Recently, I’ve been swung back and forth like a pendulum between radical Law for Christians, and radical grace for Christians, so what I had to do is go back to the basics and read the Word of God for myself. If the Word of God contradicts my opinions or what I have been taught, then I essentially have to go back to the Word of God and agree with what it says, and change my own mind, or repent for my opinions or beliefs that do not line up with God’s Word.
So here’s where I started this week –
2 Corinthians 3 –
The Spirit, Not the Letter
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;[a] for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Glory of the New Covenant
7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, whichglory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The context of this passage begins with Paul’s exhortation to the believers in Corinth in stating that they are the “proof through the Spirit” or epistle that is not written with ink, but is a testimony of what Christ has done through the efforts of Paul’s ministry.
Some people like to believe that we take “too seriously” Paul’s epistle’s, and not the four Gospel books. But in reality all the books from Genesis to Revelation are inspired [to be breathed upon] by God. If you discount all of Paul’s epistles, then you also discount the book of ACTS too, which spoke of the ministry of Paul. Paul went to the Jews to preach the Gospel or Good News, not Bad News, but they were too bull headed to believe it, so then he ran back and said, ok, “if you won’t believe in Jesus, then I’ll go to the Gentiles, and maybe they’ll receive the news better.” The Early Church discussed on what should be done on what rules and laws that the Gentile believers are supposed to follow and the settled on a few and those are mentioned in the book of ACTS. I believe they are to stay away from idolatry, fornication, and eating animals that were strangled, or the blood of animals. If I remember correctly that was pretty much it, and they did what was “good as it seemed to the Holy Spirit.”
So then in Galatians 3 I read the following –
Purpose of the Law
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Galatians 1 says –
Only One Gospel
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit,[a] rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul had all the “qualifications and requirements” to meet the Law, but he suffered a loss of all those things and his so called status symbol in the Jewish society, and he reached for something greater and when he found it he came to the conclusion that all of those things really didn’t matter.
So if the ministry of the death and condemnation is the Law, and the ministry of the Spirit and justification is by faith, then why still hold on to the Law, what benefit is the Law? We have examined the Purpose of the Law, and that it is a teacher, but now the majority of the people getting saved are not Jews, so how do we distinguish? The book of Romans goes through this quite a bit and I have studied on it, and I recommend that you do too as well as the book of Hebrews that goes quite into detail the depth of the study of the better covenant.
Then this statement from Jesus leaves us in a bit of a conundrum –
Christ Fulfills the Law
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
There is another time that Jesus mentions “being great in the kingdom of Heaven” – 24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Also there is a mention of first and last where Jesus says that those who are “first will be last”, and “last will be first”.
I think the problem comes in is in the fact that our beloved Messianic Jewish Brothers and Sisters and the fellow Gentile Brothers and Sisters don’t seem to come eye to eye on the subject of the benefit of the Law and the Torah because the Messianic Jews have been taught all their life that the Torah is a Blessing, but in reality even the definition of the word, Torah means to “teach”, and that is how Paul used to define the purpose of the Law. God is not the author of confusion. Confusion comes from the enemy.
Matthew 23 –
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe,[a] that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ [or Pastor, Pastor] 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher [or Pastor], the Christ,[b] and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
There is only One that is the Teacher, and that is Christ – what is the implication there, that Christ teaches you all that you need to learn taking the place of the Torah because the Torah teaches, but Jesus is the Teacher.
From personal experience I’ve learned then when I listen to teachings about Christians or Gentile believers obeying the Law, and when I open up books like the Complete Jewish Bible, I don’t experience freedom, it actually seems like I’ll never measure up so that’s why I thank God for His Son who has given us freedom. The Truth shall make you free, and if you sincerely believe in Jesus Christ, and follow the guidelines given the New Testament, then you are no longer under bondage and you are free. You just need to be completely free and for that you really need Jesus to come in and teach you through the Holy Spirit.
I’d like to thank my fellow blogger mtsweat for his blog: Resting in His Grace because it makes me realize that truly be able to rest is to know what Grace is all about.
This prayer is for me as well as for anyone else that might be struggling with this issue:
Dear Precious Heavenly Father,
We know that Your Word is Truth and in Your Word there is liberty. We thank You that You are beyond our comprehension and that You have allowed as much as needed to understand You. Thank You for revealing to us little by little who You are and what You are doing. Help the believers to set the record straight so that Truth may abide in us and be made to dwell in our body, soul, and spirit, so that we are whole and undivided just like You are whole and undivided. I thank You that You are revealing the Truth of God’s Word to all of your saints, and give us the eyes of understanding and ears to hear what You have to say Lord God, We Thank You. You are not the Author of confusion, but you are the Author if wholeness, soundness, and You are abound in mercy. Thank You dearly.
In Jesus Mighty Name I pray,