Friday, July 7, 2017

Teaching God’s Standards

Because of Paul’s statement in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” many have concluded the Old Testament is no longer applicable today and no longer teach the Old Testament standards and principles of behavior.  They assume Paul’s statement supersedes Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:18, “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.”

As so often happens they have begun to set the scriptures against each other rather than accepting that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” according to II Timothy 3:16.  God does not change, nor does Jesus Christ, and their standards of right and wrong have never changed.   Because they are both scripture, both statements are equally true and we do not get to choose between them.  There are no contradictions in scripture, as many believe.  The problem is that we have not taken the trouble to see what the scriptures actually say. 

Let’s look at Romans 10:4 again.  “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”  It did not say Christ is the end of the Law for everyone, but only that he is the end of the law for those who believe, for those who have put their faith in Him, indicating it is still in effect for the rest of the world.  Because of his belief, the Christians relationship to the law has changed. 

With that understanding, let’s go back and look more closely at what Jesus was saying in 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 fulfil. 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.  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.”

In the old Testament, obedience to God’s law was the evidence of one’s faith in his promises, and people obeyed the law in an effort to assure their salvation.  Christ fulfilled the law for us, and our salvation is assured so that Christians no longer have to practice it.  Instead, they obey it as a demonstration of their love and appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice.  Their rewards in heave wil be affected by how they have practiced and taught that law.   I Corinthians 3:13-15 tells us,  “Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.   If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”  Christians who have not lived in accordance with the law will lose the rewards, but not their salvation. 

In Galatians 1-4 Paul gives a thorough explanation of the Christians relationship to the law.  In Galatians 3:24, he declares that “…the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”  Romans 3:20 tells us, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Understanding God’s standard of right and wrong will not save us, but it will make people understand they are sinners and need a Savior. 

If we care about our children and want them to turn to Christ, we need to teach them the principles and standards set in the Old Testament law so that they understand their need of Christ as Savior.  Without the Old Testament teachings they do not really understand that they are sinners.  Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” becomes just a general statement about humanity that doesn’t really apply to them personally because they are not aware of any sins they have committed.  They can accept it as a fact with no real sense of conviction or repentance. The law makes us aware of the wickedness of our own sin, according to Romans 7:12-13.  “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.  Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”  When people understand their personal sinful state and the consequences of sin, they can understand why they need a savior. 

Because we have failed to teach the Law, many professing Christians have no real understanding of what salvation means.  It is just a ritual that one does to get to heaven and means very little to them.  As a result sin is rampant in the church today, and many teachers and parents will loses their rewards.  .

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