Law. And. Gospel By Ron Smith

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1 Law And Gospel By Ron Smith

2 Max Lucado and others teach that keeping the law saved people in the Old Testament, but now we are saved by faith alone. However, they fail to see that it has always been impossible to be saved by the law because of man s sin nature. It is impossible now and it was impossible then. They say that salvation by faith alone was a new doctrine. But Paul s teaching of salvation by faith alone was not a new teaching. Paul got it from the Old Testament. I would like to examine some Old Testament examples of it; the same place Paul got it. Abel Cain s sacrifice was rejected and Abel s was accepted. If salvation had been by works, then Cain s sacrifice would have been sufficient. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. (Heb 11:4) Abraham For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Rom 4:2,3) David For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:16,17) Notice that David contrasts the sacrifice of the ceremonial law with a broken and contrite heart. What does a contrite heart have to do with faith? It is the result of faith. Samuel Then Samuel said: Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. (1Sa 15:22) Saul s unbelief, fear, and doubt caused him to substitute works for faith. Samuel shows how faith without works is dead faith and that outward ritual can be an effort to substitute the obedience of faith which Paul mentions in Romans 16. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my

3 gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. (Rom 16:25,26) Notice that Paul says, my gospel for the obedience of faith. Paul clearly taught that obedience could not be divorced from faith. He taught that through faith we establish the law (Rom 3:31). In Ephesians 2:8-10 he taught that faith made us new creatures ( created unto good works ). Jeremiah Jeremiah prophesied that God would make a new covenant that would differ from the one written on stone. This one would be the law of God written in our hearts. (Jer 31:31-34) Which law would that be? The only law. The one that God gave on Mt. Sinai. The difference is that it would now be in our hearts instead of external. How would God do this? By means of the Holy Spirit and making us new creatures. Abraham, David, Samuel, and Jeremiah were examples of those who already had God s law written there. Micah Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:7,8) Under the law, there is no mercy. There is only a requirement to obey. Only under grace is there mercy. We are saved by grace through faith and not by the works of the flesh. Only faith can bring mercy. This is what Paul taught, and he got it from the Old Testament with the help of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. Hosea For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

4 The knowledge of God is synonymous with faith. Faith is seeing God s truth and glory. Faith comes by Divine revelation. It is the gift of God; not of works. When God makes us see His Truth, that in itself is faith. When one sees he believes, and when one believes, he sees. This vision is irresistible because by definition, what one is convinced of in his heart and soul is irresistible. (That is what is meant by irresistible grace. ) We are slaves to what we believe in our subconscious. That results in the obedience of faith. It results in a living faith as opposed to a dead one. Notice how Hosea contrasts mercy with sacrifice, and knowledge of God with burnt offering. He makes mercy synonymous with the knowledge of God. Does this mean that God never endorsed circumcision, sacrifices, and other ceremonial laws? By no means. Truly obedient people were still required to do those things, but not as a substitute for the heart obedience of faith. The same principal applies today. We are still required to use the means of grace such as baptism, communion, praise, outward worship, giving, Sabbath keeping, Bible reading, etc. But we are not to trust in these works for salvation. Why the change, then, from the ceremonial law of the Old Testament? 1. Because the ceremonial laws could no longer be kept since God was about to destroy the temple. 2. Old Testament ceremonial law was given as a type and shadow of the real thing, which is fulfilled in Christ. 3.Because even the Jews were not required to keep some of those laws if they lived outside the Promised Land. 4. Because it was revealed to Paul that if the Gentiles had been required by God to become Jews, Christianity would have been greatly hindered from spontaneous growth. Paul s Gospel was the one that had been hidden from the ages, but was now revealed. He said, my gospel the mystery kept secret since the world began. (Rom 16:25) The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. (Col 1:26) How was it hidden before? It had not been clearly revealed that the Gentiles would be grafted in to the Jewish tree. The symbolical meanings of the law had not been clearly revealed before Christ rent the veil in two. For

5 example, the true temple is the church. Ezekiel saw it in his vision of the temple with the river of life flowing out of it. I think everyone knows that this is one of scriptures to which Jesus referred when He said, as the scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water. The true high priest is Christ. The animal sacrifices were types of our worship and a type of Christ, the Lamb of God. Circumcision was a type of baptism. The Promised Land was a type of the whole world. Gentiles that are baptized into Christ are Israelites, Jews, Levites, and members of the house of David. Thus, the lost tribes are both Gentiles and Jews who are God s elect scattered universally. He is currently sending his messengers (angels) to gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mat 24:31) Unclean animals represented the gentiles. (Acts 10:12ff) ( You are what you eat. ) This was clearly the apostolic method of interpreting the prophets. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech-- unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Cor 3:12-16) Paul s boldness of speech meant that he was unveiling the mystery that had been hidden since the world began. Moses had given the truth in a veiled manner, using types and shadows, which were passing representations of the end or goal. The end is Christ, the Alpha and Omega. They were shadows of things to come, but the substance of those shadows is revealed in Christ. Paul said the meats, drinks, and new moon Sabbaths were a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Col 2:17) The apostle said the Jews serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. (Heb 8:5)

6 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. (Heb 10:1) This was true in Old Testament times as well as now. The ceremonial law simply represented the invisible things that are now revealed. But unbelieving Israel continued to focus on those temporary and very visible objects, which were about to pass away with the destruction of Jerusalem. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Co 4:18) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Heb 11:3) How About Now? I was at an R.C. Sproul conference sitting next to a Reformed Baptist. The speaker said, Law and grace ran concurrently in the Old Testament. I poked the guy next to me in the ribs and said, Still do. Then at lunch break, he had to argue with me. No, he said. The law passed away. I said, Do you mean that we are now to be lawless? Well, uh, he stuttered, We are now under a new law. I said, Where do you find that new law? He did not seem to have an answer. No. We are not under law. We are under grace. Not even a new law. But when the Bible says, we, it means we Christians. Unbelievers are still under condemnation because they are still under the law. It is the law that condemns them, not Christ. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:17) If the law had passed away for unbelievers, then there would be no such thing as sin because the very definition of sin is the transgression of the law. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1John 3:4)

7 One who is under grace is not under law because the law is now written in his heart. God had promised that this would be the difference between the Old Covenant and the New internal versus external law. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts (Jer 31:33) Those who are new creatures in Christ love God s law because it is in their hearts. One who hates stealing needs no law that says, Thou shalt not steal. The same is true with all of the commandments. The blessed man meditates in His law day and night, and says Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97) Those who hate God s law are still under it. They are also under its condemnation. That is why they hate it. They are antinomians. This is one way one can tell if he has been born again or not. Jesus said, Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:17-20) Destroying the law and fulfilling it are not the same. The only way the moral law can be fulfilled is by having it placed in the heart. The only way to fulfill the ceremonial laws is by understanding that they were types and shadows. The only way to fulfill the civil law is by the governments of the nations being converted to Christ and using the spirit of God s law as the foundation of all civil law. How Then Are We To Preach? Paul said we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

8 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. (1 Tim 1:8-11) He says that we may use the law lawfully. How? By using it for the lawless. Furthermore, he says that this was according to the glorious gospel. The Puritans such as John Bunyan, Solomon Stoddard, Jonathon Edwards, and Whitfield used the preaching of the law lawfully to bring conviction to sinners. Once convicted, they preached the gospel because one will not come to Christ until he sees he needs a Savior. Only the law can bring that realization. That is its function. It cannot save, but it is our schoolmaster to bring us to the One that can save. Even Finney and Wesley understood this principle in preaching, and used it profusely. Jesus used it with the Samaritan woman when He pointed out that the man she was living with was not her husband. Sometimes the Holy Spirit by means of trouble uses the law. It is called the spirit of judgment and burning in Isaiah 4:4. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning. In Whitfield s sermon entitled The Duty Of A Gospel Minister, he said, O sinners, I would fain turn to preach the comforts of the gospel, but I must speak a little more of the law to you. Solomon Stoddard taught that the fear of hell causes men to not sin. Edwards used the law in Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God. These Puritans specialized in how to preach the gospel, and got stupendous results. That was their specialty. God help us to learn from the experts. Churchofthekingmcallen.org Ron Smith

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