"God has one prupose: to glorify Himself in Christ. This involves glory in two spheres, the earthly and the heavenly. In keeping with this purpose, God has made the Church distinct from Israel, though salvation of all saints is ever and only by grace, in view of the atoning work of Christ."
God never intended the Church to replace Israel. Yet this is the widespread misunderstanding that has prevailed throughout Christendom for nearly 2,000 years. While advent of the Church was in the context of Israel and amongst Jews, the corporate, new-creation Body of Christ and individual members (Christians) were a "mystery...not made known to men in other generations." By direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul labored to explain and clarify this in his letters to the various local churches, as well as to the other Apostles.
While Paul touched upon the subject of law in most of his writings, his Epistles to believers in the cities of Rome (Romans) and Galatia (Galatians) form a vital core of Christian teaching on this subject. Since day one, triumphal religionists have mixed Mosaic Law with Christianity, co-mingling law and grace--and tragically this represents the status-quo for most of Christendom's history.
Whether Mosaic Law, Ten Commandments, or Sermon on the Mount, none are the Christian's rule for living "because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." As illustrated below, the Church is heavenly, positioned above. New Creation Christians are to 'abide above'.
By contrast, the world and its governments, and select, biblical institutions appropriately operate under the principle of law to create order, accountability, establish justice, and bring judgment and punishment on those who do evil.
There are two erroneous systems of belief simultaneously devastating the church and paralyzing Christians today. One is Christian humanism, as vividly expressed by the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, and at a less emotional and more subtle level in other Anglo-Catholic denominations. The other is age-old legalism, which is championed by the Reformed/Covenant theology, law-based Christian denominations and para-church organizations. The Apostle Paul specifically addressed legalism, the error of combining the contrary systems of law and grace, in his Galatians letter. Consequently, this syncretistic error has also been synonymously referred to as Galatianism.
This page presents a list of what Paul taught concerning law, its history, and its relationship to the New-Creation Christian, using text taken from his epistles. Throughout the page, supporting quotations are from the New King James and New International versions of the Bible.
First, the principle of law was given to unregenerate mankind--the First Adam and his descendants. It pertains to 'accountability' toward God and governing earthly authorities.
The principle of law was neither given to bring us into right relationship with God nor empower us to live a life pleasing to God. Law has to do with Adam, sin, and death, not righteousness and life. Law does not impart Life. The Mosaic law was not meant to replace the principles of promise, grace, and faith, but was brought in alongside.
Key to understanding the Christian life is seeing that law increases our awareness of our lost condition as well as our propensity (nature) to sin, which we congenitally inherited from the First Adam. Law exacerbates bondage (no so-called "free will") and most often leads to hypocrisy (Rom. 2:17-24).
Rather than producing holiness and godliness, our Adamic life is energized and gains mastery over us when we are "law oriented". Contrary to widespread religious belief, successful "law-keeping" either before or after regeneration is not God's intention for the New-Creation Christian. Jeremiah 31:33 is a (New) covenant promise to individual Jews who will live during the future Millennium.
The bottom-line result of either Law or law as a "rule of life" [for either Jew, Christian, or other] is SIN and HYPOCRISY. This truth is supported by both Scripture and six thousand years of recorded religious history.
Law primarily addresses the life-force (consciousness) of the First Adam and his descendents. The New-Creation Christian's death with Christ separates him/her from their relationship to the First Adam and the realm of the principle of law.
From the beginning and up to the present day, a candid reading of Paul's Gospel of Grace, together with time amongst legalists, turns upside-down the erroneous notion that law as a "rule of life" produces moral integrity or genuine holiness. Either as an external principle for the Jews or an internal principle for the rest of humanity [Romans 2:14,15], law produces bondage to sin.
Cartoonist Wiley, with tongue in cheek, echoes our sentiments:
ARE YOU FALLING ALL OVER THE DANCE FLOOR?
A Reformed sister named Robin writes that after her awakening to the truth of God's sovereignty in her salvation "sanctification has become a dance instead of a duty." What a beautiful analogy! Robin continues: "...y'know what a legalist is? (S)he's a dancer that keeps looking at his or her FEET to be sure (s)he's getting it exactly right. Kinda misses the whole point of dancing, doesn't it? Our eyes should be on His face, not on our own feet - or worse, on OTHER PEOPLE'S feet!"
William K's - THINKMAIL
However, little does Robin yet realize that in spite of the wonderful "truth of God's sovereignty", the Reformed tradition will bind her to a life of 'feet watching'-----law, not identification with Christ, as a "rule of life"! DS
Good morning, Dan!
Good to hear from you. My earlier email, as you have observed, was the beginning of my struggles to comprehend my position in Christ Jesus. I did not want to turn loose of the Law for fear of falling headlong into some dark abyss of sinning. And I suppose I felt like "keeping the law" as a "rule of life" afforded me opportunity to gain a measure of acceptance on a daily basis with our Lord. The heart is indeed "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked".
Probably the greatest single truth that has helped to free me from this kind of thinking is the distinction between the Two Adams.
At long last the Holy Spirit has enabled me to see this!! But I resisted this teaching for many years. It was not so much "pride of doctrine", but WRONG doctrine and "pride of life" that kept me from seeing this! But the Lord has His own ways of dealing with that! And I am finding that He deals with each of His children INDIVIDUALLY. He knows exactly the "prescription" that is needed, and the precise "dosage".
When I wrote to you in June, I was deeply hurting inside because I had been terminated from my job after almost 8 years of dedication to the same company. This has been a humbling experience. Little did I know it was of the Lord's arrangement to apply experientially Romans 8:28ff, and that it was an answer to our Lord's "High Priestly Prayer" in John 17:17: "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth". This whole experience quickly turned my attention once again to both the Living Word and the written Word. And then for some reason I remembered Miles Stanford and THE GREEN LETTERS which I had read about 30 years ago. Immediately I did a search on the internet. So here I am!! I am glad for your fellowship, and I treasure those of "like precious faith".
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