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Friday, October 5, 2012

Law and Grace

Law and Grace

     There is a grave concern in my heart regarding some of the teachings that are being taught to the Body of Christ. More and more teachers of the Word are digging into the Hebraic roots of scripture which is not a bad thing. What is very concerning to me is that they are using these roots to bring people back to celebrating the feasts and doing other ritualistic things that were done according to the Law in the Older Testament. This is causing confusion within the Body of Christ. As we all know, God is not the author of confusion. It is important to know that these roots are all a picture of Jesus and should be taught in this same way. The message of God's redemption plan through His precious and only Son is throughout the Older Testament scriptures. Why? God used these scriptures to paint a picture of the reality in His chosen and precious Son – Jesus Christ. (see 1 Corinthians 2:14) If the natural is first and then the spiritual, then God will work in the same way. He will use the “natural” things, people, places and circumstances on earth to unveil a “spiritual” truth. Jesus did this also throughout His time walking the earth. He used the things of the earth to teach spiritual Truth.
     God also said in scripture that He showed the end in the beginning. (see Isaiah 46:10) Hebraic roots help us understand more deeply the meaning behind the words of Jesus and His actions, since He came to fulfill the Law, Prophets and Writings, but they are not meant to take the glory away from Jesus Christ who is the reality. Jesus was holy and spiritual in the beginning before the creation of the universe. Jesus was holy and spiritual when He walked the earth in human form because He remained sinless, and He is holy and spiritual now in the heavenly realm. Jesus never lost His holiness, spirituality or glory even when He walked the earth. He took on flesh through the womb of a virgin woman, but He remained Divine on the inside because He did not sin. His divinity on the inside was veiled by His flesh on the outside.  There is no other man or nation in scripture who began Divinely eternal and holy, and remained Divinely eternal and holy except Jesus. He is the only way back into the presence of our holy God, and to Him alone belongs the glory. It saddens me to see people being brought back to the temporary when the permanent and Eternal One Jesus fulfilled all. To my mind, it is the subtlest of all deceptions that the devil is using to sway and weaken the body of Christ through confusion, just as the devil subtly used the truth to sway the woman in the Garden of Eden. The Law is holy, righteous and good because it lives eternally in Jesus who is holy, righteous and good.  He is the fullness of Truth and of the Godhead bodily.  
     Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. To fulfill means to bring something to its intended end in fullness. The Bible tells us that the intent of the Law was to bring people to Christ! There is a very big difference between the “shadow” of the truth of Jesus Christ throughout the Law, Prophets and Writings and its reality in His Living Person. Jesus brought the Word of God from beginning to end to life – His life! In Him, the Word became flesh –alive! Once the reality of the “shadow” came and died for our sin, we are no longer under the shadow, but under the grace, love and truth of God displayed in Jesus.
      Jesus fulfilled the “law” regarding love perfectly and completely. (see Deuteronomy 6:5) Jesus quoted this Older Testament scripture when the Pharisees asked Jesus “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Mt. 22:34-40  Jesus our Example loved His Heavenly Father with all of His heart, soul and mind by doing only as the Father asked of Him and speaking only what the Father told Him to speak. He loved His neighbor (humanity) as Himself by laying down His life on the cross so we could be rejoined to the Heavenly Father through Him. Jesus couldn't have displayed His and the Father's love in any greater way than He did at the cross of suffering. He loved humanity fully and completely in this one act of love. This is why He alone is worthy of all glory, honor and praise. It is also why no one –even the Older Testament saints—could receive resurrection, eternal life except through Him. Nothing becomes spiritual except through Jesus.
      To go back and do the ritual of the Law seems to me an insult to His fulfillment of it all perfectly and completely. In essence we are saying that His work on the cross was not a finished work.  To go backwards and celebrate the Passover meal after Jesus told His chosen twelve to eat the Bread of His Body broken for them and drink the wine of His blood shed for them is to my mind in direct disobedience to Jesus' Word! Jesus said that those who love Him, obey His commandments.   The Law didn't die for us to give us eternal life.  Jesus clearly tells His own to eat of His Bread and drink of His blood “ in remembrance of Me.” We obey this command of Jesus so we are reminded of the cost He willingly paid so we could not only be saved from eternal bondage and damnation, but could also gain eternal life.
      The Passover in the Older Testament delivered God's people from their earthly enemy and bondage, but Jesus' body and blood delivers us from a spiritual enemy and eternal bondage. Instead of a “shadow,” those who love and follow Jesus have the reality living in us, breathing spiritual life into us and empowering us. Why would we want to take anything away from His wonderful finished work by going back to the temporary? The passover lamb according to the Law was chosen by man, but Jesus is chosen of God and is God. The first passover lamb in the Older Testament set God's people free from earthly bondage, but Jesus sets us free from spiritual bondage. It is only through the Body and blood of Jesus that you can become spiritually alive because He is the only Divine One to walk the earth and is Eternal. Jesus fulfilled all of the requirements represented in the Passover seder meal. Why is the Body of Christ going backwards??? Paul who at one time was a Pharisee of Pharisees said, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14 The Church at Philippi was being led astray by false teachers and false apostles. Paul considered all that he did previously as rubbish and now wanted to know Christ not having the righteousness that comes of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. Philippians 3:7-11
      After answering the question of the Pharisees as to which the greatest commandment in the Law was, Jesus answered with the shema in Dt. 6:5  The Israelites were told to love God and each other.  Jesus said that “all the law and prophets hang on these two commandments.” v40   Love......Love......Love   Love from the heart for God and each other was the intended end of the Law. The Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ who is love. Christ is the personification of the Law and the prophets. The Law is made full in Christ. He became the Law for us. The Law did its job. It brought us to Christ. Now we are under Christ's law of love. If you love God and others as Christ loved His Father and the Church, you would never want to do anything contrary to God's will and ways. The Law shows us how inadequate we are to do this, thus showing us our need for One who could and did. The Law showed what man could do – no one could live up to it and obey it fully. Grace showed what God not only could do but did once-for-all through Jesus. The flesh of man is so easily deceived that we continue to think that there is something we can do to make it into heaven. 
        God does not like mixture! He doesn't want us to mix Law with Grace – just as God didn't want Adam and the Woman to eat from both trees. The Law lives on eternally “in” Christ. The feasts of the Older Testament are the feasts of the Lord from generation to generation and for all eternity because they are in Christ who fulfilled them and is Eternal. The Law or the feasts could not give anyone eternal, spiritual life. God reserved that for Jesus. No one could be resurrected from death to life except through the “Lamb (Jesus) that was slain.”
     God delivered the Israelites from earthly enemies but they couldn't have eternal, spiritual life until Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected.. Jesus delivers us from our spiritual enemy and gives us eternal, spiritual life. God gave the Israelites manna supplied by God to feed their earthly bodies to strengthen them for the wilderness journey. Jesus gives us Living Bread from heaven to feed our spirit as we walk with Him on earth. God gave the Israelites water from a rock to feed their earthly thirst so they could move forward to God's promised land. In Christ, it becomes Living Bread and Living Water that satisfies our deep spiritual hunger and thirst for Him and His Heavenly Father. The tabernacle in the wilderness was an earthly tent that housed the presence of God, but Jesus makes those who believe in Him and His finished work His living tabernacle that houses the presence of the Godhead within. Jesus also  makes His followers His living stones that are His Living Temple on earth. God helped His people Israel to defeat earthly enemies and build a temple made of stone, but Jesus gives us spiritual power through the Holy Spirit and spiritual Bread to defeat our spiritual enemy and the enemy of the souls of all of humanity.  He builds His Temple with "living" stones -- His believers.
       There is a VERY BIG DIFFERENCE in the “shadows” of the Older Testament and the reality in Jesus Christ. The Law couldn't give the power of the Holy Spirit to help us defeat the enemy of all peoples' souls, but Jesus did. The Law couldn't make the Word of God come alive, but Jesus did. Only One who is God could do this. All the Law could do is point to the Way, the Truth and the Life – Jesus—because He was in the beginning with God when all things were created; He was the Word of God that called forth the entire universe. He is the Living Rock that sent the water of the Holy Spirit. He is the Tabernacle and Temple of God both in heaven and on earth. He is the Living Bread of Heaven as the Divine Word of God – Truth. He is the Living Water as the Anointed Word. He is the Passover Lamb and feast. He is the Unleavened Bread as the sinless Word of God and the Firstfruit to the Father in His resurrection. He is the One who sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He is the Trumpet as the Word of God sent forth over the whole earth to warn, teach and train. He is the Atonement of all mankind and the heavens and the earth. He is the Tabernacle of God who was with humanity and with whom believers will live eternally. He is “all in all.”
       If the Hebraic roots of scripture are taught, they should be taught as the scriptures say-- as our tutor that brings us to Christ. In other words, my dear brothers and sisters, teach the Law showing Christ in all of it so both followers of Christ as well as those who don't know and accept Him will see that all Truth is about Him from beginning to end. Jesus is the Eternal Word who became flesh. From the beginning of scripture to the end of scripture, the weakness of the flesh of man to obey God fully was revealed – whether Jew or Gentile. Only One who is God could redeem mankind. And since God's ways and His Word of Truth don't change, the One who would do what man could not do for themselves is being revealed throughout scripture so people will be drawn to Him, not to any Law or person or nation. “There are none good but God.” What Jesus did for all fully and perfectly need not be done again by the flesh of man. God's plan of redemption through His Son Jesus did not change from the beginning of scripture to the end of scripture. If we go back to the Law, then we are saying that Jesus' work on the cross was not a completed, finished work, and we make Jesus a liar. We are not to look back or go back to the Law of ritual and works, but are to press forward toward the goal which is ours in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Anointed Word that will give us the power and help to walk in His law of love that must come from the heart.
     Please brothers and sisters I plead with you to listen to what the Lord is trying to convey to you through me. Jesus died for all. He is no respecter of persons, because He alone is holy and worthy. All of us whether Jew or Gentile are equal at the cross of Jesus and equally loved by Him. No one or nothing is greater than Him. Give Him all of the glory and honor by pointing people to Him. “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to Myself.” John 12:32 As He was lifted up on the cross for all to see, we are to also take up our cross daily and follow Him. We are to lift up Jesus Christ in our actions, words and deeds and He will draw people to Him. The King of Love took on the wrath of God so He could live in our hearts in love forever. Amen. To Him be all honor and glory and praise now and forevermore.

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