feb 25 2013

Letter to my brother: Christ and the Law

Uncategorized

//***************** First exchange of Letters *********************************//

There has been a question raised while talking with the brethren:
“What’s the use of talking about being lead by the Spirit of God when it is already stated in the law what we need to do.”

The first thing we have to understand is that the law is of spirit:
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Rom.7:14)

The flesh is going against the spirit, it always stays under the power of sin, this is why we can not keep the law out of human strength or will. There is only one way: to be born again by the faith of Jesus Christ.

“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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.” (Rom.8:3-4)

I am unable to search or understand God, nor can I do His will without the Spirit. However, there is no need for a new revelation again and again, or for individual and personal messages. God’s work within us is revealing the same truth (the law) which was given from the beginning. He is leading us (or rather leading us back) to the things already extant.

“Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” (1John2:7)

And so the Spirit is the one by which I receive the calling for conversion, for renewing my mind, and it adds the will and completion to me, then it gradually discloses the fullness of the law.

What is the main point of the NEW TESTAMENT?

We read the promise of God to His people in the prophets:
“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. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know YAHWEH: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer.31:31-34)

We know that the chosen people of Israel have been temporary broken off the olive tree, and we from the gentiles have been engrafted. (They were broken off because of unbelief, but neither can we remain if we do not abide in godliness. Rom.11:19-22)) That is to say that God – glory to His name! – has made a covenant with us, made us as part of His people and, according to the above promise, He has written His law in our hearts.

Let us examine the thread of the epistle to the Galatian now, as it usually raises many questions regarding the law.

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth NOT in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Gal.3:10)

We can see that the problem is not the law itself, for in the next lines we find that whoever is doing them shall live in them, which means the keeping of the law is for one’s benefit, for life. However man by himself can never keep the law perfectly because of the fallen nature in him. And so he can not deliver nor meet the demands of God even if he really whishes to because “no flesh is justified by the works of the law” that is as saying that there is no man ever who would be able to do this.

“No man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith„ (Gal.3:11)

And so without God everyone, be either Jew or Gentile is under the law, which means to be under curse, since the fruitage of breaking the law is a sentence of death – this is the curse itself. The Jew know the law and still can not keep it, so the law will be his judge. The Gentile doesn’t know the law, so he will perish without it (Rom.2:12). EVERYONE is under the law: not only those who try and justify themselves by doing it, but all of those too, who do not accept and acknowledge the order given by God.

If we read on we see that the law and the promise are not contradictory to each other, nor substitutive options. The purpose of the law is not that which is of the promise: namely to bring on justification before God. The purpose of the law is to conclude all mankind under the curse:

“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.” (Rom.3:19)

The same is written to the Galatians (3:22):
“The scripture hath concluded all under sin,
… why?…
that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

This means that the law is leading us to Christ in order to be saved by him, who has been promised afore by God according to His mercy!

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephes.2:8)

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal.3:24)

By knowing the law and failing to obey it by human will and strength we realize that we need God’s grace, because in spite of all our good intentions and efforts we are simply unable to improve or become just. Despite our strivings all we can apprehend is that we are weak and deserve death. THIS IS THE PURPUSE OF THE LAW! It was given to point out sin, and the death of the Christ resulted mercy.

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal.2:21)

If knowing the law and making human efforts to fulfill it was enough then our Lord would not have to die. On the other hand it is also true that that Christ has died in vain for those who do not acknowledge the law.

In Galatians 4:1-3 Paul is talking about being under the “elements of the world” when we were children. What are these elements?

We learn from the above verses that Israel too, although new the law, was serving to the “elements of the world” because their spirit has not been reborn and so evil was effecting them, not to mention their own fallen nature. But the law is not equal to the elements of the world! The “elements of the world” means the ‘usual’ operation, the social contexture of the world without God, which is evil. In other words, to be “under the elements of the world” is equivalent to be subjected under the reign of the “god of this world”. Whoever is in this state is necessarily braking the law constantly thus he is under the curse of the law, in short: under the law.

Scripture is confirming it several times that everyone, the whole creation is in this state:
“the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1John5:19)

“For the whole creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected” (Rom.8:20)

“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Rom.11:32)

“For the earnest expectation of the whole creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom.8:19)

“he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God ABIDETH on him.” (John3:36)

Therefore a man is under the elements of this world until he is reborn by Spirit. This rebirth is only possible through the sacrifice and resurrection of the Anointed Jesus,

“who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Gal.1:4)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John3:16)

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal.4:4-5)

Christ has been given by God for the whole world: the offer of everlasting life is available for everyone, Jesus came to redeem everyone, and this ‘everyone’ is equal to those “under the law”. In other words: EVERYONE is under the law (under the curse of the law), because everyone is serving to the elements of this world, until he comes to know God, even becomes known of God.

Jesus Christ himself was under the law, that is he needed to be born again too by the Spirit of God, which he received when he was baptized and a voice came from the Everlasting One saying: “Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” (Luke 2:22 according to the testimony of Codex Bezae and of the 2-3. century church fathers such as Justinus, Clement of Alexandria, Ireneus, Origenes, Methodios, and the Gospel of the Jews, the Ebionites, and the Didascalia). The same notion is found in the epistle to the Hebrews, where the words of this voice are correlated with the anointing of the Christ to his high priest service (since the submersion in water has been a cleansing washing of priesthood for Jesus who started his earthly service by the Spirit right after this event.)

There is something we need to know about the epistle to the Galatians: it was not written to a single assembly in one particular city. It was addressed to the many congregations living within the province of Galatia in many different cities and settlements. This fact makes it easier to comprehend the reason for Paul speaking about different false teachings and practices at the same time in one single letter.

We can identify two distinct problems:

  1. The galatians themselves were intended to return to the practices of their own earlier, pagan cults.

“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye AGAIN to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire AGAIN to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” (Gal.4:9-10)

The people living in the province of Galatia were heathen nations initially with pagan customs and faith. After coming to know God there was only one way they could go back AGAIN: their earlier pagan practices. The things listed here in verse 10. are written with such wording that are never used to describe the sanctified days of God in the greek Scriptures. The days belonging to the Everlasting Father’s order are mentioned as “sabbath”, “feast”, “new moon”, “holy days” all through the gospels and the apostolic writings. Opposed to those, here we see such phrases that are perfectly fit to the names of the highlighted periods of the Hellenistic and other surrounding beliefs of those times, such as the horoscope predictions, lucky days, month and years dedicated to certain deities or even emperors. Those who wish to celebrate these AGAIN are going back to serve the elements of the world, and thereby under the curse of the law.

  1. The other problem was the false teaching of those of the circumcision.

Some of the brethren who were of Jewish roots have forced the others to circumcise themselves and keep the mosaic law by the letter or else they will loose salvation. This of course is going under the curse of the law, too.

Both of the problems mentioned in this epistle are make for going under the law, the curse that is. Either one has the same essence: to stand all demands of the spiritual powers by ones own strength for the sake of ones own benefit!

EVERY DEED THAT SOMEONE MAKES TO BE JUSTIFIED BY HIS OWN STRENGTH IS BRINGING HIM UNDER THE CURSE.

„Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal.5:4)

„But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (Gal.5:18)

IF GOD HAS CIRCUMCISED MY HEART AND WRITTEN HIS LAW IN MY HEART THEN I AM OBLIGATED TO GIVE ALL MY GRATITUDE AND OBEDIENCE TO HIM.

And so we can join apostle Paul and say: I am not under the law, whilst am not without the law of God!

Glory and blessing for ever and ever to our savior God by Jesus Christ! Amen.

 

//***************** Second exchange of Letters*****************************//

To worship the Father in Spirit and truth. The word of God is life and spirit. To worship Him in spirit means that we worship Him according to the real sense of His words, pursuant to His revelations. (Following the law and working righteousness.) There is no contradiction in this.

Sabbath is about ceasing from all our own pleasures and stop working. We rest from all the works just like God did on the seventh day. He rested and ended His works, and blessed and sanctified that day.

The disciples have been plucking the corn by hand on a Sabbath because they were hungry. This was not work, they did not harvested the whole field, only acted according to the law, as there is an ordinance about not reaping the corners of the field, leaving the gleaning to the poor and strangers who has the right to eat it. (Lev.23:22) There is a difference between helping a man or animal in need and working to ones own benefit. This is what Jesus has been teaching about when he said: “”Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.””

Jesus is the lord of the Sabbath. Amen. That is to say he was the one who gave it to the people together with the rest of the commandments. It belongs under his authority; he is not removing it but ruling over it. (If we say about someone that he is the lord of a house, it doesn’t mean that the house does not exist, on the contrary; we know that the house is there and we also know who the owner is.) The Sabbath is the glorious day of God on which he is glorifying Himself. This is what He did thru the law obeying Christ when he was curing the sick and the wretch (John 9:16-33). We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if someone fears God and does His will He will hear that man.

Now, what does it mean when the Christ says that the priests are breaking the Sabbath and still are blameless? The only sense in which they are profaning the rest is that they are performing manual labour. But on one hand, they are doing it for the people’ sake and not for themselves; and on the other hand this is the ordinance, the pronounced statute of God for the priests. It is, in fact, not breaking the law. It has been permitted because of the mercifulness of God so that men might approach Him every day. To serve God can not be profaning the Sabbath but is the job of His chosen priesthood.

We too are priests by Christ and are bringing sacrifices To God for ourselves and for the people. Only these are spiritual sacrifices: thanksgivings, blessings, prayers and praising. And the Sabbath remains God’s chosen and sanctified day.

We need to see that there is a difference between the everlasting ordinances, like the 10 commandments, the feasts, etc. and the temporary elements of the law such as the sacrificial system of the sanctuary, the Aaron priesthood, or the washings which could never make us perfect. We understand this difference from the way God has been treating the two types of orders as they were not given once at the same time. First He let the people know the ever persistent law at Mount Sinai during the exodus. And only some two years later did He give them the ordinances concerning the sanctuary, the priesthood and the sacrifices. (see Jerem.7:22-23) These are the orders that will change when the priesthood changes. These were the temporary parts of the law; this is what the Hebrews 7. talks about. Instead of the levitical priesthood comes the order of Melchisedec. Instead of the Aaronic high priest comes the Christ not according to carnal descendance or bloodlines. Instead of a material and manmade sanctuary comes the temple of the saints, the church of the born again believers built in Christ by God. Instead of the ark of the covenant made of wood comes the circumcised heart of the people where the commandments of God are written on flesh (tables of covenant), the priesthood belongs to any born again heathen (budded rod of Aaron), and we live by every word of God that come from above, not by bread alone (pot of manna).

We do not need to “believe” in the Old Testament! It is a revelation, a statement, there is no faith involved. The man who does those things shall live by them. The law was given thru Moses, and grace and truth came by Jesus. These are not two contradictory statements. Christ did not bring any new ordinance because all has already been given thru Moses by God; the law is whole, perfect, good and just. Truth means that man will be able to fulfil that law which already exists, in other words to act it. And grace is that God has forgiven all our earlier transgressions. These are interconnected tightly, one can not be without the other. Grace does not make any sense alone in itself. What is God forgiving if not sins? And what is sin, if not the breaking of the law?

We have died for the law and identify ourselves with the death of Jesus Christ, so that we can live a new life. To live like God’s born again sons according to His promise that He is writing His law into our hearts and makes us fulfil the law, to do just works not by humanly effort from the flesh, but out of an obeying, humble and God loving heart.

We are transgressors and under the law again if we reject the law, NOT if we honour it. Why would we think that the law does not apply to us? Haven’t we become the nation of God? Are we not engrafted into the congregation of Israel? Did God not reject His people which He brought out from Egypt because they despised the law? They too should have learned that it’s impossible to keep it by flesh, and show conversion towards God. But instead they’ve been looking to vindicate their own justice since they could not worship Him in spirit and truth of which the condition is to be born again, to have a circumcised heart that is. (Luke 18:9-14)

It is true, our hearts are already circumcised. Good on us, we have salvation, we are saved thru Christ, we belong to God as His sons.

One question: are we allowed to steal, to fornicate, to break the law now??? God forbid! If I do these I make myself a transgressor and build again the things which in theory I have already destroyed by my faith in the Christ. If we say that we don’t need the law anymore, (the law of God which is perfect) then this we should know, that the Christ has died in vain, for nothing!!

One more thing: The ominous part of Romans 14. chapter is about someone, the weak in faith, who only eats vegetables (herbs). The other – presumably the one who is strong in faith – eats meat as well. He “may eat all things”. Do you eat dog meat, carrion vulture, bedbug?? God forbid! That “all things” is what is described in 1Timothy 4:3: there are such meats that God has created to be eaten with thanksgiving by those, who know the truth, namely the law of God. (Kol. 2:22) It is the law of God that determines what can be eaten and what is not. It is for our own sakes, so that we might enjoy health and be saints and don’t defile ourselves. God is the creator of all things, He made our body the way it is, and He knows best what is good for us. Why not believe Him in this? Not to mention the words Isaiah says about the millennial period, that when the Christ comes the idolater will perish together with those who eat pork!! (Isa.66:17) Because everything is going to be judged by Christ based on God’s law.

This is the conviction of me and of the church of God. This is what we exercise ourselves in. “I compass thine altar, O Lord”

//******************************************************************//

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