Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Barrier of the Law

The topic of this blog post is rather controversial but has much bearing on the way we live our lives. I am not attempting to convince anyone of one way or the other of thinking especially since this is a topic I am still currently exploring. My husband and I have made a diligent attempt to learn to read God's word for exactly what it says in the context of all that is written, without using the influence of our own or other's worldviews to interpret the meaning of the Scripture. We have used this approach as we have begun to explore the following topic which is if we as believers are obligated to follow the law. The following post will be multiple Scriptures that we have studied and a few thoughts mixed in. I highly encourage anyone reading this to study what God's word says for yourself and ask Him to teach you what you should conclude. I will put Scriptures in black and my thoughts in green. I will then sum up my thoughts at the bottom of this post. Please bear with me as this is a topic I am still exploring and feel free to let me know any thoughts you all might have!

Matthew 5:17-19 "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. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. "

I want to make two points here. One is that fulfil does not mean to get rid of. It means to accomplish, to obey, to do, to satisfy. He came to fully satisfy what the law could not do, which is bring we imperfect people to complete righteousness in order that we may be children of God. The other point is that the only Scriptural commands that Jesus would have had would have been the Old Testament or the Torah.

1John 3:4-10 " Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."

IF ("if" being the operative word) we are abiding in him, we will not live in sin. This does not mean that when we become believers we will no longer ever sin, but rather that as long as we are totally walking in the Spirit we will not walk in sin since sin is contrary to the Spirit of God. But what is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law.

John 14:15; 21 "If ye love me, keep my commandments.....He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."

Revelation 12:17 "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, AND have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (emphasis mine).

I put an emphasis on the "and" to point out that these people in the end times have the testimony of Jesus Christ, but they also keep the commandments of God.

1 John 5:2-3 "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, AND keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." (emphais mine)

Notice again that we love God AND we keep his commandments. It also says that His commandments are never grievous.

1 John 2:1-5 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. "

Romans 2:13 "(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."

Habakkuk 2:4 "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith"

I have to comment on the above two verses as I learned something specific about these two verses. Paul quotes the verse in Habakkuk in Romans and also later in Galatians 3 which I quote later in this post. The word "just" means righteous or saved. The word "live" means not only pertaining to a lifestyle but it also means "perfected". Therefore the righteous man shall be perfected or completed by his faith.

Galatians 5:1-4 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (emphasis mine)

If you read the entire chapter (or book as most of Galatians is on this topic) Paul is not saying that the law is bondage or that if we follow one law we are in debt to do all of it. Paul's point seems rather to be that those who think they are saved by following the law are still in bondage to the curse of the law which is that we will always fall short and deserve death. Christ is the fulfillment of that law by giving us the grace we need to get to the Father. It is not bondage to do the law, but rather it is bondage to think we can be perfect enough to do the whole law or to be justified by circumcision which was a sign that they were of the chosen people of God. They would still fall short and still needed Christ. This however does not appear to be an excuse to ignore the law.

Romans 3:29-31 "Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."'

According to this verse which appears pretty cut and dry to me, we do not void or obliterate the law through faith but we establish it. Establish: to cause to be accepted or recognized; to show to be valid or true; prove; to enact; to bring about permanently; to bring into being on a firm or stable basis. He justifies, or makes us completed, through or by faith, but this does not void out the law.

James 2:14-18 "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body: what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

Do we prove we have faith by living God's word in our everyday lives? With works, which we can never be justified or saved by, but that prove that we are children of God?

Galatians 3:10-13 "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. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."

This verse is one that I especially want to elaborate on as it is one that has specifically stood out to me. I was always led to believe that the law is the curse that we have been freed from, but if you read this Scripture very carefully you will notice that it is the curse OF the law. It says right at the beginning of this scripture that those that do not obey the law are cursed. Therefore the curse is not the law itself, but rather the curse is what is brought by the introduction of the law, which is death. The law was established to show us what sin is. Breaking the law is sin. Sin causes death and permanent separation from God. That is the curse. Christ came to be made a curse for us which redeemed us from death, separation from God, and sin; NOT from the law itself. We are still obligated to not walk in sin, not to justify ourselves, but rather because we are God's children. We love Him therefore we keep His commands and it is a sign to unbelievers that we are saved. Since breaking the law is sin does that mean we are still supposed to follow the law?

Galatians 3:21"Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

I want to use this Scripture to go ahead and summarize my thoughts. The law is our schoolmaster to show us what sin is. We can strive to live sinless lives, but we will always fall short. Christ came to fulfill the law by bringing about what the law was sent to do, but could never accomplish: making us perfect and righteous enough to become children of the holy, living, righteous God. We learn of our shortcomings through the law; we are perfected by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; we then establish the law and walk in the Spirit living lives that honor God and flee from sin. Sin is the breaking of the law.

In conclusion I wonder if this means we are still supposed to obey the law. I also want to point out that when Jesus summed up the law with loving God and loving our neighbor, that this is not an abolishment of the law, but rather He is taking the entire law and summarizing it in a few words: Love God, love your neighbor (which by the way means laying down our lives for Him and others). Not out of obligation or to justify ourselves, but rather to live lives that honor God, to show His love to others and ultimately to love Him. I also would like to propose a thought: Is it possible that if we truly love God and walk in His ways that following His laws will not be a yoke of rote, heavy rules, but will rather be an expression of the love, joy and devotion that we owe to a God Who has given us more than we even realize ourselves?


  1. Mike and Rachel, I thought this was very good and it was obvious that you have studied. I agree that we were freed from the "curse of the law" and not the law itself. Amen to that. But what is required is an understanding/discernment of what laws we are bound to follow and what we are not, and why. This is not "searching for a way out", but reality and truth. Many of the 613 mitzvah's (commandments) are specific to life in a theocratic Israel (civil laws) and worship in a pre-incarnation/sacrifice world. We now live in a post-theocratic Israel, post-Jesus sacrifice, post-temple, post-earthly priesthood, and so on world. This reality takes the 613 commandments contained in the Torah and eliminates following the vast majority of them right away. Not because we are rebellious people but because we understand certain truths about the reality of Christ being our high-priest, our sacrifice, and so on. Why follow the shadow of the law when the reality is fulfilled in Christ? So, obviously, "following the law" is a loaded statement. When you boil it down you basically are following the eternal, moral laws of God. Anything related to any of the above (post-theocracy, post-priesthood,...) cannot be followed as written. We can, however, following the "spirit" of these laws and try and determine what was God's reason for the law, learn from this, and out of love for our Master follow that. Because in all of God's laws there is insight into God's character and nature. But we cannot follow all the laws of the Torah as written (if we did it would be an offense to God). And if we cannot follow them as written then the Lord obviously is not asking us to bound by some "letter of the law" mandate. To do so is an attempt to translate ourselves back under the regiments of the Old Covenant and doing this makes the sacrifice of Christ to no effect. But God's moral laws are eternal and unchanging, and never change, regardless of what Covenant we are under. His spirit, nature, and character are all eternal and unchanging. We are, as His children, forever bound to follow these because they are consistent with His character and nature. People seem to confuse the eternal from the temporal. Let me explain. Many of the temporal laws in the Torah reflect some aspect of the unchanging spirit and nature of God. This is true of many of the laws contained in the Torah. But that does not make the laws eternal. It makes the spirit of the specific laws eternal (and that is a BIG difference), but the implementation of the eternal law CHANGES from the Old to the New Covenant. To try to live out, by the letter of the law, the commandments of the Torah is fruitless and misguided, in my opinion. For we do not live in the days of the Old Covenant. But we can, and should, live by the law as it relates to everything related to God's nature and character. And by so doing fulfill the law in everything. It is not the "letter of the law" that we are to follow, but the spirit. He is not asking us to follow a temporal implementation of His character in nature as contained in the Torah but the permanent and eternal implementation contained in the spirit of the Torah. There is much confusion related to what this is supposed to look like today in our lives, unfortunately. Brian

  2. Brian, I really appreciate your comments! I completely agree with you in that we have to use discernment in defining what our responsibility is in reference to the law. This particular blog post was meant to give my thoughts on an overview of obedience to the law in general. We are learning to discern the specific laws and I want to target those a little bit here and possibly in future posts. Again, this is just what Mike and I are gleaning from our studies in Scripture and we are really open to opinions and thoughts! These are things that we are still prayerfully pondering.

    It seems as though once you break down the Torah there are 1.Laws that apply to the temple, sacrifices and the priesthood . 2. The Feast Days. 3. Dietary Laws and 4. Laws for living holy lives.

    1.In reference to the temple/sacrifices/priesthood etc, I do believe that we are no longer required to do these things. I believe it is because Christ has fulfilled those requirements by stepping into those roles. We no longer need a sin sacrifice because Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice. We no longer need a high priest or mediator because Jesus has become our eternal High Priest.
    Hebrews 4:14-15 "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
    1 John 2:1-3 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."

    2. Honestly, I really can’t give any specific thoughts on this since I am not sure where God is directing us on this topic yet.

    (I will continue in the next post as it is telling me that I am too long-winded. :))

  3. Continued...

    3. As far as the dietary laws go I know as a whole we Christians tend to brush them off as unnecessary by using various New Testament Scriptures. My understanding is that originally the dietary laws were given to the Jewish people as a means to set them apart from the nations around them. I think God wanted them to be an example of His holiness by having them be set apart in everything including their health. God then defined what animals were suitable to eat not only to lead us in honoring Him, but to bless us with healthy lives! This information is backed up scientifically with all sorts of proof why these specific animals are unhealthy for our bodies. I think the main verses people use to explain away the dietary laws are Peters dream in Acts 10 and the verse in 1 Timothy 4:4 where it says “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.” You mentioned at church when speaking on this topic that God would never use something considered so off limits by the Jewish people as a mere object lesson, however there seems to be other situations where God used an unclean thing as an object lesson, but was not declaring it alright to participate in. The one specific example I can think of is the prophet Hosea. God had him marry a prostitute (which is strictly forbidden in the Torah) to give the Jewish nation an example of their attitude towards Him. Does this mean that He was making marrying a prostitute acceptable? As far as Peter's dream goes, if you read further down in Acts 10:28 Peter himself explains the meaning of his dream by saying “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation: But God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” He specifically says that God showed him not to call any man unclean. It says nothing about what he could eat. It sounds as though this was addressing the oral law of a Jewish person not being allowed to even eat with a Gentile. In the verse in 1 Timothy if you read the chapter from the beginning it states, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Spreading lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. “ It seems like this Scripture is referring to people who forbid others to eat meat in general. He referred to this as a “doctrine of devils” which I don't believe Paul would have referred to the Torah in such a way.

    4. The other laws are the laws that seem to refer to how we live our daily lives in holiness to God. Again, it seems that God gave all of these laws as a basis to living set-apart, holy lives because He is holy and we as His children should live as such. We tend to brush away many of these laws in order to live up to date with our culture.

    I have many more thoughts running through my brain but I will stop here. I also just want to say again that Mike and I are still learning these things. This is just the understanding that we are gleaning from God’s word which is the only true authority and that is where we are diligently searching and hope that my thoughts will encourage others to do the same. Also, please don't think that I am being contradictory to you! I really enjoy hearing what your thoughts are as they contribute to our learning process (which is sometimes rather slow! :))Rachael

  4. It is good that you are searching this out. Let me try to help by adding a "big picture" thought for you to throw into your knowledge base:

    The Lord's nature and character is 100% consistent and has never changed. Within his character and nature are "principles" that we can easily understand and they are explained in scripture. For example, God is Love. We also know that God is Truth and thus he cannot lie. We know that God does everything for His Own Glory and will not share it with anyone or anything. And so on. (A side note here: notice these are all the opposite of the characteristics of the devil). This is a sky-level view of just a couple of pieces of God's character and nature. What flows out of these characteristics of God is ETERNAL LAW. I have made this all capital letters because it is extremely important. It has always been wrong to murder...why? Because it is inconsistent with God's eternal character and nature as the giver of life. It has always been wrong to bear false witness...why? Because it is inconsistent with God's eternal character and nature as truth. It has always been wrong to have another God before Him...why? Because it is inconsistent with God's eternal character and nature to not share His glory with anyone or anything. And so on (I could go on and on but I think you get the point). What you are seeing in the Old Covenant and the laws given specifically to Moses is a TEMPORARY LAW. This law, though temporary, is 100% consistent with God's ETERNAL LAWS. All of the laws related to the priesthood, offerings, temple, and so on all have there basis in God's ETERNAL laws. One of God's ETERNAL laws is that the shedding of blood is required for the forgiveness of sin...a life for a life type thing (you see this in the garden). That is the ETERNAL LAW behind the TEMPORARY LAW and its implementation in the Old Covenant and laws given to Moses. A lot of the 10 commandments relate directly back to the ETERNAL law in a very direct and understandable way. But the important thing to realize, from a big picture stand-point, is that the Old Covenant and the laws given to Moses were TEMPORARY though they were based upon God's ETERNAL laws. The Old Covenant existed to bring us to Christ and a New Covenant. ALL of the laws associated with the Old Covenant were done away with on the cross. ALL OF THEM. But the fading away of the Old Covenant does not do away with the ETERNAL LAWS of God, because they are eternal (haha, I am a master of the obvious). When Paul states that the law was not done away with he is not referring to the law giving to Moses, he is referring to God's ETERNAL law. If he was referring to the laws given to Moses then he is a liar because Christ fulfilled the priesthood, sacrifices, offerings, temple (which is now us), and in fact all of the law. These were, in fact, all done away with. So the Old Covenant and its implementation has faded away. Not because it was bad or wrong, but because it was NEVER intended to be permanent. It was added "for the transgression" so that his people would understand sin and teach them until the time of the New Covenant, which is once again based upon God's ETERNAL laws, but is based upon better promises. Does this make sense?

    ...continued on next comment (too long...haha)

  5. ...a continuation of the previous comment.

    To go back through the Old Covenant and try to pick and choose which laws applies to us and which ones don't is really missing a very, very big piece of the picture and some understand of God's laws and covenants (and I am not trying to appear as if I understand all things or be pious). None, and I mean none of the laws given to Moses in the Old Covenant apply to us directly. Only the ETERNAL LAWS (the spirit if you would) that were behind the Old Covenant TEMPORARY laws. The TEMPORARY laws given to Moses in the Old Covenant are the letter of the law written on paper and stone, the ETERNAL laws behind the Old Covenant are the "spirit" of the law. Jesus taught us this when he talked about adultery and then said even if you lust, and murder and then said even if you hate. Do you see this? He was EXPLAINING to us the spirit (eternal) principles behind the letter of the law as written in the Torah. We are NOT bound by the Torah, we are bound by these ETERNAL laws of God. And Jesus made this pretty clear. You don't see any writer in the New Testament repeating any of the laws of the Torah. Why? Because you see them talking about the more weighty ETERNAL princples. In fact, at the Jerusalem counsel in Acts 15:5 where it talks about what was required of Gentiles the keeping of the law of Moses is refuted. They go on to list what they should "bother" the Gentiles with as eating foods sacrificed to idols, sexual immorality, eating the meat of strangled animals, and eating blood. Why did they hand pick these things? The answer, to the dismay of some, is NOT because that is what they were starting the Gentiles out on and they would add the other stuff later (that is a nice out for those wanting to be bound by the law of Moses). Acts 15:5 makes it clear that the issue was circumcision and keeping the law of Moses (circumcision was actually part of the Abrahmic Covenant and not the law of Moses and that is why it was mentioned separately). If they understood and believed that Gentiles needed to keep the law of Moses they would have said so right there in Acts 15. But they listed only 4 things. Why? Not because of the law, but because of love. Other than fornication (which is ETERNAL in my opinion) these were hot button issues that would have caused their Jewish brothers and sisters to stumble. They bothered them with these things because the church would have been divided badly over these issues. We see in 1 Corinthians that the meat offered to idols thing continued to be a point of division in the Jew/Gentile church. And it was taught very clearly that there is nothing in an idol or meat offered to idols, but some had a big problem with it. So DON'T DO IT to avoid causing a problem for a brother or sister. That is love, an ETERNAL law of God. In fact, all of the ETERNAL laws of God are summarized in love God and love your neighbor. That is just a quick summary of God's ETERNAL laws.

    ...once again too long...go to the next comment.

  6. Go back and reread Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians again and it will make more sense if the ETERNAL/TEMPORARY understanding is there. If not, there will be much confusion.

    Here is the danger. If you come to believe it is a sin to eat pork (or any unclean animal), not worship on Saturday, not celebrate the feasts, and any other part of the law of Moses then it WILL BE sin for you if you don't do them. If you believe it violates God's laws then your consience alone will condemn you before God if you don't do those things even if they are NOT required. You will be bound by a false theology and its yoke about you and God will hold you accountable for violating your consience before Him. Get the theology correct with a firm understanding of laws and covenants and you will understand what is and is not required of you. It is really not complicated. But let me tell you this, if you try to pick through the laws of Moses and try to determine what applies to you and what doesn't it will be complicated. The law of Moses, all of it, died on that tree with Christ. And now God's ETERNAL law, the spirit behind the letter of the law, is written in our hearts and is made clear by the Holy Spirit given to us. To go back to a "letter" of the law will bring you into great bondage with no benefit. I am not beating around the bush here because I don't want that for anyone and it is happening all around me. It is just not good theology.

    Just a quick note specifically on dietary laws. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink and that which goes into you will not defile you. But the junk that proceeds from your heart will. One is letter and one is spirit. Decide for yourself which one God is interested in. Here is a verse for your pondering in Hebrews 13:9:

    9Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

    If you become more interested in meats than grace it will not profit you one bit. You may be healthier, this is for sure. But you won't be one bit closer to God or His kingdom. Follow the dietary laws if you want to be healthier and take care of the temple God gave you, not because it is contained in the laws of Moses.

    I hope this helps, I truly do. I don't want to see one more person become entangled in keeping the law of Moses which died on that cross and the New Covenant ushered in once that veil was torn. I want to see people more interested in HOW (spirit) they worship and not WHEN (letter) they worship, WHY (spirit) they eat and not WHAT (letter) they eat, and so on. One builds up the spirit and the other has a show of worship, but benefits very little.


  7. This is NOT Sar Shalom, its Amie, but the computer doesn't agree with me. SO..*Disclosure this is my opinions not necessary those of Sar Shalom** :)
    Wow Rachel GREAT blog.
    I have done studies, listened to teachings read books all stuff people to grow closer to God. A few years back I read the bible front to back, no skipping or going back and forth, and what I read made me very uncomfortable. I couldn't reconcile what I had learned all my life with what I had read. But I pushed thru and chalked it up to my own ignorance.
    Then I happened across a bible study that was a chapter by chapter study. Every word, every "begat". The more I studied the more truth was revealed.
    I have tried many times in my life to completely give myself over to God. But it wasn't until I embraced the Torah as unexpired truth that my world changed completely. I made a decision to obey the Torah, even the food stuff! And I can say I am a completely different- completely blessed person. What I thought was legalistic and restricting has been liberating and fulfilling.
    Now on to the more technical stuff:
    Most Christians are okay with sins, but the food and purity items tend to make them uncomfortable.
    Being "unclean" is not a sin, it just not clean. The Hebrew word for unclean is a neutral word it doesn't contain any negative or positive attributes. To become clean again requires a mikveh, or rinsing in living water. The curse of being unclean has been removed by Christ. When his side was pierced and water flowed out with the blood two things were accomplished: atonement from sin with his perfect blood, and purity from his ever flowing living water.
    So why do I keep Koshier?
    Because the curse was lifted NOT the BLESSINGS!

  8. Hey Rachael,

    If you wanted to post a topic that would get some comments, you succeeded :)

    I had one final "big picture" comment to make that is actually probably the easiest to see in scripture. So here it goes:

    A conditional covenant, like the Old Covenant, was nothing more than a contract that said God will do "this" if the people would do "that" (very clearly seen in a book like Deuteronomy). The "that" in the Old Covenant, our obligation in the contract, was the "law of Moses". This is the clearest theological reason why we are no longer bound by the laws of Moses. Because the contract of the Old Covenant was done away with (see Hebrews) and thus our obligation in the contract (the fulfilling of the law) was done away with. The New Covenant is based not on the performance of the law but on faith (Side note: we now fulfill the spirit of the law because the Holy Spirit writes the eternal law of God on our hearts. Through this we establish the law and live it out in our daily lives). Paul makes a huge point of this in Romans 4. In that chapter Paul points out that Abraham had righteousness imputed by faith BEFORE he was even circumcised. Galatians 3, climaxed in verse 16, reiterates this truth...that faith was before the law and the law does not make salvation by faith invalid because FAITH WAS FIRST. This is the cornerstone of Paul's arguments and rightfully so. He is pointing out that faith was first, followed by the law, and that faith was (and will be) after the law. This is why trying to go back and live under the laws of Moses and its rules and regulations is so bad. It invalidates the reality of the New Covenant and resurrects our requirements in the now defunct contract of the Old Covenant, which no one could ever do in the first place. (Are you obligated to follow a contract that God tore up himself? He physically obliterated the temple for this reason...he was sick of it.) We can learn a lot from the law, but trying to follow the law is fruitless at best and very dangerous at worst. If taken to an extreme a person can even fall away from the faith.

    Now, having said all of that, there are parts of the law that if performed today still provide a benefit and a blessing. One such of these laws are the dietary laws referenced by your friend in the previous comment. Certainly following the dietary laws provides a blessing and a benefit because God knows best regarding our body and it's health. Obviously eating unclean animals was not healthy and still is not healthy. It just is what it is. So there is a benefit. But there is also a benefit to excercising 30 minutes a day but I don't do it because of theology. I do it because it is good for me. If you want to follow the dietary laws don't make it about theology. To do so is to bind yourself to temporary laws of a now defunct contract which leads to theological bondage in all kinds of areas which are even more important than dietary laws.

    Bottom line, I am trying to rescue you and Mike from a bad theology, not the benefits of God's wisdom. The law provides tons of great wisdom that we can learn and apply to our lives today. But that does not mean we place our lives under the requirements of the law of Moses.

    See you and Mike soon,

  9. To clarify my earlier comment, I do not obey Kosher food laws because I am hoping to reap a health benefit, the blessings I'm looking for are heavenly ones.

  10. Wow, those are some comments!

    Brian, if I understand you correctly, one can keep the dietary laws only if they see some personal benefit to their health and not because they believe God is pleased through that obedience with the understanding that His ways are higher than ours?

    If obeying God's eternal Word (Psalm 119:89) is done out of faith and love because He is my Master, how can it be wrong and condemned as bad theology? (not talking about reinstituting sacrifices here or something like that!)

    Am I not to order my life using the Word of God as my guide for faith and practice?

    Show me clear scriptural proof where the dietary laws, Sabbaths and Feasts have been done away with. They are not Moses' Sabbaths and Feasts but the LORD's. What part of the Bible they were written in doesn't matter if He said to keep them FOREVER, which Leviticus 23 clearly states. How do you define the word "forever"?

  11. Hey Gail (and anyone else reading):

    All of the laws of Moses have been done away with for clear theological reasons. First, the laws are our obligation as part of the now obsolete Old Covenant, a conditional convenant, which died when the Lord died. Second, the Old Covenant laws were never intended by God to be a permanent law but were added because of the transgression until the time of Christ. They are consistent with God's eternal laws but are only a temporary implementation until God's eternal law was to be written on our heart through the giving of the Holy Spirit. Now, we follow the spirit of the law, which is nothing more than the eternal laws that the laws of Moses were based upon. Jesus shows this when he clarified the teaching on adultery/lust, murder/hatred, and so on. The letter of the law was to show them their sin and it was a school-master...but it is not the spirit, which is eternal. Like the scripture says in Romans 4 and Galatians 3, it was added after righteousness through faith as demonstrated by Abraham. The giving of the law does not invalidate that teaching. You, unwittingly or not, admit that the law was temporal and a school-master because you cannot follow the law as written because you understand that most of the law was done away with because of the reality of Christ. The law is not a pick and choose type of thing. It was a follow it all perfectly or transgress it all type of thing. The scripture makes this clear. So by not following it all, as written, you admit that the spirit behind the law is what is eternal. The laws of Moses were thus temporary, ALL OF THEM. We do not pick and choose through them to decide what is applicable today. That is not the way it works. It is all of them or a clear contradiction of scripture is made. Now, the eternal law of God is written on our hearts. I don't need the law of Moses to tell me to love God and love my neighbor and do everything consistent with the mind of Christ because it is written on my hearts. Putting off the old man, putting on the new man, loving God with all my heart and following his leading, loving my neighbor in a self-sacrificial way, mortifying the deeds of my flesh, and doing nothing inconsistent with the character and nature of God is my calling. That is a life-time worth of a labor of love that will not conclude until I die. If I can do those things then I will be fulfilling and establishing the law of God in my flesh and bone and you will see it walking around in shoes, like Christ.

    Finally, it was determined that in Acts 15 and stated quite articulately (better than I can do...haha) that the Gentiles were (are) not required to follow the laws of Moses. You stated to me once that the 4 things listed for the Gentiles to follow was just a start and they would be taught the rest later. In Acts 21:25 James, the main man of the church in Jerusalem, a Jew, reiterates the conclusion of the matter from Acts 15. This is A FULL 7 YEARS LATER. The conclusion made by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem was correct. Nothing else needed to be added. We are no longer required to follow the law of Moses.

    It could not be theologically clearer. There are several parallel big-picture theological teaching lines and tons of proof texts to show this. To place ourselves under the laws of Moses is bad theology.

    Regarding the Sabbath, Deuteronomy 5:15 states why the Sabbath was observed "by the letter" by Israel. It is pretty clear. It was part of the Old Covenant law (Exodus 21) which has faded away and been replaced by the New Covenant. We don't follow contractual obligations of void contracts.

    (...continued in the next post)

  12. (...a continuation of the previous comment)

    What the eternal implementation of the feasts and Sabbath will look like is not for you or I to decide. The feasts, as written, cannot be followed though the reality of the festivals were fulfilled by Christ. There will be some eternal implementation of these, but NOT as written in the laws of Moses.

    Gail, do NOT misunderstand me. Is there anything wrong with having a Sabbath on Saturday. No, absolutely not. Is there anything wrong with celebrating the feasts. know that I celebrate them as best I can in the spirit of the law. Is there anything wrong with following the dietary laws. No, it is good for you. There is a great benefit to all of the above and I praise God for all of them if they help me live out the reality of the New Covenant, keep me from sin, and live out the the presence and power of the Lord in my life to do his good works that he ordained for me before the foundation of the world. But it is NOT theologically accurate to state that a person is mandated by the "law" to do them. That is a totally different thing altogether, violates the reality of the New Covenant, and if taken to an extreme can lead someone to stray from the faith that saves them, as some do I am afraid. ALL things we do should be based upon sound theological arguments. You know I don't believe in "cheap grace". But I also don't believe theologically the argument is valid that we are bound by the law of Moses. The balance is found as the Holy Spirit lives out the reality of God's law in our lives and we each love God with everything that we have and love our neighbor as ourselves. That is a monumental task and if we fail to live up to that law we will have much to answer for. These are much, much, much more weighty matters in the eyes of the Lord than which day you worship on, what festivals you keep, and what food you eat which were but a shadow of a greater reality. The kindgom of God is not realized in any of these things, but in true love.


  13. Hey Brian,

    Still waiting for an answer to my "forever" question. The Sabbath was not a Mosaic law and was instituted at creation....I know you know that. So, what do you do with scriptures in the Old Testament that say they are forever to be followed? Is forever defined differently than what I think it is?

    I could say other believers have "bad theology" by passing judgment on them when they allow their children to read Harry Potter or see Twilight movies or allow their teens to date or school a certain way or do all sorts of things I may truly believe are unbiblical, yet I don't because what you or I do with the Word of God is a matter of personal conviction and based on RELATIONSHIP to Him and His Word. I will say, I would have a better case to warn someone moving AWAY from obeying the Word of God, but not someone who wants to obey MORE of it. We do have an obligation for warning others when they are moving away from obedience to the Word. What you are doing seems backwards to me. When you say I have bad theology because I want to follow MORE of God's Word, it doesn't make sense to me if it is something that Adonai, in my relationship to Him is asking me to do. What you are doing is not judging my "theology" but judging my RELATIONSHIP with my God. Atleast, that is how it feels to me.

    Bottom line is we all are (hopefully) being changed and convicted to follow the Lord as we read His Word. That will look differently at times. I am not going to say you have bad theology for NOT following some of God's commands, I would hope that you would do me the same courtesy for me. I do have an intimate relationship with the King of the Universe, just as you do and I will do what He asks me to. That is obedience and that is between me and God. We all will be judged in the end by what we have done or not done with what God has asked us to do. Period.

    I don't think you have to warn others for being more obedient when they are doing it out of love for their Master and King.

    EVERYTHING we do should stem from our obedience to the Lord and by the leading of His Spirit as He conforms us to His Word.

  14. Gail, I apologize you are taking this personally. That is not my intent. I will take this discussion off-line with you because you have moved this from issues of belief to something more personal. I don't want to discuss anything personal on Rachael's blog. I I was trying to post items of theology that I thought would help her in response to the questions in her blog. Not get personal. I apologize if it was taken that way. I will email you directly about the personal issues. Blessings to all. Brian

  15. Rachael,

    I think you are doing a great job with your blog and generating some good discussion! I pray the Lord will lead you in your studies as you and Mike search these things out. Blessings to you. I think it is very hard to not take these things personally so I will stay out of this and watch from a distance! Shalom Shalom!