Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The end of the law (Guest Post)

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

 Nothing could be clearer! Christ is the end of the law. 
That’s it! Pack it all up – the law is ended! Except for 
one tiny thing which we should look at. To get the true 
meaning of this verse we need to see it in high definition. 
The word translated “end” does not mean termination. It 
means goal. (Zodhiates 5056) Christ is the goal of  the law. Does that change the meaning for you? The goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. 
(Romans 10:4 – Jewish New Testament, transla- 
tion by David Stern) 
 It is indeed interesting how a little word like “end” can mess up the meaning of a passage. That Christ or Messiah is the goal of the law is also stated in Galatians 
3:24. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us the Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (NKJV) So the law is actually our ally. Paul says in Romans 7 that the law is special, the commandment special and just and good. He also says it is spiritual in Romans 7:14 and that He delights in it (vs 22). The law, or Torah, points to Jesus. 
 This is the essential truth that the religious leaders in 
the time of Christ failed to grasp. The Torah points to the one who has the power over sin – Christ. The law has 
no power. It is not an end in itself. We are not under the 
system of the law if we are governed by Christ the Spirit. 
(Gal. 5:18) Christ in us, the hope of glory, is the Holy 
Spirit. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh 
with its passions and desires. To do that we need God’s power – divine enablement – grace. 
 The goal of the law is to bring us to Christ so we can 
be led or governed by Christ. We can rule and reign in 
life over the flesh – over sickness – over poverty – if we 
can learn to be led of the Spirit. The goal of the law is to 
bring us to a new type of government; one with divine 
power to help us. 
 The goal of the law is to bring me and you personally to 
a point where we are confidently hearing and obeying the 
Holy Spirit each and every day. This should be the goal of 
all the church’s discipleship attempts. We should be mak- 
ing disciples that know the Word and walk in the Spirit. 
 The law is a bit like the gantry for a rocket ship. It helps 
the rocket to stand upright but to fulfil its destiny a rocket 
needs to soar in the heavens. The soaring rocket must be 
guided in order to reach its destination. We need to be 
guided by the Spirit. The rocket also needs fuel or power 
to fly. We need the grace of God to soar. Grace and guidance are both provided for us as we trust the Messiah. 
The Torah is our valued tutor which points to our goal. 
We don’t do the law in our own strength. We use the law 
to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our 
faith. It provides useful insight and context and is our ally 
in growing spiritually. So Christ is not the termination of 
the law but rather the endgame (the final stage of some 
action or process) of the law. 

Ian Wilkinson is the author of  a new book entitled Kingdom Foundation.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Which command would you NOT keep?

     In a friendly conversation with a fellow believer, whose children are in the same  class as mine, the topic of keeping commandments surfaced. I admit to starting the conversation the week earlier, by suggesting that the curriculum didn't quite mean what it said.  So far we've made it through 4 units with consistent encouragement from the curriculum developers to keep God's commandments. Last week, I suggested, that the curriculum didn't really mean "all of them" because the majority of mainline Christianity teaches followers to the amend the fourth commandment.

Hopefully I don't have to remind you, but just in case, the fourth commandment is: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

Another mother piped in that she thought that Paul had given provision for ditching the Sabbath in his letter to the Colossians, "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in 
questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath".
I must add here, that my family and I keep, to the best of our ability, God's commandments believing that Yeshua came to fill full the Law and the Prophets, and that he did NOT come to abolish them. That means, the Moral Laws AND the Civil Laws still are binding today. The covenants do not nullify the previous covenants, but build on the previous. Thus, like Noah's covenant still applies to us and is for us, Abraham's covenant, which is the promise seed, who is Yeshua/Jesus, is also for us. With that there is no disagreement. (There is so much more that I could explain here, but that is not my intent in this posting, so feel free to peruse through my other posts or contact me directly for further explanation)

The conversation continued the following week as we prepared lunch for the kids. Thinking about our last weeks topic, the fourth commandment, this believer mentioned that she would have a hard time living out this walk that my family is on. She didn't mention the 4th commandment, but brought up the dietary Laws. She explained that she could never follow them, because doing so would start world war III. Her family, who are of Asian descent and strong believers, would not begin to understand that, it may be possible, that God would not want them eating pork. I listened to her explain that pork is such a dietary staple, that she could not even let her mind entertain that possibility of changing up her grocery list to eliminate pork. As she concluded, she stated with emphatic resolve, that since "no one is able to keep the Law perfectly, she was fine with breaking the dietary Laws". 

I was a little stunned at her statement. Really? Is that the conclusion she arrived at? She had obviously thought about our conversation about keeping God's commandments, but this is what she came up with? I didn't have a response immediately, but thought later, that the dietary Laws were the easy commands to keep. Not eating pork and pork products was simple and straight forward. (By the way, keeping clear of pork and shellfish is good for your health, according to health guru's. These animals are the clean up, garburators in God's animal kingdom and are not fit for human consumption.)

Of all the commandments the fourth commandment and the dietary Laws, the ones my fellow believers discussed, they are the easiest to keep. It's the "love thy neighbour" that's hard to keep. That's one I have the most difficulty with.

So here's my question...which command would you NOT keep?