4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Pentecost, which many believe is the birth of the Church. I pretty much disagree with that because the very first Gospel message of Christ atonement was preached in Gen 3:15, almost immediately after the fall of Adam and Eve. For as long as there have been a people of God, the Church has existed; it is as Rom 3:23-24 says, that all fell in Adam but whoever is saved from their sin, their Salvation is by the merit of Christ alone (Is53:4-5), whether that be an Old Testament Saint or a New Testament Saint.
16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 28 (The Great Commission)
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The Law given Moses can be broadly classified into three types:
1. The Moral Law
2. The Ceremonial Law
3. The Judicial Law
The Moral Law was given the individual because it bore the very nature of God, the image of God which was broken in Adam’s disobedience but restored in the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17). The Ceremonial Law was given Old Testament Israel because these ceremonies pointed to the redemptive works of Jesus Christ (Heb10:1-10). The Judicial Law is what is given the State (not Church) to hedge the Moral Law and protect society from anti-social elements (1Tim1:8-11). Let me give you an example of how the Moral Law functions with the Judicial Law: Jesus says that we are not to lust after a woman even in thought (Mat5:28) because we as believers are accountable to God. Now the State, which deals all people (believers and unbelievers) in society, cannot penalize a person for bad thoughts but if a person were to act on those wicked thoughts, then the State has the power to prosecute that person. This is the difference essentially between the Moral Law and the Judicial Law, which serves to hedge morality in society.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
The rate of Biblical illiteracy we’re are dealing with today is appalling, among those who consider themselves as Bible believing Christians, only 1 in 5 of these have read their Bible from cover to cover. If I were to consider the Christian community at large, in a survey conducted: 82% of these ascertain that “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse, when it’s not. With the Christian community exhibiting such a shameful Biblical literacy rate, it is no wonder that Christians today haven’t the faintest idea that there is a Standard by which they are to live, if Jesus is indeed Lord over their lives.
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
This standard is the Moral Law, which is the new nature we receive in Christ (2Cor5:17), when we are born from above (Jn3:3). The antinomians believe in a Salvation of lawless grace (Rom 6:15) but these fools forget that the very desire for righteousness that is birthed in the believer when he/she receives Christ, is a desire to live by the Moral Law that is Christ’ Commandments because Salvation is twofold. Not only are the deadly wages of our sin charged to Christ but the very nature of Christ (i.e. His righteousness) is also imputed to us and it is for this reason we are sanctified us each day into the likeness of Jesus (Rom8:29).
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
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 foremost commandment.
39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Today, when many feel that they don’t need the Bible to teach them about God, I am reminded about the Apostle Paul who says in Rom7:7 that he would not know covetousness is sin, if the Law had not taught against covetousness. Then am also reminded of James 2:2-4, which happens in so many churches today, where the pastor’s interests in the poor man who desire to know God, is set aside for the rich man who comes to Church. I hope you can see that these discernments are spiritually ascertained (1Cor2:14) according to the Moral Law, where you ought to love God first as even over yourself (Mat 22:37) and second be considerate towards your neighbour just as you are concerning yourself (Mat 22:39).
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.’
Consider an average person today, he/she basis his/her need for communion with his/her neighbour on the basis of adultery or covetousness. It’s as the ungodly typically say: why should I hang out with that person, what has he/she got that I would make me want to hang out with him or her… such is the fallen mind-set of covetousness, which is sin. It is not that we are supposed to hang out with only poor people but our fellowship with others should allow us to question our motives. We ought to take our cue from 1Cor6:14-15 when it comes to fellowshipping with others. Yes, pray for your enemies and those who persecute you… be courteous to these but as a Christian you ought to remember that you will never be able to share intimate fellowship with an unbeliever because you are regenerated/sanctified each day in the spirit, to delight in God and His righteousness (Gal2:20) while the unbeliever submits each day to his/her own corruption delighting in the worship of their own lusts. This separation exists not from wishful thinking but this is what God has put in place from the very beginning (Gen3:15).
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
To conclude: for a Christian who acknowledges Jesus as His Lord and Saviour, it is critical that his/her life keep the Moral Law (Ezek36:26-27) not out of forced compulsion but out of his/her new nature to please God because such is the faith (James2:14-17) that every true believer in blessed with in Christ (2Pet1:1).