Part 2: Keeping the Law
As regarding the necessity of teaching and following the Law of Moses, let’s look at what is “written”. The apostles at Jerusalem when asked if the Gentiles should be instructed to follow the Law, replied:
Acts 15:23-24 23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
Many HRM teachers have declared that the question here in Acts 15, only revolved around the need to be circumcised in order to be saved. But if we look at what is “written”, we can see that it was clearly stated, that to be saved they must be circumcised and keep the Law. And today in spite of HRM teachers stating that people are not required to keep the Law to be saved, they are flatly condemning those who don’t keep the Law of Moses as not loving God; because if believers loved God they would keep His commandments. The implication they make is plain, that if we don’t keep the Law of Moses we don’t love God. The next rational conclusion is that if we don’t love God then we are not saved. But they don’t come out and say this so they can avoid stating that we are saved by the works of the Law. But “the works of the law” is the manifestation of obedience to the Law. So, are believers saved by the works of the Law of Moses; are we saved by obedience to the Law?
Romans 9:30-32 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Galatians 3:11-12 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.
The statement “the law is not of faith” is clearly communicating that the Law and faith are not the same thing and as a result what each produces in our lives cannot be the same thing. Therefore, the righteousness which is of the Law is not the righteousness of faith. And it is the righteousness that results from faith that we are to seek to obtain:
Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law: but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith,
Therefore the righteousness that is a result of the works of the Law (obedience to the Law) is antithetical to the righteousness of God which can only be obtained by obedience to the faith of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:5, 16:25-27) and not through the works of the Law (obedience to the Law):
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.
The fact that the righteousness of the Law is not equivalent to the righteousness of faith does not mean that the Law which is not faith is against faith. Rather, it means that the Law is incapable of producing within us what only the faith of Christ is able to accomplish in us. Why then was the Law given by God if it is unable to make men righteous?
Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth 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.
The purpose of the Law is to make plain to all mankind that they are under sin and its penalty and are in need of redemption:
Romans 3:19-20 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The Law was not given as a means for man to find justification through the satisfying of its demands. In the Greek the word “justified” means to “be righteous” (Strong’s 1344), therefore this phrase, “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified”, is plainly stating that the Law cannot provide us with righteousness:
Galatians 3:21 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.
The Law could not and cannot impart righteousness. Rather, the Law was given as a stopgap measure to lead us to the “Seed” who only could provide us with the justification that the Law was incapable of supplying:
Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
The “scripture” that “hath concluded all under sin” is the Law itself. The Law is “the ministration of condemnation”. Let’s examine this scripture:
2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
The “New Testament” is not “the letter”, the Law is the “letter” and the “letter” is the ministration of death:
2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
The “ministration of death”, which is “the letter that killeth” is plainly and clearly identified as what was “written and engraven in stones”. What is that which was “written and engraven in stones”?
Exodus 24:12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
Exodus 32:15-16 15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. 16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
The ministration of the “New Testament” (the spirit) is not the same ministration as that which was “written and engraven in stones” (the letter, the Law that killeth).
2 Corinthians 3:8-9 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
We just established in previous scriptures that the Law cannot minister righteousness; therefore what is it that exceeds the glory of the Law, (which is “the ministration of condemnation”)? It is “the ministration of the spirit” which is not the “letter” (the Law) but it is the righteousness that is of faith.
2 Corinthians 3:10-11 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
We have established that the Law is not faith (Galatians 3:12). The Law was in place until the Seed came (“faith came”):
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
The Law awaited the revelation of faith that was to be revealed “afterwards” in the person of Jesus Christ, “the Seed” (Galatians 3:16).
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
This means that we could not “be justified”(be righteous) through the works of the Law.
Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Now that faith has been revealed by the coming of the “Seed” (Galatians 3:16), we are no longer under the schoolmaster, the Law. As we read in Galatians 3:19, the Law was instituted “till the seed should come”. And this scripture reinforces this reality:
Romans 3:21-22 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Righteousness “without the Law”! We cannot ignore this forceful declaration. Here are some other scriptures that reinforce the truth, that believers are no longer under the Law:
Romans 6:14-15 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
It is evident that “not under the Law” but “under grace” means the Law and grace are not the same.
Romans 7:4-6 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 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.
And how is the Law a schoolmaster that leads us to the Seed? The law convicts and condemns us of sin. Therefore, it is the testimony of “the Law and the prophets” that instructs us and points to the Seed. Exactly as Christ declared the scriptures are intended to do:
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Now, that the Seed has come, we are called to testify of Him, the Son of God. Therefore, we are called to lead men to Jesus and not the Law (which cannot make us righteous). With this precept in mind, we are able to better comprehend what these scriptures clearly state:
Matthew 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
A change has occurred from being under the Law to being under grace. The HRM teaches that there has not been any change in the Law and never will be. And they quote Jesus:
Matthew 5:17-18 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 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.
HRM teaching emphasizes this scripture pointing to the fact that heaven and earth have not passed, therefore not one jot or one tittle has passed from the Law. But if one jot or one tittle has passed from the Law, then we should understand that there has been a fulfilment of the Law. So, let’s look in the next papers and see if there have been any changes in the Law.