The Apple Of God's Eye

December 22, 2009

Does Luke 16:16 Prove God's Law Is Abolished Today?

http://www.hem-of-his-garment-bible-study.org - The link between the Old and New Testament is the law of God!

Many make long and eloquent arguements to prove that Luke 16:16 means God’s law has been done away.

“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”

Some say the “law and the prophets” is a clear reference to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and that the New Covenant is dramatically different from the ‘ministration written on stones. So here, critics of God’s law wish to separate the Ten Commandments from what they say is a new moral code of the heart. But this is not what Jesus meant at all.

What, then, did Jesus mean by the statement, “The law and the prophets were until John?” When Jesus spoke of the “law and the prophets,” He was referring to the Old Testament, and meant that, until the coming of John the Baptist, the Old Testament scriptures were all that was available. The New Testament had not yet been written. It says nowhere that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God does away with the law of God. In fact, Christ says in the very next verse:

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail”  (verse 17).

Have the starry heavens or the planet earth passed away? Jesus said it would be easier for them to perish or be destroyed than for even one tiny part of God’s law to pass away! THAT is the clear interpretation, and this is backed up by very clear scriptures throughout the New Testament – scriptures which are conveniently ignored by critics.

Christ is indeed talking about obedience to the law of God. Those who disagree say the Old Covenant is no longer in force, which of course by their interpretation nullifies God’s law through the New Testament covenant. No one can deny that the Old Covenant is dead, but that does not mean the law of God is dead. Let’s explain!

Which laws are in force today?

How can you know which laws are no longer binding today? Which laws are we to observe?

The Bible is a book about law, and even a cursory read of this book shows that Jesus Christ did not come to do away with His Father’s law! You can find many references in the Bible to the Ten Commandments, but you can also read a lot about the statutes and the judgments. Then there are the ceremonial rituals and offerings. But which laws are we supposed to observe today?

The mistake lies in assuming the Ten Commandments make up the Old Covenant and that when Christ came, the New Covenant did away with the Ten Commandments and established only grace and promises.

Another mistake is to assume that the Ten Commandments didn’t even exist until God gave them to Moses on tablets of stone; that are simply part of the ritualistic law of Moses.

To begin to understand the truth about the laws discussed in the Old Testament, we must first establish the fact that God’s law existed long before Moses at Mount Sinai! In fact, God’s law existed long before Adam and Eve. Few people realize this fact.

Statutes and Laws Prior to Moses

Abraham was commended for obeying God’s commandments. But it also said he kept God’s statutes and laws. What was this referring to?

Webster’s Dictionary defines statute as, “an established rule or law.” God’s statutes usually command or forbid certain things, in addition to the Ten Commandments. Gesenius’ Lexicon says this about statutes: “An appointed law, a statute, an ordinance…used of the laws of nature [as prescribed by God]…a custom observed as though it were a law.” God’s statutes are based upon the Ten Commandments.

Judgments are binding decisions by judges based on God’s previously revealed law. These decisions are used to settle similar future disputes and to render a sentence or verdict.

God gave statutes and judgments for the general well-being of the people—for the protection of everyone’s legal rights. They are all based on the principle of love toward God and love toward your neighbor.

The difference between them is summed up in these terms: “In general, the Ten Commandments apply to individual conduct, the statutes to national or church affairs, and the judgments to decisions rendered according to the principle of the Ten Commandments and the statutes.”

Law in effect prior to Moses

God’s law was very much in effect prior to the establishment of His covenant with Israel. God revealed His commands and laws to Israel because during their captivity, Israel had lost much of the knowledge of God’s way. They were in bondage to an idol-worshipping nation (Exodus 16:28). This was said before the nation even reached Mount Sinai! God gave them His truth at Mount Sinai because they had lost it. God had to reveal His law to them again before entering into His covenant with them.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exod. 16:28-30). God had to remind them that this was holy time and they weren’t to violate it by looking for manna. They had lost the knowledge that it had been established long ago (Gen. 2:2-3). Again, this instruction occurred before the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai.

The commandments were NOT instituted at Mount Sinai and were NOT part of the Old Covenant. So once the New Covenant arrived, it cannot annul what was never ratified under the Old Testament. In other words, the dissolving of the Old Covenant could not destroy what it did not bring into existence! The Ten Commandments, which God gave in written form to Moses on Mount Sinai, were not new. Only the codified form in which God wrote them was new.

What is the law of Moses?

The Bible, on several occasions, refers to the law of Moses, but it never says the law of Moses is the Ten Commandments. The law of Moses comprises the statutes and judgments God gave to Moses to give to the Israelites. The difference between the law of Moses and the law of God is that God spoke the Ten Commandments. Moses delivered the statutes and judgments.

Yet we read in Luke 2:22, 39 that the “law of Moses” is called the “law of the Lord.” This is because all law comes from God. He is the lawgiver. Remember that these statutes and judgments had no sacrifices with them originally. The sacrifices were added later. The law of Moses then had two parts: civil and ritualistic. The part given before the sacrificial laws we are to keep and never forget (Mal. 4:4).

When Christ defined the two great commandments in the law in Matthew 22, He quoted out of the “book of the law” (Lev. 19:18; Deut. 6:5), which we are told to remember. Christians are told to obey these two basic laws which God gave to Moses for the people. The civil law of Moses expounds how the Ten Commandments are to be applied. We are to keep this part, not in the letter only, but now in the spiritual intent, as brought out in Matthew 5-7.

Then why are we told in Acts 15 that the Gentile converts do not have to observe the law of Moses, except for four points? (Acts 15:5, 28-29). The answer is cleared up in Acts 21:21. The law called into question involved the customs, mainly circumcision, which were instituted long before the law of Moses. The spiritual intent is not done away today. Just like the Ten Commandments, they are still in force; but like the Passover, the manner of circumcision has been changed. It is now of the heart (Rom. 2:29).

This controversy did not involve the spiritual intent of the civil law of Moses, but the ceremonial additions to it. These scriptures are not saying that adultery or murder is okay now. The Ten Commandments are not being discussed or done away with here.

The four points mentioned here were originally part of the civil law; but they were also added to the ceremonial law to prevent these pagan customs from being practiced by Israel with their sacrifices. The Gentiles ate their sacrifices with the blood. They strangled their animals, presented them to their idols and committed fornication in their religious ceremonies. Because these four points were also included in the ritual laws, some new converts may have thought they were abolished along with the sacrifices when Christ fulfilled them. So the four points mentioned in Acts 15 had to be specifically declared to still be in effect. They remained binding after the abolition of the physical sacrifices and washings.

The civil laws regulating tithing, clean and unclean meats, sexual cleanliness and the annual Sabbaths, for example, are still in effect for the New Testament Church because they help explain what sin is.

Conclusion

God’s spiritual laws describe God’s character and enable us to know what God is like. Since the character of God is unchanging (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8), God’s spiritual law is unchanging. God has lived by this way of love for all eternity.

The only laws that are no longer binding are the ceremonial laws, fulfilled by the sacrifice of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Today we offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (Rom. 12:1-2) in obedience to God’s eternal spiritual law.

We can’t ignore what Christ told a young man seeking the way to eternal life, “If thou wilt enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS” (Matt. 19:17). How clear!

June 11, 2009

Is Smoking A Biblical Sin?

contendearnestly.blogspot.com

contendearnestly.blogspot.com

All churches – meaning Protestant and Catholic – do NOT take their religious beliefs and doctrines from the Bible. Rather, they attempted to read THEIR ideas and beliefs INTO the Bible – by twisting and distorting the Holy Word of God, and by taking verses out of context. So if we want to find the answer to the question about smoking, we have to find it IN the Bible.

Many people have strong opinions about the subject. Almost every time you ask someone who smokes about quiting, you get some negative feed. Generally, the comments are:

1. The Bible has nothing to say about it.
2. It only hurts me and no one else.
3. I need to smoke because it calms my nerves.
4. It gives me pleasure and hurts no one else.
5. I know someone who smoked all their lives and did not get cancer.

But there is a principle of sin we have to consider, because “sin is the transgression of law” – meaning God’s laws. There is a SPIRITUAL law based on the principle of outgoing LOVE. There are also physical laws God has set in motion within our human bodies to control our state of health.

God’s spiritual law is first of all outgoing love. Next it is magnified into the two Great commandments – love toward God, and love toward human neighbour. The Ten Commandments state the broad principles of love toward GOD (the first four of the Ten), and love to fellowman (the last six commandments).

II Corinthians 3:6, explains that the ministers of the NEW Testament are ministers NOT of the strictness of the letter of the law, but of the Spirit – that is, the obvious intent, meaning or principle involved. The Ten Commandments explain the general principle of the direction, attitude and purpose of the law.

Principle applies to smoking

So we can apply the principle of God’s law defining sin to smoking. What is the obvious intent, meaning and principle of the law? It is the principle of outflowing love toward others, toward God and toward neighbour.

Ask yourself: “Why do you smoke? Is it to express outgoing love to God?” Most likely not! “Are you smoking to express outgoing love and concern for the welfare of other people?” Again, the answer is probably negative because smoking is obnoxious and objectionable to nonsmokers.

Now asked yourself, “Is it injurious to me?. Your lungs filter out impurities from the blood passing through the lungs returning to the heart. Inhaling smoke into the lungs is harmful, and is known to cause a host of health problems.

Exodus 20:13 commands that “Thou shalt not kill.” Smoking is certainly killing one’s self which is a form of suicide. Hundreds of thousands of  people die annually from cigarette and cigar smoking and that is only in the United States. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is proven to cause cancer, heart disease and hormonal problems. Smoking is also linked to pulmonary diseases and cardiovascular disease.

The opposite of, or transgression of, the law of outgoing love to others is coveting or lust — self-desire. Smoking is a self-desire, breaking — at least in some measure — the Tenth Commandment! In this context, smoking is a spiritual sin.

Is it also a physical sin?

But what about being a physical sin — harming the physical laws that God set in operation in our bodies? We know now,  that it is a cause of lung cancer, which can be fatal. So smoking is coveting what is harmful to yourself and your fellow man.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

The word used for “temple” is naosvv “naos” nah-os’ which means a shrine. The word is the one used of the temple at Jerusalem that contained the Holy place and the Holy of Holies which was the dwelling place of God. Paul was teaching that a true Christian’s body should be free of sin and separated to God’s service, because it is the dwelling place of God through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9).  Our bodies are to be clean and free of any sinful habit, wholly dedicated unto Him.

Second hand killing

Some people die of lung cancer having never smoked a cigarette in their life. Second hand smoke will do that over many years. If a husband or wife smokes, they may be responsible for killing their mate.

Second hand smoke from cigarettes also harms not just the smoker, but family, friends and co-workers. The Bible says we are to love our neighbor. Jesus said that loving one’s neighbor was next to loving one’s parents “Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 19:19 ). Romans 13:10 teaches us that “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour.” It’s certainly not an act of love to smoke around other people exposing them to the proven deadly effects of the ensuing smoke.

We are also to love our children, but smoking potentially harms them. Many studies have shown that in the first two years of life, babies of parents who smoke at home have a much higher rate of lung diseases such as bronchitis and pneumonia than babies with non-smoking parents. Infants and children have tender tissues and are more susceptible to passive smoke. Acute respiratory illnesses happen twice as often to young children whose parents smoke, and can aggravate symptoms of asthma or trigger asthma episodes. Further children exposed to secondhand smoke can develop middle ear infections, suffer from wheezing, coughing, and worsen asthma conditions. It is quite contradictory for a parent to love their children and yet expose them to cigarette smoke and by their example teach them to smoke (and sin) also.

Conclusion

The only sacrifice acceptable to God is one without spot or blemish. How can we presently ourselves as a sacrifice that is holy, meaning separated from sin, if we are addicted to tobacco and destroying our health? How can we attempt to be transformed by the renewing of our minds when we have no regard for our testimony, our personal health or the health and spiritual welfare of others? How can we prove what is God’s good, acceptable and perfect will of God with pack of cigarettes in our pocket?

Is smoking a sin? You bet it is! Some argue against this view by pointing to the fact that many people eat unhealthy foods, which can be just as addicting and just as bad for the body. Others are helplessly addicted to caffeine. While this is true, how does that make smoking right? Christians should avoid gluttony and excessively unhealthy eating. They should not be hypocritical by condemning one sin and condoning another.

As a Christian, go to a private place and on your knees tell God you have cleaned your life of tobacco and confess that using it is a sin and you are committed overcoming smoking for the rest of your life and that you trust in Him. Then get up and go and sin no more.

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5).

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