Tag Archives: salvation

Believers, Do You Read Your Bible?

Bible-reading: How can I express its importance?

How can I put it into the right words?

What argument can I use to encourage you to pick up this life-giving book?

If you don’t believe it’s all that important, why not? What are the reasons that you allow it to take a backseat to the other priorities in your life? Let’s talk about it and see if we can get to the bottom of the issue here.

I have a few more questions for you, intended to provoke you to action.

How can you claim to believe something you’ve never even read?

How do you know what the Bible says about where we came from, how we are supposed to worship, what obedience entails, and where we are going to end up? If you haven’t read the Bible to glean these answers, then you are merely believing what someone told you. You are choosing a person to trust rather than the Word of God itself.

Is there anything within its pages that would surprise you? How do you know?

Is there hidden treasure inside that might be the answer to the persistent questions or problems in your life? What if you’re missing it?

His words are truth. His instructions are life. Please don’t miss out. That book over there, sitting on the shelf collecting dust – it has the power to change you, but first you have to read it.

photo credit: Theo Crazzolara <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/141324643@N05/32033909876″>Chocolate coins</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

I am one of them, and so are you.

“Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you, so let’s just praise the Lord.” Is this children’s-church song scripturally sound? I tell you, it is more sound than much of what you will hear coming out from behind the pulpit nowadays. But what does it mean? And what does it mean to you?

Are you listening to theologians who tell you that the Law was only valid for the Israelites?

They have been misled: “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

“One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.” Numbers 15:15-16.
“One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.” Exodus 12:49. This particular passage is specifically referring to eating the Passover lamb, which foreshadows salvation. Any foreigner who wanted to partake in eating the lamb had to become circumcised first, joining himself to the Hebrew nation.

Today, there is no physical lamb to eat because there is no temple. Jews do not even partake of a lamb anymore because God warned them in His Law not to do so without a temple. There is, however, a spiritual Lamb to partake of – that is Christ. To eat the spiritual Lamb, you must be spiritually circumcised – that is the act of coming to Him for salvation.

You will hear many preachers preach against circumcision and against keeping the Law. They use Galatians to make their case. I would encourage you to read the entire book. It’s very short. Paul was angry with the Jews in Galatia who were demanding that the gentiles be circumcised in order to gain salvation. In fact, he makes this very strong statement: “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” Galatians 5:3. However, note that his problem was not with circumcision itself (read Romans 3:1-2), but in the requirement to perform an act to obtain salvation.

It’s perfectly okay to be circumcised because of health reasons or because it is the lawful thing to do. Most who are circumcised don’t even have a choice in the matter. Paul isn’t saying that any circumcised person cannot attain salvation unless they keep the Law perfectly.  He is saying that you can’t hinge your salvation on it (or anyone else’s, for that matter). If your salvation were to depend on circumcision, then it would also depend on the whole Law.

The Jews themselves never lived up to the perfection set forth in God’s righteous Law. “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:3, quoted in Romans 3:10. Not that the Law is difficult – it is easy. “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.” Deuteronomy 30:11, ESV. The Jews failed to keep the Law because they were human, sinful, rebellious – the same reasons all of us fall short. How could their consciences allow them to put a requirement on the Gentiles when they couldn’t live up to God’s requirements themselves?

The Jews were saved by grace alone. They knew it. Why did they believe that the gentiles would be saved through any other means? “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Galatians 2:14. The Law cannot justify you unless you are perfect, unless you have always been perfect. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:4.

Some folks believe that if we follow the Law to the best of our ability, we are trying to earn salvation. This would be like suggesting that any time you do something righteous, you are attempting to earn salvation. We know better than that. If it has become a sin to follow the Law in circumcision, Sabbath days, and dietary restrictions, then it would also be a sin to avoid adultery, stealing, and murder. In fact, if it were a sin to perform the Law to the best of our abilities, then the entire definition of sin would have become the opposite of what it always was, and is! “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. “ 1 John 3:4. (Notice how inseparable sin is from transgression of the Law. It works both ways. If you are sinning, you are transgressing the Law, and vice versa. John wrote it that way on purpose to help us avoid confusion.)

However, keeping the Law cannot make you righteous, unless you keep the whole Law – that is, never sinning, even once. This is precisely what Christ did for us. His righteousness became our righteousness. It was attributed to us, as though we were the ones who had kept the entire Law – which is the only way to Life. (Sin equals death, Law equals Life – Romans 6:23, Deuteronomy 32:46-47) “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:21.

The fact is, there is no one work that you have to do to “earn” salvation because it cannot be earned. There is no one act that you can do that will erase your past, present, and future sins. Doing something righteous, such as circumcision, does not atone for all of the wrong you have done. Once you have committed one sin in your life, you are doomed to experience the curse of disobedience (death), and there is no act you can perform to undo it. That is, you are doomed unless your sin can be atoned for – and it can! By the blood of Jesus Christ. This is the very reason that non-Christians will not experience eternal life. They are doomed by the curse of the Law. If the Law has become void, as modern-day theologians claim, then there is nothing by which to judge the unrighteous, nothing by which to separate those who will live from those who will not. (Read all of Deuteronomy for a more perfect understanding.)

The Law is the mirror by which we are judged, reflecting the perfect righteousness of God. In it, we can see what righteousness looks like. In Christ, we have an example of what it would look like for a human to continually abide in righteousness because He walked perfectly according to the Law. It is not the Law that is unrighteous. It is wholly righteous – it is the very definition of truth and righteousness itself. (Read Psalm 119:142&172). The only problem with the Law is that is makes no provision for redeeming yourself – except through your own death. “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:7, Romans 7:2. But a dead person still cannot experience the eternal life that he never earned, unless Christ’s righteousness is imputed to him. So you see, the Law is not the problem – sin is. Read this: “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. In this hypothetical scenario, Christ would not have had to die for us.

Maybe you are still convinced that the Law was given only to the Israelites. I don’t see how you would reach that conclusion, but okay. Don’t you know that once you have entered into salvation, you have entered into the covenant that God made with His people? Any stranger who wanted to follow the true God would do so by joining themselves to the Hebrew people through circumcision. That’s what salvation signifies. Like it or not, if you are a saved person, you are an Israelite. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. We are grafted into their family; we are heirs of their inheritance. The entire Word of God is all about Him, His Law (aka, His righteousness), and His people.

We hear that the church is the bride of Christ, and that any Jewish person wanting to get saved must do so by becoming part of the church. However, “church” just means congregation, and the congregation is spoken of over and over again in the Old Testament – it is not a new thing. This isn’t the “church age.” The congregation refers to His people. It has always been His people. If you don’t believe me, read Psalm 22:22, and Hebrews 2:12 which quotes it. Read Acts 7:38. Old Testament = congregation, New Testament = church. Congregation = church.

In regards to the church being the bride of Christ – that is also referring to Israel. Paul was familiar with Isaiah, chapters 50-54. The doctrine of the bride of Christ comes from those passages, and others, such as Hosea. You see, Israel was divorced for her unfaithfulness (chapter 50). In chapter 54, she is remarried to Christ. The death of God, Israel’s first husband, freed Israel from the law of her husband, allowing her to enter into marriage again, legally, without breaking God’s holy laws concerning marriage. (Isaiah 54:4 refers to her widowhood, just before her remarriage in the next verse.)

Salvation was offered to the gentiles almost as a side effect – but that’s just my way of looking at it; I’m sure God doesn’t see it that way. You see, it was too easy for the Messiah to save only Israel, so He made a way to save all of us: “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6. Salvation became available to the Gentiles while Christ was in the process of saving Israel.

Read all of Isaiah, and you will see how God is going to save the 10 lost tribes of Israel in spite of the fact that they turned from Him and walked in rebellion for thousands of years. They don’t even know who they are, yet God is going to gather them from the 4 corners of the earth, and they will once again become His people. In this process, He also made a way of salvation to every nation. We are saved by being adopted into the Israelite family. We are called to obey the Laws given to them – because they are us, and we are them. We are the seed of Abraham because of our faith. If none of this makes sense to you, I would encourage you to read the whole Bible. If that seems like too much of a chore, start with Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews.

One more question, in parting: If the Sabbath day and feast days are perpetual ordinances, the way that God says they are so many times (read the first 5 books of the Bible), what would you suggest to Jewish people who trust in Christ? Would you suggest that they can stop keeping them now, that “forever” doesn’t really mean forever? What if someone told you that your eternal life gained through salvation wasn’t actually eternal, that it could be superseded by something new? And if you think that they should still be keeping them (you know, because forever really does mean forever), what would you suggest to the lost 10 tribes of Israel? These people have lost track of their lineage. They don’t know who they are. And how do you know you aren’t one of them? The Prodigal son, the lost sheep, the lost coin, the wheat and the tares: all of these parables point emphatically to the salvation of Israel, and our own salvation by extension.

I Stand in Awe of Him

Here is the sixth reason why I persist in studying the Old Testament through a Jewish lens: it has put me in utter amazement. I have been familiar with the gospel for over 30 years, but until a couple of years ago, I had never experienced the mind-blowing comprehension of the gospel as it is foreshadowed in the Old Testament.

His providence astounds me. His redemption is beyond fathoming. I cannot put into words for you how God’s plan for mankind affects me. He gave Adam everything he needed, including a relationship with the Almighty. Adam walked away from that relationship, and the Father has been plotting a way to restore it ever since. “We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.” 2 Samuel 14:14 (ESV)

i-am-the-door

(Picture from 119 Ministries)

He is constantly working on our behalf: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:” Job 23:8-9

I have been smitten by God’s enormous love and brought to tears over and over again as I discover more about His personality and provision for us. Sometimes I feel like my human body can not bear up under the presence of His overwhelming holiness. Just catching a small glimpse of Him here and there throughout the scriptures has made me fully aware that a man cannot see God and live. (Exodus 33:20)

In light of my recent studies, I am convinced that we cannot so much as comprehend Him and live! I am certainly going to need a new body before I meet Him face to face, so I won’t have to worry about whether my heart stops or whether I’m still breathing. And I will need a new mind that will not crumple in the light of His magnificent truth. And then I’m going to need an eternity with Him to search out His goodness, His wisdom, His love.

Let me tell you something. Satan and the forces of this world do not want you to study the Old Testament. The richness of God’s salvation is hidden on every page, and Satan doesn’t want us to know about that. Satan is good at deceiving, so he tells us that some things (aka the OT) are just not important anymore.

God, on the other hand, desires to have a relationship with us. He wants us to know everything we can about Him, to be constantly hungry for more. God wants you to study the entire Word. That’s why He left it for us. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” Psalm 42:1-2

Let me leave you with a song that praises Him for His indescribable nature:

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp you infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you

(I Stand in Awe of You, Hillsong)

The Jewish word ga’al and the City of Refuge

city-of-refugeYesterday, I published my first point regarding why I study Jewish belief. Here is point two:

The Scriptures were written by the Hebrew people for the Hebrew people, in the Hebrew language. Anyone who has studied a second language will know that there will necessarily be some expressions, ideas, words, etc that Hebrew-speaking people will just understand better. For instance, the Passover, found in Exodus 12: Jews keep the Passover feast every single year according to the instructions given in Leviticus 23, commemorating the night that the death angel passed over everyone who was under the blood. It was commanded by God that they keep it forever. (Exodus 12:14, and one of many reasons why Torah-observant Christians keep it today.) It was a dress rehearsal for the redemptive act of Jesus Christ on the cross. When we see the Passover through their eyes, we understand better: We had an appointment with death, but because the innocent lamb died, He became the substitute for us, and now we no longer have to die. (Romans 6:23, Genesis 2:17, Proverbs 11:19, Ezekiel 18:4, James 1:15, Romans 5)

Another of my favorite passages is Joshua 20. The word for “avenger” in this passage is the same exact word translated “redeemer,” which is also the same word translated “kinsman,” both from the book of Ruth. There is no distinction. These words mean each other. They are each other. Your next of kin has the ability to redeem you or to avenge your death. If you read the book of Ruth again (also Leviticus 25:24-25), you will discover that Jesus Christ had to be our next of kin in order to qualify as redeemer, but Yahweh constantly refers to Himself as our redeemer. He also says in Exodus 6:6 that He will redeem us with an outstretched arm. If you read yesterday’s post, that will mean something more to you. The answer? Yeshua the Messiah is Yahweh in the flesh, the arm of the LORD. The Jews would have understood this before they hardened their hearts. Ah, for fun, read Numbers 11:23 and Isaiah 59:1!

Okay, back to Joshua 20.

“The Lord also spake unto Joshua, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime. And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled. And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.”

So what does this mean? What would you see here if you were Hebrew and heard the good news of the Gospel? I hope I can explain this clearly, the way I see it.

The Father is the Son’s avenger of blood (nearest of kin). The Son was slain, unwittingly, by those who are responsible for His death: sinners. When a sinner learns of Christ, He runs to the city of refuge (which is also Christ). The City protects the man-slayer from the avenger of blood until the death of the high priest, at which point he may return home. The amazing thing about this passage is that Christ is also our high priest. It is his death that pardons us! This is the amazing love of God. This is how cool He is. “…yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.” 2 Samuel 14:14 – Basically meaning that He is acting out His plan to keep us from being separated from Him forever.

Okay, amazing, right? But there’s more to this passage. First, there is eternal security. I have so much to say on this topic; maybe someday I will make an entire post out of it, but for now, suffice it to say that once the high priest is dead, the avenger of blood can no longer seek to destroy us. That’s it. Eternal life.

Secondly, there are those who, after hearing the gospel and learning what Christ accomplished on the cross, turn away and become haters of God. These are those who have made themselves murderers by becoming willingly responsible for the death of Christ. These will be delivered up from the city of refuge, directly into the hands of the avenger of blood.

The writer of Hebrews is expounding on Joshua 20 right here:

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.” Hebrews 10:26-30. 

Actually, you will find more concerning Joshua 20 if you read the entire book of Hebrews. Here is another passage:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6

Interesting, right? Suddenly, after learning the meaning of ga’al (meaning to redeem, to act as kinsman, to avenge), and after having read Joshua 20, I understood these passages while also understanding eternal security. There’s a first time for everything, right?

Let me sum up: Studying the New Testament in light of the Old and vice versa provides amazing clarity.

The Law Is Not an Example of Planned Obsolescence

bible-1149924_1280As I study all of the Scriptures more in-depth, and consider the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy) from an angle I have never considered, three things jump out at me. I will get to that part in a minute. First of all, what is the angle I am talking about here? That the Law hasn’t become obsolete. Let me make very clear that I am not talking about the Levitical law – the sacrifices and priesthood. Jesus Christ has perfectly and eternally fulfilled God’s just demand for sacrifice and reconciliation, so thankfully, that aspect of the Law is perpetually and permanently met. Not only was He the perfect Lamb, but He also acted as the high priest (after the order of Melchizedek, who predated the order of Levi), offering himself for the the ransom of many (Psalm 110:4, Genesis, 14:18, Hebrews 7, Mark 10:45). We are redeemed. It is finished. Edit: In light of learning that God promised the priesthood to Levi’s descendents forever, just as He promised the kingdom to David forever (Jeremiah 33:17-21), and after learning that Jesus could not have been our high priest had He remained on earth (Hebrews 8:4), and after considering that there will be sacrifices again during the Millennial Reign (Ezekial chapters 43-46), I have to recant my earlier statements. According to my current perspective, Levi is the earthly shadow of the true heavenly priesthood. The earthly shadow is still a legitimate reflection of the true, as long as the earth endures. I have more to say about this topic, if anyone in the comment section wishes to engage.

Some verses that support the eternal existence of the Law. (For a better understanding, pull out your Bibles and read the whole chapter or even the whole book wherein the verses are found.)

I John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (Proof that the Law still points to sin in our lives.)

Romans 6:1-2 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? (Proof that we should not disobey the Law, even under the New Testament covenant.)

Matthew 5:17-19  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

18 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.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Proof that the Law will stand as long as the earth stands, and that folks will be in trouble for teaching that the Law is no longer valid. Also proof that breaking the Law does not negate one’s salvation.)

Something worth noting – “jot” and “tittle” refer to the smallest markings of the Hebrew language (equivalent to crossing a “t” or dotting an “i”). Considering this and the fact that the New Testament had not been written yet, we can be assured that Jesus was referring to the Old Testament Law.

If you will read all of Romans chapter 4, you will see that adherence to the Law never justified anyone, not even those living under it. No one in the history of mankind has ever been able to obey the whole law, with the exception of Jesus Christ our Savior. No one in history has ever earned his way into the presence of the Holy Father. Salvation has always come through faith to those who believe. So the question remains: If God gave the Law, that never saved anybody, what purpose did it serve then, and what purpose does it serve now? I believe the purpose has remained the same throughout time, before the incarnate Christ, and even now, in the era of our Lord.

The Three-fold Purpose of the Law

These are the three main purposes that I can see. I am sure there are many more, but these definitely deserve some attention.

  1. To reveal sin in our lives, thereby proving our need for a Savior.
  2. To act as an indisputable sign, pointing perfectly and completely at Jesus Christ as Messiah.
  3. To show us how to live an abundant life during our sojourn here on earth.

To reveal sin: this is a pretty much undisputed purpose of the Law, at least among Christians. However, since my husband and I have been observing the Law in our lives (food laws, Sabbath Day, etc), a few people have wondered if we are sinning by trying to keep the Law. Let me show you Paul’s answer to that question:

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 – but the whole chapter is eye-opening. 

When the Law was given, we were suddenly capable of sinning against it. If your child picks his nose, he is only doing something natural. Until you tell him not to, and then if he continues, he is disobeying. Suddenly, it becomes sin. That does not mean that you shouldn’t instruct your children in cleanliness for their own good (more about that later). That does not make the instruction bad. And just because you will love your child forever and still be his parent if he does pick his nose, does not mean that he has license to disobey as much as he chooses. And if he chooses to obey, that does not mean that he is afraid you will disown him or stop loving him if he doesn’t. This is how some people react when I tell them we are keeping the Law.

Just because our family chooses to obey God’s Law, does not suddenly mean that we think we are earning our salvation. The idea is ludicrous to me, even though it is probably the number one argument against obedience. One sin. One. That’s all it takes, and a person is no longer capable of earning salvation. That’s all of us, folks. We are not trying to earn salvation or love or acceptance or anything else. We are merely trying to obey the Rule-Maker because we love Him, because He makes the rules, and because He has only ever asked us to do what was best for us. Speaking of that, I am going to skip over point two for now (because I fear it will be lengthy), and jump right over to point three.

An abundant life: The word Torah (translated law) also means instruction. We often joke that this life didn’t come with a handbook, but it did! Not only for how to behave, how to treat others, and hope for the future. It tells us everything we need to know to live a happy, healthy, prosperous life. Do take some time and read Psalm 119. The Law is not a bad thing! God tells us what to eat and what not to eat, how to be clean, how to be financially prosperous. The Jews were blamed for the outbreak of the Black Death because they weren’t getting sick at the rate of non-Jews. Why weren’t they getting sick? Probably because they washed using running water. Leviticus 15:13

My husband and I chose to have our son circumcised on the eighth day of life. For no other reason than that we believe that God always instructs us in our favor. We discovered years later that blood clotting is best on the eighth day of life.

Deuteronomy 5:33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

Deuteronomy 6:24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Jesus is the Word by which the universe was created. He is the Word made flesh. The Law is part of his Word, part of who He is.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Malachi 3:6a For I am the LORD, I change not;

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Does it seem that some verses say that the Law has been abolished?

I believe everything the Bible says about everything. I’m not trying to pick and choose verses, glossing over the ones I think are contrary to what I have come to believe. I want to examine everything. If the Bible is 100% accurate (and it is), then it does not contradict itself. If parts of it contradict itself, how would we determine what parts to believe? Creation, the virgin birth, salvation, the resurrection, eternal life? It is either all true, or it is the greatest conspiracy of all time. (However, when I get into my second point – in another post – you will see that it is too complex to be conspiracy. It is all true!)

If some verses seem to say one thing, and others seem to say something opposite, then there must be something we are misunderstanding. Why are we misunderstanding? Christians have had their eyes blinded for centuries. We can’t understand what the Bible is trying to say because we have been approaching everything with the misconception that the law is not longer valid. What have we misunderstood concerning the Law? Why does the Bible seem to say that the Law has passed away while also making very clear that it has not? I think some of the confusion lies in the fact that because the Levitical part of the Law has been fulfilled, folks get the idea from reading the Scriptures that the Law doesn’t apply to us at all anymore. Apparently, there were some folks during Jesus’ ministry who also thought this way, or perhaps He was speaking to modern-day Christians in advance (referring to His words previously quoted above from Matthew 5).

Also, Paul speaks out against the ordinances and says that they are nailed to the cross. My research online shows that many folks believe that he is speaking about the Law here. However, if you read the entire chapter of Colossians 2, you will see that he is plainly talking about the ordinances of men and traditions of the world. You see, there’s this whole other addition to the Law that the Jews were observing (and many still do), and that is the Talmud – man’s interpretations and expansion of God’s Law. Also, if you read Psalm 119, you will discover that the Law of the Lord is perfect.

Another verse commonly quoted is I Corinthians 7:19: Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

Galatians 6:11-15 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The Jewish people were trying to make circumcision a salvation issue for the new Gentile converts. Even though, because of their own unrighteousness, the Jews could not wholly keep the Law themselves, but they were still demanding that the Gentiles be circumcised if they wanted to accept Christ. Why did they think they got to choose the one way to salvation? Circumcision? Hardly!

God makes it very plain, over and over, that salvation is by grace alone. I think folks who speak out against Torah keepers believe that we are making the Law a salvation issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Law is what it always was – never saved anybody, never will. Always pointed to Christ, always will. Was given for the good of mankind then and mankind today.

Ephesians 2:8-9 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.

Acts 16:30-31 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

What does God sing about?

You!

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

I wish I could put into words how this verse makes me feel. We’ve all heard John 3:16 so many times, that we tend to overlook its deep meaning. We’re desensitized. I think people get the feeling that God is trying to guilt them into serving Him.

But this verse in Zephaniah is fresh. It proves to me how much God really does love me. Enough to give His son, of course. But even more than that. Enough to sing over me. I am precious to Him. He enjoys my company; desires my fellowship.

It kind of reminds me of my relationship with my husband. I told someone the other day that I really like my husband, and they said, “Well, you love him!” But to me, liking my husband is even more important than loving him. I love a lot of people – I care intensely about them and what happens to them. But I really like my husband. I like being around him, talking to him, spending time with him. This is the way God feels about us! Not only does He love us, but He likes us too!

This verse does a couple of things for me: first, it makes me feel deeply loved (and liked!).

Second, it makes me really wanna hang out with my best friend, who also happens to be the Creator of the universe.

Third, it helps me forgive others because I realize that this verse can apply to anyone walking the face of the earth. Even those who aren’t saved yet still have the potential to get saved, and to bring this much joy into the heart of God. It helps me remember how precious each and every person is.

The coolest thing I’ve ever done!

I can still remember where I was standing when I led my cousin to the Lord. I was on the phone with him in my sister’s bedroom. Then a couple of months ago, during the drive home from an evening church service, my son also accepted Christ as his Savior. But for years between those two phenomenal events, I haven’t been involved in the making of new Christians. My role in the Kingdom has been more supportive of existing Christians than anything else.

Until this past weekend.

Brother Miles Wallis came up from Talking Rock Road Baptist Church, bringing his sheaves (of paper) with him. He brought enough supplies to assemble 13,000 booklets containing John and Romans. My church was not new to this type of project, but this is the first time they’ve assembled Bibles since our family has been attending (January). Covers were folded, books were assembled, stapled, trimmed, and boxed. The booklets were printed in French, and are destined to reach thousands of souls in Kenya. It took 30-40 people (my estimation) 9 hours over a Friday evening and Saturday morning to completely finish (including loading the trailer and cleaning the church). Even the children had plenty to do, as they transported the partly assembled Bibles from station to station.

As a result, I hope to cultivate friendships with simply thousands of brothers and sisters in heaven who will be saved as a result of our church’s labor of love.

The project was one of the most satisfying events I have ever participated in, yet paradoxically, has left me starving for more! (I guess it’s because I was actually fulfilling my purpose as a Christian on this earth.)

For information on how to donate or participate, check out Seedline International.