Monday, April 3, 2017
Writing to the Philippian brethren, Paul stated, “I had law-righteousness. I felt no guilt” (Philippians 3:6 IEB). Paul was referring to his being raised under the Law of Moses. However, after rebuking Peter for his hypocrisy, Paul stated to him and other Jewish Christians, “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” (Galatians 2:16 KJV).
In 1968 a church member asked me, “What is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament Laws?” My reply was, “Two different covenants, each with its specific laws.” There is more to it than that! Paul refers to the second covenant, which is the New Testament, as “the law of faith” (Romans 3:27). He also refers to it as “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). So, there is a New Testament Law. Yet, it is drastically different from the Law of Moses.
James, referring to the Old Testament Law said, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10 NKJV). Perfection was required, but never achieved. Paul sums it up by saying “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). The blood of bulls and goats was not sufficient (Hebrews 10:4). Only the offering of a sinless sacrifice could remit all past, present, and future sins! This freedom is not intermittent, but continuous. Paul shouted out the solution, “Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free” (Romans 7:24-25 TLB). That sacrifice would eliminate each “stumble” made by the individual keeping him “free from sin.” We are “free from sin” because we are dead to the old law by being “married to another” (Romans 7:4).
The book of Hebrews explains the differences between the two laws with the word “better.” The letter was written to Jewish Christians who were returning to the Law of Moses for their justification rather than putting their trust in the faith of Jesus for it ( Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:25-29). The view that one can justify himself by keeping law is foolishness. First, one sin destroys that position. Sin, regardless of which one committed, puts you in need of THE Savior! The idea that you can keep law, any law, and God owes you (you buy your salvation through your law keeping actions) is “another gospel.”
If you mentally change the law of the Spirit into one where you believe you can earn your salvation, foolishness is your reward! Some are so blinded by this concept that they believe if you disagree with them, you are rejecting obedience. Obedience is not the problem. This “another gospel” is by thinking anyone can be sufficient by never breaking one command. Satan is still telling people “Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:3). The idea that my obedience puts God in the position of owing ME is hazardous to my eternal health! It is a doctrine that glorifies the creature rather than the Creator! Ask yourself, “Did I earn my salvation,” or “Will I accept what Jesus did for me upon the cross and be grateful for his gift of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 5:21)?