Taken from a message preached in August 2015
Today there is a lot of emphasis on a little verse from Romans 6:14b, which says that "...we are not under the law but grace." And the implications that many are deriving from this little verse is that the New Covenant (or Grace) excuses sin.
This verse is being distorted to mean that sin is no longer sin. After all, sin is the transgression of the law, therefore, if we are not under the law, then we can not be charged with sin.
*For example, you can't break the speed limit if there is no speed limit. You could drive 120 mph, but can't be charged with a crime, because there is no law concerning speed limit.
This is the question that we hope to clarify today:
Are we under the law or not?
Let us first understand this: The Gentiles were never under the law. In fact, this is what separated the Jew and Gentile. The Law of Moses partitioned the Jew from the Gentile.
The Jews were under the law with its 613 regulations (which I have never taken the time to count). Do you realize that the more rules and regulations there are, the greater your chances of breaking them. (In Singapore you could be fined for spitting gum on the sidewalk.)
Paul makes that quite clear to the Romans. The Roman church was quite equally divided: half Jew, half Gentile.
This is easy to be seen in Peter, as he is not clear about the Gentile connection... eating with the Gentiles, or struggling with the dietary laws of a religion that was passé - that ceased at the cross.
Paul later compares the death of a spouse to a covenant that was now defunct –
The covenant is now over; you are free to be married to another. In other words, you are freed from the Old Covenant – the Law of Moses... and now you no longer have to feel guilty being joined to another. (The former commitments are severed.) You can now fully embrace the New Covenant of Christ.
Do you see the problem here? The Jews were trying to live under both covenants. And to compound the situation, you have believing Jews who were trying to impose the Law of Moses upon the Gentiles, saying they could not be saved unless they were circumcised: Acts 15:1, 5 - "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved..."But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
This certain sect later became know as the Judaizers. These Judaizers almost crippled the church in Galatia, and these were the false apostles that Paul alludes to in 2 Corinthians.
The Jewish believers had a very difficult time trying to separate from the Law of Moses. This is why Paul's emphasis on: "We're not under the Law..." was uniquely directed to Jews who were still attached to the Law of Moses.
Here is another scenario: Paul comes to Jerusalem in Acts 21:19-21: "And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs."
This is exactly what Paul was emphasizing to Christian Jews: "We're not under the law..." – The Law of Moses! And, also to the Gentile believers that were being seduced into believing that they needed to adhere to the Law of Moses to be saved.
Now I want us to notice how Paul differentiates between those who know the law, and those who do not know the law – a few verses:
*Gentiles to be judged by the law of conscience
The whole point of this exercise is to interpret what Paul was really saying when he said: "We're not under the law, but grace..." Paul was showing the Jewish believers and the seduced Gentiles that we are not saved by the Law of Moses with all of its 613 regulations, but we are saved by Grace!
This was Paul's main message to the church in Galatia. The Galatians were being seduced by the Judaizers, who were saying that we must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be saved:
Ok, if you want to live under the Old Covenant Law, then Christ shall not profit you – the New Covenant shall not profit you... The New Covenant that says: I will put my Spirit within you and cause you...
The law minus Christ cannot save you; and if you want to earn your salvation by trying to keep the Law with its 613 regulations, then you will be judged by that law. i.e. Someone touches the unclean – they are unclean...you happen to touch them, you are unclean...
Grace offers forgiveness without works!
Grace enables us to walk in the Spirit and fulfill the righteousness of Christ.
Much of today's message of not being under the law is promoting a message of lawlessness. No, we're not under the Law of Moses; we are espoused to Christ, and if we love Him, we keep His commandments!
This is the disturbing thing; Much of this message of "Not being under the law" is essentially saying that no matter what we do, God loves us and that we have not done anything wrong because sin is the transgression of the law and we're not under the law.
True Grace enables us imitate our Master, and His commandments are not grievous.
*Righteousness is the keeping of the commandments.
Anyone that can discern the secret satan will point out one notable characteristic – the evil-one is an anarchist (anti-law) – a law breaker from the beginning. (The evil-one is the antithesis of Christ – who keeps His Father's commandments.)
Not only was the evil one a lawbreaker from the beginning, but his first appearance in the Garden of Eden as the serpent was to get man to break the one commandment that was given.
And thus are his minions (his ministers) even today: there message is a message of false grace: "We're not under the law, but grace..."
His ministers do not have to:
All the false minister has to do is preach a message that makes people feel comfortable about sin – that tolerates sin... God loves you no matter what...nothing can separate you from the love of God...there is therefore now no condemnation...
Are we getting the picture? The true interpretation to Romans 6:14, was uniquely to the Jewish believers who were still attached to the Old Covenant Law of Moses.
Taken from a message preached in early 2016
Luke 1:17, "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Of course, this is speaking of John the Baptist. There are a few verses that pertain to John, coming with the baptism of repentance. For example: in the book of Acts 13:24, and 19:4:
Act 13:24, "When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel." Act 19:4 "Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." John's message brought conviction and repentance - a turning from the hardness and the indifference of the times. John's message of repentance literally prepared the people that would receive Christ!
A very short ministry, in fact only 18 months, yet it is estimated that John and his disciples baptized 2 million people. Now I can't prove that figure or disprove it, however, it was those who received John's message of repentance that received Christ!
Now to put this into perspective, Christ's first coming was relatively insignificant when compared to the next coming - the second coming. When you consider the state of the Christian church today, it would be an inadequate or insufficient to say the Israel of God (or the church) has gone back into the world - back into Egypt. It is almost as John describes Jerusalem in the book of Revelation as, Sodom and Egypt.
The general consensus of the worldly church is that once forgiven, you're automatically a candidate to be in the bride - all the carnal Christians, babes in Christ, all the outer court segment of Christianity will be a part of the glorious church. This is not what the Scripture teaches! There has to be a tremendous revival of repentance to prepare God's people for what is coming, and to prepare them to be a part of the bridal company.
In our last session, we were looking at the ratio of those in the outer court to those in the holy place; from the floor plan it measures 25 to 1. The outer court basically includes newborn believers - sins forgiven, or those who have not progressed beyond the elementary doctrines. Christ is not coming for immature or carnal Christians. The bride reflects Christ in word and in deed. When you consider the qualifications of the bride, they are very high; not to mention the types of those who resemble the bride: as in the Song of Songs; or in the Proverbs, or in the Psalms; or even going back to the book of Genesis.
In the book of Genesis, Eliezer was given specific qualities to look for in Isaac's bride. Let's consider a few of the qualities that Christ desires to see in His bride, and then we'll comment on a few of them:
* All of the above could merit a sermon! *
As in the parable of the 10 virgins, five did not get into the marriage supper (Matt. 25). The standard for our generation is much higher than for previous generations. Our generation has had the greater light. Saints from other generations may qualify for the first resurrection that did not have the light that we have. In the Acts, we are told that God winked, or glossed over many shortcomings in other ages (Acts 17). This was because they did not have the light. But now God has commanded all men to repent! Noah was perfect in his generation. Perhaps he would not have been perfect in another generation.
There are virtues that are worked out in the outer court. However, in this generation we need to proceed to the holy place in order to be a part of the bride. The five virgins that when into the supper found grace. Numerically, five means grace. In the tabernacle scenario there were two veils in the tabernacle. The first veil went into the holy place, and there were five pillars holding up the veil. The holy place position features those that have overcome; they are strong in the word. Those who are a part of the Second Coming are overcomers - they have been called, chosen and faithful.
Let's consider a few of these virtues that we have listed:
She has prepared herself
Revelation 19:7, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." This is not a come-as-you are party. Any bride will go through great pains to present herself in her best. In fact, in one parable, one of the guests is removed because they did not have on the provided garment (Matt 22)!
She is industrious
Proverbs 31:18: Her candle does not go out by night!She is a giver, reaching out to the poor; clothing her house with spiritual garments: Proverbs 31:20, "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." Not like the blessed-me-church, where the message is geared to make me feel good - no self sacrifice, or deprivation of self.
She has the fine linen of righteousness
The outworked righteousness as in Revelation 19:8: "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."
She is holy
She has the divine nature threaded into her life. Psalm 45:13, "The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold." Gold symbolically speaks of the divine nature. Wrought gold means threaded gold. The divine nature is threaded into her clothing!
She is morally pure
Ephesians 5:27, "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." No spot - morally clean; no blemish - without blame. However, there is an interesting feature here - without wrinkle. That interprets facial wrinkles. Therefore, there has to be a renewing of youth. Those who have had visions of the bride have noted two things: joyfulness and youthfulness. This matches the church in heaven.
Today's worldly church is filled with moral blotches; sexual sins, because the ministry does not uphold the standard on marriage, nor does not condemn immoral acts. And to add to the thought of spots and blemishes, Leviticus chapter 21, mentions 12 blemishes that keep the priest from coming within the first veil - into the holy place.
Leviticus 21:21-23, "No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them." There are two veils in the tabernacle, and we have preached on the 12 blemishes before. In the Old Testament, those blemishes were physical; in the New Testament they are spiritual. We are the New Testament priesthood... And I hope we are getting the picture here - to be a part of the bride is a very special privilege. This is not a come-as-you-are party - those who are with Him are called, chosen and faithful! This is the major part of our commission for these days; to prepare people for what is coming; to prepare the church for the wedding!
The true church will be standing at the end - the church that is obedient to His word. The worldly church is built upon the sand - it shall dissolve in the end! (See Matt 7:24-27). When we are saved, we are simply forgiven. We are lacking many qualities that the Lord desires in his bride. Yes, we are changed instantaneously when the Lord comes, but that relates to our natural body. Carnal Christians are not changed into sanctified Christians. Let us allow our Lord to circumcise our hearts afresh and to bring the elements into our lives that will forever change us! Amen! God is very jealous for His Bride.