Original date: 10-19-97 – Classic Christianity Part 1 (2-4-19)
Bob George discusses insights on the subject of the law from God’s word. In part one of this three part series, Bob addresses the law of love. Bob explains how Jesus fulfilled all of the entire Old Testament, including the 10 commandments but also all the of the Law, the Pentateuch with all its ceremonial laws also, and the prophets and the psalms. Jesus is God in the flesh and God is love and love is the fulfillment of the law. God poured out His love into our hearts when we were born again, a new spiritual birth where the Holy Spirit was placed in us. So, we are not under the law (singular), as described in the Old Covenant with the Jews, but we are under grace, under new laws of love with only two commands, to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself, and neither of these are listed in the 10 commandments. Bob explains further from the book of Hebrews this contrast between the Law (singular) of the Old Covenant to laws (plural) of the New Covenant. Bob checked the uses of these words and they are indeed not an error in translation. Law of Moses and the laws that are written on our hearts are indeed different uses, singular and plural, when looking at the original Greek or Hebrew word. Hebrews explains that when there is a change in the priesthood there is by necessity a change in the law. Hebrews is rich with meaning, contrasting the Old Covenant of law with the New Covenant of love. The Law, such as 10 commandments written on stone, could never produce love in a person. Such a law can only point out sin and condemn you for not keeping its demands. But God took away the sins of the world, through the death of His Son. Having taken away sin, the cause of death, He now offers eternal life, His very love, to be poured into your heart. To those who accepted His gift of life, then you have a higher law of love to live by. A born again believer lives by a dependent relationship with a personal God who resides in you by the Spirit He has given. A new life of love is only possible to be lived as the Spirit of God produces the fruit in us and through us, as Jesus explained in the parable of the vine and the branches in John 15. Included in this fruit (singular) is love. And the true church, with various gifts, is to serve one another in love. Let us begin now with 1 Peter 4:8.
1 Peter 4:8
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Jesus left us with two laws and two laws only. The Hebrew bible was always divided into the law and the prophets. The Pentateuch, the first five books, is known as the law, and the rest is the prophets, and there is a third category known as the psalms. That is how the Jews divided up the scriptures. Jesus, in conversing with a Pharisee, told us what these two laws were.
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[Deuteronomy 6:5] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[Leviticus 19:18] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Were the Law of Moses and the 10 commandments written on their hearts? No, the Law of Moses was written with ink and the commandments were written on stone. The stone is symbolic of the stony hearts of men. For this is the meaning of the passage in 2 Corinthians 3:3.
2 Corinthians 3:3
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and love neighbor as yourself. In these two commands, hang all the law and the prophets. The prophets foretold of the coming of the Messiah who would fulfill the law. Even Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5. When one reads the context of Deuteronomy 6, in verse 5, love of God is the foundation of all that God will instruct the people of God to do under an Old Covenant agreement. Love is the attitude of heart that allows all the other commands to be fully obeyed. But who has the love of God in their hearts? No one but Jesus, who is God in the flesh, and God is love (1 John 4:8). So if the Jews do not have the love of God in their hearts then everything else God is about to instruct they will not be able to meet its demands.
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
The premise in Leviticus is that the key to obeying any command, such as to not do something as holding a grudge against someone, is found in the Lord, who is love. And love does its neighbor no wrong, not even in the attitude in your heart.
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
So then, can anyone love God without knowing God? And, man is born spiritually dead in sin in Adam. So, man, being born dead to God is unable to love. So what did Jesus say He came to do?
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished
Notice Jesus mentioned all of the Law and the Prophets. He is not just talking about the 10 commandments, although 10 commandments certainly are included. He came to fulfill everything written in all of the books of the Old Testament! For greater clarity, what also did Jesus say to the men on the road to Emmaus? He appeared to them after he rose from the dead and walked on the earth for a short until he went back into heaven.
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
And what did Jesus mean when he said when all is accomplished. What did he accomplish?
Let us look to the book of Hebrews for the answer. Hebrews is a book full of information on the contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.
Indeed, read the entire chapter 7 in Hebrews! What is the Lord telling you? Jesus is a new priest, descended from Judah, not from the Levitical line of priests, which a priest under the Old Covenant had to be from. Why was there a need for a new priest? Because perfection could not be obtained by the Levitical priesthood with all its rules and regulations which no man could ever keep, being weakened by sinful flesh. Jesus became a priest not on the basis of a regulation but on the basis of an indestructible life. Jesus is God in the flesh, who has no beginning and no end! A priest establishes laws. So Jesus came to establish new laws, but not laws written on stone but written on the hearts of men. The Levites existed to uphold the Law of Moses, for the sacrifice of bulls and goats as a temporary covering for sin, until the time of Christ, who would become sin for us, thereby fulfilling all of the demands of the law for us, becoming sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus also was appointed to be priest forever by an oath from God whereas the other priests were appointed without an oath. Because of this oath from an eternal God he became an eternal sacrifice for all sin and the eternal source of life for man. Whenever there is a change in priesthood there must also be a change in the law. We have a new priest, like Melchizedek, who did come out of the Levitical line of priesthood. He was named by God with an oath. Since Jesus lives forever, we have a permanent priesthood. Therefore, we have an eternal inheritance, guaranteed by the eternal God!
All the prophets testified what had to be accomplished in Christ! Let us look at what Jeremiah prophesied that was going to happen in the future, what in our day, that prophesy has long been fulfilled when Jesus died and rose again.
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Bob made a discovery as he was studying and pondering over God’s word, contrasting the use of the word “law” or “laws”. Also, this takes diligent research because note the word “law” used in the NIV translation quoted in Jeremiah 31:31 in reference to a New Covenant. In the Hebrew text of Jeremiah 31:33 the term “law” is singular, but the Greek translation of the Old Testament, used by the apostle, translated it as a plural. So this was not a simple research endeavor.
Looking at Hebrews 8:10 and Hebrews 10:16, when referring to the New Covenant, laws (plural) is used.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
In referring to the Old Covenant, law (singular) is always used in reference to the law of Moses.
For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which does those things shall live by them
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people
26 “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.
This is what Bob discovered. In translation, the word for Law in Greek, was singular Law. All the laws of Pentateuch was referred to as law. In Hebrews, translated as laws (plural). Bob first thought it was a translation error. Why is Law (singular) used in reference to Old Covenant law and laws (plural) used in reference to New Covenant laws, as in Hebrews. Where there is a change in the priesthood, a change in the law must be also. Jesus gave us two laws in Hebrews and that was not the law of Moses.
Bob noticed that those two laws Jesus named are not in the 10 commandments. The ten commandments are found listed in Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 20, and listed below.
The 10 Commandments
1. You shall have no other Gods but me.
2. You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Respect your father and mother.
6. You must not commit murder.
7. You must not commit adultery.
8. You must not steal.
9. You must not give false evidence against your neighbour.
10. You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.
Bob at first thought that the command to love your God, the greatest commandment, was the first of the 10 commandments, but it is not. Love your Lord God is not the first commandment. Jesus named two commandments that were not named in the ten. When there is a change in the priesthood there must be a change in law. He introduced two brand new laws on which the entirety of the Old Testament hangs. Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. In Hebrews, when God write laws on your hearts, He is going to tell us what is the fulfillment of the entire old testament. If you learn to love, you will fulfill every command in the scriptures. And we love because he first loved us. Indeed, we would not even know what love is.
1 John 4:10
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
So people often ask, “The 10 commandments are still there, though, aren’t they?” No, they have been replaced by a higher law, a law of love. You can obey the 10 commandments from time to time but not have any love in you. Indeed, you can obey and be mean as a hornet. So is that really obeying the commandment? Not at all. Fir even in our attitudes, Jesus said we have committed adultery when you look lustfully at a girl. All the ceremonial law also, all of it, had been replaced with a higher law, the law of love. There was Moss, but then someone greater than Moses came. There were the angels, but then someone greater than the angels came. There were priests, but now a greater priest has come. Hebrews is a book of contrasts.
When Paul wrote about gifts given to the body of Christ, he closed by explaining the most excellent way is the way of love. A man can have all kinds of gifts but if he has not love he is a noisy gong. After going into detail about different gifts in use by the body of Christ, he closes by saying.
1 Corinthians 12:31
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
and then writes a whole chapter on what love is.
We can go through religious gymnastics but if not have love just a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
How are you doing in the love department? How are you in regard in being patient, keeping no record of wrongs, etc, down the list of what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 of what love is?
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
And do not forget that love never fails! Have you ever failed just once?
When you get down to the one law of love, we find out something about ourselves. We find something we cannot pull off. Love is “do do”. Because we cannot love, we substitute with what we can do. I can give money without love. We can do all kinds of things, in the energy of my flesh. I can be a deacon without love. But I cannot bear fruit of the Spirit in the energy of my flesh, for such fruit must be produced by the Spirit. And what is the fruit of the Spirit?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
You cannot manifest that in the flesh. So each one of us has to come to realize that we cannot love. Our pride says to do something that I cannot do. And so we try not to memorize all the 10 commandments so we can plead ignorance. So this is our faulty thinking in the flesh or unregenerate man, “We have got to look for loopholes because we know we cannot love.”
That love we cannot pull off, that unconditional love, comes from God alone. Unless we are abiding in Him, we will never see love come out of us. Just like a branch has no ability to produce any fruit unless it abides in the life of the vine. When a branch abides in the life of the vine, life that is in that vine will flow through to the branch, and the branch will bear fruit of that vine. That is the meaning of parable of the vine and the branches that Jesus spoke of, recorded in John 15.
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing
but branch can produce nothing in and of itself. That shows us our need for dependence on Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:9
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
So then, what is the proper use of gifts, when operating by the energy of the Spirit, that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 12?
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. When invite someone over to dinner don’t do it begrudgingly. Each one of us should use whatever gift he has received. A gift is God-given. Every one of us has been given a gift. Each one of us should use the gift he has received to serve others. A gift is not for self edification. The purpose of the gift of teaching is to serve the body. If you have the gift of giving then it is not to go out and give to yourself. An apple tree does not bear apples to go ahead and eat its own apples. A cow does not produce milk so he can turn around and drink it. There is no gift for self edification.
There is a tremendous abuse of gifts. Gifts are not to make you feel good but to serve the body of Christ. Each one of us has a gift, given by God and given for the purpose of serving one another in love. And to be done faithfully, administering God’s grace in its various forms. Not all gifts are the same. There is a variety of gifts. Not all of us have the same one. A variety of gifts from God in order to serve the body of Christ.
When you see what is the true church. It is not the Church of Christ, the Baptist, the Assembly of God, or the Catholic. None of these are mentioned in the bible.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
The true church, Ecclesia, means “called out ones”. The true church is every person who is born again. Everyone who has come to Christ by faith is a member of Christ’s body. When born again, the Spirit comes to live in you and if it does not live in you, you don’t belong to Him.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Everyone of us, who is baptized, or placed, into the body of Christ, is the church. No one is baptized with the Holy Spirit. You are baptized by the Holy Spirit. He, God, baptized you into the body of Christ. The Spirit identifies you. You and are therefore a member of the body of Christ. And there are born again people all over the world. No nationality in the body of Christ. No difference in the body of Christ, including man and woman, that is we all have the same identity, a child of God.
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
There is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, each one of us is on equal terms. That is all over world at the same time. Whenever someone is born again, he is placed into the body of Christ. This is often referred to as the universal church. How difficult is it for the universal church to meet together. So for practical reasons, then why people, the believers, met in Ephesus. That is the local church, where for practical reasons, meet together. Only unique thing about the local church is it is local. You have got to meet somewhere. The real mystery and miracle is that any of us are born again. For the sake of unity, you have people meet together. In a local group, is where are all the gifts are represented. Sure they are. Meeting together like in the book of Acts for prayer and instruction and encouragement, building one another up in love.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Yet, in today’s world, we see the local church not functioning as the body of Christ. We have made it into an entertainment center or a corporation or a social club. The church has taken responsibility away from the parent and put it on the Sunday school teacher so have someone to gripe at. That is something new, not like one reads about in the book of Acts. Children are taught at home. That is where it is worked out. At home, that is just as much the Ecclesia.
To serve one another in love, faithfully and in various forms. If one has the gift of speaking, speak the truth of the word of God. It is not the case of speaking an opinion but the case of speaking what the Lord has said, teaching the meaning of the word of God, so others can walk in true freedom. When the word of God says Jesus is God, that is not an opinion, but truth. Who provides the strength? God gives the strength and if you do not have His strength then doing so in the flesh and get burned out.