Category Archives: Identification with Christ

A Christian’s Identification with Christ

Substitutionary Atonement: One for All

This year I’ve really gotten into watching baseball.  I think its in part because of my brother-in-law Kurt’s excitement for sports and my grandpa’s love for baseball.  Baseball is a pastime in this country and I am a fan.  I live near the Colorado Rockies’ stadium in Denver (20 minutes or so away) and I keep track of their activities with some regularity.  This last Friday their head coach, Clint Hurdles, was released from his position and was replaced by their bench coach as the interim coach.  This change is one I don’t agree with as a fan, but they didn’t ask me.  Here’s where the theology comes in: the first basement Todd Helton, a believer, was interviewed and had this to say:

“We should be held just as accountable as anybody. Obviously, he takes the sword for us.  He didn’t have any bad at-bats, he didn’t throw any bad pitches. He’s the same manager he was two years ago [editor: when the Rockies went to the World Series]. We realize that. We realize that ultimately we are the reason he got fired because we played bad baseball. We definitely feel responsible.”

There are times when one person takes the fall for a group.  Christ, being the only acceptable sacrifice for the sins of mankind made the sacrifice.  We all deserved the penalty for our not ‘playing well’ – there is no minor leagues for real life where you get to figure out this being a human thing and then bring it to the big game.  Instead you get to screw up in front of everyone, blow it miserably in front of anyone, and ultimately stand before God as having failed to live up to His glory (Romans 3:23) – accept if Christ took your place in judgment on the cross.  Then you were identified with His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and seating.  The Rockies players know that they were saved from being dropped into the minor leagues because of their coaches sacrifice.

We know that without the sacrifice of Christ we would have nothing to stand before God with that would give us any confidence.  Instead of the worry of judgment for punishment, we look forward to a judgment for rewards.  One where heaven will become a place for a bride and the bride groom.  It will be a perfect game, one with no outs, endless innings, and no injuries.  Oh, and I think that there will be no stealing of bases ;)

Propitiation in Marriage Counseling

This afternoon I saw a twitter message from PWilson (Peter Wilson) regarding a rough day counseling a couple.  Then at Bible Study we went over I John 4:8-12.  As we hit verse 10 it hit me like a charging pachyderm that counseling a couple (or individual) in sin may just need to start over at the beginning.  It is our tendency to start counseling in the middle of the problem.  Start by making sure that everyone knows how everyone feels.  The problem is that its the middle of the problem.

To start correctly you need to start at the beginning: are both parties believers?  If that’s a no then you’re going to have to address that first.  I will let the counselor figure out how to deal with presenting the gospel as the core issue in the case of an unequally yoked couple.  After establishing the salvation of both people the next and most important question is this: do they both know who they are in Christ?  If the believer doesn’t understand who they are in Christ then its very, very easy to only see who they are in the flesh [Romans 1 looks really different from Romans 5].  Go over the Unfathomable riches in Christ (AKA The 34 things) with the couple.

Propitiation is the term used to describe the accomplishment of Christ’s work on the cross from God’s perspective.  From our perspective we’re saved and redeemed.  From God’s perspective His righteousness is satisfied through the totally adequate work of Christ on the cross.  If that sounds familiar it is because Grace can be defined as the unlimited, unmerited blessings of God through the totally adequate work of Christ on the cross.

The fundamental question that the believer must ask when confronted with the sin of himself, herself, or others is this: if God is satisfied that the sin has been paid for, why am I still focused on it?  It isn’t that sin doesn’t hurt, but it is that the penalty for the sin has been paid for.  The flesh wants to look at the flesh, but the Holy Spirit calls us to look to the heavenlies for a God-centric focus [see: Colossians 3:1-4].  The past cannot be changed, but it can be paid for – is it?  Sins can be confessed, forgiveness can be asked – has it been asked for?  Did God forgive it? Why can’t I?

Believers have to be given the key to walking without sin.  Counseling unto reconciliation is awesome, but if you take them that far you need to walk with them until they recognize that they must continue to set their mind on things above so that they can be free from the bondage of sin through reckoning [See Romans 5-6, specifically 5:21, 6:11].  Reckoning isn’t a psychological game you play, it is the recognition that having been identified with Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension and seating (Ephesians 2:5-6, Colossians 3:3).

I have talked with two specific elders who do counseling at our church and they both have shared this concept with me, but it was the sequence of Peter Wilson and I John today that spurred me to put this to written form.  Two marriages, that I know of, have been resolved, restored, and grow in Grace to this day because of the principles outlined above.  I hope that this might be helpful for you, Peter and the entire body of Christ.

Issues in Dispensationalism: Was Jesus in the Old Testament or in the New Testament

My buddy Trint privately messaged me and asked for my take on this particular blog post: I’m Possessed.  The author of the post wrestles with how he should apply the content of the post and looks for an out so that he doesn’t have to wrestle with the guilt of not fulfilling Christ’s command.  The good news is that I think that there is a very simple and low-guilt out: hermeneutics (AKA Proper Bible Interpretation).  There is also another out: Grace (AKA the fact that you’re not under the Law any more, as you have died to this world and its systems with Christ if you are a believer).

While on the surface it looks like this post may be about money and possessions, its really a about the issue of which dispensation Christ was in and how we deal with the life of Christ before His death, burial, resurrection and ascension.  How do we as believers address the complexities of what Jesus did and said verses what we’re called to do as His possession?  I believe that fundamentally the question that was asked by the author of the aforementioned blog post is flawed because it presupposes that everything that Christ spoke was directed towards the disciples, the New Testament church, and the believer today.

I’m co-teaching a class on Bible Interpretation at church (Link to Series for download) and rather than start in the middle of why this is a poor approach to interpreting this passage I’m going to go through the processes we’re teaching and attempt to see if I come to the same application that the author of the post comes to.  Join me as we look at observations, interpretations, applications and appropriations.  For the record I don’t for some second think that the author of the other post is attempting to misrepresent the passage, I just want to challenge myself and all believers to be consistent in our interpretation and theological calling to be noble minded like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

Observation of the passage calls for evaluating language, culture, history, context and as many pertinent facts as we can observe objectively about the passage and its contents.  Lets go through those systematically and see what objective elements pop out.  We’ll also want to ask who, what, where, when, why, and how to make sure we’ve got the right focus of the passage.  I’ll be using the resources publicly availabe at blueletterbible.org for you to follow along with if you want to check my references.

Context

The context of the passage appears to be Christ speaking to his disciples and in verse 13 one disciple asks Christ to speak to his brother so as to instruct the brother toward equality in dividing the inheritance that the man was to receive.  Christ then launches on a series of principles that seem to outline first that Christ was not interested in making that call about the inheritance (v. 14).  Instead Christ was interested in motive and source of life (coveting v. 15).  Christ’s parables subsequent to motive point out God’s provision (vs. 16-31).  Seeking the things of God will show God’s provision for the needs of the believer.

Language

The language of the Luke passage is Greek.  I’m not going to delve into each Greek word, but I will highlight the bits and pieces that seem to carry the most weight in the selected verses.

Fear Not:  The Greek here is two words: phobeō .  We’re all familiar with the English transliteration and adaptation phobia, and the Greek carries with it just such a context [BLB].  The verb tense is present, middle, imperative, which means that the person listening to Christ is to take the command to heart.  The negation of the fear indicates that we should not for any reason let fear rule in the context of this passage.

little flock: The Lord uses a metric indicator to reflect the size of the disciples despite the first verse of the chapter reflecting that a general throng had gathered around the smaller circle of the disciples.  Flock was used analogously of the group of disciples and is apparently common figurative language as all five times that it is translated that way in the KJV the figurative subject is a body of saints (vs. Luke 12:32, Acts 20:28, Acts 20:29, 1Peter 5:2-3).

your Father: interestingly we see Christ identifying the disciples as being sons of the Father.

good pleasure: The Father’s pleasure is is aorist, active, indicative which indicates to us that it is a past action with ongoing results, it is being done by the father to the disciples and it is spoken factually.

the Kingdom: if you want to see theologians argue bring up the kingdom.  However, the disciples, as best as we can tell, would have recognized the kingdom as the coming kingdom of the Messiah [Grk reference].  A rulership that would entail political power, peace, and a fulfillment of the New Covenant (See Jeremiah 31:31).

Sell: The Greek here is imperative and active.  You sell your stuff as soon as is expedient.

alms:  Alms would be a gift.  A benevolent and generous gift that was not earned by the recipient.

a treasure: A storage place for valuables, or the valuables in the storage place.

in the heavens: The dwelling place of God above all of creation.

where your treasure is: is is present, indicative.  It reflects the fact of where your treasure is now.

Culture

The Jewish culture generally operated with the mindset that material blessing was a sign of spiritual right relationship.  God promised material blessing to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and to the Hebrews if they followed Him and made Him their God.  Christ’s apparent countering of this by saying sell this sign of blessing would have had some sort of shock value.

History

Historically wages were earned with hard labor.  There were not normal cases of overnight millionaires (figuratively speaking) and an inheritance was a valuable thing to receive because it may allow you to break free of debt, help establish a stronger business through investment capital, or could be used in various trading businesses to increase overall wealth.  Many households had very simple possessions and were not lavish.  Tax collectors like Matthew would have come into the house and evaluated the apparent wealth based on the possessions and then demanded a payment for Rome.

5 W’s and an H

Who: Christ is speaking to the disciples about God’s character

What: earthly possessions, heavenly possessions, faith

When: every day life

Where: wherever the disciple is

Why: because the disciple was concerned over the inheritence

How: God’s provisions

Interpretation

The interpretation is a summary or re-statement of the passage or verses that attempts to collect the observations into a coherent statement.

My close disciples and followers, you should have no fear over earthly provisions because the Father in heaven will give you the food and clothing and shelter that you need as He brings about the fulfillment of the kingdom.  Take the worldly things that are of value and sell them in faith because those things rust, fade, and lose value.  Instead look forward to the treasures that are in heaven by walking in an abiding relationship with the Father because where you treasure is, and that should be in heaven, there your heart is.

Application

Application looks at the passage at hand and looks for a subjective principle, a fact that can be relied upon, a truth that can be enacted, or an appropriation.  There are two kinds of applications: direct and indirect.  You will need to determine if there is a direct application for you by looking at the intended audience of the interpretation!  If you are not the intended audience (and in this passage you are not)  then there may be an indirect application of principles or truths to rely on.  I’ll list a few applications based on the interpretation and you can meditate on this as well and bring up other suggestions.

Direct application

  • The disciples could rely on the Father for provision
  • The disciples could abide in the Father (see John 15) and that intimacy would build up or store treasures in heaven that would be rust free
  • The disciple who had asked the question about his inheritance could relax about equal distribution because the earthly blessing would eventually lose value even if it had short term value

Indirect Application or Principles

  • The believer can rely on God for provision
  • This passage confirms our need to be heavenly minded just like Paul instructs the believers in Colossians 3:1-3
  • We need to rely on the Lord for our value and not on our stuff

Conclusion

You can see that while these two lists are not exhaustive, the New Testament saint, because he is not the specific recipient of the instructions from Christ has nothing to fear about not fulfilling this passage’s imperative commands.  We can look at other New Testament passages such as Acts 2:44-45, Romans 12:13, Philippians 4:18-19 and evaluate God’s commands regarding provisions in the body of Christ.  There are plenty of opportunities to serve the Lord as we abide in Christ and walk by the Spirit, but we don’t need to worry about commands for Old Testament Saints (and even though the gospels are under the New Testament moniker, they are not directed towards New Testament Saints).

By carefully applying hermeneutics and by making sure that you understand the context of the passage you’re studying you can walk in confidence that you are under grace, you can walk confidently in your position in Christ, and you can boldly assert your Christian liberty.  This doesn’t liberate you from righteousness empowered by the Holy Spirit (see: Romans 6), but it liberates you to be motivated by grace, which is the only true motivation in the life of the believer.

Oh, and I do lift up before our Lord the provision of the autistic son of the author of that post.  We come before you Lord in confidence that you have brought us all together as believers to seek out opportunities to server one another.  We pray (even via the Internet) for your provision for the autistic child, Your peace in the life of the parents, and we pray for the doctrine of agency to be manifest in the lives of your flock.  Amen.

Spiritual Gift Verses Spirit Directed Theology

This morning ladylighthouse asked on Twitter:

Anyone have any positives or negatives regarding spiritual gifts tests???

I gave a reply that pointed out that First Corinthians 12:11 indicates that the Holy Spirit gives the gifts and its not about you now and forever, but about Him and His timing.  This got me thinking about how my theology has drifted from “Spiritual Gift” oriented theology to “Spirit Directed” theology.  One looks for the Holy Spirit to work in my life in one particular area, the other says, “My life is yours: take it and run.”  One is focused on one aspect of the relationship that the believer has with Christ and the other is focused on the entire life of growth that comes from moment-by-moment relationship with God.

There are a few key passages that lead me to think that Paul’s references to Spiritual Gifts were given for specific knowledge on a specific topic, but were not for us to take as the primary focus of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.  The passages include Galatians 5:22-23 (the Fruits of the Spirit), 2nd Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:1-16, and Colossians 3:1-3.  This list is hardly exhaustive, but the verses mentioned each have an element of relationship that is critical for us to take into account in the context of Spiritual Gifts.  In other words, we don’t discount the spiritual gifts, but we don’t focus on them alone.

Galatians 5:22-23

Galatians 5:22-23 is often referred to as the fruits of the Spirit passage.  Interestingly this is not exhaustive.  It is a brief summary of some basic characteristics that should reflect the life of Christ in you, but it is not an entire list.  God’s character is infinitely good and is reflected in many ways, as His life pours out of you, you should be blown away by the extremely long list that is proven beyond this list.  The Holy Spirit, who is guiding the believer in a moment by moment walk empowers the believer unto righteousness.  The only way Ephesians 2:10 can be fulfilled is if we are abiding in the Holy Spirit’s direction and are living out the many fruits of the Spirit.  This relationship aspect to righteousness is exactly why we can defeat sin in our daily lives.

II Corinthians 3:18

This passage has had my attention for a little over a year now I think.  It has been quite refreshing to study this passage and each time see an element of Christ and His work that I somehow missed before.  The nature of the mirror is to reflect Christ, and we’re looking at what we’re becoming.  Not at what we are, but what we’re becoming.  The mirror shows us who we are in Christ.  The beholding of the Lord is part of our spiritual growth and the Holy Spirit moves in us to cause that growth.  The growth comes from what is already true of us in Christ being shown to us.  We grow because we reckon those things true (See all of Romans 6 for the concept of reckoning and its impact on our daily life).

Romans 12:1-16

By the mercies of God we do all of Romans 12.  As a logical result of His mercy we respond to Him by listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit causes us to do a tremendously long list of things that are not a Law, but instead reflective of a lifestyle.  The Holy Spirit moves in the life of the believer and causes a radical response that includes gifts (vs 6-8), but is very practical for a daily walk that meets the needs of 1) our vertical relationship with the Lord, 2) our horizontal relationship with other believers and 3) our relationship with the world.  As someone in my Tuesday night Bible Study put it: its like a layered snowball that builds on the previous layer.

Colossians 3:1-3

The Holy Spirit reminds us of Christ and the Father (John 16:13-14).  Colossians 3 reminds us of our heavenly position.  We are now seated in the heavenlies with Christ.  We are now to be setting our mind on things above where our life is.  The Holy Spirit, as we walk in relationship with Him, will be drawing our attention to our heavenly association and position.  Our condition, the situation in which we live, is to be viewed from a heavenly seat where we’re hidden with Christ.  We don’t see the trial as a meaningless something, but instead as an instrument the Lord is graciously using for our growth.

Conclusion

If we think about the Holy Spirit only working in us through a gift, we come up short.  If we think that we’re only going to be used in a finite manner instead of in a daily walk, we’ll be disappointed by our walk.  If, however, we embrace the concept of moment by moment relationship, the idea that the Lord uses the Holy Spirit in our life to bring about our sanctification, and we realize that we’re right now in the heavenly places and that the Holy Spirit draws us to that realization: we’re going to be more than conquerors.  We’re going to be more than just people who have a spiritual gift, we’re going to be people who change the lives of those around us.  I live that a lot, not because of me, but because of Him in my life: powerfully.

The Eternal Nature of God

While the topic of this post is probably worthy of a book (which I probably would have to devote huge amounts of time to) I wanted to touch on the idea of God’s eternal nature.  Often I hear, and just moments ago I heard it again, that our lives are like the lifespan of a gnat compared to the timeline of God.  Does God exist only inside of the time-space continuum?  Does God have to sit and wait?  Instead I believe God looks over all of time and space at once (and as Norm Geisler says in his Encyclopedia of Christian Apologets, He knows every alternative futures as well).

God is eternal in history and future (to force a time vocabulary onto a non-time based God) as recorded in Psalm 90:1-3.  If He has no beginning and has no end why would you take the powerful nature of God
and try to describe it in finite terms?  Considering the discussion of time my 9th grade history teacher drew a long line across two very wide dry-erase boards and then took a piece of paper and scratched a minuscule slice out of the black ink on the baord and said, “That is the length of your life.”  He then proceeded to tell us that the line didn’t start and stop on the board, but instead he explained that it went from end to end infinitely.  Why would a secular teacher (who did not like Christianity) explain infinity better than a pastor in a sermon [I was listening to Joshua Harris in this MP3 message]?
Describing the beginning and end of God in a sermon illustration was not his point, his point was to describe the finite nature of our lives.  However, it rings in my ears when I hear people describe our lives in comparison to God.  The importance, as J. Harris explained later, is that we recognize the eternal nature of God and our residence in Him!  In God you have eternal life, and that life is not bound by the time space continuum.  You attempt to use the word eternal because it is a finite way to describe that which is infinite.  Infinity itself is still a concept we try to grasp as humans because we want to think of infinity as being still within the constraints of knowledge.  Is the pursuit of the infinite outside of God silly?  Certainly, but if God was before the world and will certainly be after the world we should be resting in His eternal hands – trusting that we are not like gnats, nor are we like any other creating thing because our identity is within Him, the uncreated one.

Fundamentals for Maturity

As I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord there are a list of concepts that I have found to be revolutionary and rooting in my walk:

  1. Identificaion Truths
  2. Positional Truths
  3. Abiding
  4. Hermeneutics
  5. Understanding of Covenants and Dispensations

Identification Truths
This is the concept that is presented strongly in Romans 6 and various other places confirm and expound on the idea that we were identified with Christ in His crucification, death, burial and resurrection. We were identified with Christ and so we therefore are not slaves to sin. We still will sin due to our bodies being strapped to the sin nature but that is why Paul writes that we should reckon our bodies dead. Instead of focusing on the flesh we should set our minds on the things above (Colossians 3:1-3).

Positional Truths
This is the concept that my position is in Christ. Right now I’m hidden with Christ (Colossians 3 again) and no matter what I do in this human body I am baptized into Christ and cannot be seperated from Him. My relationship with Christ should be consuming and not my keeping track of my condition. My condition is what I’m experiencing now on the earth. My position is perfect in Christ due to my identification with Him, but my condition can at times not match my position. However, as we walk in fellowship with Christ we will have our condition match our position. This is the process of sanctification, there is no hindrance to our sanctification we will be conformed to the image of Christ, even if we have ‘Jonah’ moments where we walk in the flesh and try to walk away. Ephesians 2:10 says that God has good works planned for us, which means that even if he needs to bring about a large fish to relocate us, get a donkey to talk to us, or bring us to the bottom of things in our condition, He is sanctifying our lives and conforming us to the image of Christ!

Abiding in Christ
Instead of trying to figure out what righteousness looks like in a to-do list fashion we should be focusing on our relationship with Christ. This guarantees us a righteous walk and that we will exceed any set of rules or laws that we may be able to construct. Instead of trying to live down to laws, which only put us into bondage, we need to abide in Christ (see John 15) and this will produce the fruit of Christ in our lives. Don’t get distracted by junk that you can do, but instead be focused on Christ who will do pure and rewardable things in your life!

Hermeneutics
This is a consistent and methodical approach to reading and understanding scripture. Inconsistancy in interpretation is one of the major reasons that there are differences in believer’s theology (that’s a rather obvious statement, sorry). Paul tells us that we need to be united in our doctrine and I think that one of the big issues that I see today in the church is that we don’t recognize that the author of scripture (the Holy Spirit) had one intended meaning for what He inspired through the human writers. I have written about hermeneutics before, you can read it here.

Understanding of Covenants and Dispensations
Understanding the major sections of scripture and the agreements God made with mankind helped me get a feel for the plan of God for the world. Understanding the Noahic covenant was critical in grasping God’s plan for grace, capital punishment, God’s provision for eating meat, and God’s faithfulness in not destroying the world with another flood. Then you learn about Abraham’s covenant, which is really God’s covenant with himself to Abraham and his descendents. After that you learn about God’s covenant with Israel, God’s covenant with David and then the New Covenant in Jeremiah. Grasping these covenants, seeing who they relate to, when they relate to and how they fit into the timeline of scripture is awesome and something I suggest every believer study and grow in.

From there you can grow in many, many areas because of God’s word being so amazing, but those things really helped me grasp my relationship with God and helped me understand the Bible more wholely. Reading scripture (or listening) and understanding what your reading makes it easier to grow as well as discern when others are teaching law or mis-understanding God’s word because you know what it means with certainty because you have a consistent method and a broader knowledge of the Bible.

Resting in Him,

Randy Peterman

I’ve Been Transfered, Thankfully

In Colossians 1:12-14 Paul writes of our position being transfered from a domain of darkness to a domain of light:

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
(Colossians 1:12-14)

This passage is in the middle of a recording of a prayer that Paul regularly prays for (at the very least) the church in Collosae [starting in verse 9]. Paul has already prayed for their spiritual growth and for their walk to be maturing, but then he gives thanks to God for a list of important things: God’s qualification of us to be sons (and daughters) that we might be inheriters of God’s Holiness. Paul continues to be thankful for our having been transferred from the domain of sin, the flesh and ultimately being children of Satan to being in the domain of Christ (how just happens to be our redeemer). Paul’s last bit of thankfulness is tied to our redemption in that we can be thankful for the forgiveness of sins.

In short I think there are several applications of this passage, but one that really stands out is that due to God’s work we are set aside into His Holiness so no matter what we do, we have God’s holiness that surrounds us. Since we have that holiness, since we have our sins forgiven we need to walk in that holiness, but if we somehow fail to walk in that then we need to not dwell in guilt, shame and self flagilation, and instead we need to return to our focus on God and His Holiness. We are transfered and the legal documents required of us to be heirs is done, signed, sealed and official. You can’t undo your salvation and God’s grace is completely sufficient. He’s not looking at your forgiven sins, why would you?

The 10 Commandments: A Response

From my 10 Commandments post from a while ago I got a comment that was disagreeing. Below I am going to reply to that comment and hopefully clear up my position. The comment is in line in marked segments. I believe that Shane, the author of the quote, and myself approach scripture from different perspectives. I hold a dispensational view, and I’m not getting the impression that he uses the same method of scriptural interpretation. I don’t think that Shane and I will see eye to eye on this, but he offered genuine questions and didn’t do it in a nasty way, so I’m honored to give him my best, short replies.

Paul said the Law is holy and just and good. (does [sic] he contradict himself?) Yeshua (Jesus) said if you love me keep my commandments.

First, Paul writes about the Law and its character due to it being perfect revelation from God to the Jews. The Law perfectly reveals man’s need for a relationship with a gracious God [Romans 3]. As Shane relays later in his comment you cannot separate the Ten Commandments from the whole law. I wrote this because many Christians try to do this very thing but still want the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament to apply to believers. Later in the New Testament the 10 commandments are reiterated, but not as part of the 613 laws. These ten of the 613 are partially and firstly for an uninterrupted relationship with God and partially and secondly moral standards given to the children of Israel. Paul writes in Romans 7:4 that we are dead to the Law in Christ. Paul further writes in Romans 7:6 that instead of obeying the law we should abide in the Holy Spirit.

I assume that you are referring to Romans 7:12 where Paul writes, “So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.,” when you refer to Paul’s saying that. You’ve pulled that out of context. Romans 7 talks about how the Law brings about something that the flesh wants to fight… but the flesh was crucified with Christ. The Holy Spirit trumps the law because instead of limited rules via lists we get the unlimited, imputed righteousness of Christ and the power to live out His righteousness.

You quote Matthew 5:17 where Christ says that he came to fulfill the law. Then, in the end of the book Christ does fulfill the law and when we accept Christ’s gift of salvation we are died, buried and resurrected with Him. We ascend into the heavenlies with Him (positionally, though conditionally, until death or the rapture we are still tied to these mortal coils in our condition) where we are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3). We are one with the very one who fulfilled all of the laws. We no longer have to perform those laws because we are imbued with the His righteousness. Works are not part of the Christian Faith for salvation, but instead are part of our sanctification.

Sanctification is a process [Philippians 1:6] and consists of our working out the logical conclusions of our position in Christ and our identification with Christ on this earth. Logically if you’ve been indwelled with the Holy Spirit you will do good works – those works are planned by God [Ephesians 2:10].

1 John 5:3 says:
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 2:4-6 states:
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
If commandments are not for “New Testament Saints” then either they are liars or His Word is. (insidently, you realize that all the disciples were Jews and so was the Messiah and they kept Jewish festivals after the cross (see Acts 2 and 20:16)) No covenant was ever made with Gentiles only “the house of Israel and Judah” (Jer 31:31), Gentiles are grafted into the same covenant (Romans 11) and become Abraham’s seed (Gal 3:29, Eph 3:6).

I never said that commandments were not for New Testament Saints, there are New Testament instructions, I did imply (and should have stated more clearly) that the 613 laws are not given to New Testament Saints. I would again site that a Christian, who is clearly said in scripture to be indwelled by the Holy Spirit, is capable of obeying God’s commandments… the question is what are those commandments? I don’t think that you can state that those are the 613 laws in the Old Testament. A believer now is completely unable to live up to some of the commands because the physical temple is destroyed. I wonder how you propose we deal with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph? None of them had the Law but all had relationships with God. Clearly none of them lived pure and spotless lives but clearly all of them had faith in God. They were saved by faith and the Law was not given to them. Is it possible for generations of Saints (people set aside unto God) to not be under the law given to the Jews? Yes.

As for the Jewishness of the disciples that has nothing to do with the Church, which is made up of Jews and Gentiles alike. Their application of those festivals was cultural and in no way intended to be normative for the Church. Acts is a book of transition between the Old Testament Saint and the New Testament Saint. Both saved by faith, one saved by Faith in God and the messiah who was to come, and one saved by faith in Christ, who was the Messiah. I support Sojourner Ministries [I redesigned their site, in fact], lead by Steven Ger who teaches about the Jewish Heart of Christianity. He meets as a member of a Messianic Jewish congregation on Friday nights because of his Jewish Heritage but at no time in the last 5 years that I have known him has he ever suggested that I meet on Friday night. The reason for this is that we are, in the Grace of Christ, allowed to celebrate our ‘sabbath’ any day of the week – even if it was on Wednesday night. The seasons and festivals were set aside as times to worship God – but they were in no way communicated to the New Testament where Paul writes in Colossians 2:16 that no one should judge others for their festivals or food choices. This commandment from Paul is because of Grace. If a person wants to live out parts of the Jewish tradition because they are Jewish (and possibly otherwise) but are not doing those things out of religious conviction but rather culture or tradition, that is fine.

Noah was not of Israel and even Abraham was not a of Israel, but Israel was of Abraham. The Jeremiah Passage does not say that Israel was the only one through whom covenants came.

The Church is not grafted into Israel in Romans 11… I don’t see your point here.

You referred to Colossians 2:14. Do you realize that the word for law (nomos) is never used in that chapter? The Greek word used means “certificate of debt”. In other words your penalty was nailed to the cross, not God’s eternal Law! Remember the charge placed over His head on the cross? That was done for you an I.

I’m going to refer you to Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, whom I have studied under at Tyndale Theological Seminary when he was a guest lecturer. Specifically I find he disagrees with you at least in this Q&A on Pants (strangely enough). The whole section is highly informative.

“elementary principles of the world” – It should be obvious, that this could never mean God’s Law! Are you saying that what God gave was elementary and of the world? Would you want to worship a God like that?

I never said that the elementary principles of the world were the law. Those are in reference to the flesh and its nastiness, sinfulness of mankind if you will.

If you think that it(Col 2) was the Law, then you are saying that God’s Law was evil and legalism. Would you want to worship that God? God did not give leglism [sic]. No one was ever saved by Law. Grace is an “Old Testament” teaching. It did not start in the New Testament but continued into it.

The law, which applied without heart or brain is legalism. Take for the example a German in World War Two who happened to be hosting a Jewish Refugee. When the SS comes to his door and asks, “Do you have any Jews here?” Does he lie to save a life, or tell the truth to comply with the ‘false witness’ statement, but be involved with murder? Which of those non-compliances of the law is better? Christ brings up similar examples to the Pharisees and Saducees in the gospels.

I never once stated that mankind was saved by the law, in fact you can see my other post about this here. Grace is a concept in scripture as early as Genesis 3. In fact, it could be argued that since God predestined believers that Grace is a characteristic of God like Love, Justice and Righteousness. Our definition of those words comes from Him, we don’t use those words to define Him.

Yeshua told those that He healed and the adulteress to go and sin no more.
You may ask why I am telling you all of this. It is very important to understand what you are teaching others because:
Sin is transgression of the Law

OK, but the Law was not set for those before Moses and Israel. Jacob/Israel did not have the Law, nor did Abraham or Noah. Adam had a very simple law: Don’t eat of the trees of the Knowledge of Good and Evil [Genesis 2:17]. I am not encouraging anyone to sin, but to instead abide in the Holy Spirit so that they may obey God and bear fruit. Romans 6 is clear about the benefits of Grace to believers so that they will stop focusing on the Law, but instead focus on Christ. Colossians 3 states that we should set our minds on things above where Christ is seated in the heavenlies. By having our minds focused on those things we will not be thinking of the Law, the desires of the Flesh (which is dead), or any list of things but instead we’ll be looking at life from God’s perspective, which is Holy, Righteous and Just.

Luke 17:2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Heaven and earth are still here, so all is not fulfilled. Many of the prophecies pertain to after the cross, so all is not fulfilled. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) for isntance [sic] is a Holy Day not fulfilled. That will be fulfilled with His triumphant return!

I’m not sure what you are referring to in the Luke Passage… please clarify what you are after so that I can more properly respond to this in the comments section of this post. The Matthew passage I addressed above. As I don’t believe that you apply the same dispensational timeline I do I don’t think we’ll be able to simply resolve this issue until we can discuss hermeneutics, which was not in the scope of this post. I recommend that you check out the Sojourner Ministries site and the Ariel Ministries sites to gather information on Yom Kippur in a New Testament time frame. I strongly recommend you get, borrow or steal [not really on the stealing for obvious reasons, sorry, I couldn't help myself. I love a good joke as much as the next guy. Get it? 'Good' Joke? Nevermind.] a copy of Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s book Israelology [Amazon.com link].

I hope your recieve this [sic] words with the love intended.
Shalom (peace)

I don’t take what you have written in a negative way, but instead looked at it as a challenge for me to dig deeper into the Scriptures and to know my Lord Jesus better through His word. I look forward to your reply. Peace to you as well.

Resting in Him,
Randy Peterman

Post Script: I used [sic] in some places, which is a way of indicating a copied typo or misspelling in quoted text. I’m not trying to mock Shane, wanting to indicate that I’m not trying to hack his text up and reflect upon his spelling. My mom corrected my spelling all of the time as I grew up. She’s probably spotted several mistakes in my grammar already :)

Are We All Sinners?

I just heard on a podcast the insinuation that we’re all sinners. I can’t stand this since as Christians we have been identified with the righteousness of Christ rather than the wretchedness of sin. The image below displays a timeline of sorts. It illustrates the fact that we’ve got an eternal new nature as believers in Christ, but also an adamic nature something that the non-Christian has. This is why Paul recommends in Romans 6:11 that we reckon our old self to be dead. We are identified with Christ and not with anything else that could be pointed to as who we are. In Christ we are not sinners.

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We are not sinners, we are more than conquerors.