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  Christians Under Law Covenant?
 

Things Hard to Understand

The Law Covenant and Christians


From discussions with other Bible students, it is obvious that some find the above subject hard to understand! I will attempt to present the material in as easy to understand a fashion as is possible for me.
Warning: This gets a little long.

Page Index:
Misunderstanding & Missing the Purpose
Jehovah is the same today as yesterday
What did Jesus & Paul say about laws?
I came not to destroy, but to fulfill
The Law Covenant, perfect but weak
A Tutor to Christ
Law of Faith
Works of Faith
 

Misunderstanding & Missing

the Purpose of the Law of Faith

Some people believe that Christians must obey the Law Covenant. The argument is perhaps, is it OK to?

break the ten commandments:
to murder,
to worship other gods
to not observe the sabbath and the Jewish festivals
to dishonor parents
to commit murder
to commit adultery
to steal
etc, etc.

This and more will be considered below.

Ich,

Jehova,

bin der Erste,

und bei den Letzten bin ich derselbe

German Elberfelder (1871) 

I,

Yahweh,

who am First,

And with them who are last, I, am the Same!

(Rotherham)

What does the scripture say? God doesn't change his principles. He acts the same way toward people in the past as toward people in the present.  From the foundation of the World, that is after Adam's sin but before any children were born, Messiah was destined to arrive. The old patriarchs Abraham, Enoch, Noah, Moses, even Job – all believed in Messiah, the Christ!

Job 19:25, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."
Job 14:13, "Oh that thou wouldest hide me in Sheol, That thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, That thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!" (ASV)
Moses believed that Messiah would arrive and deliver mankind from sin. He was the one that recorded the five books of Moses (Genesis to Deuteronomy) with God's first prophecy after the fall and recorded God's covenant with Abraham blessing mankind through Abraham's seed. He knew that Messiah would be sent out in a future time.

What did Jesus & Paul say about laws?

Mark 12:28-31, And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the first of all? 29Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: 30and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 31The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (ASV)

These kingly laws apply to Christians!

James 2:8, If then you fulfil the royal law, according to the scriptures, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; you do well. (DRC)

Paul states this next:

Romans 13:9, For Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet: and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (DRC)

Galatians 5:13,14, For ye--to freedom ye were called, brethren, only not the freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through the love serve ye one another, 14for all the law in one word is fulfilled--in this: `Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (YLT)

I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill


Matthew 5:17-18, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18For 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. (KJV)

Luke 24:44-49, And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48And ye are witnesses of these things. 49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  (KJV)
From Matthew and Luke's comments, Christ referred to fulfilling the Law Covenant, the prophecies spoken by the prophets, and the prophecies contained in the Psalms. He did all of these things. Despite having perfectly obeyed the whole Law Covenant and thereby earned the right to life eternal (Rom 10:5, Leviticus 18:5), he was cursed by it for our sakes. This law God had specifically included in the Law Covenant for this purpose.
Galatians 3:13, 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. (KJV)

Law Covenant Obsolete

Included in these prophecies, Jeremiah prophesied that a (link) New Covenant would be installed. (Jer 31:31-34) This foretold the end of the Law Covenant. As Paul explains:
(Webster) Hebrews 8:13, "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
It finally vanished when the Romans destroyed all possibility of carrying out Jewish worship as prescribed in the Law Covenant in 70CE. The destruction of the temple and perhaps more importantly the destruction of the genealogy registers caused that which was old to vanish.

It was abolished by the death of Christ, since his death inaugurated the New Covenant. Christ effectively nailed the old covenant to the 'cross' or torture stake.
Colossians 2:13-14,  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. (KJV)
Hebrews 9:15-18, 15And because of this he is mediator of a new covenant, so that a death having occurred for the redemption of the transgressions against the first covenant, those who are called might take the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16For where a covenant is, a necessity is to present the death of the man who made the covenant. 17For a covenant is effective with the dead, since it is never enforced while the man who made the covenant lives. 18Whereupon neither has the first been dedicated without blood.  (ACV)

The Law Covenant - Perfect, But Weak 

The law covenant was good and perfect for perfect people. It promised life to those who could obey it perfectly!
Romans 10:5, "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them." (Leviticus 18:5) (KJV)
However perfect it was for perfect people, it was death dealing to the imperfect. Thus it seemed to the Israelites that the Law Covenant was the source of their deaths; it produced wrath. More importantly, it annulled faith since it was by works of the Law Covenant that it promised life or death. It was "weak through the flesh" in that it brought death through our sinful flesh.
Rom 4:14,  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law worketh wrath. (KJV)
Romans 8:3,  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh (KJV)

A Tutor

The ancient Jews under the Law Covenant realized this and anxiously awaited Messiah, their redeemer. They realized that something better than the Law Covenant had to come for them not to die without hope of a resurrection. A remnant of these loyal worshipers became Christ's disciples and apostles.
Galatians 3:24-25,  So that the law has been our tutor up to Christ, that we might be justified on the principle of faith. 25But, faith having come, we are no longer under a tutor; 26for ye are all God's sons by faith in Christ Jesus. (Darby)

Law of Faith

Christ abolished this accusatory document and gave us salvation by faith. (Col 2:13,14) And as Paul states, do we abolish law? NO! We establish Law!
Romans 3:27-31, "Where then is boasting? It has been excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by law of faith; 28for we reckon that a man is justified by faith, without works of law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? is he not of the nations also? Yea, of nations also: 30since indeed it is one God who shall justify the circumcision on the principle of faith, and uncircumcision by faith. 31Do we then make void law by faith? Far be the thought: no, but we establish law." (Darby)
Here then is the crux of the matter. All sin was punishable by death.  Under the Law Covenant and before it!  Indeed, that is the reason people die in this world!
(Darby)
Eze 18:4, "Behold, all the souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."
Romans 5:12, "For this cause , even as by one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death; and thus death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
Under the new Law of Faith, God's principles and laws remain generally unchanged. The Kingly laws are for Christians, and if obeyed these laws include all other necessary laws!

Thus murder, adultery, theft, etc, are all prohibited under the new Law of Faith. However, the laws governing sacrifices, sabbath, festival times, etc, were specific to the Law Covenant and do not apply to Christians.
Galatians 4:9-11, "but now, knowing God, but rather being known by God, how do ye turn again to the weak and beggarly principles to which ye desire to be again anew in bondage? 10Ye observe days and months and times and years. 11I am afraid of you, lest indeed I have laboured in vain as to you."
Under the Law of Faith, the Christian purifies himself until he gradually does not sin (habitually) any longer. If he doesn't, all hope of salvation will be lost.
Hebrews 10:26, For if we sin wilfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins. (DRC)

1 John 3:3, And every one that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as *he* is pure. (Darby)

1 Pet 4:1, Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin. (Darby)

Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore, we also having so great a cloud of witnesses set around us, every weight having put off, and the closely besetting sin, through endurance may we run the contest that is set before us, 2looking to the author and perfecter of faith--Jesus. (YLT)
When a Christian sins by mistake, he has this assurance:
Hebrews 7:25, Whereby he is able also to save for ever them that come to God by him; always living to make intercession for us. (DRC)
The laws of God remain unassailable, unchangeable in regard to those that apply to our interaction with other human beings, theft, murder, sex, the worship of God, honoring his name, etc.

The difference lies in the mercy extended, forgiveness of accidental sinning, the forgiveness of sins prior to baptism, etc. The Law Covenant had no such feature and sinners had no recourse but to die. This feature is what brings salvation to those under the Law of Faith.

Works of Faith

Eph 2:10 says “we were created . . . for good works.” (ASV) The importance of understanding this correctly is paramount to all Christians since upon this all Christian activity hinges! 

It will become singularly obvious that Paul is talking about The Works of Law as opposed to The Works of Faith. This point about Works of Faith is presently the point of contention as many dispute the need for Works of Faith! 

Let’s establish rules of engagement: Since God is a God of order and not of disorder, we must conclude that the Bible is harmonic and that God will not contradict himself from place to place: (Darby) 1 Cor 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder , and, (Darby) Tit 1:2 God, who cannot lie. The following scriptures will thus prove that Works of Faith leads to eternal life, but that Works of Law leads to eternal condemnation and that Works of Faith are essential to the Christian for receiving the reward of everlasting life. 

Works of Law and Faith 

Rom 3:20 Because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before him. For by the law is the knowledge of sin. (YLT) Rom 3:26 declaring him righteous who is of the faith of Jesus. 3:28 a man to be declared righteous by faith, apart from works of law. (Webster) 4:14 For if they who are of the law [are] heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of no effect. 9:31,32 But Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32Why? Because [they sought it] not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. (NW) 10:4 For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness. (DRC)

Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (KJV)

3: 10 On the other hand, all those who depend on the works of the Law are under a curse, since scripture says: Accursed be he who does not make what is written in the book of the Law effective, by putting it into practice. (NW) 3:22b the promise resulting from faith toward Jesus Christ might be given to those exercising faith.  (NJB)

The summary of these scripture is self evident. Faith in and exercising faith in Christ Jesus is the ticket to eternal life! 

Faith and Undeserved Kindness 

Romans 3:24-25 and all are justified by the free gift of his grace through being set free in Christ Jesus. 25God appointed him as a sacrifice for reconciliation, through faith, by the shedding of his blood, and so showed his justness; first for the past, when sins went unpunished because he held his hand. (NJB)

Romans 4:4-5 Now to him that works the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but of debt: 5but to him who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. (Darby)

God’s gift of eternal life is not for sale. The gift of eternal life is God’s gift of undeserved kindness through faith in Christ Jesus. Since we are all sinners, works of law serve to condemn us as we are unable to observe all laws and as such we are found to be law breakers deserving of death—the reward of sin.

Works of Faith

An absolute requirement! 

Already twice the phrase “exercising faith” has appeared, this in of itself entails exercise, meaning activity, doing, or working on faith. 

Proving this, we read: 

2 Timothy 2:15 Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who has no need to be ashamed, but who keeps the message of truth on a straight path. (NJB)

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  (KJV)

Gal 6:9b And let us never slacken in doing good; for if we do not give up, we shall have our harvest in due time. (NJB)

Phil 2:12b work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (KJV)

Habakkuk 2:4 but the righteous shall live by his faith. (ASV)

James 2:18 But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith. (DRC)

(ASV)
24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith.
26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

Matt 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Darby)

1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, it is no glory to me, for a necessity lieth upon me: for woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. (DRC)

2 Timothy 4:1-2 I testify before God and Christ Jesus, who is about to judge living and dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, 2proclaim the word; be urgent in season and out of season, convict, rebuke, encourage, with all longsuffering and doctrine. (Darby)

Summary: Faith is dead without works. The works of faith are not optional! Without them the dead faith leads to eternal death, damnation. These works include preaching the Good News about God’s Kingdom ruled by Christ, God’s installed King.

 
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