Monday, February 28, 2005

Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!

I've been thinking about a passage of scripture that I believe is often mishandled. Sometimes, people use scripture to prove their own points or justify their own ends, rather than examining it and allowing its meaning to inform their lives.

A bit of background and context: in Colossians 2, Paul exhorts the believers, "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ" (Col 2:8). The fact that he warns about such a thing tells me that I have an enemy seeking to take me captive by philosophy (the 'wisdom' and religiosity of this world) and empty deceit (making something look rich and desirable that is, in fact, meaningless and harmful). Paul goes on in the next verses to remind the Christians of who Jesus is and what He has done for them: circumcising their hearts, raising them from the dead through faith, and "canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands" (Col 2:14).

With Christian identity thus established, Paul tells the Christians:

Colossians 2:16-17, 21-22
"Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ....If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations--'Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch' (referring to things that all perish as they are used)--according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh."

There is an important lesson here if we're going to live in true freedom, and not in bondage to any human (unbiblical) regulations. The Bible lays out clearly that trust in Jesus and an obedient life by the Spirit are what God requires.

The apostles in Jerusalem gave an answer when asked whether Gentile believers should be circumcised and told to keep the law of Moses:

Acts 15:5-14, 19-21
But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses."

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."

And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, "Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles....Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues."

The believers were not (are not) required to keep the Mosaic law, or even to keep a certain day of worship. To begin to believe, practice, and teach otherwise is contra scripture. This is the heart of much of the New Testament teaching on the freedom of the believer.

HOWEVER, many times I have seen Col 2:21 used to excuse behavior or habits that are displeasing to God. This misuse of scripture is along the same lines of "Judge not, man!" Neither scripture can be used as a "proof text" to accomplish your own will, and if you try to use it to that end, you are manipulating the Word of God. Let me give an example: I have seen professing Christians defend violent, sexual movies with passion and incredulity usually reserved for very personal offenses. I have seen the same passion used to defend pot smoking. And what is the battle cry against the person trying to point out the problems in reconciling those things with a Christian life?

"I am so tired of people telling me, 'Do not taste! Do not handle! Do not touch!"

My point is this: God did not give that exhortation so we'd have a license to sin. His desire is for us to walk in truth, and experience true freedom in Him, walking away from the bondage of sin. He admonishes believers not to be goaded into following a deceptive philosophy that will lead them into the bondage they were in before knowing Christ--philosophy that has an appearance of holiness or righteousness, but is dead.

Satan so often brands his routes to enslavement as "Freedom" highways. They are, in fact, the broad road to destruction. Let no one deceive you.

One more passage! Paul goes on to write:

Col 3:1-8a
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away."

Let us put off the ways of the enemy and put on Christ.

30 comments:

James Cutler said...

Kristen,

Great point! You handle this common problem very well. Paul was heading this attitude of sin-for-freedom's-sake off at the pass when he wrote:

Romans 614 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine whichc was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.


The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Ro 6:14-18). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Kristen said...

Amen!! Thanks for the addition, James. That scripture you mentioned is actually another one that is often abused...as though we can sin so that grace will increase, or that since grace will increase, it's all okay. As though God wants us to!! It's twisted logic, but I have seen it used. :(

Amy said...

I thought of this verse as I read, but James sort of stole my thunder:

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:1-4 ESV, (Guess you're allowing ESV now??? :) )

Kristen said...

I've been using the ESV for the scripture quotes in my posts lately. I like it. :)

Amy said...

Heh, heh; shows you how well I know it! Actually, all of our memorization is in KJV, NKJV, and NIV, so it's quite an adjustment...

James Cutler said...

Regarding Bible versions, you might want to study some of Gail Riplinger's research. See AV Publications

Kristen said...

James, I am not KJV-only, nor am I at all a Riplinger fan.
Here is an open letter to her...it seems her research is shoddy at best. Also,
Blessed Hope Chapel has a good refutation of her teachings on tape (free for the asking).

Shane said...

"The believers were not (are not) required to keep the Mosaic law, or even to keep a certain day of worship. To begin to believe, practice, and teach otherwise is contra scripture."

This statement interests me. We must decide if we believe scripture contradicts itself. I do not believe it does, thus I believe in the complete Scriptures(OT and NT). Do you feel that the scriptures quoted are doing away with festivals and Sabbaths, etc.?(maybe that keeping Sabbaths and Festivals are contrary to Scripture?) Do you feel there is a separation of all the law vs. some of it in Scripture? In other words, what do you define as Mosaic and when did it go away?

I don't want to assume too much about what you are saying before I continue but in context these verse affirm keeping them and the reason... they ARE a shadow of Christ that is to come (this is a good thing). Christ is the "substance", not replacement. If it does not mean this then it creates a contradiction. Does being a shadow mean abrogated? When we do not allowing others to judge us by keeping them mean they are abrogated? Rather it means that we (they) ARE keeping them! All of the chapter in context confirms that Paul is telling them to be steadfast against vain teaching coming into the church from the world (the Gnostics actually -- angel worship, self deprecation, mutilation, etc.)

Again, I don't want to assume that is what you're saying, but if we believe these are somehow done away with then it creates a cognitive dissonance in Scripture. For example:

Isaiah 66:23 (prophecy about Heaven) And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD.

Whose Sabbaths will we be keeping? man's or God's? Not to mention New Moon Festivals. Zach 14 tells us that we will keep the Feasts of Tabernacles.

We have to be very careful when reading Paul's writings (Peter warns us of this). The next excerpt, some people use to do away with the law. When read carefully we see Paul is talking of two laws. One of the flesh and one of God. Only one he calls good and that keeping it is good)

"Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."
8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.
9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.
14 ¶ For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.
17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.
22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
25 I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
(NKJV)"

Also, shortly before Paul's death, we read that he kept all of the laws.

Ac 28:17 "And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: "Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans..."

Hope this gives another perspective as I cannot list every example in one comment. Western teaching has really changed the perspective of The Law (for example, in the original language they are the ten "sayings" and not separate from the rest of the law). Ceremonial, etc. are terms translators gave portions of the law. They contradict that we are warned about being partial in the Law.

I wrote an article not long ago on my blog about views of Sunday.

an excerpt:
Misconception:
The Sabbath is Old Testament and is not in the New Testament.

What about Hebrews 4:9? Supposedly this is only about a Sabbath rest in Heaven. This is simply a matter of translation and original language. And even beyond that simple context clears this up.

The context: By reading the end of chapter 3 and all of chapter 4, we see clearly that Paul is talking about the rest that was not entered into. And why: disobedience. The seventh day is the specific disobedience referenced here.

The translations:
Hebrews 4:9 uses in Greek sabbatismos only here in the New Testament. In the Septuagint the related Greek, sabbatizein translates the Hebrew verb shabat which means “to observe Sabbath”. Therefore, original language does put ALL “ten commandments” in the NT. But as we have seen, the Bible is a complete book.

So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people - - Hebrews 4:9 CJB


It is therefore the duty of the people of God to keep the Sabbath - - Hebrews 4:9 Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text


So there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim. - - Hebrews 4:9 The Scriptures
Footnote: The Greek word is sabattismos, which simply means Sabbath-keeping!

-------------------------------

Additionally, I totally agree with you about the warnings of tradition, philopsophy, etc. In Scripture do we find a command to observe Sunday? That is a creation of Constantine, i.e. man, i.e. a tradition. God was simple and direct with His commandments. Why did He hide the change to Sunday, The Lord's Day (actually refers eschatologically to judgement day not Sunday obserevance, thus it is in Revelation)? He didn't, He commanded us to "remember the Sabbath".

Why does a reference to something called Day of the Lord or Lord's Day mean Sabbath is now Sunday? Why does breaking bread mean a new Sabbath when the disciples broke bread everyday (Acts 2)? Why does collecting goods to be laid by in store (not an offering) mean a new Sabbath? The Bible gives the Sabbath(s) as a "holy convocation" and yet we observe Sunday and cannot find one scripture that denotes we should have a "holy convocation" on Sunday. Where is the law split up and widdled down to only 10 "commandments" and then down to 9 or 8 in Roman tradition (#2 missing from cathecism)?

Sort of went on and on there, it's a complex thought that is very enlightening and reveals God in a greater light. Though for some reason many reject it and strive to find a reason to obey traditions of men as commandments of God. Many times I am asked why I keep Sabbath. Part of me wants to reply, why wouldn't you want to keep (His) Sabbaths?


My goal is to share truth as God's Word is truth and complete. I want only to explore what I feel is error in teachings, not condemn people! I serve and love ALL men (and women) ;) . I pray these words find you in the love they were meant.

Kristen said...

Shane--WHEW! I thought from your blog that's where you are coming from. I welcome your comments and find them very interesting. I do have a question for you: do you think that we have to keep Sabbath to be saved? That is a position I cannot see being upheld in Scripture; it seems so clear that the Gentile believers are not commanded to keep a certain day, or festivals, etc.

Now, as to what I personally believe and practice: here we come to an interesting aspect of this online dialogue/fellowship/whatever that we all do here. I am a woman, a wife, under authority (my husband, whom I am commanded to obey as unto the Lord). He leads our family, and he has not seen fit that we should keep Sabbath.

I do see where you are coming from, and I can well understand what blessings and lessons there must be from keeping a day of rest, meditating on the Lord and His Word, seeing Jesus in all the festivals/feasts, etc. I think that is awesome. The only place I have a problem is if it's held up as a condition for salvation (as I said above, I don't know where you stand on that).

I am not dismissing what you said. I was reading in Hebrews 4:, "So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience."

In this one passage, there seem to be different tenses going on: past, present, future. On one hand, I know I have entered that rest in Jesus through faith in Him. On the other hand, I am told to strive to enter it, and that there remains a Sabbath rest. I can't say I totally understand that. I will pray for understanding.

John said...

Kristen,

Thanks for your comment on this. Colossians 2 is really speaking to me right now espesially among some philosphies surrounding the emergent church movement.

Rachel said...

Kristen, your post is excellent as always. And convicting, and thought-provoking. And the discussion that follows is equally interesting and thought-provoking. Just wanted to leave a little comment to let you know that you bless me in an awesome way every time I come here. :)

Kristen said...

J--I am glad to hear it! I bookmarked your blog and can't wait to read it more.

Rachel--thank you! I am so grateful that is the case. :) I love the discussion, too. Shane's blog is also full of really interesting posts (it's linked on my sidebar).

Shane said...

Firstly let me say, 'no' to your question of salvation. No work can save us. Salvation is by God's amazing grace alone! Messiah brings us salvation, not works. Unfortunately many people teach that when a Sabbath keeper speaks, they are putting works as salvation. Thus your question of salvation is a natural one. This is not true of any group that I am aware of that keeps Sabbath. You seem like a person who understands love for God and fellow man. So I am certain you will not tag the word "cult" as many do. I personally subscribe to two main theologies but drift in between, though for good reason. (it's complicated but would explain offline if you wish) As a side note, I was once called a Mormon! Even though they keep Sunday and do not believe in sola scriptura. (I am in no way at all a Mormon nor a Jehovah's Witness as some have accused)

As for your spiritual authority statement. Praise God! I can't say enough about the respect I have for your statement. So many women feel threatened by that authority. It demonstrates that you truly want to do the will of the Lord!! Bless you both!

There is the thought though that one ought to obey God rather than man IF and only IF that obedience would be contrary to God. That is if he wants you to kill, obviously you should not. I am not saying that you are wrong in your beliefs, I cannot determine that. I am also not saying your husband is telling you to sin. I say this because I am under authority to my masters (boss), but I will not work on Sabbath. So, I have had to address that type of situation. That may not apply to you and your beloved. Again, I am only exploring the Word, I am not judging either of you. Please know that. The Lord knows the heart, not me! I hope that is received well.

Now, one question, where are the Gentiles not commanded to keep the days or festivals? To narrow it down, where do we not keep the "ten commandments"? Would we ever step into a church that taught we could change a commandment to, "thou shalt not steal except when your covet something"? Why is it okay to change the 4th?

I agree with you about Heb. 4:9, though not the translation. See article. The important thing is context. Why did they not enter into THAT rest? The story is of profaned seventh day Sabbaths. The context specifically references it. Sola scriptura must rely on the original language, not translations or paraphrase translations.

When I first encountered this subject I was scared. Scared of being deceived or about the "cults" I read about. Then I read about being "Judiazed". Seems every one's definition of a Jew is physical. They miss Paul's writings about spiritual Israel. He tells us that "not all that is in Israeal, is Israel". He also tells us that we are grafted in (Romans 14) and that if "ye be Christ's then ye be Abraham's seed and heir to the promise".

I can't explain the joy and peace that we eventually came to when we finally observed His Sabbath. It's like another level of the peace in Messiah that we might try to explain to a non-believer. I continue to discover my spiritual "Jewish" roots of the Scriptures. The clarity and uniformity of the Word is like nothing I knew before!

Reiterating, my view on salvation is by God's grace only through His son Yeshua's(Jesus) cleansing blood. Not by works, lest anyone should boast though faith without works is dead. ( mixing quotes there ;) )

I have kept me heart open to whatever His truth is no matter what denomination it leads me to and He has been changing it in this two year journey. One, "present truth" at a time. But it is so obvious now where it was always headed.

All words meant with shalom (peace) and love, no judging whatsoever!

Todd said...

Wow, I am not sure when I have has such an interesting read. Between you an Shane, there is much to consume. Keep up the great thinking and writing.

Coffee and a Muffin said...

Great stuff going on here! Enjoying this discussion, Kristen and Shane!

Kristen said...

Shane, no hard feelings at all. I definitely cannot stress that enough! Your heart for the Lord and love for truth come through in your comments and posts. So you don't have to worry about my being offended.

Regarding my husband's authority, I agree with you. If Ryan asked me to have an abortion, for example, I would never do it. There is a higher law that comes into play there. I obey the Lord first.


In NO WAY do I think your statements are cultic. I am glad to see you believe that only Messiah can save--I thought so, but needed to know that.

Must go make dinner for my husband...more later. :)

Weets said...

Rom 14:22
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves

You sure bit off a huge chunk, and did right nicely with it.

Shane said...

"The first casualty of politeness and social grace is the truth".

Indeed, "Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves". The only caution is on commandments(law) or God's will. For instance, the entire Chapter of Romans 14 is referring to days of fasting.

Verse one sets the tone with: "Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things." The question we would need to ask is: "Are commandments doubtful?" Romans 14:6
“He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day; to the Lord he does not observe it.”

The context of “the day” here is a day of fasting. We need look no further than the next sentence for assurance. “…He who eats, eats to the Lord for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord does not, and gives God thanks.” Not eating to the Lord and giving him thanks would be the practice of fasting. Although this is a mainstream argument for man being able to pick a day and make it holy(which only God can do), as we can see it is out of context.

We must always speak God's truth with Love and coviction. Our mission should be to share the truth and completeness of God's Word. To teach the true loving character of God. Create a straight path through the winding roads of decptive man-made "doctrines" and bring people to experience Yeshua's(Jesus) transforming love.

John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Col 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.


Shalom u'vrakah(Peace and Blessings)

Kristen said...

Weets--I had to laugh at your comment, because as I was writing this post, I was thinking, 'do I have the space to really do this?'

Shane--thanks for all of the food for thought.

Coffee and a Muffin said...

"For instance, the entire Chapter of Romans 14 is referring to days of fasting."Shane, I don't agree. I think it's more about addressing the issues that came up between the Jewish and Gentile believers. Under the old covenant, God had forbidden the Jews to eat certain foods deemed unclean. The Gentiles were familiar with idol worship and the sacrificing of animals to other gods. Under the new covenant where there is neither Jew nor Gentile, we are all given liberty to go with our consciences in the area of food and drink, and at the same time, we are to exercise caution so as not to make our brothers with weak consciences stumble.

Verse 2 says, " For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables." (NKJV)

Verse 14 refers to the eating of clean verses unclean foods: "I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean." (NKJV)

Verses 15 refers to our liberty to eat anything we choose according to our consciences, yet with our brothers' weaknesses in mind: "Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died." (NKJV)

Verse 20 clarifies: "Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats;" (RSV)

Verse 21 clarifies as well: "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak."

I Corinthians 8 parallels this thinking:Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.

And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.

But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?

And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

I hope I made my point. Blessings to you.

Shane said...

You should not agree for I think faster than I type! Especially when trying to do a quick but detailed reply. My apologies, I should have been more thorough.

It was supposed to read: For instance, the entire first half of the Chapter 14 of Romans is referring to days of fasting. I touched on this in my aricle as it touches the same subjects in 1Cor.10 where he told us that an idol is nothing.

Western teaching has removed the backdrops and context. The main subject underlying all of these texts is judging that crept into the church. Pagan interminglings. But these admonishments are not condemnation of the law as western minds somehow arrive. It is APPROBATION as we saw concerning festivals, new moons, Sabbaths. They were to not let the ascetic self abasement teaching of the gnostics judge them for the way they kept these things!

You have touched on many things and it would be hard to address them all but I will try to quickly rumble through them.

The western mind feels that liberty means freedom from the law. This requires the thinking that God gave two things: 1. Legalism and 2. Salvation through works. Both of these do not speak highly off Adonai. The "old" covenant was not about works but faith! Abraham is the prime example.

The liberty is from condemnation... the mistaken conception is that the law is condmening. Think about it like this... would you say the Lord gave the law to condemn people? The law was to given to se us free! The law is (not was) about our trust and faith. It is about Messiah. The liberty IS freedom from condemnation... and that condemnation is SIN.

The OC was looking forward to Messiah and the NC was looking back. Techinically the NC is the RENEWED Covenant given in Gen 3:15... Many times we refer to Him as the lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.

As far as clean and unclean, they are not what defiles a man, but does that mean they do not exist? If that is the case because we are free from the law, how did Noah know how to put 7 clean and 2 unclean animals on the Ark? This was "pre-law". And Peter's dream (which is about men not meat) tells us that he was STILL not eating the unclean AFTER the cross. And in an earlier post I stated that Paul kept all the customs. Then there is one other problem with a prophecy about what happens when Our Messiah returns:
Isaiah 66
15 For behold, the LORD will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh; And the slain of the LORD shall be many.
17 "Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, To go to the gardens After an idol in the midst, Eating swine's flesh and the abomination and the mouse, Shall be consumed together," says the LORD.

Pig and mice are unclean given in the law. A law that apparently still exists, at least for meats, at the second coming.

Quickly concerning the "New Covenant", can anyone find a scripture where anyone BUT the Jews were given a new covenant?

“…I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel.” Hebrews 8:8

“For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel…” Hebrews 8:10

You are right, there is no Jew are Gentile per se. We are grafted in; Romans 11.

Back to the law. (sorry, but you jammed multiple subjects in there ;) ) If Christ nailed the law, some or any, to the cross, then there is a contradiction...

Recalling the adulterous woman, Christ was a Torah teacher and keeper. Yet the Torah commanded that the woman be stoned. Yet why why did He let her go? A covenant requires blood and He being a Jew, was under the "OC". He had to uphold the law. They were trying to get Him to break it by telling them not to stone her so they could "acuse" Him.

If He was just changing law, then there would be no need for Him to die, He could just free us from all the law the same way He did with her. He actually upheld the law and thus there is no contradiction.

If you look through the OT, e-mail me if you want the verses, the penalty is death on adultery for both the male and female. And two or three witnesses were needed. And they were to carry out the penalty. Odd how they brought the woman, but not the man? Also, when He asked that he who is without sin to throw the stone, He may have been referring to the Pharisees being serviced by her. Again noticing that the man was missing.

So, all they needed was two or three of them to testify and then they would stone her. They were trying to have something to "accuse" of Him. In other words they wanted Him to break the law. You see, He did not. Instead of trying to prove His point He made them prove their point, and they failed. Which is what I am trying to do with the western concept of the law being done away with. Note, He also told her, "Go and sin no more".

Christ kept the law even in his death. He stated of His work, "it is finished" on the Preperation Day and then rested in the grave from His work on Sabbath.

So, if we just learned that there was no contradiction, was the law then done away with at the cross?
I could write on and on, but nothing would explain His law better than Samuel Bacchiocchi, Ph.D:
"The Law Reveals God’s Will. First of all, it is important to note that for Paul the Law is and remains God’s Law (Rom 7:22, 25). The Law was given by God (Rom 9:4; 3:2), written by God (1 Cor 9:9; 14:21; 14:34), contains the will of God (Rom 2:17, 18), bears witness to the righteousness of God (Rom 3:21), and is in accord with the promises of God (Gal 3:21). Repeatedly and explicitly Paul speaks of "the Law of God." "I delight in the Law of God in my inmost self" (Rom 7:22); "I of myself serve the Law of God with my mind" (Rom 7:25); the carnal mind "does not submit to God’s Law" (Rom 8:7). Elsewhere he speaks of "keeping the commandments of God" (1 Cor 7:19) as being a Christian imperative.

Since God is the author of the Law, "the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good" (Rom 7:12). The Law is certainly included among "the oracles of God" that were entrusted to the Jews (Rom 3:2). To the Jews was granted the special privilege ("advantage") to be entrusted with the Law of God (Rom 3:1-2). So "the giving of the Law" is reckoned by Paul as one of the glorious privileges granted to Israel (Rom 9:4). Statements such as these reflect Paul’s great respect for the divine origin and authority of God’s Law.

Paul clearly recognizes the inherent goodness of the moral principles contained in the Old Testament Law. The Law "is holy and just and good" (Rom 7:12) because its ethical demands reflect nothing else than the very holiness, righteousness, and goodness of God Himself. This means that the way people relate to the Law is indicative of the way they relate to God Himself. The Law is also "spiritual" (Rom 7:14) in the sense that it reflects the spiritual nature of the Lawgiver and it can be internalized and observed by the enabling power of the Spirit. Thus, only those who walk "according to the Spirit" can fulfill "the just requirements of the Law" (Rom 8:4).

The Law expresses the will of God for human life. However, what the Law requires is not merely outward obedience but a submissive, loving response to God. Ultimately, the observance of the Law requires a heart willing to love God and fellow beings (Rom 13:8). This was the fundamental problem of Israel "who pursued the righteousness which is based on Law" (Rom 9:31); they sought to attain a right standing before God through outward obedience to God’s commandments. The result was that the people "did not succeed in fulfilling that Law" (Rom 9:31). Why? Because their heart was not in it. The people sought to pursue righteousness through external obedience to commandments rather than obeying the commandments out of a faith-love response to God. "They did not pursue it through faith, but as if it were based on works" (Rom 9:32).

The Law of God demands much more than conformity to outward regulations. Paul makes this point when he speaks of a man who may accept circumcision and yet fail to keep the Law (Rom 2:25). Superficially this appears to be a contradictory statement because the very act of circumcision is obedience to the Law. But Paul explains that true circumcision is a matter of the heart, not merely something external and physical (Rom 2:28-29)."


Shalom aleikhem!(peace be upon you)

Kristen said...

Shane, I see where you are coming from on many of your points.

One of the questions I had as I read is, why didn't James and the leaders in Jerusalem say that Gentiles have to keep the law? I mean, that was the question being put to them: should Gentiles be required to keep the law (circumcision, etc). What about when Paul tells the Galatians not to let themselves be circumcised? Do you think that was because they were listening to the Judaizers and going back to the Law without Christ?

I thought it was interesting that James said, "Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues." So, is he saying that Gentiles would have known the law of Moses, or what? Any thoughts on those scriptures?

Coffee and a Muffin said...

Hey Shane! I don't have a lot of time right now, but I don't disagree with you that the Law is important. Paul said,

Romans 7

"Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another--to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Me again. I agree that the Law is VERY important to us believers. We are able to know what God calls sin and not sin via the Law. The question is, how do we apply it properly as believers? I wish I could dig deeper into this right now, but alas, I am out of time. Please continue the conversation and I'll read your post in greater detail later when I have more time.

Blessings, Kim

Erik said...

Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues." That is easy Kristin. He implied in Acts 15:21, the second half of the statement. The "for" is the connecting clause, and what follows is going to be the reason why James is only giving a partial list of dietary requirements for Gentiles to observe AS they come into the synagogues! Notice they are coming into the synagogues, on the Sabbath! Thus keeping the Law. The list James gives is a 'dietary list'. You must understand the context here. Each one of the four things is dietary.(Check history of Greeks and Romans, that is Gentiles, of the time. These pagan Gentiles who are coming to God, would have previously been eating meats with blood in it. ie not kosher, sacrificed their food to house gods and idols,(often by strangulation and often sexual orgies were present with many people involved. Ever hear of the Roman orgies? The reason we know this that James did NOT tell the pagan Gentiles to stop lying, murdering, stealing, etc. and historical records. That is how we can conclude it is not an exhaustive list. James is laying a foundation here so the pagan Gentiles can eat with the Christian Jews. Notice what James does NOT do here. James and the council did NOT lower the bar(ie Law) the for the Christian Jews. He raised the bar(ie Law) for the pagan Gentiles who were becoming Christians. ie saying they had to keep the law(not for salvation though) (He would have had a perfect opportunity to tell the 'foolish Christian Jews' they did not have to observe the law nor did the pagan Gentiles coming into the church.) James is exhibiting pure genius here, through the Holy Spirit and basically saying these are the minimum dietary laws that the pagan Gentiles were to observe, UNTIL they pick up the rest 'on the Sabbath, in the synagogues', whence Acts 15:21. I gotta go! Erik, a Messianic Jew. I am at Shane's website www.5twenty8.com
Shalom, Shalom,
Erik

Kristen said...

Okay, now I have more questions. I thought that the Gentile churches were meeting in homes. Are you saying, perhaps, that they met in homes in addition to going to synagogue?

Also, could you address the circumcision issue? Especially regarding

Romans 4:12-15he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

and

1 Cor 7:18-19Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

and

Gal 5:2-3Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.

I am really interested, Erik and Shane.

Erik said...

I will deal more with this later, but for now, Paul and the rest of the NT never diputes if a gentile should or should not keep the Law. It only disputes HOW to keep it correctly and WHY to keep it. ie motive. because you love God and already are saved(correct) or to earn salvation(incorrect). Notice in the first several verses of
Acts 15(real all) the Christian Jews motive for bring up the Law of Moses(God's Law). It was for salvation. The Law was NEVER for salvation; not even in the old Testament times! For the Christians(Gentiles and Jews) and Paul meeting in the synagogues, on the Sabbath read Acts 13, 17, 18. Remember, in the Bible, a day ended at sundown, and another began. I will give more detail on all of this later. Blessings in Yeshua(Jesus),
Erik

Kristen said...

I am tracking with you, Erik, so I hope I don't sound argumentative. I am genuinely interested in your perspective, and I have questions.

I'll look for more from you when you get a chance. :)

Erik said...

Hi Kristen,
To answer your question, no you do not seem like your are argumentative. I do not even mind argumentative if the person is willing to learn, i.e. a teachable spirit. You seem like a woman who earnestly is seeking God's Will and the truth; not what someone tells you. I enjoy answering questions about my Lord and Savior Yeshua HaMashiach(Jesus The Christ). So feel free. Anyway, I am familiar with www.5twenty8.com 's layout. If you would be so kind please post your questions on that site, and I will answer them. You can link it to your posts here or copy them if you want. It is just so much easier to do that way. I am a techno-idiot(ask Shane) and I answer people's questions all of the time. I have limited time. :(
Even, if you do not post on 528, I will still answer, it will just take longer. I am going to re-post a comment with my reply about an article I wrote called "Jesus The Christ and Chanukkah". I am doing this for the new people.
In the favor of Yeshua(Jesus),
Erik

Kristen said...

Erik, that's a good idea, or soon this comments page will be a mile long. ;) If anyone else wants to discuss this, we'll be at Shane's blog or Shane's forum.

Kristen said...

From my friend Christy:

"Hi Kristen, it's Christy. This subject really speaks to me because I tried being a part of an amish based church for a few years. Galatians 3:2,3 "this only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" and Galatians 5:1,4 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage...Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace." These really stood out to me. There is such an emphasis on not turning again to the works of the law after your redemption in Christ. The Law is there to bring us to Christ, then in liberty, we are free to do all we do out of love for Him, not because a set of rules tells us. If we really love Jesus, and put Him first in our lives, then we will naturally do what pleases Him, and what we do will not be against scripture. By making a set of rules to go by, my dh and I found out the temptation is to trust in ourselves and our ability to follow the rules, instead of trusting God daily for strength and guidence. Apathy follows, and you lose the importance of having a RELATIONSHIP with the Lord. That's what life is all about, getting to know the Lord on a personal level, and getting closer to Him as you grow. Heaven is not just about following all the right rules. It's about becoming part of the Bride of Christ!! How awesome is that??"

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