Wednesday, October 19, 2011


There are two kinds of Law found in the Old Testament: the Law which is summarized by the Ten Commandments, and the Ceremonial Law. As I stated yesterday, the Ten Commandments apply to all of mankind, and are God's instructions on how we are to relate to Him, and to our neighbor. Commandments One through Four cover the special place God should have in our lives (Ex. 20:1-11; Deut. 5:1-15). Commandments Five through Ten state how God wants us to live with others (Ex. 20:12-17; Deut. 5:16-21). With the exception of the Fourth Commandment which addresses the Sabbath Day, God's Commandments are restated over and over again in the New Testament, and clearly apply to born again believers. Christians do observe a day of rest, but do so on the first day of the week in honor of the Lord's Resurrection, and also of the Day of Pentecost on which the Church was born (Mk. 16:2; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Acts 2:1-4). The Ceremonial Law applies to Israel, and covers its worship, its feasts or holidays, and its cultural way of life. The Church is a separate entity, and not subject to the Ceremonial Laws of Israel, nor are we expected to keep them (Col. 2:14-17).

While it is true that born again believers are not saved by obeying the Law, we maintain fellowship with God and with our fellow believers by living our lives by the principles of His Law (1 Jn. 1:1-10). Although the last five Commandments which address how we are to relate to our neighbor are stated in the negative, the New Testament defines and restates them in a very positive fashion. Matthew wrote:
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matt.22:37-40).
The Apostle Paul wrote the same thing, but condensed it into one:
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Gal. 5:13-14).

Apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Christian cannot even keep this one thing God desires for us. Paul wrote, "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not" (Rom. 7:18). As believers, we need the Holy Spirit to fill us so that we are able to express His nature in our relationship with others (Eph. 5:17-21). Being filled, or "walking in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25), allows God to show forth the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23). "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13:10).

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