The Law of Christ (OT Interpretation #6)

20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 

– 1 Corinthians 9:20-21 NKJV

25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 

– James 1:25 NKJV

12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 

– James 2:12-13 NKJV

2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ

– Galatians 6:2 NKJV

In the fourth post in this series we noted that there are many commands in the Bible. There is one set of commands in the Old Covenant called the Law of Moses, and there is another set of commands in the New Covenant called the Law of Christ. The New Testament teaches that we are not under the Law of Moses, but we are under the Law of Christ (i.e. the law of liberty). We have been considering the Old Covenant Law, but now we must turn our attention to the New Covenant Law so that we can understand which commands we are obligated by God to obey. A failure to distinguish between these two sets of commandments leads either to Judaizing (i.e. extreme versions of the Hebraic Roots movement) or lawlessness (i.e. “hyper-grace”), both of these are deadly errors which we must avoid for the sake of our souls.

Jesus’ Commandments

19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. 

– Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say

– Luke 6:46 NKJV

What commands are included in the Law of Christ. To put it simply, the Law of Christ is made up of the commands of Jesus Christ. He commissioned His apostles to go make disciples teaching them to obey all that He had commanded. Anything written in red letters is the law that we are obligated to live by. Jesus is the King Who has all authority in heaven and on earth, and we are not only commanded to confess Him as Lord, but to submit to HIm as Lord.

Continue reading “The Law of Christ (OT Interpretation #6)”

Under Law or Under Grace? YES! (OT Interpretation #5)

Engraved on Stone

Deuteronomy 4:11-14 establishes that the Old Covenant is made up of the 10 Commandments as well as the commandments related through Moses to the people of Israel in the Sinai Desert. Deuteronomy 5:1-6 teaches that this covenant was not given to the patriarchs of Israel like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but only to the generation that came out of Egypt under Moses. And Exodus 20-24 reveals that the Law of Moses was given as one holistic law, it was not divided into a ceremonial, civil and moral law. Though we can see that the individual commands are applied to different areas of life, they are each interconnected and make up one law known as the Law of Moses and referred to as the Old Covenant by the New Testament writers.

Now we must ask, do Christians still need to obey the Old Covenant commands? Are we under the authority of the 10 Commandments?

4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 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. 

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

In 2 Corinthians chapter 3 Paul is writing to the Corinthians and defending his ministry as a minister of the New Covenant. He declares that he, and his co-laborers are sufficient ministers, but not in themselves, only by the grace of God’s Spirit. In verse 6 he begins to address some differences between the Old and New Covenants. In this verse he begins to teach that the New Covenant is of the Spirit, not mere letters, and that it brings life, not death.

Continue reading “Under Law or Under Grace? YES! (OT Interpretation #5)”

What About The Ten Commandments? (OT Interpretation #4)

How Many Old Covenant Laws Are There?

How should we understand the Law of Moses? Is it broken up into various parts (e.g. moral, ceremonial and civil) as some traditions teach, or is it one unified whole? When we read the Scriptures we will find many commandments. Since 1 Corinthians 9:19-21 shows us that there are at least two different collections of laws in the Bible (e.g. Law of Moses and Law of Christ), it is important to know which commands belong to which law. This way we know which commands apply to Christians, and which do not.

In Exodus 19 God instructed the people of Israel to gather around Mount Sinai to receive God’s commandments. In Chapter 20:1-17 we read that God began to address the people directly. This first string of commandments in Exodus 20 are what we know as the 10 Commandments. He spoke these directly to the people from the mountain.

Continue reading “What About The Ten Commandments? (OT Interpretation #4)”

A Nation Set Apart (OT Interpretation #3)

In the last post we discussed some of the different aspects of the Law of Israel. We noted that it was primarily a national constitution for the nation of Israel that acted as a relational contract (i.e. covenant) between God and Israel. It also provided them with a culture, religion, legal system and moral code to call their own. In this post we want to touch on other reasons gave the Torah (i.e. Law of Moses).

Stemming the Tide

Besides being a national covenant (i.e. constitution) it was also given to Israel to curb the corruption of sin. God desired to bring Christ the Savior into the world at the right time, but first he had to set the stage. Israel was chosen to be the nation that would bring this salvation into the world (John 4:22). This was the second part of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. But God’s stage could not be set without some semblance of righteousness. So before the Word of God became flesh in order to renew the nature of men through His resurrection and the second birth, God would have to give them something to hold back the tide of sin. For this reason, God gave them commands written on stone along with strict punishments for breaking it.

This law code could not change the hearts of the Israelites, but it could restrain the corrupting influence of sin. In many cases the breaking of the social laws would result in the death penalty. Those that committed adultery or murder were to be put to death by the testimony of two or three witnesses. The murderer or adulterer was given no chance to “reform” himself because he had already been corrupted by the influence of rebellion and this leaven was not to be given a chance to infect the rest of God’s people. The punishment of the offender did not only stop him from influencing others, the example that was made of him would have the added benefit of discouraging those who were being tempted to commit similar crimes.

Continue reading “A Nation Set Apart (OT Interpretation #3)”

A National Covenant (OT Interpretation #2)

In the last post we discussed the difficulty of harmonizing the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. We mentioned that throughout history there have been a few main ways to attempt to reconcile these two sections of the Bible which seem to be at odds on many points. Basically there is the Jewish way, the Gnostic way and the Christian way. The Jewish way says that Jesus was a teacher of the Law of Moses. The Gnostic way says that the Old Testament was written by an inferior god. And the Christian way which says that Jesus fulfills the Old Testament Scriptures.

The heart of the Old Testament is the Law of Moses. So in order to understand how the Old and the New Covenants can be reconciled we should start with an understanding of the nature of that Law. In this post we will discuss some various ways of looking at the Torah (i.e. first 5 books of the Bible).

The Constitution of Israel

1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

– Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV

In Genesis 12 God promises Abraham that he would make his descendants into a great nation. And He was going to use that nation to be a blessing to all the nations of the world. The first aspect of this promise points to the creation of the nation of Israel. The second aspect points to the coming of the Messiah and the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom of God to all nations (John 4:22, Galatians 3:15-20, Genesis 22:18).

Continue reading “A National Covenant (OT Interpretation #2)”

3 Ways to Read the Old Testament (OT Interpretation #1)

Seems So Confusing

As a new disciple I found it very difficult to read the Old Testament, particularly the Law of Moses which is the foundation of the Old Testament. As I read the story of the Exodus and the commands that were given in that generation, I was confused at how to understand the Old Covenant in light of the New. The rest of the history of Israel in the Old Testament was intrinsically connected with the commands given through Moses, and yet when I came to the New Testament I was hard pressed to understand what the Law of Moses had to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So in this series I want to ask the question, “How are Christians supposed to approach the Law of Moses?” 

Those of us that are familiar with the New Testament and with the issues faced by the early Church will easily recognize that modern believers are not the first to wrestle with trying to harmonize the Old and New Testaments. Most of Paul’s letters and a lot of the content of the Gospels were dedicated to this particular issue. And the post-apostolic authors of the pre-Nicene era of church history also spent a lot of time on this issue.

Continue reading “3 Ways to Read the Old Testament (OT Interpretation #1)”

The Resurrection & The Eternal Kingdom (Kingdom Salvation #12)

In a previous post we pointed out that it is the responsibility of the convicted sinner to be converted through repentance, faith and baptism. We then looked at what God promises for those who are converted to Him. He promises to regenerate them, that is, to give them new life. We discussed the first two aspects of this re-birth, namely, adoption as God’s children and renewal of the heart by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We now want to look at the final two aspects of God’s salvation, the resurrection of our bodies and the inheriting of God’s kingdom as His royal family.

The Redemption of Our Bodies

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. 

– Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV

28 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 “and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 

– John 5:28-29 NKJV

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming

– 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NKJV

Continue reading “The Resurrection & The Eternal Kingdom (Kingdom Salvation #12)”

Judged by Works (Kingdom Salvation #11)

Resurrected to Judgment

13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 

– Revelation 20:13 NKJV

28 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 “and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation

– John 5:28-29 NKJV

15 “I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust

– Acts 24:15 NKJV

In this post we are going to be looking at the judgment we will all face. But I must mention that before the judgement there will be a bodily resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. In the next post we will focus more on the resurrection of the body and the eternal blessing of the righteous, but here we will focus on the judgment and the damnation of the wicked.

Continue reading “Judged by Works (Kingdom Salvation #11)”

The Father’s Discipline (Kingdom Salvation #10)

16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

– Hebrews 4:16 NKJV

In the last post we started to consider God’s gracious support of believers in their walk down the narrow road to eternal life. In that post we pointed out that justification is a continual gift to the humble believer. When we stumble into sin, God does not immediately cast us off, but accepts us through the sacrifice of His Son. Nevertheless, we are responsible to confess our sins before the throne of grace where His mercies are new every morning. At the throne of grace we are not only offered mercy for sin, but also empowering grace to overcome and live in victory over the sins that often beset us. We will turn now to consider this gracious support.

The Pruning Process

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit

– John 15:1-2 NKJV

Those that abide in Christ, those that trust, love and obey Him, will bear the fruit of holiness in their lives. Those who were once in Christ, but have walked away from Him back into a life of willful rebellion, will suffer eternal exile in hell. This is a frightening fact that should make us cling to Christ and thus bear godly fruit in our lives. This is our duty, we must abide in Christ. But God does not leave us to do this without His sanctifying grace. 

Continue reading “The Father’s Discipline (Kingdom Salvation #10)”

The Throne of Grace (Kingdom Salvation #9)

We have noted that reconciliation between God and sinful individuals has both a human side and a divine side. Conversion is man’s part in reconciliation. Though God, by His grace, leads people to repentance and faith, it is our responsibility to repent and believe. Regeneration is God’s part in reconciliation. He justifies and renews the repentant sinner.

The same cooperation is required in the relationship that follows reconciliation. We are called to trust, love and obey Jesus after we are reconciled to God through Him. We covered this in the previous post. But we are not expected to do this without God’s continuing grace. In the next two posts we want to look at the two primary ways God supports our daily walk with Jesus.

Are You Nervous Yet?

10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 

– John 15:10 NKJV

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

– 1 John 2:3-4 NKJV

In the last post we concluded by talking about the requirement to obey Jesus. We pointed out that John 15:10 teaches that those who do not walk in obedience to Jesus Christ will be cut off from Him and the eternal life that is in Him. And 1 John 2:3-4 tells us that those who do not obey God through Christ do not know God. When the God fearing Christian reads such verses he trembles at God’s word. He begins to look at his life and judge it according to such divine declarations. And since the weakness of the humble Christian is never hidden from his conscience, the trembling begins. This is a good sign, for God delights in those who tremble at His word (Isaiah 66:5). 

Continue reading “The Throne of Grace (Kingdom Salvation #9)”