Laymanointing

…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

What did Jesus teach on Law? How Jesus fulfill the Law? The Law of Love

Is there Law in the New Covenant of grace ?

This post addresses the following:

** What did Jesus teach about the Law?
** Why and how did Jesus fulfill the Law?
** Covenant and Law
** Law of love
** Grace, law and works
** Faith, love and law


On one occasion, Jesus was asked to summarise the Law,
what’s the greatest commandments,
which ones are the most important?

Matthew 22:35-39 (NIV)
35 
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
3This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

On another occasion, an expert in the law gave the same answer as Jesus!

Matthew 10:25-28 (NIV)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 What is written in the Law? he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’;
and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied.
Do this and you will live.

Hence, Jesus reinforced what the Jewish experts of the Law already knew about the Law,
in order for anyone to inherit eternal life

Do this and you will live,
i.e., obey, live it out

Thus, during Jesus time, the religious leaders knew the summary of What is written in the Law.

On a third occasion, when Jesus was asked,

Mark 12:28-34 (NIV)
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God. And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

The teacher of the Law fully agreed with Jesus’ teaching,
Jesus quoted directly from the Law,  Deuteronomy 6:4,5  & Leviticus 19:18,33,34 from the Old Testament.

The teacher of the law conclusion was that living out these 2 commandments was more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices;
i.e. loving God & loving our neighbour.

Hence, the focus is on our own hearts, our attitudes, in  everyday life,
not just our outward offerings and sacrifices in the temple.

Both commandments start off with “Love …”

The inspiration, motivation & desire — Love

To who ? — God and others (anyone, everyone

Heart, soul, strength, mind — everything within us

Loving & honoring Him in our heart, soul, strength, mind.

Following the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law.

Also, the 2 commandments are an expression of God’s love to us,
and our love to God and others, centered on having right relationships,
as John explains,

1 John 4:20 (NASB)
19 We love, because He first loved us.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar;

for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen,
cannot love God whom he has not seen.

21 And this commandment we have from Him, that
the one who loves God
should love his brother also.

Hence, Jesus commended the teacher of the law for answering wisely
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

And because Jesus did not contradict or change the essence of the Law,
no one dared ask him any more questions
they agreed that Jesus was absolutely right,
He silenced them.

Mark 7:6-8 (NIV)
6
 Jesus  replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’

You have let go of the commands of God
and are holding on to human traditions
.”

On another occasion, Jesus said,

Matthew 23:23 (NKJV)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:

justice and mercy and faith.

These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Similarly in the Old Testament, the prophet Micah prophesised,

Micah 6:8 (NIV, NCV)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and
to love mercy and
to walk humbly with your God.

The Lord has told you, human,
what is good;

he has told you
what he wants from you:

to do what is right to other people,
love being kind to others,
and live humbly, obeying your God.

Through Moses, the Law was summarised as:

12 “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you,
but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?

16 So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.
17 For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. 18 He executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.

19 So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:12, 13, 16-19 (NASB)

The consistent message, Law from both the Old and New Testament


 

In the sermon on the mount,  Jesus said,

Matthew 5:14-20 (NIV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

16 In the same way,
let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them
but to fulfill them
.

18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear,
not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen,
will by any means disappear from the Law
until everything is accomplished.

19 Therefore if anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands
and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heavn,
but whoever practices and teaches these commands
will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

until heaven and earth disappear, i.e. till the end of the time,
the smallest letter, the least stroke of a pen,
of the Law will remain
until everything is accomplished.

Matthew 4:19 (NLT)
19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus compares obeying God’s law to being great in the Kingdom of heaven.

Note obey, live it out first
… then teach.

By obeying and living God’s law out,
one is able to teach by words,
and also by a living example.
Others learn through hearing, and seeing an example.

At the conclusion of this sermon,
Jesus again emphasized obeying God’s laws, by living them out,

24 “Therefore everyone who
hears these words of mine
and puts them into practice

is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock
Matthew 7:24,25 (NIV)

In Luke’s account of this sermon, Jesus said,

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
and do not do what I say
?

47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
Luke 6:46-48 (NIV)

Paul reiterates Jesus’ teaching,

What then?
Shall we sin
because
we are not under the law but under grace?
By no means!

Romans 6:5 (NIV)

31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith?

Not at all!
Rather, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:31 (NIV)

And John wrote:

By this we know that we have come to
know Him
,

if we keep His commandments.
1 John 2:3 (NASB)

Therefore, in this passage from the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5 which we quoted,
Jesus began by saying

14 “You are the light of the world. ….
16 … let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Light shine = good deeds that glorify our Father in heaven.


 

What does Jesus mean by “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law” (verse 20)

Reading further into the sermon, … here’s some examples, where Jesus raised the bar on what He means by righteousness.

Matthew 5:21, 22, 27, 28, 43, 44 (NIV)
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago,
‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’
(6th commandment)

22 But I tell you
that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.

27 “You have heard that it was said,
‘You shall not commit adultery.’
(7th commandment)

28 But I tell you that
anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

44 But I tell you,
love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Jesus went beyond the outward act of sin,
to what goes on in our hearts and minds,
our innermost thoughts in our hearts
… way, … way before any action is taken.

For example, in verses 43, 44,  the Law in the Old Testament says “love your neighbor”,
however, … there is no Bible verse that says “hate your enemy”.
Somehow God’s word has been altered, modified by men.

Here’s what the Law actually says:

Leviticus 19:18, 33,34 (NASB)
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people,
but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

33 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.
34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.
Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Instead of hate, the Old Testament actually says
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge … do not mistreat them,
i.e. love your enemies
exactly what Jesus taught at the sermon on the mount.

Clearly, no one by human effort can live up to such a standard of righteousness,
hence,… all the more we need a Savior, a Redeemer, an Advocate, a Helper …
grace and mercy from God
to have our relationship with Him restored,
and the Holy Spirit to help us live out His Word.

John 1:29 (NASB)
29 The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Continuing down the next section of Jesus’ sermon,

Matthew 6:1 (NLT)
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly,
to be admired by others,
for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law loved to display their piety and “righteous” devoutness for others around to see and admire,
but God is certainly not impressed at all.
Its as bad as losing one’s reward from our Father in heaven.

Jesus  challenged our motives in expressing our love to God.

Matthew 6:1,3,6,17 (NIV)
Be careful not to practice your righteousness
in front of others to be seen by them.

Is it to be seen by others?
To impress others, or to boast?
Or just, humbly & personally to the Lord alone?

But when you give to the needy,
do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

so that your giving may be in secret.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret,
will reward you.

But when you pray,
go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret,
will reward you.

17 But when you fast,
put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting,
but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father,
who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The Message version paraphrases Matthew 6:2-4 this way,

2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. …
… When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.

Again, its all about our hearts, our attitudes, our motivation.

your Father,
who sees
what is done in secret,
will reward you.

Jesus also did not say to stop giving, praying fasting to His followers,
He said, “when you …”

Hence, … give, pray, fast, only to our Father, who is unseen

in humility,
in secret,
no one needs to know.
…. Can we ?

God takes center stage & focus,
and He gets all the glory.

Note also, Jesus did not suggest how much to give, or how long to pray or fast.

Further in this sermon, Jesus also elaborates on the second commandment.
From Luke’s account of the sermon:

Luke 6:31 (MSG)
Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior:
Ask yourself what you want people to do for you;
then grab the initiative and do it for them

Luke  6:31, 35,36 (NASB)
31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

35 But love your enemies, and
do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return;
and your reward will be great,
and you will be sons of the Most High;
for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

He begins with,
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

and ends with
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Treat others the same way our heavenly Father treats them!
He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Similar to how God treats us.
Love your enemies
and do good.

Elegantly distilled in its simplicity,
& goes far beyond any moral code ever drafted by any religious leader in history.

And added to this, the One who said,
“Love your enemies and do good.”,
He consistently lived it out, walked the talk.

When Jesus suffered on the cross,
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,
for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34 (NIV)

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said,
“Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall receive mercy”

Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

… Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

(The parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10, and parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18 explains further)

Clearly, no one by human effort can live up to such a standard of righteousness,
hence,… all the more we need a Savior, a Redeemer, an Advocate, a Helper …
grace and mercy from God
to have our relationship with Him restored,
and the Holy Spirit to help us live out His Word.

 


What did Jesus mean when he said I have come to fulfill the Law and prophets?
(Matthew 5:17)

** Jesus fulfilled the prophecy aspect of the Law and Prophets, i.e. the books of the Old Testament.
(The Law refers to the first 5 books of th Old Testament)

After His resurrection, Jesus explained,

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you:
Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me
in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Jesus fulfilled all that was prophesised about Him in the Law of Moses,
the Prophets and the Psalms.

Early in Jesus ministry,

John 1:45 (NIV)
45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found
the one Moses wrote about in the Law,
and about whom the prophets also wrote
—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Based on the Law and Prophets, the people were looking for the promised One, the Messiah (Christ), who was prophesised in the Law and Prophets.

In various sections of the 4 Gospels, the writers have indicated accounts where Jesus fulfilled the prophecies in the Law and Prophets.  On some occasions, Jesus words came from the Psalms.

In Acts, in the last few verses of this book,
when Paul was in Rome,

Acts 28:23 (NIV)
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening,
explaining about the kingdom of God,
and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets
he tried to persuade them
about Jesus.

Paul explained Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets to the Jews.

** Jesus fulfilled the Law by fully living it out in His life in our world.

The Author of the Law came to us
to show and demonstrate to us,
how His Law is to be properly interpreted and applied in practical everyday life,
of loving God and loving one’s neighbor.
Jesus showed us what love really looks like in real life with everyday people around us.

Jesus showed us numerous examples in the 4 Gospels of what being righteous really means.
Not a law of mere outward piety for others to see,
but a law in one’s heart in humility, purity and reverence before God.

In contrast, the religious leaders of the day, were concerned about the letter of the law, and not the spirit of the law, hence many times they questioned Jesus, “… is it lawful …?”

Jesus said about the religious leaders,

3 … But do not do what they do,
for they do not practice what they preach.
 

“Everything they do is done
for people to see: …

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!

You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin.
But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.
You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
Matthew 23:3,5, 23 (NIV)

You should have practiced the latter,
without neglecting the former
i.e. live out both.  (pls see the verse again to see what Jesus was referring to)

Paul wrote:

2 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

** Jesus also fulfilled fully all the requirements of the Law and Prophets,
as the perfect great High Priest, and sinless, perfect Lamb of God sacrifice.

Hebrews 10:1 (NIV)
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming
not the realities themselves.

For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered?

For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all,
and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.
It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Because for this, we all need a perfect mediator, a perfect Lamb of God,
a Savior.

Hebrews 4:14,15 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,
Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way,
just as we are
—yet he did not sin.

Jesus, our great high priest.

Hebrews 9:13-15 (NIV)
13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.

14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit
offered himself
unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,
so that we may serve the living God!

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, …

Through Jesus sacrifice, our sins are forgiven,
our conscience cleansed,
so that we may serve the living God

By Jesus once and for all perfect sacrifice, unblemished and without sin,
by His blood, He has given us the new covenant,
and by His sinless life He has become our mediator, our Great High Priest.

And having been tempted in every way, just as we are,
Jesus is well qualified to empathize with our weaknesses,
and represent our needs & weaknesses before the Father
as our Great High Priest.

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NIV)
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have
confidence to enter the Most Holy Place
by the blood of Jesus,

20 by a new and living way opened
for us through the curtain,
that is, his body,

21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart
and with the full assurance
that faith brings,
having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience
and having our bodies washed with pure water.

By His grace,
by Jesus blood and through Jesus body,
we enter the presence of God by faith,
in full assurance and confidence.

Praise God!

We receive this gift of God‘s salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus,
unearned, undeserved, not by any of our human effort.

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith
—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—
not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8,9 (NIV)

We are totally not able to save ourselves by our own human efforts or works.
We are totally not able to meet God’s standard of righteousness.

Only through Jesus.

Paul explains in Romans 8,

The law of Moses was unable to save us
because of the weakness of our sinful nature.

So God did what the law could not do.

He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.
And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by
giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us,
who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Romans 8:3,4 (NLT)

Jesus fulfilled the law
so that the just requirement of the law 
would be fully satisfied for us,
This is something that the law could not do
because of the weakness of our sinful nature;
i.e. none of us can humanly fulfill all the requirements of the law
of sinless perfection by our own efforts.

The just requirements of the law
i.e. God in no way compromised His justice.

Jesus paid for our redemption in full (100%) with His priceless, sinless life and blood,
by taking upon himself the full punishment for all our sins.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
God made him who had no sin

to be sin for us,
so that in him
we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 3:22, 24, 26 (NIV)
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
… 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

… 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

The redemption that that came by Christ Jesus was obtained by
Jesus taking upon Himself the  full punishment for all our sins, transgressions and iniquities.

Isaiah 53:5,6 (NIV)
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

Galatians 3:13 (NIV)
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law
by becoming a curse for us,
for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

By Jesus’ sacrifice,

Romans 3:26 (NKJV)
to demonstrate at the present time
His righteousness,
that He might be just
and the justifier
of the one who has faith in Jesus.

By Jesus’ sacrifice,
God’s just justice was fulfilled,
because He himself became our justifier
in so doing, He demonstrated His righteousness.
And this is freely available to any one who has faith in Jesus’
Received by faith, the grace & gift of God.

He might be just
and the justifier

Beyond forgiving us of all our sins,
Jesus justified us.
The parable of the prodigal son explains this.

Luke 15:18-23 (NASB)
18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’
20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’   And they began to celebrate.

The father forgave him,
and restored him back to his position as his son, in right relationship;
as though he had not sinned.
(instead of making him a hired servant)
A complete clean slate.

Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight
The son returned back to the father in repentance,
empty handed having squandered his inheritance.

Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate
In spite of his actions,
by grace & mercy,
His father justified him.

Titus 3:4-7 (NASB)
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that being justified by His grace
we would be made heirs

according to the hope of eternal life.

Romans 5:1 (NASB)
Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Therefore,

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.   Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)

This righteousness
is given
through faith
in Jesus Christ
to all
who believe.
Romans 3:22 (NKJV)

All praise and thanks to Jesus!

Let’s join with Paul’s prayer,

and be found
in him,

not having a righteousness of my own
that comes from the law,

but that which is through faith in Christ

—the righteousness that comes from God

on the basis of faith.

Philippians 3:9 (NIV)

God’s standard, God’s way.

The righteousness based on faith in Christ.

Thank God!
Jesus did not just die, He rose from the dead!
Our living great High Priest, Redeemer, Advocate,
at the right hand of God on our behalf.

I know that my redeemer lives.
In the end he will stand on the earth.
Job 19:25 (NIV)



Galatians 2:16 (NIV)
know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because
by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Justified solely by faith in Christ we come into God’s presence.

No matter how hard we try, we cannot be justified before God by our own efforts in trying to do the works of the Law.
because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
Only by faith in Jesus Christ

Therefore,

Romans 5:6-11 (NLT)
When we were utterly helpless,
Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.
 

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

When we were utterly helpless sinners,
Christ died for us, the ungodly.
And by His blood,
we are saved from God’s condemnation, and
we are made right with God  … friends of God.
From enemies of God … to friends of God,
from condemnation … to reconciliation,
by Jesus once and for all sacrifice for us.

Amen.  Praise God!


 

What’s the New Covenant that Jesus sealed with His blood?

Hebrews 10:15-18 (NIV)
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.

I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”

17 Then he adds:

Here the writer of Hebrews quotes from the Old Testament prophecy in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
The writer also quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 in full in Hebrews 9:7-13.

“Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”

 18 And where these have been forgiven,
sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

By this new covenant, we receive 100%  forgiveness of our sins,
Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.

And, by the Holy Spirit,
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.
A born again, new creation.

Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
Psalm 119:11 (NASB))

Hence, Jesus came to  fulfill the Law and prophets
forgiveness of our sins, and He justified us
and have His laws inscribed in our hearts and minds

His laws  in our hearts and minds,
are expressed through His  love from our hearts to Him and others.
Through expressing His love, … we fulfill the law.

Galatians 5:6 (NIV)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.
The only thing that counts is
faith expressing itself through love.

Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another,
for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be,

are summed up in this one command:
Love your neighbor as yourself.”

10 Love does no harm to a neighbor.
Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Jesus fulfilled the law to bring us into God’s presence.

And for us, His followers, by His grace,
love is the fulfillment of the law.

The only thing that counts is
faith expressing itself through love.


Its important to note that the Law and the Old Covenant are not synonymous or the same thing.

Hebrews 9:6, 13 (NIV)
But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

13 By calling this covenant “new,”
he has made the first one obsolete; (
i.e. the old covenant)

and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

In a simplified way, it is like …
a contract between 2 parties with benefits and obligations/responsiblities.

The old contract has been canceled.

A new contract with full benefits has been drawn up,
with the full essence of the terms and conditions in the old contract.
Furthermore, all the terms and conditions have been 100% fulfilled by the one offering the new contract.

Its up to the other party to decide whether they want to accept the contract,
and with the offerer’s help,
maintain/uphold the terms and conditions throughout the duration of the contract.

Its up to the other party to accept or reject the contract.

The New Covenant through Jesus death and resurrection,
has set aside the Old Covenant given through Moses

However,
there are still obligations for us to keep:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’


Furthermore, if the Law was removed,
then

… I would not have known what sin was
had it not been for the law …
Romans 7:7 (NIV)

Everyone who sins breaks the law;
in fact, sin is lawlessness
1 John 3:4 (NIV)

resulting in a faith without any fixed standard of righteousness,
as defined by God;
i.e. lawless faith, lawless grace.


How is faith expressed through love?

Continuing on about the Law, let’s look in the book of James,

James 1:22 (NIV)
22 Do not merely listen to the word,
and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.

James explains how this faith and love works together with works (actions).
How faith is express through love.

James 2:14-17, 24 (NLT)
14 
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters,
if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?

Can that kind of faith save anyone?

15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough.
Unless it produces good deeds,
it is dead and useless.

24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God
by what we do,
not by faith alone
.

Faith in Jesus is not religious faith, or a church on Sunday faith.
Rather, faith in Jesus is lived out in everyday life,
… living out His Word.

Hence, our faith shows itself by our actions,
expressed through love,
which produces good deeds in loving others,
practically providing for others in need.

we are shown to be right with God
by what we do,
not by faith alone.

(The parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 explains further.)

Next, James elaborates on the example of Abraham,

James 2:21-24 (NIV)
21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says,
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”
and he was called God’s friend.

24 You see that a person is considered righteous
by what they do
and not by faith alone.

Let’s look at Genesis on Abraham,

Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:6 (HCSB)

This is God’s testimony of Abraham life,
“because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge,
My commandments, My statutes
and My laws.”
Genesis 26:5 (NASB)

In this verse in Genesis 26, God mentions that Abraham obeyed the Lord, His commandments, His statutes and His laws;
this happene more than 400 years before the Law was given through Moses;
i.e. before the Law of Moses was given.

Abraham was justified,
made right with God, by faith through God’s grace.
By faith, Abraham walked right with God,
obeying God’s commandments, statutes and laws.

In a nutshell, Abraham expressed his faith and love to the Lord, by his obedience — he obeyed God’s specific direction for his life.  As a result of Abraham’s faith, Abraham was called God’s friend.

a person is considered righteous
by what they do
and not by faith alone.

Hence, faith without action, works, deeds is dead.
Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead (James 2:17 NASB)
Action inspirationally flowing out of our faith in God;
an expression of our faith in God and for others.

Furthermore,Abraham faith in God was expressed more than 400 years before the Law and the Old Covenant was given.
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”
Genesis 15:6, James 2:23, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:11

Galatians 3:11 (NIV)
Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God,
because “the righteous will live by faith.

Romans 4:13, 23,24 (NIV)
13 
It was not through the 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

23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone,
24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justifcation.

In summary,
righteousness and being right with God,
is received by His grace.
Living this new life with God as a His friend,
involves:

not thinking & doing bad things to others,
as well as, doing good things to others (including our enemies),
and obeying God as He directs us personally.


 

Motivation?
Do we obey God’s law out of duty, or love to Him?

Just before Jesus died on the cross, He said,

 15“If you love me, obey my commandments.”

21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them
are the ones who love me.

And because they love me,
my Father will love them.
And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
John 14:15,21 (NLT)

Obedience spontaneously inspired & motivated by God’s love in us, because He first loved us.
We respond in love back to God through obedience.

Our obedience is not driven by fear of punishment, duty,
guilt, shame,
or because others are looking at us, expectations, … etc.
Its not performance-based, or legalistic.

Rather its inspired by God’s love.

1 John 4:18,19 (NIV)
18 There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.

Similarly,  in the Law in the Old Testament, it’s written:

“You must love the Lord your God and
always obey his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands
Deuteronomy 11:1 (NLT)

But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations
on those who love me and obey my commands.
Exodus 20:6 (NLT)

Hence, its not about what “we have to do, or must do”
in order to please God,
(i.e. performance-driven, legalistic)
rather,
its what “we love to do”,
to please Him
from our hearts.

Not driven by rules,
rather, … inspired by love.

Its possible for us to relate to others without loving them,
or ‘just do it’  out of duty, expectations,
shame, guilt,
… without any love.

In the same way, with God, we can …
do, do, do,
religiously, piously, devoutly, dutifully, Sunday after Sunday,
and like the church in Ephesus,
Jesus said,

Revelation 2:2-4 (NIV)
I know your deeds,your hard work and your perseverance.
I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you:
You have forsaken the love you had at first.

The Ephesus church had deeds, hard work, perseverance in the face of hardship, and had stood firm in their faith.  The church also did not compromise the truth, making sure false apostles and wicked people in their midst are exposed.

However, the Lord was concerned of one very important thing — love.

The New Living Translation paraphrases verse 4 as,

“But I have this complaint against you.

You don’t love me
or each other
as you did at first


 

In conclusion,

God loved us first,
and we love Him back in faith,
by words, actions/deeds obeying what He says to us.

By the works of the law no one will be justified.

Jesus, our justifier, fulfilled the Law on our behalf,
Thank God!

The Jewish experts of the Law agreed with Jesus’ teaching of the key essence of the Law.

The Law and the Old Covenant are not synonymous.
The New Covenant of grace & truth through Jesus,
has set aside the Old Covenant,
however,
the Law given in the Old Testament is not nullified or set aside.

‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Therefore, in the New Covenant, our response:

love is the fulfillment of the law.

The only thing that counts is
faith expressing itself through love.

Faith shows itself by our actions,
produces good deeds,
Being right with God
by what we do,
not by faith alone.

Jesus said,
“If you love me, obey my commandments”


 

Footnote:

It is good to examine what happened in the early church,
when both Jews and Gentiles began following Jesus.

What about the rest of the Law, … the Feasts, dietary laws, circumcision, clean/unclean, etc ?

Acts 15:1, 6,5-11 (NIV)
Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and elders met to consider this question.

After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them:
“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.

God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?

11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus
that we are saved, just as they are.”

The conclusion was:

28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:
29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood,
from the meat of strangled animals
and from sexual immorality.
You will do well to avoid these things.

In Paul’s words

Galatians 2:21 (NIV)
21 I do not set aside the grace of God,
for if righteousness could be gained through the law,
Christ died for nothing!”

 


Further  Reading:

What did Jesus teach on law and grace, faith and works – a fresh look    (click here)


Grace | Foundations

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
April 2, 2016
laymanointing.wordpress.com

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License


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