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Why The Law?

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  • Why The Law?

    Would it not serve to be unfair in sending souls into the battlefield short of informing them of how to identify the enemy? For the Christian, all opposition derives itself from three foundations of source; self (old self), Satan and society. I also believe this accounting is in the proper order of priority.

    Yes, “the enemy within” (old man) is the greatest danger, for not only is it where accountability is incurred but I’m convinced the other two enemies must enter through this passage (old self or sinful nature) to reach the saint. Regardless of the evil which God reveals in and to the believer concerning the sinful nature, we must always be mindful that “the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom 5:20). “That the offence might abound” or shows us to learn the depths of our sin source, in order to continue to learn the heights of God holiness. “Grace did much more abound” is where faith in Christ’s expiation is progressively tested, resulting only towards maturity.

    Why The Law?

    We might consider the question, “What is the proof of the law?” If God meant to give the inheritance by promise, why bring in the law? If you examine the dealings of God with His people in the early days, He promised them a blessing, and they took it without looking at themselves to see whether they deserved it or not. This unquestioning confidence is all very blessed; but it is not for a man’s good not to know what he is. It is of great moment that I should learn what my condition really is*.

    Now the object of the law was to bring out the sinner’s true condition of soul; not at all to bring him into blessing, but to bring out the fearful ruin into which man had got by sin*. The law was not meant to be the rule of life; indeed, it is rather the rule of death (Gal 3:10 – NC). If a man had no such thing as sin, it might be the rule of life; but he being a sinner*, it is an absurd misnomer to call it the rule of life.

    “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgression” (Gal 3:19). It is not said, “because of sins.” God never would do anything to make one a sinner—but “it was added because of transgressions.” What’s the difference? Sin is in every child of Adam; sin was in man before the law, as much as after. When the whole world was corrupt—when all flesh became so violent that God was obliged to judge it by the flood, it is too clear that they were all sinners. After He gave the law to Israel, they were no longer merely sinners, but became transgressors (which would have been the same for any people, as evidenced by the world’s ways since Christ). Rebels against God’s authority, they became actual violators of His law*.

    “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners” (1Tim 1:9). Whoever was made righteous by the law? Is he an honest man who merely refrains from taking your watch for fear of being locked up? The only really honest person is he who has the fear of God before his eyes. The law has the effect of punishing those that break it, but it is not what makes a man honest even in a human sense, much less in the divine. Through the faith of Christ one becomes a new man, the possessor of a new life which is dependent and obedient, loving to do the will of the Father because He wishes it, and not merely through dread of going to hell*.

    If you take the law as well as the Lord Jesus, you become at least half a Jew. Actually, you become a spiritual adulterer (Rom 7:1-4). We are called to look at the Lord Jesus, and Him only—He being the source of our life (Col 3:4; 2Cor 3:18). He is the one who creates, and fashions, and constitutes every particle of righteousness and life that the believer possess. So the apostle Paul prays that they might be more and more “filled with the fruits of righteousness.” The natural man would allow the need of the works of righteousness which are demanded by the law*; but he knows nothing of those “fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God” (Phil 1:11). The law was the rule of death for the sinner; the Lord Jesus Christ is the rule of life for the saint.

    “Wherefore then serveth the law?” The law “was added because of transgressions, till the seed (Christ) should come to whom the promise was made”* (Gal 3:19). God was pleased to use this platform negatively for a time (Acts 17:30 - NC); but now the Seed is come, and the platform is gone concerning the Christian—the believer has died to it*. It is all-important for convicting the sinner, the standard of what a sinful man ought to do for God. But it is neither the reflection of God nor the pattern for the saints; the Lord Jesus is both, and He only.

    - Wm Kelly





    Poster’s Notes:

    *”learn what my condition really is”: It’s not for the believer to only be aware of the indwelling sin nature (old man) but to own up to it while the Spirit of God opposes it in us, which is in accordance to our “yielding to God” (Gal 5:17; Rom 6:13, 19); which nature was manifested even prior to the “transgression” (Gen 3:6; Rom 5:14; 1Tim 2:14).

    It is interesting to note the consistency of Scripture by seeing how Genesis 3:6 and 1John 2:16 directly collate:
    “The woman saw that the tree was good for food” / “the lust of the flesh.”
    “It was pleasant to the eyes” / “the lust of the eyes.”
    “A tree to be desired to make one wise” / “the pride of life.”

    *”got by sin”: since the law reveals the offence, “the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom 4:15). Learning the wrong incurs accountability, hence Christ’s statement, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.” And, “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin” (John 15:22, 24). I believe this is why many would rather not know the wrong they do, because “It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life” (2Pet 2:21 NLT).

    *”being a sinner”: the value of a work consists not in the doing as much as it does within its intent (Heb 4:12; Mat 12:35). Therefore the new nature (new man) by the Spirit of God is what causes believers to bring forth works always with good intention, which is more significant than the outcome of the work, which may not necessarily be correct due to the effect of the old nature.

    *”violators of His law”: God’s revelation to Israel (who were a type-representative of mankind) concerning their guilt was too show their need for Him, through revealing not only their condemnation but also redemption from it.

    *”dread of going to hell”: though many initially seek God to avoid hell, which is a show of belief in God and in His Word concerning hell, they eventually learn that it is, “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Rom 2:4), and it is in His “goodness” that He teaches us His love! It’s obvious that those who do not seek God do not believe in hell, otherwise there would no doubt be a different outcome for most. One never stumbles onto truth, for it must be sought to be found (Mat 7:7), thus condemnation is “inexcusable” apart from Christ.

    *”works of righteousness which are demanded by the law”: which are required by God, not to man but to Christ, which is manifest in His “propitiation,” and which can only be performed by One who is without a sin nature, thereby amplifying the strength of our faith in His atonement alone for receiving and retaining our salvation.

    *”the believer has died to it”: how could one who was never under the law die to it? For the Gentile it refers to the moral law of God (Gen 2:16, 17), which all have always been under. The Gentiles were those “that are without law” e.g. Moses’ Law of God, but were never “without law to God” (1Cor 9:21) e.g. were always accountable to God for morality towards one another. Godliness traverses beyond morality, in that it is the conduct of man towards man, rather than conduct of man towards God.

  • #2
    I can under the reasons why people would think that the Eze/Jer prophecies would relate also to the Gentile believers, and I can understand why they relate solely to those of Israel blood posterity. I also realize the obscurity of Scriptures relating to this issue, but I believe God is gradually demonstrating His revelation in His Word concerning this very significant teaching.

    I've been for a long time now attempting to biblically determine this issue without spiritualizing Israel to be the Church because I'm best convinced by Scripture confirmation, which for this issue supports mostly that the prophecies mentioned above are Jewish when taken as they read. I'll just share why my understanding is where it is by looking at a model that is apart from spiritualizing and that relates to the mandates of these prophecies.

    "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah." If this covenant included Gentiles there's no sensible reason why they are never mentioned concerning this final covenant with Israel. Plus the covenant Jesus revealed, which is in His "Blood" clearly includes every believer, as revealed in the Gospels. Christ's Blood covenant is not with Israel nor the Gentiles, but with the Father, which is another obscure teaching in Scripture but nonetheless true. If it were a covenant between Jesus and man I believe He would plainly state it just as the prior and future covenant is stated. Hence, this prophetic new covenant of Israel has yet to occur.

    "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers ." Clear confirmation that their final covenant will be similar to the prior covenant, which include statues, ordinances and judgments, which are not related in the Blood covenant because it is not not law-centric (Jer 31:33); and law (in the specific sense, i.e. ordinances etc,) and grace are separate systems (John 1:17).

    Israel (those who believe in God, but not in Christ until they see Him when these prophecies will take place) will never cease to be a nation on this earth, nor in the new earth (Jer 31:36, 37).
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    • #3
      Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
      Israel (those who believe in God, but not in Christ until they see Him when these prophecies will take place) will never cease to be a nation on this earth, nor in the new earth (Jer 31:36, 37).
      It is evident that Israel did cease to be a nation, and the question then becomes whether the modern nation established by the United Nations called Israel is the same Israel of OT Scripture?

      If Israel today is entitled to the covenant blessings spoken by the Old Testament, what about their covenant obligations?

      For example:

      The Bible never spoke of Israel’s covenant blessings apart from their obligations. It’s no use trying to have one without the other. And at least one of these obligations poses a bit of a problem for the modern state of Israel, if it is indeed the same nation as the one in the Bible.

      Ancient Israel was not supposed to have a standing army. They weren’t supposed to stockpile weapons. There were no taxes to fund a permanent military. Israel’s rulers were forbidden from amassing large numbers of horses (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)—which was about as close as you could get to an arms race in the ancient Near East. Israel’s king was not supposed to make foreign military alliances. God stipulated that Israel should remain militarily weak so they would learn to trust him for protection.

      Israel wasn’t allowed to conscript anyone into military service. If you didn’t want to fight, you didn’t have to fight. Note this remarkable command from Deuteronomy 20:
      • When you go to war against your enemies… the officers shall say to the army: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.” Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.”


      There were times when God whittled down Israel’s fighting force to an impossibly small number—as a reminder that they were not supposed to rely on their own military strength.

      Micah 5—the same passage which said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem—also said that in that day God would destroy Israel’s horses and demolish its chariots. Israel’s military implements are mentioned in the same breath as other signs of their apostasy: witchcraft, idols, sacred stones, Asherah poles. The prophets considered militarization a form of idolatry—a blatant violation of Israel’s covenant with God.

      If modern Israel is the same covenant nation written about in the Old Testament, then they are under the same covenant obligations. And that covenant forbids militarization. It declares militarization a form of idolatry.

      If the modern Israeli state is not bound to these covenant obligations, then they aren’t entitled to the covenant blessings, either. You cannot have one without the other. If the laws that governed Israel in the Old Testament do not apply to Israel today, then they are just another nation, and they should be held to the same standard as every other nation. - Why evangelicals should think twice about equating modern Israel with Israel of the Bible
      God bless,
      William
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      • #4
        Originally posted by William View Post
        It is evident that Israel did cease to be a nation
        Hi Will and God's blessings to my Brother! I do not see that their past temporary absence from their land as a condition defining them as no longer being a nation, but rather a dispersed nation or people. I see no problem if one understands this as a "cessation" when considered as a temporary condition, but IMO the term has a permanent overtone which probably doesn't fit here.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
          Hi Will and God's blessings to my Brother! I do not see that their past temporary absence from their land as a condition defining them as no longer being a nation, but rather a dispersed nation or people. I see no problem if one understands this as a "cessation" when considered as a temporary condition, but IMO the term has a permanent overtone which probably doesn't fit here.
          G'day NetChaplain,

          I must admit that I find your patronage to the Jewish people hard to accept, and in the back of my mind I keep hearing the devil is a counterfeiter, especially concerning the name Israel. Someone said that Satan hates the Jews because they produced the Messiah. I wonder if that person also considers for what reasons Satan may take to unbelieving Jews, Jesus' people that reject Him, and that claim the promises of Abraham based on blood descent alone? Having said that, I put those things out in the open. No doubt, I support the right of the Jewish people to exists, but I personally believe it theologically lacking to accredit scriptural Israel to unbelievers. Certainly no one would deny the name Israel to Jewish believers in Jesus. But the issue becomes about those Jews who don't believe? Can they still truly be called Israel? By your admission you stated that one's Covenant entitlement is not discredited by absence from their land, and I take that you also mean occupation of land does not define them? Mind you, an area of land that has been defined by the U.N, whereas the Church occupies the entire world and is not constrained to geographical or imaginary lines drawn in the sand, but consist of believers from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

          During most of the Old Testament era, there were essentially three groups of people: the Gentile nations, national Israel, and true Israel (the faithful remnant). Although the nation of Israel was often involved in idolatry, apostasy, and rebellion, God always kept for Himself a faithful remnant—those who trusted in Him and who would not bow the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18). This remnant, this true Israel, included men such as David, Joash, Isaiah, and Daniel, as well as women such as Sarah, Deborah, and Hannah. There were those who were circumcised in the flesh and a smaller number who had their hearts circumcised as well. So, even in the Old Testament, not all were Israel who were descended from Israel (Rom. 9:6).

          Consider:

          The true Israel of the Old Testament became the nucleus of the true church on the day of Pentecost. Here the analogy of the olive tree that Paul uses in Romans 11 is instructive. The tree represents the covenant people of God—Israel. Paul compares unbelieving Israel to branches that have been broken off from the olive tree (v. 17a). Believing Gentiles are compared to branches from a wild olive tree that have been grafted in to the cultivated olive tree (vv. 17b–19). The important point to notice is that God does not cut the old tree down and plant a new one (replacement theology). Neither does God plant a second new tree alongside the old tree and then graft branches from the old tree into the new tree (traditional dispensationalism). Instead, the same tree exists across the divide between Old and New Testaments. That which remains after the dead branches are removed is the true Israel. Gentile believers are now grafted into this already existing old tree (true Israel/the true church). There is only one good olive tree, and the same olive tree exists across the covenantal divide.

          What does this mean for our understanding of the relationship between the church and Israel? It means that when true Israel was baptized by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, true Israel became the New Testament church. Thus, there is continuity between true Israel and the church. This is why the Reformed confessions can speak of the church as existing from the beginning of the world (for example, Belgic Confession, Art. 27). Yet there is discontinuity between the church and national Israel as well, just as there was discontinuity between the faithful remnant and apostate Israel in the Old Testament. - Keith Mathison
          God bless,
          William
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          • #6
            Originally posted by William View Post
            Israel to Jewish believers in Jesus
            All in Christ are neutral-ethnic (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11), which is why I believe when Scripture refers to Israel (with the possible exception of Gal 6:16--still looking at this) it's always to the non-messianic Jews who believe in God (the Father).

            Concerning Rom 9:6, I do not think it intends that the disobedient Jews were no longer Jewish, but means they were not counted among the Jews who were obedient in believing in Christ. "Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people." NLT
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            • #7
              Originally posted by William View Post
              During most of the Old Testament era, there were essentially three groups of people: the Gentile nations, national Israel, and true Israel (the faithful remnant).
              That is true today also. Since national Israel rejected the Messiah the church, made up of saved Jews and Gentiles, now constitutes the true Israel. However a time is coming when the church will be take out of the world by the rapture and God will once again begin working through the nation of Israel.
              Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
              “The Deliverer will come from Zion,
              he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
              “and this will be my covenant with them
              when I take away their sins.”
              (Romans 11:25-27 ESV)
              As you said, Satan is a counterfeiter and he has a counterfeit Israel. It is Islam.

              The sons of Abraham | clydeherrin
              Clyde Herrin's Blog
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              • #8
                I've understood there to be these various classes of those among Israel:Those who never believed in God (Heb 3:19); those who believed in God before Christ; those who believe in God but not in Christ since He came; those who believe in Christ since He came.

                It's my conception that those (speaking of Jews only) who do not believe in Christ since His coming, perish at death, but those in this category who are alive at His coming will believe because God will "cause" them to believe--by His Spirit whom He will put in them (Eze 36:26).
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                • #9
                  Hi folks :)


                  I believe Isreal is back on their native soil. How else could they get there without help from someone God uses? So therefore the United Nations. After the 70 year captivity he had to give favor in the sight of the King of Babylon to send them back to their own country.

                  Today their are 'watchmen on the wall' for Isreal. They are people God uses in prayer.

                  Plans have been discussed already about the rebuilding of the temple.

                  Don't we need to be very careful about how we speak of Isreal since God said his heart will be there continually? I don't know why people are 'dissing' it, or even scorning it, as I saw in another forum, but that's pretty irreverent to God, imo. Just because they aren't back to sacrifices and everything yet, which is prophetic and yet to be fulfilled, doesn't mean God isn't working there. Since when does He do everything exactly the same time everytime anyway.?
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PSV View Post
                    I believe Isreal is back on their native soil.
                    Hi PSV - Thanks for your helpful input. Two of the primary requisites for fulfilled end-time Jewish prophecy are the majority of the Jews restored to their land (Eze 36:28), and a national restoration (Rom 11:26) of them back to God, and this excludes messianic-Jews who, along with believing Gentiles, are no longer considered ethic-gendered in the general sense (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11).

                    There are an estimated 15 million Jews globally with about 6 million presently in Israel and 6 million or so in the US, and the rest still scattered around the world.

                    "All Israel will be saved" rightfully refers to at least the majority of the Jews being restored to God, which is when He will "put" His "Spirit" in them (Eze 36:27), which is not presently the situation. One hint in my opinion concerning God saying He will put His Spirit in them is that this presents a separate manner of receiving the Spirit because presently the Spirit is sent by God's Son (John 16:7).

                    I believe other hints may be that which concerns the Jews "everlasting covenant" (Gen 17:19), which is law-centric (Jer 31:31) and will be between God and the Jews. The present covenant is grace-centric because it is between God and His Son, in that God would raise His Son from the dead after providing expiation for all believers (Heb 13:20).

                    The truths of the Eze/Jer prophecies are so obscure concerning Israel's end-time position that many have erroneously devised doctrines to attempt to explain these prophecies (even going back as far as the Church Fathers). There is no place in pure doctrine that ever substitutes the Church for Israel without also spiritualizing it to the point of drifting from the moorings of the massive evidence of Jewish language whenever the nation of Israel is mentioned in Scripture (with a single possible exception in Gal 6:16 which may be inclusive to mean all Jews who believe in Christ). Fortunately, these prophecies, like many Biblical doctrines are nonessential in reating to receiving salvation.

                    Originally posted by PSV View Post
                    Just because they aren't back to sacrifices and everything yet, which is prophetic and yet to be fulfilled
                    This is also misunderstood doctrine of which Scripture is absent concerning support!

                    God's blessings to your Family!

                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Concerning the Jer/Eze prophecies, they unavoidably refer solely to Patriarchal descendants and their offspring, e.g. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I believe the intention of God's persistence with these, esp. concerning Israel is to confirm the permanency of His words to the world through His union with Abraham and the lineage of his blood posterity.

                      It's my conception that God's confirmation of an unbreakable union with believers is the most important issue concerning His Word to us and our conscientious eternal security in Him, and this is well demonstrated in His union with His people whom He first used to reach the world.

                      Of course among those whom He has called within the nation of the last Patriarch (Israel), He chose only those whom He knew would be believers to be the soul representation of His people until Christ!
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                      • #12
                        Faith "establishes" the Law (Rom 3:31) by showing works (of the Law) are not needed for justification, but "works" (not of the Law but in general) are for manifesting justification. Faith and the Law are separate entities, for "The law is not of faith," but is only of "doing" (Gal 3:12); and justification (to render righteousness - Rom 3:26; 8:33) is never effected by works, for works can only justify (to manifest righteousness - Jam 2:24) faith.

                        Notice the two different usages in the words "justification" or "justify." The Greek sense for the first is to render or effect righteousness, as in Christianity, to "impute" righteousness. The latter sense is to manifest ("bear," not produce - John 15:8) righteousness, not effect it.

                        Hence the closeness and confusion in the usages between these two passages:
                        Romans 3:28: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified (render) by faith without the deeds of the law

                        James 2:24: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified (manifest) and not by faith only."

                        Greek proof-usages: G1344 - dikaioō - Strong's Greek Lexicon (KJV)


                        "Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law” (Gal 2:15 NLT).
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          “For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.” (Jer 33:17, 18).

                          With the exception of the “Levites not lacking a man,” the mentioning of “burnt offerings” and “doing sacrifices continually” are not as the literal services in the OT but are phraseologies of the OT to maintain the Jewish atmosphere. They represent the literal accomplishments in Christ which will eventually occur within the final descendants (many think all Christians, which it could be) of the nation of Israel. It is not sensible to think these to be literal, seeing they were discontinued for reason of Christ’s Priesthood entering in.

                          “Three of God's covenants, that of royalty with David and his seed, that of the priesthood with Aaron and his seed, and that of Peculiarity with Abraham and his seed, seemed to be all broken and lost while the captivity lasted; but it is here promised that, notwithstanding that interruption and discontinuance for a time, they shall all three take place again, and the true intents and meaning of them all shall be abundantly answered in the New Testament blessings, typified by those conferred on the Jews after their return out of captivity.

                          “The covenant of royalty shall be secured and the promises of it shall have their full accomplishment in the kingdom of Christ, the Son of David, v. 17. The throne of Israel was overturned in the captivity; the crown had fallen from their head; there was not a man to sit on the throne of Israel; Jeconiah was written childless.

                          “After their return the house of David made a figure again; but it in the Messiah that this promise is performed that David shall never want a man to sit on the throne of Israel, and that David shall have always a son to reign upon his throne.

                          “For as long as the man Christ Jesus sits on the right hand of the throne of God, rules the world, and rules it for the good of the church, to which he is a quickening head, and glorified head over all things, as long as he is King upon the holy hill of Zion, David does not want a successor, nor is the covenant with him broken.” M H
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