we read in the foregoing Scriptures that even in the days of Jeremiah, that God had prophesied through His prophet that one day He would institute a new covenant. He would not make it like the old one, namely, that His people would have to sacrifice daily to atone for the sins of Israel in whole and individuals would have to come to a priest to make atonement and peace offerings continually, but that He would send His only begotten Son who would become the final sacrifice for all eternity. So the Lord Jesus Christ became for us our High Priest, not to make continual sacrifices as we read in the book of Hebrews, but just the one, final sacrifice. Why? The animals that they slaughtered for sacrificial purposes, though they might be without spot or blemish on the outside, their blood lines were still corruptible and so rotted. This is why the priests had to apply fresh blood upon the horns of the altar each and every day. However, the blood of the true Lamb of God, His blood is and was incorruptible, and it is still fresh upon the mercy seat in Heaven; which is why the Christian “pleads the blood of Jesus Christ,” when we are asking for forgiveness for our transgressions against our Holy Father in Heaven.
The passage in Jeremiah 31 goes on to say that Israel could not keep these laws; they couldn’t keep them because they were based upon THEIR works. However, when you accept the WORKS of the Lord Jesus Christ and accept the pure blood of the True Lamb of God to be your atonement, it is no longer centered upon your works, but HIS WORKS. Furthermore, God was going to WRITE HIS LAW in our inward parts, i.e. our spirits. Therefore, how can God’s law be ended or over? If we say that God’s law ended with the arrival of the New Covenant, we stand in complete opposition to what His Scriptures declare and basically, you are spitting in God’s face and calling Him a liar. Are you sure you wish to do that?
Now some will say (trying to get out of this requirement, or so they think) that I follow the Apostle Paul or I really like the Apostle John and what he had to say, etc. Really? Then someone please explain why the Apostle John cogently stated in 1 John that God’s commandments were not grievous, but rather were rather easy to keep? Then why did the Apostle Paul teach the church in Ephesus nine of the Ten Commandments? The only one that he did not cite was the first commandment; which is really a no-brainer, since you have chosen to follow Christ; it really is quite axiomatic that you must already have a love for God and His only begotten Son. Therefore, the Christians in Ephesus must not have needed to be reminded to keep the first commandment. They must already have mastered that particular commandment.
Stay tuned for the next part. See you there.
Thank you Lord! The eighth candle has been lit and we rejoice that it stands for a new beginning. As we reflect on this last day of Hanukkah here are some Scripture readings to engage our hearts and minds.
Scripture readings for the last day of Hanukkah are these:
Genesis 41:1-44:17 from the Torah or the First Testament and it covers the account of Joseph being sold into slavery and how God established him or ‘settled’ him, even in the time of his imprisonment and the years of slavery that his brethren forced upon him. This account is told from the perspective of God bringing all things to a good ending or conclusion that favors all of His children. The readings from the Torah for this day are called, ‘Miketz,’ which means ‘At the end of.’ Even when dire circumstances arise in our lives or persecution comes upon us because of our walk with the Lord Y’shua because of our determination to walk righteously even as He did, we can know in our hearts that God has already ‘settled’ a goodly conclusion at the end of the tribulation. It is He that shall restore us. It is written in:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
The entire second reading is this: 1 Kings 3:15-4:1 but we find in:
1 Kings 3:26-28
Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.
This speaks of the enemy who is sometimes camped out in our own encampment, who has partaken of the goodness of God; God Himself shall expose them and bring wisdom into even those situations that hinge on the edge of life and death even as He brought to light the real mother of the child in question.
The final reading for this first day of celebration concludes in:
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
But God was with Joseph, giving him the wisdom to bring him once again to his Father who still grieved his loss. God even brought Joseph to the point to allow him to forgive those who sold him into slavery and falsified his death to his father, Israel. In the second account the two women were fighting over the one living child, both claiming that the child was theirs. God gave wisdom to King Solomon in order to determine the true mother. In this situation the true mother’s enemy was living with her, attempting to usurp her role as the mother of the living child. God cares enough about us to even be involved in every situation that we find ourselves dealing with on a daily basis.
This is what God our Father and Creator does for those who worship Him and Him only and who choose to live righteously. He delivers, lifts up and restores those who have been brought down through the unrighteousness of others. He gives wisdom to those who ask of Him and upbraids us not. If we rely on man’s wisdom we shall not prevail, but if we wait for the Lord and His wisdom, we shall stand “in the power of God.”
So think upon these things as you light your eighth candle tonight.
This series ended with 1 John 5:3 in Part 7c in which the Apostle John writes to the church:
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.
As we examine this Scriptural verse, we should note first that the Apostle John equates loving God with keeping His commandments and then he assures the church that God’s commandments indeed are not grievous. Exactly then what are God’s commandments? Are they the Ten Commandments that God handed down from Mt. Sinai to Moses? Yes, they are. Do God’s commandments comprise anything else? Yes, they do. Earlier in this series, this writer mentioned that during this New Testament administration, it is now the Holy Spirit’s job to administer God’s laws.
If we remember also that in Jeremiah 31:33 that God foretold that He would make a new covenant and He said, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts…” Furthermore, if you are born again, then this means that the Holy Spirit has come to reside in your spirit and has made you alive again to be able to communicate with God Himself, even as Adam and Eve originally were able to do before they sinned. The Holy Spirit had only resided ‘upon’ them and this is what ‘died’ the day that they sinned. It then took the sacrificial death of the Messiah and through His resurrection and ascension along with the fullness of time to come on the day of Pentecost, before the Holy Spirit could once again be made available to those who believe. But this time, God enabled His Holy Spirit to reside ‘inside’ a person’s spirit instead of just being allowed to be ‘on’ the believer. With this in mind then, if the Holy Spirit commands you to ‘get on your knees and pray’ at 3 a.m., thus when you do His bidding, you are keeping the commandments of God in that instance.
So what is the New Testament believer to do? Do we continue to believe that the Laws of God somehow do not apply to us? Have we not seen written in the Scriptures that God has now written His laws on our hearts? So what are we going to do with this apparent conundrum? Shall we negate the Scriptures and proclaim that we know better than the Holy Father…perhaps even the Lord Jesus Christ….and yes, we then have to also proclaim that we know more than the Holy Spirit! Is it getting a little warm in here yet? Yikes….people surely know how to get themselves in continual jams don’t they? Of course, this would be the opportune moment to usher in the old joke, “What did one strawberry say to the other strawberry?” “Look at the jam you got us into now!” Okay, okay…stand-up comedienne I am not.
On a more serious note, exactly how do we handle this? The Apostle Paul and the other Apostles had what we now call the Old Testament as their only Bible. Are we to really believe that they went around preaching that the Laws of God were over? Martin Luther did not rail against the laws of God, but confronted the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church in his day. This writer also puts forward the name of Jonathan Edwards, whose famous sermon, ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God’ propelled people to their knees in repentance. The notion that somehow ‘grace’ hides you from the eyes of God is a totally new-fangled idea and we need to seriously ask ourselves as students of the Bible why ancient believers didn’t seem to understand these so-called truths? Let us look at:
Jeremiah 23:23-24 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
So, let us look at the concept of Grace…what is it? The simple definition of it resides in the truth that God possesses grace and He decided to shower it upon mankind. He knew that sinful human beings were never going to be able to perfectly keep His laws by their own strengths and abilities. So when the fullness of time came He sent His very own Son to be our Messiah and to bear the full weight of God’s wrath and so he bore our transgressions and iniquities for us. We totally deserved the full wrath of God to be poured out upon us without restrictions, yet God kept His wrath at bay knowing also that we would never be able to bear that either. So what is this thing called grace? Is it some nebulous covering that hides us from the eyes of God? I think not!
We will continue in Part 9.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Today, Sunday, October 7, 2012 marks the 25th anniversary for the Christian solidarity movement against abortion, called the ‘National Life Chain.’ This is a Christian-based movement that has stood faithful since beginning in 1987 in California.
God entrusted LIFE CHAIN to us in 1987, when we built America’s first Chain through our small sister towns, Yuba City and Marysville. We call LIFE CHAIN “a serious first step to pro-life activism.” It’s a serious step in that it requires us to stand publicly for one hour, while holding a pro-life sign and praying through the prayer topics on the back of our sign. That brief experience has led thousands of Christians across North America to join local pro-life groups and work as volunteers throughout the year (nationallifechain.org).
Today, this writer is in Springfield, the Capitol of Illinois as the official ‘roving reporter’ and visited the three main locations that the National Life Chain had plotted over the face of Springfield. National Life Chain supporters will be located on McArthur Boulevard; and they will be positioned along and near 2000 Sangamon Avenue, primarily in front of St. Aloysius Catholic Church, but stretching further down the street to accomodate the many supporters; and also out along Stevenson Drive, plus a new location this year: in front of the Planned Parenthood of Illinois building, located at 11th and Washington. The word ‘PARENTHOOD’ denotes ‘life-giver’ and does not feature in any way the antithetical alternative of ‘life-taker’ as some would have us believe.
Here is a link to the video: National Life Chain video 10/7/2012
One of the benefits of filming your own video is that the author gets the great priviledge of meeting some really great people and to hear in their own words what they deem as sacred. I was able to interview Nancy Schrank in the parking lot of St. Aloysius as she prepared to get ready to take her place along Sangamon Avenue. I was also afforded the great opportunity to also conduct on-the-spot interviews of some of the faithful supporters who were standing like silent sentinels along the avenue as they prayed for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been duped to believe it is a woman’s choice. I was also able to interview a Catholic priest, Father Zachary Edgar who has just been recently assigned to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. He had decided to take up his post on 11th street which faces the side-view of Planned Parenthood. He was reading the Scriptures out loud and so read for me the passage of 1 Timothy 1:1-20.
Driving down Adlai Stevenson Drive I was reminded again of the greatness of the United States Constitution and our Right to Free Speech that was granted to us in the First Amendment. The priviledge of being able to vocalize either verbally or in print your personal beliefs is of a magnitude unheard of before the founding of the United States of America. You gotta love us Americans! However, this writer notes that the National Life Chain recommended that only their approved signs should be carried.
To include your city in 2013, notify National Life Chain of your interest via email to National Life Chain or call (530) 674-5068 and download (from this web site) a copy of the Life Chain Manual and the other entries under “LIFE CHAIN Materials.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…
In the last section of this article in Part 7b, we ended with a translation from the Greek Scriptures covering Romans 6:12-13. In this section, we will open with another translation from the Greek Scriptures that cover:
ἁμαρτία γὰρ ὑμῶν οὐ κυριεύσει, οὐ γάρ ἐστε ὑπὸ νόμον ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ
For your sin shall not rule you, for you are not under law but under
χάριν. Τί οὖν; ἁμαρτήσωμεν ὅτι οὐκ ἐσμὲν ὑπὸ νόμον ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ χάριν;
grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?
Basically in v. 14, the Apostle Paul states emphatically that your sin shall not rule you, nor be your Lord or Master. Only the Lord Jesus Christ has that headship and authority over us. Why? Because we are no longer under the ‘law of sin’ as we were before we changed Lords. The Apostle Paul had also asked the Christians in Rome if they were still attempting to flirt with sin, as we read in v.15, when they knew full well that they were no longer bound by the law of sin.
The rest of chapter 6, the Apostle Paul continues contrasting the different states of servitude (italics added for emphasis only):
v.16 – whomever you yield yourself to, you are servant to that person, state or thing: i.e., “sin unto death” or “obedience unto righteousness.”
v. 17 – you were the servants of sin….but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
v.18 – being made free from sin….you became the servants of righteousness.
v.19 – as you once yielded your members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity to iniquity….so now yield your members servants to righteousness and holiness.
v.20 – when you were servants of sin…you were not the servant of righteousness.
v. 21 – What fruit or wages were you reaping? You were reaping death.
v. 22 – But now! Being made free from sin…you have become servants to GOD, and now your fruit or wages is holiness and everlasting life.
v. 23 – the wages of sin is death….the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD.
As it was noted previously: chapters, verses, punctuation, chapter headings, paragraph headings, paragraphs are all devices that were put into the Holy Writ by human translators. These were not divinely included in the original autographs. The book of Romans has been divided into sixteen chapters, but in chapters 1-8, Paul makes one long, but cogent exegetical argument defining God’s Law, both the ones written originally on the tablets of stone and that which became available to be written on our hearts with the advent of the New Covenant. In this New Covenant administration, it is the Holy Spirit who is the administrator of God’s Laws. No longer do we have to be burdened with the task of attempting to discern what is and what is not the Law of God. God Himself has now written it on our hearts, even as it was prophesied in the book of Jeremiah.
So now, this writer will leave you with a Scriptural consolation:
1 John 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
We will continue in Part 8. God Bless you.
As we concluded in Part 5 in this series, the Apostle Peter had stood up to ask his Jewish brothers in:
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?
Now that this has been reiterated, it now makes better sense when we read in the Gospel of:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The church then came up with their decree that the new pagan converts should follow, and we find this decree beginning in:
Wherefore my sentence is that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.
The new converts from the pagan religions were about to receive a church decree that consisted of four rules, excerpted from the LAW OF MOSES, that the Apostles were about to impose upon them. Why you might ask? It was not for their own sakes, but for the sensibilities of the Jewish people that were sharing the same church services with them and partaking of the same love feasts. These four were:
- Abstain from pollutions of idols
- From fornication
- From things strangled
- From blood
Why these four? The first one: is it not the second commandment of the ten? Then they were to keep themselves from fornication: why? As Paul instructed the church in 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” Then they were being commanded to abstain from things strangled. Again, why? Because to the devout Jews who were now sharing this new church movement with the new pagan converts, the method that was used in how an animal was slaughtered, either for the sacrificial system or for their personal consumption, was of extreme importance. It bore heavily upon the requirement to keep kosher in their daily food consumption. Finally, they were now expected to abstain from blood. Why? The proscription is found in:
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.
The idea of eating blood was absolutely abhorrent to the Jewish psyche and this proscription was pounded into their thoughts from the time that they were old enough to understand the Scriptures. This should now bring new light and understanding upon the following pericope found in the Gospel of John 6.
John 6:50-53, 59-61, 66
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
59These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
In today’s vernacular, “Holy Jehoshaphat! Yes Jesus, it offends us!” The judgment that came along with this proscription was that God had said, “I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”
For the Jew…this meant that they would never obtain an entrance into Abraham’s bosom when they died. It had the same effect for them as if someone had said:
“Don’t pass GO, but do GO straight to hell. And you won’t be collecting your $200, and there isn’t any ‘Get Out of Hell Free’ cards either.”
For the Jew…the Lord Jesus might as well have said, “Curse God, and Die!” it was that serious to the Jewish psyche.
This is why we read in the Gospel of John “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Furthermore, just as a side note to my readers: Exactly what is apostasy? Does it not happen when those people who proclaim to follow God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as being led by His Holy Spirit stop following? It is, so with that in mind let us look at the numbering of that verse: it is John 6:66. Coincidence? I think not! Did God plan this? I think so! We will continue in Part 7, so stay tuned. Y’all come back now.
As we concluded in Part 2, we left off with the verse in the Gospel of:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
Since we have Scriptural attestation from the Lord Christ himself, in that He told those present at His now famous Sermon on the Mount that they were not to worry that He was coming to give them a ‘new’ doctrine that would replace or destroy the Laws of God, but rather that He had come to completely fulfill the Law of God.
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.
Now, O Christian, who art thou really? What esteem do you give to yourself when you declare that the Law of God has ended? Especially, when the Messiah Himself at the beginning of His ministry on this earth did declare before His audience that He did not come to “destroy the law” but He had come to “fulfill it.” Fulfillment does not necessarily mean that it has ended. Here is what dictionary.com has to say about the word ‘fulfill.’
verb (used with object)
1. to carry out, or bring to realization, as a prophecy or promise.
2. to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands.
3. to satisfy (requirements, obligations, etc.): a book that fulfills a long-felt need.
4. to bring to an end; finish or complete, as a period of time: He felt that life was over when one had fulfilled his threescore years and ten.
5. to develop the full potential of (usually used reflexively): She realized that she could never fulfill herself in such work.
Notice that ‘to end’ does not occupy the first definition but the fourth one?
Furthermore, doesn’t this question just beg to be asked and subsequently answered? It does indeed. What question is begging to be asked, you might inquire? OK, “Has heaven and earth passed away yet?” Here is another that just froths at the mouth, “has any jot or tittle passed from the law of God yet?” The simple (not simplistic) answer is a resounding and thunderous NO! The answer is so simple that even the youngest babe in Christ is capable of understanding this premise.
So if you are thinking right about now that you just got hit by the discharge of both barrels. Wait until I reload! I got a whole lotta more (writer smiling right now). Does this offend you? GOOD! It was supposed to do just that.
There is this one capstone verse that sums it up, especially since it was a prophecy given to Jeremiah and which was fulfilled at Pentecost.
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
This writer finds it rather hard to believe that any Christian quoting this verse from Jeremiah could so deceive themselves when the Scripture itself is so startling clear, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts…” So if God thought it necessary to take HIS LAW from the tablets of stone and write them on the hearts of those particular people who would confess His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, then how can those same people declare that they are not under the Law of God? It doesn’t make much sense does it?
We will close for now with this thought, if indeed God’s Law has ended, then why would that same God choose an apostle such as Paul to seemingly proclaim that notion as has been taught in Romans 10:4, then in the very same epistle, to give forth to those people the Laws of God? Food for thought isn’t it?
What other place in this same epistle you are probably asking? Okay, let’s close with the following:
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
In this chapter, Paul is quoting from Deuteronomy 5:17-21, starting in v.9 he lays out the last five of the Ten Commandments in this order: #7,6,8,9,10. Of course, the argument is presented that ‘the law has ended and this is only a summation of those dead commandments,’ then exactly why does Paul even mention them? If indeed they are dead, why even bother? For old time’s sake? I think not! Remember the dictionary entry about ‘fulfill’ up above? The first two entries fit nicely right here. For did not the Lord Christ Himself say that we would be required to forgive our brothers and sisters each time that they sinned against us? Therefore, each time that we forgive we are keeping commandment #6 and not murdering them, despite how our flesh might wish to yield. So when we keep the Ten Commandments we are then summing it up with “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
We will continue with Part 4. God Bless.