God wants a lover not a "legalist"
the curse of the law
God Wants a Lover not a Legalist
In today’s society we have become inundated with am increasing number of laws, statues, precepts and traditional judgments that it is impossible for the average citizen to find his way without hiring a barrister for the minutest decision. Time has moved quickly and it is now mid-day in our society where a grammatical error can determine the outcome of a legal battle which can have costly results and affect the continuation of life. And because it affects the continuation of our livelihood, communicating for or speaking in one’s defense becomes an expensive and time consuming area of state law.
Now there are also religious laws and some have vigorously tried to separate Church from State unlike some who believe that the Church and State is an inseparable unit.
These Religious laws has been most problematic in Christendom; the main reason is that,
1. The church is in doubt as to whether to obey the laws and the traditions of the Old Testament or
2. To rely on their faith in God (the grace of Christ) through his Son Jesus who came to us because of the love of the Father. (By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast, Ep. 2:8,9)
What does Israel have to do with the law
Israel the small nation above all the nations of the earth was chosen because of Abraham’s faith to bring forth the God’s seed.
Jacob the son of Isaac who was Abraham’s promised child had taken his family had gone into Egypt at the request of his son Joseph, who had found favor with Pharaoh. Joseph had secured them a piece of land in Egypt called Gos-hen that they may escape the famine in Palestine but they remained in Egypt for 430 years.
They overstayed their welcome and God allowed the Egyptians to deal harshly with them to get them back to the land which he had promised Abraham and to fulfill the purpose for which they had been chosen.
On the way from Egypt Moses had taken the people to Sinai, God called him up to Mount Sinai and after 40 days Moses returned with 10 commandments written with the finger of God. He was used by God to assign the Levitical priesthood, other laws and statutes and to appoint men out of the 12 tribes to assist him in the administration of the people now called Israel taken from the name God gave to Jacob at the brook Jabbok.
The law had been given to God’s people so they could live a structured and a victorious life. But many of them believed the law to be burdensome while others used the law to their advantage.
But the laws listed in first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch) other wise called the books of the Law were revealed to Moses by God at Mt.Sinai. These laws were not designed to kill but to give life to the obedient through dying to self. Many were not willing to die to self and to them it became the agency of sin.
The Holman Bible Dictionary says that “Law refers both to the revelation of the will of God in the Old Testament and to the later elaboration on the law referred to as the “traditions of the elders” in the New Testament”.
Hence when Jesus came preaching the Kingdom, it was that he may fulfill the law and that upon fulfilling the law and with his blood sacrifice we might have abundant life.
And even today as ministers of God break the bread of life, the law is being unveiled as hungry souls search out for an increased communication with God. For as man’s knowledge of God increase so is his understanding and wisdom to the point where he his able to see Jesus revealed in the law and recognize that the penalty of or the curse of the law was fully paid (redeemed).
Now if the law had not been good Jesus would not have done them. But the law was good and for man it was like a mirror which brought him under condemnation because it showed him his raggedy life; that no matter how he tried he was unable to keep the whole law. It was like the laver (kiyor) in the temple where the High priest would wash and examine himself before proceeding into the holy place. (Laver was something round (as excavated or bored), that is, a chafing dish for coals or a caldron for cooking; hence (from similarity of form) a washbowl; also (for the same reason) a pulpit or platform:—hearth, laver, pan, scaffold). But for man, each time he washed he would see something that needed further cleansing.
Jesus is the Way
The redeemed man has only to follow Jesus who has redeemed him from the curse of the law. Jesus requires that we love the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves. He said that all the laws and commandments rest on these two.
In John 15:12 Jesus said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”.
But ever since the days of Moses and all
the way through the Sanhedrim, (Sanhedrin, Grk. Synedrion, “sitting
together”) to present day, Christendom has struggled with the laws of the Old
Testament.They haven't been able to break away from the past. It is similar to the two thieves on either side of Jesus during his crucifixion, "Past" and "Future", who never reconciled. The "Future" went with Jesus and the "Past" may be still complaining in hell. Have you ever wondered why there are no gifts of the Spirit which takes you back into the hellish past.
Some in Christendom have taken it to the extreme and relied solely on the commandments of God, the laws of Moses which includes the Levitical laws that concerns health, worship, food, etc. Some are still sacrificing bulls and goats, making Nazarite vows and lifting up their fingers against those who do not worship on a Saturday.
They have echoed the sentiments of the Sanhedrin, a Jewish council of seventy-one members, with the high priest as president. The Sanhedrin’s duty was to denote the supreme judicial and administrative council of the Jews, which was initiated by Moses during the 40 years wilderness travel.
Before Moses there was no law for Israel who had not been a recognized nation but a people under Egyptian bondage. This was after Abraham had been given the promise.
It was on this pattern that the Sanhedrin had its beginning and became a recognized council of declaring the law with the high Priest as president during the time of the Maccabees.
The Sanhedrin consisted of three classes
I. Chief priests, or heads of the twenty-four priestly courses (1 Chr. 24),
III. Elders - “in all causes and over all persons, ecclesiastical and civil, supreme”.
The Sanhedrin became the supreme authority of Jewish laws. They had given themselves authority to make laws so much so, that the people became weary.
These laws and traditions of the Sanhedrin has been unduly past over to Christendom as been witness to in protestant and the universal church. They that have received them have attempted to coerce these laws and traditions onto their particular assemblies.
But listen to Paul in Gal.3:10- 12, 2:16
“For as many as are of
the works of the law are
under the curse: for it is
written, Cursed is every one
that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them”.
Some Christians still allow the enemy to have jurisdiction over areas of their life. They are still under the works of the law.
There are some people who because of coercion and lack of understanding comply with the works of the law so that they might merit salvation. They pray and are even obedient to leaders but as a form of godliness denying the power that works in the sons of God.
At the time of the Sanhedrin that had been the case but they should have known better for it was written Habakkuk 2:4 that “the just shall live by his faith”. Faith is the grace of God at work in our lives.
Why the law?
Now the laws given to Moses were to teach the people. As a “school master” who would lead them to Christ. In Greece a “school master” was not the teacher but the one whose job it was to take them to school, a sort of governor, so that they could receive training.
The objective of the law is obedience.
The Lord had freed the Israelite s from Egyptian bondage and they had need to know that he was more than a deliverer,
- he was also their provider (Jehovah-Jireh),
- Their peace, Ja. Shalom
- their Victory (Jehovah –Nissi) and
- Their Jehovah –Rohi, the Lord their Shepherd
- Adonai – Lord and Master
- Ja. M’Kaddesh – their Sanctifier
But in order to do that he had to teach them obedience, that there would be a consequence or their actions.
He had to teach them that their act of disobedience is called sin.
Sin is what is committed when one strays away from God and thereby fulfills the wrong action.
Therefore, we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God but for Jesus who fulfilled the law and by his own blood paid the price for each mans sin.
Now that the price is paid, if we should fall short of God’s mark, then God is looking for us to repent.
Repent includes confessing that you have missed the mark, turn around and walk in the right direction.
In 1John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
Note the five elements here at work;
a) Confess -
b) Faithful – He is faithful that promised
c) Forgive – to renew the kingdom of peace
d) Cleanse – by the word and prayer
e) Unrighteousness – that into which you fall by missing the mark
Jesus came to fulfill the law that is every aspect of the law was upheld by him. Paul said in Hebrews 1:3,
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”.
Notice he did not uphold traditions for we see him healing and his disciples plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath which the Sanhedrin was hard set against. We hear him saying that man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man.
In other words man has authority over what he allows on the Sabbath and not the Sabbath having authority over man.
The Sabbath was, “For his rest from toil, his rest from the cares and anxieties of the world, to give him an opportunity to call off his attention from earthly concerns and to direct it to the affairs of eternity. It was a kind provision for man that he might refresh his body by relaxing his labors; that he might have undisturbed time to seek the consolations of religion to cheer him in the anxieties and sorrows of a troubled world”.
That’s the reason Paul says in Col. 2:16,
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days”.
A Christian should be one that is set apart from the world or he should live a sanctified life, holy before God. There are no bad days only good days, holy days, days that are set apart for the purpose of God. Every day that God allows a Christian to enter into becomes a holy day.
Christians must understand that the veil in the Temple has been torn down and that you cannot put new wine into old wine skins.
Paul in the book of Galatians 1:6 that
“I marvel that ye are
so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some (men) that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”
We must understand that the Sanhedrin and those gentiles who purport its message do not believe nor have an understanding of the grace of Christ. If they did they would not stand outside but they would look into this matter and become involved.
Legalist in the Church – the works of the law
You can always tell when someone is functioning under the works of the law and not grace within a Church. The “dipstick” or the measuring apparatus is how one responds to perceived mistakes in the church;
- they may think that they are being over-looked so they leave the church;
- their heart may have been set on some leadership position which was denied them – respond negatively
- their child was not allowed to dance with the dance troop – respond negatively
- they became arrogant because they gave more than everyone else,
- they lied about leadership,
- they were quick to bear false witness against their own brother-in the Lord,
- they got angry with the pastor and left the Church, etc.
These are the telltale signs of the work of the law functioning in a body of Believers.
I can understand some anger or disappointment but there comes a time when one must say, enough is enough and see the devil as the accuser of the brethren. One should never let the work of the law have dominion over your estate.
They are legalist with their own hidden agenda and not lovers. I am speaking about the agape love.
But many in the church assembly are cursed because they are living in “adulterous” situations. They are married to more than one husband and God says, “Nasty!
Let’s read from Romans 7:1-
Verse 4 says, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
(Note the story of the woman who had her dead husband embalmed and placed within a mirror casing, standing upright, in her living room for she refused to release him. She got married again and the new husband soon became weary of looking at the dead husband; the one before him and so told his wife that she couldn’t be married to two, that she was in sin and that she had to let one go. The woman remarked that her embalmed husband was there before him so he could see his way out.)
And that’s exactly what some of us are telling the grace of God, “See your way out!