Bible Ballistics: Light, Love or Law??? Pt. 1, Vol. 5 #09
There is a lot of discourse these days about how we are to live our Christian lives, as well as a lot of discussion and debate about what we are to do and not do; a myriad of opinions about what our Lord said, what He ‘meant’ to say, and/or what He ‘really’ meant by what He said. There is even debate over the veracity of the contents of the ‘New Testament’ scriptures and whether they are accurate, dependable and worthy of our acceptance of their content as inspired ‘holy writ’.
I have been burdened for some time regarding these issues and feel compelled by the Lord to address at least some of these issues. As usual we will go to scripture to seek the answers to these questions, but I must make a few ‘disclaimers’, in order to clarify what I’m saying. First of all I want to make clear that I accept and believe the thirty-nine books of scripture in the “Old Testament” to be God’s Word, I also accept and believe the twenty-seven books of scripture in the “New Testament”. While I have read and heard those who reject the ‘veracity’ of the recorded scriptures of the New Testament, I disagree with their conclusions. That there are those who say that the disciples and/or apostles of Jesus Christ perverted the intent of our Lord Jesus Christ is absolutely beyond comprehension to me. If the Sovereign God in the Old Testament could entrust His message to those whom He chose to record it for the original recipients as well as us, why then would we question that the very ‘Son of God’, Jesus Christ, would choose 12 men (knowing that Judas would betray Him to fulfill scripture, and that He would appear to Paul personally, much later and instruct him in the truths of the ‘gospel’), instruct, teach and prepare them for His service if He knew that they would pervert it in their life-times and mislead His future followers. I find that conclusion unacceptable and, if you will pardon my candor, ludicrous and totally derogatory in it’s inferences about my Lord Jesus choosing inept, untrustworthy, and inadequate men for the task. If you don’t accept the New Testament scriptures in whole or in part (and if in part, I wonder who discriminated between the true and false parts for you?), then you will probably see this article as totally wrong and irrelevant to you. My prayer is that God will speak through His Word to open hearts, minds and eyes to hear HIS message, not mine.
In John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Jesus is the ‘way’—the only way to God. Jesus is the ‘truth’—not just in His personhood, but also in His very nature for He not only speaks truth, HE IS truth. Jesus is the “life”-not just a life but ‘the’ life. He is the essence of life and He imparts eternal ‘life’ to those who will believe/trust in HIM for salvation through faith by grace—God’s redeeming grace.
His very name prophesied who He was, is and ever will be:
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The Messiah wouldn’t just be a mighty leader to deliver politically, but He would be GOD WITH US, the one who would take on flesh and blood in order to take on my sin and die in my place and yours!!! Matthew declares Jesus to be the fulfillment of this scripture at His incarnation in what most call the ‘Christmas’ story.
Matthew 1:23, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
God’s original purpose for man was to have fellowship with Him. When He created Adam and Eve, He gave them only one ‘law’, don’t eat of the tree, nothing else brought death:
Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Ephesians 2:1-5, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )” His life for those ‘dead’ in sin=ME!
Death because of one command/law, which we broke. We (in Adam) sinned and death came on all mankind, and Jesus had to come to deliver us from ‘death’:
1 Corinthians 15:20-22, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” My death replaced by HIS LIFE! (Slept=died)
Jesus came that we could ‘live’, that we could not only have life, but abundant life because:
John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Satan is that thief; while Jesus came that we could have life—not law!!! God and His creation (Adam and Eve) didn’t have ‘law’; they had fellowship—perfect fellowship in the Garden. God walked with man–relationship not rules and regulations. God wanted intimacy with man—or if you would ‘oneness’. That is what Jesus came to restore!!!
Genesis 3:8, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” They hid because the oneness had ‘died’!
These two apparently walked with God in the ‘cool of the day’, each day. Intimate fellowship with their creator, until sin came in and intimacy died. Jesus came to restore intimacy not to show us how to keep rules. He came to put His Spirit within us that we might know HIS law and please Him because we love HIM, not because of ‘rules’. Let’s look at several words of Jesus in John 17, His ‘high-priestly’ prayer, and consider what Jesus said:
John 17:1-3, “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal,that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Jesus came to give ‘eternal life’, and what is that ‘life’? Verse 3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Jesus came to give us ‘intimate’ knowledge of God. That the alienated could be reconciled to God!!!
Romans 5:9-11, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Atonement—HE bought us back from sin and death. We are made/accounted righteous before God and no longer come under condemnation or wrath—eternal death.
As Paul so aptly says in Romans 8:1-4, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 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:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Now back to John 17:
6-9, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.”
If the disciples missed what Jesus meant, then HIS prayer went unanswered. Jesus and God the Father chose these men and Jesus Himself said that He was glorified in them. When did they loose that ‘glory’? They didn’t. In fact they obeyed the Lord and waited for the Holy Spirit to come in Acts 1-2. So if they missed it, if they misrepresented our Lord, then something went terribly wrong! If Jesus Himself couldn’t pick the right men, then how, by the reasoning of men, can ‘people’ choose those who have more ‘insight’ than the very apostles and disciples of our Lord? But let’s continue with what Jesus says:
John 17:11, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” Oneness!!!
Jesus didn’t pray that they would keep the ‘law’ but that they would be “one, as we are.” Again God wants fellowship with us!!! Oneness=intimacy.
John 17:14-19, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” Jesus IS TRUTH.
“Truth” gave of Himself to His followers, in teaching and later the indwelling Holy Spirit, and then by HIS power they gave the truth about Jesus, to the world. They were Jewish, Jesus was Jewish, but Jesus still gave them of HIMSELF, not of the Law. He gave them redemption and sanctification by His blood of the ‘New Covenant’ (New Covenant: see Jer. 31:31-34, and Ezk.36:25-27)– His law written in our hearts. And in John 17:20-26,
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Go through this chapter and count the number of times that Jesus says we are to ‘be one’ with Him, with the Father, with one another—that the ‘world may know’. Our call is to be one with Jesus—to be one with the Father—to be one with each other!!! The Law condemns but Jesus redeemed us back from the curse of the law. While those who reject the writers of the New Testament are entitled to their opinion, I will stand on the Word, as I believe God has preserved and given it to us. Paul as a faithful servant of God addressed this issue in His letter to the Galatians:
Galatians 3:9-14, “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Jesus Himself condensed the ‘law’ down to two things, both of them equated to ‘love’—of God, and when I have God’s love, to express it to men, ‘my neighbor’:
Matthew 22:36-40, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
And that’s about all we can cover in today’s lesson. We will take this up next Sunday, or if you would like an advance copy of Part 2 just email me, or send a message on Facebook.com/bibleballistics or our website bibleballistics.org. We’ll conclude this subject next week.