CHAPTER 2

 

THE LAW IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

 

The word “law” occurs 223 times in the New Testament of the King James Version. The word “ordinances,” which means law occurs seven times.

Because of verses like Colossians 2:14 nearly the entire Christian world believes that the Ten Commandments are no longer in effect. This verse says, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

Paul says in Romans 3:31, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” A law that is established is certainly not abolished or nailed to the cross.

So, has the law been established, or has it been nailed to the cross and abolished? Obviously there is more than one type of law referred to in the New Testament.

God gave four different types of laws to the Israelites in the Old Testament. They were:

1. The Ten Commandments

2. The religious ceremonial laws

3. The health laws

4. The civil laws

One of the major problems with the words “law,” “ordinances,” and “covenant” in the New Testament is that it is often not clear which “law” or “covenant” is being discussed. But in each case God has given us a way to know which law or covenant is meant. Here we get into the problems of interpretation of the Bible.

A contradiction is of necessity a lie. If one thing is true and another disagrees with it, the second can not be true. It must be a lie. Titus 1:2 tells us that God cannot lie. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” Hebrews 6:18 also tells us that God cannot lie. “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie. . . .” And finally Numbers 23:19 tells us this also. “God is not a man, that he should lie. . . .”

Since it is impossible for God to lie, and contradictions are lies, there can be no contradictions anywhere in the Bible. Therefore, the correct way to interpret the Bible is so that there are no contradictions in the entire Bible. When we interpret the Bible so that there are no contradictions anywhere, we know we have it right. This is the method God has given us whereby we might know when we have the Bible interpreted correctly.

We read many Bible verses in chapter one that showed that the Sabbath commandment would be in effect forever, a perpetual covenant. God’s Sabbath commandment, will never end.

Therefore, when we read something in the New Testament that is interpreted in such a way that claims that the Ten Commandments are no longer in effect, we know that this interpretation is wrong. For instance, there are places in the New Testament that talk about our not being under the law. In light of the verses we have read that say that the commandments will stand forever, this cannot mean that the Ten Commandments have been abolished. We will see later what not being under the law means.

Regarding these four types of laws God gave to ancient Israel, here are the types of laws and the ones that were discontinued.

1. The great universal moral law, the Ten Commandments

We will see shortly that the Ten Commandment law is God’s constitution for the government of heaven and the entire universe. We will see that the Ten Commandments have been in effect ever since God was and will be in effect throughout all eternity, as long as God exists.

2. The religious ceremonial laws

God planned from the beginning that the religious ceremonial laws would cease at the cross, because Christ, the true Lamb of God was sacrificed. The animal sacrifices all pointed forward to Christ’s death on the cross. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, . . .” (Daniel 9:27) For us to offer animal sacrifices today would be a sacrilege, saying that Christ did not die for our sins.

3. The health laws

These are laws that God gave us to keep us healthy and free from disease. The physics of the human body have not changed since these laws were given. The health laws are just as much a benefit for us today as they were for the ancient Israelites. Consider Exodus 15:26: “. . . If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you, that I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that heals you.” If people perfectly obeyed God and kept the health laws today they would NEVER be sick.

4. The civil laws

These were the laws governing the civil penalties for crimes within the theocracy of Israel. Many of our civil laws today are based on these laws to some degree. God does not require these to be strictly adhered to today, because the theocracy is no longer in existence, but they should be used to guide us in setting up our governments. When someone is convicted of murder, for instance, the murderer should be put to death swiftly in order to discourage others from this sin. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. . . .” And “. . . blood defiles the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.” (Genesis 9:6, Numbers 35:33)

 

Interpreting the Bible so that there are no contradictions anywhere will always show whether the New Testament is referring to the Ten Commandments or not.

Let us again consider Second Timothy 3:16,17 that tells us that the entire Old Testament is applicable for us today. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” When this was written there was no New Testament. This verse is telling us that all of the Old Testament is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. We cannot disregard any part of the Bible and be safe.

We are told in the clearest of language in Psalms 111:7-9 that all of God’s Ten Commandments will stand fast for ever and ever. “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people: he has commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.”

These verses tell us that God’s Ten Commandment law will stand throughout all eternity. These verses also make it clear that the covenant that stands forever is the covenant of the Ten Commandments. This is very important, because when the New Testament speaks of a covenant or a law that was discontinued, it cannot possibly refer to the law or covenant of the Ten Commandments.

Furthermore, Ecclesiastes 3:14 makes it very clear that God will never change or abolish His Ten Commandments or His Sabbath day. “I know that, whatever God does, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God does it, that men should fear before him.” How could God have possibly made it any plainer than the wording in this verse?

At the end of creation week God blessed, sanctified, and made holy Saturday, the seventh day of the week. God never blessed, sanctified, or made holy any other day of the week, and Ecclesiastes 3:14 makes it clear that God’s seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday, will remain blessed, sanctified and holy throughout all eternity.

Many people try to twist these clear Bible texts that tell us that the Ten Commandments will stand forever by saying that these verses are “figurative” language, or these verses are “spiritual,” or that “forever” does not really mean forever, or in some other way try to cloud the meaning. Many so-called Christians today claim that the Ten Commandments were only for the Jews, but they are quick to say that they are not allowed to lie, murder, commit adultery, or break any other of the Ten Commandments except the Sabbath commandment!

We saw that Jesus, Himself, tells us to live by every word out of the mouth of God in Matthew 4:4. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Directly out of the mouth of God came the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:3-17. These are the ONLY verses in the Bible that God, Himself, wrote. And God, Himself, wrote them to make us realize their importance and to make us realize that they would forever be in effect. That is why He wrote them on tables of stone — to show their permanence.

Which verses in the Bible would you consider to be more important, the verses God, Himself, wrote or the verses someone else wrote?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17,18 that He did not come to destroy the law. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” We saw in chapter one that the earth will abide forever. Here again in the clearest words possible Jesus tells us that He did not come to abolish the law but that the law will be in effect for ever.

Which law is Jesus referring to? The law that will be in force throughout all eternity, the Ten Commandments. How can Sunday-keepers claim that Jesus abolished the law, when He says plainly in these verses that He did NOT abolish the law? Jesus fulfilled the law by perfectly obeying every one of the Ten Commandments.

We saw in First John 3:4 that sin is breaking any of the Ten Commandments. “Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” When Sunday-keepers throw out the Ten Commandments, they are throwing away the definition of sin.

When did God institute His Ten Commandment law? We know that Satan sinned in heaven before the earth was created, so the Ten Commandments must have been in force then. We also know that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, so the Ten Commandments must have been in force in the Garden of Eden. We saw in Chapter one that those who are saved will be keeping God’s Sabbath day, Saturday, holy throughout all eternity. The Ten Commandment law is the constitution of heaven. It is the law whereby God’s entire universe operates. If it were not, the entire universe would have the problems we have on earth today.

In fact, one of the main reasons God created the earth was to show to the universe what happens when people continually break God’s law. First Corinthians 4:9 tells us: “For we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.” The word “spectacle” is translated from the Greek word theatron, which means “theater.” This present earth was created to be the theater of the universe where God is demonstrating to all the intelligent beings in the universe what happens when a society disobeys His law, the Ten Commandments. As the final result of the drama taking place on this earth, all of God’s creation — men, angels, and other forms of intelligent life throughout the vast reaches of space — will thoroughly understand that without obeying God’s law there can be no peace, for they are witnessing the trouble, misery, pain, and death that are the natural consequences of disregarding the law of God.

Isaiah 24:4,5 is a prophecy of the trouble that occurs when the people of the earth declare that God’s law is no longer in effect. “The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” The wars and trouble, the pain and suffering all over the earth today are a direct result of people disregarding God’s Ten Commandments.

Today, the earth is the stage, the theater of the universe, where the tragic results of disobeying God’s law are being revealed; but then, throughout all eternity, after God creates the new earth from the ashes of the old, the Glory of the universe will be centered here. Today God rules from heaven; but after He creates the new earth, He will make His home and His throne on the new earth. This world will be the center of God’s government and the home of the righteous throughout eternity. Revelation 21:3 says, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” The word “tabernacle” means tent, and it signifies the home of God on the earth with the righteous from all ages. Yes, this world, where the great Creator God of the universe, Jesus Christ, was brutally murdered by those whom He created, will be Christ’s throne throughout all eternity. The next verse tells us that there will be no unhappiness or problems of any kind in this new earth. Everything will be perfect. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

And we have seen in Isaiah 66:22,23 that in God’s new earth, everyone will be keeping Saturday, God’s Sabbath day, holy throughout all eternity.

God’s Ten Commandments, His constitution of the universe, is enshrined in His temple in heaven. Revelation 11:19 tells us that the Ark of the Covenant is in the Temple of God in Heaven. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” The Ark of the Covenant contains the Ten Commandments. The Greek word, diatheke, which is translated “testament” in this verse is also translated “covenant” seventeen times in the New Testament. Most of the other English translations of the Bible say “Ark of His Covenant” in this verse.

Do Sunday-keepers believe that God’s Saturday Sabbath commandment has been deleted from the Ten Commandments on the tables of stone in the temple of God in heaven?

Since the Ten Commandments are still in effect, they must be included in the New Testament. And they are. The following chart lists each one of the Ten Commandments and gives the texts where it can be found. These are not the only texts that reiterate the Ten Commandments in the New Testament.

In the fourth commandment in this chart, verses three through eleven of Hebrews 4:9 make it very clear that God is talking about His seventh-day, Saturday, Sabbath. The New International Version of the Bible has for this verse, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;”

Also in this chart, in the fifth commandment, by saying, “which is the first commandment with promise,” Paul refers directly to the 5th commandment found in Exodus 20:12. “Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you.” The promise is long life for obedience.

Revelation 22:14,15 makes it clear that only commandment keepers will be saved. Some of the Ten Commandments are listed here to show that this is talking about the Ten Commandments. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie.”

There are a great many people today who claim they are Christians and who go around saying, “I’m saved.” Unless they are keeping all of the Ten Commandments they are deceiving themselves. First Peter 4:18 says that even the righteous, those who are keeping all the commandments, will very nearly not be saved. “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

Earlier we saw that Psalms 119:172 tells us that ALL of the commandments are righteousness. “My tongue shall speak of your word: for all your commandments are righteousness.” The Ten Commandments define righteousness.

Deuteronomy 6:25 tells us that righteousness is keeping the commandments. “And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.”

And Isaiah 51:6 tells us that these Ten Commandments, this righteousness shall never be abolished. “. . . my righteousness shall not be abolished.”

Every time the New Testament refers to righteousness it is referring to the Ten Commandments, the definition of righteousness. Every time the Old Testament refers to righteousness it is referring to the Ten Commandments.

Many texts in the New Testament refer to not being under the law, but under grace. Many texts refer to being “justified.”

What does it mean to be under grace? Before we can answer this we must see what the word “justified” means. Every time the word “justified” is used in the Old Testament it is translated from the Hebrew word tsadaq, which means “made righteous.” Every time the word “justified” is used in the New Testament it is translated from the Greek word dikaioo, which means “be righteous.” When we are justified, we are righteous. If a person is justified he is keeping all ten of the commandments.

Titus 3:7 tells us, “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Here we see that it is grace that justifies us. It is grace that makes us righteous. It is grace that gives us the POWER to obey the Ten Commandments.

By ourselves, without God’s grace, God’s power to keep us from sinning, it is totally impossible for us to obey the law. Paul sums up the human condition pretty well in Romans 7:18,19 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” It is totally impossible for us, by ourselves, to keep God’s Ten Commandments and be righteous. We need God’s help, God’s grace, if we are going to be able to keep the Ten Commandments.

We will see shortly that we can only have this grace if keeping God’s Ten Commandments is our foremost desire.

Lets us now look at some of the verses that are used for excuses for not obeying the Ten Commandments, especially the Sabbath commandment.

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

What does it mean to be not under the law? Does it mean that the law was abolished? Does it mean that you are free to lie, to commit murder or adultery?

Paul tells us in the next verse, verse fifteen, that it is possible to sin while being not under the law. “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” We saw that “sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4). Since we can sin while we are not under the law, the law has certainly not been abolished.

Paul also says in Romans 6:14 that sin shall not be master over you, which means you are not sinning, which means you are not breaking any of the Ten Commandments. How are you doing this? You are being justified, or being made righteous by grace as we just read in Titus 3:7. By grace, by the power of God, you are keeping the Ten Commandments. Therefore if you are under grace, you are not under the condemnation of the law, because by the power of God (His grace) you are keeping all of the Ten Commandments.

If you never murder anyone, you are not under the law of the state that says don’t murder. But if you do murder someone and are caught, you will really know that you are under the law of the state that says don’t murder. Being under the law means being under the CONDEMNATION of the law.

Which brings up the question of a person being born-again. We saw that the definition of a born-again Christian is found in 1 John 3:9. “Whoever is born of God DOES NOT COMMIT SIN; for his seed remains in him: and HE CANNOT SIN, because he is born of God.” True born-again Christians have, by grace, by the power of God, overcome sin in their lives. They don’t commit sin. They obey ALL of the Ten Commandments perfectly. They fulfill the law just like Christ did.

Next is a further example of grace being the power of God that enables us to keep His Ten Commandments. The new covenant, you will remember, is shown in Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Hebrews 8:10 to be God’s law written in our hearts and in our minds, Ezekiel 36:26,27 says, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.” This is a mighty promise God makes to His people. He says that He, Himself, will cause them to walk in His statutes. He will be the power, the grace, in the lives of His true Christians to cause them always to obey the Ten Commandments. Furthermore, He says that His people will, indeed, keep His statutes and His laws. When God promises each of us that He will cause us to walk in His statutes and that we will keep His judgments and do them, how could any of God’s people possibly say that he could never achieve this goal?

God’s causing us to walk in His statutes is somewhat analogous to power steering on a car. Power steering will not turn the wheels until the driver moves the steering wheel slightly. Then the power steering takes over and moves the wheels for him. Likewise, if we want to keep God’s Ten Commandments perfectly, with all our heart, and strive for this goal with all our being, God will take over and do it for us just as He promised.

We must now look again at the Bible definition of a wicked person. Psalms 119:155 tells us that the wicked are people who do not obey the Ten Commandments. “Salvation is far from the wicked: for they do not seek your statutes.” Psalms 119:53 also tells us that the wicked are those who ignore God’s law. “Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake your law.”

Next let us consider Romans 8:2-4: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.“

Does being set free from the law of sin and of death mean that the Ten Commandments are no longer in effect? We saw that the Ten Commandments will be in effect forever, throughout all eternity. We also saw that there can be no contradictions anywhere in the Bible. So this phrase “being set free from the law of sin and of death” cannot possibly mean that the Ten Commandments have been done away with. It means that if a person is not sinning, he is free from the condemnation of the law of sin and of death.

Applying what we just learned about grace, the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” in verse two is God’s grace that gives us the power to overcome sin completely and to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly. When we overcome sin and obey the Ten Commandments we are free from the CONDEMNATION of the law. Going back to our example of murder, if you don’t murder anyone, you are not under the law that punishes murder.

Notice that verse four says that “the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Since the Ten Commandments define righteousness, if the righteousness of the law is being fulfilled in us, we are not breaking any of the Ten Commandments.

The New American Standard Bible has for verse 4, “in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, . . .” Notice that this quote says there is a REQUIREMENT to obey the law, the Ten Commandments.

Jesus, as a human being, fulfilled the law, the Ten Commandments, by perfectly obeying them, thus showing us that human beings can perfectly keep the law also. When we become born-again Christians and perfectly keep the law, the law is fulfilled in us just the way it was fulfilled in Jesus. Paul refers to these people in Romans 8:2-4 as if they are going to get to a point in their lives where they don’t sin anymore.

We saw that we can never quit sinning without God’s grace, God’s help. Paul says in Romans 7:18 that there is no good thing in him. We are full of sinful tendencies. The idea is to replace our thoroughly sinful characters with a character formed by God’s grace. When that happens we won’t sin anymore. But, in order for this to happen, we must want this with all our heart and mind. In order for this to happen it must be our supreme desire to want to follow God perfectly and to keep His commandments. God will never force us to obey Him.

Jesus came to earth as a human being and condemned sin in the flesh by never sinning, showing us that we can also do this. When the “requirement of the law” is fulfilled in us, we will not be sinning. When the “requirement of the law” is fulfilled in us, we will be keeping the Ten Commandments perfectly, including properly keeping holy God’s Sabbath day, Saturday.

Galatians, like Romans, has a lot to say about being justified. Consider Galatians 2:16. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

Remember that being justified means being made righteous, and that being righteous is keeping all ten of the commandments. Remembering also that God’s grace is the power given to those who really want to obey God, we see in these verses also that we are justified by faith. We are made righteous by faith also. Faith, therefore, operates like God’s grace to give us the ability, the power to obey God’s law. This is why Paul says that “by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” because nobody can obey the law without God’s grace or faith.

Verses seventeen and eighteen make it clear that it is possible for us to fall away after we have come to Christ. “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.“

The next verse talks about being dead to the law. “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.“

If this law that a person is dead to is the Ten Commandments, and being dead to the law means that we no longer need to obey the Ten Commandments, then are we free to commit murder or adultery, or any of the other sins prohibited by the Ten Commandments?

Notice how Paul became dead to the law. Verse nineteen says that he became dead to the law THROUGH THE LAW. The Ten Commandments convicted Paul of sin, and by the Grace of Christ he was able to overcome sin so that he no longer was under the condemnation of the law. If he never breaks the law, then he does not have to worry about the law. He has developed his character to the point that he naturally never sins. He is dead to the law. He is a born-again Christian, who, according to First John 3:9, “cannot sin.”

This verse is reminiscent of Galatians 3:24,25. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

How is the Ten Commandment law our schoolmaster? The law points out our sins as Paul says in Romans 7:7: “What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” When we look into God’s law, the Ten Commandments, and compare our characters to that law, we realize that we are in a terrible condition. When faith comes, when the power from Christ to overcome sin and obey the law comes, we are able to quit sinning. When this happens, we no longer need the schoolmaster, for our characters are then in harmony with Christ.

Galatians 2:21 tells us what we saw in Romans, that it is by the power of Christ, His grace and His faith, that we are able to obey the law. “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Notice that Paul does not frustrate the grace or power of God to keep him from sinning. Paul, therefore, must be obeying all ten of the commandments. When he says that righteousness does not come by the law he is saying again that he can not keep the law by himself, without grace. Remember that the Ten Commandments define righteousness. (Psalms 119:172) Paul also says here that if he could keep the law without Christ, then Christ did not need to die.

Next let us continue into Galatians, chapter 3. Verse one says, “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” Notice the phrase “obey the truth.” What is truth? We saw in Psalms 119:151 that all of the Ten Commandments are truth. “You are near, O Lord; and all your commandments are truth.” Someone bewitched the Galatians by telling them that they no longer needed to obey the Ten Commandments.

As we continue in Galatians 3 remember that verse one said that the Galatians had been bewitched. “This only would I learn of you, Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Who is it that receives God’s Holy Spirit? We saw that those who disregard any of the Ten Commandments cannot have the Holy Spirit, for the Bible tells us in Acts 5:32 that God gives His Holy Spirit to those who OBEY Him. “We are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.” Since it is impossible for us to obey the law without the grace or faith of Christ, we cannot receive the spirit by trying to obey the law without Christ’s help. Therefore grace or faith must come first to give us the power to obey the law so we can have God’s Holy Spirit. And we saw that God’s grace or faith can only come if we want to obey the Ten Commandments with all our being.

We saw in chapter one that Satan gives people his spirit and makes them believe that it is the Holy Spirit. Sunday-keepers cannot have the Holy Spirit because by keeping Sunday they are not obeying God.

“Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministers to you the Spirit, and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Here we see that the Galatians had become self-confident, believing that they could keep the law by themselves without the grace of Christ. Of course they could not keep the law without grace, and so when they became proud and self-sufficient they became backsliders.

You receive God’s Spirit by being willing to obey Him, by being willing to put fourth the effort required to overcome sin and keep His commandments. If you manifest an attitude of rebellion against keeping the commandments, or if you become self-confident that you can keep the law yourself, you cannot receive the Holy Spirit. When one becomes self-confident he thinks that he is righteous in himself. This is the recipe for failure.

Continuing with Galatians 3:6 “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” We see here again that true Christians are modern-day Israel.

Verse 8: “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” We saw earlier that to be justified was to obey the Ten commandments. Paul says that it is through faith that we get the power to be able to do this.

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that does them shall live in them.”

We have seen that no one can keep the law without help from Christ. That is what Paul is saying here when he says “no man is justified by the law. . .” He then goes on to say that the just shall live by faith, by grace, by the power of God. When our conscience against sin is strong by the power of God, we will not sin; we will not break any of the Ten commandments. Paul says in verse ten that if you are going to keep the law all by yourself, you had better keep them all that way.

We are seeing that there are many texts in the New Testament in many different books that say this same thing over and over again.

Continuing with verse seventeen: “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.“

Notice these verses speak of a law that was added 430 years after the covenant God made with Abraham. These verses also tell us why the law was added: because of transgression. Earlier we saw that transgression or sin is breaking any of the Ten Commandments. For there to have been transgression, there had to have been the Ten Commandments. We also saw that the Ten Commandments were in existence long before the earth was created. This law that was added, therefore cannot be the Ten Commandments. The law that was added was the civil law governing the theocracy of Israel when it was established 430 years after the promise.

“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture has concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Here again Paul is saying that it is impossible for us to keep the law without the grace, the faith of Christ.

Galatians 5:3,4: “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect to you, you who are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.” Clearly, Paul is talking about the ceremonial law that came to an end at the cross. If a person insists on keeping the ceremonial law, Paul says he is obliged to keep the entire ceremonial law, including the animal sacrifices. But to do this would be a sacrilege saying that Christ did not die for our sins. This is why Paul says here that “Christ is become of no effect to you. . . .”

Circumcision is not part of the Ten Commandments. Paul says in First Corinthians 7:19 that circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments is everything.

While we are on the subject of the ceremonial laws, let us look at other verses that discuss these laws.

Colossians 2:14-17 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

First of all, since the Ten Commandments will last forever, these handwriting of ordinances cannot be the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are definitely not against us, for by them the universe is guaranteed peace and happiness. If everyone on earth kept the Ten commandments perfectly there would be no trouble of any kind. There would be no wars or strife. Everyone would deal honestly with everyone else.

We showed earlier that Christ would cause the animal sacrifices to cease. Daniel 9:27 says, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, . . .” These animal sacrifices were part of the ceremonial laws. Therefore what Christ nailed to His cross were these ceremonial laws with their animal sacrifices.

Continuing with Colossians 2:15-17 “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.“

Connected with these ceremonial laws were yearly Sabbath days and instructions in meat and drink. Paul is telling the Colossians not to let those, who were contending that new Christians should keep these ceremonial laws with their yearly Sabbaths, interfere with the true Gospel of Christ. Notice that these ceremonial laws were a shadow of things to come. “But the body is of Christ.” Christ was casting a shadow back to Old Testament times, a shadow which represented Christ’s sacrifice in each and every animal sacrifice that was offered. When Christ, the true Lamb of God was sacrificed, the animal sacrifices and the ceremonial law had no more meaning. However, Christ is our High Priest ministering His blood in the true tabernacle in heaven for us. All the ceremonial procedures in the Old Testament were a model of the true ceremonies in the true tabernacle in heaven.

Paul also chastises the Galatians for wanting to observe these annual Sabbath days in Galatians 4:10 “You observe days, and months, and times, and years.”

These handwriting of ordinances are also mentioned in Ephesians 2:14-16 “For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:“

Here we see that Christ abolished these “commandments contained in ordinances” in His flesh. Are these the Ten Commandments that were abolished? They cannot be, otherwise there would be a contradiction in the Bible. We also know that this is not referring to the Ten Commandments because the Ten Commandments are repeated in many places in the New Testament. We saw earlier that what Christ abolished at the cross were the ceremonial laws. These “commandments contained in ordinances,” therefore, are the religious ceremonial laws that are no longer in effect.

Romans 14:4-6 “Who are you that judges another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall stand: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.”

These verses concern the controversy that was occurring over the ceremonial laws. The days Paul is talking about here are the yearly Sabbath days connected with the ceremonial laws that were nailed to the cross. The ceremonial laws contained instructions on eating and drinking, which Paul is referring to in these verses.

In chapter one we saw that Christ, Himself, gave the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai. Let us look into this a little further.

Phillippians 3:20 tells us that Jesus is the Savior. “For our conversation is in heaven; where we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:”

Next, Isaiah 43:10,11 tells us that there is only one Savior. “You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.”

It is so sad that people do not realize that the Lord of the Old Testament is the Christ of the New Testament. The verses we just read show this clearly.

James 4:12 tells us that there is also only one lawgiver. “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who are you that judges another?”

Since Jesus is the only lawgiver, that makes the Ten Commandments the law of Christ, which is mentioned in Galatians 6:2.

Not only is Jesus the only lawgiver, He is also the Creator. There are many verses in the Bible that show this, but we will only look at a couple of them.

Colossians 1:14-16 makes it very clear. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

John 1:1-3,10,14 also shows that Christ is the Creator. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” It should be obvious that the Word is Jesus.

We saw that the Ten Commandment law is the constitution of the universe. Since the Ten Commandment law is the law of Christ, and since Christ is the Creator, it should come as no surprise that the Ten Commandments are the constitution of the universe.

Remember that Jesus, Himself, told us to keep the commandments if we expect to be saved. “And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said to him, Why do you call me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:16,17) How could it possibly be any clearer?

Why does God begin the Sabbath commandment with the word “remember?”

CHAPTER 3