Are christians supposed to “do what Jesus said”?

January 31, 2021

I recently read an online comment suggesting an “excellent grace teacher” (a YouTuber).  Yet after listening to several of this person’s videos I learned that she encourages Christians to keep the Law, to “do what Jesus said.”   She even went so far as to say that we believers are held to a higher standard than the Israelites; that in fact, we must, “be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This illustrates a clear misunderstanding of WHERE to divide the Word of God.  She is incorrectly dividing the Old Covenant from the New Covenant.

Are Christians supposed to “do what Jesus said”?  When we rightly divide the Word of truth, the answer is clear:  no!

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)

Why?  Because Jesus taught the Old Covenant.  The New Covenant went into effect at His death.

So, when Jesus said things like this (below), remember that He was trying to show the religious Israelites that they did NOT perfectly obey the Law of Moses, and therefore needed to come to the Messiah for salvation.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brotherc will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21,22, ESV)

We “rightly divide” the word of truth by understanding that the New Covenant begins with the book of Acts

Thus, we can finally relax when we read the four books of the gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — knowing that Jesus was NOT talking to us, or telling us what to do, or how to live.

Believers, we are living in the days of the the New Covenant.  Let’s live in freedom as recipients of the eternal inheritance! 😁

Therefore Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died to redeem them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.(Hebrews 9:15, BSB)

Jesus is the Resurrection.

sand dunes during golden hour
Photo by Ralph David on Pexels.com

Jesus said that He wants us to have life, and to have it more abundantly.  He also said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  And, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

So, if you want more “life” in your life, then it makes perfect sense to turn to the One who IS life.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

Our job as Christians is to trust Him, the life-giver.  And as you trust Him, you will grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  And that makes for a glorious, abundant life!!!

As you grow to know Him and His love for you, and perhaps more importantly, His acceptance of you, you will begin to understand what Jesus meant when He said:  “I came so that they might have life.”

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

There is no real life apart from the Lord.  Everything else is just a false substitute for life.

John 5:26 also talks about this “real life.”

“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.”

Life begins by responding to Him in faith, and by believing in what He has already done for you: Jesus Christ died, was buried and then He rose again.  When you believe in the gospel you receive spiritual life.  The life that you receive is Him, His Spirit.

Real life begins there… and it never ends.  Believers have been given an eternal life.  As we walk in the Spirit, we are trusting Him.  We trust Him today, tomorrow and we will trust Him for all of eternity.

Let’s continue trusting Him every day and in every circumstance.

And hey, Happy Easter.

 

Must faith be accompanied by works?

Forgive me, Father, I have sinned; it has been four months since my last blog post.

Just kidding!  . . . About the asking for forgiveness part.  Not kidding that it’s been four months since I’ve written anything here.  My personal life has been overwhelming and consuming and causing much anxiety — a ‘down-cast heart.’  I have simply not had the energy to blog.

But God is active and living and He is ever-present, dwelling in my innermost being, as I live through the storms of life.  Though the world may slay me, yet will I praise Him.

So, getting to the point, must faith be accompanied by works?  . . . Of course not!  We are saved by grace through faith, and we are sustained each and every day by His grace through our faith; through our trust in Him; our resting in the work He has already accomplished.

But what about the book of James?

But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? (James 2:20, NASB)

Gee, thanks for the encouragement, brother James.

No, sorry.  He got that part wrong.  Faith is IT.  Sola fide.  We are justified by faith alone.

The five chapters of the book of James are filled with things we must do.  There is not one mention of the death or resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  No mention of the divinity of Jesus.  No mention of our forgiveness or justification by faith.  James believes we are justified by works.

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24, NASB)

Did you know that the book of James was ABSENT from the first list of New Testament books known as the Muratorian Fragment.  James’ epistle was not confirmed as a book of the Bible, included in the canon of the New Testament, until the fourth century A.D.!  James was added to the Bible in AD 367, after the creation of Roman Catholicism!

Yet there is an excellent argument to be made concerning the fact that including the book of James in the Bible is important because it illustrates the differences between Paul and James, between a life of faith and a life of works. (Click here for a Bible Study by Living God Ministries on that topic.)

Sure James makes some good points, such as “if you stumble at one part of the Law of Moses, you are guilty of the entire thing.”  But, mainly, when I read the book of James, I think, “Man, he’s a raging legalist!”

I’m thankful that I have been set free from a life of works.  I am thankful to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus; a life where I am free to walk in the Spirit, and live each day according to the Law of the Spirit of Life, and not according to the Law of Sin and death.

 

 

November 6, 2019  9:58 AM