The Law and the Believer

I must admit this wasn’t something that I was particularly interested in beyond the general interest I have in all of God’s Word.  But the Lord desired me to really study His Word concerning the Law.  I have had several people email me asking questions about it.  I also got a comment on a previous post about the OT dietary laws.  Beyond that I had been noticing more and more over the last few years an increase in the interest of believers following the OT dietary laws, feast and other regulations.  I’m not talking about Jews who have become believers but Gentile believers whom are turning to follow the Law.

It was clear to me in the NT that believers are not bound by the Law and are even warned to not return to the Law.  However, when I ran across this teaching essentially I ignored it as a wrong teaching and something to pity those who fell into it.  But the Lord has convicted me that this isn’t just some wrong teaching but is a false Gospel.  We are not talking about the differences between denominations but the differences between being a Christian and a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness.

There is so much of the NT that deals with this return to the Law.  The whole books of Galatians and Hebrews are full of warning about returning to the Law.  All through the NT you can find references to the Law, Covenants and returning to the OT Law.  Paul warns the Galatians of this False Gospel with dire warnings of having “fallen from Grace” or being “under a curse”.  That is downright serious and thus I’m convicted by the Lord that I should not have let that slide without confronting it.

Galatians 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. ESV

Galatians 3:10-12

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” ESV

Also as Terry and I discussed those who are teaching this return to the Law also tend to focus on what name they use to refer to Jesus and God.  I don’t know if that is consistent or not just something we’ve noticed.  Many of the differences in interpretation are furthermore blamed upon the differences in Bible translations with of course the KJV being the preferred translation.  I don’t know what significance those features all have with each other though.

So let us examine the Scriptures and see what they say about the Law and specific portions of it such as Dietary Laws, Circumcision, Sabbath observance, etc.

Because this subject can get so convoluted with different topics and verses I’m going to try to stick with one idea at a time.



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14 thoughts on “The Law and the Believer

  1. This is a much needed reminder. It occurred to me that we all, without careful study of the Word and prayer,can fall into the trap of believing our righteousness is secured through our works of the flesh.

    The unsettling thing about those who attempt to keep the Mosaic law, however, is that in their minds it seems so holy. It is`much more difficult to convince them that this righteousness is “in competition” with the true righteousness provided in Christ. As such, it can never produce the true and complete justification that Jesus imparts.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Terry,

    It is easy to fall into false teaching when we just study one or two key verses without the context of the whole passage or of the whole Bible. That is why we need to be sure to read the whole of the Bible regularly, not just favorite portions.

    I’m not a Christian according to some because I do not follow the Law (Sabbath observance, dietary laws, etc.). However, this ignores passages in the NT where Paul states the opposite that Christ is worthless to those following the Law.

    Anyway, I will be looking at verses bit by bit in the hopes of shedding some light from the Scripture on what is demanded of us today.

    Berean Wife

  2. Count me in as one of the confused 🙂

    What once was a restful and relaxing thing for me, enligtening, faithfilling….reading the Bible…has become confusion and sadness. Frustration.

    It is not that I think these things will save me. But it seems that I would do these things IF I was saved….

    I am reading all you are writing friend. I am trusting the Lord that He will use this depths that I am in to His Glory.

    It is a good question, no? If we believe in the God of the Jews…if we are grafted in..should we not seek to become Jews??

    Many Blessings 🙂
    Ace

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Ace,

    It would be perfectly fine for us to become Jews if that was what was commanded of us. However, when the NT tells us to not become Jews and to not be held captive by the Law – we best not.

    Romans 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

    Surely you cannot argue with how clear that statement is?

    If Christ died for our freedom why seek to be bound again?

    Berean Wife

    King" Kid Reply:

    “…If we believe in the God of the Jews…if we are grafted in..should we not seek to become Jews??

    You must become a part of the commonwealth of Israel. So says Paul:

    Ephesians 2:12
    That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
    Ephesians 2:11-13

    Keep reading and praying and taking the Bible at its word.

    Peace

    Berean Wife Reply:

    King’s Kid,

    Notice that Paul also says:

    Galatians 2:14 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? KJV

    Peter is rebuked for living like a Gentile but then living like a Jew for the sake of some Jews. He was rebuked for not walking “uprightly according to the truth of the gospel“. That is a very harsh rebuke. Peter fell for the Judiazers and even led astray Barnabas.

    Galatians 2:11-16
    11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
    12 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.
    13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
    14 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?
    15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
    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

    Gentiles who became converted to the God of the Jews in Old Testament times were never called Jews, they were called “converts” or “proselytes”, and here is a sample of the several verses that show that.

    Acts 13:43 (KJV) Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

    Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, but they do not become Jews.

    Ephesians 3:6 (KJV) That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

    The Gentiles were far away from the Promises but now due to Christ they are brought near. But that does not mean that they became Jews.

    Ephesians 2:13 (KJV) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

    We must read the whole of Scripture to get a clear picture, not just individual verses not in context.

    I will be going through the passages related to the Law book by book.

    Berean Wife

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Also In Galatians 3:28-29 it says:

    Galatians 3:28-29
    28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

    So why become a Jew when there is neither Jews nor Greeks?

    If we are in Christ we are an offspring of Abraham, which is not the same as being a Jew.

    Berean Wife

  3. For instance, here is someone teaching differently..but it is making sense to me…http://trainachild.blogspot.com/

    If He is the same always..and He did not say to end these things upon a certain date…why would you stop doing them?

    Kwim??

    Many Blessings 🙂
    Ace

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Ace,

    Just because God’s character is the same always does not mean that He cannot have two different Covenants with different groups of people. Although you are not a different parent with one child than another you do have different relationships with each one and your oldest has a different set of rules than the baby. When your children are grown you will interact differently with them than you do now. That doesn’t mean you are changing your character. The Law was the Guardian for the Jews, however believers are heirs and sons and no longer under the guardianship of the Law. We have the Law of Christ written on our hearts to follow in spirit and truth.

    Galatians 3:23-26 (ESV)
    23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
    24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
    25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,
    26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

    If you want to be bound by any part of the Law then you must be bound by the whole Law and if you fail to keep one part you are guilty of the whole Law.

    I hope to answer some of your questions as I go along.

    Berean Wife

    King" Kid Reply:

    Because man-made doctrines have overshadowed the uncut word of God. Keep seeking and reading the word for what the word says and the Spirit of God will bring you out of confusion.

    Peace

  4. “…have two different Covenants with different groups of people….”

    Why don’t you see that if this is true how can we call God impartial?? Don’t you see that this is the same MO that Satan used with mother Eve?

    You are saying that God does not really mean what He says. He is given to change.

    Honestly, does this make any sense to anyone except one who feels that they should get something for nothing.

    If it is not about working for our salvation why did Paul say:

    Philippians 2:12
    Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
    Philippians 2:11-13

    Again, I say WHY?

    Berean Wife Reply:

    King’s Kid,

    How can you deny a New Covenant when it is clear in Scripture that there is?

    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. KJV

    Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. KJV

    So if God tells us there is a New Covenant and God says that He never changes then maybe your interpretation of “never changing” is flawed. If there appears to be a contradiction then the contradiction is our own and not Gods!

    God did have a specific Covenant with Israel, right?

    God did bless Israel immensely, right?

    God did punish Israel when they sinned, right?

    God did do miraculous works for Israel that were not performed for any other country, right?

    God revealed Himself to Israel as opposed to other nations, right?

    So can you honestly say God treated Israel the same as He treated every other nation?

    Salvation is a free gift. We do nothing to earn it. That is something for nothing, actually worse than nothing, because we were so tainted with sin we were a stench.

    ~~~

    But notice the remainder of that passage, who worketh out our Salvation?

    Philippians 2:13 (KJV) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    God does the work in us.

    Berean Wife

  5. …God did have a specific Covenant with Israel, right?

    God did bless Israel immensely, right?

    God did punish Israel when they sinned, right?

    God did do miraculous works for Israel that were not performed for any other country, right?

    God revealed Himself to Israel as opposed to other nations, right?……

    Correct, however, this was a people that He chose to be His people. And what was His people chosen to do? To learn what their God wanted them to do and to do it, then the other nations of the world would see that their God was God, and ask how they might be blessed as well to which they would teach the nations God’s wisdom and understanding:

    Deuteronomy 4: 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

    7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

    8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

    ….So can you honestly say God treated Israel the same as He treated every other nation?….

    It would have been so if Israel and every other nation obeyed the Lord. Guess what? It will be that way when the Lord returns. People who believe that Jesus came with a “whole new plan” are the ones who will needs be “ruled with a rod of iron”.

    …..How can you deny a New Covenant when it is clear in Scripture that there is?

    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. KJV

    Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. KJV….

    I have not denied the new covenant, where we part ways is what makes the covenant new?

    The new part of the covenant was that once Jesus shed His precious blood there is no more need for the blood of bulls and goats. That is the only change. The temple veil ripped from top to bottom–leaving no place to sprinkle the blood, thereby firing the High Priest, whose job was to sprinkle the blood on veil of the Most Holy place.

    King’s Kid

    Berean Wife Reply:

    King’s Kid,

    God has chosen a new people now. The Israelites rejected Him. God’s new people is The Church. This was predicted all through the Old Testament and told to us in the New Testament.

    God’s new chosen people, The Church, His Bride, has the Law of Christ written on their hearts instead of the Israelites having the Law of Moses written on tablets of stone. The church is circumcised in heart and not in the flesh. Gentiles are no longer unclean and separated from God but are a part of the church.

    Isaiah 62:5 (KJV) For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

    Jeremiah 31:32-33 (KJV)
    32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
    33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    Matthew 21:42-43 (KJV)
    42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
    43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

    1 Peter 2:9-10 (KJV)
    9 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:
    10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy
    .

    The Law was added until the seed (Christ) should come:

    Galatians 3:19 (KJV) Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

    All the Old Testament saints looked forward to the coming of the seed, Christ, and the New Country, a spiritual country, a better country.

    Hebrews 11:13-16 (KJV)
    13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
    14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
    15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
    16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

    You claim that circumcision is still to be done in the flesh. However, Scripture is clear that it is not.

    1 Corinthians 7:18 (KJV) Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

    Paul in speaking to Gentile Christians warned them that becoming circumcised whould require them to fulfill the whole Law and they would be fallen from Grace.

    Galatians 5:2-4 (KJV)
    2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
    3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
    4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace
    .

    We are to be circumcised in heart and not the flesh.

    Colossians 2:11-12 (KJV)
    11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
    12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

    You also claim that we are to follow the dietary Laws contrary to Scripture. Not only that you judge me as being not a Christian because I do not follow the Law of Moses.

    Colossians 2:16-17 (KJV)
    16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
    17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ
    .

    Colossians 2:20-22 (KJV)
    20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
    21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
    22 Which all are to perish with the using) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

    Notice this is Christ speaking. Not only that He says “Hearken unto me…” This is important. This is note worthy.

    Mark 7:14-23 (KJV)
    14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
    15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
    16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
    17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
    18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
    19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats
    ?
    [Purge is the Greek word – katharizo – meaning to cleanse (literally or figuratively): (make) clean (-se), purge, purify.
    20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
    21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
    22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
    23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

    1 Timothy 4:3-5 (KJV)
    3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
    4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
    5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. [ Greek word – hagiazo – to make holy, i.e. (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate: KJV – hallow, be holy, sanctify.

    The dietary rules did not profit the Israelites.

    Hebrews 13:9 (KJV) Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

    Acts 15:4-20 (KJV)
    4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
    5 But 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.
    6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
    7 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.
    8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
    9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
    10 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?
    11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
    12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
    13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
    14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
    15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
    16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
    17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
    18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
    19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
    20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

    How much clearer can it get?

    Berean Wife

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