Jesus taught the Old Covenant

Jesus Christ taught the Old Covenant when He was here on earth.

When He was here on earth as the “Son of God” — which just means that God, who dwells in unapproachable light, reduced Himself and put on human flesh . . .

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14

. . . Okay, sorry, for the digression . . .

All right, when He was here on earth, Jesus the Son of God, taught the Old Covenant.  The Old Covenant is the ‘contract’ He entered into with the nation of Israel consisting of 613 commandments which they were to obey perfectly.  Jesus Christ taught and explained this covenant to its fullest degree. Why?

Because the New Covenant did not go into effect until after He died.

“In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.”  Hebrews 9:16-18

So, we can see from Hebrews 9:16-18 that the New Covenant did not go into effect until after His death and resurrection.

Therefore, while He was living His 33 years as a human on this earth,  the Old Covenant was still in effect, and THAT is the covenant that He taught.  His ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (recorded in Matthew 5, 6, 7) is the epitome of His teaching; kind of like His Mission Statement.  Check it out if you haven’t read it recently.

In His Sermon on the Mount He told the crowd gathered around Him that if they wanted to be judged according to their works, their deeds, according to a system of good and evil, a system of right and wrong, then they would have to be PERFECT.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:48

Jesus taught this way in order to finally — once and for all — end the argument that began in the Garden of Eden.  God said that He created mankind to live according to the Law of Life; Satan countered that mankind would be better off living according to the Law of Good versus Evil. (Genesis 2 and 3)

2,500 years later, roughly, God gave the Law to Moses, and the nation of Israel willingly and whole-heartedly entered into this covenant with God.

And then, 1,500 years after the ratification of the Old Covenant, Jesus Christ came to earth to fulfill the Law — to meet the demands of the Law.  He did this as an act of mercy since there was no way that we could possibly meet the demands ourselves.

When you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you are reading the final and full explanation of the Law of Moses.  It’s not just, “Hey, let’s read these books to learn more about Jesus.”  But instead, “Hey, let’s seek and embrace and grasp the complete magnification of the Law, of the Old Covenant.”

There is so much confusion in the Christian world.  There are so many contradictions being espoused.  There is barely any clarity.  It doesn’t make sense to people.

Understanding that Jesus taught the Old Covenant is crucial to making sense of your Christian life.  The New Testament begins with the Book of Acts, not Matthew.

By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.  Hebrews 8:13

For more on this topic, please listen to this excellent series in the Sermon on the Mount produced by Living God Ministries . . .

And have a good day living in the New Covenant.

 

July 25, 2017

Do you put God first?

If we’re honest, none of us puts God first.  I personally think all of us are so self-absorbed that we mainly think about ourselves.  If you don’t agree with me, just please think about it for a day.  Be brutally honest with yourself and see who you love with all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your strength?  God or yourself?

As born-again believers, we hate this about ourselves.  We want to love God.  We know we should love God.  We want to make God #1 in our lives.  But we fail.

I love this quote by my pastor (who is mainly my pastor through his radio ministry; I do attend his church, but only once a month.)  Anyway, here’s the quote:

“Jesus does not want you to reserve time for Him; that’s not what He wants. What He wants is for you to take Him with you into your time.”

(Aaron Budjen; Radio Archive; “First Place in your Life.”)

If you are interested, here is the link to the 27-minute radio program.

 

 

July 8, 2017

 

Christ is the End of the Law

If you are a believer, the Law of Moses was brought to an end for you.

Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

What is the Law?

What the apostle Paul calls “the law” comprises all of the hundreds of commandments that God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai.  Christians focus on the first 10, but it’s common knowledge in the Orthodox Jewish community that there are a total of 613 commandments.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John further magnify the Law, but the four gospels are technically part of the Old Testament, since the New Covenant did not go into effect until the death of Jesus Christ.

For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. (Hebrews 9:17, ESV)

Without the gospels, it would be easy to conclude that the Law deals only with outward behavior. Jesus Christ, however, helps us to see that to be truly obedient to the Law, our thoughts and intentions must also be pure and good.

Ever felt tormented by one of the parables? Feel uncomfortable when you read the Sermon on the Mount? Those feelings are normal. The Law is having its perfect effect on you. It is beating you up. It is condemning you.

Jesus Christ used the Law correctly:  to lead us to the Mercy Seat of God, since we have no hope of living according to the Law; according to rules and regulations.

Not only did Jesus teach the Law correctly (as opposed to the Pharisees who used it incorrectly), He also lived the Law correctly. He lived every moment of His life under the curse of the Law; He obeyed all of the commandments perfectly.

Jesus did not come to abolish the Law of Moses, but to fulfill it. Since the obligations of the Law were fulfilled by Him, it has been brought to an end.

“He did this by erasing the charges that were brought against us by the written laws God had established. He took the charges away by nailing them to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14, GWT)

Christ is the END of the Law, not the beginning. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.”  We Christians must come to the end of the Law, and live righteously by our belief and trust in Him, not in our obedience to a set of rules.

If Jesus Christ is the end of the Law to everyone who believes, why do so many believers today want to remain ‘in’ the Law?  Why are we not coming to the end of it?

For many of us, it takes time.  For me, it took 15 years of ‘giving it my all.’

So, again, what is the Law?

The story of God giving the 613 commandments to Moses begins in Exodus chapter 20. After God speaks the first 10 commandments, there is a break in the narrative because the millions of Israelites gathered around Mt. Sinai grew terrified and they ran away.

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’” (Exodus 20:18-19)

From then on, God spoke solely to Moses. Aaron Budjen brought this truth to light in his programs on the book of Hebrews: that God wanted to speak to the entire nation of Israel Himself, yet the only one who would listen to Him was Moses. (Check out the Radio Archive section of his website at:  www.livinggodministries.net)

The rest of the 603 commandments are recorded in chapters 21, 22 and 23 of Exodus. When God finished speaking to Moses, he went down the mountain and reported the 613 commandments to the Israelites. They agreed to obey all of them.

“Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 24:3)

After that Moses “wrote down all of the words of the Lord.” In its written form, it is often called The Book of the Covenant.

Next, Moses reads his book to them. This is the second time they are hearing the Law.

In essence he is saying to them, “Hold on guys, are you sure about this? You’re really going to do everything He said? This is serious. You had better listen to all of these commandments again.”

The second reading of the Law is recorded in Exodus 24, “Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”

I love the classic Jewish behavior shown here: they are very enthusiastic, very driven, and very ambitious.

Next they wander around in the wilderness for 40 years, but before they enter the Promised Land, Moses goes over the covenant with them a third time.

“After they wandered around in the desert for 40 years He reestablished the covenant with them – they went over it, they reviewed it – and Moses rewrote the covenant in what we call the Deuteronomy, or the book of Deuteronomy. In that text we have a rewrite of the covenant in “covenantial form.” (Aaron Budjen)

They try and try for over 600 years to obey all that the Lord had said to them, but they continually fail. God kicks them out of the Promised Land and they get taken to Babylon as slaves. (Click here for more information.)

The Pharisees arise during the Babylonian captivity. The Pharisees were the Orthodox and ultra Orthodox Jews of their day. They added thousands of ‘fence laws’ to God’s original 613, and they come to believe that they have finally achieved total obedience to the Law.

The Messiah arrives on the scene around 4 B.C., and He really gets in their faces. Jesus tells them plainly that they have not achieved perfection; He ends the Sermon on the Mount by telling them that they have to actually be as perfect as God the Father.

Jesus was as perfect as God.  Because He was God.  He is God.  Only He could fulfill the Law.  And since He died as a human, His death was acceptable to God the Father as a substitutionary death for all of humanity.

He brought an end to the Law. If you are a new creation in Christ, do not allow the Law of Moses to be your guide; allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.  Live according the Law of the Spirit of Life. Do not live according to the Law of Sin and Death.

Jesus Christ is the end of the Law to everyone who believes.

End it already.

 

May 31, 2016