We do NOT believe that Christians must return to the Mosaic Law as a basis for righteousness in the Church Age. NEVER have I personally been taught, or have read, of any solid Biblically based fundamental who held this doctrine, it is a departure from the New Testament faith. Also the doctrine which teaches that the Mosaic Law should be used by the Gentile nations is NOT scripturally correct. This is mixing law and grace in a most unsound manner, a very dangerous doctrine, as the Reconstructionists are also doing the same. I believe that the antichrist system will be extremely JEWISH, in a false sense.
The book, Harvest by Rick Joyner (a compromiser with the
New Agers, by the way), stresses that Israel and the Church will become
one loaf and take dominion over the planet, for example. The One
World Church will join all in syn-cretism, the Noahide Laws of the orthodox
Jews are already playing a massive role in the set-up of the N.W.O.
Cumbey comments on page 169 about the LAW of RECIPROCITY of Pat Robertson, which is also Fabian Socialism, and a version of the Year of Jubilee. On page 175, Cumbey urges the Christians to stand fast in LIBERTY: "Are Christians under the Law of the Year of Jubilee or any other Jewish law? Indeed, Galatians chapter 5 tells us an emphatic no with the added proviso that if we bring ourselves again under the Law we are fallen from grace. For the sake of our future freedoms, Paul's advice is the best advice. STAND FAST IN THE LIBERTY WHEREBY CHRIST HAS SET YOU FREE."
We are never, as Christians, sanctified by keeping the law. If we were not justified by keeping the Law why would we be sanctified by keeping the Law? We entered by One Way, and we proceed by the same Way. God said that we must never weave together wool and linen. Why? Because wool is obtained by shedding of blood and linen is obtained by man's planting. (Deut. 22:11). God has only one working principle in the Church Age - Grace in Christ Jesus.
If we are not under the Law, that does not mean that we are lawless.
In regard to sanctification the Bible says in Romans 6:14:
"Sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under law but under grace."
Law is only God's commandment, but Grace is the power of God. Christ is the end of the Law, because he satisfied all the demands of the Law in Himself. Christ put an end to the Law by His death, because the Law had the penalty of death within it, and Christ died according to the demands of the Law. He concludes the Law. We Christians are married to another.
The Mosaic Law was set aside at the dispersion in 70 A.D. (The Temple, which was used for Mosaic law sacrifice, was destroyed then, by Titus). It will not come to the fore again until the tribulation period. It was given to ISRAEL, not to the Gentile nations. (Many quotes from reputable Bible scholars could be put in here, as proof of the respectability and soundness of what I am writing).
"Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven."
It surely does not mean that Christians must return to the Law of Moses - not the ceremonial law, or the moral law. A Christian does not enter the Kingdom of Heaven by keeping ANY law, CHRIST Himself filled up the law by His perfect substitutionary Life and death. By God's grace, HIS righteousness is imputed to our account. But, your righteousness refers to our own, progressive righteousness also, received from the Lord Himself (1 Cor. 1: 30-31). Our standard, in the Church Age, is much higher than the scribes and pharisees, it is the New in Christ Jesus, not the old.
What about Matthew 5:18,
"...till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in way pass away from the law , till all things be accomplished."
In verse 20 Christ Jesus told His disciples that the law must be fulfilled in HIM. Must Christians then keep the law? No, they are under Grace.
If we say we must keep part of the Mosaic Law, then we are obliged to keep THE WHOLE of it! Christ fulfilled all the ceremonial laws in Himself, they were but a shadow of Christ and His death. Galatians 5:2,3 makes it very plain that we cannot continue on the law path any more, or we will end up as indebted to the Law.
"I, Paul, say unto you, that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do THE WHOLE LAW."
We are now in a new dispensation! The Church is a parenthesis between the Age of Law, and the Time of Jacob's Trouble. Not just in regard to being saved, but in regard to our Christian walk as well. We, in Christ, have God's nature indwelling us; the ten commandments are all repeated, excepting for the Sabbath keeping, in the New Testament instructions for the Church ; we Christians have a much higher, more loving, Spirit-filled Life to manifest.
We cannot support the concept of the reconstructionists who insist that the Mosaic Law (all of it) should be over the constitutions of the nations of the globe! We have mixed in other days with Dominionists, and they intend to restructure society, enforcing the Mosaic Law, even to the stoning laws, the death penalty for disobedient children, the death penalty for adultery, they want to enforce the death penalty for women who have abortions, enforcing worship of God etc., etc.
This is the understanding that fundamentalists have taught through the time I have been a Christian:
We are neither JUSTIFIED by keeping the Law, or SANCTIFIED by keeping the Law. We must not teach salvation by law, nor sanctification by the law, bringing people again into bondage to law, when we are DEAD to it altogether! Surely Romans 7 teaches this! Just to mention verse 6 alone, "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead in which we were held, that we should SERVE IN NEWNESS OF SPIRIT AND NOT IN THE OLDNESS OF THE LETTER".
What about verse 4?
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
No more works of the law, but a life in the Spirit under the law of Christ, fruit of the very Life of Christ lived out through us.
Acts 15 does not stress a message that should go to the Churches to encourage Gentiles to begin to meditate on God's O.T. laws! As some are contending now, in these days of the Great Falling Away. Verses 19 and 24 clearly show that just the opposite was intended.
The discussion is, are the Gentile believers under the law, not for salvation, just are they UNDER THE LAW to live by it.
"Wherefore, my judgement (sentence) is, that we trouble not them,
who from the Gentiles are turned to God; Forasmuch as we have heard that
certain who went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your
souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, AND KEEP THE LAW, to whom WE GAVE
NO SUCH COMMAND," The passage was about more than circumcision, it
was about not being offensive to believing Jews, to show love and understanding
toward them (vv. 20-21; 28-29; Rom. 14:12-17; 1 Cor. 8:1-13).
For those who hear the message of the return of the Messiah without the preaching of repentance and remission of sins there is every possibility that when the Antichrist appears on the world scene that they will embrace him as their Messiah. Sadly there are those who are calling the Lord Jesus Christ THE MESSIAH, when He is THE SAVIOUR of all men who turn to Him. He is NOT the Christians Messiah, He is Saviour and Lord.
That Jesus Christ is Ha Mashiach - the Anointed One - could have only one application - and that is to Israel, not to any gentile or gentile nation. The writings of the Old Testament Prophets, particularly Isaiah foretell of the promised Messiah. (Isa.7:14; 9:6&7; 11:1&2.) Note Isa.9:7 - the throne of David, also mentioned in Revelation 22:16.
To the Jew, He is their Messiah - the Son of God; to the Jew and Gentile believer in the Lord Jesus Christ's finished work on the cross - we are His bride. Israel - in the Images- is still looking for the appearing of their conquering Messiah, whereas we, as the bride are looking for our Bridegroom.
We should never allow ourselves to be drawn back under the mantle of Jewish folly and still be looking for the Messiah.
In Romans 8:15 the Apostle Paul explains -
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
ABBA, FATHER - Paul employs these two words - Syriac and Greek - the one taken from the language in use among the Jews, the other from that of the Gentiles - to show that there is no longer any distinction between the Jew and the Greek, and that all believers, in every nation, may address God as their Father in their own language.
Therefore, if we are Australian, German, Russian, Indian or Jewish Christians, we are co-heirs with Christ, by adoption and certainly He is not our Y'shua Ha Mashiach, but in our language in which we were born - Jesus Christ, in the case of English speaking nations. The Anointed One has come to His own, but his own received him not. (John 1:11), He has done the works His Father sent Him to do and is now seated in glory at His Father's right hand until the church is completed.
We cannot sever our Hebrew/Jewish roots because we, as gentiles - never
had any. The covenant made with Abraham in Genesis 17:4-6 -
"As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee." Then in V.19 -
"And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish MY COVENANT WITH HIM for an ever-lasting covenant, and with his seed after him."
Abraham was a gentile - the first Jew was Isaac and only those who can trace their genealogy back to Isaac and Jacob can qualify as true Israelites. We, as Jew and Gentile Christians have been adopted into God's family and have no need to sever any roots because that was accomplished at the Cross -old things have passed away - all things have been made new - new creatures in Jesus Christ.
Let's clarify the issue. In the simplest of terms, this is what law
and grace is all about: LAW AND GRACE IS THE ISSUE OF GOD'S ACCEPTANCE.
In other words, on what basis is a man made acceptable to God? There are
only three possible answers. Man is made (or tries to make himself) acceptable
to God by law, by grace, or by a third, hybrid means called Galatianism.
Let's look at each of them in turn.
"It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, WHO HAS BECOME FOR US wisdom from God - that is, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, HOLINESS, AND REDEMPTION" (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Ephesians 2:8,9 is as direct a statement as you can find in the Bible:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and it is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
In other words, you can't break a law that doesn't exist. Policemen couldn't pull you over and give you a ticket for speeding if the state did not have published and posted speed-limit laws. That's why
Romans 5:13 says,
"For before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law."
It is very surprising to many people to discover that THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW WAS NEVER TO MAKE A MAN RIGHT WITH GOD. All the law can do is to declare a standard and condemn a person for failure. It's just like a mirror. A mirror can show you that your face is dirty, but it cannot wash your face for you.
Why did God give a law that would kill and condemn men? many people ask. He did it to kill and condemn. When the law brings about death and condemnation, it is doing its job. That's what it is SUPPOSED to do. Because God is cruel? No! Because it is a necessary ministry to bring us to the salvation given through Jesus Christ!
Galatians 3:23,24 puts it this way: Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. SO THE LAW WAS PUT IN CHARGE TO LEAD US TO CHRIST that we might be justified by FAITH.
Once we have come to this point, what further role does the law have in our lives? None! It has done its job! Its purpose was to drive us to Christ, and it has done so. "Now that faith has come, WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE LAW"[Galatians 3:25).
But aren't nine of the Ten Commandments restated in the New Testament?
The New Testament is full of commands. What is the difference between those and being under the law?
What we have to realise is that a law is not just a command. It is always a command WITH A PENALTY ATTACHED. For example, the speed law is not just 'You shall not drive over 55 miles per hour.' It is 'You shall not drive over 55, and if you do, you will pay a fine of up to $200.'
Right and wrong are still right and wrong because that is a reflection
of God's character, and He doesn't change. But the difference is this:
Under the law "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23); but
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
That's one reason why the commands in the New Testament are not laws. The second reason is that we are not obeying those New Testament commands in order to be accepted by God. Under LAW, a man works in order to be accepted by God. Under GRACE, a man serves because he is ALREADY accepted by God!
Under law you never experience peace or rest in the Christian life. Why? Because your work is never done. A þspiritual restlessnessþ results, where you are always looking for the þsomething moreþ that will transform your Christian life into reality. It's always around the corner: at the next seminar, in the next book, in finding that spiritual EXPERIENCE - never resting in Christ Himself who lives in you, who has already done it all, who has already given you everything you need.
Have you ever heard anyone say...
"I've had it! I quit! I am sick to death of the love and grace of God. I'm sick of other Christians loving and accepting me. I'm giving up this Christian life".
However, you couldn't count the number of Christians who have given up because of being under law, who have been broken by the crushing burden of trying to be good enough to earn God's acceptance, who have been mangled by the competition, the judging and the demands to conform to some group's standards.
The love of God in our hearts produces a response that is as irresistible as music to our bodies. Presenting our minds and bodies to an indwelling Lord who loves us perfectly becomes a joy. The Christian life doesn't feel unnatural when your mind is full of God's grace; it feels truly natural for the first time.
This isn't to imply that there's no struggle or no need to exercise our wills. The flesh continues to set its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Galatians 5:17).
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh". (Galatians 5:16).
Notice that it didn't say that the desires of the flesh will go away. As long as we live in fallen bodies, we will feel that influence. It also didn't say þClean up the flesh, and then you'll be spiritual.þ It seems that vast amounts of Christian teaching is saying this very thing. It can never work.
You can work throughout your life and never get the flesh cleaned up. Christ didn't come to improve the flesh; He came to execute it and to give us new life. Trying to clean ourselves up is merely returning to the law - the ultimate exercise in futility. God's love working in our hearts deals with us on a level of sensitivity that neither the law nor self-discipline can ever reach.
The law requires punishment which is imposed on an offender for a crime or wrongdoing. It has retribution in view (paying someone back what he deserves) rather than correction - isn't that the case with our lawlessness today? More laws or putting society back under the Old Testament Laws will not solve the problem.
Discipline on the other hand, is totally different. Discipline is TRAINING that develops self-control, character and ability. It is looking FORWARD to a beneficial result, is very PERSONAL, and is in continuous exercise.
As we see lawlessness abounding and escalating in the world today with all the cruelty, degradation and spiritual and physical poverty of mankind, the stage is set for the appearance of The Lawless One. He will bring in the ultimate slavery to the law in the mark of the beast.
There is nothing NEW about the message of God's grace. When it is shared
straight and undiluted, it transforms lives in the same dramatic way as
it did in the early days after Pentecost. The problem is not with the message,
it is with US. WE have strayed away from the fullness of Christ into modernism,
religion and legalism.
Law and Grace excerpts from Bob George's Classic Christianity Harvest House Publishers - Eugene, Oregon.
*Despatch gratefully acknowledges the input of J. Swan in the preparing of this article.