No Prerequisites for Salvation

Read Acts 15:5-21 for context. I have attached it to the end of this article in case you don’t have your Bible handy.

What must I do to be saved?

I want to stress that works do not save us. We cannot tell people that they are only saved if they ____. We cannot tell people that they are only saved if they don’t ____.

Remember that God delivered Israel from Egypt before His instructions were ever written down. He didn’t save them because they kept the commandments; they never kept the commandments perfectly anyway. The congregation in the wilderness was saved by the grace of God, just like everyone else.

In like manner, today’s redeemed turn their hearts toward God first, and then they begin to learn about the Father’s instructions over the course of their walk with Him. Following Christ as our example, let us therefore turn toward His righteousness with a full heart, taking heed to the instructions that He would have us read from every sabbath.

“Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation…” Leviticus 23:3

I only know a little Hebrew, but the bit that I do know leads me to believe that the root word that gets translated as “convocation” implies reading aloud. It is my belief that the Levites were commanded to read aloud to the people every sabbath because the Levites were the only ones with access to the written Word of God at that time.

When the council convened in Jerusalem, Peter basically suggested that they all “chill out, and allow people to learn at their own pace.”

Acts 15:

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

My Best Bible Study Idea Ever!

I just had a Bible study idea, and I’m kind of excited about it, so I thought I would share it with you.

I thought it would be helpful to have a Bible on file that I could directly type my questions, research, and thoughts into. Right now, I’m writing in the margins sometimes, but there just isn’t enough room, and I don’t always keep a pen handy, lol.

I think it would be neat to keep it digitally instead of in a hard copy so that I can update it year after year, as I learn new things or find better research.

I looked for DOC files of the Bible for download and only found the NIV. I prefer more literal translations, so I’m just going to go to Bible Gateway every time I start a new chapter and copy and paste it into a new file.

I’m going to bold print all of the scripture, and then when I make notes in it (right in between the verses), I’m going to normalize the text that I type.

I figured it would also be interesting to copy/paste other translations sometimes, or the original Hebrew or Greek, or Strong’s Concordance notes, etc. Pictures would even be helpful sometimes! There are just so many cool things a person could do!

If several of us decide to do this, maybe we can compare notes someday. 

8 False Assumptions about Torah-Observant Believers

torah-89074_1280Some of these were my own knee-jerk assumptions when I found out that my dad had become Torah-observant. Others are remarks that I have received from others who thought they knew what I believed before they looked into it for themselves. ALL of my friends who have since looked into it have realized that I am not a heretic. Some of them have come to the understanding that living by God’s instructions cannot possibly be bad for us. Others still believe that I am holding myself to an unnecessary, burdensome standard. I urge you to look into these matters and decide for yourself.

False Assumption #1. You are relying on works for salvation.

No. No I’m not. My salvation is 100% dependent on the fact that Christ lived a perfect life and died for my sins. In fact, I have never met a single Torah-observant believer who thinks that salvation can be earned.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

#2. You place more value in the Old Testament than in the New.

I believe that the Old Testament contains godly instructions for living that are applicable to all men. The gospels show us how Christ was the only man to ever obey the Father perfectly. Most of the rest of the New Testament teaches us how to apply those instructions to our own lives once we have been adopted into the covenant that God made with Israel.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

#3. You think you have secret knowledge.

The Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) contains the standards of righteousness given by God to His covenant people. These instructions make up the oldest religion in the world – the Father’s religion. These instructions have been available and accessible to everyone who grew up with a Bible in their home. Anyone who has ever read the Torah has read that it is a blessing because the Father says so Himself:

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16

#4. You are disrespecting Christ’s sacrifice.

By refraining from what He came to save us from (sin) and by following His righteous example?

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1, 2

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” I John 2:6

#5. You think you are Jewish.

Not a member of the tribe of Judah specifically (a Jew), but part of Israel in general. All who enter into the marriage covenant (the members of the bride of Christ) are born again to become part of spiritual Israel. It doesn’t matter whether we were originally part of the lost 10 tribes that He came to restore, or whether we were strangers who have been adopted into the commonwealth of Israel. We are born again; we are grafted in (to Israel).

“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” Isaiah 56:6-8

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” Ephesians 2:12

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” Romans 11:17, 18

#6. You think you are better than other Christians.

My obedience has nothing to do with other Christians and everything to do with pleasing God. Do you refrain from committing adultery because you are trying to earn your salvation or because you are trying to boast in righteousness? No. For the same reason that you choose to remain faithful to your spouse, I choose to remain faithful to my God. Love.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15

#7. Your obedience to Torah makes you judgmental.

I insist that I am less judgmental than I have ever been. I realize that all Christians who are still eating bacon are doing so because they have no idea that the Father gave them good instructions and desires for them to choose physical life over death in the here and now (and not just eternal, spiritual life). I know they aren’t rebelling against God’s instructions on purpose because I used to be in the same boat. Using the same exact reasoning, I understand that homosexuals, fornicators, thieves, drunkards, false witnesses, and even those who are worshiping other gods have no idea that our Father loves them and has given them instructions for their own good.

“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4

I think that most people have this idea that the Christian God makes up silly rules for no other reason than to control and restrict them. (This is the same image that mainstream Christians have of parts of the Torah that don’t make sense to them.)

Part of the reason that folks have this idea is because of the Pharisees, the Catholics, and other denominations over the years that have gone to great lengths to control and oppress the people through their mad-made restrictions, pronouncing eternal consequences upon the heads of the “heretics.” What they don’t understand is that God’s instructions have never been burdensome – only beneficial. The reason it’s so hard to correct this perception is because folks don’t read their Bibles with open eyes (if they even read them at all), and because they don’t trust the Old Testament enough to give His instructions a sporting chance (to discover that they are a blessing and easy to follow).

“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” I John 5:3

#8. You are behaving like the Pharisees.

Nope. Uh-uh. The Pharisees added and removed from the Torah, and this is the very reason that Jesus came down so hard on them. The Pharisees invented man-made restrictions in addition to God’s perfect instructions and created loopholes in some of God’s instructions that they didn’t want to keep. Jesus kept His FATHER’S instructions perfectly and openly rebelled against man-made traditions. This is precisely what I seek to do in my own life (although I am not brave enough to be so open in my rebellion against the man, lol).

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” Mark 7:13

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Matthew 23:23

 

God Loves to Redeem

This is my God. He is all about redemption. If you are in any kind of bondage, it would be His great pleasure to rescue you.

“I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn,” Isaiah 57:18 NLT

“I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.” Isaiah 57:18 KJV

Can you see with your eyes and hear with your ears?

I know we have been trained to disassociate ourselves from Israel, but many of us, possibly even most of us (all of us?) belong to one of the lost 10 tribes that never returned from Assyrian captivity. We have been scattered among the nations, but now we are waking up. The Father is drawing us back to Him and His life-giving ways. We are the prodigal son, stirring ourselves, coming to our senses after a deep sleep.

So it’s kind of jarring when we realize that the following passage is being directed at us, you and me, and that it applies to us right now, in 2018, and not only to some long, lost nation that existed thousands of years ago that we don’t even associate ourselves with:

“Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:”

Jeremiah 5:21

Not Real Good with Words

Full Circle Homeschooling

The young man on my porch stammered as he tried to think of a way to begin a conversation. Finally, he just said, “I’m not real good with words…I just thought you might like to see this.” He handed me a DVD and walked away. As I turned the homemade disc over to read the writing, I saw that it was about the Bible. The DVD was the young man’s way of letting me know about Christ. I was struck by his willingness to obey God in spite of his perceived limitations. How many times have I shied away from witnessing to someone for the fear of not knowing all the answers? How many times have I refused to play the piano or sing in church for fear of messing up? How many lives might I have touched if only I were more sensitive to the prompting of the Holy…

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How Do You Personally Decide Which Doctrines Are Biblically Sound?

Take the poll, and then come back here for discussion.

For even more discussion, hop over to my FaceBook page.

Note: I tried to word the poll in a way that would apply to all people who have ever heard of the Bible, regardless of their opinions about it. I’m not asking which doctrines you believe are true (if any), or even if you think the Bible is true. I merely want to know how you decide if a doctrine is established by the writers of the Bible.

On a second line of thought,  do you think there are any doctrines that are suggested in one or two places in the Bible, yet are not upheld by the whole Bible? I am asking this question, not only of those who do not believe in the inerrant Word, but of those who are confused by a few [seemingly] contradictory passages.

Personally, I believe there are perfectly logical answers to clear up any confusion or so-called contradictions, but we may have to lay aside some commonly-held doctrines to remove the veil of darkness that disables us from seeing what should be the clear truth of the matter.

If a Sinner Can’t Be Saved, then Who Is Salvation for, Anyway?

If God’s instructions are obsolete, then Vicky Beeching is not trespassing them.

1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”

Romans 4:15 “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.”

Christ came and sacrificed His life, because without Him paying the death penalty in my behalf, the curse of the Law would still very much be hanging over my head.

And you know what? The Law no longer hangs over Vicky’s head either, if she is a Redeemed person. And a Redeemed person is not a perfect one. By its very definition, a Redeemed person deserves the death penalty.

All men have sold themselves to sin (and death by extension). At some point, all Christians have realized their inability to get themselves out of that sin debt, and have put their faith in Christ who has purchased their eternal life back for them (in accordance with the blessings of the Law, which comes through obedience – not the individual Christian’s obedience, but Christ’s obedience).

Vicky most likely loves the Lord but doesn’t quite understand that He wants what’s best for her. She doesn’t quite understand that God’s instructions were given to her for her benefit, to keep her healthy, and to give her an abundant life in the here and now – until we enter the world to come. She doesn’t quite understand how to please Him, because if she did, she probably would. In fact, most Christians I know don’t know what exactly the Father wants, but if they did, they would obey Him in a heartbeat – at any cost.

But is it really any wonder that she doesn’t know better?

“Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.” Ezekiel 22:26

Poor Vicky has been lied to by modern doctrine. The church no longer knows the true definition of sin, and satan has used the church to sell her (and everyone else) one big, fat lie. The lie that there is no standard for sin. The lie that if there ever was a standard for sin, our (unchanging) Father has changed His mind. The lie that the only thing He wants from us is to love the Father and our neighbor according to our OWN individual definitions of love and not God’s definition.

Well, Vicky is doing precisely what the church has taught her to do. She is loving people and God the way she thinks it’s okay to love. It’s not the correct way, but it’s all she knows. It’s really sad that she thinks that living in sin (by God’s definition) can in any way be good for her or be pleasing to the Father. But Vicky’s sin won’t prevent her from being Redeemed. (Not any more than a BLT will keep a Redeemed person out of the kingdom of God.)

So why worry about it then if she can get by with sin and still be Redeemed? Why even call sin out if a saved person can sin without losing her salvation? Well, what was the point of the Law to begin with? Surely God knew that none of us would keep it and earn our own eternal life. Surely He knew THAT from the very beginning. Surely He knew that Christ would have to live a perfect life and then die as our substitute. The truth is, He never expected anyone (except His own Son) to be able to keep it perfectly.

I can think of a few reasons why it was given.

1) Because they are HIS ways, and HIS people should want to know His righteousness.
2) Because He needed a standard by which to judge sin.
3) Because we needed a standard for meting out justice in the land of Israel (where God’s people ratified these Laws and agreed to live by them).
4) Because knowing what sin is helps us understand that we aren’t perfect – knowing what sin is helps us understand our need for a Savior.
5) Because children – immature believers (who don’t necessarily want to do what’s right) need instruction until they reach maturity (and now have the desire to do what’s right).
6) Because Christ’s sinless life was evidence to those around Him (and to those reading about Him) that He is the living Torah – the promised Redeemer who would do ALL His Father’s will.
7) Because God wanted us to know how to live happy, healthy lives. Remember, if we keep all of these instructions, they lead to eternal life. (That’s what Christ did FOR us.) So it follows then, that keeping as many as possible certainly lead to a more abundant life.

So what’s the big deal with sin? If I don’t believe that we will lose our salvation over it or that we can lose our ability to get saved over it, then why do I teach so much about the Law?

Because I want what God wants! And I know, that if you knew what He wanted, you would want that too! I want you to be happy and healthy, to understand that His ways are better, to understand that we ALL need a Redeemer, to stop pointing fingers at other sinners (who many times do not even know they are sinning). I want to see an increased desire among Christians to be part of the new covenant (in which He writes His Law on our hearts). I want holy spirit to give you the DESIRE to obey His righteousness.

So Vicky engages in homosexual activities. What’s going to happen to her? The wages of sin is death. Eternal death is what Christ came to Redeem us from. Eternal life is what He bought for us. This is the same life and death that the Father warned us about when He gave us His instructions. He said, do these things and live. If you rebel against my instructions, you will die. (If you don’t think it’s that simple, read Deuteronomy. Or read Genesis. The instructions to Adam are very similar and easy to understand.)

So what does this mean for Vicky? Instead of being excommunicated from the blood of Christ (which isn’t a thing), she will have other problems – health problems, emotional problems, hormonal problems – whatever it was that God was trying to prevent physically in our lives by instructing us not to commit homosexual acts, that’s what she’ll suffer from. If it’s true that the wages of sin is death, then somewhere, somehow, homosexuality works death in a person’s body. But don’t you dare forget that God is in the business of Redeeming us from eternal death. If He can redeem you from death by pork ingestion, He can redeem her from whatever death is at work in her body.

Maybe you think that Christ’s blood isn’t powerful enough to ransom a person who calls herself a homosexual? Or maybe you think she has to turn from her homosexuality before she can get saved? If that’s true, then God cannot save you either until you are willing to give up your bacon.

The fact is, salvation is not at all works-based. Read the book of Galatians. If we have to earn or maintain our salvation, then it is not a free gift. People sin. God saves.

Concerns from the Book of Hebrews

I’ve been communicating with several people lately on the topic of Torah and whether it is still true for today’s believers. Invariably, the book of Hebrews is quoted to me, along with interpretations that point toward lawlessness. Here are some of the verses that people bring up while suggesting that the Law is no longer valid.

I just want to state for the record that I do not believe that anybody’s salvation depends upon obedience to the Law. Our salvation was earned through Christ’s obedience and sacrifice, and He is the only way to salvation. When folks hear that our family makes an effort to keep the commandments, some of them automatically think that I believe we have to keep the Law, but I know we don’t have to. Torah observance isn’t about having to keep it but rather wanting to keep it.

It’s the difference between not not stealing because you’re afraid of losing your salvation (which I don’t believe can happen anyway) and not stealing because you don’t want to sin against our loving Father (assuming you were in the mood to steal anyway, I suppose). And not even having the desire to steal is a blessing of His holy spirit because His righteousness is always at odds with our fleshly nature, which is to rebel and get by with as much as possible. He truly does write His Law in our hearts.

Let’s get started by looking at Hebrews 7:18:

“For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.”

Last year, I wrote an article about this passage. You can find it here. I have been studying and studying since then, and I am not sure that my interpretation was entirely correct. I do not claim to have complete understanding of these verses, but I do know what this verse means: “For thus says the LORD, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.” Jeremiah 33:18. And that verse makes impossible the modern interpretation of Hebrews 7:18.

Also, if you look at these two blog posts (1 and 2), you will begin to understand the big picture of why I believe the way I do. In a nutshell, I believe Jesus when He used the authority of Torah to rebuke satan during His temptation in the wilderness: “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. I believe that any time a matter of doctrine comes into question, we can search the Torah and see if that’s what has been written. The Bereans believed the same as I do, checking everything Paul taught them against the scriptures and making sure that what he said aligned with the very Words of God Himself. I believe we should do the same.

Next, let’s take a look at Hebrews 8:7-9:

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.”

In the old covenant, God found fault with “them” (verse 8), not with the Law. The Law is perfect, righteous, holy, good, but the people broke it. In the new covenant, He put his Law in their hearts, to enable them to obey out of desire. We still don’t obey it perfectly, but Christ did, fulfilling the human obligation to keep the covenant in order to obtain eternal life. Anyway, the Law is an integral part of both covenants, new and old. We don’t keep it out of obligation, but out of a hunger and thirst after the righteousness of God.

In addition, I would like to add that the Levitical and Melchizedekian priesthoods certainly can coexist. The Melchizidekian priesthood was around before the Levitical priesthood. There has never been any fault with the Melchizedekian priesthood, so it was not replaced by the Levitical one.

“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” Galatians 3:17

The Melchizedekian priesthood is the true priesthood – the body, if you will. The shadow cast by that body is the Levitical one. It is the object lesson that helps us understand the true, spiritual priesthood. Bodies and their shadows can certainly coexists. Spiritual and physical realities can certainly coexist.

Here’s my take on the book of Hebrews: The Jews were under attack and were getting ready to lose the temple and the Levitical ministry. They had continued to keep the Law (including Levitical regulations) after salvation, and this presented absolutely no problems, as made obvious by Romans 3:31, Acts 26:22, and the fact that Paul went with the men who had Nazarite vows (unless you think that Paul was two-faced and didn’t practice what he preached). Along comes 70AD and the impending destruction of the physical temple. Suddenly, the Jews realized that they would no longer have an earthly high priest to offer the continual burnt offering and others, and I think they probably freaked out because they still didn’t understand that Jesus is our spiritual high priest, and that we do have a continual advocate with the Father, and that His ministry is older and better and perfect – completely covering sin for all time. This explains why the writer of Hebrews continues to use present tense in the verses speaking of the Levitical ministry, as though they are still legitimate, and why he said that the Levitical priesthood was getting ready to pass away, instead of saying that it had already passed away when Jesus became our high priest. It seems to me like these things should be obvious since we never hear Paul or any of the other disciples or apostles preaching that the Levitical priesthood is passed away. Since it is a physical priesthood, it is the physical destruction of Jerusalem that caused it to pass away. This is not to say that it is not still righteous. (All of God’s Laws are righteous and always will be.) This is not to say that when the priesthood is physically reinstated, that it will not still serve as the perfect object lesson for understanding Christ’s sacrifice for us. We can read in the last 10 chapters of Ezekiel that Zadok (descendants of Levi, Aaron, and Phinehas – to whom the priestly ministry was promised forever) will be reinstated as Levitical priests. Here are the promises made:

Numbers 25:11-13 (Phinehas); Exodus 29:9 (Aaron); Exodus 40:15 (Aaron); Numbers 18:8 (Aaron); Deuteronomy 18:5 (Levi); Jeremiah 33:17-21; Micah 3

Here is a bit more that I have written on the subject that may help you understand where I’m coming from. Sorry if some of it is redundant. I’m copying and pasting. Someone had asked how we can know that the Catholic priesthood is not a legitimate priesthood:

The difference is that the Catholic Church does not follow the regulations set forth for the priesthood. We know that Christ is our spiritual high priest, and that we are part of that spiritual royal priesthood, but if there is to be a legitimate physical priesthood on earth, it must follow the rules that God gave for the physical priesthood. These rules are not man-made, nor are they subject to man’s opinion of them. Hebrews 8:4 tells us that Jesus Christ Himself could not be a priest on earth because it would contradict the commandments concerning the physical priesthood: “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:”

During the Millennial Reign, which you can read about in the last 10 chapters of Ezekiel, the Levitical priesthood will be reinstated. (Not because that priesthood ever took away sin, but because it is a powerful object lesson that teaches us about redemption and the function of the spiritual priesthood. That was its purpose in the Old Testament, and that will continue to be its purpose during the Millennial Reign of Christ.) “And it shall be for them an appointment as priests forever, for all generations.” (Ex. 40:15) “For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes, to stand to serve in the name of the Lord, him and his sons forever.” (Deut. 18:5)

Because the Levitical priesthood is the only legitimate physical priesthood, the regulations given to them in Torah are the only legitimate regulations governing that physical priesthood. So in other words, the Catholics are doing it all wrong. They are guilty of the same sin that Jesus was always reviling the Pharisees for, and that is the complete and utter disregard for Deuteronomy 4:2: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Since Jesse and I became Torah-observant, people have tried to catch us in hypocrisy by asking us why we aren’t still making sacrifices. What they fail to realize is that many of God’s regulations concerning the service of the priesthood cannot be carried out apart from the temple in Jerusalem, so even if the Catholics rounded up some Levites and tried to follow God’s regulations, they wouldn’t get very far because they would need the temple.)

In addition to problems with the priesthood, the Catholic Church believes they have the authority to make other changes to God’s Word. I personally believe that God’s Law is perfect, has always been perfect, and that you can’t improve on perfection. I believe that when He gave us the Law, He was describing actual righteousness to us, and not just arbitrarily inventing some things to be “bad” and some things to be “good.” If it’s true that His Law is righteous and perfect, then no one has the authority to make changes to it. Time can’t change it. Culture can’t change it. “Dispensationalism” can’t change it. The definition of righteousness is not defined by oligarchy or majority rule.

In fact, God Himself won’t break His own righteous Law because it is righteous and He is righteous, which is why He had to jump through hoops to redeem us. (For instance, a man cannot be remarried to his adulterous wife once they have been divorced. To this day, the Jews don’t understand how God is going to keep His promise to Israel and remarry them without compromising His own standard for righteousness. However, the Jews are ignorant of the Messiah’s role in redemption. God made it clear that the death of the husband fully releases the wife from the marriage. By dying Himself, He released both parties from the marriage contract, as though the marriage had never taken place. This action allows us to be remarried to Him as His pure bride.)

Hebrews 8:13:

“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”

The difference between the old and new covenants is not a new law (aka, God’s righteous statutes vs. Christ’s law of love). The statutes are precisely the same. In fact the whole point of the law is love – it has always been about love. The problem is, individual human beings, especially ones that have been brainwashed by society, false religion, new doctrines, and their own willingness to engage in rationalizing sin, have different opinions about how to love God and how to love neighbor. When every man does that which is right in his own eyes, we go through dark spiritual times – as in the days of the judges. In fact, I believe we are in one of those times now: because lawlessness shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (paraphrased from Matthew 24:12). You see, one of the great purposes of the Law is to tell us God’s way to love Him and God’s way to love neighbor. He spells it out for us to lay all arguments among ourselves to rest. The difference between the old and new covenants is the place the law is written: on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10, quoting Jeremiah 31:33). The holy spirit enables us to WANT to keep God’s laws. It’s no longer done out of obligation, but desire.

If the Law became obsolete at the death of Christ, then how the Law will go forth from Zion during the Millennial Reign, and why there will be animal sacrifices once more? Why will the line of Zadok (descendants of Levi) minister before Him once again? The fact is that animal sacrifices never saved anyone. They are merely a shadow, an object lesson, to help us understand the reality. People will still need this object lesson, even in future. Just because the crucifixion and resurrection has already taken place, that does not mean that people will understand exactly how Christ atoned for their sins. Temple services paint a clear picture, and they are God’s way of doing things. If they weren’t, He would never have given statutes concerning them. (BTW, all his commandments are righteousness. Psalm 119:117.) His Law is the truth (Psalm 119:142), and His truth endures to all generations (Psalm 100:5).

Hebrews 9:9:

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;”

The figure is an object lesson, and that lesson is the same for all of us, whether you were born before Christ or after: that gifts and sacrifices cannot make us perfect. Sacrifices never right a wrong, they never erase a sin. The only way to be sinless is to never commit sin in the first place. Christ’s atoning blood covers our sin – He paid for it as though He were the one committing it. He didn’t erase sin. The weight of all sin fell on His head. He paid the bill in full.

Hebrews 9:10:

“Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”

The meats and drinks, diverse washings, carnal ordinances, etc are only the object lesson. They may make the body pure, but they do not erase the fact that sin has been committed. They all point forward to Christ. Once the temple is rebuilt in the Millennial Reign, they will also not make the worshipper pure, but they will point back to His atoning work. It is an object lesson, and a good one, and one that we need as long as sin remains in the world. (As made obvious by the fact that there will be sacrifices in the Millennial Reign, under the direct jurisdiction of the Messiah.) I would say that the figure was “imposed” on them until the reformation (Was the reformation the new covenant, or was it the fact that the temple was itself about to physically be destroyed? It could be a spiritual or a physical reformation and present no problems to my beliefs). Now we have entered the new covenant: we obey God’s statutes (all that we possibly can) out of desire. I think that both Jeremiah and the writer of Hebrews, and Jehovah Himself would agree with me (based on the entirety of scriptures).

Hebrews 10:9:

“Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”

For context, start reading at the beginning of this chapter before you read what I have to say about it. You have to understand that throughout history, even when the Law was initially given and up to the present time, God would prefer for His people to obey Him, rather than disobeying and needing to kill an animal to point to Christ’s atoning work. Christ Himself never had to go to the temple in order to offer a sin offering, and the burnt offering never applied to Him (that specific offering was made every morning and every evening to be a continual covering for sin). Christ came to do God’s will, not to disobey and make sacrifices to cover disobedience. As far as taking away the first, I think that the Jews needed to go through a period of not having the temple services available to them in order to understand that Christ was their high priest. We know that there is nothing wrong with sacrifices in and of themselves: Firstly, because God commanded them, and He only gives us righteous commandments. Secondly, because they will be restored in the last days (the Millennial Reign). He wanted to firmly establish the work of Christ in the minds of believers, and perhaps there were some that couldn’t see the true body (Christ) because they were too focused on the shadow of that body (the Law). Not that the shadow is not a legitimate representation of the true. It most certainly is. It’s not an allegory invented by some church father; the allegory was instituted by the Father Himself – the one who doesn’t change with the times.

Hebrews 12:18-24:

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”

This is very clearly a contrast between the old covenant and the new. Remember, the new is God’s Law written on our hearts, and by pointing out the fear and terror of those agreeing to the old covenant, this passage makes that distinction clear.

For further consideration:

It seems to me that the entirety of Hebrews 7 is a defense to the Hebrews of how in the world Jesus could be our high priest since He wasn’t in the Levitical priesthood. Because God is righteous and His Law is righteousness (Psalm 119:72), the Hebrews were well aware that God wouldn’t break His own righteous commandments. (That would make Him unrighteous.) They wanted to know why Paul claimed that a member of the tribe of Judah could suddenly be our high priest. Do you see how they were testing what he taught against the OT, to see if his doctrine was true? If he had been teaching something not in accordance with scripture, they would have had to throw out his doctrine (as would we). Turns out, there’s an easy explanation: Paul’s answer is not that the Law was annulled. He argues that Jesus can be our high priest without breaking the Law. In fact, he says in Hebrews 8:4 that if Christ had stayed on earth, He could not legally be our high priest. In order to be an earthly priest, you must be of the Levitical line. In the Millennial Reign, I believe that the sacrificial system (Zech 14, Isaiah 56) will be reinstated and ministered by the Levites: “For thus says the LORD, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.’” Jeremiah 33:18

Now why would Paul need to prove that Jesus could legally be our high priest? Because the Law is very much still in effect (righteousness is still righteousness) and obviously applies to Christ, who is the embodiment of righteousness. Christ, being the Word made flesh, never broke Torah in His existence, and He’s not about to start now. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Instead, Paul’s argument is that the order of Melchizedek precedes the Levitical order, and that Melchizedek’s order is the true order in heaven, the Levitical order being only a shadow of the reality. Both orders can co-exist, the perfect one in heaven and the figure of the heavenly one on earth.

Torah Questions with Answers from Scripture

DOES JEHOVAH’S TORAH STILL DEFINE RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR TODAY’S BELIEVERS?

My interpretation of the scriptures is based on three of Jehovah’s qualities:

  • His righteousness (The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. Psalm 147:17),
  • His steadfastness (For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Malachi 3:6),
  • His lovingkindness. (For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5)

Based on Jehovah’s righteousness, can we conclude that every command of Jehovah is righteous? (My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. Psalm 119:172) Is righteousness randomly assigned by God to certain behaviors, or does He truthfully tell us right from wrong? (Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. Psalm 119:142) Based on His righteous nature, can we expect Him to keep every promise or covenant that He has ever made without altering the terms of the contract? (God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19)

Based on Jehovah’s steadfastness, can we trust that His standards of righteousness maintain their righteousness throughout the ages? (Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. Psalm 119:160) Are believers of all generations expected to love His Law? (But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah 4:1-2) Can we conclude that His standards are the same for all peoples? (Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 24:22) Can we expect His Son, His apostles, and His prophets to speak only words that align with Jehovah’s instructions? (To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20) Does anyone have the authority to alter God’s Law? (He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. Daniel 7:25)

Based on what we know of Jehovah’s lovingkindness, do we believe that He gave His chosen people instructions for their own good? (And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13) Is Jehovah’s plan to redeem Israel still intact? (Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies. Psalm 106:43-45) Does He expect His people to have blind faith in Jesus Christ, or does He use fulfilled prophecies to prove that Jesus is the Messiah? (Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7) Why would God tell us His plan ahead of time? (Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words. Isaiah 41:26) Does the Father give us any indication that His covenant would one day be abolished? (For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10) Does He give His people a foolproof method to discern a true prophet from a false one? (If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. Deuteronomy 13:1-4)

JEHOVAH’S RIGHTEOUSNESS, STEADFASTNESS, AND LOVINGKINDNESS ARE INTERCONNECTED

Because Jehovah is righteous, He is perfect in defining righteousness for His people. (The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7) Even the heathens would recognize the rightness of the Law. (Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Deuteronomy 4:6-8) Righteousness leads to life, and unrighteousness leads to death. (See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:15-19) He wants His people to live eternally (O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! Deuteronomy 5:29), which is not possible (But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:17) for physical bodies that have committed unrighteousness. (For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23) When Jehovah promised the Messiah through Abraham, He told Him that all nations would be blessed by means of his seed. (And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. Genesis 22:18) I believe that Jehovah was, in essence, explaining to Abraham that the Messiah would walk perfectly and reap the blessings of righteousness, while implying that His righteousness and those blessings would be imputed to people of all nations. (And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Philippians 3:9) But how would He accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? (Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. Zechariah 8:6-8) When Jehovah called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but provided a substitution instead, He was teaching Abraham more about the plan of redemption.( And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. Genesis 22:8)

Was Jehovah righteous to command His people to walk perfectly before Him, and to make a life-and-death covenant with them that He knew they would not keep? (Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: And the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book: And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 29:24-28) By making this covenant with them, was He setting them up for failure? (Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? Ezekiel 18:25) Was the Law too difficult for them? (For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. Deuteronomy 30:11 ESV)

My perspective is this: Jehovah always keeps His end of the covenant. (What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? Romans 3:3 ESV) Mankind failed to keep their end. (They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Psalm 14:3) (God knew this would happen.) (And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. Deuteronomy 28:64) Because of His lovingkindness, He wants to bless us with eternal life anyway. (Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exodus 34:7) However, He is perfectly righteousness and just, He can’t just give us eternal life when we deserve death. (The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin. Deuteronomy 24:16) Rightfully, eternal life only comes to those who have never done anything to bring death on themselves. (Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:15)

Amazingly, Jehovah is powerful enough to bless mankind without compromising His righteousness in the process. (Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: Isaiah 59:1) Praise Jehovah! (I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord: This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. Psalm 118:17-21) He sent His only begotten Son to fulfill man’s part of the covenant. (And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Matthew 3:15) His Son did not earn the death penalty because He lived a perfect life according to the Law. (For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21) In other words, Jesus earned eternal life in accordance with the promise given through the Law. (Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD. Leviticus 18:5)

We sold ourselves to sin. (And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. John 8:32-34) In other words, we traded away life for the temporal pleasures of sin, earning death in our bodies. (For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. Romans 7:5) We had a debt to pay. Thankfully, and rightfully, Jehovah makes a provision in His Law for redemption: a near kinsman is legally allowed to pay a debt in behalf of the debtor. (If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. Leviticus 25:25) When Jesus, as our next of kin, paid a debt He did not owe, He freed us from our debt. (There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4) By keeping the commandments, Jesus inherited all of the blessings that God gave His people. (And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. Luke 18:18-20) Through the obedience of Christ, all of the terms of the original covenant are fulfilled. (Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Matthew 5:17) Does this fulfillment mean that the Law is no longer valid? (For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18) God forbid. (Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Romans 3:31) Jehovah and humanity are now reconciled in the covenant as though it had never been broken. (Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:9)

In light of the aforementioned qualities of Jehovah, how should we interpret the writings of Paul? First of all, we should test everything he says against God’s instructions. (These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11) If Paul had been a false prophet or had merely been mistaken, we would still be required to uphold God’s commandments, not man’s doctrine. (He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Mark 7:6-7) However, Paul was not a false prophet; he never says anything contrary to the Law of Jehovah. (Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: Acts 26:22) In fact, Paul remains Torah-observant even after believing on Christ for salvation. (Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. Acts 21:24) When Paul says that we are no longer under the Law, he means that we no longer owe our debt. (For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2) He is not saying that the Law is sin. (What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:7) The Law is good. (Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Romans 7:12) The definition of sin is the transgression of the Law (Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. I John 3:4), and Paul never implies that it no longer matters whether we sin or not. (God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:2) When he speaks of the curse of the Law, he is referring to the curse that we earned through our disobedience (death). (Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Galatians 3:13) The curse of the Law (death) also looms over your head if you try to rely on your own works for salvation. (For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Galatians 3:10 ESV) This is not a defect in the righteousness of the Law, but a defect in man’s willingness to keep it. (Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. Galatians 3:21) God renewed His covenant with Israel after finding fault with the people, not with the Law. (For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Hebrews 8:8) Many people had the wrong impression about what Paul was preaching. (And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. Romans 3:8) They mistook Paul’s message of salvation by faith as a message of lawlessness. (And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 2 Peter 3:15-17)