Friday, July 16, 2010

Jesus Says Obey the Law!

We are working our way through the Sermon on the Mount; an uncharacteristically lengthy sermon recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus reportedly gave this sermon early in His evangelistic mission, after performing several miracle healings and exorcisms, and after large crowds had started following Him around.

The sermon began with the Beatitudes, which (contrary to the popular notion) was to His disciples, not to the general public, and seemed to be, at the very least, altered from the original source in the process of creating the Gospel of Matthew. Next, Jesus calls His disciples the light of the world, stating that nobody hides a light, despite Jesus trying to hide His own light in the process of exorcisms. Then, Jesus moves on to the Law, the subject of this study.

The Law is a synonym for the Torah, or Pentateuch; the first five books of the Bible. Within the Torah, God delivers 613 commandments; various rules, regulations, and decrees, also known as laws, and thus the source of the synonym.

Jesus Says Obey the Law!
You may expect things to be fairly black and white with God. It either is or is not. It is either good or bad. It is either meant to be done or meant not to do. Unambiguously, you may expect to know what God's position is on an issue, but few things could be farther from the truth.

There is actually a universe of gray in Christian theology. Few gray issues, if any, are larger than the Law, and whether or not it should be followed (excuse the pun) religiously.

This debate is not often presented to the masses. Instead, Peter's vision (Acts 10:9-16) is used to explain why it is OK to eat pork and other unclean animals, and Paul's words in Romans 3:19-27, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Galatians 2:15-16, and Galatians 4:21-31 are used to explain why the Law is no longer necessary to follow, but instead exists to make us conscious of sin. The message is that Christians are under grace, not under the Law. It is too bad for them that Jesus Christ was of a different persuasion.

We find Jesus' position in Matthew 5:17-20.

Proponents of the no-longer-necessary-to-follow-the-Law crowd focus in on select parts of the first two verses. Matthew 5:17-18:
"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. I tell you the truth, 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." NIV
These proponents try to make the case that Jesus has fulfilled the Law and accomplished everything (John 19:30). They stake the claim that fulfilling the Law means bringing into fruition what it had foreshadowed, as well as to fulfill what was specifically prophesied, such as the Prophet in Deuteronomy 18:14-22.

There are big problems with this perspective. For starters, as we have seen previous studies, on such topics as monetary redemption and the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, the Law does a horrible job foreshadowing Christianity. It also ignores the inherent contradiction of that view. The verses themselves claim that if everything is accomplished to make the Law unnecessary, then Heaven and earth will have disappeared. Last I checked, they were still here. Well, at least earth was anyway.

Perhaps a more condemning judgement of that philosophy comes from Jesus' own words. In the next verse we find in Matthew 5:19:
"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven." NIV
The phrase “these commandments” refers to those contained within the Law, as can be seen by the preceding verses. So Jesus clearly desires for everyone to follow every single one of the 613 commandments in the Law, and to teach others to do the same!

The phrase “called least in the Kingdom of Heaven” is a bit ambiguous. You could take this to mean that a doctrine of grace is in effect. For example, even though Peter taught that it was OK to eat pork, he will still get into the Kingdom of Heaven because of his faith, but will be considered one of the lowest people in Heaven. On the other hand, another interpretation is that “called least” may be the equivalent of saying that such a person would be considered even lower than Satan. The latter interpretation holds some clout as we consider the next verse, Matthew 5:20:
"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." NIV
Here is where many believing scholars go off the deep end. They claim that this means that the Pharisees and teachers of the Law were excessively legalistic, and that this could not make them righteous, and go on to say that it is through Jesus' blood that we are washed clean into a righteousness which surpasses theirs, thereby permitting entry into Heaven. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

In these verses, Jesus has been making the case that the Law is not only valid, but it is required to be followed to the letter. Jesus' problem with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law was that they were not following the Law. Instead, they were making up their own rules and customs, as well as being hypocrites by not following the commandments they placed on others.

The view that the Law should be upheld and that the Pharisees are not following it is thoroughly supported by the context of Matthew. For example, recall how in Matthew 15:1-9 Jesus condemns the Pharisees for saying that they should not stone disobedient children per God's Law, but instead teach something else. In Matthew 22:15-22, Jesus calls them hypocrites when they try to trap him about paying taxes. In Matthew 22:23-33, Jesus insults them by saying they have not even read God's Law when they ask about marriage in the time of resurrection. Finally, in the entire chapter of Matthew 23, Jesus time and time again condemns the Pharisees for being hypocrites, explaining that they tell others to follow the Law but do not follow it themselves.

It is vitally important to understand that Jesus does not condemn the faith of the Pharisees. He never said that they did not believe in God or that they did not believe that God would fulfill His promises. Matthew 5:20 does not say “unless your faith surpasses that of the Pharisees…” Instead Jesus says the word righteousness; a righteousness based on fully obeying God's Law.

So contrary to what Peter and Paul have said, and contrary to what many Christian theologians promote today, Jesus said that you had better obey the Law if you want to enter Heaven. At no point in any of the four Gospels does Jesus say that it is not necessary to obey the Law. So the teachings of Peter and Paul may best be relegated to the teachings of man, the type of thing Jesus condemns in Matthew 15:1-9. So spit out that bacon, and gather a large pile of stones. You are going to need them.

On a final note, and with a different perspective, do you remember how in the study of the Beatitudes it became obvious that Matthew had altered the original source? Concluding that study, we noted how any teaching which exists solely in Matthew should be suspect of adulteration. Well, this teaching in Matthew may also be corrupt, based on how much it stands in contradiction with many of the New Testament teachings. However, we should remember that the viewpoint presented here in Matthew is internally consistent with the entire Old Testament.


  1. The only flaw to your thinking is that when Christ said these things, He hadn't died on the cross to pay for all sin.......

    We are not on the road to life, we died with Him and share His life. He was preaching the kingdom of heaven is near, not His crucifixion, death and resurrection.

    He gave that gospel to Paul on the road to Damascus.


    2. Dying to the law does not mean that the law is abolished. Read Romans 7:1-6. It gives an illustration that describes how death releases us from the law. The law in this example is still in effect, but the woman is free from it's demands due to the death of her husband.

      Similarly, we are released from the law through the death of Chist.

    3. Anonymous
      There are two points you must consider:
      1) Romans contains the words of Paul, not Jesus.
      2) The illustration with marriage is clever, but not valid. Yes, you are only married while your spouse is alive. But you cannot continue to be married to your dead spouse. That spouse is gone. On the other hand, there is nothing to stop you from obeying God's Law ever; except maybe the more reasonable laws of man that forbid things such as stoning and do not force rape victims to marry their assailants.

      Paul's viewpoint contradicts not only Jesus here, but God in the rest of the Old Testament (for example, see my study on God's view of the Law). God view His Law as both perfect and eternal. The prophesy that "the Law will go out from Zion" is referring to the Torah being spread from Jerusalem.

      So you have a choice before you: Are you a follower of God and Jesus, or are you a follower of Paul?

    4. Thanks for your reply TWF. I take it you don't accept the writings of Paul to be authoritative? That makes it hard for us to have a discussion on the same level. But anyway, your objection about the illustration is itself not valid because it ignores the fact that it is an analogy, describing how freedom of the law works. Analogies are good if used properly, but they are easy to contort if one tries to stretch it beyond what is being said.

      I am a follower of God and Jesus. However, I recognize that Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit just as the OT authors were. I expect you would say the same thing if I asked you whether you are a follower of God and Jesus, or a follower of Moses.

    5. Thanks for the reply, Anoynymous. Indeed, analogies have their limitations. Based on the issues I've seen in the scriptures, and the knowledge of their evolution, I find it difficult to label any of them as "authoritative". Take Romans, for example. Paul begins Chapter 1 by saying how nature itself declares God, and so no one can claim that they do not know Him. Then he ends Chapter 9 saying that God made people predestined to be saved or to perish because that's His right to do so.

      Either we bear the responsibility, or God made us predestined to pass or fail. It cannot be both, unless God is not moral; holding those responsible who, only in appearances, had a choice to accept God.

      So, it is difficult to call that authoritative, let alone inspired, would you agree? Or do you see a way to reconcile this conundrum.

      Interestingly enough, that problem exists in Jesus' words too. On one hand, there appears to be open Salvation. On the other hand, no one can come to Jesus unless God leads them to Him.

    6. Interesting points TWF. I can't say I have a very clear picture of how things fit together in regards to predistination and so on, so I don't have any ready-made answers. I approach scripture a little differently that most people, having always avoided plugging into what other people believe and trying to let the Holy Spirit guide me as much as possible. To me it seems that there are too many baby and bathwater problems floating around withing Christianity. For that reason I don't subscribe to entire doctrines but rather leave things on the shelf until I feel I have some kind of revelation about it.

      Since I don't have a clear picture of this I could very well be wrong. But from my point of view I don't see much of a dilemma in what Paul wrote about predestination. As far I understand it, God created mankind with a free will and had no involvement whatsoever in the events that immediately followed. I don't believe he predestined man to sin or that he hardened Adam and Eve to sin. Again, I could be wrong, but to me it doesn't make complete sense to me that God would program every single detail, every single event, and every single thought in existance. What possible pleasure would he get out of creating such a universe? It would be like playing chess with himself.

      That doesn't mean that he didn't have the foggiest idea about what would happen, or what he was going to do about it, but, judging from scripture, it seems that God is more active in making sure that his words come to pass, than simply knowing everything in advance.

      So with that said, what I think we can see in the Bible is God's dealing with an almost impossible situation. Sin is in the world, and that sin will propagate down through the generations. Of course he could have destroyed the man and woman he had created and started over again. He did so, it seems, in Noah's time. So why not back then?

      I think it has to do with the way God's word works. For God, once something is spoken then it must come to pass:

      "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

      When God created mankind he commanded him to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it". And once God's word has gone out, it is irrevocable. So even when God destroyed the entire earth he saved Noah and his family. God's purpose must prevail:

      "For this is what the LORD says-- he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited"

      Now since sin was in the world and spreading throughout all the generations of mankind I think God needed to do a number of things in order to make it clear to mankind what the consequences of sin were, as well as the consequences of righteousness. I also think that by polarizing these two elements as much as possible, a much clearer picture of these consequences would be apparant to mankind. By separating the weeds from the wheat, God was forcing mankind to make a choice, rather than having a big mixed mess where everyone would have been lost. In other words, he was making the best of a bad situation.

      In conclusion I think it should be pointed out that God did not harden anyone whose heart was soft to begin with. We all have hard hearts, and God can harden any of us if the probability of hardening can result in something good. And there IS a testimony of God's existence in creation, but mankind is turning a deaf ear to that testimony in favor of things more preferable to believe. With or without hardening, we are responsible for what we do, and what we believe.

    7. Thanks for the thought-out reply, Anonymous. I hesitate to get into the finer details of omniscience versus omnipotence; knowing what will happen versus making it happen. There are various verses which can defend one opinion or another, but ultimately it is not clearly spelled out.

      It is good that you engage in self-study versus just accepting the various dogmas. That is excellent. I, too, have studied the Bible from an independent perspective. In fact, I do not know if you noticed, but I have chapter-by-chapter summaries of the Bible up to Acts, which you can find in the links to the right as "The Bible Summary".

      We obviously have some different perspectives as the results of our studies. As you suggested above, I am not sure that we will be able to come to common ground on the issue with this particular post. However, I wonder if you would come to the same conclusion as I have with time and meditation on the Scriptures. So I would like to suggest to you an amendment to your path of study.

      As much as I would be flattered if you were to review my many studies on the Torah and the Gospels (which you are certainly welcome to do), someone who really studies the matters for themselves should go to the source...

      You quoted Isaiah 55:11, about God's word always being fulfilled. Have you ever read Ezekiel chapters 40-48? It speaks of establishing an eternal Temple where animal sacrifices will be perpetuated.

      Beyond that, I urge you that, when you are reading through the Gospels and you come up to a reference of how Jesus fulfilled prophesy, you go to that prophesy and read the entire prophesy for yourself; noting both what details match and what details do not. Not only that, but also noting how often the wording of a quoted prophesy is significantly different than what the corresponding Old Testament verse is.

      There are many, many more things I could mention about Bible prophesy, as I have spent considerable time researching them and I can certainly recommend additional studies, but the truth of the matter is that the discernment of what the scripture says can be highly influenced by the perspective of the interpreter.

      Depending on the results from the investigation above, you will know yourself if I have directed you to truth, or led you astray. Either way, from your own standpoint of faith, it is hard to argue that studying the Bible in more detail is a waste of time.

      Speaking of which, thanks for your time so far, and for sharing your views.

    8. Praise the Lord for Alan because he understands Free Grace. That is free from the Law.

  2. Thanks for your comment. That is a good point Alan. However, there are several oddities with Paul's account when put in juxtaposition with the four Gospels, as well as the entire Old Testament, and these oddities would seem to make Paul's gospel unlikely.

    As mentioned in the post, Jesus claims that the Law will never pass away until the earth passes away, and Jesus saying that those who teach people to obey the laws will be called "great" in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Nowhere in the 4 Gospels do Jesus instruct His disciples that the Law will be passing away.

    Plus Jesus spends a considerable amount of time condemning the Pharisees for not obeying the Law, but then shortly thereafter the Law is no longer applicable? It just does not probable.

    If Paul's Gospel is accurate, then it just stands off as a bit of a contradiction to the rest of the Bible. That is not to say that it could not be accurate just because it contradicts. There are plenty of contradictions in the Bible. ;-)

    1. I think it should be noted that Jesus had his own set of laws. Instead of eye for an eye it is turn the other cheek. Instead of following all the commandments it is summed up in two, Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

    2. It is true that Jesus had some of his own laws, and yet somewhat odd, given that God had issued the laws previously, such as the eye-for-eye law.

      Plus, all of the Law can't be summed up by Jesus' "love God and love your neighbor as yourself" paraphrase. For example, how does that cover not wearing clothes which are woven from two different kinds of materials (Leviticus 19:19)? And there are plenty more where that came from.

      The actual truth is that, according to the Bible, God issued a plethora of commands that have nothing at all to do with loving God or your neighbor, thus making Jesus' words inaccurate.

  3. you are right sir i totally agree with you. as one born a gentile i now belive that through the teachings of Christ all gentiles who follow him follow a jewish cultural way of life and so are Jewish. being jewish means following the Law, i now wear a Katton to remind me of who i serve which is the G-d of the Jews and to the culture i now belong which is Jewish culture in all its glory. i also understand why the faulse teachins against the Law has existed for 2,000 years which is to stop the conversion of the whole world to a Jewish way of life or simply a Jewish world or kingdom of heaven.

  4. Thank you Anonymous. While I have difficulties accepting the Jewish faith as being the real one as well, I am at least fairly certain that Jesus was trying to promote a true adherence to the Law of Moses. Best wishes to you.

  5. Hey there Wise,

    I'm wondering if you would reinterpret this verse in light of Matt. 7:12 - "Therefore do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for that is the LAW and the prophets."

    And if not, why so?

    However, I understand that this quote was around in a different form before Jesus, spoken by the Rabbi Hillel when he said: "That which is hateful to you do not do to another. That is the law - the rest is commentary." Do you think the writer of Matthew could have put his words in there to give Jesus more authority?

    I look forward to seeing your response! You're doing a great job here!

  6. Hi Anonymous, and thanks for the complement and great questions.

    Indeed, the Golden Rule in one form or another has been around since at least the fifth century BCE with Confucius, who said "Do not do unto others what you would not have done to you." And as you note, Rabbi Hillel gave a form before Jesus too.

    It is interesting and odd to note that Matthew 7:12 does not seem to fit directly into the context of the surrounding verses. To me, that suggests that Matthew probably got this verse by all by itself, either from oral history of sayings or a collection of written sayings like the Gospel of Thomas.

    It is difficult to know if Rabbi Hillel words played a part directly, but I suspect that they have. But if so, I also suspect that it was possible that his saying was spread without his name attached to it. So you would have these wise words working themselves into the common vernacular with no particularly noted source. It may be that Matthew seized that disembodied wisdom and claimed it for Jesus.

    As for the verse itself in light of Jesus saying to obey the Law, I do not think that this was meant to supersede the Law. Instead, it seems to me to be a convenient and catchy way to sum up the Law.

    For example: I could easily claim that the all of the laws in the USA are essentially "do good, and do not to bad," and I would probably never get in trouble with law enforcement if I do good and do not do bad.

    However, we have many laws in the USA which have nothing to do with either good or bad, and likewise there were several commandments in the Law which have nothing to do with treating others as yourself. For example, as you likely know, there are commandments on dietary restrictions, clothing fabric blends, nocturnal emissions, etc.. Yet most of the Law does deal with interpersonal relationships, which is why the Golden Rule is a fitting summary, even if it is no substitute.

  7. Very good piece. Jesus was a Torah observant Jew meaning he not only followed the 613 but wanted everyone else to as well. Everyone else referring to the Jewish people. Gentiles were never under the 613. Jesus did not found Christianity nor did he ever intend to deviate from his message of Torah observance to the Jewish people. The religion of Christianity is really the religion of Paul who said gentiles could become Christians without adherence to the 613. Ultimately the Christian religion was transformed and severed from any Jewish roots by Pagan Roman Emperor Constantine and the Nicea Council. But that was the entire point of Jesus' life, the Jews need to follow the 613 commandments. Sinners were the ones not following these laws and the New Testament quotes attributed to Jesus clearly support this position. Anselm of Canterbury writing in the eleventh century rejected the idea that God deceived the Devil through the cross of Christ. Instead he presented an alternative view which is often called the satisfaction theory of the atonement. In this theory Jesus pays the penalty for each individual's sin in order to right the relationship between God and humanity, a relationship damaged by sin. Jesus's death is the penalty or "satisfaction" for sin. The theory is thought out by Anselm in his work Cur Deus Homo or Why God became Man. Jesus and Jews had no concept of Jesus dying for man's sins. That idea breaks one of the 613 commandments and further this idea does hit the scene until the 11th century.

    1. Bravo! I wholeheartedly agree that Jesus' earthly ministry was that of teaching that all must follow his laws (and believe in him) to have eternal life. Matthew 5 states this clearly. Where I differ in your understanding is Jesus' further revelation through the Apostle Paul. I really don't understand how mainstream Christianity can harmonize the 4 gospels (and Peter's and James' epistles) with Paul's epistles. They clearly do not harmonize unless you come to the understanding that we are in a different dispensation (oikonomia) or "house rules". Show me anywhere in the bible prior to Paul's epistles that preach the cross...

      Anyway, well written point of view...

    2. Thanks Anonymous. There is another Anonymous making the case for dispensation below. I think you have raised some good objections to that view in your brief comment.

  8. Thanks for the comment and the supplemental information, DoingItJewish.

    I was not aware of Anselm of Canterbury.

    It is definitely a tricky matter to parse out the "real" Jesus, but what you have added here certainly appears to be a reasonable possibility. Jesus would have been much more Jewish than how he is usually portrayed in modern Christianity.

    Nice web page, by the way.

  9. Jesus and the 12 (through acts 9) taught the law. God is not dealing with Israel today, as she has been cast aside temporarily Romans 11. We are in the dispensation of grace. God revealed this mystery through our Apostle, Paul. There are no Jews or gentiles today. If you believe the gospel of grace then you are in the body of Christ. Paul's writings cannot exist in the New Testament unless you rightly divide the word of truth and see that God changed his plan (dispensation). We get our entire doctrine, teachings, understandings, and walk from Paul's epistles alone. Get the right understanding....

    1. That is very wrong there are gentiles today ,those who have not received Christ are called gentiles , and there are Jews today those born in the house of Israel.

    2. There are Jews and gentiles today, those born from the house of Israel are Jews gods elect , those others who have not accepted Christ are gentiles.

    3. Thanks for your opinion, Allen.

    4. God says His plan will not change. He has One Covenant, One Torah for all, One Family. Those who are "covered by His wings" are those who declare that God does not change. Ps 19

    5. Has anyone read or studied Hab 2?

    6. Are you certain of that, Anonymous? After all, the Bible records how Moses was able to convince God to change His mind on how to treat the Israelites. If a mere mortal can change the mind of Almighty God, then how much more so should we expect God's plans to change according to His whims?

    7. Is there a specific point you'd like to make regarding questioning Paul or Hab 2, Anonymous?

  10. Anonymous
    You are right that Paul's words contradict the viewpoint in this post, as I discussed with Alan in the first comment. However, Paul's viewpoint contradicts not only Jesus here, but God in the rest of the Old Testament (for example, see my study on God's view of the Law). God view His Law as both perfect and eternal. The prophesy that "the Law will go out from Zion" is referring to the Torah being spread from Jerusalem.

    So you have a choice before you: Are you a follower of God and Jesus, or are you a follower of Paul?

  11. Yes Sir, Paul does "contradict" unless you rightly divide. What you are saying is that the Holy Bible, the KJV for example, is fallible and not accurate. If you do not rightly divide then I would say you are entirely correct. However, I do believe the bible to be the infallible word of God and we must understand that God has dealt with us different ways during different times. And yes, I am a follower of Paul who is a follower of Jesus. He tells us multiple times to follow him and he has laid before us a pattern. In a nutshell, Moses is to the Law what Paul is to Grace. They were both conduits of God's messages. To Follow = to imitate, to pattern after; it does not mean to worship - 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul was not worthy of worship – Rom 7:24; 1 Cor 15:9-10 He was the pattern of someone undeserving of salvation - 1 Tim 1:11-16 We follow the ministry, not the man; people follow men - Gal 1:8 Paul glories in the Lord more than the rest – Gal 6:14, Eph 3:14, Col 1:18 His authority is at least equal to that of Peter’s - Galatians 2:7-9, 2 Pet 3:15-16 He is an apostle to the Gentiles, his office is magnified - Romans 11:13, 15:16

  12. Just as you are a skeptic, I am as well. I have been ostracized by my fellow Christian brothers and sisters because, like you, I don't follow the mainstream belief. You and I are in agreement more than you think. I believe if you really dig in, the scripture will reveal the following:- Jesus' earthly ministry was to fulfill prophecy promised to Israel from the OT and to place the so-called four gospels as part of the NT is a misnomer. These books are just an extension of the of the OT. In fact, the new testament (or covenant) wasn't even made with me as a member of the body of Christ. It was made with the nation of Israel Jer 31:31-32 So Christ Messiah came along as promised. He was crucified and rose from the grave as promised. His second coming should have come but Israel kept blowing it. They rejected the Father by killing John the Baptist, the Son by crucifying Christ, and the Holy Spirit with the stoning of Stephen. God was done with Israel! (for now). He reached down and saved the chief of sinners, Saul of Tarsus. Through him, he revealed "the unsearchable riches of Christ" and "the mystery that was never revealed to ANYONE from ANY OTHER AGE. Jews and gentiles are on even playing field. The middle wall of partition has been removed. Prophecy has always revealed that the gentiles will receive their blessings through a risen Israel. Israel will be the light to all nations. But Israel had been cast aside (temporarily). They mystery revealed to Paul ONLY was that Christ's death has atoned for all of our sins and he introduced this thing called grace. The doctrine of grace. So, prophecy has been interrupted by this dispensation of grace. Upon the rapture (or lifting up) that will take place of us in the body of Christ, prophecy will resume and then Christ will return as promised. All of the promises to Israel will be fulfilled. Those "left behind" will have to endure the tribulation "to the end" and at the end of the seven years Christ returns to establish his kingdom here on earth. The new earth is populated with Kingdom Saints under God's prophetic plan and the Heaven's are populated with us Heavenly Saints that are part of the Body of Christ.

  13. My friend, you are correct that the bible appears to have many contradictions. Again, if you accept the bible as the infallible word of God then the problem is with us, not the word. Once one learns to separate God's prophetic plan from his mystery plan (again, spelled out to us by Paul) every single one of those contradictions will be reconciled. I assure you! Couple more things. It's silly to think one is choosing Paul over Jesus. Jesus never wrote a word in the bible. The four so-called gospels are simply men's account of his words and life. Paul's writings are exactly the same except that his account is through multiple accounts of the resurrected Christ. In all actuality, Paul's writings should also be "red letter". Lastly, the mystery: the lack of acknowledgement of Chris't further revelation of his word for us today has been the biggest ever cover-up by the early church. What better way to control people by guilt, fear, the law, be good go to heaven, be bad go to hell, etc. Brother, grace is awesome! It is freeing! Once you get grace, you want to please God more! You will be at peace and I promise you that if you are a believer and you understand it, you will grow in your love of Christ and when those chains of tradition and man's incorrect teachings are removed, you will want to do God's will because you WANT to not because you HAVE to. This is the gospel of grace.

  14. Jesus is my Savior. Paul is my pattern.
    1 Timothy 1:16. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
    Romans 11:13. For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.
    1 Corinthians 4:16. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
    1 Corinthians 11:1. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
    Philippians 3:17. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.
    1 Corinthians 3:10. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

    The Mystery
    Romans 16: 25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 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: 27 to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
    Ephesians 3: 1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,4 whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.
    1 Corinthians 2: 7 but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
    Colossians 1: 25 whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 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.

  15. Sorry to hijack your thread, Brother. But I do believe it is important to understand God's plan for us today and my duty as an Ambassador of Christ to share the message. Of course we all have our teachers that should direct us correctly in understanding the word. However, we are to be good Bereans and study the scriptures daily to learn the truth. I had to be un-programmed to see this and I ask you to consider the same. If you don't agree then consider this a learning opportunity to understand how those of us sharing the grace message see things. Read the first 2 chapters of "Things the Differ". If you are not compelled to read further then at least you can write it off as "just another movement". I do offer you the challenge though. It is a great starting point for understanding the word Rightly Divided. Thanks for your time!

  16. Anonymous
    Sorry for the delay in posting your comments, but I am working some long hours right now. Unfortunately, that is also why I will not be able to give you a reply worthy of what you have shared here. So please forgive my brief reply here.

    I can appreciate your enthusiasm, and I think that it is great that you have taken some time to study the Scriptures for yourself. However, I do fear that you may have traded one incomplete perception for another. But perhaps I have misunderstood you here, so let me briefly explain what I mean.

    You have claimed that prophesy was fulfilled by Jesus, and that prophesy fulfillment is on hold. I have lots of information on this blog about how the prophesies do not match up with Jesus, so you are welcome to investigate those by checking out the "Prophesy" tag. But let us assume that I am wrong on those for the moment, and look at the prophesies yet to come. You mentioned prophesy in Jeremiah 31, but how about a couple chapters later, where we find in Jeremiah 33:17-18:

    For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail
    to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, nor will
    the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand
    before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn
    grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’”

    ...Levitical priests and burnt offerings continuing on forever. Now, I have heard many Christian suggest that this is supposed to be a "spiritual" burnt offering, but many other prophesies do no allow for that interpretation. The most clear, and most lengthy, example is the prophesy contained in Ezekiel chapters 40-48.

    I have found these types of prophesies very difficult to harmonize with any version of Christianity. They all pretty much ignore them. Do you have an answer for these prophesies, or are you even aware of them? Because, to me, the Doctrine of Grace is still incompatible with what God has already promised will come to pass.

  17. Thanks for your reply. Like you, I have much to do today. It is the start of fall here in N. Idaho and being my day off, I have much wood to gather. Let's catch up later. I very much appreciate your site here and I think you are like me in the sense that we are both skeptics. While I do accept the bible as God's authoritative word, I do not accept what has been fed to us. Catch you soon...Wife's calling and baby's crying...LOL PS While I generally do not like to refer to others teachings in such cases as this, sometimes it honestly is just easier. Check out this chart that explains the parenthetical interruption of prophecy by the dispensation of grace then when we discuss later perhaps you will understand where I am coming from...

  18. JW Hampton
    Nice to meet you. I like having the anonymous option open, so there will not be any barrier to people leaving comments, but having discussions with Anonymous can be a bit awkward at times, especially if multiple Anons start commenting at the same time!

    That is a rather interesting chart. Thanks for the address to it. It takes a lot of work to put together something like that. I can see lots of things worth commenting about, but I will hold off for now. I am interest to see how you will reply to the question I raised above about prophesy when you get the chance.


  19. It is to be noted that once in the kingdom you are part of the kingdom.There are least and great in the kingdom.
    So that means that all who believed Jesus as Lord were saved, now they will be judged on whether they taught and kept the law or did not. Than they will all be placed from Greatest to least. There is a big difference because it says that sinners, who are those who never accepted Christ will not inherit the kingdom meaning they are not less or great but excluded from the kingdom.

    1. Noted, but what does that mean exactly? What is the "least" in the Kingdom of Heaven? There's not enough detail to say. We can only speculate. However, based on God's historical treatment of those who broke His Law in the Bible, it certainly suggests that being "least" in the Kingdom of Heaven may not be very pleasant at all, and may even make a Hell of Heaven. Then, you must consider the psychological effects of being ranked as a lesser being for all eternity. It's hard to tell how that would play out, but a cast system isn't that hard to imagine.

  20. Revelations 12:17. It seems the evil one is not even interested in those who do not keep the commandments.

  21. Rev. 12:17. The evil one is not even interested in those who do not keep the commandments.