Posts tagged ‘the Christian Standard’

God’s Law & How We Are Answerable!

This post is a tribute to my dear brother Melvin Everingham on his birthday. A man whom God has used as a conduit of His reproof and blessing in my life. Mel is someone I look upon as an elder brother for the study resources he has provided me to satiate my yearning to know the Lord. Another reason am writing on this subject is because Mel asked me to do so a while back.

Let’s take a look at Rom 2:12-16

Rom 2
12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

A look at the above passage helps you understand that the truth is: life is best enjoyed on God’s terms because life is powered by God (John 14:6). The unbeliever might see that there is no place for God in the world but what characterizes the world’s ignorance about God is their wishful thinking and their lack of interest to connect the dots, which comes from their nature to alienate themselves from the truth about everything including themselves. The reason the world finds truth generally bitter is because they are estranged from God. From the fall of Adam, man is a law to himself because the interest he serves is his own (not God’s) and when he looks at the world, he sees no future for himself in it and so his perspective on the future of world is one which is filled gloom and despair. Take a look at the popular movies like Mad Max, Resident Evil and Terminator created by unbelieving Hollywood, these movies showcase a future where the earth is desolate. The case of the unbeliever is thereby one of deep despair because no matter how far up the social ladder he is in life, he is not conscious of the fact that world exists to serves God’s purpose and not his own. So, the unbeliever in his conceit naturally fantasizes of the desolation of the earth for such is the fate he succumbs to outside God. The unbeliever from his incapacity to grateful to God, fails to understand that he couldn’t be where he is currently, with the kind of degenerate outlook he has towards life and God, but such is common grace and sovereign nature of God, that He is Lord over the unbeliever as He is over the believer, while He reveals Himself as a Saviour only to the believer through Jesus’ saving grace (John 1:12-13, 17-18).

Exodus 20:14 (Action)
“You shall not commit adultery.

Leviticus 20:10 (Penalty)
‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

Mat 5 (Intention)
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Before I talk about the verses above, if you are not familiar with the Moral Law of God, I would suggest you read about Judicial Law and Moral Law, so you would get a deeper perspective on the subject. Now we know that man was created in the image of God, in the sense that man was created to share the very nature of God. This nature is revealed in the Moral Law and hedged by the Civil/Judicial Law. It is within the confines of this Law that we can live and enjoy life to the fullest because we are simply men living in God’s world. You might ask, how can this be possible? My answer is, it is only possible in Christ because in Jesus, God overcomes our rebellion and supplants our fallen self-serving nature with a nature that yearns to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This is the spiritual rebirth a believer enjoys in Jesus Christ and it is this living spirit we share which make us brothers & sisters in Jesus because if blood can make people siblings since life is in the blood as the Bible teaches, then how much more does the life giving Holy Spirit make those who believe in Him, brother and sisters in Jesus. Now coming back to the scripture quoted above, we need to look at these in the light of Deut 6:8, which teaches that the believer both meditates and acts on the Law of God in his life because to bind God’s Law on your forehead refers to meditate on His Law while to bind His Law on your right hand is to be a doer of His Law. It is for this reason James 1:23 teaches that the Law of God is as a mirror (yardstick) into which the believer looks and works upon his own character in willingly yielding to God who calls the believer out of the world and grafts them to His family adopted in Christ (Rom 8:29). It must be understood that Jesus did not come to do away with the Law (Mat 5:17-20) but to enrich our understanding of it. In Mat 5:27-28 above, we see that Jesus is not merely emphasizing on how our actions must adhere to the Law but also how our thoughts must adhere to it as well as emphasized in Deut 6:8. This is made possible through spiritual regeneration in which we receive the mind of Christ (1Cor 2:16). This goes to show that we are answerable to God not just for our actions but also for our intentions (Prov 16:2/Jer 17:10). So the Judicial Law hedges the Moral Law in the sense, that it is when a person actions his wicked intention, by acting them out against his neighbour/s, that the Civil/Judicial Law kicks in and eliminates him from society in order to maintain the civil aspect of civilization. Now let’s continue reading from Mat 5:28 above, through verses 29 & 30 and though these are figuratively speaking, you will find some startling similarity with what it is said in Deut 17:6-7 (below).

Mat 5
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Deut 17:6-7
 On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.  The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So, you shall purge the evil from your midst.

For all those hyper-grace antinomians posing as Christians out there, I would like to add a small disclaimer to this piece I have written. Please note: we are not saved by the Law, we are saved by grace through faith alone (Eph 2:8-10). As much as a seed is not its fruit so to salvation is by grace through faith alone but we know that the seed is for real when it grows into a tree and bears fruit. The Christian life is not a lawless one, the Christian life has a Standard and that Standard is the Moral Law… the very nature/image of God in which we were made and restored to in Christ (Rom 5:17). As for the rapture believing premillennialist, it is the tares that go first because unless you haven’t noticed the wicked die early (Job 21:7-13). As for the #karma believing humanists of the world, please understand that that karma (Luke 6:38) you go ga-ga about, only protects your interest because as I sighted in Rom 2:12 at the start of this blog post, those who sin without the Law happen to also perish without the Law. For those of you who differ with me concerning what defines godliness, please know I have nothing personal against you. I am only focused on speaking the truth about God here and the truth about God is known make unbelievers uneasy, after all it reveals the intention with which your Creator made you, and though a Godly life is tough, the detour/denial is even tougher because there you are on your own. It’s either God’s way or the Highway. Finally, for those you who are seeking the Lord and feel God calling out to you in His Son Jesus (John 15:19), to you brother/sister I have a duty given me in the Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20) and I must tell you that God loves you as I leave you what Jesus requires of you. So, go in the peace of Christ to love and serve the Lord dear brother/sister.

Mat 22
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

God bless…

The Moral Law – The Christian Standard!

1John 2
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.

Mat 5
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.

Rom 6

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.

John 14
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).

Exo 20
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.”

Mat 22
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).

Mat 7
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).

John 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).

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