Christianity 201

March 15, 2015

Where Does the Old Testament Law Apply in New Testament Times?

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:25 pm
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We continue with the weekend theme Greg started yesterday; this is from the blog Having Life, written by Robbie in South Africa.  Click the title below to read at source.

Is the Old Testament Law Still Applicable to me as a Christian?

 

I met a Christian the other day on campus and he was speaking about him not needing to keep the law because he’s been saved by grace. “The law is gone right? There’s only the grace of God who saved us.” And didn’t Paul say in Romans 10:4 that “Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Then I thought that there’s the other side where Christians try to keep the law because in Matthew 5:17 the Lord Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” And there’s this urge within us to be really good and to keep a requirement that someone put on us. So that’s why some people try to keep the law given to us.

Then another party may say “well there’s your proof that the bible is fake, the bible contradicts itself clearly in these two verses, the one says the law is over but the other that it needs to be fulfilled”

Just read on. The bible isn’t as black and white as it appears here. This is how I see this situation. So the way God dealt with His people in the Old Testament was according to the law; that was the basis for Him in receiving them. But in the New Testament the principle of how God deals with us is different; it’s by faith. We are believers who have faith in Christ, and that justifies us before God. That’s all He requires from us in the way He deals with us today.

What has ended is the principle of how God deals with people; He does it according to faith, not the law as He used to. Another thing that’s over are the rituals of the law that were meant to be kept, like offering sacrifices at the temple and keeping the Sabbath – so the “ritual law” is over, too. But the commandments of the law haven’t been done away with, in fact they’ve been uplifted to higher standard than they were before. This is seen in Matthew 5 where for example the Lord said not only to not murder someone, but to not even be angry with them in their heart. It’s Impossible right!? So here the Lord definitely didn’t remove the law in the way of “morals”, or the moral law. He actually made it higher and harder to keep. He definitely doesn’t want lawless people in His kingdom.

So when reading Matthew 5 of things like committing adultery not just being the physical act, but actually it being to look at a woman lustfully, what’s your response? Are we going to say “but there’s grace so it’s okay”, or will you say “let me try harder to not do it”? If you have the “it’s impossible, I’m hopeless, I know I’ll fail” response then you’re on the right track.

The Lord knows we aren’t able to keep His very high requirements, so the way we need to read them is not just as requirements but to see them as the capability of His life that is able to meet the demands that He places on us. However high the demand is, that’s how much the Lord can do for us by His divine life in us. Whatever He demands, that’s how much He can do.

Quick recap – Yes God does deal with us by faith through grace. The “ritual law” is over; we don’t need to offer up bulls anymore. But the “moral law” still exists and it’s higher than before, making it impossible for us to keep by trying – so it seems we are in a dilemma.

Okay, so here’s the drum roll verse to put the cherry on top of it all. Romans 8:4that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.” This is God’s thought here, the law can be fulfilled by us, it is possible, but it’s by those who see their own life as hopeless, they realize they can’t make it, and they choose the Lord’s divine life by walking according to the Spirit.

When we flee to Jesus to walk according to the Spirit then His life can do all that is required to live in His kingdom. So yes, the law is still here, we are not exempt from it, and until we stop trying by our natural life to keep it and learn to walk by the spirit in constant fellowship with God then we’ll keep falling short. The point is to walk according to the Spirit. This is quite an aspiration to have. And surely if you love someone you’ll walk by them.

January 28, 2014

How Were People Saved Before Calvary?

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:16 pm
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Today we’re doing two things: We’re looking at a question that people might ask you, one that you might have asked yourselves at times; and we’re introducing you to GotQuestions.org, a volunteer ministry of dedicated and trained servants who have a desire to assist others in their understanding of God, Scripture, salvation, and other spiritual topics.   Click the title to read this at source.

Question: “How were people saved before Jesus died for our sins?

Answer: Since the fall of man, the basis of salvation has always been the death of Christ. No one, either prior to the cross or since the cross, would ever be saved without that one pivotal event in the history of the world. Christ’s death paid the penalty for past sins of Old Testament saints and future sins of New Testament saints.

The requirement for salvation has always been faith. The object of one’s faith for salvation has always been God. The psalmist wrote, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12). Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abraham believed God and that was enough for God to credit it to him for righteousness (see also Romans 4:3-8). The Old Testament sacrificial system did not take away sin, as Hebrews 10:1-10 clearly teaches. It did, however, point to the day when the Son of God would shed His blood for the sinful human race.

What has changed through the ages is the content of a believer’s faith. God’s requirement of what must be believed is based on the amount of revelation He has given mankind up to that time. This is called progressive revelation. Adam believed the promise God gave in Genesis 3:15 that the Seed of the woman would conquer Satan. Adam believed Him, demonstrated by the name he gave Eve (v. 20) and the Lord indicated His acceptance immediately by covering them with coats of skin (v. 21). At that point that is all Adam knew, but he believed it.

Abraham believed God according to the promises and new revelation God gave him in Genesis 12 and 15. Prior to Moses, no Scripture was written, but mankind was responsible for what God had revealed. Throughout the Old Testament, believers came to salvation because they believed that God would someday take care of their sin problem. Today, we look back, believing that He has already taken care of our sins on the cross (John 3:16; Hebrews 9:28).

What about believers in Christ’s day, prior to the cross and resurrection? What did they believe? Did they understand the full picture of Christ dying on a cross for their sins? Late in His ministry, “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21-22). What was the reaction of His disciples to this message? “Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’” Peter and the other disciples did not know the full truth, yet they were saved because they believed that God would take care of their sin problem. They didn’t exactly know how He would accomplish that, any more than Adam, Abraham, Moses, or David knew how, but they believed God.

Today, we have more revelation than the people living before the resurrection of Christ; we know the full picture. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Our salvation is still based on the death of Christ, our faith is still the requirement for salvation, and the object of our faith is still God. Today, for us, the content of our faith is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Recommended Resources: Salvation: God’s Marvelous Work of Grace by Lewis Sperry Chafer and Logos Bible Software.