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Looking Deeper At The Rapture & Second Coming Only Theology Teachings!

 

The Holy Commandment

  

          Have you ever found yourself lacking love for others? If that be the case, did it make you feel as though you weren’t a good Christian? Paul knew that without love, victorious faith wouldn’t grow. And so, lacking both the growth of faith and love as a young Christian, Paul became extremely frustrated in his early experience. Now Paul, who was as blameless as a man could be by the righteousness of the law (Philip. 3:6), wanted to serve God with his all. Being saved, Paul didn’t want just a Ten Commandments experience, but a full life in Christ experience—a life he once lacked: “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom.7:19).

          Paul came to know that there was a righteousness of God without the law, and this, solely gained by faith in Jesus Christ. He wrote, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness (right living) which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9). Thus, to set faith and love aside, the sole commandment of Scripture ordained to life, is exceedingly sinful. It is to transgress the Law of Faith (Rom. 3:27).

          Through failure, Paul learned that the Holy Commandment was “unto death.”[1] Paul came to know the awesomeness of the Holy  Commandment’s holiness: “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good” (Rom. 7:12). Continuing, Paul went on to describe that the breaking of the Holy Commandment was “exceeding sinful” (Rom. 7:13). Here towers a standout truth that more than deserves our attention, which Paul, early on, realized. For Paul came to know that there was a righteousness of God without the law, strictly gained by faith in Jesus Christ. He wrote, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness (right living) which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9). Thus, to set faith and love aside, the sole commandment of Scripture ordained to life, is exceedingly sinful. It is to transgress the Law of Faith (Rom. 3:27).

           To interpret the commandment of Romans 7:10 without realizing that there is a way of righteousness without the law (Rom. 3:21), is to do a grave injustice to Scripture. And this we will see as we come to understand that the law never deceived a Christian. Indeed, never did the law, or any commandment of the law slay Paul, or for that matter, any Christian. Conversely, a lack of faith can, and does, especially when a Christian believes that he’s righteous, while lacking a genuine faith that works by love for others: “For sin taking occasion by the COMMANDMENT, deceived me, and by it slew me” (Rom. 7:11).

 

The Father’s Commandment 

          The “Holy Commandment” in Romans 7 is the same as the Father’s Commandment found once in its entirety in the New Testament. The Bible states “prove all things,” which in the Greek means to “test all things. Therefore, let us rigidly examine this very important matter. Intellectually, very few Christians know anything about the Father’s Commandment, or for that matter, the Holy Commandment. Still, good Christians practice this commandment by partaking of godly faith and love in their Christian experience.

          Upon searching the Scripture, we can see that the Father’s Commandment does exist; nevertheless, most of us are unfamiliar with such terminology. So we usually mistake the Father’s Commandment for the First and Great Commandment of Scripture: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deut. 6:4-5). Dissimilar from this commandment, the Father’s Commandment pertains to faith in the Son of God, and to love one another as His Son gave us commandment:

 

AND THIS IS HIS COMMANDMENT, THAT WE SHOULD BELIEVE ON THE NAME OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS HE GAVE US COMMANDMENT (1 JOHN 3:23).

 

Although the Father’s Commandment isn’t named as such in Scripture, it is easily identified by self-defined terms within the commandment itself: “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23). As we should see, this is the Father’s Commandment,” because both possessive expressions, “his Son,” and “his commandment,” give no other absolute other than the Father of the Son. Thus, this can only be the Father’s Commandment.

          In citing the above Father’s Commandment, John wrote, “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father” (2 John V. 4). Here, John rejoiced greatly while likening the demonstration of the truth walk to keeping the Father’s Commandment. Actually, in the above verse,  John outright speaks of a commandment from the Father, which also confirms its existence.

          Just as eye-catching, that is, in considering the truth walk of the Father’s Commandment, John witnessed his joy a second time: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John V. 4). The Father’s Commandment isn’t a one-time experience, but a commandment requiring active faith. Attesting to this certainty, John had no greater joy than to see Christians of his day upholding the truth walk in daily demonstrating their faith and love. Tellingly, John’s two statements, ”I rejoiced greatly” and “I have no greater joy,” combined, give special credence to the Father’s Commandment.

          Looking deeper, Jesus said in the strict context of the “Father” (John 12:50), that “his commandment” is “life everlasting.” And here lies an overpowering clue to what the holy, just, and good commandment of Romans 7 is, for His Commandment is also “to life.” Succinctly put, the Father’s Commandment and the Holy  Commandment are one in the same. Indeed, these two identical commandments offer eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ: “...and the COMMANDMENT, which was ordained TO LIFE...” (Rom. 7:10).

          Within the Holy Decalogue of the Ten Commandments, we find that a person can have long life by honoring their mother and father, but not eternal life as the Holy Commandment rewards. Exactly stated, it is ONLY faith in Jesus Christ that can bring about everlasting life (John 5:24; Acts 16:30-31; 1 Tim. 1:16), not obedience to any commandment of the law (Gal. 3:21).

          Conferring this fact, Paul tells us that the Holy Commandment is “to life,” which in itself validates that His commandment can only be a faith commandment. Now here lies an immutable certainty that has escaped numerous biblical scholars and college professors in identifying this commandment; that is, the Holy Commandment is none other than the faith commandment of the New Testament!

          Compatibly, Jude recorded[2] that faith was delivered to the saints, whereas, again, John wrote that the Father’s Commandment was received (2 John V. 4). Remarkably, both idioms ultimately communicate the same idea, because when God “delivered” faith to the Church, naturally, the Church “received” that faith.

          Moreover, the Father’s Holy Commandment “came” to Paul in Romans 7. This extraordinary detail further identifies the faith commandment as the Holy Commandment of Scripture, and not a commandment of the law. In other words, Paul came to be aware of the fact that faith wasn’t just a one-time experience, but a commandment that is to affect every part of the Christian life, demanding obedience. No wonder, then, that Paul wrote, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).

 

Dead To The Law

          In Romans 7:6 Christians are dead to the law. But being dead to the law doesn’t mean that the law has become nullified. Otherwise, how can Christians use the “law lawfully”? Otherwise, how can new converts know their sin, but by their violations of the law (Rom. 7:7)?

          Some like to establish the belief that the law has ended; meaning to them, that Christ abolished the law for believers. Normally, Colossians 2:14 is used to support this view,[3] coupled with Romans 10:4, which states: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” True, Christ is the “end of the law.” But this only means that Christ is our destination or goal for right-living, not that the law has ended.

          In esteeming this principle, Christians are not to void the law because of faith, but conversely, establish the law, or recognize that the law is still in effect. Paul wrote, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yes we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). To this very regard, Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17).[4] By Christ detailing this minuscule component of the written language, it’s quite obvious that He had strong feelings about the law. In fact, He zealously stated that Heaven and Earth would pass long before the tiniest part of the law would.

          So then, the whole law does remain, But why for the Christian? The answer: for the working of Christ’s love. Paul wrote, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself ”(Gal. 5:14).

          Christ intuitively referred to the first five books of the Bible as “the law.” Jesus said, “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is ‘the law’ and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12). Jesus didn’t clarify any particular part of the law, but said, “this is the law.” Now Jesus meant that the whole law is replete by our love in action (Gal. 5:14), not just part of the law, or part of the prophets. Certainly, then, the Law of God in sum, that is, for the Christian, largely deals with the way we treat others!

          “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth,” which also tells us that there is a way of righteous by faith, aside from the law’s letter. Thus, Christ’s inner love in action is to “establish the law,” and in so doing, we use the law lawfully (1 Tim. 1:8).

          Christians who center their doctrine on the written letter of the law have their focus dimmed from seeing the main intent of the law, which again, is for Christians to serve Christ by the use of His internal love. Literally, effective faith functions within a person by the use of Christ’s love, and not by the keeping of the external letter of the law. As Paul fully asserted in the Greek, agape love accomplishes or makes replete[5] the whole law, including its every holy letter.[i] Undoubtedly, then, for some, Galatians 5:14 takes faith to accept and believe.

          Of course, the love of which Paul is speaking is a love far greater than our own. It is the use of Christ’s indwelt agape (charity) love for others; the same love that is  shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5), and is perfected in us by God Himself when we use it (1 John 4:12).

          Biblically, two major ways of righteousness exist, or two ways of doing the  works of right-living. This is especially seen when we contrast the works of love derived from faith (James 2:20-24), with the self-generated works of the law (Gal. 2:16). Here are these two types of works:

1.) The first type of righteousness is by the self-generated works of the law, which doesn’t enable one to bear fruit: “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law . . .” (Rom. 9:31-32).

2.) The other type of righteousness is obtained by faith in Christ, and it more than enables one to bear fruit: “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is THROUGH the faith of Christ, the  righteousness (right living) which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9). Indeed, to believe in Christ is to do the works of God (John 6:29; James 2:25-26).

          Christians who hold a dependency upon the law to live right, largely break the law up into two parts, calling one part the ceremonial and the remainder the moral (the Ten Commandments). Since none of these terminologies or divisions actually exists in the Word of God, they can’t be substantiated. In doing a word study on the word “moral,” one soon learns that this word doesn’t exist in the Bible. In addition, the closest thing to the word “ceremonial” is the word “ceremonies.” Rightly so, the existence of the moral and ceremonial laws prove to be false, because, biblically, the law is all one law, the first five books of the Bible.[6]

          Although differing aspects of the law exist, Paul, who was an authority of the Law of God, also referred to the law as one unit. The late Dr. Walter Martin, in his book, The Kingdom of the Cults, wrote: If the moral law were separate from the ceremonial law, instead of both being aspects of one law, Paul would have had to write that the LAWS were our SCHOOLMASTERS to bring us to Christ, and now that “we are no longer under our schoolmasters.” But he knew and taught that the law was a unit and that it is perfectly fulfilled as such in the life of our Lord and on the cross of Calvary. (Ref. Pg. 413).

          Now anyone can divide the Law of God, rightly calling its aspects civil, dietary, ceremonial, moral, judicial and so forth, however, as already stated there is no Scriptural support to make divisions of the law. In validating this point, we must only realize that all biblical writers allude to the entire law as one unit, “the law.” Never did any one writer ever suggest a division of the law in their writings.

         No matter what transgressions of the law are blotted out (Col. 2:14), the law, and some ceremonies connected to the feasts of the law, such as “new moons,” remain unaltered. Case in point: new moons will be honored in the New Earth (Isa. 66:22-23). Therefore, the “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances,” as found in Colossians 2:14, are the transgressions of the whole law blotted out for the believer, not the so-called Ceremonial Law. Note: In Jewish tradition the handwriting of the ordinances related to a certificate of death issued by the high priest for certain crimes.

          Patently seen, here is substantial proof that the whole law, including the so-called Ceremonial Law, remains intact, reserved for the wicked of this world (Isa.  2:4; 66:17, 23). Concerning this very issue, Jesus said, “THINK NOT that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets, I am come not to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:17-18). Here, again, as always in His sayings, Jesus never made a division of the law, but spoke of the law as one unit. And this means that men can’t rightly come along and divide the law in their attempt to nullify parts of it to fit their doctrine.

          Actually, “the law,” as a phrase, appears well over 150 times in the New Testament. In further aiding our understanding, Paul tells us that the law, that single unit, is no longer our schoolmaster. And, he warns us that Christians can’t be debtors to do part of the law, but in fact, the whole law, that is, if they place themselves under it. He wrote:

 

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal. 3:23-25). For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law (Gal. 5:3).

 

          Christians should know that to follow the law as a schoolmaster, that unit, after one is joined to Christ, leads to adultery. Paul tells us plainly and clearly that we have become dead to the law, which is our old ex-spouse, even though the law hasn’t  passed away for the world: “Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4).

 

The True Shekinah of God

           The Hebrew word “shakhan,” or “shekinah” in the English, means to dwell. Applicably, in the Old Testament, God’s presence dwelt above the Ark of the Covenant (the Two Tables of Stone) on the Mercy Seat, and this, within that  Tabernacle (Lev. 16:2). Thus, God’s countenance of light and presence shone about within the Holiest of Holies, that very Holy Place. By contrast, in the New Testament God’s presence is with us, and in us (Matt. 1:23; 2 Cor. 6:16)!

          Isaiah wrote, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). Here, Isaiah singled out those who fail to speak of the law and the testimony, remarking that there is no light in them. Correlating Isaiah’s prerequisite test of truth with the New Testament is to know that “light” equates to brotherly love, or to the fulfilling of the law. The same “light” that Christians abide in  or “none occasion of stumbling,” when they love the brethren (1 John 2:9-10). Thus, to speak of the law and the testimony in New Testament terms, is to speak of the Word of God, and to testify of Christ’s power to love others, especially the brethren.

          Paul made a remarkable statement in delineating the New Testament’s definition of sin for Christians. He wrote: “That sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” Being intellectually unaware of the Holy Commandment and its significance, most Christians have based their understanding of sin by the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Surpassing that premise, however, Paul taught that sin becomes exceedingly sinful by the transgression of the Holy Commandment (Rom. 7:13; 1 John 3:23). Indeed, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23)!

          Faith that works by love is a commandment ending in charity (1 John 3:23). More often than not, New Testament charity embodies the meaning of selfless or undeserved love (Christ’s inner agape love). Paul wrote, “Now the end of the commandment is charity . . . .” The idiom, “the end,” distinguishes the  commandment in question. In other words, if the Holy Commandment were a train, the end of the train would be the Caboose of Love. Thus when Paul wrote Timothy, he took it for granted that Timothy and other early Christians knew the Father’s faith commandment, which ended in love.

          Factually, there is only one commandment in all of the Bible concluding in love, and again, that is the Holy Commandment from the Father (1 John 3:23). Indeed, the end or goal of the commandment is Christ’s indwelt love in action. Paul wrote Timothy:

 

Now the end of the COMMANDMENT is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man (a Christian), but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murders of fathers and murders of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men-stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (1 Tim. 1:5-10).[7]

 

          Faith unfeigned? The expression “faith unfeigned” tells us the commandment in question is a faith commandment, from which we are not to swerve. However, Paul knew that some would swerve from the faith of the Holy Commandment (Rom. 7:7; 2 Pet. 2:20-22) and teach obedience to the oldness of the law’s letter, desiring to be teachers of the law, and he goes on to tell us that these neither understand what they teach or affirm, that is, concerning the Law of God.

          Jesus came to call sinners to contrition; therefore, sinners must know that sin exists by their transgressions of the law; that is, if they are to have the opportunity to repent. Knowing this, Paul recorded that the law wasn’t made for a righteous man or a Christian, “but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners.” So then, it isn’t judgment of another to witness the existence of their sin (lawlessness) to them. For without hesitancy, God will use the law to condemn the wicked who persistently shun the things of holiness, thereby shunning God.[8]

          As the Scripture corroborates, “the law is not made for a righteous man.” Because righteousness, or living right, isn’t sustained by a Christian’s obedience to the written letter of the law, but by using the “law lawfully,” or by being a doer of the Law of God by faith (Matt. 7:12). Why then the law? It was added for transgressions until the Seed SHOULD COME (Gal. 3:19), meaning until Christians have received the Lord by faith.

          To this regard, no Christian is to resort to the letter of the law to show their holiness, or for that matter, their allegiance to God. For through no virtue of our own, we have become the sons and daughters of God by His worthiness, not ours. In all reality, then, Christ has exchanged His perfect life for our imperfect life, fully justifying us by simple belief in Him (John 6:47; Acts 13:39).

          It is Christ within and only Christ within that determines a person’s righteousness by faith. For He alone is the dispenser of life changing faith (Rom. 12:3). John wrote, “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). In the eyes of God an abiding Christian never sins, because God doesn’t impute their sin to them. However, being born of God doesn’t substantiate the idea that a Christian never sins, or that we don’t have an active sin nature: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8)

          The law can’t change a person’s innermost being: “the law is not made for a righteous man.” Being without the person, the law can only mirror the transgression of sin. By comparison, inward faith that works by love (the Holy Commandment in action), not only enables one to overcome sin, it discloses sin by the lack of an inner Christ in action (Rom. 7:13). And so, what the outward law can’t do, an inner faith in Jesus Christ can. For when a person has genuine concern for others, procured through the spiritual growth of an inward Christ, they don’t practice any of the sins listed in Timothy’s passage as a lifestyle.

          On this note, Micah wrote: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what the LORD requires of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Mic. 6:8). To do justly and love mercy revolves around how we treat others in our walk with the Lord; these are good, for this is what the Lord requires of us!

          Isaiah, who was more righteous than most can imagine, testified of his own sin nature by promptly counting all his righteousness as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). Now if righteous Isaiah felt no qualms in exposing his own ineffectiveness in striving to live a godly life after the law’s letter, it probably isn’t too bad of an idea for us to harbor that same sentiment. Witnessing this very principle, the Scripture tells us that if we offend in one point of the law, we offend in all points sof the law (James 2:10).

          Extremely legalistic Christians can seem very law-abiding when it comes to keeping the outward letter of the Ten Commandments. However, when it comes to possessing a valid faith that works by love for others, the real intent purpose of the law (Matt. 22:37-40), the charade comes to light. Jesus said, “Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.”

          When God resides in a person, conceivably, all things are possible, that is, “to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). On this commendable note, the only thing restricting Christ’s power is the growth of faith awaiting every believer, which in reality is the inward growth of the seed of Christ. John wrote, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power (the legal right) to become the sons of God, even to them that  believe on his name” (John 1:12).

          In sowing the things of the Spirit, Christians, in time, can reap the ability to do all things through Christ who strengthens them. If, however, a Christian solely sows the desires of the flesh, it should be of no surprise that they will eventually reap those desires. In concept, it is preposterous for one to think that they can sow corn and reap watermelons. In sowing to the Spirit, studying is good; a solid prayer life is good;

devotional time is good; church attendance is good; worshipping God is good; praise

is good; loving God is good. Yet if anyone really wants to please the Lord, faith that works by love must be unrivaled in maintaining righteousness.

          How important is love in the bounds of faith? The Holy Commandment? The Scripture boldly answers: “We know that we have passed from death unto life,  BECAUSE we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (1 John 3:14).

          Christians, who effectually experience love, don’t guess that they’ve passed from death unto life; they know it. They know an indwelling Lord by His active love for the brethren. Contrasted, self-proclaimed true churches and organizations don’t openly teach the passing from death unto life, just by loving the brethren with god’s love. Typically, they would rather condemn the living Church while magnifying their own so-called truths, and not the truth of Scripture.

          Love is also a work. Nevertheless, real inner godly love is the outward result of God Himself functioning within, and this is what constitutes the huge difference from the works of the law to that of the inner workings of Christ: “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds (works) may be made manifest, that they are worked in God” (John 3:21).

          Coming to the light is to utilize God’s shekinah of love, because deeds worked by the Lord’s power are deeds worked through the one true God. As the Scripture affirms, there is “none occasion of stumbling” when we love the brethren. For it is to know that we have passed from death unto life; it is to know the light of His love, and use it. Simply, it is the Father’s Holy Commandment in action!

 

A Contradiction?

          Scripture seemingly presents a contradiction: Paul wrote, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:28). Contradictorily, that is, easily construed after that fashion, Paul also wrote: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13). Compared on surface level, Paul’s two Scriptures are an obvious contradiction, however, if we define what Paul meant by being a “doer of the law,” there is no contradiction:

 

Speak not evil of one another brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: But if thou judge the law, thou art not a DOER OF THE LAW, but a judge (James4:11).

 

          Malicious judgment of others is to judge the law. Moreover, speaking ill of  others, such as in saying that they’re not a brother, when they are a brother, is to speak evil of the law. By using this biblical premise, we can see that the real doers of the law are only those who fortify their faith in fulfilling the law by love. This, then, shows us that the “doers of the law shall be justified” by faith, “without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:28).

          Now it remains some must believe that they’ve passed from death unto life because they love the brethren, or by God’s indwelt love in action obtained by faith, and not by the outward keeping of the Ten Commandments. In fact, there is no Scriptural contradiction between those who are justified by faith (“without the deeds of the law”), compared to those who are justified by being doers of the law, for the real doers of the law are those who fulfill it by love.

 

The Newness of Love

          Romans 7 makes a clear distinction of the law. And that distinction is the oldness of the letter contrasted with the newness of the Spirit (Rom. 7:6), or the newness of love. Furthering this reality, Paul wrote in Romans, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Distinctively so, Paul was free from serving the oldness of the law’s letter by the inner Spirit of Life.

          The Law of the Spirit of Life is why the “commandment came” to Paul, since the process of fulfilling the law came by faith. Indeed, the newness of love came by an indwelt Holy Spirit, of which Paul was to utilize by faith. Conversely, no part of the law ever “came” to Paul as did the Father’s Holy Commandment, seeing that, Paul, as an instructor of the law, had already embraced the law from his youth. No, wonder, then, Paul told us, “Now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Rom. 7:6).

          Paul taught that the righteousness of the law becomes replete by those who walk after the Spirit (Rom. 8:4). Alien to that truth, however, is the fact that the righteousness of the law can never be achieved by keeping the oldness of the letter. Keenly, this is illustrated in legalistic Sabbath keeping. For no matter how many Sabbaths a person may vigorously rest, that person will not stuff full the Law of God in love: “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Cor. 3:6).

          Therefore, if we put a new believer under the letter of the law, then that  believer will certainly break the law. Yet, if the repleteness of the law is the focus of our teaching, then the new believer will know how to accomplish the entire Law of God. Jesus taught this very principle when He said:

 

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt.  5:19).

 

Inappropriate as it may seem to legalistic Sabbath-keepers, the person who teaches others to break the least of these commandments, according to Christ, is still going to Heaven. In fact, that person will be called the least there. And here lies the key in understanding Jesus’s teaching—multitudes of Christians who innocently follow the oldness of the letter, while teaching others to do the same, are really teaching the breaking of the law. Nevertheless, for the greater part these are saved Christians under the Grace of God.

          Striking an exact dissimilarity, those who do and teach the Commandments of God are literally those who teach the fulfilling of the entire law by the use of God’s inner love (Christ within, not without). What is lucidly clear, then, is that these represent the real doers of the law by faith, though they don’t follow its every letter as a schoolmaster (Gal. 3:23-25). Without question, in Heaven these will be called the greatest. For these know the Lord; these know the power of His love (1 John 4:8)!

          Again, a Sabbath-keeper under the law can keep every Sabbath of his or her life, and turn around once and wrongfully judge a brother, by that, nullifying all their righteousness. The same applies to a Sunday-keeper, who adamantly treats Sunday as a legalistic Saturday Sabbath. Therefore, anyone who wants to keep the Sabbath mustn’t be deceived in slighting the newness of love; that is, if they truly want to be a doer of the law and keep their Sabbaths restful and holy before the Lord. Sabbath-keepers will argue that early Christians kept the Jewish Sabbath from sundown to sundown. Quite the contrary, the Scriptures clearly teach that even the early Jewish Christians lived as did the Gentiles.

         And this is the very argument that Paul used when confronting Peter and other Jewish Christians, who in their beginnings began to leaven the faith in reverting to circumcision as a necessity of salvation. Paul wrote: “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, AND NOT as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Gal. 2:14). For the record, Gentiles never kept the weekly Sabbath. The point here is that Peter learned to live as a Gentile!

          Dissimilar from the weekly Sabbath, that part of the law which lacks the promise of inheritance (Gal. 3:18, 21), the true Sabbath has much promise and is permanent (Heb. 4:2, 11). Literally, the true Sabbath is the promise of eternal life through faith (Eph. 1:13), which is for one to be “under the law to Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21), rather than under the Law of God, and the oldness of its written letter (Rom. 7:6).

          If the Saturday Sabbath were a New Testament requirement, the liberty of being fully persuaded could have never been presented in Romans 14:5-6. There, Paul teaches us not to judge our brothers’ experiences with the Lord in regards to what day they may or not keep. Now, as one Christian writer asked, can you imagine such Christian “liberty” toward those in Christ who worship idols? Who commit adultery? Who steal? Since theses are all clear New Testament principles to abstain from (idolatry, adultery, stealing), there was and is no such “liberty” regarding any of these matters in being persuaded of what is right or wrong. In sharp contrast, the liberty of being fully persuaded in what day to keep, or not keep, was presented by Paul so that we might know the intricacies of the Sabbath. And this is why he that regards “not the day,” regards it not to the Lord (Rom. 14:6).

          So too, the weekly Sabbath being part of the law, that unit, was but “a shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:17), and again, not the promise (Heb. 8:13). Certainly, then, we need not endeavor to enter the shadow, but the true image of our rest by faith, who is none other than Jesus Christ Himself (Heb. 4:1-11). Indeed, the blood and animal sacrifices of the law, and the many other things of the law’s shadow which pointed to Christ, can never equal the atonement of Christ and His dispensing of the faith. Thus, Christians are to enter the glorious light of the Gospel, or the true rest of the Sabbath, which is not the lesser darkened shadow of rest provided by the law.

          When Christians work their good deeds in God, they remain in God’s rest of indwelt power of active faith. And so it is by faith that Christians cease from their own works, just as God did after the creation of the world: “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works as God did from his” (Heb. 4:9).

The Scripture tells us that “Paul was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came sin revived,” and he died (Rom. 7:9). Spiritually slaying him, sin took occasion by the Father’s Holy Commandment and deceived him. In other words, a lack of faith that works by love doesn’t readily appear as sin, but it is. In fact, many Christians deceptively believe that they’re living holy lives, but in truth, they don’t own a faith that works by love experience with Jesus. In this vein, “Let us labor therefore to enter that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Heb. 4:11).

          Unbeknownst by Paul in his early Christian life, revived sin by the Father’s Holy Commandment took on a new definition: the holy Law of God unaccomplished by the use of Christ’s inner love. Many biblical expositors have taken it for granted that the commandment in question was “thou shalt not covet.” Because immediately following Paul’s mention of “thou shalt not covet,” he wrote: “But sin, taking occasion by the commandment worked in me all manner of concupiscence” (lust or covetousness). Naturally, by adhering to immediate context alone (Rom. 7:7-8), one would assume that “thou shalt not covet” is the Holy Commandment of Paul’s emphasis. However, in the overall context of Romans 7, we see overwhelming evidence confirming that this is not so (Rom. 7:9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

          Actually, the context of Romans 7 follows the same theme. Whether it is the outward “Thou shalt not covet” commandment, or the inward “faith that works by love” commandment, the topic remains the same: how we treat others. And this is why Paul picked the covet commandment of the Ten, because it centers on our actions toward others, as does his introduction to the Holy Commandment from the Father.

          Regardless of the widespread acceptance of “thou shalt not covet” as the commandment in question, no one commandment of the ten equals all the law (Rom. 7:10). Moreover, Paul was dead to “thou shalt not covet” in its letter form. Thus “thou shalt not covet” is not the Holy Commandment that “came” to Paul, nor is this singular commandment of the law ordained to life (Gal. 3:21), like the commandment of faith in Jesus Christ is (John 5:24, 6:47, 12:50; Rom. 7:10; 1 John 3:23). And this is the overwhelming difference!

          By Paul stating that sin took occasion by the commandment to work all manner of covetousness, he was really saying that he lacked a “Christ centered” respect for others. This the Holy Commandment of inner faith immediately exposed, of which, the outward law could not. And so, this is one reason why the “commandment came” to Paul. For again, the need to employ God’s love by faith came, not the law.

          Some think it’s perfectly all right to harbor resentment and grudges, since in their minds these don’t outwardly transgress the letter of the Ten Commandments. Yet the newness of the law begs to differ—the contempt of others in any form is a transgression of God’s love, being a transgression of faith found in the Holy Commandment (James 3:9-14).

          Upon the coming of the faith commandment, Paul learned that he couldn’t keep it on his own. More than just sensing a problem, Paul knew that he had to unleash the power of Christ within to love others. Understandably, faith and love both need to grow in each of us. That being so, the Holy Commandment requires much more than the written letter of the law. For it demands an inward, active Christ to replete these things in us, being an honest and full relationship the Lord!

          Paul saw a deep void in his life when the commandment came. Feeling this emptiness and desiring its escape, He wrote: 

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin (Rom. 7:24-25). 

          Paul served the Law of God in his mind (Rom. 7:25), which is to say, by his intellect, or by knowing that the entire law is fulfilled in the use of Christ’s love. As a result, Paul served the Law of God in “newness of Spirit,” or in the newness of the weekly heralding in the true Sabbath of Promise, which is the absolute meaning of the true Sabbath: rest in Christ by faith alone (Heb. 4:2, 11). In turn, a heartfelt regard for others would be Paul’s daily objective (faith only works by love), which also strengthened his inner man (Eph. 3:16-17, 4:23-32).In his growth process, Paul would continue to serve the flesh, or the law of sin. But through time and experience of the newness of the Spirit, his hope of righteousness by faith would be obtained: For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Gal. 5:5).

          Although the Holy Commandment is to death in Romans 7, again, it is “to life.” Applicably, Paul in his Christian experience executed the tenets of faith and love, and, by that, focused on the “to life” part of the commandment. This we ought to do also, for faith and love are without negative measure when we use Christ’s power of renewal, and this to fulfill the Law of God through His love.

         Take Rahab, a former prostitute, for example. She outright lied to protect the lives of the Jewish spies when she received them by peace (Joshua 2:1-21). Now if God would have put Rahab under the law, then she would have perished with her fellow inhabitants at Jericho. But that wasn’t the case, for Rahab prevailed by faith (Heb. 11:31), and became part of the lineage of Messiah as Rachab (Matt. 1:5). Indeed, her works of love and faith fulfilled the law (James 2:8), and were counted to her as righteousness (James 2:25). On this very line of thought, Paul wrote, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal. 2:21).

          Now the Lord gave us a focal point (others) in which to direct our lives. To that end, exercised love is obedience to the New Commandment, or to the new way of doing things. Actually, love is so vital to the Christian experience that Jesus  mentioned it three times within the New Commandment itself (John 13:34). Indeed, the New Commandment is new, and so important was this commandment that Jesus doctrinally gave it for the first time while at the Lord’s Last Supper! Likewise, Paul, in also recognizing the overall importance and newness of love, doctrinally taught:

 

Owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth another has FULFILLED THE LAW. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Rom.13:8-9).

 

          Here, also, in quoting five of the Ten Commandments, Paul told us that love is the fulfilling of the law, being the keeping of the entire law. More than a novelty, Paul went on to remark that “if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended.”[9] Meaning, Greek-wise, that all commandments are gathered together and  comprehensively summed up by love, including the Sabbath commandment: “and if there be any other commandment.” By the way, when something is fulfilled by love, it is entirely accomplished.

          In retrospect, it is the use of Christ’s love that is graphic in knowing God under the New Covenant (1 John 4:8), no other way. Here is that Covenant:

 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest (Heb.8:10-11).

 

          According to the First and Greatest Commandment, we are to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, not to mention with all of our strength. Yet without the law written in our hearts, this commandment is infeasible. Inasmuch that the repletion of law must be generated in us by the use of God’s love, or by “. . . that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9).

          Otherwise, the law is not written in our hearts. Indeed, there is no better way to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, than to have His love for others operational by faith (1 John 4:12). Otherwise, we resort to the flesh in trying to be holy! And this is why the Scripture teaches: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:40).

          Of course, no one has ever loved God with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength—all of the time. “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 13:10). Surely, then, the letter killeth, but the Spirit gives eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:4-6).

          To contrast the Old and New Covenants further, we must only realize that the nation of Israel had a covenant with God, which was the TEN COMMANDMENTS (Exodus 34:28). After the Ten Commandments are listed in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses immediately wrote:

 

These words the lord spoke unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone and delivered them to me (Deut. 5:22).

 

          The above is the Ark of the Covenant (see also Deut. 10:5-8). Now Paul wrote of the Old Covenant (the first Covenant) in which he identified and pinpointed the ARK of the Covenant which carried “the tables of the covenant” (Heb. 9:4). Paul, in referencing the first covenant, states: “For if that ‘first’ covenant had been faultless,  then should no place have been sought for the SECOND” (Heb. 8:7). Of course, the second covenant is what Christ has delivered to Christians, being the New Covenant of God’s Grace. By contrast, the first covenant, or the two tables of stone, is old and ready to vanish away (Heb. 8:13). No wonder, then, that Paul wrote:

 

Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. . . . Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal. 4:21-26, 5:1).

 

          Christ under the New Covenant has made us free. And this is why the prophet wrote: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers. . .” (Jer. 31:31- 32). Although the two tables of stone are old and ready to vanish, the entire Law of God in this economy remains intact for three important reasons, aside from the Old Covenant with Israel: 

1.) So that God can lawfully convict a person of sin.

2.) So that God can judge the world.

3.) So that Christians can experience the newness of Christ by fulfilling the entire Law of God, and this, by the very use of His New Covenant love, the fulfillment of the  entire Law of God (Matt. 7:12; Gal. 5:14; Rom. 13:8; 1 John 4:12).

 

A Ministration of Death

 

          For the Christian, obedience to the Law of God’s letter is a Ministration of Death & Condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7-9). Simply when it comes to the Law of God, as put earlier in so many words, no person has ever loved God every hour of every day. No doubt, the First and Great Commandment  is a commandment setup for failure—it is the holiness of the law which no man can attain to, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

          Surely the Ten Commandments engraved in stone had glory, but the glory of the Ministration of the Spirit is much more glorious, while the law for those who look to it as a SCHOOLMASTER (Gal. 3:24-25), is a Ministration of Death and Condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7-9).

          To radically teach otherwise are those who trouble true believers (Gal. 1:7, 5:12). And if that teaching is put forth as a pinnacle teaching, then this is Nicolaitism run wild (authority over others). Simply, God's true Church is not a certain sect of believers who keep the weekly Sabbath. But the entire Body of Christ from all denominations who have genuine faith in their Lord by simple belief, whereby one obtains the complete righteousness of God, making them perfect (Rom. 3:21-22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Philip. 3:9; 2 Pet. 1:1)! By the way, the righteousness of God obtained by simple faith in Jesus Christ can’t be added to or made better; it is perfect and flawless as it is!

          Legalistic Christians, calling themselves the true Church––or the true people of God, largely push and defend the weekly Sabbath. In contrast, theologically correct Christians push Christ and faith in Christ alone. Moreover the Scripture teaches the preeminence of faith: For they being ignorant of God's righteousness (Israel), and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not SUBMITTED themselves unto the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:13). Indeed, righteousness in the New Testament for Christians doesn’t stem from the law, but again, by faith in Jesus Christ without the law (Rom. 3:21).

          To further advance the contrast between the Law of God and the Grace of God, three thousand died for their idolatry and fornication upon receiving the law (Ex. 32:28). Whereas three thousand were saved at Pentecost upon receiving the Grace of God by faith in Christ (Acts 2:41). Indeed, the strength of sin is the law. “But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57)!

 

Identifying the Father’s Holy Commandment

          There are several points to contemplate in identifying the Holy Commandment. First, the Holy Commandment is holy, just as Paul recorded it to be in Romans 7.  fitting this exact viewpoint, Peter records that the Holy Commandment is our way of living right. As we know, the just shall live by faith as a way of righteousness, not by any other means: “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the Holy Commandment delivered unto them” (2 Pet.2:21).

          Second, the Holy Commandment, like the Father’s Commandment, was delivered to the saints (2 Pet. 2:21; Jude Vs. 3), just as it was received in 2 John Vs. 4. Third, and, consistent with the aforementioned points, the Holy Commandment “came” to Paul in Romans 7, just as faith comes to every Christian (Rom. 10:17). Fourth, the Holy Commandment is “to life,” which more than matches the locution: “And I know that his commandment is life everlasting . . .” (John 12:50). Fifth, neither the Father’s Commandment nor the Holy Commandment characterizes the “thou shalt not covet” commandment. Sixth, and most important is the fact that no commandment of the law is “to life,” nor, in itself, can the law bring life (Gal. 3:21).

          Thus, the commandment of Romans 7:10 is not a commandment of the law, but a commandment of faith leading “to life”! Now there is only one way for the just to live, and again, that is by faith in Jesus Christ. And here lies substantial proof showing that the Holy Commandment and the Father’s Commandment are one and the same, for both are “faith that works by love” commandments leading “to life” (John 12:50; Rom. 7:10)!

          Paul penned, “Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment of promise)” (Eph. 6:2). In penning this reference to the fifth commandment of the Decalogue, Paul more than inferred a second commandment of promise. That second commandment of promise is none other than the Father’s Holy Commandment of faith and love, being the real commandment of promise ordained “to life.” As we should see, one commandment pertains to longer life in the flesh, the other to eternal life through Jesus Christ.

         In sum, if we should contend for this identified Holy Commandment, whether through apologetics in the pulpit, or by our lifestyles, or both, we contend for the faith once delivered and received by the saints. In thought or deed there is no better way to watch for or love His appearing, other than the daily partaking of the Father’s Holy Commandment. Indeed, the keeping of the faith commandment generates the light of holiness and assures the reward of the inheritance (Col. 3:24)!

 

AND THIS IS HIS COMMANDMENT, THAT WE SHOULD BELIEVE ON THE NAME OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS HE GAVE US COMMANDMENT (1 JOHN 3:23).

 

 

“BUT THOU, O MAN OF GOD, FLEE THESE THINGS; AND FOLLOW AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS, GODLINESS, FAITH, LOVE, PATIENCE, MEEKNESS. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH . . . . THAT THOU KEEP THIS COMMANDMENT WITHOUT SPOT, UNREBUKABLE, UNTIL THE APPEARING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST” (1 TIM. 6:11-14)!


 

 


 

[1] Being contrary to our sin nature, the commandment of faith and love can be easily transgressed in a multitude of ways.

 

[2] “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto to you, and exhort you; that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude V. 3).

 

[3] “The blotting out the handwriting of ordinances.”

[4] The general understanding of a “tittle” is that it equates to a cross of a “t,” or to the dot of an “i.”

[5] For other usages of the Greek word PLEROO “as accomplishing” (fulfilled), see Matt. 1:22, 5:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 21:24, 22:16; John 3:29, 7:8, 15:11, 16:24, 17:13; 2 Cor. 10:6; Phil. 2:2; Col. 1:25; 2 Thess. 1:11; James 2:23; 1 John 1:4; 2 John V. 12; Rev. 3:2, 6:11.

 

[6] The first five books of the Bible are commonly known as the Law of God, the Law of Moses, the Pentateuch and/or the Torah.

[7] God’s Word arbitrarily condemns all sin, no matter what brand a person sports.

 

[8] A well-rounded witness includes the reality and penalty of sin, coupled with the pardon of Christ’s shed blood, for those who will accept and believe His bountiful mercy.

 

[9] The exegesis includes every commandment of the ten.


 

[i] Walter R. Martin. Th e KINGDOM of the CULTS (revised edition). (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1982), 414.

 

 

Get Ready is Robert’s new book and is available at Amazon.com. Also, just give the title and name of the author at any book store.

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