“How to Approach the Bible”
A study series by Arthur J Licursi
Part 21 of 24 – Common Erroneous Teachings Taught by Various Christian Groups Today (Continued)
6. The idea that “the Law of Moses” is also for the Gentiles.
One of the chief reasons why so many sincere religious people are left in doubt and uncertainty as to their salvation is because the organized Church clings to “the Law of works” for God to count one as righteous. This makes one’s salvation uncertain because nobody then knows how much works must be successfully completed in order to assure salvation.
Many have rebelled against a distinct and important revelation from God to us, for we who live in this present age. This revelation is found only in the inspired words of the Apostle Paul. “For I )Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles. I magnify mine office” (Rom. 11:13). Paul writes the members of “the body of Christ” at
; “…for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14b). Rome
Paul tells believers they are delivered from “the Law” and its ordinances by Christ’s cross. Colossians 2:14 (KJV) 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. Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 7:6 (KJV) But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
“The body of Christ” is also delivered from 1) the penalty of sin by Jesus’ substitutionary shedding of His blood on the believer’s behalf (1Cor 15:4, Gal 1:4), and 2) from the power of Sin-nature by the believer’s co-death with Christ (Rom 6:3, 6, 7:4), and by the impartation of His resurrection life (Rom 6:3, 8:13).
Paul writes concerning a new kind of law, which is a “living law.” This law works spontaneously, operating within the believer to guide and govern our lives. This is the normal operation of Christ’s life that is able to overcome the operation of the Sin nature that is within the “flesh” body of believers (Rom 7:23).
Romans 8:2 (NASB) For the law (Gk, nomos, normal regulatory operation) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law (normal operation) of sin and of death.
The believing child of God, under the grace dispensation, has the power of Christ’s death and resurrection life operating within their spirit to empower them in overcoming Sin in their flesh, and to ultimately to overcome death itself.
7. The idea that abiding in Paul’s doctrine and practice is an “extreme interpretation” of the Bible
Paul told the early Gentile believers to “follow me even as I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Philippians 3:17). Paul’s written words are “the commandments of the Lord” (1Cor 14:37) and men will be “judged according to my (Paul’s) gospel” (Rom 2:16). Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles… To follow Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, is to follow Christ “according to the revelation of the mystery” (Rom 16:26). That revealed “mystery” is the gospel program that the ascended Christ gave to Paul. It is for “the body of Christ” to live by during the time of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:1-2).
8. The idea that “the works of the Law” and “Grace” can be mixed together in some proportion in order to make believers strong in the Lord.
Actually, when the law is preached and promoted the preacher is enabling the Sin nature to become manifested. 1 Corinthians 15:56b …the strength (Greek, dunamis, power) of sin is the law. When one attempts to keep the law it ends in sin because the law is the tool that empowers sin, giving it the power of dynamite. Paul says this was his experience. Romans 7:8 (AMP) But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing]. See also Rom. 7:9, 13)
Mixing law and grace is absolutely contrary to Paul’s grace gospel. Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works (at all), then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Nobody can keep the whole law. 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Rationally, when one lives under the law then they never know if they have kept enough of the law. Thankfully, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4
9. The idea that a measure of works is required to be fulfilled to either be saved, kept, or to strengthen our salvation. This is opposed to Pauline truth as seen here.
Many Christians have a hard time letting go of the requirement of “works” for being counted as righteous, but Paul’s words are clear.
Romans 4:4-5 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Ephes. 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.
Titus 3:5 NOT BY WORKS of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Paul says we are to conduct our walk in the very same way that we received Christ, which was “by grace through faith… not of works.” Colossians 2:6 (KJV) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
They miss the fact that salvation is not simply forgiveness of sins as a legal or justifying fact. Much more, salvation is by the fact that we have become partakers of Christ’s resurrection life. Our salvation is our organic union with God via His Seed – Jesus Christ (1Peter 1:234, Gal 3:16). Christ is the birth Seed of the Father, by whom our new life was conceived. Can a man become unborn? Does Christ’s Spirit jump out of us if we cease to perform to some standard – NEVER.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Surely these words of Scripture bolster our salvation as our “helmet of salvation” (Eph 6:7) – helping us to keep our head in times of trouble and even in times of our failing. Being secure “in Christ” assures us of His salvation.
10. The idea that the Bible prophecy reveals God’s one changeless plan.
God’s character and some of God's principles are eternal and unchanging. However, it is the revelation of His eternal plan that is manifested through the differing Biblical dispensational relationships between God and men that makes all the difference for us today. Each dispensation has had and will have a differing set of requirements or expectations for men as the dispensations progress toward eternity.
In this day of “the dispensation of the grace of God,” the outer law principles have been replaced by the inward regulating capacity of the life of Christ within the believer. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Colossians 1:27)
The law has gone from being external to being internal “For the law (nomos, regulating operation) of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:2
Today, as a believer, God’s work now is “in you.” Philip. 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he (God) which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philip. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
While God’s character has not changed, we know that God has changed in several important ways as we see here. “The word became flesh (John 1:1)” to redeem us, and “the last Adam (Jesus) became the life-giving spirit (1Cor 15:45)” to enable Him to bring His limitless resurrection life into our spirit.
11. The idea that “Judaism under Law” and “Christianity under grace” are to be harmonized into one religion.
As stated earlier, “the Law” is absolutely contrary to Paul’s “grace” gospel. Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works (at all), then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Nobody can keep the whole law. 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Rationally, when one lives under the law then they never know if they have kept enough of the law. Thankfully, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4
Law and Grace are two distinctly different dispensations or economies of relationship with God, they differ. The “gospel of the Kingdom” was foretold, being “spoken by all the prophets since the world began” Act 3:21. Quite differently, the gospel of “the mystery,” also called “the dispensation of the grace of God,” was “kept secret since the world began” Rom 16:25. One relationship had been “kept secret since the world began” while the other had been “spoken since the world began, thus, these then cannot be the same message.
To try to follow the God given commands of the whole Bible at one time is impossible due to the differences between His commands for various dispensational times. Let’s consider the dietary requirements of God have changed from “vegetarian only, in the garden,” …
· then “vegetables plus any meats,” after the flood, …
· then “vegetables plus only certain (clean) meats and fishes, under the Law of Moses,” …
· then “all foods may be eaten if sanctified by the word of God and prayer,” according to Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God.”
To this list of dietary instruction we may add many other detailed points of change that came with “the dispensation of the grace of God” for “the Church, which is the body of Christ.”
· Jesus of Nazareth, to the Jews, said “you must forgive in order to be forgiven.” Under Paul’s grace gospel forgiveness from God is unconditional. Forgiveness of others has changed to “we forgive because we have been forgiven…freely (<< already).”
· The 4th Commandment to “Keep the Sabbath Holy,” which calls for stoning the Sabbath breaker has been eliminated entirely (