It is noticed with most believing Christians that they choose to abandon critical elements of the Christian faith just because other people groups have come to use these more than we Christians ourselves, so most Christian fear that to follow such ways though Biblical is not becoming of today’s believer. A few of examples of these are as follows:
i. Christians are scared to call Christianity (i.e. following Christ) ‘a religion’ because of the many ways that have come from men that refer to themselves as having their own identity as a religion but Christianity is thee religion and Bible affirms that in James 1:26-27.
ii. I’ve also noticed that Christians are apprehensive to use the term ‘God willing’ when they discuss their life’s goals, so as to not identify themselves with Islam but this teaching has originated from God’s word in the Bible (James 4:13-15).
iii. Today Christians think Evangelism is more effective when Church members are given the freedom to do what please themselves. After all these members are coming from stringent models of ritualistic living and we can get more people to join the Church when we all can do what we want to do, we only need to leave it in prayer to God to set everything right! This school of thought is referred to as antinomianism, which according to the dictionary is defined as: a person who maintains that Christians are freed from the Moral Law by virtue of grace granted in Christ.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
1 Cor 15
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
As Paul puts it in Rom 6:15, grace is not freedom to sin, which is what the antinomian leans toward but grace in the correct Biblical context is the purchase of divine sanctification and obedience through Christ’ redemptive works and it is this kind of grace that the Apostle Paul speaks of in 1Cor 15:10. You see when 1 Jn 4:10 speaks of Christ as the “Propitiation of our Sins”, it speaks of God overcoming natural man’s hatred for His righteousness, and irresistibly changing that man’s wicked nature to a nature which appeases God (Ezek 11:19). Propitiation is Biblical and makes sense only when one considers the truth concerning election.
1 Pet 1
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
2 John 1
6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
So we see from 1Pet 1:2 that the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is to bring the elect to obey Christ. Now if we are to obey Christ, we must know what His teachings are. Jesus said in John 14:15, if we love Him, we WILL keep His commandments. We ought to understand that Christ’ commandments are not just those which He gave us in the New Testament but those which He gave Moses and have existed since Adam. You see the ‘Angel of the Lord’ in the Old Testament is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
12 He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
14 Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”
15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,
17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
To take a small detour, I would like to explain the Deity of the Angel of Lord as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Check Gen 22:12, here the Angel of the Lord says to Abraham that he did not withhold his only son Isaac from ‘him’ but we know that Abraham was offering Isaac to God not just too any angel. From Gen 22:16 we see the Angel of the Lord swearing by Himself but who can righteously swear by anything else but God. In verse 18, the ‘Angle of the Lord’ attributes Abraham’s blessing because he obeyed His voice. We also see above that the Angle of the Lord speaks of God in the first person not third person. To elaborated further we know from Jn 1:18 (KJV) that it is the only begotten Son of God Jesus Christ, who ‘declares the Lord’. Even if we were to observe the etymology of names of the three Archangels (who is one Person- The Angel of Lord, the Chief [Mat 13:41] whom all the angels worship [Heb 1:6]), we see that these were the divine attributes of Christ.
The Archangel name ‘Michael’ means ‘Who is like God?’ (Col 1:15 points to Christ)
The Archangel name ‘Gabriel’ means strong man of God (Luke 11:22 points to Christ)
The Archangel name ‘Raphael’ means God has healed (Mat 13:14-16 points to Christ)
1 Thes 4
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Now coming to the Law of God, we must understand that there is such a thing as Ceremonial Law, Moral Law and Judicial Law. These existed since Adam, seen in Able offering the Lamb (Sacrifice – Ceremonial Law) and in the judgment pronounced on Cain for murdering Able (Thou Shall Not Murder Commandment – Moral Law and Judicial Law). The Ceremonial Law is also seen in Gen 3:21, when God gave Adam clothing made from animal skin (indicating sacrifice) when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden. Similarly the Moral Law and Judicial Law is also seen in Gen 2:16-17, where the love of unfallen Adam is called upon through total obedience to God’s commandments.
1) The Ceremonial Law
Today when Antinomians reject the Law of God as not required for the Christian they reject the Moral Law, Ceremonial Law and Judicial Law. It is interesting to note that when the Antinomians reads passages like Gal 3:15-29, they do not read it in its stated context of Ceremonial Law as indicated in Gal 2:3-4,12. It is important to note that every aspect of the Ceremonial Law was like a shadow which pointed to Christ (Heb 10:1) and since Christ has been revealed in person to us through God’s perfect word in complete scripture, we no longer keep to the ways of the shadow but this is only concerning the Ceremonial Law. Let us consider a few of these below:
The Old Testament Circumcision was of the flesh, which was to dedicate the individual to God. In the New Testament Baptism replaced Circumcision. As Rom 6:4 puts it, we are buried with Christ through Baptism. This is akin to the grain of wheat, which falls to the ground and dies (Jn 12:24) to itself and lives only for the Lord, which Saint Paul refers to as the Circumcision of the heart.
29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
B. Dietary Laws:
Concerning dietary law, the Old Testament taught that land animals with split hooves that masticated cud were fit for consumption, while with marine life only that with scales and fins were fit for consumption.
16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also?
17 “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated?
18 “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
20 “These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
I was once told a story that there was a man who was approached by a friend with an offer to contract kill a certain person, which he refused. He later was approach by the same friend to pillage, his neighbor’s property, which also he refused. Later he was approached again to despoil a certain woman and he refused again. Finally, this friend just invited him over for a drink (alcohol) and when he got drunk he went ahead with the contract killing, pillaged his neighbor’s property and despoiled that particular woman. This so much labels alcohol as bad and taboo but this is not the story’s crux, for the alcohol did not bring out anything more than what was already in that person’s heart.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
You see, issues concerning sin have lesser to do with alcohol / the internet / beautiful women than they have to do with our inherent nature to sin in the core of our being, which is our hearts. However, Ezekiel prophesizes of Christ that God will give us a new heart in which He has put his statutes and CAUSES us to walk in them.
26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
The world in its Adamic nature has always resisted God and His elect but the elect never receive and live by the standards of the world but only the Law of God. As Deut 8:3 says “man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” It is thereby seen that the Old Testament dietary Law are nothing but such shadows of receiving only the teachings of Christ as clean and fit to be lived upon while the teachings of the world are rejected as unclean and unfit for righteous living.
Animal sacrifices in the Old Testament go as far back as when an animal was slain to provide clothing for Adam and Eve after the fall in Gen 3:21 but this too pointed to the robes of salvation as in Is 61:10 i.e. the sacrifice of Christ, which would once and for all for pay the price of all sin, for that is the efficacy of God. You see according to the Ceremonial Law, the priest was first required to offer sacrifices for his own sin before he offered sacrifices for the people’s sin. This too pointed to Christ, for Jesus born of a virgin and was not subject to original sin as the sons of Adam. Christ’ human nature was an addition to his Deity and He did not lose any of His Deity in adding complete Manhood to Himself except without sin.
Note: Most English New Testament translation have it that ‘He emptied Himself’ in Phil 2:7 from which the ‘kenosis heresy’ has emerge but a more accurate translation for Phil 2:7 is that of the KJV, which states that “He made Himself of no reputation”.
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
Another aspect of sacrifice that we must consider is obedience and we see it 1 Samuel 15, where King Saul excuses his own disobedience to God’s commands by offering sacrifices, which does not truly highlight essence of what a sacrifice really is. However in Phil 2:8, we see the true aspect of sacrifice when Christ was obedient to God the Father to the point His very death. As Heb 10:1-10 puts it, the sacrifices commanded as part of the Ceremonial Law, were as a shadow (blueprint) of the Messiah who was to come.
1 Samuel 15
22 Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 Because you have burned sacrifices and have sinned against the LORD and not obeyed the voice of the LORD or walked in His law, His statutes or His testimonies, therefore this calamity has befallen you, as it has this day.”
All the seven Levitical feasts such as the Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Weeks (Pentecost), Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles (Booths) which were ordained by God in the Old Testament all pointed to Christ and His redemptive works. To expound on The Passover in Lev 23:5, it pointed to Jesus as the Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7) whose blood would be shed for the sins of His people. The blood of the lamb, which was to be applied to the doorpost (Ex 12:7, 23) indicated God’s mercy to that household on the count that the Lamb had perfectly satisfied the full wrath of God in the place of that household. It is notable to know that Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover during the same hour when the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal.
2) The Judicial Law
The Judicial Law was that which was given to the judges of the state (region) to exercise Civil Law in that region, weather that society was comprised of people who were of God or even if the society was cosmopolitan. From 1 Cor 6:4 we see that such judges were appointed in the New Testament just as they were in the Old Testament (Deut 6:18); the Judicial Law ensured that every individual received justice according to the circumstance, this justice included restitution.
18 “If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but remains in bed,
19 if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed.
39 ‘If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.
40 ‘He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.
11 “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’
12 “If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free.
13 “When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed.
14 “You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you.
1 “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
2 If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him,
3 but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
4 If the stolen beast is found alive in his possession, whether it is an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.
5 “If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets his beast loose and it feeds in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best in his own field and in his own vineyard.
Antinomian-Christian congregations, which is an oxymoron by itself has misconstrued Biblical forgiveness for they demand of their members a forgiving heart while denying that member the awareness of receiving restitution, which is Lawful and absolutely Biblical. This is seen in the New Testament too in the case of Zacchaeus where Salvation (forgiveness of Sins) was announced to his household, only after Zacchaeus promised to restore fourfold, those whom he had defrauded. It must be understood that just as God has set His precepts for men as to how to go about a godly lifestyle, in the same way, these regions where the government claims to operate under God, to these states, Christ gives the blueprint of Judicial law to administer moral conduct in that society, even if that society is cosmopolitan in nature.
3) The Moral Law
From Mat 5:17-19 we see that Christ did not come to do away with the Law but to fulfill it i.e. every aspect of the Ceremonial Law, which was foretold and pointed to His glorious works of redemption. These He came to fulfill that the faith of the prophets who spoke/indicated of him since Adam, may be revealed. So far where the Moral Law and Judicial Law are concerned, these remained in place to morally govern the individual and society under the Lordship of Christ.
17 “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.
18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
The Moral Law is also observed in the Ten Commandments, where the duty of the believer indicated in the first four commandments is to God i.e. to love/worship God with all your strength and mind while the following six commandments are toward one’s neighbor i.e. to treat your neighbour as you yourself would expect to be treated. I have indicated below the kind of commitment and love the Lord demands of the believer toward Himself and then toward one’s neighbor.
Deut 12 (toward the Lord)
11 then to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the LORD.
Deut 6 (toward the Lord)
13 It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—
15 for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
Deut 24 (toward thy neighbour)
19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.
21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.
To conclude, it is absurd of Antinomian-Christian Congregations that they oppose the Moral Law in governing the individual and the Judicial Law blueprint for the state but conveniently accept the system of tithing/giving to the Church that is taken from Paul’s letters in 1Cor 9:9 and 1Tim 5:18, which actually proceeds from the Law in Deut 25:4. It must therefore be noted that if there is any such thing as a standard for Christian living (John 14:15), it is as per the Moral Law given to the Christian whom God gives a new spirit of the Holy Spirit to exercise the Moral Law not in mere action but through initiation in thought (Mat 5:28).