–The Law is good, if used lawfully.
–It is for sinners
–No need for law until there is enough transgressions to warrant it to maintain order and promote the general welfare
–e.g., increasing traffic safety regulations and automobile safety features
–It is useful when having to subdue evil or the causing of hurt to another.
–e.g., speaking in unacceptable way that needlessly hurt or offend or panic other people
–The Law of Moses was glorious, but a passing glory when compared to the glory of the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
–like a candle which gives way to electric light, and even more so to the sun
–what was glorious and served its purpose adds nothing more once the more glorious has come
–maintains its own glory, but does not compare to that which far surpasses it and which serves a far more greater purpose
–The Law is our life: any set of rules by which we live and has dominion over us; it rules us; it is like a husband, until he/it dies to us
–establishing, for instance, one’s own kashrut laws for what you will or will not eat as a matter of righteousness
–The law brings a curse on us because we can not live up to it – and so we feel condemned, not free, not alive – nor can it make us righteous in God’s eyes.
–putting ‘a fence’ around the law holds people’s consciences accountable to man’s customs or commandments, rather than to the Word or Teaching of God.
–The Law is what lets us know what sin is, and until the law comes in, we do not feel guilty.
–e.g., cigarette smoking and labeling
–The law causes transgressions to increase and strengthen.
–How do we normally react when required to submit to authority or required to serve others?
–It is sin in me doing the transgression if I myself want to obey the law, but it shows how sinful sin is.
–Our deliverance from this cursedness is Messiah’s death and resurrection, and ultimately our own resurrection and clothing with a new body, freed from sin.
1. What is the difference between ‘mercy’ and ‘grace’?
–Mercy keeps us from deserved punishment/hell; Grace gets us to Heaven/far more than I deserve.
–Mercy forgives someone for offenses and debts; Grace adds to that a ‘reward’ for believing, thanking, trusting the forgiver/deliverer/savior.
–Mercy is necessary during this life only; Grace/Lovingkindness is for eternity for those who love God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
–The grace of God imputes His righteousness to the forgiven sinner who believes. This is the only righteousness which exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, and enables us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Mt 5:20) (The righteousness of the religious is not enough for salvation.)
2. Must believers in Jesus still obey the Law?
—Rom 3:31 (Mt 5:17-19; 7:24-29; Dt 18:18-19) We do not make void the Law, but rather establish it through faith
–The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy, just, and good (Rom 7:12)
–it is needed both to keep the peace in any society, and to show the people that they are sinners
–either by breaking good laws, even unintentionally
–or, by refusing to accept and submit to the law: lawlessness
–for Jews and for Christians, we have greater responsibility to both submit to civil authorities, and to keep a higher standard
–it will be all fulfilled
–we must teach and do even the least of these commandments which Messiah has now brought in under the New Covenant/Testament, the grace of God producing righteous fruit (Ezek 36:27)
3. What about those who lived before the Torah, or who are without the Law?
—Gen 9:3-7 food, sanctity of life, pro-creation and continuity of humanity
—Rom 2:12-16 those without Law will die without Law; those with Law judged by the Law; for all men the Judge is Jesus Christ
–Remember Avimelech, the Philistine king(s) who made covenants of peace with Abraham and with Isaac. To Avimelech, it was acceptable to murder a husband of a woman to take her for himself, but not to commit adultery with another man’s wife!
–This was before the Law (Torah) was given by YHVH God to Israel
–Gentiles have their own laws and rules by which they judge themselves
–Hamurrabi’s Code — ~1760 BC, app. 650 after the Flood, and about 315 years before the Torah
–even an organization like the Mafia has their own code of conduct
–God will judge those without His law by a lower standard than those with His law. (Rom 2:24; Ezek 36:22)
—Lk 10:8-16; 11:30-32; Jn 9:39-41
–to whom there is more light, there is more responsibility and greater judgment (Lk 12:47-48)
–God knows exactly how to judge righteously and without partiality: ‘handicapping’
–Jews and Christians have more than others (Rom 2:5-12; Ezek 18:25-32)
1Pt 4:17-18; Prov 11:31 For the time is coming for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now, “if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?!”
Having a covenantal relationship with the one true God makes us more accountable, not less! We are members of His family, and discipline and punishment begins there within before doing so without.
–Israel most accountable nation
–Christians most accountable persons
—Jewish believers in Yeshua the most accountable of all
Rom 5:13-14 Until the Law came, sin and death (sin’s consequence/wage) were in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
–like a baby before being old enough to be able to know that ‘yes’ means yes, and ‘no’ means no
–Adam transgressed God’s commandment to him, and so was punished more severely than Eve, who was deceived by the devil.
The Holy Spirit has always been in the world (and will remain in this world until these heavens and earth pass away). God gave certain rules and commandments to Noah after the flood to help sinful people live more peaceably together, and to fear God and His judgment. These general guidelines have impacted every society since those days, as all people have descended from Noah’s three sons, and there is only one Sovereign God in the world who keeps a restraint on evil. Although sin was not imputed before the Torah came, yet God judged the people for their wickedness, as He also did in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Sodom will be less severely judged in the Day of Judgment than a city which has heard the gospel and seen the works of God, but refused to repent and receive the servants of God. (Lk 10:8-12) Today, the Western nations are more accountable in God’s sight than others, for the “Judeo-Christian” civilization has developed and matured there.
Being under the grace of God in Christ is a privilege requiring a greater response of thanksgiving and of responsibility than of those seeking still their own righteousness by works of law. Praise God that Jesus is our Great High Priest interceding for us at the Father’s right hand! As believers, we, by God’s grace and mercy, will not be judged for the sin of unbelief or hypocrisy, but will be judged for the works we have done in our bodies – whether good or bad.
2Cor 5:7-11 For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather, to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. . . .