OUR VISITORS' COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, AND OUR RESPONSES
(Dialogue with a Minister on the Moral Law of God)
I was just visiting your website out of interest. I thought Jesus nailed the Sabbath to His cross. Would you be interested in discussing this Sabbath with me?
Response to Ron's email:
Thank you for your email. I am delighted to discuss the Sabbath with you.
In Col.2:14 the Apostle Paul wrote: "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." This pertains to the ceremonial law which dealt with animal sacrifices, feast of trumpets, feast of tabernacles, feast of booths, etc. When Jesus died upon the cross, we no longer need to do these for His sacrifice is sufficient once and for all.
Before the Cross, when God's people sinned, they sacrificed animals looking forward in faith when the Son of God should die on Calvary for their sins. Today, we look back to Calvary and in faith we receive forgiveness and remission for our sins. The Bible defines sin as the "transgression of the law". See 1 John 3:4. The Sabbath is part of the moral law of God. It cannot be done away with. People sin today, don't they? Why? Because the moral law is existing just as surely as the law of gravity is. Matt 5:18 says: "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."
The moral law of God as embodied in the Decalogue or Ten Commandments was spoken by God at Mt.Sinai and written with His own fingers on tables of stones. In Ps 89:34 we know that what God has spoken and written cannot be altered.
The ceremonial law was a type or shadow. When Jesus died on the cross, the shadow reached the substance, and we no longer need to observe this law. This included the seven annual ceremonial sabbaths. These were different from the weekly Sabbath of Creation. These ceremonial sabbaths, feast days, burnt offerings, etc. were abolished at the Cross. See Leviticus, Chapter 23. This ceremonial law was the law that the Apostle Paul in Galatians and Colossians wrote that we no longer have to keep.
The moral law was never a type or a shadow. It existed before man's creation, before sin entered into the world, and will endure as long as God's throne remains. God could not change nor alter one precept of His law in order to save man; for the law is the foundation of His government. It is unchangeable, unalterable, infinite, and eternal. (Ps 111:7,8). It is Holy, Just and Good, just as God is Holy, Just, and Good. See Rom 7:12. In order for man to be saved, and for the honor of the law to be maintained, it was necessary for the Son of God to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us. Jesus' death on the cross satisfied both the mercy of God (the sinner must live) and His justice (the sinner must die--the wages of sin is death).
Ron, if you click on the highlighted URL you will be presented with a comparison between the ceremonial law of Moses which was done away with at the Cross and the Moral Law of God which is eternal. The moral law of God is a spiritual looking glass. It's the Christian's rule of life. It reveals to us sin in our lives. But it's the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin. That's the only purpose of the law--to reveal sin. It will never cleanse or save us.
If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to email me. I love the Lord Jesus and I love His law just like the psalmist wrote in Ps 1:2 "His delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in His Law doth he mediate day and night." I want others also to love the Lord Jesus and His law. Did you notice that this law is a delight--not contrary to us like the ceremonial law above in Col 2:14?
Take care and may the Holy Spirit guide you into all truths.
NOTE: More emails were transmitted back and forth with Ron reiterating the differences between the ceremonial law of types and shadows and the moral law of God which is eternal. I am posting excerpts of my responses to various points covered in his emails that I feel would be beneficial for those who might have similar questions.
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You wrote: The Bible explains the solid food we are to partake in. It reads, "But solid food is having your senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
My Response: How do we discern good and evil? It is through the law. Without the law (guided by the Holy Spirit) we will never be able to discern what is evil in this world. We will not be able to discern that adultery is evil, that stealing is evil, coveting is evil, murder is evil, bearing false witness is evil, etc. Rom 7:7 says "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."
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You wrote: God the Son was to never represent a covenant based on law. He was to be the fulfillment of law on our behalf, and represent a much better covenant and a much better New Covenant law of the Spirit.
My Response: A covenant is an agreement between two parties--God and His people. Agreement on what? Agreement on keeping the law. The new covenant of the spirit is based on the law you are trying to evade. Ancient Israel said they would keep the law; it was ratified in blood. You can read this in Hebrews. Yet, forty days later they broke the covenant by erecting and worshipping the golden calf. They didn't keep their part of the bargain. They were trying to keep the law in their own strength. They would not be able to do it even if they worked on it a million years. That's why the old covenant was not good. So, God, loving as He was, made a deal they couldn't refuse. He would write the law upon the tables of their hearts.
Here's a simple and humble example of keeping the law in spirit written in the heart of every mother:
I took care of my newborn baby--fed him, clothed him, changed his diapers, etc. I woke up at 2 a.m. for his feeding, etc. etc. I did this because I loved him. I did not do it because I feared that if I didn't do it, they would put me in jail for infant abuse. The thought of going to jail never occurred to me while my head was nodding wanting to sleep but fighting to stay awake to nurse my infant. Love was the motivating factor in taking care of my child. Yes, there were all kinds of laws out there that would put me in jail in a heartbeat if I neglected my baby.
In the same way, love is the motivating factor in keeping the Law of God. Jesus said: If you love me, keep my commandments. 1 John 2:4 says "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
Many people believe that when Jesus said He came to fulfil the law means that He came to destroy the law. But Christ didn't say such a thing. Here's what Matt 5:17: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Let's substitute the word "fulfil" with "destroy," "bring to an end," or "set aside" and see how the text reads: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to destroy, to bring an end to, to set aside."
Didn't that sound ridiculous? The Goodspeed's Modern Translation renders Matt 5:17,18 this way:
"Do not suppose that I have come to do away with the law, or the prophets: I have not come to do away with them, but to enforce them. For I tell you, that as long as heaven and earth endure, not one dotting of an I or crossing of a T will be dropped from the law, until it is observed."
Christ is the fulfillment of the law because He lived in accordance with its principles. He fulfilled the specifications of the law. He represented the beneficence of the law in His human life. The fact that the law is holy, just, and good is to be testified before all nations, tongues, and peoples, to worlds unfallen, to angels, seraphim, and cherubim. The principles of the law of God were wrought out in His character, and he who cooperates with Christ, becoming a partaker of the divine nature, will develop the divine character, and become an illustration of the divine law. Christ in the heart will bring the whole man, soul, body, and spirit into captivity to the obedience of righteousness. Christ's true followers will be in comfornity to the mind and will and character of God, and the far-reaching principles of the law will be demonstrated in humanity.
Rom 3:31 says: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." In Isa 42:21 we read that: "He will magnify the law, and make it honourable." Establishing the Law and magnifying it do not mean abolishing and doing away with it, does it?
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You wrote: Rather than focusing on "thou shall not murder, the Holy Spirit prompts you to love and serve the needy.
My Response: On the contrary, Ron, we do need to focus on "thou shall not murder." Why do you suppose this country has an alarmingly high rate of crime? Why do we lock our doors at night? Why are we afraid to walk alone at night? Why are women vulnerable? Why the crime against children? Why? Why? Why? Because the people are not focusing on the law of God. They think it's done away with. The shepherds of the flock are teaching them it's no longer applicable. That's why!
The whole antediluvian population was wiped off the face of the earth because they did not focus of the law of God. The same was true with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. These people were committing heinous crime it would make your head spin. They were practicing abominable sexual sins, it's pathetic. But are we any different today? No! Gay and lesbian marriages are endorsed and in some states are made the law of the land.
Today, God would do the same thing. When a nation's cup of iniquity is full, God will do His strange acts--the destruction of the wicked. See The Harvest Is Past. It's very important to be in right relationship with Him being in harmony with the eternal principles of His moral law through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit of God.
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I would like to ask you a question. Where in the Bible (chapters and verses) did you find that God's Universal Law of love includes the Ten Commandments only as a small portion of it? I have shown you and proven it with various texts that the moral law of God is complete, perfect, holy, just, and good. See James 1:25; Ps 19:7 and Rom 7:12.
Here's what you wrote: "The Ten Commandments were the milk that was given to Israel at Sinai. It was just a small excerpt of God's Universal Law."
You repeated this in another email in a rather contradictory sort of reasoning.
You wrote: "No matter how much you try to stretch these ten principles, not one principle in the Bible teaches them as the "Law of Christ" or God's Universal Law...It is true that an expanded version of these principles of the Ten Commandments do carry over but not as God's Universal Law or as the New Covenant Law. This was never God's Universal Law they were just a small portion of His Universal Law."
Ron, where in the Bible did you find that? Here's my point. If the Ten Commandments as you said are a small portion of the Universal Law of God, then they've got to be the Universal Law, even if it's only a part of it. They couldn't be anything else but Universal Law. It's like saying (this is not a very good example, I apologize, but it's all I could think of at the moment) my sister's family, consisting of mother, father, two sons, and a daughter, are one family, but the daughter (even though she has the same biological father and mother) doesn't belong in the same family, she's only a part of the family). Do you see the absurdity in saying that the Ten Commandments are not the Universal Law, they are only a part of it?
What is the complete Universal Law of God? Please show me and prove it with scriptures.
Even though the words "moral" and "ceremonial" are man-made, as we have already established, God Himself (not man) differentiated between the two, and He said one is permanent, the other is temporary. One is eternal; the other is abolished. This is simple, a child could understand. I have proven this fact to you with scriptures. Read my previous emails. You have given me a lot of your thoughts, but you have not proven them substantially to me using chapters and verses.
I am definitely interested in the Creation Sabbath for it is eternal and would love to discuss it further with you. It was kept in Eden, kept my Jesus, kept by the apostles, kept by the early Christians UNTIL it was changed by the Roman emperor who was converted to Christianity. This was recorded in secular as well as sacred history. Emperor Constantine's conversion introduced a train of pagan teachings, superstitions, and idolatry into the Christian Church. These teachings are practiced by a host of denominations today. For more information on the change of the Sabbath, click here.
That's all for now.
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More email excerpts:
You wrote: The Ten Commandments as given to Israel were very narrow in scope and they were meant to be this way because they were to be only as milk to an immature people. It is not till Jesus centuries later in the New Testament comes along and expands the scope of these commandments which introduces a much wider variation of moral principle beyond the narrow scope of the ten under the old covenant law.
You also wrote explaining more specifically: Jesus takes the old covenant moral law of "thou shall not murder" and expands it from the act of murder to the principle of angry emotions and insulting talk. This is not how it was taught under the old covenant. This is no small change. Jesus raises the moral bar high above the old covenant Ten Commandments as given to Israel as He introduces many more moral principles.
My Response: Yes, Jesus expanded the law bringing out the spiritual aspect of it not understood by His hearers, but He did not change the law one iota. The law was taught the same way in the Old as in the New. Malachi 3:6 says: "For I am the LORD, I change not." Ps 89:34 says: "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." And in Ps 111:7,8 we find these words: "The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
Jesus spoke in the Old Testament as well as in the New. He who gave commandments in the New Testament is the One also who gave the instruction contained in the Old Testament. The Old and New Testaments are both sacred; for they both contain the words of Christ. All communication from heaven to earth since Adam's fall has come through Christ. He who believes the instruction contained in the New Testament and in the Old, doing those things which Christ has commanded therein, has the Saviour always with him.
Contrary to what you said about the Ten Commandments being narrow in scope, they are so broad and comprehensive as I have explained in previous emails. See Ps 119:96. Broad and comprehensive in the sense that they are spiritual. Its principles are living and dynamic. The words spoken and written by God Himself are life. They couldn't be changed. Did you know that the Moral Law of Ten Commandments is the only part of the whole entire Bible where God actually spoke and wrote His Words? The rest of the Bible was written by men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Why would anyone knock what God had spoken and written?
Here's an illustration of what I mean by spirituality of the law. This is included in one of my web pages: The Gospel and the Law.
When the rich young ruler asked Jesus what must he do to have eternal life, Jesus replied in Matt 19:17 "...but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
The rich young ruler had thought that he was keeping the law, but in reality he wasn't because he was not keeping the spiritual aspect of the law. He couldn't because he did not understand it. You can read the story in Matt 19:16-22. Jesus not only told him he must keep the commandments, He told him to go and sell all that he had and give to the poor and come follow Him.
There is no commandment written anywhere that says: "Thou shalt sell all that you have and give to the poor and come follow me", is there? But this command of Jesus covered the whole spectrum of the spirituality of the Law of God (duty toward God and fellowmen) that the rich young ruler and many people in his day did not understand. If complied with, it would fulfill all the principles embodied in those seemingly ten small, concise precepts of the law we called the Ten Commandments.
If the rich young ruler loved God with all his heart, he would gladly sell all that he had and give to the poor, the widows, and the orphans of his day. He would be compassionate to their plight, merciful and loving, bearing their burdens with meekness and humility. He would gladly give ALL to follow Christ. Then, he would be obedient to the spirit and intent of the law, not just the letter. You see, the Moral law of God is so broad and encompassing. It's a perfect law. See James 1:25; 2:12, and Ps 19:7-9. It was conceived and thought out in the mind of an Infinite God. The Moral Law of Ten Commandments is not a small part of God's Universal Law. It is the Universal Law in condensed form.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve broke nearly all the precepts of the law--the same law spoken and written on stone and given at Mt. Sinai, and the same law we are commanded to keep today. The same law applies in Heaven and in the Earth made new.
We cannot trample upon God's Moral Law and get away with it. The wages of sin (transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4)) is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 6:23.
When Jesus expanded on the law, He didn't change it. There is nothing wrong with the law of Ten Commandments that it needed to be changed or added to. It is perfect and complete. James 1:25. It is holy, just and good. Rom 7:12. It just needed to be clarified making prominent its spirituality. Jesus, in His life and ministry made the spirituality of the law prominent. He is our example, and we, too, are to make prominent in our lives (guided by the Holy Spirit) the spirituality of the law.
Being obedient to God's Law is not salvation by works. We are not saved by our works (legalism); we are saved by the blood of Jesus. But once we're saved, we produce fruits of obedience, fruits of righteousness. Love to Jesus motivates good fruits of the Spirit in the life of the believer.
Ron, I didn't pull the following scriptures out of the blue. I took them out of the Bible, unless your Bible is different from mine. Mine says the following:
Faith without works is DEAD. James 2:17.
Faith is made perfect by works. James 2:22.
For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Rom 2:13
Thou hast faith I have works: shew me thy faith without Thy works - I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:18.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. James 2:24.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter in the Kingdom of God but he that doeth the will of my Father. Matt 7:21.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Rev 22:14
Here's the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ. Rev 14:12.
You wrote: You go back and read some of the statements you made about works and you will truly see that these statements are referring to justification only and have nothing to do with our works.
My Response: I did not make any statements. I gave you Bible texts and they all refer to producing fruits and works of righteousness, a byproduct of spiritual growth or sanctification.
You wrote: An example you used, "You see then how by works a man is justified, and not only by faith."
My Response: The above is a Bible text. It's found in James 2:24.
You wrote: We will produce fruit by way of the Holy Spirit alone but this has nothing to do with salvation.
My Response: I have written repeatedly that we are saved only by the merits of the blood of Jesus. Period. But because we have been saved, we produce fruits of the Spirit of God. The production of fruits is spiritual growth or sanctification, a byproduct of and a necessary part of salvation.
You wrote: The law of Christ is directed toward loving your neighbor only and bearing your brother's burdens.
My Response: The Law of Christ is summarized in the (brief and concise yet broad in principle) Ten Commandments--the first four involve our love to God; the last six involve our love to our fellowmen.
You wrote: Get off the law and stop trying to say I have to be obedient to it.
My Response: Ron, you don't have to be obedient to anything. You asked me to discuss and that's what I'm doing. Disobedience to the Moral law of God explains the depravity and moral degeneration in this country. The shepherds are teaching the flocks to disregard the holy commandments of God. The Apostle Peter upheld the holy commandments. The Apostle Paul did, too, and he enumerated them one by one. You cannot mistake it for some other law. It was the Ten Commandments they were writing about that have to be kept. I didn't say it; they, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said it and wrote it for all people.
You wrote: I do not have to worry about being obedient to the law as you put it.
My Response: You can go out and kill people then? Simon Peter thought it was important to be obedient or 2 Pet 2:14-22 wouldn't have been written. It was about morals. You cannot mistaken this for some other law but the Ten Commandments.
2 Pet 2:14-22 - "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Eph 6:1-3 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."
You wrote: I walk in perfect freedom that the Holy Spirit will guide me into a fresh way of living.
My Response: So do I for the Holy Spirit helps me to keep God's Law. God's law is the Law of Liberty. James 2:8-12. Sin is bondage, and sin is the transgression of the Law. 1 John 3:4. From the beginning on time (in Heaven), Lucifer had been in controversy with Christ over His Law and he is continuing to do so today. Satan says the Moral Law of God is null and void and he has amassed a large gathering rallying under his black banner. Many are playing into the hands of this great archdeceiver. He is as an angel of light but he leads souls to destruction and eternal death. Eternal death is the result of sin--transgression of God's law. 1 John 3:4; Rom 6:23.
You wrote: You can continue to say that it is man's moral duty to keep the Ten Commandments but it is not.
My Response: I didn't say that, Ron. The Bible says it in Eccl 12:13 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
You wrote: Baptism is a moral command of God. Repentance is a moral command of God. Forgiveness up to 70 times 7 is a moral command of God. Health laws are moral commands of God. Sanitary Laws are moral commands of God.
My Response: I looked up the word "moral" in the dictionary. Here's what it says:
1. Good in character or conduct; virtuous according to civilized standards of right and wrong; right; just; a moral act, a moral man.
2. Capable of understanding right and wrong: A baby has no moral ideas.
3. Having to do with character or with the difference between right and wrong. The Abolitionists felt a moral responsibility to free the slaves.
4. Based on the principles of right conduct rather than on law or custom.
5.Teaching a good lesson; having a good influence
6. Proper in sexual relations; not lewd; virtuous
7. Depending upon consideration of what generally occurs resting upon grounds of probability: moral evidence, moral argument.
Notice that that's exactly what the Ten Commandments offer--a standard of righteousness, a standard of conduct, a guide for human behavior. The Moral law pertains to the conduct of one's life. The Holy Spirit guides you as you read with your own eyes, as you meditate and contemplate, letting the words sink in and committing to memory His Words, His law. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Ps 119:11.
You wrote: Bearing your brothers' burdens is not taught in any one commandment.
My Response: On the contrary, Ron, all the ten precepts of the law, in principle, include all facets of our duty to God and to our fellowmen. The rich young ruler in Jesus' day did not fulfill his obligations toward God and his fellowmen.
You wrote: Why would Jesus say, "A new commandment I give that you love one another" if this was already one of the Ten Commandments?
My Response: Jesus said a new commandment I give unto you because to the disciples this commandment was new; for they had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. He saw that new ideas and impulses must control them; that new principles must be practiced by them; through His life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to love one another had a new meaning in the light of His self-sacrifice. The whole work of grace is one continual service of love, of self-denying, self-sacrificing effort. During every hour of Christ's sojourn upon the earth, the love of God was flowing from Him in irrepressible streams. All who are imbued with His Spirit will love as He loved. The very principle that actuated Christ will actuate them in all their dealing one with another.
This love is the evidence of their discipleship. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples," said Jesus, "if ye have love one to another." When men are bound together, not by force or self-interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand the supernatural agencies of evil, and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.
Jesus says, "Love one another, as I have loved you." Love is not simply an impulse, a transitory emotion, dependent upon circumstances; it is a living principle, a permanent power. The soul is fed by the streams of pure love that flow from the heart of Christ, as a well-spring that never fails. O, how is the heart quickened, how are its motives ennobled, its affections deepened, by this communion! Under the education and discipline of the Holy Spirit, the children of God love one another, truly, sincerely, unaffectedly--"without partiality, and without hypocrisy." And this because the heart is in love with Jesus. Our affection for one another springs from our common relation to God. We are one family, we love one another as He loved us. When compared with this true, sanctified, disciplined affection, the shallow courtesy of the world, the meaningless expressions of effusive friendship, are as chaff to the wheat.
The apostles and prophets and holy men of old did not perfect their righteous characters by miracles, by some wonderful and unusual demonstration; but they used the ability given them by God, trusting alone in the righteousness of Christ. Righteousness by faith is made manifest by obedience to His law.
Satan is willing that every transgressor of God's law shall claim to be holy. This is what he himself is doing. He is satisfied when men rest their faith on spurious doctrines and religious enthusiasm; for he can use such persons to good purpose in deceiving souls.
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Chopin's Nocturne in E Flat Midi