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What is the Law?

There are many different laws. The law of sin and death was nailed to the cross. The laws dealing with sacrifices were only for the Temple period.

The law is good and just but the law was not, and was never intended to be, an unchanging set of laws that would determine someone’s relationship with God.

law_never_saves

 

The intention of ceremonial laws is to bring holiness to God’s people. “And the Lord spoke unto Moses and said, ‘Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel and say to them; You shall be holy, for I the Lord you God am holy.’”

Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice–no more sacrifices are needed (Hebrews 8).

We are not without the law but under “the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). There are laws that apply to believers today that deal with our relationships with other people. The law is good and just and perfect–there is a problem with the law–there is a problem with man. Man, with his sin nature, is unable to keep the law.

The New Testament verses concerning God’s law explain that those who love God will follow God’s instructions—His ways, His paths (Romans 2:23; Ephesians 6:2-3; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Hebrews 10:16; James 1:25; 2:11; 8-26; 1 John 2:3-4, 24; 3:22; 5:2,3; 2 John 6; Revelation 22:14).

Jesus said the most important commands are summed up in loving the Lord your God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself.  He didn’t say the entire Law was replaced by loving God and your neighbor. He literally meant it as a summary- the main idea. Just as the summary of Constitution of the USA is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but is does not actually replace the entire Constitution nor the amendments.

Freedom is not absence of law; absence of law is anarchy.

The law was never meant to save—only to guide. Without God’s instruction, it would be impossible for people to live together. Without God’s law, there could be no grace.

As David said in Psalm 119, God laid down precepts that are to be obeyed. He said he meditated on God’s precepts and ways, and if we walk in God’s paths our hearts are set free.

The Jews never believed that anyone could earn their way to salvation. They know salvation is only by grace through Messiah (and we are praying they will have their eyes opened to see the Y’shua (Jesus) is the Messiah). Neither Jesus nor Paul ever taught God’s law was “done away with.”

Paul’s letters to the Gentiles speak against upset with those who twisted the law–those who abused it such as making it a prerequisite for salvation. Paul made it clear the Gentiles did not have to live by the law to attain salvation. He did encourage the Jewish believers to keep the law–but never made it a condition of salvation. Paul never implied that believers in Christ were to start a “new religion” that did away with the Old Testament.

In fact, Paul explains we should thank God for His mercy that by faith we are grafted into Israel and we are not to boast for their eyes are blinded, in part, until the fullness of the Gentiles– see Romans 11:16-36. We are under a new covenant but we still have the same King and His Word says obedience is better than sacrifice. The law exposes sin, measures man, and actually shows us how full of mercy God is. Luther, Wesley, Spurgeon, Finney, Moody and other Christian leaders all taught the importance of God’s law.

Did Grace Replace the Law?

The idea that grace replaced the law began in the second century. The first section of this book explains how the Early Church left their Hebraic roots. During the second century, Marcion, a heretic who twisted Paul’s writings, caused a radical opposition between the Law and the Gospels.

Marcion suggested the entire Old Testament be omitted from the cannon. He broke away from the Roman church in 144 and set up his own very successful group. Polycarp referred to Marcion as the Son of Satan. Marcion believed the God described in the Old Testament was cruel, so he refused to acknowledge the God of the Old Testament but embraced the portions of the New Testament that expressed God’s love.

Marcion created a reduced version of the New Testament consisting of Luke and parts of Paul’s letters–purposely leaving out all Jewish interpolations. Marcion’s legacy lives on. A study of Marcion and his immense influence on Christian leaders in church history is highly advisable to anyone serious about studying God’s law.

Roy Blizzard summed up the law, as it is used in the Bible, in these two sentences:

“The idea of law in Hebrew is not something that,
if transgressed, is going to get you zapped.
Torah [Law] is instruction, that if followed, will enrich
one’s life, if ignored will diminish it.”


The Nine-Fold Purpose of the Law of God

Ron Mosley’s book The Spirit of the Law sums up the purpose of the Law

9fold_purpose_law

  1. To teach the believer how to serve, worship and please God [Psalm 19:7-9; Acts 18:13, 14].
  2. To instruct the believer how to treat his fellow man and have healthy relationships with him [Leviticus 19:18; Galatians 5:14; Galatians 6:2].
  3. To teach believers how to be happy and prosper here on earth by manifesting the power and authority of God’s reign in their lives [Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3; Luke 12:32].
  4. The Law was given, not to save, but to measure man’s deeds both toward God and his fellow man, straightening out all matters contrary to sound doctrine [I Timothy 1:8-10; II Timothy 2:5; I Corinthians 6: 1- 12; I Corinthians 3:13; Romans 2:12; Revelation 20:12, 13].
  5. The Law is a schoolmaster showing that we are guilty and then leading us to Christ our Messianic justification [Galatians 3:21-24; Romans 3:19].
  6. The Law gives us both the knowledge and depth of our sin [Romans 3:20; Romans 4:15; Romans 7:7, 8; Luke 20:47 – greater damnation].
  7. The Law reveals the good, holy, just, and perfect nature of God and serves as the visible standard for God’s will [Romans 2:17, 18; Romans 7:12; II Peter 1:4].
  8. The Law is to be established or accomplished by our faith, therefore, it is called the Law of faith [Romans 3:27; Romans 3:31].
  9. The same Law today is written on our hearts, and through God’s Spirit we can delight and serve the Law of God [Romans 7:6-25] (Mosley 1996).

Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep MY commandments.”

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  1. RT @heartofwisdom: Did Grace Replace the Law? Updated with new video. Pls RT http://ow.ly/Pjmj

  2. RT @heartofwisdom: Did Grace Replace the Law? Updated with new video. Pls RT http://ow.ly/Pjmj

  3. Raye Ann says:

    Great post. I hope lots of people read it.
    .-= Raye Ann´s last blog ..Song of the Day — Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus) =-.

  4. RT @heartofwisdom: Did Grace Replace the Law? Updated with new video. http://ow.ly/Pjmj

  5. Dana says:

    Thanks Robin,
    I like this explanation of the law vs grace. I know that it is a touchy subject among Believers, not because some do not think we should obey the law, but I think because some do not understand what “law” is implied. I believe that one who is truly filled with the Holy Spirit will study the scriptures, live a life of prayer, thus making obedience a passion. I think they are keeping the God’s law through their love for Him. Repentance is a daily thing, sometimes hourly (depending on what kind of day your having.). 🙂
    So, what law? I understand the Torah is the first 5 books of OT. Does the law include the 613? I know there were different kinds of law, sacrificial law, etc… But how far is the believer to take this? Must we stop everyday in the middle of our day for readings and prayer…is that part of the law. Must we celebrate the Jewish holiday’s, as beautiful as I think they are, is that required as the law?
    Not trying to offend in anyway, I am just curious. In my studies & prayer I do not feel led to do any of this, am I in disobedience. Am I not listening to the Spirit? These are also questions I have had asked of me also.
    Thanks Robin!
    .-= Dana´s last blog ..Struggling with God’s Ways =-.

  6. tekhelet says:

    God's law isn't something going 2 get you zapped. It is instruction if followed will enrich one’s life http://ow.ly/PSfu (via @heartofwisdom

  7. Barbara says:

    Torah was never given to a people as a means of salvation. It was given to a people redeemed by the blood of the lamb – saved from sin and slavery and certain death. It was given to a people ALREADY saved.

    Torah means “God’s divine instruction.” Each time we read the word “law” in English bibles we ought to replace it with “God’s divine instruction.”

    With that mindset, would we WANT to toss out any part of God’s divine instruction? Wouldn’t our desire be to hunger for more and more?

    1 John 5:3 says that the commandments are NOT burdensome. 2 John 6 says that if we love God – we will obey His commandments.

    There are 613 commandments in what christian’s call the “old testament” and over 1000 commandments in the last 27 books of the bible. Which ones did God not mean for His called out people – saved by the blood of the Lamb – to obey? Which ones didn’t God mean?

  8. Alan says:

    @ Dana: I held many of the same ideas about the law as you do. About 15 years ago, I began to see inconsistencies in what I was reading in the Bible and what the pastor was saying from the pulpit. I purposed in my heart to find the truth, so I read the Bible and actually let Scripture interpret Scripture without any preconceived ideas (doctrinal filters). When I began to actively share what I was finding, I quickly became “persona non grata”. Here is a brief overview of what I have learned in nearly 15 years of studying the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith. I’ll try to be brief…

    Your view of Torah is a very common misconception held by most modern Christians. First, not even Messiah kept all 613! Some are only for men, some only for women, some only for priests, etc, so no one MUST keep all 613. I think this “keeping all 613” idea comes from a misunderstanding of Romans 10:4-5 that says

    “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

    The word “end” is a horrible translation of the Greek word “telos” which basically means a purpose, or end, as in a goal that has been reached, but NOT termination. Re-read it with that in mind: “Christ is the PURPOSE/GOAL of the Law for righteousness…” makes a BIG difference, doesn’t it? In verse 5, Paul is quoting from Leviticus 18:5 which says:

    “You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am YHWH.”

    Do you see the subtle difference? One sounds like “Oh no! If I keep one, I HAVE to keep them all to be saved”. The other says that in keeping His commandments, you will live and not die! I like the way the NLT puts this verse, because I believe it is closest to the actual meaning of what God said:

    “If you obey my laws and regulations, you will find life through them. I am YHWH.”

    The problem Paul was addressing is that the non-believing Jewish leaders had made COMPLETE obedience a pre-requisite for salvation, and not only of the written Torah, but also their interpretation of it, the oral Torah, now called the Talmud. Obedience comes AFTER salvation and is a natural outflow of thankfulness for God’s redemptive work in our lives.

    Your second common misconception is in thinking the “holidays” are JEWISH holidays. They are not. In Leviticus 23, YHWH declares they are HIS feasts, including the 7th day Sabbath, so keeping them is NOT legalism. Legalism is better defined by Yeshua’s words in Matt 15:3:

    “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?”.

    It is the traditions of men elevated above the commands of God that is legalism.

    I encourage you to seek YHWH with all your heart, and pray fervently that he would show you the truth… and pray for the courage to accept and implement whatever He shows you. I won’t lie… it was downright scary at times, but the blessings have been worth it. I leave you with the words of Jeremiah 16:19 regarding the return of Messiah and the coming Millennial kingdom:

    “O YHWH, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, worthlessness and unprofitable things.”

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