10. Living under Grace

 

What is the NEW Covenant

2 Tim 2:14-19

14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity."     NKJV

 

The truth of every relationship and encounter with God will be “God knows HIS own” and “HIS own will be transformed into HIS image”

 

Our salvation and our sanctification ARE a work of God. The proof of our salvation is that our hearts submit to, and co-operate with, His work of sanctification.

 

We as gentile believers do not enter the Old Covenant…we are made partakers of the New Covenant. It is imperative to ‘rightly divide God’s word’…..ie to as ask when reading a scripture “WHAT COVENANT DOES THIS APPLY TO?” “Is this addressing Israel under the Old Covenant…or Gentiles under the New Covenant?"

 

Heb 8:7-13

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah —   9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD.  10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.  12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."  

13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.    NKJV

 

The book of Hebrews is written to HEBREWS and not Gentiles. Its primary objective is to demonstrate that the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant, primarily because the Son of God Himself is our High Priest.

The New Covenant is with the HOUSE OF ISRAEL...but it is similar to the New Covenant with the Gentiles!

 

* I WILL MAKE….please be sure that our covenant is a work of GOD…examine your own salvation…and know that it was God who called …and God who did

 

* I WILL PUT My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts

 

* I WILL BE their God, and they SHALL BE My people

 

* NONE of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for ALL SHALL KNOW ME, from the least of them to the greatest of them.

 

* I WILL BE merciful to their unrighteousness

 

* their sins and their lawless deeds I WILL REMEMBER no more.

  

The New Covenant is one of a relationship of trust which we can have because of God's demonstrated LOVE to us in the completed work of Christ on the cross. He gives us His Spirit and He empowers us walk in His ways. It is NOT based on our works but the work of God himself.

 

Jesus comment to Nicodemus was one of incredulity. The Jews, because of their focus on earning their righteousness by obeying the Law, had not understood that a walk with God (apart from the Law) ... by His indwelling Spirit was possible to all who sought it.

 

John 3:1-11

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'  8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." 

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?"

10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?       NKJV

 

As God's children by faith in Jesus, we are able to walk with a HOLY God. We are able to hear His voice and be led by His Spirit. Religion seldom understands this ... but it is a message that resonates with the hearts of God's children.

 

Paul asks the KEY question that determines if your theology is correct…..or if it is ‘the doctrines of men’

 

Col 2:20-23

20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations —  21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men ? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.   NKJV

Brethren the basic principles of this world refers to 'religious works of the flesh' ...and not wicked sinful actions!

The whole basis of our walk with God is that it relies on NOTHING of us ...the religious 'you' has died with Christ (it was a failure)... and our lives are now lived out of what Christ died for us to have.

 

Titus 1:13-16

13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.     NKJV

 

Turning from the truth...ie that it is only by Christ's death for us that we can be righteous ... is turning back to RELIGION!

Have you encountered God and come into this relationship with Him?.....Do you know that you are 'born again' and  'filled with the Holy Spirit'?

 

Have you died to your own religious pride....and let HIS life fill you?

 

Paul quotes the following scripture to show the difference between those who do not know Jesus  ... and those who live out of what HE has done for them.

 

1 Cor 2

2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written:

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."  

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.    NKJV

 

Do you see the world from the basis of the COMPLETED WORK of the cross…..or are you looking at it from a humanistic point of view where we still have to earn out own righteousness?….by works of our religious ‘flesh’?

 

Do you see the world from the position of one for whom CHRIST DIED…….and   WHERE ALL THAT YOU HAVE IS A GIFT FREELY GIVEN BY GOD……the most humbling position we can take…or do you still feel that in some way you have earned your own salvation?

 

2 Cor 3:2-11

2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

4 The Spirit, Not the Letter

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

7 Glory of the New Covenant

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.     NKJV

 

Are you ministering death by preaching the Law...or life by preaching the completed work of Christ?

  

This New Covenant is FAR better than the Old Covenant…not just new

 

Heb 9:11-15

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.      NKJV

 

This is an ETERNAL Covenant…for those who are called …a work of GOD and NOT man. It provides us with ETERNAL redemption...and and ETERNAL inheritance. We can live today with totally cleansed consciences...no longer striving to please God....but KNOWING that He is pleased with us in Christ!

 

Matt 26:28-29

28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.     NKJV

 

Isaiah 53 to 56 explains the sacrificial death of Christ…..and his bearing the sins of the world…as being the basis of this New Covenant which was to be ushered in.

 

Isa 53:4-6

4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.     NKJV

 

Because of this we can now LIVE a life without any sense of guilt or condemnation for sin......Are you experiencing this?

 

Isa 54:9-10

9 "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;

For as I have sworn

That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,

So have I sworn

That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

10 For the mountains shall depart

And the hills be removed,

But My kindness shall not depart from you,

Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,"

Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.     NKJV

 

Because of this we can now LIVE a life without any sense of God's anger being directed at us and free of fear.....Are you experiencing this? 

  

Isa 55:3

3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.

Hear, and your soul shall live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you

The sure mercies of David.      NKJV

 

Ezek 16:60-63

"Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth (ie the Old Covenant), and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you (the New Covenant). 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when you receive your older and your younger sisters; for I will give them to you for daughters, but not because of My covenant with you. 62 And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, 63 that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done," says the Lord GODNKJV

 

Ezek 37:26

26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.    NKJV

 

Because of this we can now LIVE a life without any sense of insecurity or loss of peace......Are you experiencing this? 

 

Heb 12:22-24

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.    NKJV

 

Because of this we can now LIVE a life with a sense of being totally accepted......Are you experiencing this? 

 

 

Does the New covenant  require Gentiles to Keep the Law of Moses?

 

John 1:17-18

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.   NKJV

 

Acts 15:5

5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."

 

Acts 15:10-11

10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on 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 in the same manner as they."

 

Acts 15:23-29

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law" — to whom we gave no such commandment —  25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Farewell.        NKJV

There are about 40 other scriptures in Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians which confirm that Gentiles Christians are not ‘under the Law of Moses’ The law of Moses is the same as the Law of God. It is a composite whole and was given ONLY to the people of Israel (Read Exodus to Deuteronomy) as his chosen nation.

 

Did the Jews who were saved continue to live under the Law?

 

Acts 21:17-22     (30 years after Christ’s death)

18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.     NKJV

 

Gal 2:7-9

7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter  8(for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.     NKJV

 

Paul is the "apostle to the Gentiles"

 

Many today do not distinguish key items which are part of the different covenants…and teach them as though they apply to both.

 

A simple list will identify the key problems

 

  1. the Sabbath
  2. holy or festival days
  3. clean or unclean foods
  4. tithes, offerings and sacrifices
  5. priesthood and ministry
  6. temples and church buildings
  7. laws governing behavior or being spirit led sons and daughters
  8. worshipping God at ‘church’ services …or living lives that worship God
  9. sacraments …or life changing experiences
  10. external obligations…or love driven Spirit led New Life
  11. FREEDOM or bondage
  12. religion or relationship
  13. repentance from sins…or faith in Jesus..as the basis for forgiveness?
  14. baptism...or transformation by the infilling Spirit
  15. earn/deserve…or all received by grace thru faith

 

Your response may well have ‘scriptural support’ for your position. The question I ask is "are your ‘proof texts’ contextually correct for the covenant we as Gentile Christians live under TODAY?"

 

Let us shake the foundations a little and see what happens

 

Sin is lawlessness

 

1 John 3:4-9

4 Sin and the Child of God

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 

(How do you rate O sinless judge…are you qualified to cast the first stone?)

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.     NKJV

 

Lawlessness does not refer to not keeping the Law of Moses....but those acknowledge no legal authority...and kill, rape and pillage.

Now, to those who point fingers and say that this scripture proves that all smokers and drinkers and those who sin morally are unsaved and therefore going to hell, I ask this question… “How does your pride and self-righteousness and judgmentalism rate on God’s scale of sin against the sin you see in other peoples lives?”    Is this not a bit like the log and the splinter?

This scripture is both a warning about a casual attitude to sin….and a promise that the Spirit of Christ will enable us to overcome sin in our lives.

 

Rom 8:2-4

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

 

The way we are free of sin is by FAITH in Gods gift of His Son Jesus Christ as the propitiation …it is not by our own works…..but by the Spirit of God working in and through us.

 

To those who try to scare Christians into ‘obeying the Law’ as the way to be saved, I ask ‘Do you really think you are obeying the Law fully?’…. ‘Good enough so that you don’t need Jesus to die to have fulfilled it for you?’

 

Rom 7:3-6

4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another — to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. NKJV

 

Do we have to ‘repent of our sins’  in order to believe and be saved?

 

We would all have heard the critical preaching about repentance from sins by some groups and have different understandings of this matter

 

It is only AFTER God first touches us by His Spirit…and brings faith and LIFE …that we CAN repent.  (Dead people repenting is meaningless). Repentance does not bring LIFE….life brings repentance.

Acts 11:18

18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying,"Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."    NKJV

 

So what if they don’t confess their sins and repent….are they still un-forgiven and going to hell? This is the heresy which many pushing repentance actually believe. The bible is emphatic that NEW LIFE and forgiveness comes by FAITH in Christ….not by a religious work of repentance (Rom 4:1-8)…(or even baptism) …on our part.

 

The scripture clearly required Jews, who were under the Law, to repent from their sins…the key sin being the rejection and murder of their Messiah Jesus Christ. John preached a message of repentance to the Jews …as did Jesus….should the church be preaching it?…or does repentance mean something different to Gentiles….they were not the ones who rejected and killed the Messiah?….and they were never even under the Law?

 

The scriptures teach that gentiles repent by turning to God in faith and accepting Christ as their savior. The Hebrew for repent means return or turn back to the place of grace. As gentiles we first need to GET saved. The scripture calls this being ‘granted repentance to life’. When we fall after being 'born again' our repentance involves saying …"God I blew it again…I thank you for your forgiveness …please help me to overcome my weakness by the power of your Spirit".

 

THIS WILL TAKE TIME

  

Do we have to be BAPTISED in order to be saved?

 

The scripture teaches that we should be baptized as a confession of our faith. Clearly without coming to faith FIRST there is no point in being baptized ….. nor would most unsaved people even want to do it.

 

The baptism of John was a baptism for the repentance of sins (Acts 19)…this is described as a ceremonial washing John 3:22-25.  The baptism Jesus came to bring IN THE NEW COVENANT is a baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire. It is the Spirit of God coming to live in us at our rebirth…and coming in power upon us. (both intended to be simultaneous…but sadly is not always experienced in that way)

 

Please read Numbers 19 vs 1-10...this is a passage about 'ceremonial washing' under the Law for PURIFICATION. Hebrews 9:10 confirms that 'ceremonial washings' are NOT able to clear the conscience of the worshipper (vs9)

Brethren whether you like it or not baptism is a TYPE or a shadow which is fulfilled in Christ.

 

Luke 3:16
16 John answered, saying to all,"I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.   NKJV

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is clearly NOT the same as baptism in water ... Acts 10:44-48

 

1 Cor 12:13
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.    NKJV
 
 

When Paul was talking about baptizing people the scriptures do not always distinguish which baptism he was referring to…that in water or Christ’s baptism.

Please note that in Acts 19:1-5 that the baptism of repentance is called JOHN'S baptism...it does not cause people to saved....ie those who focussed on 'sin and repentance' did NOT receive the Holy Spirit...ie they were NOT saved.....this is achieved by FAITH in Christ alone!

 

So please ladies and gentlemen …let us not be dogmatic where the scriptures are not conclusive….Let the Spirit of God lead those He brings to life as to their decision on when to proceed with baptism…..and repentance must be a response to HIS work on their hearts not a reponse to your condemnation of their behavior.

 

God has not appointed us to be the accusers of the world…and to condemn them….but to beg them to be reconciled to Him. After we are reconciled our behavior will certainly change....even if it takes a while.

 

Do we have to obey in order to be blessed…..or is it all received by faith in Jesus completed work of the cross?

 

The old covenant was an earn and deserve covenant…ie obey and you will be blessed. The new covenant is a believe and receive that which we did not deserve kind of covenant. Simply speaking, those who are still trying to earn what God has for us do not believe that Christ’s work was sufficient….and that no matter how good they are they will never be good enough.

 

Jesus was sinless and did not deserve to die for sin….we deserved to die…but get life

Jesus obeyed and suffered the curse….we deserve wrath for our sin but get blessings

Rom 8:31-32
 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
NKJV
  

God’s ways are different to man’s ways…grace is not only about us not getting the punishment we deserve….it is also receiving blessings we did not deserve either.

1 Cor 2:12
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.   NKJV

Our obedience in the New Covenant is 'to the FAITH'...not the Law

Rom 16:25-27

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith —  27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.    NKJV
 

 

What will our response be?......it will be the LOVE of God shed abroad on our hearts!

 

God rewards hunger…and passion for Him…with increased intimacy

 

I know that there are many places in God’s word….and testimonies from the lives of believers today and past…where it appears that God intervened without the man or woman seeking Him first.

 

But in the main for a relationship to be strong it requires passion from both parties!

 

GOD IS hungry for your heart…..are you seeking Him?…and are you passionate for intimacy with Him?

 

(This is the main WORK we have to do)

 

THE KEY IS TO KNOW THAT GOD WILL USE US AND BLESS US BECAUSE OF JESUS COMPLETED WORK…..AND NEVER BECAUSE WE DESERVE IT!

ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS TO TRUST HIM!

 

 

What about being circumcised?

 

It was BEFORE the Law…and part of the Law (just like tithing was) ...except that it actually was part of the covenant with God rather than just an incidental activity.

 

Gen 17:10-11

10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised ; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.   NKJV

 

Gal 5:2-5

2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.    NKJV

 

To those who tithe because Abraham ‘did’…Jesus says it is as much part of the Law as circumcision (Mat 23:23) !

 

What about keeping the Law?…and making sacrifices and offerings

 

There is not one new testament scripture saying we should make sacrifices ....or bring offerings….other than..

 

Rom 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

 

Eph 5:2

2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.    NKJV

 

Phil 4:18

18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice (ie giving to the needs of itinerant ministers), well pleasing to God.   NKJV

 

Heb 13:15-16

15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share (ie with poor and needy), for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.    NKJV

 

Never was the giving of money to a church organization described as an offering to God
 
 
Heb 10:14-18

14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," 17 then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."   18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.     NKJV

 

Stop making ‘offerings’ of money…you cannot buy Gods pleasure with ‘mammon’….faith in Christ alone achieves that! (Heb 11:6)

 

Acts 8:20

20 But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!
NKJV
  

Heb 10:5

"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,      NKJV

 

What about the Sabbath? (also applies to Jewish Festivals of the Law)

 

Now the seventh day being the day God rested….this might have been kept by Abraham but it is never mentioned. ….and it was later part of the Law. (Unlike tithing which Abram only ever did once and that from other people's goods) 

 

Gen 2:1-3

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.    NKJV

 

Ex 31:16-17

16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.'"    NKJV

 

 Now ask ….should saved Jews believers still keep the Sabbath on the Sabbath?

 

Col 2:16-17

16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.     NKJV

 

Gal 4:8-11

 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.    NKJV

 

Christ is the rest we enter into…

 

Luke 6:5

"The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."     NKJV

 

Heb 4:9-10

9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.   NKJV

 

Clearly the Christian church frequently met on the first day of the week …..BUT there was never a requirement for Gentiles to do either (refer Acts 15)

  

Rom 14:5-6

5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it

 

We have FREEDOM…but do not judge others who CHOOSE differently.

 

Rom 14:3-4

3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.    NKJV

 

 

What about the priesthood?

 

The ONLY high priest now is Jesus….and ALL believers are equal as priests and kings before God….we are ALL brethren!

 

1 Peter 2:9

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  NKJV

 

Rev 5:10

10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;

And we shall reign on the earth."   NKJV

 

Matt 23:8

8 But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren    NKJV

 

Apologies to those who feel that they are specially anointed to lead and control the church….and be supported……your call is only to SERVE and train the body.....and to give freely!

 

What about the ‘temple’ …(also ‘sanctuary’, … ‘altar’…etc)

 

The temple was destroyed in AD 70….Jesus was the fulfillment of the temple

 

Mark 14:57-58

58 "We heard Him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.'"    NKJV

 

Acts 7:48-49

48 However, the Most High doesn't live in temples made by human hands . As the prophet says,

49'Heaven is my throne,

and the earth is my footstool.

Could you ever build me a temple as good as that?'

asks the Lord.

'Could you build a dwelling place for me?

 

1 Cor 6:19-20

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

 

Gods presence is with us forever as His children…not in any building

 

John 14:16-17

16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever —   17 the Spirit of truth   NKJV

 

Heb 13:5

For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."     NKJV

 

Matt 28:20

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."   NKJV

 

 

What about tithing?…let alone offerings and sacrifices

 

It is clear that the Levitical priesthood who are the only ones entitled to receive the tithes has ended….as is the temple where the worship was held…..

 

Heb 7:12

12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.

 

Heb 7:18-19

18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect;   NKJV

 

Please note that even orthodox Jews today do not tithe…..to give money as tithes IS to them a sin…..as is giving it to someone other than a Levite….or giving it from anything other than produce of the land of Israel!

 

What about eating unclean foods?

 

Jesus said all foods were clean

 

Mark 7:18-19

"Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods"   NKJV

 

Paul concurred

 

Col 2:20-23

20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations —  21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.    NKJV

 

1 Tim 4:1-5

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.   NKJV
 

Peters vision presented the same message

 

Acts 10:12-16

12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." 

14 But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."    NKJV

 

What about eating blood, food sacrificed to idols

 

Paul deals with this …it is a Romans 14 issue…ie do not cause your brother to stumble

 

1 Cor 8

Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. 2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. 

7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.   NKJV

 

What about multiple wives?

 

As far as I can see God never sanctioned the idea of multiple wives….it was a human decision which fails one key test…the one which Jesus himself used  (Mat 19:5)

 

Gen 2:24

24 Therefore a (singular) man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife (singular), and they shall become one (singular) flesh.      NKJV

 

Elders and deacons are to be the ‘husband of one wife’……maybe having more than one would not leave them enough time to minister to other peoples needs?

 

Yes Abraham had a child by Hagar…but look at the problems that caused!

Yes David, a man after God’s heart, had multiple wives…Ditto

Yes Solomon had 700 wives …and, 300 concubines…Ditto

 

 

What about homosexuality?

 

Leviticus under the Law demands death for this sin……and Paul in Romans confirms it is fornication…..a sin which leads to death (Acts 15 – fornication)

 

Rom 1:26-28

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due.

28 And even as they refused to have God in (their) knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting;    ASV

 

This is not really open to discussion scripturally

Can one with ‘a reprobate mind’ be born again.  I do not believe so…but if God proves me wrong I will gladly change my mind. (repent)

 

What about cultural preferences?

 

It seems clear that provided we do not go into the area of worshipping idols….or fornication….we are free to worship God within our cultural norms.

 

ie type of building…type of clothing….type of foods eaten…type of music enjoyed….type of dancing …courtship customs…etc

 

Is there a "culture of the kingdom of heaven"?........ie do we all have to become extroverts.....and yell loud praises....and express enthusiastic support when the preacher wants it?     NOT in the New Testament!

 

The culture of the kingdom is one of LOVE....and respect and honor for ALL people

Gal 5:6
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.   NKJV

Gal 5:13-14
through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
NKJV
 
 the key is …Are we operating in love?….and morality?

 

What about ‘all things are lawful to me…but not all things are beneficial

 

1 Cor 6:12-14

12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.   NKJV

 

Yes Legalists…this includes alcohol….and smoking….and eating fatty foods

 

Rom 14:17-18

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.      NKJV

 

Gal 5:13-14

13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." NKJV

 

Susanna Wesley (simplified) defined sin as ‘anything which makes me not want to spend time with God’
 
Sometimes love requires us to limit our freedom…it is not too much to ask!
 
 
What about the ‘times of the Gentiles’?.....Will the Jews eventually come to Christ?

 

Ezek 30:2-3

2 "Son of man, prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD:

"Wail, 'Woe to the day!'

3 For the day is near,

Even the day of the LORD is near;

It will be a day of clouds, the time of the Gentiles.    NKJV

 

Luke 21:23-24

For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.  24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.    NKJV

 

John 1:11-12

11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him (not his own ..ie Gentiles), to them He gave the right to become children of God.    NKJV

 

Acts 9:15-16

15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."     NKJV

 

Acts 11:17-18

17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?"

18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."     NKJV

 

Acts 13:46-48

46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:

 

'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,

That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'"  

48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.    NKJV

 

Rom 11:13

13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles,  

 

Acts 15:14-20

14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:

16'After! this I will return

And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;

I will rebuild its ruins,

And I will set it up;

17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD,

Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,

Says the LORD who does all these things.'  

18 "Known to God from eternity are all His works.   19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God,    NKJV

 

Rom 16:25-27

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith —  27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

 

Gal 3:8-9

8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."   9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.   

 

The mystery and secret which was not anticipated by Israel was that God would touch the hearts of the Gentiles…..while they rejected their messiah!

 

Acts 13:46-48

46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:

 

Matt 27:25

25 And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." NKJV

 

John 19:15

15 But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!"

Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?"

The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"   NKJV

 

Rom 11:8

8 according as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this very day.   ASV

 

Rom 11:25

25 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in;     ASV

 

There was a day coming when :-

 

Zech 12:10

"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. NKJV

 

Rev 1:7

7 Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they that pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him. Even so, Amen.

 

Rom 11:25-26

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:  NKJV
 

 

These scriptures were fulfilled in AD 70....the Israel that was saved is the REMNANT who when the Messiah came RECEIVED HIM

(Refer sections 50-63...The Truth about the End Times)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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