Tag Archive: Commandments


Simplicity In Christ

‘But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be CORRUPTED FROM the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.’  (2 Cor. 11:3)

 

There are those who would lay a heavy yoke upon you.

 

‘ . . . why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, >> which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?’  (Acts 15:10)

 

That yoke is The Law–the 600+ ordinances of the Mosaic Law.  Keeping The Law was NOT what Jesus had planned for us when He said:

 

‘For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’  (Matt. 11:30)

 

No one in their right mind can argue that the Mosaic Law is either EASY or a LIGHT BURDEN–especially for Gentiles who were not raised in it.

 

‘For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are NOT GRIEVOUS.’  (1 John 5:3)

 

This verse cannot then, be talking about the Mosaic (Old Testament) Law.  We have a further clue here–the verse says that we are to keep His COMMANDMENTS.  Is it possible that there is a difference between The Commandments vs. The Law?

 

What are the Commandments?  Jesus gave us a partial rundown, in order to clarify that question:

 

‘. . .  if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

 

He saith unto him, Which?

 

Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’  (Matt. 19:17-19)

 

We are also clearly told:

 

‘For Christ is the END OF THE LAW for righteousness to every one that believeth.’  (Rom. 10:4)

 

‘Having ABOLISHED in his flesh the enmity, >> even the law of commandments contained in ordinances . . . ‘ (Eph. 2:15)

 

‘I do not frustrate the grace of God: for >> if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.’  (Gal. 2:21)

 

Something was abolished, and something was reaffirmed.  Two different things.  The COMMANDMENTS were reaffirmed (do a search of ‘keep commandments’), and the LAW was abolished, for those who are in Christ.

 

Acts 15 clearly shows the resolution of this question.  There is no room for dispute.  The matter was already settled by the council of Apostles in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago:  GENTILES ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW.

 

Now some of you think that you might like to keep The Law by choice, as an extra measure, in order to be more pleasing to God.  But it is not the keeping of The Law that pleases God–it is FAITH that pleases Him.

 

‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’  (Heb.  11:6)

 

Furthermore, there is at least one very good reason not to go under the Law:

 

‘ . . . 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.’  (Gal. 3:10)

 

You cannot go under The Law half way.  Either you fulfill it perfectly . . . or you are cursed.

 

‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law . . . ‘  (Gal. 3:13)

 

Our only salvation . . . our only hope or means of justification . . . is Jesus.  To go under The Law is to ‘walk according to the flesh’.  (To walk after the flesh does not only mean to live a life of sensual debauchery . . . it can also mean to live a life of stern discipline and legalism.)

 

The difference between walking after the flesh and walking after the Spirit is in:

 

1.  Who we submit to (The Living Spirit of God vs. the letter of written ordinances).

 

‘ . . . the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’  (2 Cor. 3:6)

 

2.  Who/what our focus is on (the keeping of complex ordinances vs. the Lord Himself)

 

 

We  need not fear being displeasing to God, if we  have repented of our sins, trusted in Him by faith, and follow the leading of His Spirit daily.

 

 

So many Christians are craving something more . . . a deeper walk with God than what they are seeing in the ‘churches’ today.  It may be that all they are lacking is a true conversion experience.  These ‘churches’ no longer preach repentance.  They are making a lot of ‘believers’ in THEIR version of ‘Jesus’–but they are no longer making true converts or disciples of Christ.

 

Being a ‘new creation in Christ’ begins with repentance and trust in Jesus.  Walking in Christ is to continue in obedience until the end.  Anything less is not a true conversion, and will bear no lasting fruit or hope of eternal life.

 

If you are not seeing the fruit you desire . . . or not experiencing the transformation you expected . . . examine your foundation.  Have you been converted via faith in Jesus AND repentance?  Do you walk in obedience to God’s Commandments?

 

It really is true that you reap what you sow.  You will get about as much out of your relationship with God as you put into it.  Surrender yourself completely and you will never be disappointed!

 

https://dontbefooled666.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/the-difference-between-the-commandments-and-the-law/

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Don’t Deceive Yourself

Those who say we don’t need to keep God’s Commandments and ‘all we need to do is keep the two greatest commandments’ . . .

‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:36-40)

. . . seem to forget that GOD defines how we are to love Him:

‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15)

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.’ (1 John 5:3)

Love is not a FEELING! It is a pattern of action towards another. And God says that the pattern of actions that demonstrate our love for HIM is to keep His Commandments.

‘He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ (1 John 2:4)

So there you go. This is how God will judge whether or not we really loved Him.

‘And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:’  (1 Peter 1:17)

‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 7:21)

‘But be ye DOERS of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.’ (James 1:22)

Righteousness by The Flesh?

Many believers, in an attempt to draw closer to God, have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ (Old Testament Law) and are following the Hebrew Roots movement.  But this is not pleasing to God.  Keeping The Law is, and always has been, a work of the flesh.

To go back to keeping the letter of The Law, rather than being led by the SPIRIT of The Law, shows a lack of understanding.  (But I do not say this in condemnation–the subject CAN be confusing.)

We are plainly told that we are delivered from The Law . . . specifically, the LETTER of The Law.

‘For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

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.’  (Romans 7:5-6)

 

Sadly, and ironically, living by The Law INCREASES a person’s separation from God, because where The Law is, sin increases.

‘What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.

For without the law sin [was] dead.  For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.  And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].’  (Romans 7:7-11)

 

God’s ways are higher than our ways.  The way He works is often a mystery to us.  One might reason that The Law was given so that men would be obedient.  But men who are spiritually dead, who are under the Law of Sin and Death, are unable to walk in perfect obedience.  In fact, the reason that God gave The Law to men is perplexing to human reasoning:

‘Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.’  (Romans 5:20-21)

‘[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.’  (Galatians 3:21-22)

When the Law came, men became worse!  Sin was strengthened and sin abounded.  But this was in order that our salvation could be by FAITH, and not by works.  If we could have walked in perfect obedience, salvation would not have been a gift, by God’s grace, but rather the just compensation for our works.  By the way that God chose, He is glorified and His righteous, longsuffering, merciful, gracious character is revealed.

So, should we dismiss The Law as being useless?  By no means!

‘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.’  (Galatians 3:23-25)

‘ . . . I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.’  (Romans 7:7)

The Law gives us a picture of what righteousness should look like.  It also shows us that, while we are still under the Law of Sin and Death, we are unable to walk in perfect obedience and righteousness.  It makes us realize our need for a savior . . . and our need for God’s help.

There is another aspect to this situation that must be discussed.  Those who have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ have often done it as a reaction to the false gospel and false doctrines that have taken over mainstream ‘Christianity’:

‘Just believe in Jesus and say this Sinner’s Prayer’ (no mention of repentance) . . . ‘Once you are Saved you are Always Saved’ (OSAS) . . . you can live as you please because you have ‘liberty in Christ’ and ‘we are only sinners saved by grace–we sin daily in word, thought, and deed’ . . . etc.

Not everybody is fooled by this hogwash.  But not everyone is grounded in God’s word either, so they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.

Those who have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ are not completely wrong.  They are far closer to the truth than mainstream ‘Christianity’.  HOWEVER . . . they have gone a little too far.

Jesus DOES tell us to keep The Commandments:

‘ . . .  if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’  (Matt. 19:17; also John 14:15, 15:10)

And Revelation tells us that in The Tribulation ‘the saints’ will keep God’s Commandments:

‘Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’  (Rev. 14:12 and 12:17)

The distinction is this:  there is a difference between The Law and The Commandments.  We ARE to keep The Commandments, but we are NOT to focus on the letter of The Law.

  • The Law contains 613 restrictions and commandments, including a dietary code.  The Commandments are ten.
  • The Law was written down by Moses, on scrolls.  The Commandments were written by God, in stone.
  • The Law was kept in the SIDE of the Ark of the Covenant.  The Commandments were placed under the Mercy Seat, INSIDE the Ark of the Covenant.

Furthermore, our keeping of The Commandments is not to be our FOCUS, but will be the RESULT of being led of the Spirit, once we are born again.  The Holy Spirit which is placed inside each Christian, is the (same) SPIRIT of The Law.  The Spirit leads us to keep the spirit/intent of The Law, and to DO IT WITH THE RIGHT MOTIVES.

Keeping the letter of The Law leads to death, but the Spirit leads us in the way of life.

‘Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’  (2 Cor. 3:6)

The Holy Spirit is NOT leading people to keep the LETTER of The Law, because that would be in contradiction to what is written in God’s word.

Therefore, there is no way around it: those who are ‘keeping Torah’ are NOT being led of the Holy Spirit.  They are walking in the flesh.  Romans 8:1 applies to them, in reverse:

‘[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’  (Romans 8:1-2)

Those who are keeping Torah are NOT walking after the Spirit, but are walking after the flesh.  They ARE under condemnation, and they have submitted themselves again to the Law of Sin and Death.

‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.’  (Romans 8:3-5)

Those who are ‘keeping Torah’ have their attention occupied with walking in the letter of The Law–all 613 requirements of it.  And they cannot keep it.  Nor will the Holy Spirit HELP them to keep it.  They are walking in the flesh.  Hopefully, in time, they will realize the miserable condition they have fallen into, and their need for a savior.

Ironically, those who are walking in the Spirit, who ARE focusing on loving God and loving their neighbor, ARE keeping the spirit and intent of The Law, and are not under condemnation.

‘So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’  (Romans 8:8-14)

If YOU have gotten caught up in the Hebrew Roots movement, understand that God sees your heart and knows that you wish to please Him.  But we please Him by walking in the way that HE has ordained, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.

The Scriptures clearly tell us that The Law cannot give us life (Col. 3:21, 2 Cor. 3:6) and that The Law has been done away with (Romans 7:6, Gal. 3:23-25).  YES, we must walk in obedience–but obedience to what?  (The Commandments, not The Law.)  And how?  (By the Spirit, not by the flesh.)

I hope you will prayerfully consider what I have said here, and turn back to a walk of faith and obedience, being led by the Spirit.

What Must We Do To Be Saved?

‘As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall PREPARE THY WAY BEFORE THEE. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’  (Mark 1:2-3)

Did you ever wonder why God sent John the Baptist before Jesus?  Here is my belief:  it was a pattern to be understood and continued.

How did John the Baptist prepare the way before Jesus?  What did John preach and do?

John did baptize in the wilderness, and PREACH THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE for the REMISSION OF SINS. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, CONFESSING THEIR SINS.’  (Mark 1:4-5)

According to Mark 1:4, the remission of sins came after repentance, confession, and baptism by faith in the Messiah.

John prepared the hearts of the people for Jesus’ ministry.  What was John’s ministry?  To call the people to repent, confess their sins, and be baptized for the remission of sins, through faith in the coming Messiah.  John’s ministry was to bring the people to salvation.  Jesus’ primary ministry was to turn these converts into disciples.

Those who were baptized BEFORE Jesus’ death did not receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come.  Thus, FOR THOSE WHO WERE SAVED BEFORE JESUS’ DEATH, a separate impartation of the Holy Spirit was necessary.

‘And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, JOHN VERILY BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE, SAYING UNTO THE PEOPLE, THAT THEY SHOULD BELIEVE ON HIM WHICH SHOULD COME AFTER HIM, that is, on Christ Jesus.

When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them*, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.’  (Acts 19:3-6)

(*I do not believe this refers to the popular practice of ‘laying on of hands’, it simply means that when Paul laid his hands upon them TO BAPTIZE THEM in Jesus’ name, they received the Holy Spirit.)

Acts 2:37-39 confirms this salvation pattern has not changed.  But now we are baptized in JESUS’ NAME (because now we know who our Messiah is) and now we receive the Holy Spirit:

‘Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and be BAPTIZED every one of you in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

FOR THE PROMISE IS UNTO YOU, AND TO YOUR CHILDREN, AND TO ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.’  (Acts 2:37-39)

Today, ALL who follow the salvation model outlined here, DO receive the Holy Spirit (not necessarily evidenced by speaking in tongues.)

‘Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts’  (2 Cor. 1:22)

The remission of sins came after repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  It did not come by professing BELIEF in Jesus Christ, saying a ‘Sinners’ Prayer’, and asking Him to come into one’s heart and be their personal savior.  Today’s gospel is NOT the same.  Do you see the difference?

repentance + confession + baptism in Jesus’ name
vs.
confession of belief + ‘Sinners’ Prayer’ + invite Jesus into one’s heart

After John came Jesus.  What was Jesus’ ministry?  Jesus built on, and surpassed, John’s ministry.  He called sinners to repentance, healed the sick, confirmed The Covenant, and paid the price for the sins of mankind, triumphing over Satan.  He also began by preaching repentance, but the bulk of His ministry was spent showing people how to properly follow God’s Commandments, out of a heart of love.

‘Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’  (Jesus, Matthew 22:36-40)

 

‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’  (John 13:34)

 

‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’  (John 14:15)

 

‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.’  (John 15:10)

(Loving God doesn’t mean we will AUTOMATICALLY keep His Commandments.  But if we love God we will CHOOSE to keep His Commandments.)

I believe this sets the pattern for the true gospel:

Repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  Then continuing obedience, out of a heart of love.

(The reason people today aren’t receiving the Holy Spirit when they ‘get saved’ is because they are no longer following the Biblical model of repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  Not having the Holy Spirit is why they are not having victory over sin or understanding the Bible.)

We all need to be very careful that we are preaching the true, Biblical gospel.

‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.’ (Gal. 1:8-9)

“Keep My Commandments”

”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.’  (Jesus, Matthew 5:19)

People say this doesn’t apply to Christians today, but let me ask you this: Who was Jesus speaking TO? Who was He speaking ABOUT?

Here is the answer: WHO will be in the kingdom of heaven? Jesus was speaking to His followers! NonChristians are not going to even BE in the kingdom of heaven.

Here’s another question: was He speaking about something that had already happened, something that was happening at that time, or something that would happen in the future?

He was speaking in FUTURE tense: whoever (in the future) will break one of The Commandments and teach others to do so . . .

So, does this apply to us Christians today? Yes–absolutely!!

‘ . . . if thou wilt enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.’ (Jesus, Matthew 19:17)

‘I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned . . . As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

IF YE KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.’ (John 15:5-10)

‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.’ (Matthew 7:21)

‘Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’  (Matthew 7:13-14)

Too many self-professed Christians settle for unanswered prayers (and others no longer pray) without ever seeking the REASON that their prayers are not answered.

We are promised that God hears and answers our prayers . . . BUT, this is a CONDITIONAL promise. (Too many Bible teachers leave that part out.) The reason the self-professed ‘Church’ today is without power, is that the self-professed ‘Church’ today is without OBEDIENCE.

‘IF ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. IF YE KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.’ (John 15:7-10)

‘And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, BECAUSE WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.’ (1 John 3:22)

IF we keep His Commandments, we can ask what we will and it shall be done for us.

The New Testament is not a collection of suggestions from which we can pick and choose. It is an outline of God’s expectations for how we should live, if we are going to call ourselves by His name.

Want to see power in your prayers? Want to pray for people and have them be healed and delivered? Then live a life of obedience to God. Keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight, and He will grant what you ask.

Peculiar People

Old Testament:

‘This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that [thou] shouldest keep all his commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.’  (Deut. 26:16-19)

Lets compare this important passage with the New Testament . . .

‘This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.’

  • ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall EXCEED [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.’  (Jesus, Matthew 5:20)(The Pharisees were very righteous EXTERNALLY, but their hearts were not in it.)
  • Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL of my Father which is in heaven.’  (Matt. 7:21)
  • ‘And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.’ (Matt. 19:16-17)

‘And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that [thou] shouldest keep all his commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.’

  • ‘But ye [are] a chosen generation, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, an HOLY NATION, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:’  (1 Peter 2:9)
  • ‘Follow peace with all [men], and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord’  (Heb. 12:14)
  • ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? . . .  for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’  (2 Cor. 6:14, 16-18)

What has changed?  Not WHAT God expects of us–but HOW He expects us to do it!

We are no longer bound to the LETTER of The Law, but we are to keep the SPIRIT of The Law.  And as born again ‘believers’ who have REPENTED*, we have the Holy Spirit WITHIN us, to guide us and to EMPOWER us to say ‘no’ to sin and to live holy lives. God’s plan hasn’t changed.  The church is not a ‘new work’ He is doing . . . we are grafted into the ‘old work’ He began with His covenant with Abraham:

‘ . . . a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:’  (1 Peter 2:9)

Lets walk worthy of that calling!

*Repentance is not just changing our ‘mind’ about sin . . . but changing our behavior towards it as well.  When a person has truly repented, sin is something they RESIST and do battle with.  It is not something they casually give place to in their life, or make excuses for.  It is something they battle with fierce determination.

The Matter Has Already Been Settled

Lets go through a passage in Galatians 2, that SHOULD put to rest the claims of those who say we need to be ‘Torah Observant’ (keep all The Law of Moses, including dietary restrictions).  I hope you have not gotten caught up in this yourself.

It is because the ‘churches’ have given way to an ‘easy grace’ gospel (that is a FALSE gospel) that basically says ‘do as thou wilt’, that many who are sincere in their devotion to God have done the ‘natural’ thing, and have swung to the opposite extreme.  But the truth is not to be found at either of these extremes.

Lets look at the passage now . . .

‘And that because of FALSE BRETHREN unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, NOT FOR AN HOUR; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.’  (Gal. 2:4-5)

These ‘false brethren’ were the equivalent of many in the ‘Hebrew Roots’ movement today.  They claimed to be Christians, but they had never given up their strict adherence to The Law.  Now, this would be an individual choice, which would be between them and God . . . but life is never that simple.  Our actions DO affect others, because people observe what we do.  But in THIS case, it was worse.  These false brethren (who had made the sacrifice of Christ of none effect, by clinging to The Law) were not content to let it be their OWN lifestyle . . . they felt compelled to make sure that everyone else lived by their convictions too!  Sadly, their convictions were wrong and they were causing great turmoil in the early Church.

‘ . . . the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision [was] unto Peter’  (Galatians 2:7)

Paul affirms that he was the ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’ and Peter was the foremost ‘Apostle to the Jews’.  So, you would expect Peter to be ‘keeping Torah’, as our Hebrew Roots friends would say, right?  On the contrary . . .

‘But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.  For BEFORE THAT CERTAIN CAME from James, HE DID EAT WITH THE GENTILES: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation*.’  (Galatians 2:11-13)

*dissimulation = hypocrisy

When Paul arrived in Antioch, he had to confront Peter over his hypocrisy.  Because, before the false brethren (Judaizers, ‘Torah police’) showed up, Peter ‘did eat with the Gentiles’.  Now this doesn’t mean that Peter just deigned to sit at the same table as them . . . it means that PETER ATE WHAT THE GENTILES ATE.  And this was not what Paul corrected Peter about.  Rather, he corrected him because he had given way to fear of the Judaizers and was putting himself back under The Law. (Make note also, that these ‘Torah police’ lied to give themselves added authority, saying they were sent by the Apostle James, who was in Jerusalem.  You will see that later, James himself addresses this lie.)

This doctrine that we must be ‘Torah observant’ is a powerful deception–it was then, even as it is now.  Peter KNEW the gospel, KNEW that He was now called to uphold The Law by walking in the (Holy) SPIRIT of Love–not by strict adherence to the LETTER of The Law.  He even had a vision from God (Acts 10), REPEATED THREE TIMES, showing him that there was no longer a distinction between ‘clean and unclean’ in regards to food or people.  Yet even so, when the false bretheren came preaching this powerful deception, it threw him into doubt, and had him bowing his head in fearful submission to it.

‘But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?  (Galatians 2:14)

Paul’s rebuke to Peter was not about eating unclean food or about not ‘keeping Torah’.  It was about hypocrisy and coming back under The Law (which he apparently hadn’t COMPLETELY done when Paul arrived), and about putting that yoke upon the neck of the Gentile Christians.

After this confrontation, the ‘Torah police’ felt it necessary that they and Paul and Barnabas should go to Jerusalem, to bring the matter before the Apostles and Elders.  When they arrived

‘ . . . there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

And when there had been much disputing, PETER rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as [he did] unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

NOW THEREFORE WHY TEMPT YE GOD, TO PUT A YOKE UPON THE NECK OF THE DISCIPLES, WHICH NEITHER OUR FATHERS NOR WE WERE ABLE TO BEAR? 

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.’  (Acts 15:5-11)

By now, Peter had come to the realization that the Gentiles were not saved AS THE JEWS (by ‘keeping Torah’), but that the Jews were saved AS THE GENTILES–by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ.

I’m not advocating ‘easy grace’.  We are NOT to live according to the flesh.  If we live by the Spirit–the Holy Spirit, which is truth, righteousness, holiness, and love–we WILL uphold the SPIRIT of The Law.  And this is what God wants–those who will worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.  A holy people.  Without holiness, no one will see God.

‘God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.’  (John 4:24)

That Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, will not lead us into sin.  But we must CRUCIFY our flesh.  WE have to ‘say no’ to sin and make the right choices.  God will give us the POWER to overcome sin, but He will not do it FOR us!

To wrap up, lets see what the conclusion of the matter was, after it was brought before the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem . . .

Part of the reason for their decision was that

‘ . . .  Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.’  (Acts 15:21)

Our modern day ‘Torah police’ will tell you this is speaking of THE LAW of Moses, but I disagree, and the context of the passage will bear this out:  it is speaking of the Ten Commandments.  To wit, read the letter that was sent from Jerusalem to the Gentile Churches:

‘Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; [namely], Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: And they wrote [letters] by them after this manner;

The apostles and elders and brethren [send] greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which 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] commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell [you] the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, TO LAY UPON YOU NO GREATER BURDEN THAN THESE NECESSARY THINGS;

That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.‘  (Acts 15:22-29)

And that is the conclusion of the matter!  The Gentiles were not to become ‘Torah observant’. Neither was (the Jewish) Apostle Peter corrected for ‘living after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews’.  The trouble, as always, had originated with the Pharisees.

Four needful things were laid out for Gentile Christians to observe, IN LIEU OF keeping the whole Mosaic Law.  That they should also keep the Ten Commandments goes without saying.  Jesus told us to keep the Commandments (Matt. 19:17; John 14:15, 15:10 also 1 John 2:3, 5:3; Revelation 12:17, 14:12).  But The Law and The Commandments are not the same thing.  The Law INCLUDES The Commandments, and MUCH more.

Hopefully you can see, from this short discussion, that we are NOT CALLED TO BE ‘TORAH OBSERVANT’!  We are called to WALK IN THE SPIRIT!

Striving to live by the letter of The Law–for WHATEVER reason–is as foolish as building an altar in your backyard and making the Old Testament blood sacrifices.  (And don’t think this won’t happen.  Rebuilding The Temple and resuming sacrifices will most likely be promoted by the Hebrew Roots movement.  They are teaching that we are COMMANDED to keep the feasts, and those feasts require sacrifices . . . )

Guard your heart and don’t let ANYONE use this fear-based doctrine to put you in bondage.

‘No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.’  (1 John 4:12-19)

 

Please note:  this author in no way recognizes, supports, or condones the Seventh Day Adventists or Hebrew Roots movement.