Tuesday, August 27, 2013

By Grace Alone: 7 Facts About the Law

I am going to break from blogging about the Psalms for a little bit, although I'll still be studying them on my own. I've just finished an incredible book called "By Grace Alone" and I really want to share some thoughts from the book. I think it contains extremely important concepts for Christians and some misbeliefs that nonbelievers may hold. Please join me on this journey and share with your friends. If there is anything you want to look more in depth about, please consider purchasing the book. "By Grace Alone" by Derek Prince is available at most bookstores and on Amazon.

7 Facts About the Law of Moses

Fact #1: The Law was given through Moses.

John 1:17 - "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." 

Romans 5:13-14 - "For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."

The time period from Adam to Moses was the period until the law. Man was ruled by conscience. When Moses came, the Law was given through him.

Fact #2: The Law is a closed system.

The Law of Moses is a complete, perfect system to which nothing can be added and from which nothing must be taken away.

Deuteronomy 4:2 - "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."

Deuteronomy 12:32 - "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

According to God's command, the Law is completely unchangeable.

Matthew 5:17-18 - "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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."
A "jot" is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, about the size of a comma. A "tittle" is a little mark on the top of some letters that distinguishes them from other letters, and it's smaller than a comma.

Romans 7:12 - "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."

Fact #3: The Law means all or nothing.

If we wish to achieve righteousness by keeping the Law, it must be all or nothing. There is no in-between.

Galatians 3:10 - "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."

Anyone who is seeking to be made righteous by the works of the Law is under a curse. Once you come under the Law, you have no more options. You must continue at all times to do all the commands written there. If at any point you fail, you are under a curse. Not even one omission or exception is tolerated.

James 2:10-11 - "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law."

Even if you keep 99.9% of the law but fail in 0.1%, you are a lawbreaker. It is all or nothing.

Fact #4: Christ fulfilled the Law.

Matthew 5:17 - "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Law. He did this in three ways.

First, Jesus kept the Law perfectly. In John 8:46, Jesus asks the religions leaders of His day if any of them could convict Him of sin. If He had violated the law we can be sure they would have known about it, but He never violated it at all.

Second, Jesus fulfilled the Law by fulfilling all of its prophecies.

Luke 24:26-27 - "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

After Jesus was resurrected from the cross, He talked to the disciples and detailed all the prophecies He had fulfilled throughout His life, death and resurrection.

Third, Jesus fulfilled the Law by paying its final penalty on our behalf.

Romans 6:7 - "For he that is dead is freed from sin."

The original Greek there actually means he that is dead is justified from sin. The last thing the law can do is put you to death. If you have committed 15 offenses, the law can only put you to death one time. But Jesus Christ suffered the death penalty on our behalf.

Romans 7:4 - "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ."

Christ died to the Law and I died to the Law through His death. Because I am in Christ, the Law has nothing to say to me. I am outside its territory and jurisdiction, finally and forever.

Galatians 2:19-20 - "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Fact #5 - Christ broke down the wall of separation.

Look back at Romans 10:4. If you believe, then Christ is the end of the Law for you - whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. Ephesians 2:11-22 also discusses the difference between a Jew and a Gentile. In these verses Paul talks about a wall of separation. There was actually a wall in Jerusalem that a Gentile was not allowed to pass through. But Jesus has broke down that wall of division because He abolished the Law. Therefore Jesus has put an end to the Law and to the enmity between Jew and Gentile. 

Honestly, though, there is still enmity between Jew and Gentile. It exists because the Law has separated Israel from all other people. When you are under a religious law, it puts you at enmity with those who are not under the same law. That's why some Baptists are at enmity with some Episcopalians. And some Catholics are at enmity with some Protestants. (Of course that cannot be a blanket statement.)

The trouble with the church is that we as Christians have re-erected the middle wall of partition. Now, however, it's not just between Jews and Gentiles. We use other labels, like Baptist, Catholic, charismatic, or Holiness. Every time we establish religious law we reap enmity.

There is nothing new about a Gentile or a Jew. But what is new is that we are all in Christ as one new man. When Christ put an end to the Law, He removed not only the enmity between believers, but also the enmity between us and God.

Colossians 2:14-16 - "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:"

In hymns, we often sing that Jesus nailed our sins to the cross. But really, He nailed the Law to the cross. Paul uses the word "handwriting" in that verse in Colossians. In Exodus, it tells us that God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger. He is the only one who can wipe out what He has written.

So, the ordinances have been wiped out. If we believed we were still under those commandments and ordinances, we would all be Seventh Day Adventists so we could worship on Saturday in order to keep the Sabbath. But the truth is, we're not under the old commands anymore.

Fact #6 - Christians are not under the Law.

Romans 6:14 - "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."

Romans 7:4 - "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ;"

Israel was married to the Law, and as long as the Law lived, if Israel were to turn to anyone else, she would rightly be labeled adulterous. But what Israel had to learn is that the first husband has died, and she is now free to be married to Christ, the resurrected Messiah, without being adulterous. 

Romans 7:6 - "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."

Galatians 5:18 - "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." 

When you are a child of God, you are led by the Spirit. When you go back under the Law, you're not living as a child of God anymore.

Fact #7: Christians are warned against going back.

Galatians 3:1-4 - "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain."  
If you go back under the Law, it's all in vain. Paul talks later in Galatians 5:1 about a yoke of bondage, which is referring to the Law. We talk about bondage to drugs and alcohol now, but the bondage of the Law can be just as concerning. Once you have decided to abide fully by the Law, Jesus is of no use to you. The word bondage is actually a word that means "slavery". When you go back under the Law, you come under the spirit of slavery to fear. The Law says, "Do this! And if you don't do it, you are a transgressor! Do that! And if you don't do it, you will die!"

Next time, I'll look a little more at the Law. If we can't achieve righteousness by the Law, then why was it given?  What was it's purpose?


No comments: