Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pharisees don't get it

It was true in the days of Jesus, and it has been true ever since; Pharisees don’t get the Good News.

Oh they hear the Good News.  They supposedly “share” the Good News.  But they just don’t get it.  So if you are depending on a pharisee to explain the message of Jesus (i.e. Gospel, or literally “good news”) to you, then you aren’t getting it either.

Pharisees were the religious leaders, the keepers of the Biblical law in Jesus’ day.  These are the people who brought the woman caught in adultery before Jesus, hoping to be able to stone her to death.  Sound familiar?  It should.  These people are alive and well..., not well, today.  They crush people with unbearable religious demands.  They put the focus on you, and your performance, or lack of it.  Pharisees equal religion.  

Historically it has been the adulterer, the drunk, the cheat, the jacked-up who get it, and the moralist, the Leave It To Beaver mother types who don’t get it.  The difference between those who get it and those who don’t is, the latter still believe that if they just try harder they can do it.  They can meet the standard.  They can live the righteous, pure, obedient life.  (Although the dirty little secret is that these people continually fail also.)  The former have come to the end of themselves.  They have given up trying harder.  They understand that they continually don’t meet the standard, and are desperately crying for help.  It’s only when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of God’s grace.

For too long, the pharisees have used a bait and switch technique to get people into their ranks.  The bait and switch technique claims “come as you are” in the beginning, but then quickly switches to heavy-handed rules, requirements, and regulations to maintain acceptance.  If you are the one caught red-handed, the one struggling, this doesn’t sound like good news.  That’s because it isn’t.  It is possible that these people honestly don’t understand that everything changed at the cross when Jesus said “It is finished.”

The actual, almost too good to be true news is that the righteous requirements have been met on your behalf.  You really can come as you are.  You can stay, continually accepted even if you need “fixing” (read: healing).  The onus for changing you is on another who is greater than you.  The focus is on the One greater than you.  The burden is light.  Really.

Jesus did not come so that you might become a good little boy or girl.  He came so that you would have life.  Abundant, eternal life.  
Jesus didn’t promote religion, He confronted it.
Jesus didn’t come as the great teacher, He came as the final, complete sacrifice for your sin.
Jesus isn’t your example to live up to, He is your redeemer.

Put your trust not in yourself, but in Him.

Maybe someday you will get the chance to share this Good News with a pharisee.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Not Under Law

The Law of Moses was given to the Jews only.  The Jews were the ones who agreed to the terms of the Mosaic covenant.

All the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!" And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. Exodus 19:8

The Gentile never made this agreement.  Gentiles were never under the Law of Moses.  

Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith;  but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Romans 9:30-31

Nevertheless, for those who won’t believe this, below are several scripture verses to show that even believing Jews are no longer under the Law.

The purpose of the Law:

So the judgment of God lies very heavily upon the Jews, for they are responsible to keep God’s laws instead of doing all these evil things; not one of them has any excuse; in fact, all the world stands hushed and guilty before Almighty God.
Now do you see it? No one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what the law commands. For the more we know of God’s laws, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying them; his laws serve only to make us see that we are sinners.  Romans 3:19-20
What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.  Romans 7:7-8
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase;  Romans 5:20

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 1 Corinthians 15:56

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person (believers are righteous according to 2 Corinthians 5:21), but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.  1 Timothy 1:8-11

So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. Gal 3:24-25
Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. Galatians 3:23-25
Well then, why were the laws given? They were added after the promise was given, to show men how guilty they are of breaking God’s laws. But this system of law was to last only until the coming of Christ, the Child to whom God’s promise was made. (And there is this further difference. God gave his laws to angels to give to Moses, who then gave them to the people  Galatians 3:19

The Law is the Old Covenant

Moses took half of the blood of these animals and drew it off into basins. The other half he splashed against the altar.
And he read to the people the Book he had written—the Book of the Covenant—containing God’s directions and laws. And the people said again, “We solemnly promise to obey every one of these rules.”
Then Moses threw the blood from the basins toward the people and said, “This blood confirms and seals the covenant the Lord has made with you in giving you these laws.” Exodus 24:6-8

(The Law Of Moses includes 613 commandments.)

The Law Does Not Give Life

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.  For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;  for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. Romans 4:13-15

Yes, and those who depend on the Jewish laws to save them are under God’s curse, for the Scriptures point out very clearly, “Cursed is everyone who at any time breaks a single one of these laws that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”   Galatians 3:10

Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.”  Galatians 3:11-12

But the fact of the matter is this: when we try to gain God’s blessing and salvation by keeping his laws we always end up under his anger, for we always fail to keep them. The only way we can keep from breaking laws is not to have any to break!  Romans 4:15

For the old system dealt only with certain rituals—what foods to eat and drink, rules for washing themselves, and rules about this and that. The people had to keep these rules to tide them over until Christ came with God’s new and better way.  Hebrews 9:10

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.  Hebrews 10:1

For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. Galatians 3:21

nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.  Galatians 2:16

Jesus is the New Covenant, the Gospel, the Good News

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says,

Behold, days are coming, says the Lord,
When I will effect a new covenant
With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;  Hebrews 8:7-8

When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.   Hebrews 8:13

For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.  Hebrews 7:18-20
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.  Galatians 2:21

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”  Galatians 3:13

by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace…  Ephesians 2:15

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:4

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. Galatians 3:18

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14

The New Covenant Began at Jesus’ Death

Now, if someone dies and leaves a will—a list of things to be given away to certain people when he dies—no one gets anything until it is proved that the person who wrote the will is dead. The will goes into effect only after the death of the person who wrote it. While he is still alive no one can use it to get any of those things he has promised them.  Hebrews 9:16

This cup is the new agreement between God and you that has been established and set in motion by my blood...  1 Corinthians 11:25

Dead to the Law
The death of Christ on the cross had made you “dead” to the claims of the Law Romans 7:4
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4
For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.  Galatians 2:19

Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?
Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.  Romans 7:1-6

Continue in Freedom

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Galatians 3:2

So Christ has made us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get all tied up again in the chains of slavery to Jewish laws and ceremonies.  Galatians 5:1


These verses were written to believing Jews.  If believing Jews are no longer under the Law (and they aren’t) then how much more are believing Gentiles not under the Law also.

For more in-depth questions and answers go here;