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Understanding God's Law

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - Internet Church Of Christ - LoveAllPeople.org
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The complete Law Of God demands total perfection from us, and it is impossible for us to fulfill. No mere human has ever fulfilled it, and none ever will.

The complete Law Of God is more demanding than even the strict Mosaic Law the Jews tried to follow. One of the very first things Jesus did in His ministry was to point out that the Law Of Moses was deficient in six respects:

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1. He expanded the prohibition against killing (murder), to include a general prohibition against anger. (See Exodus 20:13, compared to Matthew 5:21-26.)

2. He expanded the prohibition against forbidden acts, to include a general prohibition against desire to commit forbidden acts. The example He chose to use was the forbidden act of adultery, but the principle applies to all forbidden acts: wanting to do it is the same as doing it, under God's Law. (See Exodus 20:14, compared to Matthew 5:27-30). This is an impossible standard for mere humans to meet: desiring to sin is the same thing as actually committing the sin! Who is free of sinful desires? Nobody!

3. He eliminated easy, non-consensual divorces, in which the husband "put away" the wife for almost any reason (uncleanness) he wanted. And He expanded the concept of adultery to include all divorced persons who remarry. Yes, that's what He said. Read Luke 16:18. We can dance around it all we like and pretend He said something else. Or we can go through a phony "annullment" and pretend we weren't really married when we were. But He said what He said. (See Deuteronomy 24:1, compared to Matthew 5:31-32 and Luke 16:18.)

4. He expanded the prohibition against false oaths, to include a general prohibition against all oaths. (See Leviticus 19:12, compared to Matthew 5:33-37.)

5. He abolished the Law Of Retaliation, which entitled an offended person to take vengeance on the offender, "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth . . . " (See Exodus 21-23-25, compared to Matthew 5:38-40.)

6. He expanded the Law Of Love to include everyone, even enemies. (See Leviticus 19:18, compared to Matthew 5:43-48.)

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Jesus emphasized the insufficiency of Mosaic law by pointing out that the Pharisees, who were meticulous keepers of the Law Of Moses, were not righteous enough for God.

       
      "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the
       scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of
       heaven." (Matthew 5:20 RSV)
So what, then, are we to do? If we cannot keep God's Law, how are we ever going to please Him enough to get into Heaven?

God, in His mercy towards us, has given us The Way to do this: JESUS CHRIST.

         _____________________________________________________________
       
       Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no
       one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6 RSV)
         _____________________________________________________________
       
If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord, you are saved from the penalty of breaking God's Law, which all of us surely break,
         _____________________________________________________________
       
      "because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and
       believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will
       be saved." (Romans 10:9 RSV)
         _____________________________________________________________
       
Under the Law, there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood, and Jesus shed His blood for us so that we might live. He paid the penalty of all our sins for us.
       
       Hebrews 9:22 (RSV)
       
              "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with
               blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no
               forgiveness of sins."
      
 
       1 John 1:7 (RSV)
      
              "but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we
               have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus
               his Son cleanses us from all sin."
       
       Romans 6:23 (RSV)
       
              "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is
               eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

By accepting Jesus Christ as Lord, we have satisfied all the requirements of God's Law, because Jesus Himself has paid all the penalties for us. We are then clean and debt-free to God, thanks to Jesus.

From then on, we are bound not by the detailed requirements of God's Law, which are impossible for us to keep, but by the Law Of Love, which God now accepts as total fulfillment of His Law. And the Law Of Love is this: "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."

         _____________________________________________________________
       
       For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your
       neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14 RSV)
         _____________________________________________________________
       
And who is your neighbor? Your neighbor is everybody else, all other people, not just people in your own group. This is the meaning of the Parable Of The Good Samaritan. (See Luke 10:25-37.)

Are we then free to disregard all of the known details of God's Law? Is it then permissible for us to murder and rape and steal? Of course not, because all of these things are inconsistent with loving your neighbor as yourself. Anything which is inconsistent with love is still opposed to God's will and is thus still a sin for us.

But many details of God's Law no longer apply to us, as long as we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and we love our neighbor (everybody else) as we love ourselves. Jesus paid the price for our past sins; and love for neighbor is accepted by God as fulfilling all of His law now and in the future.

And even if we do sin, God will overlook it as long as we truly love others as we love ourselves.

       
       Romans 13:9 (RSV)
       The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not
       kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other
       commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your
       neighbor as yourself."
       Romans 13:10 (RSV)
       Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling
       of the law.
       James 2:8 (RSV)
       If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture,
       "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well.
       Proverbs 10:12 (RSV)
       Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
       1 Peter 4:8 (RSV)
       Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love
       covers a multitude of sins.
Some people might say that these teachings are "soft on sin;" that they teach people to break God's commandments; that I will surely go to Hell for teaching these things.

In reply, I will say that the Legalists themselves are guilty of throwing stumbling blocks in the way of people who might otherwise become perfectly good Christians. How many people are lost to Christ only because they are taught (incorrectly) that merely thinking about sex is an unacceptable sin? or that all sexual activity before marriage is a sin? or that forbidden sexual desires, such as homosexuality, make them unacceptable to God? How many people are lost to Christ only because they are taught (incorrectly) that material possessions are evil? How many people are lost to Christ only because they are taught (incorrectly) that Christ demands self-denial and mortification of the flesh at all times? How many people are lost to Christ only because they are taught (incorrectly) that Satan is in charge of the world and that all worldly things must be avoided?

I rest my case on Galatians 5:14 which states it just as clearly as it can ever be stated:

         _____________________________________________________________
       
       For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your
       neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14 RSV)
         _____________________________________________________________
If you don't believe this, you don't believe the Bible.

Belief in Christ pays for all your past sins; then with His Holy Spirit in you and guiding you, love for neighbor covers all sins in the future.

You are free in Jesus Christ, our Lord!

May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.

     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><
     bmcgin@patriot.net
     

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

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May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.

     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><
     bmcgin@patriot.net
     

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

Please also see our related pages . . .

CHRISTIAN
ETHICS & HUMAN RELATIONS
POLITICS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Sitemap

May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.


     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><
     bmcgin@patriot.net
     

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

Please also see our related pages . . .

CHRISTIAN
ETHICS & HUMAN RELATIONS
POLITICS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Sitemap

Blessings to you. May God help us all.

       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - LoveAllPeople.org

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