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March 25, 2013 -- Faith vs. Old Testament Law
 
Faith Versus Old Testament Law
 
In this study, I'll continue my previous study talking about the Christian faith versus observance of the Old Testament Law. For this study I'll use Galatians Chapter 3 through 25.

Paul is taking an example from everyday life to help explain the importance of the law. After a human covenant, or contract, has been "duly established," nothing can be added to it and the contract cannot be set aside. Say, for example, Grant and I sign a contract. After we both sign it, the contract would then be duly established, as Paul writes. After it has been established, neither myself nor Grant could add a stipulation to it or just toss it aside; the terms of the contract would have to be fulfilled. God's terms of His contract, or covenant, with Abraham were His promises.

Paul says that God spoke these...
promises to Abraham. God told Abraham that all the nations would be blessed through Abraham's seed (this word is in the singular). This Seed of Abraham, this one person, is Jesus Christ.

Okay, so if we're justified by faith through Jesus Christ, what was the purpose of the Old Testament Law? "It was added because of transgressions...(NIV)" Look throughout the Old Testament Law at the pattern of life that the Hebrews lived. At first, they obeyed the Law, worshipped God. Then they started to fall away and worship other gods. When they began to realize how bad their lives were getting to be, they cried out to the Lord God for help. God, through His mercy and love of His people, raised up the Judges. The Hebrews started all over again with sin. God raised up kings for His nation. Even again, the Hebrews still sinned. God still cared. As the time of the Savior came closer, God raised up prophets, who taught repentance of sins and foretold of a "suffering servant" who would one day save sinners and reign as King. This "suffering servant" is now our Mediator between us and God.

Paul goes on to write that the Law is not opposed to the promises of God. If the Law could give us eternal life with the Father, the righteousness would come from the Law. But we are prisoners of sin in this world. Since the Law cannot save us (give us eternal life), it pointed to One who can save: Jesus Christ. The Law is the promise given through faith in Jesus Christ. You see, as we walk with and obey the commands of Jesus Christ, in essence, we are actually obeying the Law.

Before faith in Christ came, people were under the Law, locked in a prison cell of sin. So, as the Law leads to Christ, by faith in Christ are we freed from that prison cell and we are justified by that faith.

Now, if we truly have faith in Jesus Christ, we are no longer "under the supervision of the Law. (NIV)"
-Daniel
 
 
February 22, 2013 -- Keeping It True
 
Keeping It True
 

"The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call Him in Truth" -Psalm 145:18.

Whenever I was just flipping through the Bible (Psalms), I saw this verse underlined ans was amazed at such a small verse would speak wonders to me.  The Bible has a simple teaching the God is truth; if you seek after one, you will be forced to find the other.  I, personally, have a great thirst for knowledge, both philosophically and spiritually.  This thirst for knowledge is not just any knowledge for knowledge.  I want truthful things to be retrieved and understood.  I love reading things that teach me something new and true. That goes for most everyone.  Truth is a very appealing thing to search for.  This always, in our generations, looks for our calling and our truth in this life.  A lot of reasons I am writing this on truth: we need truth not just in the church, but, as well in our hearts.  Because, if we know what truth is, then we know what God has taught in His Holy Bible, and if the church we attend says or does anything unbiblical or untru, we have the knowledge and whereabouts to strengthen our church and correcting them in the Bible.

Romans 1:25 says this: "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen" - HCSB.

This was speaking of some of, or most of the new Gentile Christians, that strayed back to their old ways.  This verse made me think back to the days that I lived in Albany, and now, even when I live in Macon, or even when I turn on the TV, I see the different denominations change around the Bible verses to just get more "Christians" to sit in their seats in the church.  I find it quite disgusting to see these churches doing anything and everything that sure isn't in the Bible to get new "followers of Christ." But what those people are giving these followers are lies.  I cry every time that I see people give in to these lies and they give their hearts to these churches. 

Galatians 1:6-8 speaks close to what the last verse I said.  It says: "I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ by turning to a different gospel - not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want you to change the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heavenshould preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached, a curse be in him!"

In verse 10, Paul askes them "Are they after trying to please man or God?"  I want to ask you that in trying to pick one of the churches of Christ our Lord, are they trying to please you and your ears or are they trying to do what is taught and what is pleasing God?

Here's a simple question to also ask yourself, who is going to have the last word in your judgment?  I think God will, not the preacher, not the elder, not the deacon, not the person sitting next to you. So, I think that we should be keeping true to what the Bible says and to please God with our worship.  We should always be bold in our message to both believers and more importantly to non-believers.  Boldness, not a louder mouth, shows kindness of heart and truthfulness, because a salesman can't be bold in his selling of a car unless he knows what his car has. If you went to a car lot and a salesman came up to you screaming and yelling saying that this car is the best, nobody has one better, what would you do?  Probably walk away.

Ephesians 6:19-20 says this: "With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit...pray also for me that the message may be given to me whenever I open my mouth to make known with BOLDNESS the mystery of the gospel."

With this I want to end...Stay true...Stay bold and stay close to what is worthy of God.

-Grant

 
January 26, 2013 -- Faith Vs. Old Testament Law
Faith Versus Old Testament Law (Part 1)

Faith or observance of the Law (obeying the Old Testament Law)? One could write a lot about this topic. A person could also get down to specifics of the Christian faith versus Old Testament Law; the list is quite a long one. I'm not going to try to get real specific here. The portion of Scripture that I want to go over in this study is Galatians chapter 3 verses 1 through 14.

"You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing -- if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: 'He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scriptures foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.' So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.' Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, 'The righteous will live by faith.' The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, 'The man who does these things will live by them.' 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 tree.' He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

This chapter of Galatians looks at the Christian faith (or faith in Jesus Christ), Old Testament Law and observance of it and of the Promise given by God.

At the beginning of the chapter Paul tells the Galatians that before their "very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified." Many people that Paul was talking to here very well could have witnessed Jesus as He was being crucified. If not present at Jesus' death, they definitely believed the Gospel and that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. The Galatians knew the Gospel and of how they should live according to Jesus. But there were false teachers going around perverting the Gospel and telling Christians that to be a Christian you must observe the Old Jewish Law.

Paul asks the Galatians how did they receive the Spirit: through the Law or through belief (or faith)? Paul also asks are they now attempting to attain their goal (being faithful to God through Jesus Christ) by human effort. Trying to attain salvation by performing ceremonies and rituals. Through all the perversion of the Gospel, the Galatians were al little confused. Paul write to them to set the record straight. Were you given the Spirit and the ability to perform miracles from observance of the Law or from believing the Gospel that you heard?

God promised to Abraham many centuries ago, "All nations will be blessed through you." Not only would the Jews be blessed (as the nation from which Jesus came) but also gentiles. Abraham believed God and had faith in god. If Abraham was blessed through faith in God's Word, how much more are we blessed by having faith in God through Jesus Christ, hearing and obeying the Gospel?

Anyone who relies on human effort for salvation are under a curse. "The righteous will live by faith." If we have no faith in what we've heard (the Gospel) the we are not justified before God. When Jesus Christ died on that cross, He had the Law nailed with Him. He died; He brought into being a new and better covenant, one that supersedes and overrides, so to speak, the old covenant. Redemption and the blessing given to Abraham are now ours in faith through Jesus Christ.

If we have faith in God's promises through Jesus Christ; if we are truly Christians, we will have His Spirit with us. Personally, to have that faith and to have His Spirit with me, it feels great!

If you are not a Christian and would like to know how to become one, that's what we're here for. Contact myself or another admin of the group for information about becoming a Christian.

-in Christian love,
Daniel