I know that there are people out there that disagree with me, and feel that how you were baptized is extremely important (i.e. sprinkled or immersed, or at all), and that is fine. I love you and respect you, and I am very glad about it . These types debates within Christianity are something we don’t want to get in to and would rather spend our time focused on the things that we agree on instead of things that divide us. The most important thing JESUS! Amen!
So with that being said,I know that if we post anything about Grace (the unmerited favor of God, especially that we only need to believe of what Christ Jesus has done on the cross for us to receive salvation and no by workks), that it is going to offend Christians who hold the Old Testament laws as sacred. And even though I disagree, and truly believe that we are free from the Old Testament laws.
I respect all of our friends who have strongly held views about keeping the Old Testament laws, and I hope that our disagreement of interpretation of scripture would not keep you from supporting our work in Christ.
Now I know that me posting this will open up this discussion even further. But I believe this is a good discussion to have and I am willing to lay my beliefs out there for everyone to see (which is not something I would normally do). It is not my hope to divide, or to condemn, or to prove wrong. I know that when I state my beliefs on this matter, there will definitely be people who will respond in disagreement. I think this conversation is important because this is not a conversation about differences within Christianity, this is a conversation about “What is being in Christ?”
So here we go…
So the answer is, NO. Just because I embrace grace does not mean I embrace ungodliness and sin. Quite the opposite, I believe the only way that I can be righteous is through GRACE.
Now what I am about to say, I say this respectfully. Because I am going to refer to the Jewish faith, and hopefully not insult them, (especially true followers of Judaism) but simply state that following the Law of Moses is not Christianity. These are two “separate” religions. Paul said,
Did you hear what Paul said? If you think that KEEPING THE LAW of circumcision will bring you favor with God, you are wrong. He even goes as far as to say that if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! These are not my words. These are the words from theNEW TESTAMENT. Word Christ. Paul says if you think it makes you righteous by following one law then you need to follow all of the laws. ALL OF THE LAWS? No one can do this (except Jesus). Paul was explaining what TRUE CHRISTIANITY was to the people who tried to intermingle the LAW with God’s new way of making people right with God, the way of GRACE through FAITH IN JESUS. Paul even got upset with Peter, when Peter succumbed to peer pressure and was showing favor to people who followed the law. (Galatians 2:11-16).
I want to highlight some very important phrases in these verses. Paul said they were not “FOLLOWING THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE.” Paul said that when Peter became a Christian he “DISCARDED THE JEWISH LAWS.” And made it clear that in Christ, “A PERSON IS MADE RIGHT WITH GOD BY FAITH IN JESUS, NOT BY OBEYING THE LAW.” But most importantly, Paul asks a serious question to Peter. And this is the question that I would like to ask to all Christians,
Our FAITH in Jesus to lead us to righteousness. Peter DISCARDED THE JEWISH LAWS. And in Hebrews 8:6-7 it says “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.” Did you get that? If the first covenant was faultless then there would be no need to REPLACE IT!!! And again in Hebrews it says “When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.” Did you get that? It is now out of date!!! It is obsolete!!! Not my words. Words of Christ.
Now I know that someone who would disagree with me will say “Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.” (Matthew. 5:17) I 100% agree. And he did fulfill it, SO I WOULDN’T HAVE TO! He made a new way to make me righteous, the way of FAITH IN CHRIST! And some others will say, but what about the rest of that verse…
I believe the Old Testament is amazing! I love it. Our worship team had been studying it. Jesus here on the Sermon On The Mount encourages people to obey the law and to teach them to others. But then he gives a warning, “unless your righteousness is better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Now Jesus just said not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear and to not even ignore the least commandment. But then he goes on and begins quoting the law and using the word “BUT.” Now remember and keep in mind that verse in the book of Hebrews where it said if the first covenant had been faultless there would be no need to replace it…so listen closely.
Six times Jesus says “This is what the LAW says, BUT this is what I SAY.” He nullified 4 commandments in this speech by saying don’t divorce, don’t make vows, don’t resist an evil person, and love your enemies, right after saying someone who ignores the least commandment will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. Now I don’t have all the answers and I’m not a professional Bible scholar, but this seems to the beginning of doing away with certain laws in the old testament and replacing them with better ones as Hebrews puts it. Here is short list of laws done away with or replaced in New Testament:
2. Fulfilling vows
3. Punishment must match the injury
4. Hate your enemies
5. Law of circumcision (Galatians 5:2-3)
6. Law of dietary regulations (“All foods are acceptable” Romans 14:20)
But the LAW convicts us of sin. It is our moral compass for us to know what is right and what is wrong. I believe the Ten Commandments show me what sin is. So how do we know what laws to follow and what laws to ignore as a Christian.
So in response to men saying that new Christians must be circumcised and follow the whole law of Moses, Peter responds with “So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” Burdening the new believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? That doesn’t sound like what Jesus described following Him would be like.
So what is being in-Christ. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” We must be born again from the inside out. Jesus came to change our heart. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”(Pharisee law). Faith in Christ has transformed us into a new way of living for Him and following Him.
So in conclusion, which commandments do we follow and which ones do we not. Jesus said this in Matthew 28:19,
May the grace of Jesus be upon us all.