Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Romans by the Book
I want to commend you for putting some time aside for Bible study.
It doesn’t matter if it’s at your home, this website, or at some other venue; just so long as you’re receiving the Truth of God’s Word – Rightly Divided.
This is the mark you must aim for.
When I ended the last session, we were in the book of Galatians at chapter 4 where the Apostle Paul offered a clearly constructed illustration dramatizing what life was like under the supervision of the Law for the Jews.
This left us with the question how does the Law affect us Gentiles?
We’re going to answer that question in this Bible lesson.
I’m coming from the position that the Mosaic Law was intended by the LORD God to be a temporary covenant. The New Covenant, to which the Mosaic Law pointed, stands as a “way of life” that is different in nature to the way of life “under the Law.”
Believers in the Grace Age live by the Spirit and are guided by love and Truth.
In other words, the Mosaic Law is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
(We owe our thanks to theologians such as Martin Luther, and Jonathan Edwards for developing these insightful Biblical Truths.)
All too often, Christians assume that God deals with Believers in a way that is shaped by the Law.
Our preaching, feelings, teaching and lives all too often suffer from problems that flow from the idea that God relates to us in a way that has more in common with the Mosaic Law than the New Covenant Gospel.
Please know the Lord Jesus Christ liberated us from the Mosaic Law to live a life of Spirit empowered love. But, what does the book say?
Please turn to the book of Colossians, chapter 2, at verse 12.
12: having been buried with Him (Jesus) in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through (what) faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
13: When you were dead in your transgressions (sins) and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
14: (read carefully – this is why we’re here) having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us (The Law), which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way (or removed it), having nailed it to the cross.
Now here’s a perfect example of why I use more than one Bible translation when I am engaged in Bible study. Verse 13 above isn’t very clear.
Let’s try the Bible in Basic English.
14: Having put an end to the handwriting of the law which was against us, taking it out of the way by nailing it to his cross;
There, that’s better.
Jesus Christ liberated (freed) us Believers from the Mosaic Law, when He went to the cross. Actually, it was His physical resurrection that put an end to the Law.
17: For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
Please open your Bible to Galatians, chapter 3, at verse 22-23.
22: But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23: But before faith came, we were kept in custody (bondage) under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.
As I said earlier, the Law was a temporary dispensation.
After Jesus came, the Law ceased to be the thing that permitted the Jews to have a relationship with God. Out with the Old Covenant and in with the New Covenant.
The fundamental New Testament claim about the relationship between the Law and Jesus Christ is that Jesus has “fulfilled” the Law.
17: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to (what) fulfill.”
This verse is often misunderstood. Here’s what it means:
In this verse, “fulfillment” means – to bring to the intended consummation or end.
Jesus fulfilled the Law, which means He brought it to its God intended end.
Here’s an example. Consider a step on a set of escalators at the airport.
The step is designed with the intention of carrying a person up a level in the building.
This is the end of its purpose. Once a person gets on the step, the escalator carries that individual up to the next level where they exit, and the fulfillment has been reached.
From that moment onward the step travels in a different mode. It cannot be stood upon on its descent. It would be wrong to assume the step has been abolished simply because it cannot carry a person on its downward movement. Once it completes it cycle, the step is ready to fulfill its purpose once again…and so on.
Therefore, the Law has not been abolished when Jesus brings its reign to an end, because fulfillment in Jesus was always the proper appointed end of the Mosaic Law.
Put another way – never assume that the Law works the same way it did in the past before Jesus fulfilled it.
Jesus was the perfect Israel who never sinned, and as such lived out the perfect righteousness of God. However, Jesus died bearing the wrath of God – that is the curse of the Law –
13: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE” – (see Deuteronomy 21:23).
Relationship of Mosaic Law to Believers
A Believer is someone who has been “set free” from the Mosaic Law.
This is just one of many blessings that Jesus procured for us.
The rules and commandments that God gave Moses no longer act as the model for a Believers life. Remember Colossians 2:14; these laws were nailed to the cross.
Many new Believers (and some old in the faith) use the Ten Commandments or Sabbath Laws to assist them as they grow in godliness. But to do so is a denial of the New Testament Covenant Gospel. The Apostle Paul argued that to return to the Law is in effect to commit adultery with a dead husband.
1: Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?
2: For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.
3: So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulterous; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulterous though she is joined to another man.
4: Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
5: For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
6: But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the (what) Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
The Apostle to the Gentiles teaches that having “died” to the Law a Believer is moved out of the realm of the Law into the realm of Jesus Christ.
A person cannot belong to both Law and Jesus. There is a vast difference between a life that is shaped by the Law and a life that is shaped by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Law commands us to “do our righteousness.”
25: “It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.”
The Gospel, instead of commanding us to do our righteousness, promises to “give us God’s righteousness.”
21: But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22: even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
Now that you’re a Believer, the Spirit of God lives within you.
You and I live by the Spirit and not by the Law.
2: This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit (of God) by the works of the Law, or by hearing (the Gospel) with faith?
3: Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
What’s the message of verse 3?
A Believer is not to obey rules or commandments relying on these to bring about righteousness. Rather a Believer is to realize that the Spirit of God Himself is within him or her, working to grow His own fruit of righteousness in each one of us.
The Law could never achieve this.
The Law is a reflection of the character of God, because the Law comes from the very heart of God. Therefore, the Law is good, pure, right, and holy.
This Law, by its very nature, coming from the heart of God, is a standard for human conduct, a perfect standard. Because it is perfect, and we are not, it is impossible for sinful people to keep. This is why the Law became a “stumbling block.”
The old system under the Law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. Hebrews 10:1
When God speaks of a New Covenant, it means that He has made the first one obsolete. It is out of date and will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13; Colossians 2:14)
So, does this mean we can act anyway we want because we are under God’s Grace?
We’re not bound by any law at all? May it never be! Paul makes this point clear.
1 Corinthians 9
20: To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;
21: to those who are without law, as without law, though not being with the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
In other words, Grace is not license to sin freely!
We Believers are under the law of Christ which is the new commandment.
What is the new commandment?
34: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
When we truly love God and love each other – in faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we fulfill the law of love.
Think this through.
If you love someone, would you murder them?
If you love someone, would you steal from them?
If you love someone, would you sleep with their spouse?
If you love someone, would you covet their possessions?
If you truly love God, will you worship something or someone else in His place?
Get the idea?
So are we supposed to obey the Ten Commandments?
We follow many of these same commands: we don’t worship other gods, we don’t murder, we don’t steal, etc. But we don’t follow them because they’re the Ten Commandments. We follow them because we follow the way of Christ and his law of love. To fail to observe these laws would be to fail to love God and each other.
This is The Law of Christ which is the New Commandment.
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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