Saturday, June 26, 2021

"Under LAW" or "Under GRACE"?

A GREAT many in this world completely misunderstand what our Lord Jesus Christ meant! Do you!?

What law!?

There are a great many in these worldly churches that will argue – that the apostle Paul made it clear that the New Testament Church is no longer under the law – in which they mistakenly attribute to the Ten Commandments. Again, what law!? Because the Ten Commandments were never part of the Mosaic Law – of the Old Covenant. Arguers will quote the apostle Paul, “Before this faith came, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law became our guardian to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” – Galatians 3:23-25, Berean Study Bible.

A much clearer and truthful version -
“But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” - Galatians 3:23-25, New King James Version.
But friends, it is not my purpose here to argue any point but to show proof from God’s living word of His truth on this subject.

There are those who will argue and emphatically state – “we are under the law of Christ.” Indeed we are! But, what is the law of Christ!? Do you understand!?

Well, the “law of Christ” – as they say – are 10 simply stated, fundamental, and universal Commandments, written upon stone tablets by the very finger of the LORD our God!

Unlike the likes of the Code of Hammurabi, which truly is woefully insufficient – these 10 brief Commandments, so simple, so direct, that even a small child can understand and memorize the whole code – God gave to all mankind His COMPLETE law which covers the whole duty of mankind toward, first, God – his very Creator – and second, his fellowman.

They are, by their very nature, ETERNAL LAWS!

And that was why it was truly heartbreaking to see one argue with the very fact that – the Sabbath can NEVER be changed or abolished! These simple, yet very relevant 10 Commandments can NEVER become obsolete or out-of-date. NO MAN COULD WRITE SUCH A LAW!

Now, one such arguer went on to also mention that “the feasts of the Jews” are no longer to be kept by the New Testament Church – But here, let’s keep on track with the “law of Christ.”

Understand, this law is NOT the Law of Moses – but the very law of God!

Truly, as we show you from the very living word of God, Jesus Christ’s Kingdom has law. And, unless you – you who proclaim Jesus Christ – are willing to obey the law of the Kingdom of God, you will find yourself before the Judge of judges, who, at the judgment day, will simply say, “’ I never knew you!’” – cf. Matthew 7:23.

Be assured and remember – the law is not in any sense the means through which a man obtains salvation. We do not obtain salvation through the law – we observe the law through the process of conversion.

Friends, it is a failure to misunderstand this – it is the cause of much misunderstanding upon this whole question.

Let us look at some facts –
  1. There are those who maintain – as we do – that the Ten Commandments, the very law of God, are immutable and still relevant to true Christians today.
  2. And, there are those who assert and insist that this law was nailed to the cross. And, they can quote much Scripture in an effort to prove their differing contentions.
Why!? Why this apparent contradiction in God’s living word!?

God’s living word DOES NOT contradict in any way – the Mosaic Law was nailed to the cross!

Now, the Ten Commandments were NOT, as I said earlier, called the Law of Moses – but are rather, the law of God.

The Law of Moses consisted of –
  1. The civic laws – statutes and judgments that Moses relayed to the people from God. Recorded in Exodus 21-23 as well as the remaining books of the Law.
  2. The ritualistic laws, which were added later, summarized in Hebrews 9:10. These ordinances regulated the Levitical sacrifices (Lev. 1-7) and related duties, or “works,” as in the ‘works of the law’ – cf. Galatians 2:16. This referred to the labor involving Levitical rituals which were abolished by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.
Again, and I cannot stress this enough – the Ten Commandments were NEVER part of the Law of Moses or the Levitical priesthood with its sacrificial system. The civil laws and sacrifices were based on God’s Commandments, which make up the core of God’s laws. Thus, the Ten Commandments precede and transcend every lesser law based upon them — statutes, judgments, precepts, and ordinances. Sadly, most professing Christians mistakenly brand the Ten Commandments as the “Old Covenant.” Yet, the Old Covenant was based upon the Ten Commandments which proceeded the covenant.

How did the original New Testament Church view and understand the law of God?

The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” – Romans 7:12.

The apostle John wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” – 1 John 5:3.

And truly, our Lord Jesus Christ – which most will not quote – summed it up by saying, “ … ‘if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments’” – Matthew 19:17.

Jesus Christ and the apostles did not dismiss God’s law. However, Counterfeit Christianity took this drastic step in the first century A.D. And the churches of this Counterfeit Christianity have blindly followed ever since!

Sadly, they blindly teach that the Old Covenant was the Ten Commandments. They maintain that Christ came to establish only grace and promises – liberty to do whatever one pleases. Law is not included in their doctrinal booklets. In their minds, these creative religionists have cleverly devised a way to “do whatever one desires” and have a clear conscience. They do not teach Newton’s Third Law - 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction'. They blindly state, “Grace alone ‘saves’ men. And the burden of commandment-keeping is no longer necessary.’

Well, this satanic teaching leads one to believe that the law of God is cruel and burdensome. They proclaim that the fault of the Old Covenant was with the law. Read what Jesus Christ Himself says to those who follow these false understandings –
And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men … ‘All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition’” – Mark 7:7-9.
Notice the WARNING that God inspired in the Book of Jude –
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness [even lasciviousness, feeling or revealing an overt and often offensive sexual desire] and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” – Jude 1:3-4.
Truly, even before the ink was dry on the New Testament, ungodly men had crept into the Church of God unnoticed in an attempt to corrupt her by turning grace into LASCIVIOUSNESS! Just as the temples of Rome were.

This was precisely THE FALSE GOSPEL – which is not another – taught by Simon Magus (also known as Simon the Sorcerer or Simon the Magician), Nicholas of Samaria, Cerinthus, as well as other “founders” of Counterfeit Christianity.

Lasciviousness, in the Strong’s Concordance, is defined as “debauchery, sensuality, lewdness, wantonness, filthy.” Truly, in essence, this meant license to do what seems right in one’s own eyes, according to one’s own conscience.

The universal message from nearly every pulpit falsely tells people that Jesus Christ abolished, or “fulfilled,” His Father’s law – but your Bible says otherwise!

God’s living divine word mentions nothing about grace being a license to disobey the law of God! To be “under grace” means to be extended mercy and forgiveness as a result of sincere repentance and resolve to obey Almighty God.

This is explained further by the apostle Paul –
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” – Romans 6:14-15.
The majority misunderstands the concept here of “under law,” which means under the penalty of the law.

Notice also –
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” – Galatians 5:18.
You are under the penalty of the law – death – if you violate the law of God as a way of life.

But a person who is led by God’s Spirit will strive to follow the law of God. And, when he occasionally sins, he repents immediately and is forgiven – 1 John 1:8-10. By virtue of obedience and grace, he is not under the penalty of the law.

Consider! Only if Jesus Christ has risen from the dead can His Spirit guide and strengthen new converts, for it is the Holy Spirit that leads true Christians. Again, the apostle Paul wrote –
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” – Romans 8:14.

The very false idea that “once under grace, we are already saved” is not founded in God’s living word.

Grace is God’s willingness to forgive past sins, as summarized again by the apostle Paul –

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” – Ephesians 1:7.

Notice this key passage –

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” – Ephesians 2:8-9.

The faith “not of yourselves,” is instrumental to salvation. It is not our own human faith. It is the gift of God – the faith of Jesus Christ within us – Galatians 2:20. Our Lord Jesus Christ – our High Priest – looks down and observes our sincerity and effort, and imparts His faith to us through His grace – divine favor and mercy. Those who receive this faith have no grounds for boasting of their works.

Notice this –

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” – Philippians 2:13.

God provides all true Christians with the WILLPOWER, the FAITH OF CHRIST, and MOTIVATION to do His good pleasure. God the Father and Jesus Christ have gone to great lengths to provide the grace – the unmerited favor of Their divine mercy – to help Their begotten children to succeed in their calling. But They expect results!

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” – Ephesians 2:10.

Friends – how crystal clear God’s living word becomes when we let His word interpret itself! It is terribly sad that most professing Christians simply stop at this point and miss the very crux of the apostle Paul’s statement.

The true issue here is not grace or works. Neither is it grace OPPOSED TO works nor is it grace IN PLACE OF works. It is simply –

Grace FOLLOWED by works.

Grace – justification and forgiveness.

Grace – God’s giving of mercy and unmerited favor.

The faith of Christ within us.

If we follow God’s grace with works, Jesus Christ’s description of those who will rise at the glorious first resurrection could surely apply to us –

“’ Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and faith of Jesus” – Revelation 14:12. □

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