Monthly Archives: May 2014

Kenyon

E.W. Kenyon: Grace has both historical & Biblical roots

ESSEK W. KENYON

(1867-1948  New Covenant Baptist minister, Founder of Bethel Bible Institute)

“He has cleansed us with the blood of His own Son. We can stand in the Father’s presence now as though sin had never touched us.

Unfold the riches of the Grace of God in the Scriptures so that men and women are built up in their faith.

If one is free from the sense of guilt and condemnation, faith grows to miracle-working power.

As we walk in this New Covenant Word, we will walk in love, we will walk in fellowship with the Father, we will walk in God’s ability.

Faith is built up and made invincible by Righteousness Consciousness.

The Creator of the universe becomes our Righteousness. He gives us the ability to stand in His presence as though sin had never been.

Righteousness restores to man all that he lost in the Fall, plus a new relationship as a son with all its privileges

If one is free from the sense of guilt and condemnation, faith grows to miracle-working power.

Isaiah 32:17 is a prophetic statement in regard to Righteousness. “And the work of righteousness shall be peace”…

There is nothing narrow or stingy in the Father’s blessings. There is a wholesome fullness in His blessings.

We have preached condemnation and sin so long that we do not know how to preach righteousness and to tell the people what they are in Christ

You are the sons and daughters of God Almighty without condemnation. You will find mercy and grace to help in time of need

Think about what you are in Christ. Never think of your lack; think of the vast inheritance that is yours

Righteousness gives you a standing in the presence of the Father identical with the standing of Jesus

 

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Watchman

Watchman Nee: Grace has both Historical & Biblical roots

WATCHMAN NEE

(1902-1972  Famous Chinese evangelist and teacher)

The Bible is not about proving we are right. The Bible is designed to humble us and prove that God is right.

The Atonement is a propitiation whereby God through the death of Jesus makes an unholy man holy. For by one offering…that of Christ Jesus!

God can not use a man who has not died to his self-life. Such a person can not go far in the things of God.

We must die to our SELF-LIFE before His life can flow through us. The cross speaks of a way to lose our self-life.

His Grace is sufficient! He has provided everything for you. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

We go to Christ for forgiveness & often the law to fight our sins.” Foolish Galatians!…The righteous will live by faith.”

God has one sufficient answer—His Son Jesus Christ, and He is the answer to every human.

God has one sufficient answer—His Son Jesus Christ, and He is the answer to every human.

God has placed us in a most lofty position. Through our union with the Lord Jesus, all of the Lord’s accomplishments and victories are ours.

Since we are now joined to the resurrected Lord, through Him the Spirit can control our whole being.

Man cannot rely on his own merit before God; it would overthrow the Lord’s work, as though He had died in vain.

Originally the spirit was as if it were dead, now the Holy Spirit has put God’s uncreated life inside the spirit.

Many people see salvation only as deliverance from judgment; they have not seen that salvation is also deliverance from self.

The daily life of the Christian can be summed up in one word: receive. (Received from the Lord, that is.)

As for sin, we only need take the ground of the cross (Rom.6:6) and immediately we are freed from its power and our servitude to it.

Many people think we become holy by the eradication of something evil within. No, we become holy by being separated unto God.

The basic characteristic of the works of the soul is independence or self-dependence.

The more humble one is at God’s feet, the more useful he is at God’s hand.

From start to finish, he is the One who does it all.

Our rest lies in looking to the Lord, not to ourselves.

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jesus paid

PART 2. THE NEW COVENANT.

 PART 2: THE NEW COVENANT OF GRACE

INTRODUCTION

Our loving Abba Father has poured out his blessings and gifts to us through the grace of Jesus Christ. He has guaranteed his promises to us in the form of an agreement called the New Covenant which is sealed and signed in the blood of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. This agreement reinforces our qualification and adoption as God’s beloved children worthy in every way to represent  him and to act in his name. This part of the course explains how this agreement works and will instil even more confidence in you as to your right standing with God.

As stated previously, an important part of understanding the grace that is  ours through the living Word, Jesus Christ, is that we have a firm Biblical foundation on which this grace is established. This is so that the intimacy, hope and blessings that come with Jesus’ grace cannot be undermined. As you go through this study course we ask you to spend time looking up all the scripture references quoted in brackets and allow the Holy Spirit to establish the Word in your heart and mind.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

INDEX

LESSON 1:  GOD’S COVENANTS AND THE CROSS

1. GOD’S COVENANTS

1.1 WHAT ARE COVENANTS?

1.2 THE LAWS OF THE COVENANTS.

1.3 THE THREE MAIN COVENANTS PRIOR TO THE CROSS.

1.4 THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS FORESAW A NEW COVENANT

1.5  A BETTER COVENANT IN CHRIST

2.  THE NEW COVENANT STARTS AT THE CROSS

2.1  THE CROSS REVERBERATED ACROSS TIME AND SPACE

2.2  WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED

2.3  JESUS FOCUSED ON THE ATONING WORK OF THE CROSS

2.4  THE CROSS DEALT WITH SIN ONCE AND FOR ALL

2.5  THE CROSS CHANGED JESUS’ FOCUS FROM ISRAEL TO ALL MANKIND

2.6  GRACE IS NOW THE ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF GOD’S KINGDOM

2.7  THE CROSS CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD

2.8  THE CROSS CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

2.11  THE CROSS DISARMED SATAN

2.10 THE CROSS REVEALED THE FULL GOSPEL OF GRACE

2.9  THE CROSS RELEASED REVELATION

2.14  THE NEW COVENANT

2.13  THE OLD COVENANT

2.12  THE CROSS CHANGED THE COVENANT

LESSON 2:  THE NEW COVENANT

3.  MINISTERS OF A NEW COVENANT

3.1  MINISTERS OF TRUE SPIRITUAL LIFE

3.2  SCRIPTURES THROUGH THE EYES OF THE NEW COVENANT

3.3  MINISTERS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

3.4  IT IS GOD’S GOODNESS THAT LEADS TO REPENTANCE

3.5  WHAT ABOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

3.6  THE NEW COVENANT IS NOT A MIXTURE OF LAW AND GRACE

3.7  OUR PUNISHMENT AND AFFLICTIONS ARE ON JESUS

I)  THE OLD COVENANT

II) THE NEW COVENANT

4.  COMMUNION IS A CELEBRATION OF THE NEW COVENANT

4.1  COMMUNION CELEBRATES GOOD NEWS

4.2  IT IS A CELEBRATION OF GRACE

4.4  NO ONE IS WORTHY, EXCEPT BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

4.5  WE CELEBRATE NEW COVENANT HOLINESS

4.3  IT IS A REMINDER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOT OF OUR SINS

4.6  NEW COVENANT HEALTH FOR ALL WHO BELIEVE

4.6.1 LAW-BASED COMMUNION BRINGS DEATH

4.6.2 WHY ARE SO MANY SICK?

4.7  THE NEW COVENANT OF LOVE

4.8  GROUP WORK

5. GROUP EXERCISE AND QUESTIONS.

 

PART 2. LESSON 1:  GOD’S COVENANTS AND THE CROSS

 1.  GOD’S COVENANTS

 1.1  WHAT ARE COVENANTS?

A covenant is a solemn, legally binding, relational agreement between two parties which is normally activated and sealed by the shedding of blood. A covenant has terms and conditions that have to be fulfilled by each party. (The closest example that we have in this modern era is the marriage covenant which has to be physically consummated for it to be binding – did you know that in days gone by they would check the marriage bed for the small stain of blood that came from the breaking of the virgin brides hymen, if blood was not found then the marriage was null and void.)

An understanding of covenants is crucial for us as, God has always related to mankind through covenants. There are a number of covenants found in the Scriptures and it is important that we understand what covenant applies to us, as believers, and what covenants are obsolete and no longer applicable. Also as with any agreement we need to know what the terms and conditions of that agreement are so that we can stick to them.

1.2  THE LAWS OF THE COVENANTS

Romans 8:2-4 :  “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law [of Moses] was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

God interacts differently with people depending on the covenant. Therefore it is important that we distinguish between the different covenants. God’s response to people is based on the covenant and law system which they have been placed under or choose to live under. The above Scripture is very definitive in this regard and clarifies the three main law systems found in the Scriptures.

1) The Law of sin and death that came through Adam: You sin, you die.

2) The Law of performance that came through Moses: Do good get good, do bad get bad.

3) The Law of the Spirit of Life that came through Jesus: He died, therefore you are in grace and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

1.3  THE THREE MAIN COVENANTS PRIOR TO THE CROSS

i) The Covenant of sin and death.  Agreed with Adam and his offspring (Genesis 3:15-21) and alluded to in Rom.8:1.

ii) The Covenant of faith and righteousness. Agreed  with Abraham and his offspring through Isaac (Genesis 12:2-3 & 18:18) and ultimately through Jesus.

iii) The Mosaic Covenant, also known as The Law. Agreed with Israel through Moses.  (Deuteronomy 29:1, Exodus 24:4-8, 34:27).

The significance of each of these covenants will be revealed during the course, so we will not go into detail at this stage. There were also a number of sub-covenants such as with Noah (Genesis 8:20-22, 9:12) and David (2 Chronicles 21:7). These are also important but space prevents them being dealt with in detail.

1.4  THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS FORESAW A NEW COVENANT

Jeremiah 31:31:  “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 

These passages from Jeremiah prophesied the coming of a New Covenant.  Similar promises about a new and better covenant that was going to come one day soon were made in Ezek11:19 & 36:26 and elsewhere. Hebrews 8:7-13 & 10:16 declares that Jesus is the fulfilment of the promises of a new and better covenant.

Why was a new covenant so needed? Because of the hard and onerous terms and conditions of the Mosaic Law Covenant (Ezekiel 20:25), given on mount Sinai, Israel constantly failed to meet the terms of this covenant and came under the wrath and curse of the Law. This was the terms of this covenant; if you fail to obey you will be cursed. The prophets of Israel foresaw the coming of the a new and better covenant that would be fulfilled by God’s Messiah and Saviour, Jesus,  who would save God’s people from the curse of the Old Covenant. The Messiah would set Israel free from and captivity of the Law. The good news is that we are blessed to live under this new and better covenant and that the Old Covenant of the Mosaic Law does not apply to us who are in Christ.

 1.5  A BETTER COVENANT IN CHRIST

Hebrews 7:22-25: “Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the Covenant of the Law (Matthew 5:17) and of God’s covenant with David.  Jesus was able to become the originator and mediator of the new and better covenant that the Prophets had prophesied. He would be the fulfilment of all the terms and conditions of the New Covenant of Grace through His punishment, death, burial, resurrection and glorification. This New Covenant is now the dominant and overriding covenant of all preceding covenants for those who would agree to it by dying to self and becoming one with Christ (Galatians 2:20). This is the covenant that has released God’s grace and blessings to all who would believe and become children of God (John 1:12-17). This is the covenant that we will now look at in more detail.

2.  THE NEW COVENANT STARTS AT THE CROSS

 2.1  THE CROSS REVERBERATED ACROSS TIME AND SPACE     

Revelation 13:8, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.   

Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son”.

The prophet Zechariah foresaw the coming of the Holy Spirit and grace and how this was linked to the crucifixion of the firstborn Son, Jesus Christ.  The book of Revelation prophetically declares the eternal, timeless significance of the death of the Lamb of God on the cross. The cross is beyond doubt the most significant world changing event in history. There is nothing more significant either in the spiritual or physical realm than the cross. It is the most profound, earth- shattering event that reverberated both into the both past and future. The cross of Christ is the core and the under laying foundation of our Christian faith and belief system. All Scripture, both before and after the cross, points to the cross and its affects. Without the cross, Jesus would be no more significant than any other religious teacher or guru. It is the cross defines Christ and Christianity. It is the great divide of history.

2.2  WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED

1 Corinthians 1:23, “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”

We do not just preach Jesus Christ, even Islam does that. Even Israel was prepared to accept Christ as the Prophet, a Rabbi and even a Messiah King. No! We preach Christ Crucified. This is the uniqueness of Christianity. We preach Christ – His life, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification at the right hand of God. The Cross was and still is, a huge stumbling block to many, as it is offensive to all those who are religious, self-righteous and feed on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

2.3  JESUS FOCUSED ON THE ATONING WORK OF THE CROSS

Matthew 16:21-23,  “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.  Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Some of Jesus’ closest disciples failed to see the significance of the cross. Jesus’ whole earthly life had one ultimate purpose, the cross, and He would allow no one to distract Him from fulfilling this calling. Jesus knew the cross would change everything as the cross would deal with the divide between man and God. Peter acting in the flesh, opposed Jesus going to the cross, Jesus called him “Satan!” Peter got angry at Jesus’ arrest and tried to resist with the sword – Jesus again rebuked him.  Eventually Peter was so upset with the prospect of the cross that he ended up denying Jesus. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross was the start of the New Covenant and is the foundation of the New Covenant of the grace of Jesus Christ. From this incident we see through Peter that man’s fleshly nature and natural intellect cannot understand the cross and will always oppose the cross (1 Corinthians 2:14). The cross and its power ultimately has to be a spiritual revelation within the hearts of man, as to the natural man, it is just foolishness.

2.4  THE CROSS DEALT WITH SIN ONCE AND FOR ALL

Colossians 2:13, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”.

Before the cross there was no permanent atonement for sins. The Law of Moses was in force and bought death and a curse on all (this is expanded upon in part 3). No one was righteous in God’s eyes, no one could be saved. At the cross the power and dominion of sin was destroyed once and for all – for all those who would be saved. The cross opened the flood gate of God’s unearned and undeserved grace (John 1:17), the forgiveness of sins. The cross destroyed the power of sin and provided a way for man’s “Adamic sin nature” to be put to death on the cross with Christ (Galatians 2:20). Now for those in Christ, all sin – past, present, future – is atoned for  (more on the issue of sin in part 4). This is the cornerstone of the New Covenant and grace.

2.5  THE CROSS CHANGED JESUS’ FOCUS FROM ISRAEL TO ALL MANKIND

Matthew 15:22, “A Canaanite (Gentile) woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

Although Jesus is and always will be the Saviour of all mankind, Jesus’ earthly ministry was firstly and primarily to Israel (Matthew 15:24) and its leaders – those under the Old Covenant Law of Moses. Most of Jesus’ teaching at this time was directed at Israel’s teachers, the Pharisees, who had wrongly interpreted the Law, did not understand the spirit of the Law and misapplied the Law. They had wrongly assumed that righteousness and salvation could be obtained by works (Romans 9:30-10:4). Jesus taught against their hypocrisy and their self righteousness. To those who chose law Jesus preached law, to those “sinners” who were broken and contrite Jesus showed grace and forgiveness. During this time Jesus alluded to the fact that He was going to bring salvation also to the Gentiles (John 10:16) but His ministry to the Gentiles only really came into effect after the cross, primarily through the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:15).

2.6  GRACE IS NOW THE ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF GOD’S KINGDOM

Through the cross, the Law was fulfilled and done away with for believers (Romans 6:14). The reign and rule of Christ and His kingdom is now bought into affect by the Spirit through the system of grace – not religious rules, regulations and laws. The preaching of the kingdom now goes hand in hand with the preaching of the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24) – his unearned, undeserved, forgiveness, blessing, favour and empowering.

2.7  THE CROSS CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD

Colossians 1:20  “Through Jesus He reconciled to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Under the Old Covenant we were slaves to sin and alienated from God. But now God is no longer angry with us or out to punish us for our sins. We are now at peace with God (Colossians 1:20). In the New Covenant, God no longer relates to us based on our performance or sin. In fact He remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 10:17). God now sees us as part of Jesus. We are the Body of Christ.  We are no longer God’s slaves or servants but beloved sons in Christ (Romans 8:15) and God now relates to us as a loving and kind Father (more on our new relationship with God in part 6).

2.8  THE CROSS CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

John 16:7  “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor [The Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you”.

Prior to the cross, under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit came upon certain godly people at certain times for a certain purpose. But His presence was not permanent. The Spirit was understood as the power of God that came and went as and when God determined. Due to man’s un-atoned sin, the Holy Spirit could not live within people but only “come upon” them in a temporary way. After the cross, under the New Covenant, the sin condition of man was dealt with and the Holy Spirit came through Jesus Christ to abide in His Body the church;  all those who believed and are regenerated. The Holy Spirit is now a permanent seal and guarantee within all those who are saved. The Holy Spirit is now understood to be the third person of the Trinity and not just a force or power. The power of the Holy Spirit is now released within and through believers for the ministry and work of God. It is life in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) that fulfils the purposes of the New Covenant. Under the New Covenant it is ultimately the Holy Spirit that teaches us and leads us into the truth (Jn.14:26) about Jesus, his grace and his kingdom. The Holy Spirit now writes God’s laws and decrees on our hearts and minds. Born again believers are guided from within and no longer by others imposing laws and rules on them.

2.9  THE CROSS RELEASED REVELATION

John 12:16  “At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realise that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.” 

2 Corinthians 3:14  “But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.”

Before the cross there were certain aspects of God’s kingdom and Jesus’ teachings which could not be fully understood (Luke 9:44-45). Firstly because those under the Law of Moses were spiritually blind and had a spiritual veil over them which stopped them from understanding God’s grace and God’s true purposes. Secondly, because it is only the witnessing of the cross; Jesus, death, resurrection and ascension that clarifies and fulfils the Scriptures. Jesus warned his disciples that prior to the cross and the infilling of the Holy Spirit there were certain things that they simply could never understand (Matthew 15:16, 16:11) and other things that were still to be revealed, such as God’s grace and gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17) which could not come through ministry of the earthly Jesus but only through the ministry of the heavenly Jesus, our great Heavenly High Priest.

2.10 THE CROSS REVEALED THE FULL GOSPEL OF GRACE

Galatians 1:12, “I did not receive the gospel (of grace) from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”

During His earthly ministry Jesus never fully revealed salvation by grace, he simply alluded to it and displayed it in practice (John 8:1-11 and Luke 15).  After the cross, the glorified Jesus (John 12:16) revealed even more aspects of the kingdom and grace to the Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:12). In a sense, this was the final revelation and clarification of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. All other Scriptures need to be interpreted in the context of Jesus’ final revelations and scriptural teachings given to the Apostle Paul who was caught up into heaven and taught by the glorified Christ (2 Corinthians 12:2).

2.11  THE CROSS DISARMED SATAN

Colossians 2:15, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”.

Under the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1) which was later reinforced by the Mosaic Law, God allowed Satan to accuse and afflict those who sinned. This satanic power of condemnation and affliction has been removed through the cross. Satan no longer has any legal rights to attack or afflict those who are in Christ. In Christ and through the cross, we now have victory over the enemy and we have a great High Priest and mediator in heaven, Jesus Christ, who intercedes for us and defends us.

2.12  THE CROSS CHANGED THE COVENANT

Hebrews 9:15, For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.   

Colossians 2:14, Having cancelled the written code (the Law), with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

New Testament believers now fall under the New Covenant alone, not a mixture of the old and new. Believers now reading scriptures from the time of Mount Sinai onwards need to understand that any conditions are not applicable to them as believers as they are fulfilled in Christ. The blessings apply but the curses and punishments do not as they were taken by Jesus.

2.13  THE OLD COVENANT

Prior to the cross the Law of Moses was the only covenant effectively in force through which people could relate to God. Gentiles who wanted to know God had to convert to Judaism and come under the Law of Moses.  The terms of this covenant are harsh and deadly as it was based on an unattainable holiness and righteousness that no man could fulfil. There were blessing and curses (Deuteronomy 28) based on ones behaviour. However no one could be justified (just as if they never sinned) and saved through keeping the Law of Moses (Galatians 2:16) as they always failed. The sole purpose of the Law is to lead people to Jesus, God’s Saviour (Galatians 3:24) and remind Israel of the Abrahamic foundation that righteousness and justification  is actually by faith alone (Galatians 3:8).

2.14  THE NEW COVENANT

Hebrews 8:6-13  The ministry Jesus has received is as superior to the ministry of the Jewish High Priests as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the New Covenant is established on better promises.  For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant [of the Law], no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their  God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and I will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

The Old Covenant is about us  and our performance “you must, if you, if you …”, thus doomed to fail (Read Deut 28). In contrast the New Covenant is focussed on God’s grace and his performance and therefore guaranteed to succeed.  In the above scripture God says “I will” six times. The shedding of the blood of Jesus as atonement for sin heralded in this New Covenant of grace in which sins are forgiven and forgotten. This New Covenant was no longer just for Israel but opened the door for all the Gentiles to be saved as well. The New Covenant fulfilled and replaced the Old Covenant for all those who believe in Christ. The good news is that the blood of Jesus, instead of our own blood, is the blood seal for the New Covenant. The terms and conditions of the covenant are fully and eternally fulfilled by Jesus and not by us. The New Covenant is unique in a sense that it is intrinsically between two persons who are one; God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We as believers, have access into this covenant not as ourselves but only as part of the Body of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) which we are included into when we believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. One of the easiest ways to understand the New Covenant is that it was prepared by the loving Father for His Son. It is a relational, marriage agreement between His Son, Jesus, the bridegroom and the His Bride, the church (John 3:29, Revelation 19:7). The good news of this covenant is that there are blessings upon blessing (John 1:16-17) and abundant overflowing grace.

In light of the above teaching spend some time reflecting on the finished work of the cross and write down what it means for you personally and what significance you believe it has today:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

List any other Scriptures that link in with this theme of the finished work of the cross:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

PART 2. LESSON 2:  THE NEW COVENANT

3.  MINISTERS OF A NEW COVENANT

2 Corinthians 3:3-9.  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone [The Ten Commandments] but on tablets of human hearts.   Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter [The Law of Moses] kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone [The Ten Commandments were written on tablets of stone], came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,  will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?   If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!

3.1  MINISTERS OF TRUE SPIRITUAL LIFE

The New Testament is strong on the fact that we are ministers of the New Covenant of the grace of Jesus Christ and not of the Old Covenant of the Law. We are called to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, the cross, forgiveness for sins, blessings and His grace. This is what brings about true spiritual life (zoe) that changes people and the world around us. When preaching in synagogues, Paul taught from the Law and the Prophets to reveal Jesus. However we have no record of him ever preaching the Law and the Ten Commandments to convict sinners or Gentile unbelievers. Paul teaches (Romans 2:15) that it is the conscience of Gentile sinners that has already convicted them of sin – not the Ten Commandments. The above Scriptures clearly state that the Ten Commandments are a ministry of death and condemnation and the opposite of the New Covenant Ministry of the Spirit which reveals our Righteousness in Christ.  This life and the terms of the New Covenant are unique to Christianity and they are the good news that we proclaim.

3.2  SCRIPTURES THROUGH THE EYES OF THE NEW COVENANT

John 5:38-39  Nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.

The Scriptures take on a completely different meaning for those reading them under the Old Covenant of the Law and those reading them under the New Covenant of grace. It goes without saying that the way you read a contract or agreement depends on what party you are to that contract or agreement. The Law was made between Israel and God. When you place yourself under the Law, your purpose in reading Scripture will then become to understand the  laws, principle, statutes, rules and regulation that you need to fulfil to uphold your side of the agreement. The Bible then becomes a rule book. On the other hand, the New Covenant of grace was made between God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. For those who have been included in Christ by grace through faith, all the requirements of the New Covenant were fulfilled on the cross (Galatians 2:20). Our purpose in reading the Bible then becomes to see Jesus, His New Covenant and the good news of His grace. It is no longer a book of rules but instead a love story about relationship between God, His Son, His beloved children in Christ and the kingdom he has prepared for them. As New Covenant believers, when we read the Old Testament we must now read it on the basis that all the conditions have been fulfilled by Christ. Where people were punished for sin, we now see that punishment on Jesus, where people were cursed for disobedience, we now see the curse on Jesus, where people got sick because of sin, we see health through Jesus’ stripes, and where people were disqualified because of sin we see Jesus as our qualification. This is the good news of God’s grace – but, be warned it is offensive to those who want to do it by themselves. We now read the Old Testament with a new mindset, always pointing to Jesus as our fulfilment of the Old Testaments and its conditions. It is no longer about “We must”, but now it is about “Jesus has.”

3.3  MINISTERS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The relationship or place of the New Covenant in regard to the kingdom is as follows:  Jesus is the King who reigns and rules. Born Again believers are the citizens and ambassadors of the kingdom. The constitution of the kingdom is the New Covenant. The system of governance is God’s grace. The Administrator of the Kingdom is the Holy Spirit. The Law is love. The manifesto of the kingdom is glory to God and salvation for mankind.

3.4  IT IS GOD’S GOODNESS THAT LEADS TO REPENTANCE

Romans 2:4  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Under the New Covenant it is the goodness and love of God that leads to true repentance and changed lives, not the Law. The key issue is that we are now ministers of life that comes through preaching Jesus and His grace, not ministers of the Law that brings death and condemnation.

Can you find any incidents in the New Testament that would bear this out? List as many as you can find:

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3.5  WHAT ABOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

Paul is clear that the Law is dead to New Covenant believers and ministers (Ephesians 2:15) and the Ten Commandments are not part of our ministry. He states that a ministry that preaches the Ten Commandments brings death and condemnation, not life. Maybe this is why so many of us are sick and so many are dying? Admittedly, a ministry preaching Law and grace may have some glory, just like Moses had some glory – but it was fading. I have always been puzzled as to why over the years we have seen revivals, healings, anointing, moves of the Spirit and salvations just fading away after a while (2 Corinthians 3:11). This is because we mix Law and grace and where there is Law, the glory fades because it is based on our performance and self-effort which we just cannot keep up. Law gives glory to man, grace gives glory to God (more on the Law in part 3).

3.6  THE NEW COVENANT IS NOT A MIXTURE OF LAW AND GRACE

Most of us have grown up hearing a gospel that is a mixed message of Law and grace. Basically, we are saved by grace but have to live by Law, rules, regulations and methods instead of in grace, by the Spirit and the Word. Because of this mixed gospel many believers are experiencing the fruit of the Law , which is condemnation, death, spiritual dryness, a lack of joy, a sense of never being worthy, guilt, fear, ill health, very few miracles, minor signs, and little wonder, no passion (2 Corinthians 3:7). Mixing grace and Law is robbing the church of her true inheritance. Law-based Christianity is killing churches and believers all over the world and also driving people away from God – they can never make the grade, they always fall short, they burn out trying to do enough.

The good news is that we are righteous in Christ and blessed by Jesus’ grace (John 1:16-17), as grace is the way to overcome all the sin we see around us (Titus 2:11-12). We live in an amazing time when the Holy Spirit is bringing us into a full understanding of the power of the cross and that Jesus is our all in all. Not only are we saved by grace, but as God’s beloved children, we live in grace.

We are not ashamed of this gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. This is the gospel that has power (Romans 1:16) to revitalize the church, change people and change the world.

3.7  OUR PUNISHMENT AND AFFLICTIONS ARE ON JESUS

Isaiah 30:20  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. (this is from the Old Covenant),

Because of the cross, what was true under the Old Covenant of the Law is no longer true for those under the New Covenant of grace, especially with regard to God afflicting us and punishing us.

              a.  THE OLD COVENANT

Under this old agreement no one was born again, no one was called a child of God, no one was filled with the Spirit (the Spirit of God only came upon certain people at certain times). Prophets had to hear God for the people, priests had to present prayers on the people’s behalf. Righteousness was based on good works and perfect Law keeping. Under the Covenant of the Law God’s judgment and wrath against sin and self righteousness resulted in death, sickness, affliction by evil spirits, punishment and curses (Deuteronomy 28) coming upon those who sinned, backslid, rebelled and disobeyed until such time as they repented and to God. Adversity, affliction, sickness and hardship was used to train God’s people (Isaiah 30:20). It wasn’t good news, as Israel’s history proved, they never made the grade and suffered greatly for it (Romans 9:30-10:4).

              b. THE NEW COVENANT

Under this new agreement, believers are born again and are a new creation, we are children of God, the Holy Spirit permanently lives in us, we have a personal relationship with God, we hear Him and He hears us when we pray. Our righteousness is Jesus and is imputed to us by faith. our sins are forgiven and forgotten and we now have the power to say no to sin. We are not under the Law. We do good works because we are under grace and not to get right with God. Our punishment for sin and curses were taken by Jesus on the cross. God trains and teaches us through the Holy Spirit and by the Scriptures not through adversity, affliction and sickness.

So what is the bread of adversity and the water of affliction in a New Covenant sense? Simple, we point to Jesus. His body suffered adversity and affliction for our sake and it becomes for us the bread of adversity and affliction, and thus the bread of Life as it reminds us of His suffering and death for us so that we could have His life now – that is why we regularly celebrate communion. When Jesus was afflicted on the cross by the spear in His side water flowed out along with the blood, this becomes for us the water of affliction. To walk in victory it is critical for us to be clear which covenant we are under, otherwise we will wrongly believe that God is cursing us, God is making us sick or God is giving us poverty so as to teach us and train us. We then justify our afflictions by Scriptures taken from the Old Testament and a covenant that we are not under, instead of looking to Christ and the cross. We then call Satan’s works, God’s work and wrongly suffer instead of standing firm in Christ against Satan’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11). If you believe you are being afflicted, are sick, are poor and are depressed because your loving Heavenly Father is punishing you or training you, ask the Holy Spirit to show you if this is really true. Receive freedom and blessings in Christ by the grace of God (Romans 1:16).

4.  COMMUNION IS A CELEBRATION OF THE NEW COVENANT

Luke 22:17-20  After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

We are called to celebrate the New Covenant that came through the shedding of the blood of Jesus and the punishment of his body. Jesus said we should remember his death and celebrate his death. Why? Because he died in our place, so it’s good news for us, it’s something to celebrate and be thankful for.

4.1  COMMUNION CELEBRATES GOOD NEWS

Under grace, the Lord’s Table (communion) becomes central to Christian life, as it is a focus on the finished and all sufficient work of the cross and Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2.2). The Lord’s Table is a celebration of the good news of the New Covenant. It is a spiritual party and feast! It is a remembrance of the grace that came through the cross. It is a remembrance of Jesus’ death that has made us righteous, i.e. right standing and relationship to God. It is not a remembrance of the Old Covenant and Law. It is not a remembrance of our sins, it is not a remembrance of our unworthiness.

 4.2  IT IS A CELEBRATION OF GRACE

Communion is a physical sign of God’s gift of grace given through the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus. Having complete freedom to break bread and drink the cup of salvation together should be a central part of our fellowship. It is a celebration and reminder of the price Jesus paid to set us free from the Law and our slavery to sin. Communion is a wonderful reminder that God himself suffered and died for us (1 Corinthians 11:26) so we may have a full abundant, grace-filled, life. It is a reminder that we are to trust only in grace for our righteousness and not ourselves. The cross of Christ is the only thing that qualifies us in God’s eyes and that is good news, as it takes the pressure of performance off us, as grace is free and without condition to all who would believe.

4.3  IT IS A REMINDER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOT OF OUR SINS

1 Corinthians 1:30  Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

Communion is a reminder of our righteousness in Christ and not of our past sinful condition or our present failings. When we come to the Lord’s communion table we have to examine and judge ourselves to ensure that we are in belief – belief as to the finished work of the cross. We are to be focussed on Christ’s righteousness imputed to us by faith, and not on our sins. God declares that He has already forgiven us and remembers our sins no more, we must not make Him out to be a liar by denying this by being sin conscious all the time (more on the forgiveness of all sin in part 4). We have to judge ourselves as to if we believe that His body broken and blood shed on the cross was sufficient, that he has purified us from all sin and made us righteous, once and for all time. Or perhaps we erroneously believe that the work of the cross has to be added to? We do this by thinking on or accounting as credit before God, our good works, confession of sins, devotion time, prayers, and Bible reading time, etc. (these are good but not when offered to God as credit). If we come to communion with this mindset of adding to the work of the cross we make a mockery of the sufficiency and finished work of Christ’s suffering and death. The sin of unbelief in the finished work of the cross is the sin we need to deal with when we are in grace – moral sin is the fruit of unbelief and the Law. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of this unbelief, we don’t have to do it (John 16:9).

4.4  NO ONE IS WORTHY, EXCEPT BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Isaiah 64:6, (KJV) But we are all as the unclean thing, and all our (self) righteousness’s are as a menstruation cloth.  

Only the righteousness and holiness that Christ gives us is good enough for God. Even as believers, any righteousness or holiness that we bring based on our good or bad actions is still like used menstrual cloth to God, Yuck! We can only take communion in a worthy way by relying on the imputed holiness of Jesus given to us by grace (more about righteousness in part 5).

4.5  WE CELEBRATE NEW COVENANT HOLINESS

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence.”

Many feel they cannot partake of the Lord’s Table because they are not “holy” or worthy enough. What a lie and a deception! The simple truth is that no one is worthy to take communion if their focus is on their actions and sins instead of on Christ’s righteousness freely given and received by faith (1 Corinthians 1:30). Sadly many believers judge their holiness by comparing themselves with others. If we think we are holy because of the way we live and think, and the brother next to us is not because he has been sinning, then we have become self-righteous and are in danger of becoming Pharisees. If we judge ourselves by our actions and thoughts instead of who we are in Christ then we are still lost in sin. However if we rightly judge ourselves as righteous and holy in Christ we can approach God’s throne boldly, as for us it has become the throne of grace  and no longer the throne of judgement (Hebrews 4:16). We all know that as believers our daily actions may still fall short of God’s holiness – we all continue to miss the mark to some degree. But this is no longer the issue with our Abba Father. He no longer relate to us according to our sin or sinlessness, but purely through Christ. God sees all believers as righteous in Christ. The fruit of knowing Jesus is (His) holiness – however if we think we are better than others then we deceive ourselves. We cannot come to the Lord’s table with a superior attitude but only with humbleness, knowing that only grace is sufficient.

It’s exactly in this situation that the good and proper purpose of the Law comes into effect as the Law always show us we fall short and cannot rely on our holiness based on our actions but only true holiness given to us (imputed) by Jesus. Anyone coming to the Lord’s Table claiming to be holy on a comparison or works basis is coming in an unworthy that dishonours the work Jesus did on the cross and the Paul warns us that this is dangerous.

4.6  NEW COVENANT HEALTH FOR ALL WHO BELIEVE

1 Corinthians 11:25-27  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.  But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

Interestingly, this is the only place in New Testament where it explains one of the reasons why Christians are sick and dying. This is a teaching on health and sickness that revolves that around The Lord’s Table. It is critical that we consider this carefully and have a clear understanding of what it is saying, as this is one of the keys to health. Firstly, to state the obvious:  our Abba Father does not want to harm us because we have acted irreverently or in a wrong way during communion. The wine and bread do not become poison because we mistakenly partake in a wrong way. To imply either of the above is tantamount to blasphemy against the cross, the New Covenant and God’s grace. Sadly many have been taught exactly this. False teachers imply that very thing that represents and brings life actually brings sickness – that is ridiculous! We believers are children of a good and loving Heavenly Father who cares for us and calls us His beloved children. God never ever inflicts sickness on His beloved children.

              4.6.1 LAW-BASED COMMUNION BRINGS DEATH

The Old Covenant of the Law brought sickness if one did not perform (Deuteronomy 28) – it is bad news. Coming to the Lord’s Table with a law and works mindset and belief system is spiritually dangerous. Law and grace cannot be mixed. Grace plus law equals law and law produces death! The Scripture 2 Corinthians 3:6-17 is clear that the Law cause death and we all know that death normally comes through sickness. The context of 2 Corinthians, including the teachings on the Lord’s Table, is that law based Christianity denies the work of the cross, brings death, ill health and condemnation and we need to free ourselves from the law and the dead works it requires and trust only in grace! (more on the Law in part 3).

              4.6.2 WHY ARE SO MANY SICK?

There is huge controversy over the issue of sickness among believers and it is not the purpose of this course to address this issue in detail. However, the reality is that many believers are weak and sick and grace is the solution to this. As we look briefly at the relationship between health and grace we need to clarify that people are not sick because they have not confessed their sins or not dealt with some relational issue and thus been afflicted by God.  There are many causes of sickness, the main one being the fallen creation we live in and the over busyness and stresses of modern life. However the scriptures indicated that one of the possible reasons that some  believers are not gaining victory in their health is because they cannot accept the full sufficiency of the cross for them personally and are unable to enter into the rest of grace. Many take communion in an unworthy manner because they think Jesus’ bloody body, crushed, broken and spat upon was not enough for their full salvation, sanctification, justification, healing and righteousness. Sometimes we do not live in health because we find it hard to believe that Jesus did enough to earn it for us on the cross. Deep down we are in the “unbelief” as to our worthiness and this manifests in ill health. When we live under condemnation we sub consciously believe we deserve to be punished for our sins or lack of performance for God. Sickness can be a fruit of this wrong belief. Sadly my experience as a pastor has shown that many sick people often feel they need to do something to earn their healing and they desperately try to make bargains with God instead of simply resting in his love and grace.

Believers who come to the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner means simply that they have not rested from their own dead works (Hebrews 4:9),  law keeping and sin and condemnation consciousness. Often guilt, stress, busyness , anger and negativity overwhelms their lives and depression and sickness is the fruit. Every loving father wants to see his children well and healthy,  how much more so with Abba! Trusting him, and abiding and resting  in grace and the finished work of the cross leads to good mental and physical health.

4.7  THE NEW COVENANT OF LOVE

Jesus, the exact image and representation of God, always healed and never ever wished sickness on anyone. No earthly father would do such terrible unloving thing to his children, how much less so would the God, who bore our sin and diseases in His own body on the cross. So let us treat any teaching or belief that God afflicts and disciplines us through sickness with the contempt it deserves understanding that it is not valid for those under the New Covenant. Regularly celebrating at the Lord’s Table will in fact bring us increased health as it will remind us of what was won for us on the cross and by the stripes of Jesus!

4.8  GROUP WORK

During the group time, discuss the following statement and Scriptures in light of the teachings of covenant and how we can apply them both in our own lives and when proclaiming the good news to the lost. Discuss any other pertinent points that these teachings have highlighted.

“The New Covenant is reconciliation between man and God and the time of grace.”

Colossians 1:20, “Through Jesus, God has reconciled to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

Ephesians 1:7, “In Jesus we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

5. GROUP EXERCISE  QUESTIONS:

5.1 What is a covenant and how is it ratified?

5.2 What covenant are Christians under?

5.3 Describe the basic terms of this covenant.

5.4 What covenant was Abraham under?

5.5 When did the covenant of the Law start?

5.6 What covenant was Israel under prior to the Law?

5.7 When did the New Covenant start?

5.8 who or what is the principle focus of the New Covenant?

5.9 What was God’s response to sin under the Old Covenant of the Law?

5.10 What is his response under the new covenant? Can you think of a scripture to back up your answer?

5.11 How does one enter into the New Covenant?

5.12 Are we all ministers, if so what do we minister?

5.13 What leads people to true repentance. Can you quote a scripture. How do you feel about this?

5.14 What are other names for “The Lord’s Table”?

5.15 Write a paragraph on what “The Lord’s Table” is about.

5.16 Write a paragraph on grace and the New Covenant and share it in your group.

Now that we have laid the foundation of the New Covenant, established that we are only under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant, which is grace,  and explained the difference between the Old and New Covenants, next we will look at the Law of the Old Covenant  and explain its purpose and application.

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6. ON LINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDBACK

This course can be done electronically. It should ideally be done in a networked group setting, with a minimum of five people so that an active discussion can take place and different viewpoints explored.  Those doing the course at a distance by Face Book or Email should answer these questions and discuss them in their  study group either on line or at a group meeting. Queries can then be emailed to us at study@gracelovetruth.com and we will endeavour to answer any questions that are unresolved by the end of the course.

This course if free but we do ask that you  send us the names and emails of all participants so we can get their feedback and input and keep in contact with further course updates. Email information will be kept private and confidential.

 

 

 

 

 

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ten3

PART 3. LAW & GRACE.

 PART 3. LAW AND GRACE

INDEX

PART 3. LESSON 1.

 INTRODUCTION

1.  THE PROBLEM OF THE MISUSE OF THE LAW

1.2  THE LAW IS GOOD

1.3  LAW KEEPING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS ALIENATES US FROM CHRIST

1.4  THERE ARE VARIOUS LAW SYSTEMS THAT AFFECT US

2.  THE LAW OF MOSES

2.1  WHERE DID THE MOSIC LAW COME FROM?

2.2  THE TORAH REVEALED BOTH GOD’S GRACE AND LAW

2.3  LEGALISM

2.4  JESUS CONDEMNED THE PHARISEES

2.5  WHAT ASPECT OF THE LAW WAS BEING MISUSED?

3.  THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW

3.1  THE GREAT NEW TESTAMENT DEBATE

3.2  THE LAW OF MOSES IS PERFORMANCE BASED

3.3  THE MOSAIC LAW BRINGS A CURSE

3.4  MOSAIC LAW WAS ONLY OUTWARD CLEANNESS

3.5  MOSAIC LAW CANNOT NOT BRING REAL RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS

3.6  THE LAW CONDEMNS

3.7  MOSES REPRESENTS THE LAW

3.8  THE MOSAIC LAW BRINGS A FADING GLORY

3.9  PENTECOST

3.10  IS THE LAW OF MOSES IS SIMPLY A MORAL CODE?

4.  GOD’S HIGH STANDARD OF HOLINESS

4.1  THE LAW REVEALS GOD’S HIGH STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

4.2  THE LAW EXPOSES OUR INABILITY TO SAVE OURSELVES

4.3  LAW EXPOSES OUR SINFUL NATURE

4.4  THE LAW INCREASES SINNING, TO MAKE US DESPERATE

4.5  THE LAW REMINDS US OF OUR SIN AND OUR NEED FOR GRACE

4.6  THE LAW POINTS TO THE NEED FOR A BLOOD ATONEMENT

4.7  LAW HIGHLIGHTS OUR NEED FOR SUPER GRACE

4.8  THE LAW POINTS TO JESUS WHO ALONE CAN SAVE US FROM SIN

4.9  THE LAW IS FOR THE WICKED

PART 3. LESSON 2.

5.  FOR BELIEVERS THE LAW IS NOW OBSOLETE

5.1  CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW

5.2  LOVE – THE LAW OF CHRIST

6.  THE  CONTRAST BETWEEN LAW AND GRACE.

6.1  LAW IS ABOUT US, GRACE IS ABOUT JESUS

6.2  JESUS SOMETIMES PREACHED LAW BUT DISPLAYED GRACE

7.  THE LAW AND GRACE AFFECT

7.1  ZACCHEUS AND THE RICH RULER

7.1.1  THE RICH RULER & THE LAW (Lk.18:18-24).

7.1.2  ZACCHAEUS, THE RICH TAX COLLECTOR AND GRACE

8.  JUDIAZERS

8.1  GROUP TIME

9.1  EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA LEARNERS

9.  GROUP QUESTIONS

PART 3. LESSON 1.

 INTRODUCTION

John 1:17  “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”.

The Law was given by Moses for to people to obey and do. But grace and truth came through the person of Jesus. Unlike the Law, grace is not something we do but it is someone we receive, Jesus. When we received Jesus as Lord we receive grace.  The purpose of this part of the course is to explain what the Law is, it’s purpose today, how it should be used in the context of the New Covenant and how the Law has be erroneously applied and misunderstood  in a way that is undermining grace and believers identities in Christ.

An important part of understanding the grace that is ours through the living Word, Jesus Christ, is that we have a firm Biblical foundation on which this grace is established. This is so that the intimacy, hope and blessings that come with Jesus’ grace cannot be undermined. As you go through this study course we ask you to spend time looking up all the scripture references quoted in brackets and allow the Holy Spirit to establish the Word in your heart and mind.

1.  THE PROBLEM OF THE MISUSE OF THE LAW

1.2  THE LAW IS GOOD

1Ti 1:8  “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly”.

Let’s be clear from the start. We are not anti the Law. God makes it clear in scriptures what the purpose of Law, and it is good when it is used to expose unrighteousness and our need to be saved. The problem is that many have assigned the Law a different role to that which God intended – a roll that often opposes or belittles grace or adds conditions to God’s grace. There is a great debate that runs throughout the New Testament letters “What is the purpose of the Law”? There is obviously a proper reason why God gave the Law to Moses. The Law is God given and good if used in the way that God intended. Close examination of the New Testament scriptures clearly reveals the very special purpose of the Law and we will start looking into this in this.

1.3  LAW KEEPING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS ALIENATES US FROM CHRIST

Gal 2:21 ” I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Gal 5:4  You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

To be alienated from Jesus! What a powerful statement and terrible thing to happen, and yet this is exactly what the Scriptures teach happens when we embrace the Law. Ask most Christians what causes people to fall away from God’s grace and their answer would be sin. However this is not true, it is actually  the Law that  causes one to fall from grace. When we use the law to gain and maintain righteousness it is an offense to God. On the other hand the Scriptures teach that sin actually causes grace to increase (Rom.5:20). The Scriptures also teach that misuse and the wrong application of the Law can;

1. Alienate us from Christ (above)

2. Nullify God’s grace (above).

3. Dishonour the work of Jesus on the cross (above).

4. Curse God’s people (Gal.3:10)

5. Gives sin its power (1Co.15:56)
6. Provokes sin (Ro.7:5)
7. Produces lust (Ro.7:8)
8. Increases sinning (Ro.5:20)
9. Condemns us (2Co.3:9)

10. Bring God’s wrath upon us (Ro.4:15)

These are all horrible things and to avoid them and live a blessed and holy life it is crucial that we understand what the Law is, it’s purpose and how it should be applied today.

 1.4  THERE ARE VARIOUS LAW SYSTEMS THAT AFFECT US

As we study the Law we first need to clarify that we all live under a number of law systems which tend to interact. Firstly there are natural laws. These are scientific laws like gravity, inertia, sowing and reaping. Generally we are bound by these laws. However when we move in the supernatural these natural laws can be overcome. Miracles are a manifestation of this truth. Secondly there are secular laws. The civic law of the land. We are called to obey the civic law as far as possible. Provided they don’t oppose the Word of God. Thirdly there are spiritual laws. The Scriptures define a number of spiritual Law systems, the main ones :

i) The Law of Sin and Death (The Old Adamic Covenant).

If you sin you die both spiritually and physically Gen 2:16-17Rom8:2-4.

ii) The Law of Moses (The Old Mosaic Covenant).

If you obey all the ten commandments all the time, you will be blessed. If you fail in any one aspect at any time, you are cursed Deut. 28:1-68.  Blessing and curses are based totally on your performance. It’s bad  news!

iii) The Law of the Spirit of Life. (The New Covenant).

If you are ‘born again” the Spirit of Christ lives in you. You are righteous and in Grace. You now have full abundant physical and spiritual life along with God’s abundant blessings. Rom. 8:2-4. John 1:16-17. It’s good news. These are the laws we are concerned with. The world cannot understand the spiritual (1Cor.2:14), but as Christians these spiritual Law systems need to be understood as they affect our spiritual and physical well being.

2.  THE LAW OF MOSES

2.1  WHERE DID THE MOSIC LAW COME FROM?

The Torah  is the first five books of the Old Testament which were written by Moses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew word Torah means written instruction or teaching. Within the Torah a number of covenants are revealed, the last one under which Israel still falls is the Law of Moses given on Mount Sinai. This Law Covenant contains six hundred and thirteen Mitzvot or commandments (Go to http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm if you would like a list) , ten of which we know as the ten commandments. This we refer to as The Law. Over the centuries the Jewish Rabbi (teachers) have added thousands of sub laws or traditions to the Law of Moses. These are recorded in the Jewish books known as the Talmud and Midrash. Each Rabbi formulates a set of interpretations of the Torah and these were referred to as “his yoke” as they were often, heavy, controlling and burdensome (Lk.11:46). One of Jesus’ roles was that of  was a Jewish teacher. Jesus said in Mat 11:28-30   “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” as he considered the teachings of the Rabbi of the day to have missed the point. They were legalistic and lacked God’s grace.

2.2  THE TORAH REVEALED BOTH GOD’S GRACE AND LAW

It is a mistake to think that the Torah only revealed The Law. The Mosaic Law was just one part of the Torah which prior to Sinai revealed God’s grace and gift of righteousness to Abraham and his offspring. In fact the Abrahamic Covenant is the overriding covenant of blessing which shadowed and pointed to the coming New Covenant in Christ. We will examine the prophetic role of Abraham and Sarah in Part 5 on Righteousness. The Torah shows the contrast between Abraham who lived by faith and Moses who commanded people to live by laws.

2.3  LEGALISM

The problem with regard to the Law is not actually the Law but legalism. Legalism, in Christian theology, is a usually pejorative term referring to an over-emphasis on discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigor, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of law at the expense of the spirit. Legalism is alleged against any view that obedience to law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle of redemption. The words ‘legalism’ or ‘legalist’ do not occur in the Old or New Testaments. Legalism’s root word, “law” (Greek nomos), occurs frequently in the New Testament, and sometimes connotes legalism. The Greek of Paul’s day lacked any term corresponding to the distinct position of “legalism”, “legalist”, or “legalistic”. One concept of legalism, the belief that salvation can be earned by obedience to laws, is referred to in various New Testament books, including Galatians. In this case, some Jews who had become Christians believed that in order to obtain salvation, both faith in Christ (as Messiah), and obedience to the Mosaic laws were required, such as the cases of the circumcision controversy and the Incident at Antioch. Generally, however, these cases are referred to as the Judaizer controversy, rather than a legalism controversy, but the two are related. Legalism refers to any doctrine which states salvation comes from adherence to the law. It can be thought of as a works-based religion. Groups in the New Testament said to be falling into this category include the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, Judaizers, and Nicolaitans. They are legalists because they emphasized obeying the Law of Moses, in the case of the Pharisees and Scribes, to the letter without understanding the concept of grace. Jesus condemned their legalism in Matthew 23. The Pharisees love of the praises of men for their strict adherence is said to be a prime example of legalism. Legalism is sometimes confused with obedience. New Testament books such as Romans, speak of grace and obedience together. An example is found in Romans 1:5 (NASV) speaking of Christ ‘through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake…’ The goal of receiving the grace was to bring about obedience of faith. Here grace, faith and obedience are tied together. Other references are in Acts 5:29, 32; Romans 16:19; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Hebrews 5:9. Legalism is also confused with discipline, which is often spoken of in a positive light. See 1 Corinthians 9:17; 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:7 and Hebrews 12:5–11. A third common misunderstanding of legalism is the word law. Law in many places in the Bible refers to the Law of Moses. In Galatians the Judaizers were trying to insist that salvation required that a person be circumcised prior to obeying the Law of Christ. Galatians 2:16 (KJV) says, “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” . The faith here is the Law of Christ and the law here is the Law of Moses. The legalism of the Judaizers was that obedience to the law of Moses was necessary to be saved.

2.4  JESUS CONDEMNED THE PHARISEES

Mat 16:21  “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”.

The Pharisees and teachers of the Law set themselves up as enemies of Jesus and the gospel. They were more concerned with defending their positions and traditions based on the Law and Moses than they were with truth from God. They actively and willingly opposed God’s will and the revelation of the new and better covenant of grace and the kingdom that Jesus was teaching. It is very significant that the teachers of the Law were the only people that Jesus ever condemned. Sinners he forgave and showed grace but the Pharisee and teachers of the Law he called snakes (Jn.23:33) and sons of Satan (Jn.8:44). Strong stuff and a warning to us today not to take on the same judgmental and legalistic spirit as the Pharisees.  He condemned them because they had misused the Law for their own advantage to control, manipulate and hold people in fear to them and the religious system they had set up that gave them power, prestige and money.

Luke 11:46 ” Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them”.

This is not essential for the course but when you have time read through Matthew 23 and make some notes on why Jesus condemned the Pharisees and how this would apply today.

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2.5  WHAT ASPECT OF THE LAW WAS BEING MISUSED?

Acts 15:5  “Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”

The debate in the New Testament is specifically about The Law of Moses. In the Apostle Paul’s day, as today, the law of Moses was being misused to control and condemn believers. The Law of Moses was being used by some believers to deny the effectiveness of the Cross. It is the legalism that the Christians with a Jewish background were preaching is the problem that Paul addresses in most of his letters. Likewise today the misuse and misapplication of the Law and legalism are undermining the gospel of grace.

3.  THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW

3.1  THE GREAT NEW TESTAMENT DEBATE

Gal 3:19  “What, then, was the purpose of the law”? 

There is a great debate that runs throughout the New Testament concerning the purpose and use of Law that was given by God to Moses. Jesus challenged Israel’s understanding and misuse of the Law and through Paul completely turned the whole Law based religious system upside down. In the early church, Grace preachers like Paul, were heavily persecuted by ‘Christian preachers’ who focused on the Old Testament Law. The early church experienced major divisions and conflicts over doctrines concerning Law and Grace. Most of Paul’s letters deal with this debate, along with the consequences of the false doctrines that focused on the Law instead of on the finished and sufficient work of the cross. Sadly, the Church is still plagued by the misuse of the Law and a lack of understanding of the place of the Law in the New Covenant. It is important that we understand what the Law is, why God gave the Law to Moses, what His intentions were and how the Law affects us today. Without this understanding we may be susceptible to  manipulation, condemnation and control by Law preachers as well as be guilty of dishonouring God’s grace and Jesus ‘finished and sufficient work on the cross.

 3.2  THE LAW OF MOSES IS PERFORMANCE BASED

Deut.28:1 ” If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God.”

At first appearance the above terms and conditions of the Law of Moses may seem like good news as it appears that blessings are for the taking. However close scrutiny of the terms of the covenant show that the blessings only come to those who fully obey the Law in all its aspects all the time. Not such good news after all. The blessings under the Law are a big  “if”. It’s only our constant obedience and performance that can result in a blessing. The Law is extremely conditional – “If you, if you, if  you….” is repeated over and over. The bad news concerning the Law is that there are only 13 blessings (Deut 28.1-13) but 54 curses (Deut 28.14-68).  This is not good news as curses outnumber the blessings 4:1. It is symbolically significant that the Law was written in stone – it was rigid and unchangeable. In contracts the New Covenant of grace are written on living hearts of flesh. The Law is an outside thing of works by effort which is imposed on people by others. The Law Covenant fell short because of man’s bad performance (Heb.8:8-9).

3.3  THE MOSAIC LAW BRINGS A CURSE

 (Gal.3:10) “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 

But the good news is (Gal 3:13) “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”   Most people think that it is sin that burses us, but in fact it is that it is the Law. The curse of the Law is bad news because everyone breaks the Law and therefore falls under the curses of the Law. The other bad news is that the Law increases the dominion of death as the Law gives sin and death increased power over us.  1Co 15:56  says; “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law”.

 3.4  MOSAIC LAW WAS ONLY OUTWARD CLEANNESS

Heb.9:13-15 “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant”.

The Old covenant fell short because of sin and a lack of faith. It could not take away sin. It only gave an outward appearance of holiness. It never changed peoples inner sin condition.

3.5  MOSAIC LAW CANNOT NOT BRING REAL RIGHTEOUSNES AND HOLINESS

Rom 3:20-24  “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.  But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (See part 5 on Righteousness)

3.6  THE LAW CONDEMNS

Deu 31:26  “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.

Deu 30:19  This day I, Moses call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

2Cor.3:9 says that the Law is a ministry that condemn and sentences us to death. The above scriptures makes it clear that even Moses knew that the Law actually stands as a witness against us. It a witness for the prosecution not for the defence. The Law exposes and announces everyone’s failure and guilt . In contrast when we are in Jesus’ grace he stands in our defence (1Jn.2:1) and intercedes for us (Heb.7:25). The Law condemns but grace acquits. Since the cross there is now no condemnation for those in Christ (Ro.8:1). Condemnation is one of the major conditions that grace addresses and sets us free from. (More in part 5).

 3.7  MOSES REPRESENTS THE LAW

Heb.8:13 “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear”.

Moses represents God’s Law and wrath, just as Jesus represents God’s grace and love. Because of Israel failure to keep God’s commandments Moses eventually became very angry  with God’s people. This did not please and honour God, therefore God took away Moses leadership. Moses died at God’s command, he never entered the promised land. This is because the Law could never take God’s people into the promised land only Joshua could do that. Jesus name in Hebrew is Joshua. Only Jesus can take us into all the promises of God make throughout the scriptures.

3.8  THE MOSAIC LAW BRINGS A FADING GLORY

2Co.3:6-8 “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8  will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?”

Only the ten commandments were ever placed on stone (Exo.24:10) not the ceremonial laws. The above scripture confirms that it is the Ten Commandments that brings death and condemnation when preached. It is interesting to note that there is a degree glory in the ministry of Law which brings condemnation. It came with occasional miracles and signs. Even today many Law preachers still manifest signs and wonders. But Scriptures teaches that the ministry of the Spirit is much more glorious. Mixing Law and grace causes the glory to fade. Legalism and control leads to infighting in the church which grieves (Eph.4:30) the Holy Spirit. This control issue is one of the reasons we have see so many anointings and revivals fade away. As we plunge deeper into grace and free ourselves from legalism so we will see the work of the Holy Spirit being permanently established in our ministries.

3.9  PENTECOST

The Jewish feast of Pentecost celebrates the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. Under this Old Covenant of the Law, Moses (Exo.34:30) shone with glory but also bought God’s wrath and condemnation through the decrees of the Law. This caused Sinners to flee in fear. 3000 died when the Ten Commandments were given and God’s wrath was provoked (Exo.32:28). In contrast, the first feast of Pentecost after the Cross was a completely different affair contrasting the difference between the Old and New Covenant and Law and Grace. Under the New Covenant of Grace the glorious ministry of the Spirit revealed God’s grace which attracted  sinners and caused 3000 to come to the Lord (Acts 2:41).

3.10  IS THE LAW OF MOSES IS SIMPLY A MORAL CODE?

Col 2:21  “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?  These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence”.

Christianity is not about obeying the ten commandments. Nor is it about trying to get other communities to do the same so that we can all be moral people. Christianity is about having an intimate relationship with a loving God, through Jesus Christ and proclaiming this good news to others…. this is what changes lives, communities and the moral atmosphere of  society. Christianity is not about living by a set of Biblical principles and rules…. one doesn’t  need a relationship with God to do that – all one needs is a list of Biblical does and don’t. Christianity is about a loving relationship with a God who speaks with us and guides us in everyday life. Our morality and righteousness can never come through the ten commandments, but only through being in a right and intimate relationship with a loving God.

Most of us have grown up believing the ten commandments (and other Old Testament Laws) are God’s moral code for mankind. There is no doubt that it is good to keep the ten commandments and that they offer good values for society. However from a Biblical perspective this is not the purpose for which God gave the Law (as we will see below).

There are many religions and societies that enforce very high moral standards e.g. Islam  …. but this does not make them righteous in God’s eyes. The Pharisees had very high moral standards but were far from God and were called son’s of Satan by Jesus. Victorian society proclaimed very high moral standards, based mainly on the ten commandments, but we now know that behind the thin veneer of decency was hidden corruption, debauchery and moral decay.

Right and moral living can only come from a relationship with a loving God, not through enforcing God’s Law.  It is only grace that enables us to live morally (Titus 2:11)  while a life focussed on Law keeping ultimately leads to moral failure, condemnation and a judgmental attitude towards other.

 

4.  GOD’S  HIGH STANDARD OF HOLINESS

4.1  THE LAW REVEALS GOD’S HIGH STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Rom2:13  “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous”.

Mat.5:20-28 v20 “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven”.

From day one mankind thought they could get right (righteousness) by their own works or ways (Gen.3). However the Law of Moses was given to emphasise an impossible standard of righteousness that no man can keep, except Jesus. Even the Pharisee’s fanatical self righteous law keeping was not good enough (Mt.5:20). Jesus confronted them in their wrong belief and exposed the truth that any righteousness based on self effort and good works simply fell short of God’s holiness. Jesus even preached a type of hyper law (Mt.5:20-48);  pluck you eye our, cut your hand off, just for even thinking or saying bad things – just in case anyone thought they were righteous enough. Jesus came to kill off any hope in our own independent self righteousness. Jesus’ was pointing to a new type of inner righteousness by the Spirit. (More on this in part 5.).

An analogy is: A group of people are locked in a room and are told that anyone who wants to get out has to jump and touch the ceiling. Now, a few put in huge effort and one or two eventually do it, and are set free while the rest remain captive in the room. The ceiling is reachable by a few with enough effort. However the exercise is repeated and the ceiling is raised by another three meters. No matter what anyone does they cannot touch the ceiling, it is simply beyond their reach. If they want to get free they cannot rely on their own effort or work but simply have to cry out for mercy and grace. So it is with the Law.

4.2  THE LAW EXPOSES OUR INABILITY TO SAVE OURSELVES

John 7:19  “Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Rom 9:31-32  but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” Act 13:38  “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses”.

The law: “Given to bring us out of our deception that we could ever save ourselves. God revealed what real holiness is for those who think, I’m close. I’m a pretty good person. He gave a standard of holiness that was so detailed—step one through ten thousand—that it was impossible for anyone to ever keep it. The purpose of the law was to drive us to our knees, saying, “If this is what God demands, I can never keep it!” The law wasn’t given so we could keep it. It was given to show us that we could never keep it. Once we’re aware of this, we find ourselves shut up to the fact that we need a Savoir. We realize that forgiveness and mercy is the only avenue on which we’ll ever have right standing with God. That was the purpose of the law.  Imagine being in a large room with many people. If God walked in and said, “You must all jump up and touch the ceiling or die,” what would you do? If the ceiling was only eight feet tall, you might be able to jump high enough to save yourself. But what if the ceiling was thirty feet tall? You might be able to jump higher than someone else, but if thirty feet was the minimum, you’d be doomed. All you could do is plead for mercy. Likewise, God raised the bar so high through the law that no one can measure up. It was to show us that none of us can save ourselves. We need a Savoir!”  (Andrew Womack)

4.3  LAW EXPOSES OUR SINFUL NATURE

1Jn 3:4  “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. Rom 3:20  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin”.

Rom 7:7  What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

Gal 3:11  Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.”

The law: “A stick is crooked, but you do not notice how crooked it is until you place a straight rule by the side of it. You have a handkerchief, and it seems to be quite white. You could hardly wish it to be whiter. But you lay it down on the newly fallen snow, and you wonder how you could ever have thought it to be white at all. So the pure and holy law of God, when our eyes are opened to see its purity, shows up our sin in its true blackness, and in that way it makes sin to abound. But this is for our good, for that sight of our sin awakens us to a sense of our true condition, leads us to repentance, drives us by faith to the precious blood of Jesus, and no longer permits us to rest in our self-righteousness. It was the practical result of the giving of the law that men became greater sinners than they were before, and it was the design of the law that they should see themselves to be greater sinners than before. The law is the looking-glass in which we see our spots, but it is not the basin in which we wash them away. The law has a provoking power, for such is the perversity of our (old) nature that, no sooner do we hear the command, “You shall not do so-and-so,” than at once we want to do it”. (Charles Spurgeon)

4.4  THE LAW INCREASES SINNING, TO MAKE US DESPERATE

Rom 5:20  “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more”.

When we realise the problem we have with sin we are able to turn to God for forgiveness and grace. However the proud and self righteous cannot see their sin problem was as a humble sinner can. The Law points all, but especially the religious and self righteous, to the need of God’s grace.

4.5  THE LAW REMINDS US OF OUR SIN AND NEED FOR GRACE

Heb.10:1-3. The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins”.

The Law is a constant reminder of both sin and failure to attain God’s holy standard. It could never make anyone clean of sin or perfect. The annual reminder of sin, on the day of atonement was in fact an annual reminder that  Israel needed a savior as they could not stop sinning by themselves. Likewise today, we all need to be saved.

4.6  THE LAW POINTS TO THE NEED FOR A BLOOD ATONEMENT

Heb.9:22 “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”.

Through shadows and types the Law as always pointed to Jesus, the lamb of God and his blood atonement for sin. This is the glory of the Law, to point to Jesus. Starting from God shedding an animal’s blood to cover Adam and Eves nakedness, through Abel’s lamb sacrifice, the Passover lamb and the animal sacrifices of the temple, Jesus, the lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world was being revealed (Jn.1:36).

4.7  LAW HIGHLIGHTS OUR NEED FOR SUPER GRACE

Rom.5:20-21 “Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”.

New Testament scripture teaches that The Law actually adds to our transgressions, showing even more clearly our need for grace. We all blow it, we all sin, all the time! Albeit to lesser or greater degrees. In response to our weaknesses God provides us with super abounding grace (Greek word huperperisseuo). On the cross Jesus overpaid mankind’s debt of sin. Through Jesus, the Father now gives us grace not only for our sins but also for our blessing.  A helpful analogy would be one of a rich person depositing a huge amount of money into a bankrupt friend bank account that not only paid off all his debt but put him into a place of huge credit which enabled him not only to buy all the things he needed but also all the luxuries he desired.

Grace did not set aside God’s Law and the debit we incurred through it, but rather grace completely satisfied it.  As deep as sin goes, God’s grace goes deeper. As wide as sin is, God’s grace is wider. When sin abounded, grace super-abounded even more.  God’s grace is greater than all our sin. Grace is the only thing that truly enables us to overcome sin Titus 2:11-12. However performance orientated Christianity makes us double minded in this regard. We believe that when we are good we are in grace and can receive God’s love and blessing. But when we are bad we fall from grace and we become legalistic and sin focused.  We will look more at the issue of sin in part 4.

4.8  THE LAW POINTS TO JESUS WHO ALONE CAN SAVE US FROM SIN

“Gal 3:19  “What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come”.

Gal 3:24  “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.  John 1:45  Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Act 28:23  “They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.”

The most excellent and the primary purpose of the Law is to show all people their depravity and self righteousness and that all need for Jesus as our Lord and Savior. This is the ultimate and Godly most critical purpose of the Law.

4.9  THE LAW IS FOR THE WICKED

1Tim.1:9-10 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.

The Law still has a place in the lives of unbelievers to set a standard for society and define sin. Unbelievers are not lead by the Holy Spirit and therefore may need the law to define what they already really know in their consciences. However this is no longer necessary for believers who are lead by the internal law of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

 

PART 3. LESSON 2.

5.  FOR BELIEVERS THE LAW IS NOW OBSOLETE

5.1  CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW

Mat 5:17-18  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished”

John 19:30  “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” 

Rom 10:1-4 “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes”.

Jesus said the Law would never pass away until he had accomplished his mission to fulfill the Law on the cross. With Jesus fulfillment of the law through the cross (Col.2:14) Jesus proclaimed the judgment of the Law to be finished and fulfilled when he died in our place on the cross.  What is finished and fulfilled has legally become obsolete and been superseded by a new and better covenant. For believers under the New Covenant of grace the Law has passed away. For those still living by or under the Law, the Law is still valid but it is gradually fading as more and more are saved by grace.

If we are saved and born again we are not under the law but under grace and the Law no longer has any part in our lives (Ro.6:14).

5.2  LOVE – THE LAW OF CHRIST

Gal 6:2  “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”.

The good news, the gospel, is that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection fulfilled and effectively cancelled the bad news of the two Old Testament Law systems that cursed us. The Cross brought in the New Covenant law system of grace known as The Law of The Sprit of Life (Rom.8:1). For those who believe and are filled with the Holy Spirit there is freedom from the old externally applied law systems. God’s  way of living is now written by the Spirit in our hearts and consciences. In addition to the law of the Spirit of life Paul refer to the “law of Christ” (Gal.6:2). There is debate within the church as to what the law of Christ actually means. However if one reads Gal.6:2 in context it is clear that it is addressing how to practically live out the Law of the Spirit of Life and how to fulfill Christ’s new command to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). The law of Christ is “love” for love fulfills all religious laws, rules and regulations (Rom.13:8-10)(Jas.2:8).

 

6.  THE  CONTRAST BETWEEN LAW AND GRACE.

6.1  LAW IS ABOUT US, GRACE IS ABOUT JESUS

John 1:16-17  From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another for the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

THE LAW                                                                                    GRACE

Focused on us                                                                 Focused on Jesus

Is based on works                                                             Based on rest (Heb.4:1-6)

Is about doctrine & rules (Deut 30:10)                  Is a person, Jesus. (Rom5:15)

Leads to self righteousness (Rom.9:31-33)       Imparts righteousness. (Rom.3:20-21)

Demands of you.                                                              Imparts to you.

Condemns the best of us.                                           Saves the worst of us.

Brings death. (2Co.3:7)                                                 Brings life. (2Co.3:6)

Demands righteousness.                                           Gives righteousness.

Is focused on sin. (Joh.9:2)                                         Is focused on our righteousness in Christ

Defines sin. (Rom.7:7)                                                   Reveals true holiness

Leads to hardening of heart.                                   Leads to repentance.

Stirs up sin.                                                                         Overcomes sin (Ro.6:14).

Results in condemnation. (Rom.8:1)                     Affirms us.

Leads to people being cursed. (Gal.3:10)             Blesses us twice over (Joh.1:17)

Brings sickness (Deut:28:61)                                      Brings health (Acts 10:38)

Is fear driven.                                                                       Is love founded.

God is fearful (Ex.20:18)                                                 God is loving (1Jn.4:10).

Is about our self effort.                                                   Is our rest and peace in the cross

Causes us to be self focused (“I must”).              Is Christ focused (“Jesus has”).

Leads to control.                                                                Leads to freedom.

God will not clear sin to 3-4th generation.         God will never remember our sins.

Focuses on our obedience.                                      Focuses on Jesus’ obedience.

We serve God.                                                                     Jesus serves us.

We are God’s servants.                                                 We are God’s children

Angels are God’s representatives                           We are God’s ambassadors

Is conditional (“If you…”) (Deut 30:10).                Is unconditional (“Because Jesus has…”)

Is purpose driven.                                                             Is Spirit lead.

Is of outward appearances.                                       Is of a heart (inner) state.

Is flesh.                                                                                  Is Spirit.

Is to be achieved.                                                             Is received.

Is works based.                                                          Is faith based.

Exercise: Add any more contrasts that you believe may apply with scriptural references where possible.

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6.2  JESUS SOMETIMES PREACHED LAW BUT DISPLAYED GRACE

Jesus obviously knew that The Law was given to expose self righteousness and for bringing people to an end of themselves. This is the only reason Jesus preached the Law from time to time.  He never preached The Law to condemn people.  The Jewish teachers of Jesus’ day, the Scribes and Pharisees, had totally misunderstood the purpose of The Law of Moses. They used it for the exact opposite purpose for which it was intended.  They taught that people could be saved and holy by obeying The Law. (Our teaching on righteousness in part 5 will show that this is the exact opposite of God’s intention).

Jesus preached the Law to show that no one could ever be saved by keeping the Law and that all fall short, all have sinned (Ro.3:10-20) and all need a Savior and Grace. Jesus never preached the Ten Commandments as an external moral code for man to live by or for a way of obtaining righteousness. Jesus knew that righteousness and right living can  only come about through a heart transformed by God’s grace and by living in a love (Jn.13:34) whose source is God himself, the Spirit within us. Let’s be honest, we all would like to keep the Ten Commandments, but the truth is that we all fail like Israel did – no matter how hard we try. The good news is that under The New Covenant, our role is to recognize that we fall short of God’s holiness standard, we therefore rely on God’s grace and find rest in Christ from the Law. The Law just brings terrible condemnation and death (2Cor.3:7-9) so we need to get free from it. It is only from position of grace that we are able to live in the way God desires: a loving, generous, holy life full of the fruit of the Spirit. Right living flows from a heart that is full of grace and love, which can never come about by trying to obey the Law. Traditionally we have been taught that Jesus preached Law for believers to aspire to and live by. However we have missed the truth that both Jesus and Paul used The Law in a different way, in the way for which it was originally intended i.e. to expose the sin of self righteousness, pride and the sin of unbelief. Moral sin flows out of unbelief, moral sin is the fruit of man’s pride and independence from God not the fruit of grace. This misunderstanding of the purpose of the Law has led to confusion in the Church and has resulted in an erroneous deadly mixture of Law and grace that has produced terrible fruit in many Christian lives.  Looking at the two parables of the Rich Ruler and Zacchaeus help us understand how Jesus correctly applied Law and Grace with amazingly different results.

 

7.  THE LAW AND GRACE AFFECT

7.1  ZACCHEUS AND THE RICH RULER

There are two linked Bible stories reveal the differences between the effect of The Law and the effect of grace. Jesus gave the Law to the self righteous while to the humble and lost he showed grace.

               7.1.1  THE RICH RULER & THE LAW (Lk.18:18-24).

Luke 18:18-23 “A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”19 Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’  “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

This parable typifies the Principle that to the self righteous Jesus always preached The Law.

The context of this parable is that Jesus speaking this parable to  men who trusted in themselves, their righteousness was something they had earned through the Law of Moses and consequently they despised others who they considered to be “sinners”. Jesus was out to expose the primary sin of pride and self-righteousness that the Law of Moses was producing in the religious Jews. He was also starting to reveal God’s grace once again to Israel. Jesus knew that the exposure of self righteousness is crucial, as the self righteousness cannot see the need for salvation, after all who needs to be saved if they are righteous through their own efforts. Self-Righteousness is the ultimate manifestation of man’s pride, man’s self sufficiency and the fallen nature of mankind. The issue of righteousness by self effort or righteousness by grace is in fact the key theme of Scripture, it is crux of the Cross and is one of the keys to fully understanding the Kingdom and the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Rom.14:17).

Points from the story of the Rich Ruler: Jesus’ intent in this encounter was not to give us another impossible Law to obey “You must sell everything and give all your money to the poor”. Jesus was actually exposing self-righteousness and the bondage to money from which self-sufficiency and self-righteousness often flows. Jesus was responding to a very specific question (v18) from a self-sufficient and rich ruler who asked: “What must I do to inherit Eternal Life?”. The rich ruler’s question reveals the foundations of self-righteousness i.e. self effort. This trait happens to be particularly pertinent to the rich because they are self- sufficient, able and  “doers” based on the erroneous and arrogant belief that we are able “ to do” things that make us worthy, holy and sufficiently qualified to spend eternity with God.

Jesus is also addressing the fallen assumption that if we are good we don’t need a Saviour and God’s grace. Jesus demolishes the mistaken belief that we can obey laws and keep the Law to the perfect degree that God’s Holy Law demands. Jesus’ usual response to people wanting to ‘do things’ to get saved was to preach the Law in an extreme form. In this case it was “Go and sell everything, give it to the poor and follow me“. Jesus knew that the rich ruler believed he was good, able and righteous. Jesus also knew that he was obsessed with money. Despite his claim of having kept The Law since childhood, through his money making, he had actually repeatedly broken the Law “Thou shalt not covet”. Sadly the rich ruler was blind to this fact. For the rich ruler ever to be saved Jesus had to first reveal his self-righteousness, spiritual blindness and bondage to money. What is interesting is the actual affect the preaching of Law had on the rich ruler. Did he repent? No! Instead he hardened his heart and turned away from Jesus because he realized he could not do what the Law required. In a way it seems like a strange story. No one was saved, no one repented and no one followed Jesus.  However it needs to be said that firstly, the rich ruler missed the point of Jesus’ teaching. Secondly, not everyone is saved and the Lord gives us freewill to turn away if we choose. Thirdly, the sermon was not wasted as the listening crowd understood what was being taught and responded in the right way to Jesus’ teaching. The response Jesus was looking for was actually for people to understand their precarious position and cry out for God’s grace. Luke 18:26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

Some of the lessons we can learn from the Rich Ruler. Self righteousness is a strong deception and bondage which spiritually blinds people. The religious-rich are particularly prone to self righteousness. No one can save themselves by keeping The Law. Law preaching results in condemnation and turning away from Jesus. Law preaching just reinforces how much we fall short and fail. Preaching The Law doesn’t get people saved. Preaching The Law does not lead to repentance.

Thankfully Jesus also didn’t leave us with just this story as He desired to teach us what happens when we preach the Law and what happens when we share grace.  The teaching continues and Jesus reveals the way of grace in the very next chapter. And thank God the results are astoundingly different!

              7.1.2  ZACCHAEUS, THE RICH TAX COLLECTOR AND GRACE

Luke 19:2-10  “A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.  All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a “sinner.’”  But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”  Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

The  context is that the rich man in this story is called Zacchaeus which means “an Israelite”. He was a Jew just like the Rich Ruler and as such he was also under the Law of Moses. Zacchaeus was a very rich Jewish tax collector who worked for the Romans. These tax collectors exploited and defrauded the Jewish people and they were intensely hated. The Jews considered him to be a traitor, a sinner and unclean (v7) -no one would associate with him.

What is crucial in this story is for us to see that Zacchaeus was desperate to have an encounter with Jesus. This desperation for Jesus is what determined Jesus’ actions and response to Zacchaeus. Unlike the Rich Ruler, Zacchaeus’ focus was not on ‘what he should do’ but on who Jesus was. This rich man humbled himself and climbed a tree just so he could see Jesus. This must have been quite a sight and quite an effort for this short man. Jesus’ response to the rotten and corrupt Zacchaeus was one of pure love and grace.  “ Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” This was amazing as Jesus knew that Zacchaeus was despised and a “sinner”. Jesus also knew that his offer to go to Zacchaeus’ house would offend people as Zacchaeus was clearly a Law breaker. However in stark contrast to Jesus’ response to the Rich Ruler Jesus never preached the Law to Zacchaeus. Jesus never once pointed out his sin or that Zacchaeus lacked anything. Jesus never indicated that he required Zacchaeus to do anything. He never condemned Zacchaeus in any way. Jesus simply showed him Grace and acceptance – by coming to his house to eat.  The affect of Jesus’ Grace and acceptance is nothing short of miraculous and is in stark contrast to the Rich Ruler who turned away from Jesus. Zacchaeus is overwhelmed by Jesus’ grace and he welcomed Jesus and was full of joy (v6). He received salvation through Jesus (v9&10). The kindness of Jesus causes him to repent of his sinful way of life (v8). He was contrite and humble of heart and confessed his sin. Without being told what to do, his heart led him to do what was righteous. He was set free from his bondage to money. He showed a heart for the poor and needy. He set out to make right the affects of his past sins.

It must be clearly understood that it is not his actions of giving away his money that gained him salvation and righteousness. Giving his money away was the result of his meeting Jesus, experiencing grace and receiving salvation.  True salvation and grace always results in a transformed character and Godly good works that are from the heart.

There are a number of  lessons we can learn from Zacchaeus. When people seek Jesus he responds in grace because Jesus is grace! Jesus shows grace to those who are humble and not self righteous. When we share grace; God’s unconditional love and acceptance, people will be saved. It’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance, not the Law. People don’t need the Law to know that they are sinners and fall short in some way. Repentance is a change of mind, a change of belief which results in a change of actions. True ‘good works’ come from a heart transformed by grace. A  heart touched by grace will show concern for the oppressed and needy.

To conclude. The preaching religious Laws exposes peoples short coming but it doesn’t bring people to salvation. There is a better way than preaching Law, revealing God’s love and grace through Jesus Christ. Not only does the grace of Christ bring people to salvation but it transforms people’s characters and enables them to live righteously.

8.  JUDIAZERS

“Judaizers is predominantly a Christian term, derived from the Greek verb ioudaïzō  “to live according to Jewish customs”. This term is most widely known from its single use in the Greek New Testament in Galatians 2:14 where Paul publicly challenges Peter for compelling gentile converts to early Christianity to “Judaize”. This is also known as the Incident at Antioch. This term also includes groups who claim the necessity of continued obedience to the Law of Moses found in the first five books of the Old Testament although this is sometimes disputed by members of these groups – notably the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as the term Judaizers is typically used as a pejorative. Most Christians believe much of the Old Covenant has been superseded, while some modern Protestants believe it has been completely abrogated and replaced with the Law of Christ. Thus, “one who has Judaized”, refers to a Christian who has accepted the necessity of adhering to the Mosaic Laws or to specific laws that are believed to be superseded, such as circumcisionSabbath observance, or observation of the Passover. The ongoing Christian debate over Judaizing began in the lifetime of the apostles, notably at the Council of Jerusalem and the Incident at Antioch, and parallels the ongoing debate about Paul the Apostle and JudaismProtestant views of the Ten Commandments, and Christian ethics“. (Wikipedia).

Reading scripture in context and using scripture to interpret scripture. There is an indication that Pauls thorn (Ezek.28:24) in the flesh (2Co.12:7) was not some sickness from God as many would have us believe, but the constant attack and Paul’s angry response to the demonically inspired (2Co.11:13-14) Legalists and Judiazers, false apostles, who purposely followed behind him and constantly undermining his preaching of the gospel of grace. God’s answer to this problem was that grace was sufficient to overcome them and Paul’s fleshy response. Historically this proved to be the case.

 

 8.1  GROUP TIME

1)  A scriptural exercise in legalism: Read through the following scriptures and then write some short notes on what they are  saying about legalism and misuse of the Law in the early church.

Act 11:2  “So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him”.

Acts 21:20  “When James and the elders heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law”.

Gal 2:11-16  “When Peter came to Antioch, I, Paul opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.  When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified”.

Gal 2:4  “This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves”.

Php 3:2-3 “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh”.

Tit 1:10-11  “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain”.

Col 2:8  “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ”.

Col 2:16 “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ”.

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2) Discuss and write down the purpose of the Law.

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9.  GROUP QUESTIONS

What is the Torah?

Who were the Pharisee?

What was their focus?

Who did Jesus condemn and why?

Name some of the different spiritual laws.

What does the scriptures say about the ministry of the law in 2 Cor.3?

What is the law of Christ?

What can nullify grace?

Was grace revealed in the Old Testament, give tow incidences.

List five purposes of the Law.

What does Pentecost celebrate in the Old and New Testaments?

Did Zacchaeus fulfil the Law in any way?

What spiritual laws apply to believers today?

9.1  EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA LEARNERS

If you are doing this course by Email it should ideally be done in a networked group setting with a minimum of five people so that an active discussion can take place and different viewpoints explored.  Those doing the course at a distance by Face Book or Email should discuss the questions below in a study group either on line or at an actual group meeting. Individual should then answer the questions and email a copy to us at study @gracelovetruth.com for evaluation as this will help us to see the effectiveness of the teachings and how to improve them. We will endeavor to answer any questions that are unresolved by the end of the course. This course is free but we do ask that you  help promote its use by telling your friends and other churches about it. Also please send us the names and emails of all participants so we can keep in contact with further course updates. All Email information will be kept private and confidential. Please answer the above questions.

 

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christ-is-the-end-of-the-law

Law in the New Testament

Q: WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACH ABOUT THE LAW IN THE NEW TESTAMENT? A: THE LAW ALIENATES AND SEPARATES US FROM CHRIST AND GRACE!!!      quick link

If this is so, which it is, then why are so many ministries obsessed with preaching law? This is what the New Testament teaches to believers and it will blow your mind if you choose to believe.

Gal 5:4 (NIV) You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fall from grace. (KJV)) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.

The law alienates us from Jesus (Gal.5:4)
The law separates us from grace (Gal.5:4)(Gal2;21)
Seeking righteousness through the law means Christ died for nothing (Gal.2:21)
The law produces death in us (2Co.3:7)
Law keeping nullifies the promises of God (Ro.4:14)

Jesus has fulfilled the requirements of the law (Mt.5:17)
For believers Christ is the end of the law (Ro.10:4)
The law was cancelled on the cross (Col.2:14)
Jesus set aside the law (Eph.2:15)(H eb.7:18)
The law is now obsolete (Heb.8:13)
We are not under the law but under grace (Ro.6:15)
We are dead to the law (Ro.7:4)
We have been delivered and set free from the law (Ro.7:6)
Spirit filled believers are not under the law (Gal.5:18)
jesus paid
No one can be justified by the law (Gal.2:16)
No one can obtain righteousness through keeping the law (Ro.3:20)
Love has fulfilled the law (Ro.13:8)(Gal.5:14)

Those who try to keep the law are cursed (Gal.3:10)
Those who observe the law are under God’s wrath (Ro.4:15)

The law is useless in restraining lust and sensuality (Col.2:23)
The law gives sin its power (1Co.15:56)
The law provokes sin (Ro.7:5)
The law produces lust (Ro.7:8)
The law increases sinning (Ro.5:20)
The law condemns us (2Co.3:9)

ten3

The law is powerless, weak and useless (Ro.8:3)(Heb.7:18)
The law is just a shadow not the reality (Heb.10:1)

We are not ministers of the law (2 Co.3:6)
The law is for the unsaved Jew who are under the law, not for born again believers (Ro.3:19)(1Co.9:20)

Yes, the law is good when it is used to expose unrighteousness, sin and the need to be saved, but for us who are saved it has no purpose and is obsolete. Mixing law and grace dishonors both the cross and Christ. We are instructed to get rid of the Old Covenant and it’s law, as it has no part in Christian life (Gal.4:24-31).

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abraham1

Fitness, vitality, health & a long life

Abraham was a prophetic example of the New Covenant believer who lives by faith and grace.
(Gal.3:7) teaches that we are sons of Abraham and his blessing are our blessings (in Christ).
Abraham and his wife Sarah have something to teach us about old age. Their story is not there as some history lesson but as a living example of God’s grace.
When reading (Gen.24:1) “Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in every way” many assume that Abraham, was old and frail. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact at 135, after the death of his first wife, Abraham married a new young wife, had six more children and live another 40 years, prospering in all he did.  Also, the good news for the ladies, is that Abraham’s first wife, Sarah, was like a youth in her 80’s. She had a child, Isaac, was so beautiful that Kings desired her, and she lived another 40 years. What I’m saying is that their abundant full life started in their 80’s because God’s grace and favor changed the natural order of things. This is what miracles are, when God’s supernatural power overcomes the laws of nature.
The issue today is that many Christians are living according to the bad reports of the world concerning aging. People are getting fearful and depressed as the years go by. We are listening to all the bad news reports that at a certain age certain sicknesses and weaknesses will occur. This is a problem as what we fix our eyes on and what we believe, we will generally act out. abraham
Our call in faith is to fix our eyes on Jesus and now know that we no longer live by the standards and beliefs of the world. Instead we live by the Word and the Spirit. So let us reject the world’s ways, renew our thinking and our minds and see Sarah and Abraham as our example as we get older.
Be blessed, healthy and full of the abundant life of Jesus (Jn.10:10) as the years go by expect more not less. May the latter years be more blessed than the former years. Live in this grace.

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