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Archive for the ‘Commandments’ Category

The Old Testament had strict dietary laws generally based on inherent animal characterises — fish with fins and scales, “clean”, fins without scales, “unclean”. Animals chewing the “cud” and parting the hoof were ok to eat but those having one without the other, no good!

It all seems so arbitrary and many have tried to explain it by saying there are, perhaps, special heath benefits. But the Bible indicates why — and it had nothing to do with health.

“And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nations which I cast out before you … I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from other people … Ye shall therefore put a difference between clean beasts and unclean” — Leviticus 20:23-25

The “therefore” of this verse specifically links dietary law to the kinds of people God was replacing.

Old Testament dietary law was an object lesson teaching there were “clean” and “unclean” people based on their inherent actions.

In the New Testament God, again, links dietary laws with people groups, but with a twist — something happened with the advent of Christ!

Follow a telling story from the biblical book of Acts:

The apostle, Peter, has a vision of unclean animals on a sheet and is commanded to eat. He refuses, as any good Jew would, because they were “unclean”. Then the vision’s voice says,

“What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” — Acts 10:15

Just then three (3) gentiles show up at the door wanting to hear about Jesus, and a light goes on in Peter’s head!

I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” — Acts 10:34-35

Before Christ, people rarely changed — they were forever as they were born. Not so in Christ! Jesus is in the life changing business! The symbolical dietary law has been superseded by Christ who changes the human heart making the unclean forgiven and holy! As the Apostle Paul wrote to those who come to Christ from the world,

“[S]uch were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” — 1st Corinthians 6:11

— fritz@langgang.com

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Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. – Jesus (Matthew 19:8)

Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees when goaded about God’s law for divorce rocks our understanding of the Bible, if we will only think about it a minute.

If God made the divorce laws in the Old Testament as a concession like Jesus said, limiting it as much as our fallen hardened hearts could allow, what other laws are, likewise, concessions?

Could it be the Old Testament law of “Eye-For-An-Eye” was also a concession, limiting the amount of damage a person could do to no more than what was done to them, though God’s desire has always been to turn the other cheek?1

Could it be that Old Testament laws of slavery were concessions, limiting the length and severity of servitude, though God’s desire has always been for all to be equal in Christ?2

How about male dominance and gender submission?3 What a world of difference this concept makes when we see Jesus establishing a kingdom of those with tender hearts, committed to God’s desires instead of his concessions.

Think about this a moment and tell me what you think.

Related Post: Concession vs. Intent – March 31, 2011
Related Post: Same God, Different People – March 19, 2011

– fritz
1 – Matthew 5:38-39
2 – Ephesians 6:9
3 – Galatians 3:28

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“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully” – 1st Timothy 1:8

Interesting phrase – using the law lawfully – implying, of course, the law can be used un-lawfully and not be good.

Proclaiming “Our Creed is the Bible” just isn’t enough.

Though the Bible is now available in our own language and, for many of us, free to use as we may choose, it’s not helpful unless used correctly.

So how does one use the law lawfully?! Hmmm…

Using the law (indeed, all parts of the Bible) lawfully will:

  1. Be Christ centered – see how the Apostle Paul quotes from the law, substituting “Christ” for “Commandment”.(1)
  2. Encourage living God’s kind of love in good conscience and with an open/honest faith. (2)
  3. Bring life in the hearers – Jesus said he came to bring abundant life.(3)

It’s our enemy who steals, kills, and destroys, so we should agree that using the Bible to steal, kill, and destroy is a misuse.

Yes the Bible is used to correct sin and error, but God’s correction applied correctly (law used lawfully) brings hope.

– fritz
1 – Romans 10:8 / Deuteronomy 30:11-14
2 – 1st Timothy 1:5
3 – John 10:10

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Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; – Deuteronomy 7:9

Some are up for the challenge – Keep the commandments, love God, and get God’s blessing; and how some really try!

But law condemns for incomplete adherence. Have you ever wanted what someone else had? You haven’t kept the 10Th commandment, you failed the challenge! Have you ever worked on Saturday? You haven’t kept the 4Th commandment, you failed the challenge! Actually, are there any of God’s commands you have done from your heart without some failure? Me neither!

There’s no balance scale to see if more good is done than bad – laws, even our own, don’t work that way. Example: Stop at five (5) traffic lights but run one (1); can you still get a ticket?

James puts it this way:

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” – James 2:10-11

We can’t even keep his commandments one generation, much less to a thousand!

So we have blown that deal! Our only hope is to find an alternative; fortunately there is one!1

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. – 1st Timothy 1:15

– fritz

1 – Post from 09/23/2010 Alternate Righteousness

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>Commandment’s Replacement

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[T]he righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above: … But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;” – Romans 10:6,8

Those in covenant with Christ have a unique perspective on Old Testament law.

That renewed rabbi and Pharisee, apostle Paul, here quotes an Old Testament scripture, Deuteronomy 10:6-8, written originally about God’s Commandments. But instead of the commandment he uses the term, “Christ” (check it out)!

Our law and “commandment” is now the person of Christ, living wholly and holy unto him in the power of the Holy Spirit, and free from condemnation.

– fritz

Related links:
1. Think Covenant, August 15, 2010
2. The Faith Of Christ, August 24, 2010
3. Who the Bible was written for (September 4, 2010)

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