Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Common Legalist Arguments - Part I

I am going to start a series where I attempt, in my own flawed way, to answer common arguments that have been posed to me by legalists.
I am only addressing one argument at a time, and I will only answer that one particular argument. Anyone who expects me to answer all possible tangents will be disappointed. I ask for patience on the part of the reader. Thank you!

Argument #1
"The law is harder to keep; the Spirit helps you to keep it, grace makes up for your failures."

OK. If I were to ask "where does it say that?" one would no doubt reply "it's a summary of many things." But I would implore one to consider a few things that appear to have been left out of that.

The law cannot save, it only condemns (ROM. 4: 15; GAL. 3: 10), and without mercy (HEB. 10: 28). That is, after all, why Jesus had to come. So I am to believe, after all mankind was already made guilty, that Jesus then made it far easier to be made guilty? We are already guilty!

No man could keep it perfectly before, so how do you make it harder? You can't make "slip up once and you're dead" harder. If you have no hope then you have no hope. There can't be extra EXTRA no hope. A purpose of the law was to bring men under condemnation (ROM. 5: 20). The law did that perfectly. So why make it harder AFTER salvation has come in? Another purpose of the law was to bring us to the time of Jesus (GAL. 3: 24). Well, that has come. Why couldn't grace just make up for the law as it was? Think about that.
That's as if God said, "I'm going to make it super easy to be condemned, but don't worry about that, you can't be condemned because you're under grace." So, I have to keep the law, but it's OK because I don't actually have to keep the law that I have to keep. That's just a fancy way of saying I don't have to keep the law. Plus it's just confusion.

How much do I have to try to keep in order for it to add grace to me? 1%? 46%? 73%? If the answer is 100%, then I ask, why don't Armstrongists do that? I have shown multiple times how the COGs don't even recognize the whole law, the reasoning given to me was "Herbert Armstrong changed the law out of necessity." So what is the difference, then, between those who fail to keep a certain selection of the laws, and, say, a Protestant who just tries his best to believe in Jesus and be a good person? The hopeless attempt? Really? This is a great place to ask "where does it say that?"

So, the Spirit helps you keep your selection of the law? People in the Old Testament are said to have had the Spirit (Joseph, David, etc). The Spirit didn't cause them to keep the law perfectly at that time. If the Spirit helps you to keep the newer, harder law, then why can't any man do it even today? Is God not able to complete a task?

(ROM. 2: 23) You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?

For one who demands law, breaking the law dishonors God. The little bit that you keep does not honor Him! This is the curse of law.

(ROM. 2: 25-27) 25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?

(GAL. 3: 10) ...“Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

You know and will admit that you often break the law. But you expect Christ to make up for that fact. Notice how the uncircumcised (the one without the written code) can fulfill "the righteous requirements of the law". How? What fulfills that? Love! (ROM. 13: 8, 10; GAL. 5: 14) Love fulfills the righteous requirements of the law. Not the Sabbath. Not the 10 Commandments. But love.

(ROM. 2: 29) but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter...

We have determined legalists will readily admit that they have not kept the law. Armstrong taught certain select parts, yet mankind cannot help but fail. No one has succeeded (but Christ), and no one can. In that, we see that it is the hopeless attempt that counts -- but not an attempt at the whole thing, only the select parts that are recognized.
Then why didn't the attempt at select parts count in the Old Covenant? Because the law was easier and the penalty much harder, but now the law is much harder but the penalty much easier? Interesting.
So, let me get this straight... We both have faith in Jesus Christ, I'm condemned if I don't keep the law, but no one can keep the law anyhow so you're condemned too even if you try to keep the law, but it's OK for you because there's no penalty at failing to keep that select portion of the law? So, both have faith, both fail, but in order for it not to matter you have to at least try to do something no one can possibly do? So the hopeless attempt at keeping the law counts as righteousness?
That's not what God says:

(ROM. 4: 5) But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness

Faith is accounted for righteousness! Is our hopeless and failed attempt actual righteousness? No. But faith is credited as such. Failure is implied as each of us have already failed, but trying to earn is not. It's a gift. It cannot be earned in any sense, so even the beginning of a keeping of the law is moot.

(EPH. 2: 8-9) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

One must ask, how does any good come if we are such failures, then? And Paul says, "by promise".

(ROM. 4: 13) For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Jesus Christ was the promise. But we are one body and one bread with Christ (I COR. 10: 16-17) through faith (ROM. 4: 13), and thus heirs to this same promise (GAL. 3: 29). The law is not supplementary to that, but is in all actuality contrary to it!

(ROM. 4: 14-15) For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath...

The law does not bring the grace you seek at all, but wrath. The law voids faith and harms the promise. Is that really what you want? But faith establishes it!

(ROM. 4: 23-25) 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

We are not justified by the law, righteousness is not of law, we are not called to the law, the law is not the gospel, the law can only condemn us.. what good is it, then? What good does anyone hope to gain from it?

(GAL. 2: 16) knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

(GAL. 2: 21) I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

(ROM. 5: 1-2) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Final conclusion:
All evidence points to justification by faith, not by the law. I ask people to not fall into the false impression that "works" = "law". The law (even though the law itself is righteous) is contrary to this gift of faith. The gift is by grace so that no one can boast.

Loved by God, I hope we can clearly see why Argument #1 is simply not feasible. God bless you and prosper you in your studies and prayers into this. I pray He graces you with a clear understanding of the New Covenant to which all Christians hope to attain.

[Also see Part II, Part III, Part IV, & Part V]

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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46 comments:

Luc said...

Thanx xHWA, good points, and made me laugh.

"So I am to believe, after all mankind was already made guilty, that Jesus then made it far easier to be made guilty?"

"If you have no hope then you have no hope. There can't be extra EXTRA no hope"

xHWA said...

Thanks backatcha, Luc, for the compliment. And you're welcome.
Glad I could make somebody laugh around here.

Questeruk said...

Hi xHWA,

You know, I read what you have written here, and I have read a number of other such articles. And I think ‘Am I missing something here?’, because what you are actually doing in your life is probably in many ways very similar to what I am doing, yet I am branded as a ‘legalist’.

Let me explain a little further. I believe a Christian should keep the 10 commandments. Now that apparently makes me a ‘legalist’. But how does this work?

Let’s look at just one point – you shall not commit adultery (Ex 20v14). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus explains this a little further. To me He is showing the fuller intent of the principle that God has in mind for humans i.e. not only the physical act of adultery, but to even think it in your mind is in effect breaking this principle.

How does this work in practise, in my view? As you rightly say, no man can keep the law perfectly. So I know this principle, and I try to live by it, staying close to God, and asking His help to follow this and other principles. OK, so let’s say I slip up on this point, and have a wrong, lustful thought. I have broken the law that I was striving to not break.

However because of the sacrifice of Jesus, and His grace, I can come to Him and my sin is covered, blotted out by His shed blood. I haven’t lived perfectly, cannot live perfectly, but through Jesus I can. That is my ‘legalist’ view.

But how about in your case? I don’t believe that you are saying that because you can do nothing yourself, and the law has been done away anyway, that you can go around lusting at the opposite sex.

I don’t believe that you think that at all. So staying on this same point, I think that you too are aware that God doesn’t want you to be lusting after other women, and that you no doubt take steps not to do so, but again it is possible that you would fail on occasion. And once again the grace of Jesus covers you.

Now if I have got this right, can you tell me where the difference is? What is it that makes me a 'legalist' and you not? I have been trying to actually understand this these last fifteen years, and no one has produced an answer that actually explains this to me.

I don’t believe that I am particularly stupid, so maybe you, as you have more recently been involved in a COG, can understand the point I am making, and can explain what is the difference? I don’t need a long explanation, the shorter the better.

Do I just not understand some basic point, or is there no point to understand? I do ask this very sincerely.

xHWA said...

Hi Questeruk!

I do not in any way think you're stupid. Just the opposite! I can tell your comment is sincere, and I thank you for feeling comfortable enough to ask it! I am honored that you did. Thank you.

What prompts me to use the term "legalist", is one of two things (or both).

1) A person who condemns others for not keeping some portion of the law.
Paul makes it clear that there are standards (a law of faith). We should most certainly try to keep those. Whether you feel something is binding on you or not, be fully convinced in your own mind! But don't condemn others.

I spend a good deal of time pointing out that Armstrongists don't keep the whole law in hopes that people will see that they are only condemning themselves. I hope they will stop and turn to faith.

I spent a good amount of time in the COGs condemning others. That, IMHO, is the single greatest flaw of Armstrongism.

2) A person who thinks the law gives them any advantage.
The COGs distinguish themselves from other churches in that they set out (on a hopeless attempt) to keep the law. We always said, only the people who keep God's laws (meaning, the Old Covenant laws) are going to be in the Kingdom. Armstrong wrote volumes about how faith was insufficient. But the New Covenant simply does not agree with that. We aren't in the Old Covenant.

I spend a lot of time showing how all people fail to keep the law. Not to accuse them, but in hopes they will see the superiority of faith over law keeping. Even if i perfectly kept the 10 Commandments, my righteousness is like filthy rags. I need Jesus's righteousness, not my own.

Now, if neither of these two things fit you, I would say that, by my personal reckoning, you are not really a legalist.

I hope more of your question is answered in my next few posts. If you would like to discuss anything at all, and I would love to talk with you, please email me!

Seeker Of Truth said...

This thing about Herbert changing the law...
What is he? God?
No one sees anything WRONG with that?!

IRT the law... There is an old law and a new law. Some of you may know them as the Old Covenant & the New Covenant, which is literally the Old Contract & the New Contract.
And contracts cannot be added to or changed, God's or man's... but a NEW one can be made.

IRT the 10 Commandments...
They are only 10 examples of how to love.
The OC began before, and went far beyond chapter 20. It's not about the 10 commandments. It's about loving one another. Re-read those verses xHWA gave, they spell it out so very clearly.
Just clear your mind and let the Bible speak.

xHWA said...

That's a true story, Seeker!

Quest, one more thing, and I believe it's as small a summary of the whole matter as I can get. I can't get it into the words I want, so please bear with me and pray about it.

As our effort completely failed and we were hopeless, Jesus' effort completely succeeded, sealed up the sum, and we are fully saved. It is finished. There is nothing we can add. It's not that we must keep the law and Jesus makes up the difference, as if we put drops in a bucket and He fills the rest -- it is that He did it already once and for all, and now His Spirit grants us to do our best with what He has given us. The bucket is full. That is graced to us by faith. Do your best as you are fully convinced you should.

He didn't come to make us better. He came to replace us.

Anonymous said...

The purpose of the law was to expose sins and make sin "utterly sinful."

When one lusts after a woman in the mind, they demonstrate, as a result, their "carnality." The law reveals what we, as sons of Adam, truly are.

So, do we continue to live by the law, thus bringing the judgment of the law on ourselves as a result? For to live by the law is to be subject to the law, and the penalty it brings with it.

A Christian is freed from the law; dead to the law; dead to sin. There is a victory the Christian has over sin, the law, and the resultant death penalty ( I Cor. 15:54-7).

The law was to lead people to Christ, who is the way out of the dilemma. Live by the law; under the law, and remain condemned. Live by faith, and live, having your life hid in Christ. One whose life is "buried" in Christ is no longer subject to that law, now being sons of God, and no longer sons of Adam. The works of the law become irrelevant -- those laws that say "do this" and "don't do that" that have little to do with exposing the carnal nature that is revealed through the thoughts of the heart in the example of lust. You can't help it, it just happens, and you concur that the law justly condemns you. Why then remain under the law that condemns, thus also remaining under condemnation?

Luc said...

My definition of a legalist is one who requires a list of requirements to do what is right. A moral non legalist is able to derive the rights and wrongs from a basic principle.

The laws of modern nations are legalistic. Every possible infringement must be anticipated, specified, and language added to the law as a remedy. The legalist who only recognizes the law may feel perfectly within his or her rights to take advantage of a loophole as we have seen in that clever lawyers extricate clearly guilty criminals from the jaws of justice.

Imagine a tribe of people that employ the golden rule. If a member does something wrong, everyone knows it because their culture exercises the idea of reciprocal morality daily, it’s part of how they think. No vast accumulation of lists and specifications are required, and no loopholes are recognized.

For those unaccustomed to principle based law, a list or two is useful, but a list is no longer all powerful. Thinking is required; the ability to make judgments is fundamental, but freedom is gained from unthinking, impersonal gears of list based law and its unfeeling retribution.

xHWA said...

Well said, Anon. I agree.
I didn't get that far in this post, but that is right on as far as I understand things!

xHWA said...

Luc,

Sounds like a fine definition to me.
And I believe it meshes well with Anon's comment. We are all giving a complimentary piece of the puzzle.

Questeruk said...

Thanks for all your input on my question. It has helped a bit.

There is something that ‘Seeker’ said which maybe is the crux of the question:-

“There is an old law and a new law. Some of you may know them as the Old Covenant & the New Covenant, which is literally the Old Contract & the New Contract.
And contracts cannot be added to or changed, God's or man's... but a NEW one can be made.”

I believe this may be where our main difference is. The statement that contracts cannot be added to or changed, God’s or man’s.

Is that actually true? How about man’s contracts? I have several credit cards. When I first got a specific card, I was issued with a contract, detailing everything that the card issuer was expecting me to do, and what they were going to do on their part.

Since that time, I regularly get updates to this contract. A letter may come, referring to maybe a couple of sections – changes to section 2c and 5b or whatever. So I can see this is a change, but all the other sections still apply; only the specified ones have changed.
Over the years I might have a number of letters, changing several different sections – but they aren’t the contract – the contract is the original document, with these later documented changes added to it. If a section has not been changed, then the original section still applies.

Who can change the contract? Only the credit card issuer – I cannot write my own rules, and tell the issuer this is what we are doing now – but they can.

If I only read the amendment letters that they have issued, I would be aware of some of the requirements, but there is a whole lot of things that I would not be aware of – I would need the original contract for that.


I do firmly believe that the Bible reads like that too. God has issued the contract, and only He can change it, not mankind. And this is what we find in the NT. The main reason for the changes is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the availability of the Holy Spirit. To allow for this the contract has been updated.

So we find some things have been expanded – the example I quoted in my previous post, re adultery. While in the OC it was referring to the physical act, now God can show us the fuller application that the offence starts in the mind – that’s where it needs to be controlled.

Other things have been changed completely. Swearing an oath, for example. That was permitted in the OC – now with the help of the Holy Spirit, it should not be necessary. A Christian should be telling the truth as a matter of course.

Some things are new. The Passover symbols were introduced, commemorating the sacrifice of Christ. This did not apply until Christ made His sacrifice. The ceremony of baptism is also new – in the OC the Holy Spirit was not readily available, so individual baptism did not apply.

So many times in the NT there are references back to the OT. Many times it is quoted as the authority, the reason that a particular thing applies, sometimes to change it, sometimes to reinforce it, sometimes just to point out that is where the authority come from.

As in any contract change, it would be invalid to suppose that if a particular section was not mentioned, it no longer applied. The reason it wasn’t mentioned was because it HADN’T changed, and did still apply.

Imagine trying to make full sense of the NT, if you had never read, or even heard of the OT. Constantly the NT would be referring back to some document that you had never seen, often quoting a section, and sometimes changing a section. How could you hope to have full, deep understanding of what is being talked about if you had no sight of, or knowledge of the original document?

I think that this may be the crux of our differing understanding. You see the NT as a totally new contract, with no relevance to the old, while I see Bible as a whole being God’s word, and the original OC being updated, following the sacrifice of Christ, and the availability of the Holy Spirit.

xHWA said...

Quest,

I used to think that too until it occurred to me that the death of one of the parties to any contract invalidates it. Take marriage for example. When the husband dies, the wife is no longer subject to any portion of their marriage.

And Jesus' death thus invalidated the covenant with Israel. Which was a marriage contract, after all. It thus freed Him to create a new contract that included the Gentiles and thus become betrothed to His church.

If the entire Old Covenant wasn't gone, we get into complications with adultery and the like.

xHWA said...

oh, btw, Quest.... you're very welcome. Always.

Luc said...

A contract cannot be changed by a party to a contract unless it is specified in the contract that one party may change something prior to entering into the agreement.

Seeker Of Truth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seeker Of Truth said...

Hi Questeruk,

I'm really glad to see you are truly interested in truth and that you examine things presented to you.

IRT the OC/NC issue:

I'm sure you know these scriptures but, they're always good to go over again and again - Paul covers this issue in:
Romans 2, 3:19 through chapter 8
2Corinthians chapters 3-5
Galatians chapters 2-6 (chapter 4 gives a great - and clear - analogy.
Ephesians 2
Colassians 2
Hebrews 8-11

I'd like to pose a question to you, also IRT He.9:1 "Now the first covenant had..."Here's my question: If the covenant was altered, how can there be a first or second covenant, an old or new? Wouldn't it just be "The Covenant"? Of course there are other places that say old and new... it can't be a new one if it was just altered.

You may be interested in reading some articles on this blog, and see what you think of them:

-Works Vs Faith (April 08)
-What Coventant are we bound to? (May 08)
-Galatians; Holy days or pagan days? (May 08)
-Response to Galatians;...(May 08)
-What is the fate of OC keepers? (June 08)
-How do we know what Covenant are we keeping? (Oct 08)
-Response to SJS -how do we know what covenant we are keeping?

That's a lot of reading, but I think it could be quite useful.

Anonymous said...

I have read part of the article on common legalists and i am grieved to hear what you have got to say.
The Lord told Adam to keep his commandment,he told Abraham to keep his commandment,he told Israel in Exodus to keep his commandments,he tells his people through Solomon in Ecclesiastes to keep his commandments,In Mat 19 he told the rich young ruler to keep his commandments,he tells us in John 15 if we keep his commandments we shall abide in him,
Apostle john tells us 1n John 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
and again we are warned in Revelation

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Now if Jesus does not want us to keep his commands.why are there so many scriptures that consistently tell us different.If Jesus keeps them for us then there would be no need for the multitudes of warnings to CHRISTIANS and neither would there be need for any repentance as a born again believer because it would Jesus who let us slip into sin.
Guys we have been saved by Jesus unto good works and we must yield to the truth of his word in order to remain in that relationship.
Another point i would like to make is that Jesus did not somehow make the law higher when he talked about lust,he was just clarifying what was already written
9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
Please study the word and use the front of the book to help understand the back of the book.
love
David

xHWA said...

Thanks for visiting, David.

It helps to read the rest of our blog for our response to your comment. I am pretty sure if you just read the rest of the "Common Legalist Arguments" series, your comments are responded to in there. Or just read our FAQ.

In short, it is a false assumption that it can mean nothing other than the Ten Commandments in every place where we read the English word "command" or "commandment". This is simply not supportable.
It's not supportable from the Biblical evidence. It's not supportable from the historical evidence. It's not supportable from the nature of covenants. It's not even supported by the traditional Armstrongist view of the human condition (we will expand on this particular point in an article coming up in a few weeks).

You mention I John. John tells us what commandments he was referring to. It wasn't the Ten Commandments.

I can sympathize with the idea of "my choice is to try to keep the Old Covenant law or succeed in living a life of sin." The law is good and just. What could be wrong with it? But that is not nearly the actual choice before us. Attempting to keep the law isn't going to gain anyone God's approval, but setting out to keep the law and failing to keep the law perfectly will gain the condemnation in the law. Do you keep it perfectly always? I'm willing to bet you do not. None have but One. But it's an all or nothing proposal. Keep it all, perfectly, or you've violated it all. What you suggest is law-keeping, but what our hearts are capable of is not law-keeping, it's law violation.
Thank God for the New Covenant!
The New Covenant - where God isn't asking you to work up righteousness by your own efforts at law-keeping, He is asking you to trust in His righteousness. This righteousness comes to us by faith, not law.

This article dealt with that somewhat, but the other articles in the series will deal with it more directly. Give them a read.

I also want to suggest this article to you: Confusing the Covenants. I think this will help to start the ball rolling on some answers to your questions.

Anonymous said...

You can hold fast to what you believe but i am going to read and believe exactly what the book says.
I have enlarged the word DO to show you that you have responsibility on your part.Now if Jesus does them them for you then you can ignore this but just in case you think Jesus has new commandments,thE last verse should clarify for you who's commandments you must DO.

14 Blessed are they that Do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Rev 14v12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Adam died spiritually when he disobeyed and needed to be redeemed and so it is with all mankind.Unless a person repents like the prodical who was once in the Father's house,he is considered dead.
Read Ezekiel and compare to Rev 3

Ezekiel 33:12
Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Revelation3
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Please turn from this error of false grace and live a holy and honourable life to the end because without holiness NOONE WILL SEE THE LORD
Love and blessings
David

xHWA said...

Hello again, David. Thanks for returning.
I take it you were too busy just reading out of your Bible to read the resources I recommended. That's a good book to read. I'm just reading out of mine, too.

You say you are going to keep the commandments? What do you mean by that? The Ten Commandments, or the whole law?
For the sake of this response I'm going to go ahead and assume that you mean the whole law, since we both know nothing says "keep only the Ten Commandments" and there are very few churches who require the Ten Commandments that do not also require other parts of the law.

You say you keep the law, the Pharisees said that too, but you know you don't keep it perfectly. You've excused away more of the law than you keep (ceremonial law, Israel national law, law of Moses, etc) - even though you no doubt still quote Jesus saying, "not one jot or title." So which type do you keep? The "not one jot or one tittle" kind of law, or the "whatever I feel I ought to keep" type of law? Or do you keep the "Sermon on the Mount" type of law? But what does the law say? It says if you stumble in one point you've violated it all (JAS. 2: 10). So at the end of the day you aren't actually keeping it any more than I am. You're violating it all. As they say "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."

But there's a kind of stumbling in the law that isn't just failing to keep the whole law - it's the stumbling at the Stumbling Stone ..Jesus Christ (ROM. 9: 32).
I refer to the righteousness that comes to us by faith and not law.

(PHP. 3: 9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith

The stumbling is trying to find our own righteousness in law-keeping rather than faith, as the Jews did, which no one but Jesus has actually succeeded at. Instead, we are urged to find our righteousness in Christ Jesus through faith. That's Jesus' righteousness in us.

None of these things come from law-keeping:
Justification (GAL. 2: 16)
Righteousness (GAL. 2: 21)
The Spirit (GAL. 3: 2)
Perfection (GAL. 3: 3; HEB. 7: 19)
Miracles (GAL. 3: 5)
Inheritance (GAL. 3: 18)
Life (GAL. 3: 21)
Grace (GAL. 5: 4)
Faith (GAL. 3: 12)

Least of all holiness! The law has never made a person righteous, let alone holy. Only God makes something holy. So what really are you trying to get from trying yet failing to keep the law? I hope you're not actually hoping to achieve filthy rags, because that's what God likens our efforts to (ISA. 64: 6).

(GAL 5: 4) 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Instead, what I just read right out of the Book is this:

(ROM. 13: 8-10) 8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. ... 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
(JAS. 2: 8) 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well

What the book says, throughout but especially in the New Covenant, is that love fulfills all the law.

So you have a choice --
Choose the path of law-keeping from the Sinai Covenant (which is Hagar - GAL. 4: 24-25) and fail, just like the Pharisees did.
OR
Choose the path of faith and love and succeed.

God bless ya, David!
I highly recommend you read our FAQ.

xHWA said...

(GAL. 5: 1-6) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Anonymous said...

I would like to add to the scripture you just sent in Romans 13v8-10
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Now i can only hope that you accidentily missed out verse 9 of that chapter and then skipped to verse 10 to make your point.
Now just to show exactly what the context is that Paul is talking about,he quotes a little from where he wants us to read so that he is not misunderstood.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as

and then verse 10

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Then read verse 10.

Why do you think Paul would quote from the commandments given at Sinaia if he did not want you to follow them.Not only that but he is in unity with Jesus who said
John 14:21
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
and this is in harmony with the apostle John who said

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

No disunity in any of the writers and a closer look at any of these passages will show a need for us to be obedient.

21 Little children, KEEP YOURSELVES from idols. Amen.
Love
David


xHWA said...

I skipped over verse 9 because it's superfluous to my point. Nothing in verse 9 nullifies the direct words Paul spoke, and I quote, "Love fulfills the law." I do sincerely hope your point is not to argue against love as the fulfillment of the law.

About Romans 13: 9, that isn't the context. You say "just to show exactly what the context is", except verse 9 is not the context of verses 8 & 10. "Love fulfills the law" is the immediate context.

Verse 8 is Paul's point, that love is the method to fulfill the law which you and I both violate in the letter. Verse 9 lists some examples of his point. Paul lists some laws that are clearly fulfilled by love. Verse 10 is a repetition of his point.
Why quote from the Sinai law? Because they are examples of his point, not examples of legalistic requirements he intends us to obey. They are examples of how love is a superior principal to an imperfect attempt at law-keeping. Paul makes the weakness of the law clear several times, notably in chapters 3 and 9.

So let's think together here. Our own efforts result in failure. Our own righteousness is filthy rags. Our righteousness needs to exceed that of the Pharisees. Law-keeping cannot gain us anything, just like it didn't gain the Pharisees anything, because the only powers that the law has is to show us our sin and to condemn us. Stumbling in even one point is a violation of the entire body of law, and that brings condemnation. Paul tells us the way to success, and that way is love. So you conclude that Paul's point is law-keeping? I must respectfully disagree. And in your heart you know that, even though you advocate the law, you fail at it. You advocate failure. I encourage you to re-evaluate.

Paul's point here is "love fulfills all law," not, "Love fulfills all law, so here are a list of laws you should keep." If that's the claim you're attempting to make, and it sure seems like it is, then I suggest you get a good commentary on Romans, because the body of Romans is contrary to your conclusion. Where you conclude that law fulfills love, Paul is saying love fulfills law.

xHWA said...

I see that you proof-text I John. I see that you have taken the word "Commandments" in English and substituted John's meaning with your own - attempting to make it refer to Sinai. We see this a lot. If you had read the series, you would see that I dealt with that.
Common Legalist Arguments III
Or, if you had read I John, you would have seen that John tells us what commands he is referring to.

(I JON. 3: 23) And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
(I JON. 4: 21) And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
(II JON. 1: 5) And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.

John makes clear what law he is referring to. That command is love. John is in complete agreement with Paul. John isn't quoting Moses, he's quoting Jesus.

(JOHN 13: 34-35) 34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(JOHN 15: 12, 17) 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

At the end of the day, I approach the answer from love, and you approach it from law. Neither of us are murdering nor stealing nor committing adultery. Yet you stumble and violate the whole law. While I fulfill the whole law through faith and love (and by that I mean Jesus Christ in me not my own miserable faith and love). Insist on the law all you want. The law demands perfection uninterrupted, so all you can possibly achieve through your method is what the limit of your ability to be perfect allows.

If You Love Me Keep My Commandments

God bless!

Anonymous said...

Could you tell me the point of the sacrificial system in the old testament?Was it not for the purpose of sin.However the difference between unintentional and accidental sin is completely different.I don't expect that you would ever feel the need to repent any longer because you are continuously perfect in Jesus and no doubt you are in the Once saved always saved camp who are perhaps unwittingly leading the sheep in the wrong direction.
Maybe you would have a look at some of Dan Corner's teaching on the dangers of this heresy for yourself that it may bring more light and understanding.
I have had to re-evaluate all that i thought was truth and measure it to the scriptures for the security of my soul and i found out just how misled i really was.
False doctrine is dangerous and sets us against our very own Saviour.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Revelation 2
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Love in Christ
David

xHWA said...

Hi David,

Since you brought it up, I am not a "once saved always saved" Calvinist. I tend towards Arminianism.

But even so, the Old Covenant law is not what we repent to in the New Covenant. The Old Covenant law isn't the standard that we have violated, and the Old Covenant law is not the standard to which we return. Righteousness is not of the law. So if righteousness is the desired outcome, an attempt at law-keeping is not going to produce that result.

It is tempting to see the definition of repent as being something legalistic. It's tempting to see that we've done something wrong therefore God wants us to fix it. Yet that isn't correct. When we've got something that we need to repent of, only Jesus can truly fix it. To repent is to return back to Jesus Christ by faith, not by law.

The definition of repent is first and foremost a heartfelt admission of guilt. A heartfelt admission of guilt comes by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not by law. The law can tell us that we have sinned, and that is all that it can do, but knowing that we have sinned and deeply caring about it are two different things. The next step after admission of guilt is a pleading for unwarranted mercy. Mercy comes by Jesus Christ, not by law. The law has no provision for mercy. Once you've violated it, it is forever too late. Mercy can only come unwarranted and through Jesus Christ. Mercy by its very nature includes the realization that we are utterly helpless to correct our own situation. Yet you propose a return to our own efforts by our own efforts. That isn't helplessness in any way. It is a denial of helplessness. Only when we admit our guilt and helplessness can our relationship with God be restored. Relationship is the goal of repentance, not the law. Once the right relationship is restored, then you are declared righteous by faith, and the Holy Spirit in you prompts you to acts of love. That's faith and love, not law. The Jews approached these same things, but they did it by law. Did they achieve their goal? No. They stumbled at the Stumbling Stone.

The rich young man who kept all of the law from birth (and Jesus loved him) but still lacked both faith and acts of love and so he failed to follow Jesus - choosing to walk away from the Lord of Life even as he embraced the law. From what you would have us understand, that rich young man is the epitome of God's desire and the prime example for us to follow. Yet, in the end, what did Jesus say? "With men it is impossible," is what He said. Impossible. Strong word. Thank God He also said, "But with God all things are possible." Not the law - God. It is by faith from start to finish.

xHWA said...

I want to take a moment to address your proof-text from Revelation 2.

I understand that you chose this proof-text because it contains the word 'repent', but one has to come into this with an improper definition of repent as meaning 'a return to law-keeping' for this proof-text to be relevant to our ongoing conversation. I disagree with that definition. But I want to address this all the same since you seem to think that without law there is licentiousness. I disagree with this, too.

Jesus charges two separate churches with having the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, but in one of them He uses the word 'deeds.' So there was something wrong here in both thought and deed.

Now, as you no doubt know, no one knows exactly who the Nicolaitans were or what they taught. We can speculate that licentiousness is meant, since verses 14 and 15 seem to match the Nicolaitans with Balaam, who taught Israel to leave God for false gods and to commit sexual immorality.

You propose that they have broken the law. And so they have. But then what? You propose asking forgiveness, do you not? Is forgiveness of the law or of the mercy of Jesus Christ through our faith in His ability to forgive? It is not of the law! The law has no provision for forgiveness. The law could not help us to keep the law and the law could not forgive us when we failed. So what power did it have other than to condemn? No power at all, or else you would ask the law to forgive you.

Then what solution is the law? You seem to think that if I abandon the law then my only recourse is licentiousness. I propose that this is not so. Not so at all. And as you asked me to consider the Old Covenant sacrifices, who could not truly forgive nor heal the heart, I ask you to consider what it is that makes anything holy.
Did the law make the mountain holy so that Moses had to remove his sandals? Did the tablets make Moses' face to glow so that after he had smashed the tablets he still needed to cover his face? Did the law make the temple holy? Did the law touch Isaiah's lips and cleanse him of sin? So what makes holy? What has power? God! The presence of God makes holy.

Did the law, which was the very foundation of the Old Covenant, prevent the Old Covenant from needing to be replaced? Did the law save Israel? So what can the law do? Nothing but give us the knowledge that we have sinned.

So when you propose that we return to the law, you propose that we use our own efforts to achieve righteousness. But if righteousness came from law-keeping, then Christ died in vain! You don't even propose all of the law, just some of it. When we stumble in even one part of it we have violated it all. In effect, you propose that we ask forgiveness and make efforts to violate less of the law than we did before.
When I propose we return to faith and love, I propose that our relationship with God should be repaired by God, and that we should be holy by His presence in us. I propose we be led by the Holy Spirit through faith rather than our own efforts through the law. Will the Holy Spirit lead us into sin? No. He will lead us to love, and love is the only way to fulfill all of the law.

What you believe is a law-or-licentiousness proposal is not that. I do not recommend licentiousness. I recommend the power of God over our efforts. I recommend faith from start to finish. The true proposal is faith-or-failure.

God bless you, David!

Anonymous said...

Sir i have to conclude that you are
a hardened OSAS believer that may well fit Judes description

Jude 1 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The denial is not saying Jesus is not Lord,it is denying his lordship over a persons life,meaning that he gets to tell us how to live in these bodies he purchased with his precious blood.
You see repentance is a decision to turn from your sins and in doing so ,Jesus will provide a way to overcome temptation.
ZSir your teachingis dangerous and you are desiring to have many follow your pernicious ways.Regardless of your time spent as a christian,i believe you are fitting intothe category of what Peter described

2 Peter 2v16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Sir please repent before it is too late.
love in Christ
David

xHWA said...

Thanks for that loving call to repentence, David.

Just as you paid absolutely no attention to the post, or my responses to you, so it seems that you paid absolutely no attention when I specifically stated that I am not OSAS.
But hey, if you can't address the ideas, attack the person, right?

God bless.

Anonymous said...

This is not an attack on you,this is to alert you to the dangers of your teaching.You are twisting the scriptures and their meanings to suit your own personal need and are teaching others to follow your error.
Repentance is not turning back to Jesus but to his ways and his ways are his commandments.Does the bible not tell us that sin is the transgression of the law.Therefore to repent is to turn back to a lawful lifestyle which is pleasing to God.
There is no doubt that you are changing the meaning of repent in Revelation and no doubt in other places,you are also changing the definition of the word commandments and it is all to fit the doctrines that you uphold,but again i ask you please in Jesus name, reconsider your position ,not just for your soul but for the souls of those who believe your error.
love in Christ
David

xHWA said...

"This is not an attack on you,this is to alert you to the dangers of your teaching."

I doubt that. One doesn't have a blog like I do for as long as I have and not learn to recognize the emotional attack. Rationalize your comments in any way you wish, but don't think you are actually convincing anyone but yourself.
I don't blame you. You have little choice. You cannot address the message so you must attack the messenger.

If you truly wish to appeal to me, then deal with the ideas I've given you. Don't "alert", don't proof-text. Be more like Questeruk. Actually read the material and reply to the material. The problem with that is, I spent thirty years in the Armstrongist system. I already know what you're going to say.

"You are twisting the scriptures and their meanings to suit your own personal need and are teaching others to follow your error."

I disagree. I have given you six years of research and evidence as to why I disagree. You didn't even do the one thing we ask, which is to give us a fair reading. You simply declare a thing to be so.

"Repentance is not turning back to Jesus but to his ways and his ways are his commandments."

Repentance is not turning back to Jesus? Oh, very much please attempt to prove out relying on the law without Jesus.
Repentance is to change your mind/heart. Repentance is not re-doubling the failed attempt at keeping a cherry-picked subset of Old Covenant laws. Law and commandments aren't even mentioned in Revelation 2. Your definition, which you picked up from somewhere else, is improper, and you marvel at why I don't agree with you.

Now we get to the part where you claim, contrary to all evidence, that the word "commandment" refers to the Old Covenant law rather than what Jesus and Apostles said it refers to. As you no doubt do with the word "works".
For our take, read "If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments", or several other articles where we have already given our response to this.

"Does the bible not tell us that sin is the transgression of the law."

No. The KJV and Geneva tell us that sin is the transgression of the law. No other translation renders it that way and for good reason. It's not what the Greek says nor what it means. We've offered out take on that in these articles:
"Antinomianism and Motivation of Heart", "Without Law There Is No Sin", "The Spirit of the Law", and several others besides. But you won't read them anyway.

"There is no doubt that you are changing the meaning of repent in Revelation and no doubt in other places, you are also changing the definition of the word commandments"

I disagree. I've explained my position several times. None of which have you actually read, so you no doubt don't know what I said anyhow. You simply declare me wrong without offering anything more than an eisegetical proof-texts. You are your own standard and right by default. I dismiss that. The safe bet is for me to rely on hermeneutics over your assertions. Should you offer some actual evidence in refute then perhaps I will reconsider.
But as I said, I spent 30 years in Armstrongism. Everyone who comes here already knows your side.

Until then, I stand on what I wrote because what I wrote stands on evidence. I appreciate your attempt to alert me to the contrary, mostly because you are demonstrating the point I made in the article.

God's blessings to you, David.

Anonymous said...

Ok perhaps you will give me the more perfect understanding of what Jesus(God in the flesh) meant when he said.."IF you LOVE me KEEP MY commandments".
Perhaps i am wrong and misled so show me where i have went wrong and let me examine your evidence.To be honest,i don't see another list of commandments elsewhere except for what Moses put inside the ark.
I don't believe that Armstrongism is biblical and i am glad you came out but you cannot reject everything that was taught from the bible because you heard it in the Armstrong movement.
Another question i would ask you is this
What do the scriptures mean when they title Jesus as The Word of God.
Blessings to you in Christ

xHWA said...

Brother, and I can call you that because it is our faith in one and the same Jesus that really counts not our positions on the Sabbath day, whether we agree together about the Ten or not I appreciate that you are willing to hear me out. To disagree with me is your right, but to give me a fair hearing is honorable.

I have written for years to explain your question. All I can do here in this comment is summarize and not very effectively. Please read this post for a better summary: "If You Love Me Keep My Commandments".
So, two things...

1) Jesus and the Apostles, over and over, tell us what commandments they were referring to.
(JON. 6: 29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
(JON. 13: 34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
(I JON. 3: 23) And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

John is not referring to Moses in the epistle he wrote, he is referring to Jesus' words as recorded in the Gospel he wrote.
The Pharisees kept the letter of the law. Why didn't they please God? Because we can keep the letter of the law and violate it in spirit. Also, we can keep the spirit of the law and violate it in letter. So the letter kills; the spirit gives life.

2) Precisely as Questeruk observed, love fulfills all of the law so in effect you and I both keep the Commandments, with one difference - the Sabbath Day. So this isn't about the Ten, it's about one of the Ten. It is my belief that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Sabbath day and the rest He gives us is the true rest spoken of in Hebrews, a rest which the people who kept the Sabbath day did not enter into. If the Sabbath day was the rest, then observing the Sabbath day would demand that we enter that rest. Yet even though they were observing the Sabbath day they were not entering into that rest. So the Sabbath day cannot be that rest.
Can one observe the Sabbath and enter into that rest? Yes! How? By first entering into that rest, the rest found only in faith in Jesus. So whether we observe a day or not, we rest because of Jesus, not because of law.

Please read my article "The Sabbath Rest of Hebrews 4".

You and I both have the same goal, but it seems maybe we approach it in two different ways.

(ROM. 11: 6) But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace

Works flow FROM the grace and faith. What I understand is that God doesn't desire us to keep an abrogated law in order to find righteousness and to please Him. He desires us to surrender to Him and His own righteousness in us by the Holy Spirit, credited to us by faith, will please Him.

God bless!

TheDbme said...

The sabbath day is still as relevant today as it was in the days of old.This is one thing that Armstrongism got right and it is the shadow picture of rest in the millennial reign of CHRIST.
Peter tells us that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.This is the picture of the creation account and we are very soon going to enter into that 7th day or 7000 years on earth.
Remember that Jesus said that he did not come to glorify himself but his Father because he only did what he saw his Father doing.The sabbath is for all of God's children and was given before Jews were on the earth Unfortunately Rome have always wanted pre eminence over Israel and now we in the west believe that it is the jews that join us westerners in faith.This is wrong and we see this in Ephesians 2 and Romans 11 not to mention the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Acts.
The sabbath was the first test to those who came out of Egypt under the blood of the lamb and it is from here on in that the rebellion starts.God was angry with those he redeemed and asked them how long would they refuse to keep his law and so if we as believers say we follow Jesus,we also need to rest when he rested and work when he worked,otherwise we are behaving no differently than those of the exodus.!Corinthians 10 is very explicit about their behaviour and warns us not to do likewise.
So in finishing,i do apologise to you if my messages sounded harsh but my intentions are honourable and i am grieved as im sure the Lord is ,with the pastors who teach through their bad doctrine that many will go off track and miss their true rest at Jesus return.
Blessings to you again in The Saviour's name
David

xHWA said...

Hello again, David. I'm sorry that you still haven't read our material. It would be infinitely helpful if you would trouble yourself to do that.

So the letter preserves life (II COR. 3: 6)? So the flesh now profits something (JON. 6: 63)? So righteousness is in the law (GAL. 2: 21)? Interesting.
Obviously, I disagree that the Sabbath day is still relevant today which is why I brought it up in the first place since I already knew this is the foundation of our entire conversation from the start so why beat around the bush. Yet the Sabbath was never relevant to Gentiles and I invite you to show me one verse which commands it of Gentiles. Not only do I disagree but I've gone one further and explained why, with references from the Bible and history, which you still refuse to read, while rushing to call me a liar and spreader of evil (for which I forgive you). But one thing you can't accuse me of is not having my reasons and evidence for my conclusions!

I suspect the Sabbath is not the only thing that this is about. It starts with the Sabbath, but I would venture a guess that you have added many more laws to your list of requirements than just this one.

I wouldn't be so quick to lay this at the feet of Rome, though, as this started with the Holy Spirit and the Apostles in Acts 15 and came to Rome through the Greek East. (Yes, we have a post on that, too.)

You say we should work when Jesus worked. You do remember that Jesus said both He and His Father work on the Sabbath (JON. 5: 17-18)? As the Pharisees ignored the truth of what Jesus was doing you want me to ignore the true work and true rest in order to concentrate on transforming into a Jew so I can physically rest my physical body in a physical day in order to feel as if I've genuinely accomplished something good. The Sabbath itself never pleased God (ISA 1: 13). What God desires is of the heart (MIC. 6: 8). Let us not also forget that everything Jesus did in the flesh on this earth prior to His death was under now abrogated the Old Covenant system, by design. He was born under the law to redeem us from the law and adopt us as sons (GAL. 4: 4). Even so, you don't propose we observe everything Jesus did, only some selected things. You certainly would not propose that we all become impoverished itinerant preachers in Palestine, wearing sandals and robes, going to Synagogue and paying temple tax, being crucified, and in reality doing what Jesus did. Certainly not. What you propose in is merely a convenient sounding way that we ignore the New Covenant instituted at His death and sneak through a window into the dead Old Covenant with its system of death engraved in stone, which never applied to Gentiles in the first place and never will, simply because Jesus kept the Old Covenant law during the Old Covenant period as any good Israelite of the Old Covenant should have. And with that I strongly disagree. His death was an absolute game-changer, and the main thing in this equation that I believe you overlook or at least minimize to a great degree.

I appreciate your several mentions of the Old Covenant, using it as the gold standard and holding it up as support for your Sabbath observance, as that is the only place you will find commands for such a thing. I prefer to go to the eternal New Covenant primarily. You mention that the Sabbath was the first test for Israel, and it is true. Why did God command them to observe it? Because He brought them out of Egypt (DEU 5: 15) and He wanted their heard-hearts to remember Him. He didn't bring all out of Egypt and command us to sit idle for a day; He brought all out of sin, and commanded us to have true and everlasting rest in Him (MAT. 11: 28). That true rest does not begin at Jesus' return, and if you genuinely believe that I invite you to attempt to prove that out. Hebrews tells us when that true rest comes to us and that time is "today" (HEB. 4: 6-9).

Until next time, God bless.

Anonymous said...

It seems that your blogs are the inerrant truth that we must read before we get true understanding but since you want to know just one verse that says that the sabbath is for gentiles

Mark27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
This of course does not mean that it is only for males but the sabbath was made in Genesis for man who was also made in the Genesis,note it does not say the sabbath was made for jews.Even the known world in Jesus day both jew and gentile kept THE sabbath.
Acts 13
42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Now it's probably best to stop any further correspondance because it only strengthens your position of error.


xHWA said...

My blogs are no more the default truth than are your comments. I am no more the source of truth than are you. You do appear to believe you are the source of truth as evidenced by you frequent insults telling me how "in error" I am - when you can neither read my side of the matter nor make a cogent defense of your own side.
As I said earlier, I lived your side for thirty years. I know your side. Nothing you have said here is in any way new or unusual or even creative. It is merely a parrot of the same pre-packaged material I used to parrot. You judged and condemned me without knowing or even caring to know what I have to say. You show up, don't even read this post, politely declare me a deceiver and spreader of evil, then walk off when you feel un-affirmed. Yet you say I think I am the source of truth?? You haven't even troubled yourself to respond to what I've said in the comments here. You just parrot more pre-packaged material. Just like on Saturdays, you haven't done anything at all yet you think you've really accomplished something wonderful.

The Sabbath wasn't made in Genesis, the seventh day was. You will not find the word Sabbath until Exodus. Your claim is patently unbiblical. You did not get your claim from the Bible, you put it into the Bible. This is textbook eisegesis.

The rest which God began on the seventh day, and into which Adam and Eve entered on that same day, continued uninterrupted far beyond that sunset, until Adam and Eve sinned. Tell me, what toil did they have which needed a break? None. What sin did they have which needed a holy time set aside? None. What separation from God did they have which needed their commanded assembly? None. So when you say "God created the weekly Sabbath at Creation" you contradict the very facts we do have in the Bible. They did not cease to rest at sundown. They did not sin the following morning, not even according to Armstrong's timeline. So, pray tell, exactly how was this a weekly Sabbath? It was not. Neither directly nor indirectly can you get this from the Bible.

The weekly Sabbath, begun in Exodus 16 and commanded to Israel only - to none before them (DEU. 5: 3) and to no people besides them - is a copy of that rest. God clearly explained that He patterned the weekly Sabbath on the Creation Rest (EXO. 20: 11). It is that creation rest to which Hebrews refers, not the weely rest. This is the true rest which Jesus gives us. The people who kept the Sabbath day did not enter into this rest. Yet you insist that somehow they will if they keep it up. Good luck with that! Israel tried for 1,400 years.

As expected you proof-text Mark. Why? Because it makes your case? No. But because it contains the word "Sabbath." Precisely as you proof-texted Revelation 2 simply because it contained the word "repent." Unfortunately, containing a word is not sufficient evidence here at ABD.

Jesus was in no way attempting to bind the Sabbath on Gentiles who were strangers to the Covenant. That is completely out of context here. He was correcting the Pharisees who had a grossly elevated view of the Sabbath, and with this statement He displays His authority to do so. The Pharisees were in Moses’ seat, but He was Lord. His authority trumps theirs. In fact, being Lord, and therefore the source of the law, He is above the law. He freely chose to submit Himself to the law in order to fulfill the law so that He could redeem us from the law (GAL. 4: 4-5). And then the Old Covenant was ended at His death, the game was changed, the old contract was thrown away and a completely new contract made - an act which you continue to ignore.

Well, if you want to stop our conversation now because you finally realize that you are making my case for me, that is your choice. Though you demonstrate my point, you still say it's wrong. Confirmation bias much? But to be fair I told you that is what you were doing five days ago.

I still say God's blessings to you in Jesus Christ our Savior.

Anonymous said...

It is your flood of words to make you feel satisfied that i want to side step,not the topic of discussion.I can tell that you are extremely angry and the internet is not the place to vent that anger.
If your doctrine is wrong then perhaps it might be love that i write this email and that i desire to bring correction.You have been deceived in the 7th day for so long,you think that everything you learned is incorrect and that is not true.
Jesus is THE Word of God and he changes not.This is then why he keeps the sabbath,sends demons into pigs and even manages to keep his own feasts which the whole world will observe at his return.So please take your distress to God and know that our doctrine is what will condemn us or save us even if our hearts and motives are in order.
Take care and please,for someone who has been a bleliever for so long,you should be speaking with gentleness and encouraging others to do so.
David

xHWA said...

Welcome back, David! I figured you'd be back.

You don't like my flood of words? If I didn't understand your motivation I would think it odd that you haven't read my flood of words, yet you keep coming back.

My flood of words is simply my appeal to you to genuinely look at the evidence on the other side of this in a prayerful and honest way. You have nothing to fear because you are already right, isn't that so? Then what harm can there be in hearing me out? I'll be just as wrong after you give me a fair hearing as I am now. Right?

I have responded to the ideas on the merit of the ideas themselves. I actually provide reasons with evidence for my change of heart. I reject the ideas because they don't hold up under scrutiny. I don't reject your assertions because of you, as you do to me. It is as I said at the outset - you won't or can't deal with the ideas themselves on their own merit so you are forced to try and dismiss me in order to dismiss the ideas. But I forgive you for that.

Jesus changes not therefore the Sabbath is still in force? Please prove your claim out. Don't just assert. Prove! Because I say you misapply Malachi 3: 6.
I have given a defense for my claim in the blog post "How Is The Sabbath Fulfilled?" You won't even have to go far; just five paragraphs in!

But you won't go there, will you? So let us ask here, if Jesus changes not therefore the law changes not, then why did the law change (HEB. 7: 12)? Or what is more, why did the covenant change (HEB. 8: 7)? If God changes not therefore the law changes not, why do you, a Gentile, claim to observe the Sabbath sign of a covenant which you were prohibited to enter by law? The law had to change in order for you to keep the law in the first place, yet you say it did not change. Why do you not physically circumcise yourself as a mandate of law? Why do you not sacrifice animals? Why do you accept Jesus as your High Priest which is against the law?
So, since you know in your mind and I am willing to guess that you also demonstrate in your life that the law and the covenant have changed in many, many ways, we can easily see why your assertion "Jesus changes not therefore the law changes not" is false and worthy of rejection. Neither one of us, in actuality, accepts that claim. You propose to me a thing that you yourself reject. So why should I accept it?

We here at As Bereans Did hold ourselves to a far higher standard of evidence than what we used to accept. We reject proof-texting, poorly-developed lines of reasoning, pseudo-history, illogic, and baseless assertions. You might think we are rebellious for this because we don't just accept your assertions at face value. I pray that you join us!!

I don't hate you David, and I'm not angry at you. You are just doing what I used to do. What we all did. Though you throw Jude and I Peter at me, call me a deceiver and misled and rebellious, dismiss me and say I am in error when you don't even know what I've said -- then accuse me of being angry and mean-spirited -- I did not respond in kind. You are just doing what I used to do. And I forgive you.
Every bit to God's credit, of course! I forgive you because Jesus forgave me. That is the truth. I needed it and He gave it, and so I pass it on to you. You don't need to do anything to earn it. It's a free gift, like this blog.

God bless you, brother in Christ.

Anonymous said...

You forgive me and i also forgive you and so our conversation must be gentleness and respect.Reading over the previous replies should prove that we both have been out of line and this is certainly wrong.I have no doubt that my own replies have shown this and for that i am sorry because it does not represent Jesus but rather the flesh.

Would you agree that false doctrine is dangerous? If so then what we speak to others will have an effect on them and we will be responsible on judgement day.
As you mentioned in your last statement,the law has been changed and that is true but what is Paul talking about?Bearing in mind that if he was now keeping the law that was abolished,he would now be a transgressor.Was it not the law of the priesthood in which men could not serve for eternity but died in service.The sacrificial system was to point to Jesus because it was showing the people that something innocent must die for the guilty and so with the priesthood being corrupt and the true law being corrupt,jesus was bring the system to a close.He is the final sacrifice and so with a new high priest and a new priestly order after Melchesidec,we continue to walk in obedience to God's commands inside the ark and if we sin9transgression of the law) then we have a high priest who will intercede on our behalf.
I think you would agree that Jesus does not keep the law for us but that he accomplished all that was written in the law,the prophets and the psalms )luke24v44)that his Father had ordained.Now if we have responsibility to walk circumspect and upright and pleasing in his sight,then it is also possible to do the opposite.
Would you please show clearly where sabbath has been abolished and also show when it was abolished and could you also show scripture to explain what would happen if someone was to go back and keep the saturday sabbath.
Blessings
David

xHWA said...

Thank you, David. Very gracious of you.

I do agree that doctrine can be dangerous, most especially if it causes us to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, stifle the Holy Spirit, or deny Jesus Christ. Or when it puts us under a curse, brings God's wrath, causes us to make Jesus' sacrifice of no effect, voids faith, nullifies the promise, and causes us to fall from grace - which Paul tells us the law can do.

Regarding your question about the law being gone, we discussed this in Common Legalist Arguments Part V. Not trying to beat that same drum over and over. It's just like I said, none of this is new.
There is no phrase that says "the Sabbath is now done away with" but this isn't said about what people refer to as the ceremonial law either and yet we know the law is changed. Not just the ceremonial parts, either, or else Gentiles are still estranged from the law and Jesus cannot marry the Church (among other things). The law is one unit. Nothing legally divides the law up into three chunks, then removes only two chunks. If the law is changed, then something happened en masse.

There is clear reference that the Sabbath is a shadow fulfilled by Christ (COL. 2: 16-17). There are less blatant but still poignant references that the law has come to its end (ROM. 10:2-4), that we are not under the law (ROM. 6: 14; GAL. 5: 18), that both Christ and we in Christ have died which frees us from the law (ROM. 7: 4-6; GAL. 2: 19), and that we no longer need the law (GAL. 2: 24-25) in no small part because once we come to Christ and follow the Holy Spirit through faith we are declared righteous and the law was not made for the righteous (I TIM. 1: 9). It also tells us that our faith and love has done, through Christ, what the law could not ever do (ROM. 8: 3-7; 9:30-33).
None of these things can come from the law:
Justification (GAL. 2: 16)
Righteousness (GAL. 2: 21)
The Spirit (GAL. 3: 2)
Perfection (GAL. 3: 3; HEB. 7: 19)
Miracles (GAL. 3: 5)
Inheritance (GAL. 3: 18)
Life (GAL. 3: 21)
Grace (GAL. 5: 4)
Faith (GAL. 3: 12)
I would add "rest" to that list since rest comes to us for the soul by Jesus and not for the rear-end by the Sabbath day. So what on earth can we get from the law that doesn't come to us by faith?

In my view all of this misses the big point anyway. We are looking at the tree of the law but missing the forest of the covenant. Laws are terms of the covenant. It is in reference to the New Covenant that Paul contrasts the letter and the spirit of the law, pointing out how the letter kills (II COR. 3: 6). The Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Old Covenant (EXO. 34: 28; DEU. 4: 13; DEU. 5: 1-21; DEU. 9: 9-15). What is clearly said is that the Old Covenant is done away with. When the covenant is scrapped, the terms of the covenant no longer apply. The new covenant has its own terms. There is only one logical answer to what changed that effected the law en masse, and that is the covenant was abrogated.
What we need to do is *not* look for a place that says "the law is gone", but look for a place that says "the letter of the law is reinstated in the New Covenant."

So we at ABD conclude that the law isn't "gone" per se anyway; it is fulfilled. The only way to actually fulfill the law is by faith and love, which is the New Covenant. We have already violated it. It is too late for us. Christ is the only one who can fulfill it by law-keeping efforts. Attempt to fulfill the law by law-keeping effort and you will be cursed. Rely on the holy righteousness of Christ (the only way our righteousness can exceed the Pharisees) which is in us by faith, and follow the Holy Spirit in love with a sincere heart, and you will fulfill all of the law.

Anonymous said...

If there are no clear instructions to show that all of the law is abolished then may it be better to take time on this matter.
I believe that this is a warning great to keep in mind when reading the letters of the new covenant

2Pet3v16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

Not only does it warn us about misunderstanding Paul but is also warns us that we can be destroyed in the lake of fire because of it.Quite a scripture you would agree.

Your ministry makes mention of the Bereans and of course they were more noble because they searched the scriptures daily to prove what Paul was saying.This is very important but as i am sure you are aware,there were no new covenant writings at that particular point and so they could only search the law,the prophets and the writings etc. This means that all that they needed would be found here to confirm the New cov.

Col 2v13
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14 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;

15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

This is speaking of those who were gentiles and unsaved and now that they have received Christ through the blotting out of their sins that were condemning them,they must not now allow others to judge them on the new way they are living.These people were not previously following the God of Israel but idols and so their practices would become strange to those around them.Now the pagans were not in any position to judge them on how they worshipped God through the sabbaths,new moons ,food and drink etc. These precise prescriptions are from the God of Israel only and they are currently a shadow of good things which have not yet come.

Psalms 91v1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty

Again if i could draw your attention to the word"is" in verse 17 of Colossians 2.This word is in italics and is inserted by the interpreter but take it out for a moment and read it in context regarding the things that are mentioned and see if it reads any different.

Who are the only ones able to judge what is right or wrong among believers..? is'nt it only believers?

John 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Looking at your list regarding matters of the law,i think it is important to align them with the walking talking Word of God who is the perfect will of The Father.If he taught the word of God to his disciples and them sent them into the world to spread it,then surely Paul would have to preach the same word as is eternally in Jesus.Anyone who reads the new covenant writings will quickly see that Paul seems to be teaching something different than Jesus and the 11 but this is impossible.Therefore it has to be back to 2Peter3v16 to try and unravel this man who is so very well educated.
Blessings to you
David


xHWA said...

Your desire to tie this whole thing down to the presence or absence of a phrase of your choosing is not going to reinstate the law. You want the phrase "the law is gone" to appear in exactly that configuration, ignoring that the entire covenant is gone, and that the law can do nothing good for you, and that the law never applied to you, and that you don't actually keep the whole law by any means anyhow. But absolutely do take time on this. I am a huge proponent of this. Again and again I implore you to prayerfully search out both sides to see which one holds up (which you won't do). Being blown about by every wind of doctrine is not recommended.

The warning Peter gives is definitely appropriate here. Thank you for bringing it up. Consider that Paul is in fact being twisted -- to appear legalistic.

For example by playing "Word Games" with Colossians 2: 17. The word "is" wasn't "inserted by the translator" because the translator is twisting Paul, it was inserted by the translator because the English requires that word in order to be properly translated from the Greek.
I suggest spending more time reading the article in that link there (it goes over this in depth) and less much less time reading COGWA articles.

So, who is twisting Paul again? Certainly wasn't us.

Or for a second example, your dodge to my list. Even though my list is absolutely clear regarding the law and comes straight from the Bible, perhaps you can yet undo that list by claiming that it has to be legalistic like Jesus who is God. Maybe if you appeal to the pre-crucified, pre-New Covenant actions of Jesus you can assert these verses I list (and that was a very abridged list) can just be ignored because somehow, some way, it is all a big misunderstanding? Perhaps none of these verses are saying what they clearly say contra-legalism because Jesus was a Jew? And, in fact, you are right back to your earlier claim that we need to keep the law because we need to do a highly cherry-picked list of things that Jesus did during the Old Covenant period.

Or for a third example, perhaps if you mention that the Bereans searched the Old Testament, maybe you can assert that the only reason anyone would read the Old Testament is because they were being taught to keep the law, and in this perhaps you can wipe away the New Covenant. Now, where is your proof of this assertion? There exists none at all. In fact, what did Luke tell us that Paul was preaching, and what the Bereans were verifying? The law? No. The suffering and death of the Messiah (ACT. 17: 2-3).

And we still haven't seen anything from you saying "the Sabbath is not done away". Typically, at this point many proof-text Hebrews 4: 9, totally ignoring that the author of Hebrews just spent many words proving the weekly Sabbath is not that rest (for example verse 8).

These are not three example of someone just reading the Bible and accepting what it clearly says. These are just three examples of many in an attempt to twist Paul, precisely as Peter warned against. So who is manipulating and wresting? Not us.

Seriously David, prayerfully read our material and hear us out.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I would like to bring this conversation to a stop if that is ok .So please do not post any more barrages of words at me because to be honest,you are talking at me and not to me.I know that you believe you are right but just as you are saying that i do not check your material.please read over your own comments and see if you are actually proving anything that you believe.
My last post was to address Col2v16 and you made it sound like the word "is" was the twist to Paul's words of which you did not address properly or even let me know that you read itas i had requested,which does tell me that you are not the Berean but lets just move on.
Thanks again
David

xHWA said...

David,

I am not about to re-write posts here in the comments section. I've already written at length on every topic you brought up. Your points are common points. Even the "is" point. The response from the authors at ABD is written out for you with evidence and references. Sometimes I've written out my side multiple times in multiple different posts. I am not going to multiply my efforts for your convenience. If you don't want to bother yourself to read it, that's not my problem. If you think I am going to feel in the least bit disappointed as if I did not address your points, merely because I didn't do it *again* here in the comments, then I suppose you'll just have to remain unsatisfied. Your refusal to click and read a post is not a deficiency on my part.

I've left you multiple links for you. Don't deny that you ignored the links that left for you. It's beyond obvious that you didn't read them.

I've addressed each and every one of your points; you've ignored each and every one of mine. I've supported my claims with evidence and references, you've not supported your claims at all. When I request that you prove your points out, you feign offense and threaten to walk off. I've been polite and patient with you; you've called me evil and a liar and etc. Yet you want to claim some sort of moral high ground? You preach and proof-text and ignore me, then you want to paint a picture that I talk past you? As I said to you two times prior - you are making my point for me.

Perhaps you came here expecting what you accept as truth to be so compelling that we could't possibly have any valid response at all? Sorry to disappoint. I think you were surprised that I had already answered your claims and required more of you than proof-texting and baseless assertion in return, so you opted to just ignore it. That's fine. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away, though.

If you don't want to comment here, that's your prerogative. I didn't come to your blog, you came to mine. You can comment or not comment, read or not read. But one thing you apparently cannot do is prove your point.

I pray God's blessings to you all the more.

Martha said...

David,

I've been keeping up with your exchange with xHWA and was puzzled by something you said yesterday.

You referenced the name of this ministry, and noted the Bereans were considered more noble because they searched the scriptures (Acts 17:11). Well, they were searching the Old Testament scriptures, since there were no New Testament writings at the time! So the Sinai Covenant still applies to Christians today! Game over.

The problem is, the COGs have taught you to helicopter in on a single verse, in isolation of the context. The second half of verse 11 tells us that the Bereans examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true.

This begs the question, what was Paul preaching that they had to verify? It stands to reason that it was the same message he was run out of Thessalonica for preaching, since the scripture calls the Bereans more noble in comparison to the Thessalonians. What was he preaching in Thessalonica? Verse 2-3 tells us:

"Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying 'This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ."

This is what the Bereans were searching out the scriptures to discover. The many prophecies about the Messiah. Not which laws to keep. But to find this, we must read the whole passage, not individual verses in isolation. This is not something COG ministers typically do - it is the COG culture, so I know it isn't your fault that you have learned to read the Bible this way. This is why the notes we take during sermons often included 30+ isolated scriptures but no context. And I will not engage in a discussion of Paul's Sabbath "custom" mentioned in Acts 17:2, as xHWA has included ample discussion on the Sabbath that you already appear to have ignored.

Also, I spent more than a month last fall researching Colossians 2:13-18. I was appalled to find how badly the COGs have twisted this passage once I turned to the original Greek text. I discuss what I discovered in the post Word Games . Further, if the Sinai Covenant practices discussed in Colossians 2 are still required today, why don't you celebrate New Moons? Are the COGs condemning people to the Lake of Fire for not endorsing this required practice? COGWA, UCG and other splinters waffle on the New Moon issue and either state Jews were no longer celebrating the New Moons by Christ's time, that it must have been linked to dietary laws like the other points from Colossians 2, or that they simply have no idea what the Jews did to mark the New Moon. Many Jewish and Messianic Jewish sources, Josephus included, give ample detail about how Jews in the times of Christ and Paul marked the New Moon. New Moons - What Josephus Says They Were Really Doing .If I could find it, so can the COG ministry. It's out there, for those who want to truly understand the context of scripture instead of just picking and choosing.

Again, David, we know none of this is your fault. We too were caught up in the system of Biblical half-truths and proof-texts. We praise God for calling us out of that darkness and are humbled that He would use us to help others the same way. This is why we plead so fervently with you and others.