Doctrine Six Continued
The Bible is the Foundation of the Church
THE APOSTLES UPHELD THE LAW OF GOD
THE APOSTLES UPHELD THE LAW OF GOD
JAMES ON THE LAW
" . . . he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
"If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty."
"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?"
JOHN ON THE LAW
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."
(I John 2:3-6)
"Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. . . . and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. . . . He who sins is of the devil . . . "
(I John 3:4-6, 8)
"And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight."
(I John 3:22)
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."
(I John 5:2-3)
"This is love, that we walk according to His commandments."
(II John 6)
Herbert W. Armstrong taught that the Law of God is summarized by the one word "love." Love is subdivided into the Two Great Commandments: 1) love toward God and 2) love toward neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40), and further subdivided into the Ten Commandments (Matthew 19:16-19), the first four of which tell us how to love God, and the last six how to love our neighbor. In their spiritual intent, the Ten Commandments expand to cover every aspect of human thought and behavior (Matthew 5:17-48). When Jesus spoke of "the least of these commandments" (Matthew 5:19), He was referring to this spiritual application of the Law. Jesus wants the church to teach and observe all of His commandments, from the "least" to the "greatest" of them (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to "living water" (John 7:38-39; 4:10, 14). Mr. Armstrong compared the Ten Commandments to the "river bed" down which the Holy Spirit flows. If love -- the first fruit of God's Spirit (Galatians 5:22) -- is in our heart (Romans 5:5), we will keep the Ten Commandments naturally (Romans 2:13-15; 13:9-10; Galatians 5:14; Matthew 7:12). The spirit of the law goes hand-in-hand with the letter of the law (Luke 10:25-28 and 18:18-19).
PAUL ON THE LAW
" . . . there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts. . . .
"Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law . . . having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, 'Do not commit adultery,' do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? . . .
"For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law, but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision."
(Romans 2:11-15, 17-23, 25)
"Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law."
"Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good."
"For if God did not spare the natural branches" (Israel), "He may not spare you" (Gentile Christians) "either."
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor theives, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."
(I Corinthians 6:9-10)
"Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters."
(I Corinthians 7:19)
"And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under the law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
(I Corinthians 9:20-22)
The preceding passage explains why some of Paul's writings are hard to understand and can be twisted (II Peter 3:16) to make it seem as if Paul "abrogated the law." Paul believed in and kept the law of God, but often dealt with Gentiles ("the weak") as if he were one of them, in order to gain their confidence and win them over to his way of thinking. An honest study of Romans 2, 6 and 7, along with Ephesians 4, 5 and 6, shows that Paul taught his Gentile converts to keep -- to be "under" -- the law of God, just as Christ and all of the apostles taught. In the New Covenant, God is writing His laws on the hearts and in the minds of true Christians today (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16). God's laws are the very basis of the New Covenant, as they were of the Old Covenant (Deuteronomy 4:13).
As an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul taught that it was the Old Testament Levitical priesthood, the animal sacrifices and the temple rituals which had been "done away." [Study the book of Galatians (chapters 3 and 4) in conjunction with the book of Hebrews (chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10) on this point; see also Matthew 21:43, 45.] Paul had grown up in the Jewish religion of his day, was taught by Gamaliel, advanced to a high position in the Jewish religious bureaucracy at an early age, served directly under the high priest in Jerusalem, and was sent on missions to exterminate the church of God. But Paul gave up his religious upbringing and high position after his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22; Galatians 1:13-14, 23; Philippians 3:4-8). After becoming an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul did not want his Gentile converts to come under the same yoke of "bondage" (Galatians 5:1) from which he himself had been "freed." Any religious bureaucracy which is not of God is "bondage." The particular bondage to which Paul referred in the book of Galatians was the religious authority stemming from the high priest in Jerusalem. This included the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, and all of their man-made traditions (Mark 7:1-13; Galatians 1:13-14; Colossians 2:8, 20-22). After his conversion, Paul came under the authority of Jesus Christ -- the high priest of the New Covenant.
Scripture teaches that God is holy, that His Law is holy, His Spirit is holy, His Sabbath is holy, and that God wants us to become holy as He is holy. Since God is writing His Laws in the hearts and on the minds of true Christians, we can be assured that He wants His church to keep all of the Ten Commandments today.
But the human race is "carnal minded." It lacks the Holy Spirit and is hostile toward God's Law (Romans 8:7-9; 1:28-32). The carnal mind simply does not want to be governed by God. That is the motivation of those who "twist" Paul's writings -- they want to do away with the Law of God in order to conform with society and be well thought of by people (Luke 6:22-23, 26). They "love the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43). Herbert W. Armstrong said that the motivation of most professing Christians is to "get" -- they want to "get saved," to "get (receive) Christ" and to "get salvation" -- but they do not want to give themselves in obedience to God the Father.
Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30). John said that the love of God is to keep His Commandments and that His Commandments are not burdensome (I John 5:3). The "yoke" that Jesus wants true Christians to wear is to be under the government of God: to keep the Two Great Commandments, the Ten Commandments and the "least" of God's Commandments -- which means to apply God's Law in our lives spiritually as well as physically (Matthew 28:20; 22:36-40; 19:16-19; 5:17-19).
"Having the ATTITUDE of the 'SPIRIT OF THE LAW' is the attitude of the mind of CHRIST!"
-- Herbert W. Armstrong, What is a Liberal?