An Exposition On The Book Of Life

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

The book of life is known by most Christians to contain the names of saved people. The generality of Christians actually believe that names of people are written in the book of life after they become saved. Such people believe God is currently compiling names of people as they repent and get converted. Others believe that once a name is written in the book of life it can’t be removed again. What does the Bible teach about the book of life? What does the book of life contain? When was it written or compiled? Can names be removed from the book of life? What is the fate of those whose names are not written in the book of life? These are the questions this article seeks to answer, through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

The book of life, the Lamb’s book of life, the book of the living, or simply God’s book, as it’s variously called, is a divine record of all those who at one time experienced salvation through a faith relationship with God. It’s a divine register of all righteous people of all ages. Contrary to most people’s belief, the book of life is not something that’s currently being compiled by God, as people get saved. Most denominations believe that people’s names are being written down in the book of life as they give their life to Christ. That’s not what the Bible teaches. From the Scriptures, we learn that the book of life was compiled and written before the foundation of the world. Yes, before the creation of the world! God is not currently compiling a list of those who are being saved. Because God is omniscient, he knows from the beginning all those who would be saved, even before they were born, and had their names written down in his book of the saved, even before creation. We’re told in the Scriptures that those God foreknew would be saved, them he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. So, by God’s foreknowledge of who would be saved, the book of life was written before the foundation of the world. God chose his people before the foundation of the world, based on his foreknowledge of those who would believe and receive his Word. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning! God foreordained each person’s destiny based on his foreknowledge of their attitude towards his Word and their relationship with him.

Philippians 4:3 And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life (NKJV).

Revelation 17:8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

Exodus 32:31 So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold.

Exodus 32:32 But now, please forgive their sin —but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”

Daniel 12:1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people —everyone whose name is found written in the book —will be delivered.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love

Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will —

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,

1 Peter 1:2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Romans 9:10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac.

Romans 9:11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad —in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:

Romans 9:12 not by works but by him who calls —she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

Romans 9:13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Jeremiah 1:4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Psalms 139:14 I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.

Psalms 139:15 My substance was not hid from you, when I was made in secret, and curiously worked in the lowest parts of the earth.

Psalms 139:16 Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them (AKJV).

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure (AKJV).

The Acts 15:18 Known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world (AKJV).

Thus, by divine foreknowledge, all those who would experience salvation were known by God before they ever came into existence, and their names were put down in the divine record of the living before a speck of dust was created. But, some people may experience salvation and walk with God for a while, and later backslide and reject the saving truth and the Lord they once embraced, to their own damnation. What happens to such people? Were their names ever in the book of life to begin with? The Scriptures actually make it clear that all those who would ever believe God and experience salvation, however briefly, had their names written in the book of life before the foundation of the world. Those who believed and later turned away from the truth and backslid, without coming back again to the faith, will have their names removed from the book of life. God is not presently inserting new names in the book of life (all names in it were written before the foundation of the world), but he is presently removing from the book of life names of believers who do not remain faithful to the end. Anyone who does not believe to the end will lose their salvation, and their names will be removed from the book of life as a result. Also, believers who deliberately and maliciously distort the word of God for personal gains (by removing from it or adding to it) will have their names removed from the book of life. Only those who believe and overcome to the end will have their names retained in the book of life.

Exodus 32:31 So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold.

Exodus 32:32 But now, please forgive their sin —but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”

Exodus 32:33 The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.

Exodus 32:34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Psalms 69:21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.

Psalms 69:22 May the table set before them become a snare; may it become retribution and a trap.

Psalms 69:23 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.

Psalms 69:24 Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them.

Psalms 69:25 May their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents.

Psalms 69:26 For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those you hurt.

Psalms 69:27 Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation.

Psalms 69:28 May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.

Revelation 3:3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Revelation 3:4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

Revelation 3:5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.

Revelation 22:18 For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book:

Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (AKJV).

What are the consequences of not having one’s name in the book of life, or of having one’s name removed from the book of life? Well, the Scriptures are clear about the fact that the eternal destiny of every soul is dependent on whether or not the person’s name is in the book of life at the end of the person’s life on earth. Those whose names are in the book of life (and remain there till the end) will not stand in judgement before God for sin, having escaped death and eternal damnation by their faith in Christ and steadfast belief in him. They will go straight to paradise at death, to await the resurrection of their bodies. Those whose names are not in the book of life (or were removed from it) will freely worship the beast (after the rapture) and be eternally damned. At death, all whose names are not in the book of life will go to hell, to await the second resurrection, when they will stand in judgement before God for their sins. At the final judgement, the book of life will be opened to see if the names of those standing in judgement are in it. All whose names are not in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. Thus, the fate of all whose names are not in the book of life is eternal destruction in the lake of fire.

St. John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

St. John 5:25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

St. John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

St. John 5:27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

St. John 5:28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice

St. John 5:29 and come out —those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

St. John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

St. John 3:15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

St. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

St. John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

St. John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Revelation 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast —all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Revelation 17:8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

Revelation 20:13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.

Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

Revelation 21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Revelation 21:11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

Revelation 21:12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

Revelation 21:13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.

Revelation 21:14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Revelation 21:22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

Revelation 21:23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

Revelation 21:24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

Revelation 21:25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).

Revelation 21:26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.

Revelation 21:27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (NKJV).

In conclusion, the book of life is a divine record of all those who had a faith relationship with God and thus experienced salvation at some point in their life. It is a divine register of the righteous of all ages. The book of life was written by God before the foundation of the world, based on God’s foreknowledge of those who would believe his Word and be saved, even before they were born. Thus, God is not currently writing down people’s names in his book as they repent and get converted. Even though names were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, some people will have their names removed from the book of life in their lifetime. These are those who were once saved, but did not keep their faith in God to the end. Among believers, whoever doesn’t overcome till the end will have their names removed from he book of life. Those whose names remain in the book of life till the end will not appear before God for judgement for sins, having escaped the wrath of God, and being possessors of eternal life. These blessed souls will go to paradise at death, to await the resurrection of their bodies. Those whose names are not in the book of life will go to hell at death, and will come up in the second resurrection, to appear before God in judgement. Because their names are not in the book of life, they will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. No wonder the Lord Jesus enjoined his disciples to rejoice, not because demons are subject to them, but because their names are written in heaven (in the book of life), for that is the guarantee of eternal life and eternal bliss.

St. Luke 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

St. Luke 10:18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

St. Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

St. Luke 10:20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Examining The Scriptures To Understand The Purpose Of The Mosaic Law

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

When God made the covenant of law with Israel on Mount Sinai, he didn’t intend for it to be everlasting. This is because the covenant of grace which God made with Abraham some four centuries before was an everlasting covenant that could not be annulled. The Mosaic covenant, which temporarily suspended the covenant of grace God made previously with Abraham, was intended to be only a stopgap measure. The law was to be a regulator of God’s people until such a time when the Seed of Abraham (Jesus Christ) would come to effect the Abrahamic covenant. But the law had its purpose, which it fulfilled during the time that it was in force. What was the purpose of the law? Why was the law given in the first place? Understanding the purpose of the law is extremely important for God’s people, so that we don’t go back to keeping a law that has served its purpose and is no longer relevant! This article intends to deal with the purpose of the Mosaic law and why it had to be abolished after serving its purpose.

The Mosaic covenant of law that God made with Israel on Mount Sinai temporarily suspended the covenant of faith and grace God had earlier made with Abraham, the father of many nations. The covenant of law did not abolish or annul the covenant of grace, but was to serve certain purposes, until the coming of Christ, who was the promised Seed of Abraham that was to fulfil the Abrahamic covenant. One of the purposes of the law was to make sin exceedingly sinful. Sin was already in the world before the law, but sin is not counted when there is no law, as sin is transgression of the law. If there is no law to transgress, then there is no sin. Although God was not pleased with the practices of mankind before the law, he couldn’t input sin upon humanity in the absence of the law. The law thus served to bring out the sinfulness of mankind’s practices, and to make the wrath of God justified and manifest to all, with respect to sin. It was through the law that we had knowledge of sin and became aware of our sinful nature, though humanity had been living in sin before the law came. The law thus came to convict us of sin and shut all mouths before God, as it proved that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.

Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,

Romans 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

Romans 7:8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

Romans 7:9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.

Romans 7:10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.

Romans 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.

Romans 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Romans 7:13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Romans 7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Romans 7:16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

Romans 7:17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

Romans 7:19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Romans 7:20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (AKJV).

Romans 4:14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,

Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Secondly, the law was to act as our tutor to bring us to Christ. It was to perform this function the same way guardians and stewards train underage children to bring them to maturity. Guardians and stewards are only appointed for underage children, to help train them to become responsible adults and worthy sons and daughters. During this period of tutelage, the children are subject to servants, who instruct and discipline them. The guardians and stewards, who would themselves be subject to the children when they come to maturity and begin to rule over the house, have the power to chastise and discipline erring underage children, according to the authority given to them by the parents. This power to train, teach and discipline children continues until the children come of age. Then the guardians and stewards cease to have authority over the children, and become subject to them, having served their purpose. The same way, when God’s people were still spiritually immature, the law was appointed to train them in righteousness, and to prepare them for sonship and dominion. Having attained spiritual maturity with the coming of Christ, God’s people are no longer under the tutelage of the law. We’re no longer subject to the law. To continue to subject ourselves to the law even after the grace of God has appeared in Christ Jesus is to refuse to accept our dominion and sonship. It’s tantamount to choosing to remain servants rather than becoming sons and heirs. That’s choosing slavery over liberty and beggarliness over dominion and authority. It simply means we choose to be servants in the house of our Father! How pathetic!

Galatians 3:19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.

Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Galatians 4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,

Galatians 4:2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Galatians 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Thirdly, the law was to foreshadow the covenant of grace that was to be made manifest later by Christ. It was meant to be a type and shadow of the heavenly blessings, and to give mankind some glimpses of the good things God has in store for his people. Being a shadow and a type, the law could only partially and dimly reflect the anticipated glory of the grace which it foreshadowed. Because it was only a shadow and not an exact image nor the very substance of the heavenly things themselves, the law could not perfect God’s people, nor could it sanctify them completely and make them righteous. Only the substance and the antetype of what the law foreshadowed (Christ) could bring about perfection and complete sanctification of God’s people, because he offered his sinless blood to completely redeem his people, unlike the law that relied only on the blood of sacrificial animals that could only sanctify to the purifying of the flesh. Now that the substance has come, we should not subject ourselves any longer to the beggarly elements of the law! The law has served its typological purpose and is no longer needed, now that the antetype and substance has appeared.

Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Hebrews 10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.

Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Hebrews 10:5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.

Hebrews 10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.

Hebrews 10:7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”

Hebrews 10:8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law),

Hebrews 10:9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

Hebrews 10:10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

Hebrews 10:12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

Hebrews 10:13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Hebrews 10:15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

Hebrews 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”

Hebrews 10:17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 10:18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Colossians 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Colossians 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

Colossians 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

Colossians 2:14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Colossians 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

Colossians 2:17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Colossians 2:18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

Colossians 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—

Colossians 2:21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”

Colossians 2:22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

Colossians 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Galatians 4:8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4:9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

Galatians 4:10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.

Galatians 4:11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

Finally, the law is for the lawless and sinners, to convict them of sins. The purpose of the law is to bring men’s sins to light, and show us how God abhors and detests sin. The law is used to convict sinners, and show them their guilt before God. When sinners come to the knowledge of their sins through the knowledge of the law, their guilt is made manifest to them, and all mouths are therefore shut before God. With the law as a reminder of our sinfulness, no man can boast of righteousness before God, for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. By making us feel our guilt and see our unworthiness, the law makes us appreciate the grace of God that came through Jesus Christ. Though we deserve to die by our guilty plea under the judgement of the law, the grace of God in Christ Jesus has provided us with a way of escape. Christ took our guilty position on the cross at Calvary, so that we could live instead of dying the death we deserve for our sins. Christ died for our sins, so that we would escape the second death in the lake of fire! What love! What grace! And what a great exchange that took place at Calvary, that condemned sinners and enemies of God would be spared of the death that they deserve, because a sinless substitute accepted to die in their place! We escaped the wrath of the law only because its full weight fell upon the only begotten son of God instead! Hallelujah to the Lamb of God, who took upon himself the sins of sinful mankind and redeemed them thereby!

1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

1 Timothy 1:4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

1 Timothy 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

1 Timothy 1:6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,

1 Timothy 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,

1 Timothy 1:9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

1 Timothy 1:10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

1 Timothy 1:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Romans 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

Romans 3:10 As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;

Romans 3:11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.

Romans 3:12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Romans 3:13 “Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;

Romans 3:14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

Romans 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

Romans 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;

Romans 3:17 And the way of peace they have not known.”

Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Romans 3:25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

Romans 3:26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

In conclusion, the law was introduced about 430 years after God had made a covenant of faith with Abraham, by which all mankind was to be blessed through the Seed of Abraham (Jesus Christ). The introduction of the law was not to annul God’s covenant with Abraham, but was to serve as a regulator of God’s people until the appearance of Abraham’s promised Seed. During this interim period, the law was to fulfil certain purposes, which included making men aware of sin, convicting men of sin, acting as guardian to God’s people until the coming of the promised Seed of Abraham, and foreshadowing and typing God’s blessings and heavenly realities. Now that the promised Seed of Abraham (Jesus Christ) has come, the law is no longer needed, having fulfilled its purpose. The substance of God’s blessings having appeared to mankind, we don’t need the shadow of the law anymore. Having come to spiritual maturity through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we do not need the guardianship of the law anymore. The promised seed of Abraham has appeared to fulfil the Abrahamic covenant of grace and extend God’s blessings to all mankind. He has delivered us from the bondage of the law and has translated us into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. May we then stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has set us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage of the law. To go back to observing any part of the law is to fall from grace, as that makes us a debtor to the whole law.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

Galatians 5:3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

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The Letter Kills, But The Spirit Gives Life: The Contrast Between The Old And The New Covenant

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,

2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Oftentimes, we hear Christians quoting the phrase “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (as recorded in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians) to prove the point that the written word, without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, kills spiritually, instead of edifying. In as much as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit quickens and refreshes, that phrase does not refer to the fact that the written word devoid of revelation brings death! Far from it, Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, was not comparing the written word with the revealed word. What Paul was highlighting here instead was the difference between the law and grace. Paul used the word ‘letter‘ as an Hebriasm for the Law of Moses, while he used the ‘Spirit‘ to refer to the ministry of grace in Christ Jesus. Thus, Paul was contrasting the law with grace, and the ministry of Moses with the ministry of Jesus Christ! The Apostle to the Gentiles was drawing a contrast between the old covenant and the new covenant here. This point is too easily missed by a lot of Christians, and we will do well to read the entirety of the third chapter of 2 Corinthians to understand the true meaning of the phrase: “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”.

2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?

2 Corinthians 3:2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

2 Corinthians 3:3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

2 Corinthians 3:4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God.

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,

2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

Romans 7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

In his comparison of the ministry of the law with the ministry of grace, Paul described the Mosaic law as letters written upon tablets of stone, while the believer in Christ is a living epistle, with God’s word written in his heart by the Holy Spirit. That’s a direct contrast between the old and the new covenant. The reason the old covenant wasn’t effective was that the law was written on tablets of stone and not in the hearts of the people. In contrast, in the new covenant, the Holy Spirit engraves his words in the hearts of believers, making it unnecessary for each to teach his neighbour to know God, for all with his Spirit in their hearts (sons and daughters of God) know him, from the least to the greatest. No one needs to teach his neighbour to fear God in the new covenant, for the Spirit within each teaches us the fear of God from within.

Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

Hebrews 8:8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—

Hebrews 8:9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.

Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Hebrews 8:11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 8:13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

The ‘letter kills’ simply means the law of Moses kills! The law was not designed to provide eternal life for people because the law doesn’t contain life in itself! The law only brings wrath, not life. By the knowledge of the law is sin and death, not life. The law does not make righteous, but only makes us realise how unrighteous we are. It makes us aware of sin and makes sin exceedingly sinful. The law is for the unrighteous and sinners, to convict and imprison them for their sins. The law came through Moses to condemn all mankind and shut all mouths before God, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, to set men free from the bondage and wrath of the law. Death came through the law, for the law revives sinfulness in people and kills them with their knowledge of sin. The law makes us wretched with our knowledge of sin. Truly, the letter (the law) kills!

Romans 4:13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Romans 4:14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,

Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

Romans 7:8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

Romans 7:9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.

Romans 7:10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.

Romans 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.

Romans 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Romans 7:13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Romans 7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Romans 7:16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

Romans 7:17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

Romans 7:19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Romans 7:20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Romans 7:25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,

1 Timothy 1:9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

1 Timothy 1:10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

1 Timothy 1:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Galatians 3:19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.

Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

But even the law (the letter) that kills had some glory in it, as reflected by the shining glow on Moses’s face, who represents the law. However, the glory of the law had to be veiled, because it was a fading glory, one that was passing away and wasn’t meant to be permanent. Moses covered his face when he came down from the mountain with the shining glory on his face because he didn’t want the people to behold the blinding glory of the law that could not transform the people, but only kill them. That transient, fading glory represents the transient nature of the law. The law was only intended to be a stopgap measure in the first place. It was to be operational only until the coming of the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Now that grace has come, the law is to be done away with. Now that the Spirit has come, the letter (the law) is to be discarded. As long as people remain under the law, the veil on Moses’s face remains in their hearts, to prevent them from accessing life. The veil of the law (the letter) is taken away when people turn to Christ for salvation. In Christ Jesus, there is liberty which was lacking in the law. In Christ Jesus, with an unveiled face, we behold the true and unfading glory of God, and are transformed from glory unto glory, by the Spirit of the Lord! Hallelujah!

2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,

2 Corinthians 3:8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?

2 Corinthians 3:9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.

2 Corinthians 3:10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.

2 Corinthians 3:11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

2 Corinthians 3:12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—

2 Corinthians 3:13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.

2 Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.

2 Corinthians 3:16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

In conclusion, “the letter kills” refers to the deadly nature of the Mosaic law, while “the Spirit gives life” refers to the life-giving nature of the gospel of grace. Paul used the above expression to highlight the contrast between the law and grace, showing why we must not go back to the bondage of the law, now that the grace of God has appeared in Christ Jesus. To seek to be justified or made righteous by the keeping of the law is to seek death over life and bondage over liberty. The law blinds and covers men’s hearts with a veil, preventing them from beholding the glory of God. That blinding veil over the heart is removed when one comes to Christ Jesus, where the believer receives grace to grow from glory to glory, even as we behold the glory of the Lord. Let us then flee from the death of the law (the letter), and embrace the life of the Spirit!

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How Do We Determine The Parts Of The Old Testament That Are Still Relevant And To Be Observed? Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The Bible contains two divisions basically- the old and the new testaments. The old testament contains the history of creation, the fall of mankind, the destruction of the antediluvian world, mankind’s second beginning with Noah, the call of Abraham and God’s covenant and dealings with Israel, Jehovah’s chosen nation. The old testament ends with the first advent of Christ, with his death and resurrection establishing a new covenant with mankind that was sealed with his blood which was shed at Calvary. Some portion of the old covenant with Israel made their way into the new covenant, while the rest of the Mosaic covenant was repudiated by Christ’s death. How do we determine the portions of the old covenant that are contained in the new, and that are still relevant for observance? How do we know the portions of the Mosaic covenant that are still in force? This article seeks to answer these questions through a careful examination of the scriptures.

A covenant is an agreement sworn on oath between two parties for mutual benefits, and is usually ratified by the shedding of blood. A biblical covenant is a relational agreement between God and men, whereby God agrees to be the God, defender and benefactor of a group of people who willingly submit to his government and rule, and agree to worship and serve him only. The terms of a covenant are usually well spelt out by God, with penalties for violations made very clear, as well as the conditions for blessings. God has made several covenants with mankind, either as a group or individually. In the old testament, God made covenants with mankind through Adam and Noah, then another covenant with Abraham and his descendants, and finally, the Mosaic covenant with the nation of Israel (Abraham’s descendants) on Mount Sinai. It’s that covenant with Israel on Mount Sinai that’s called the old covenant or old testament. It’s that covenant with Israel that was abolished by the death of Christ on Calvary, with a new covenant instituted in its place. In the new covenant that God made with mankind on Calvary (the terms and conditions of which are to be found in the Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic epistles), certain aspects of the old covenant were absorbed into the new one. It’s like a man revising his will or testament, or a country amending its constitution or adopting a new one. Some portions of the old will or the old constitution will of necessity find their way into the new document. How do we know which parts of the old will/testament or old constitution that made it into the new one? The answer is simple- we must look at the new document to know which parts of the old document were adopted into the new. Even if we discover similarities between the two documents, in law, we must quote the new document, not the old one, for the old document has no validity in law.

Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

Hebrews 8:8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—

Hebrews 8:9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.

Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Hebrews 8:11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 8:13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Galatians 4:21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?

Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.

Galatians 4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

Galatians 4:24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—

Galatians 4:25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—

Galatians 4:26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Galatians 4:27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.”

Galatians 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

Galatians 4:29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.

Galatians 4:30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”

Galatians 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

Despite these glaring facts about the obsolete nature of the old testament, some Christians still run to it to make doctrines for God’s people, or to judge other Christians’ conduct and lifestyle, using it as a yardstick for righteousness. We see Christians hastily flipping to the old testament to prove why we must still pay tithes and first-fruits offerings, or why women should not wear garments that pertain to men (or vice versa). Such people willingly place themselves back under the bondage of the expired and now abolished old testament, in their misguided zeal for God and righteousness. Let it be stated here clearly and unambiguously: the old testament is old, obsolete, expired and has been abolished! Christians are no longer under its jurisdiction. The old testament is no longer binding on Christians! We have been delivered from the curse and bondage of the old covenant! Therefore, no Christian should be judged by the terms and conditions of the old testament. Just as no judge will refer to an old version of a country’s constitution to pass judgement in a case, and no lawyer will refer to an older version of a will to administer a dead man’s estate, no one under the new testament should refer to the terms and conditions of the old testament for conduct, order and doctrine! The old testament is no longer legally binding on God’s people, simply because it’s been abolished! Christians are dead to the Mosaic Law and are not under it or subject to it!

Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

Romans 7:2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.

Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

Romans 7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

Galatians 5:3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Galatians 5:7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Galatians 5:8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Galatians 5:10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.

Galatians 5:12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

Galatians 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

Galatians 3:12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Thus, to judge a Christian, or to make rules to guide Christian conduct, or to find out God’s mind concerning anything now, we must go to the new testament, not the old one. We must look at the writings of the original Apostles of the Lord, who are the foundation of the Christian faith. Judaism and Christianity share some things in common (including a common God and a common Saviour/Messiah), but the foundation of Christianity is not Moses and his laws, but Christ’s Apostles and their teachings, with Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. The original Apostles received direct revelations from the Lord to write the new testament. The Lord specially taught them the terms and conditions of the new testament which they wrote down for all to take heed and observe strictly, without additions or subtractions. Some things were carried over into the new testament from the old. There’s no doubt about that. However, whatever was carried over must be demonstrated in the new. Anything in the old testament we do not find in the new testament simply did not make it into the new testament. It means such a thing is no longer relevant or binding on God’s people! Whatever is not included in the new testament is something not to be worried about! It’s not important anymore! Thus, we’re not at liberty to pick and choose portions of the old testament we want to keep or not keep. We’re not at liberty to adopt and observe some portions of the old testament and jettison other parts as we wish. It’s only the parts of the old testament the original Apostles of the Lord included in their writings that are the portions of the old testament still to be observed. Those portions of the old testament not included in the Apostolic epistles are to be disregarded, as they no longer constitute law for God’s people. Doing anything that’s not expressly forbidden in the new testament is not a sin, for sin is a transgression of an extant biblical law. Once no new testament injunction is violated, no sin has been committed, even if such an injunction was contained in the old testament. That’s the point we must be clear about as Christians: violating any portion of the old covenant not contained in the new covenant is not a sin for a Christian, for sin now is a transgression of the terms of the new covenant, not those of the old and expired one.

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

Matthew 28:17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The Acts 1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

The Acts 1:2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,

The Acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Ephesians 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,

Ephesians 2:22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Ephesians 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—

Ephesians 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

Ephesians 3:3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,

Ephesians 3:4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),

Ephesians 3:5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

Ephesians 3:6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

Ephesians 3:7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

Ephesians 3:8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

Ephesians 3:9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;

Ephesians 3:10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,

Ephesians 3:11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Ephesians 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,

Galatians 1:7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

Galatians 1:11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (AKJV).

Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

In conclusion, the old covenant God made with the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai was abolished after the death of Christ. God thereafter made a new covenant with mankind at Calvary, to correct the deficiencies of the old covenant. Believers in Christ are thus no longer under the old covenant which is now obsolete and has been abolished. Though the old covenant has been abolished, some parts of it made their way into the new covenant. To know those parts of the old covenant that were absorbed into the new covenant and are thus still to be observed, we must rely on the Apostolic writings, wherein are contained the terms and conditions of the new covenant. It’s only those portions of the old testament that the original Apostles of the Lord adopted into the new testament that Christians are to observe and uphold. Any portion of the old testament not found in the new is to be considered obsolete and no longer law for God’s people. We are thus not at liberty to pick and choose which portions of the old testament to keep and which portions to discard. We’re not to go to the old testament to make rules for God’s people, or judge people’s conduct and lifestyle by injunctions of the old testament, as Christians are no longer under the Mosaic Law. Violation of any portions of the old testament not contained in the new no longer constitutes sin, for sin is the transgression of an extant law. You cannot violate a law that’s no longer in existence. To go back to the old testament that the Lord Jesus Christ has delivered us from is to return to the bondage and curse of the Law! It’s tantamount to falling from grace! May God deliver us from this widespread corruption of the gospel of grace which the original Apostles of the Lord contended against so earnestly! Amen!

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Did The New Testament Begin During The Lifetime Of The Lord Jesus Christ Or After His Death And Resurrection?

(Except otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version).

We know the old covenant God made with Israel became obsolete with the first advent of Jesus Christ, when God decided to make a new covenant with Israel and the rest of mankind. What most believers don’t understand clearly is when the new covenant actually came into effect. Was it during the lifetime and earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ or was it after his death and resurrection? Did Jesus live under the old or new testament? Are the entire teachings of Christ in the gospels part of the new testament? It’s important to establish when exactly the new testament became effective and operational, and the portions of Christ’s teachings that made it into the new covenant, so as not to mix up the contents and terms and conditions of both covenants. We shall revert to the Scriptures to clarify these issues.

Let’s start by examining what a biblical covenant is, and how it is ratified and made operational. A covenant is an agreement between two parties for mutual benefits. A biblical covenant is usually ratified and sealed by the shedding of blood, after both parties have sworn an oath to uphold the terms and conditions of the covenant. The old covenant or old testament was established between God and the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. In that covenant, Jehovah promised to be Israel’s God, and to protect and bless the nation, if Israel would worship and serve him only. The covenant was ratified with the shedding of the blood of sacrificial animals, after both parties had agreed to the terms and conditions of the covenant. The old testament then came into force and became effective after it was sealed with blood.

Exodus 19:1 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai.

Exodus 19:2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.

Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:

Exodus 19:4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.

Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.

Exodus 19:6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Exodus 19:7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him.

Exodus 19:8 Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.

Exodus 19:9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.”
So Moses told the words of the people to the Lord.

Exodus 19:10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.

Exodus 19:11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

Exodus 19:12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 19:13 Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.”

Exodus 19:14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes.

Exodus 19:15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.”

Exodus 19:16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.

Exodus 19:17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

Exodus 19:18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.

Exodus 19:19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.

Exodus 19:20 Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

Exodus 19:21 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the Lord, and many of them perish.

Exodus 19:22 Also let the priests who come near the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.”

Exodus 19:23 But Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds around the mountain and consecrate it.’”

Exodus 19:24 Then the Lord said to him, “Away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest He break out against them.”

Exodus 19:25 So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them.

Exodus 24:1 And he said to Moses, Come up to the LORD, you, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship you afar off.

Exodus 24:2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come near; neither shall the people go up with him.

Exodus 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD has said will we do.

Exodus 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Exodus 24:5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.

Exodus 24:6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said will we do, and be obedient.

Exodus 24:8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words.

Exodus 24:9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:

Exodus 24:10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

Exodus 24:11 And on the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

Hebrews 9:16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Hebrews 9:17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

Hebrews 9:18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.

Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,

Hebrews 9:20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”

Hebrews 9:21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

However, because Israel repeatedly failed to keep her part of the covenant and provoked God to jealousy several times with her idolatrous worship of other gods, Jehovah promised to bring an end to the covenant he made with them on Mount Sinai, since they couldn’t keep the covenant. God promised instead to make a new covenant with the nation. In the old covenant, they couldn’t keep God’s words because the terms of the covenant were written on tablets of stone which had to be memorised, but were easy to forget. In the new covenant God proposed to the nation of Israel, he promised to write his words in their hearts and in their minds. Nobody would need to teach his neighbour to know and fear the Lord, for all would have his words engraved in their hearts and all would know and fear him on their own, from the least to the greatest.

Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—

Jeremiah 31:32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Jeremiah 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Finally, God sent forth his son Jesus Christ to earth, to make a new covenant with the whole of mankind. Whereas the old covenant was with Israel only, this new covenant is to include the whole of mankind (both Jews and Gentiles). Whoever believes in God’s only begotten son as Lord and Saviour and confesses him as such will be saved from the wrath of God awaiting all sinners in hell, and will become a child of God. God will be a father and God to such a person who will escape the second death in the lake of fire and enjoy eternal life with God at the end of life on earth. Whosoever rejects God’s only begotten son will face the full wrath of God in the lake of fire. These are the terms and conditions of the new covenant of grace God made with mankind through his son Jesus Christ. The death of God’s son on Calvary ratified that covenant and brought it into force.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

John 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

John 5:20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

John 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

John 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,

John 5:23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

John 5:25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

John 5:26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,

John 5:27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

John 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice

John 5:29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)

Romans 10:7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

So, when did the new covenant that God made with mankind become effective? When did the new testament come into force? Some people believe that the new testament started during the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such people believe all that Jesus did and taught in the gospels are part of the new testament. Well, nothing can be farther from the truth. It’s worth reminding ourselves that Jesus Christ lived and operated under the old covenant. He lived and fulfilled the Mosaic covenant. In his lifetime, Jesus never broke the law (the terms and conditions of the old covenant), as he lived a blameless and perfect life, with respect to the law of Moses. He upheld and taught his disciples the law and the prophets (the old testament) until his death. Jesus magnified the law and made it more honourable (by focusing on its spirit and not the letter), but it was still the precepts of the old covenant he taught and expounded. Although Christ brought grace and truth to the law, he still preached the law. Thus, the new testament and its blessings did not start during the life and ministry of Jesus Christ! Like we mentioned earlier, a covenant is only ratified by the shedding of blood. That’s when a covenant becomes effective and operational. It’s like a will or a testament. It only comes into effect after the death of the testator. A will only becomes effective after the person who wrote it dies. As long as the owner of the will is still alive, the benefits of a will can never be enjoyed by the beneficiaries. Thus, the new testament was only ratified AFTER the death of Christ, and not before then! Jesus was a Jew who lived and practised the tenets of Judaism. He lived and operated under the old testament. However, by his death, he abolished the old testament which he upheld and fulfilled in his lifetime. By his death, Christ nailed the old enslaving and discriminatory ordinances of the old covenant to his cross, and birthed the new covenant thereby. The new testament in the blood of Christ was ratified by his death on Calvary, not during his life. The terms and conditions of the new testament are therefore not to be found in the gospels (which contain magnifications of the old testament by our Lord, some of which found their way into the new covenant), but are to be found in the post-ascension teachings of the original Apostles of Christ. They are to be found in the Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic epistles. Christians are therefore not to follow Christ’s footsteps in his teachings in the gospels where he upheld tenets of the old testament, for Christ has abolished the old testament by his death, even though he upheld it in his lifetime. We’re not subject any longer to the old covenant and its precepts. Christians are not under the law of Moses! We are rather under the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We do not therefore look back to the old testament (including some of the teachings and actions of Christ in his lifetime) for conduct, order and doctrine. Even though some things in the law (and which Christ threw more light on) made their way into the new covenant, we look to the teachings of the foundational Apostles of the Lord to find out the terms and conditions of the new testament, including the portions of the old testament and the teachings of our Lord which were incorporated into the new testament. That’s what Jesus authorised us to do, in his last commandment to the Apostles.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Matthew 5:18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Matthew 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Matthew 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

Hebrews 9:16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Hebrews 9:17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

Hebrews 9:18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.

Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,

Hebrews 9:20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”

Hebrews 9:21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Hebrews 9:23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

Hebrews 9:25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—

Hebrews 9:26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

Ephesians 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,

Ephesians 2:16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Ephesians 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

Ephesians 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

Colossians 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

Colossians 2:14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Colossians 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

Colossians 2:17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Colossians 2:18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

Colossians 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—

Colossians 2:21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”

Colossians 2:22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

Colossians 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

Hebrews 8:8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah

Hebrews 8:9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.

Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Hebrews 8:11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 8:13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

Romans 7:2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.

Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

Romans 7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

Galatians 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

Galatians 3:12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Galatians 4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,

Galatians 4:2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Galatians 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Galatians 4:8 Fears for the Church
But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4:9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

Galatians 4:10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.

Galatians 4:11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

Galatians 4:21Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?

Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.

Galatians 4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

Galatians 4:24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—

Galatians 4:25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—

Galatians 4:26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Galatians 4:27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.”

Galatians 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

Galatians 4:29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.

Galatians 4:30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”

Galatians 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

Matthew 28:17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

In conclusion, Jesus Christ was born a Jew and lived and operated under the Mosaic covenant. He lived under the old testament and fulfilled the law like no man else had done or could do. In his lifetime, Jesus operated under the old testament. Thus, the new testament did not begin until after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for a testament only comes into force after the death of the testator. The new covenant was ratified by the blood of Jesus Christ and became operational only after that blood was shed at Calvary. So, it was the death of Jesus Christ that abolished the old testament, by nailing the law to his cross, and thus freeing his followers from subservience and bondage to the Mosaic law. The contents of the new covenant are to be found in the post-ascension writings of the original Apostles of the Lord. It’s true that some contents of the old testament, including some teachings of our Lord, found their way into the new testament. However, to know what items in the old testament were incorporated into the new, we must examine the Apostolic epistles for guidance. We cannot just pick and choose what we like in the old testament. Only the portions of the old testament and those of our Lord’s teachings we find incorporated into the apostolic writings are approved for Christians to emulate and practise. Any other portions of the old testament not sanctioned by the Apostles are considered obsolete and abolished, and should be jettisoned, even if our Lord observed and practised them, for he lived and operated under the old testament.

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Do Not Conform To This World!

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version).

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

The apostle Paul enjoined the Christians in Rome not to conform to the patterns of the world around them, but to be transformed by the renewing of their mindset, in their union with Christ. By the world, the apostle refers to the cosmic system ruled and controlled by Satan, which is in opposition and rebellion to God and his laws. The Scripture makes us understand that since the fall of man and the rebellion and chaos that followed, Satan has been the illegitimate ruler of the world. He has been deceiving, manipulating and inspiring people to rebel against God and his laws. The Bible calls him the ruler of this evil world, and the prince of the power of the air, the spirit at work in disobedient and rebellious people. Satan confessed before Christ to being in control of this sinful world system. Thus, the systems of the world are controlled and influenced by Satan, who is called the god of this world. The politics, science, arts, fashion, culture, ethics, business, commerce, educational system, and even the religions of the world, are firmly in Satan’s control. What Satan does through all these systems under his control is to instigate rebellion against God, by undermining God’s authority as Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and the only One deserving of worship. By promoting alternate systems of worship that either ignore the only true triune God or adds other gods to the holy Trinity (idolatory), and by promoting knowledge, science and cultural practices that are at variance with the word of God and his will for mankind, Satan has created a system in the world that’s entirely anti-God. He induces men to strive to be independent of God, and encourages them not to retain God in their knowledge. Like he did to Adam and Eve in Eden, he’s still deceiving mankind with the proposition to become like God, without the need to submit to God and obey him. Thus, every aspect of the devil-controlled world system is ungodly and does not recognise and worship God as directed by the Bible. The whole world indeed, outside of the body of Christ, lies in complete and total darkness, under the influence of Satan.

Luke 4:5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,

Luke 4:6 and said to him, To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.

Luke 4:7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered him, It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, Did God actually say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?

Genesis 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,

Genesis 3:3 but God said, You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.

Genesis 3:4 But the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die.

Genesis 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. I

Genesis 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, What is this that you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world— he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

In contrast to the world’s spiritual darkness, the born-again Christian is light, by virtue of his union with Christ, who is the light of the world. Also, the Christian is called to follow and obey Jesus Christ and to imitate his holy life. We’re called to submit to God and his government, the very antithesis of what Satan induces the world to do. The believer is to shine the light of God he carries in this dark and evil world, as well as pull down every evil imagination, and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, and to judge every disobedience of the rebellious world he lives in, through his own obedience to Christ. To succeed in their God-given mandate, believers are called to stand firm in their opposition to Satan and his evil and rebellious world system. We’re to resist the devil and his shenanigans. We’re to reprove all works of darkness wherever we encounter them, by word and by our godly living. The Christian is to let his light shine in this dark world, that men may see his good works wrought in Christ, and glorify the heavenly Father. As salt of the earth, we’re to bring savour to this tasteless world. Therefore, we must stand firm against the world in our opposition to the ungodliness and the unrighteousness that permeate its entire fabric. We are to act as God’s witness against the vileness in the world, showing how God intended for mankind to live and relate with him and others, through our Chistian conduct and preaching.

Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Ephesians 5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Ephesians 5:7 Therefore do not associate with them;

Ephesians 5:8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Ephesians 5:9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),

Ephesians 5:10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Ephesians 5:12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

Ephesians 5:13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,

Ephesians 5:14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Thus, the Christian is called to be a non-conformist with regards to the ungodly world system instituted by Satan in all spheres of human society. To allow the value systems and the ungodly and godless cultures of the world to influence us is to fail in our calling to checkmate Satan’s influence in the world. To succumb to the wordly ways of doing things is to surrender to Satan, instead of resisting him. We must understand that the world is at enmity with God, and that friendship with the world equates with enemity with God. Anyone who will thus align and cozy up with the world is declaring himself an enemy of God. We’re admonished not to love the world, neither the things that are in the world. The world system is characterised by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life, which are all inspired by Satan to oppose God, and against which the Holy Spirit is in perpetual conflict. Therefore, as children of God, we’re commanded not to submit to, or align with, these anti-Christ wordly systems. Rather, we’re to be transformed into God’s image, by renewing our minds through study, meditation and obedience to the word of God. Conformity with the world is Satanic and anti-Christ!

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

However, our non-conformity or resistance to the world is not to be done violently or in confrontational ways. We are to live at peace with all men, as much as it depends on us, and are therefore to be gentle and gracious in our dealings with all, including unbelievers. Our fight is spiritual, not physical, and our targets are the forces of darkness inspiring men to rebel against God, not the men and women of the world who need deliverance. Our goal is not to resist for resistance sake, but to project God’s light and truth in a world suffused with darkness and error. We are to bear witness to the truth, in order to convict unbelievers of their ungodliness, to give them a chance of seeing God’s light, and his offer of salvation and deliverance in Christ Jesus. We are to be ready to give a reason of the hope that’s in us, with all meekness and gentleness, speaking and living graciously in love with unbelievers. We’re not to hate unbelievers or ostracise them; rather, we’re to set the godly example of holiness, love and God’s truth before them, so that they can see the difference beteeen light and darkness. We’re to stand firm in our beliefs and practice of our faith, and not allow unbelievers to intimidate us because we’re in the minority. Not conforming to the world will cost us dearly sometimes, even affecting our relationships, positions and standing in society. It may even cost us our lives ultimately. But, Christian discipleship comes with a cost. Following Jesus faithfully and living in obedience to him is never hassle-free. A true disciple is one who denies himself, takes up his cross and follows Jesus daily. He’s someone ready to lose his life for the sake of Christ and his gospel. A disciple is not supposed to seek his own interests, or seek to do his own will, but should always seek and do only the master’s will. In obeying and doing the master’s will, whatever the disciple encounters along the way, he’s to gladly accept, knowing he will be rewarded eternally for his life of obedience and sacrifice to the Lord. By living in accordance to kingdom values, we automatically become non-conformists to the world, and true and faithful witnesses of God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. That’s the only way we’re called to live for God. That’s the only way that gives us a real opportunity to engage with people around us and help them encounter Jesus. That’s the path of true Christian discipleship.

Romans 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.

12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.

Romans 12:20 To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;

1 Peter 3:16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,

Titus 3:2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

3:4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,

3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Titus 3:6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

Titus 3:7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—

1 Corinthians 5:10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

John 17:15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

John 17:19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

John 16:1 I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.

John 16:2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.

John 16:3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,

Philippians 2:15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Philippians 2:16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

In conclusion, the fallen world system we live in is ruled and controlled by Satan, who is the god of this evil world. Satan influences all aspects of the cosmos with his darkness, lies and hatred for God and his laws. Every aspect of the Satanic world system is in enmity with God, being in opposition with God. The Christian, having been delivered from Satan’s domain, becomes a citizen of God’s kingdom, and an ambassador of Christ in this fallen world. We’re called to shine forth God’s light and truth in the dark and perverse world we live in, as we try to counter Satan’s influence over the people he has held captive, in order to deliver them from his vile grip. We’re thus called and commissioned to resist the Devil and his evil, anti-Christ system wherever we encounter them. That makes the Christian a non-conformist with respect to the systems of the world. We’re not to conform to this world, but are to oppose it, as we stand firm in Christ, to bear witness to God’s word and point men and women back to God, through the preaching and the out-living of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The cost of non-conformity can be huge, sometimes requiring the supreme sacrifice, but God’s promise of eternal glory and everlasting rewards in Paradise far outweigh the temporary inconveniences we suffer here while following Christ and obeying his commandments. We must therefore be true and faithful to Christ in this vile and perverse world, in order to be counted worthy to reign and rule with him in glory, when he returns to take over the government of the world from the usurper Satan.

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There Are No Longer Laws Regulating When A Newborn Child Is To Be Named Or Dedicated, As Well As When A Parturient Woman Is To Resume Corporate Worship: The Benefits Of The Liberty In Christ Over The Bondage Of The Mosaic Law

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

The Mosaic covenant had strict laws regulating the naming of newborns, circumcision of male infants and dedication of babies to the Lord. In the law, a woman was considered unclean after childbirth, and would remain so for variable lengths of time, depending on whether she gave birth to a male or a female infant. A woman who gave birth to a boy would be unclean for seven days. On the eighth day, the boy was to be circumcised and named. The new mother would then remain ceremonially impure for another 33 days, before she could undergo purification rites, accompanied by the offering of sacrificial animals, after which she would be declared pure and would then be fit to touch sacred things and appear before the Lord. Those who gave birth to female infants would initially be unclean for fourteen days (after which the child would be named), and would require an additional 66 days to undergo purification before they could appear before the Lord to dedicate their children. Thus, for male infants, child dedication was done 40 days after birth, while female infants required twice that length of time (80 days) before they could be dedicated to the Lord. This was a strict ordinance of the Mosaic Law which was religiously observed by the Jews in the Old Testament. Even Jesus Christ, who was born under the law, was subjected to this regulation of the Mosaic law, as he was circumcised on the eighth day, and was dedicated to the Lord 40 days after his birth.

Leviticus 12:1 The LORD said to Moses,

Leviticus 12:2 “Say to the Israelites: ’A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period.

Leviticus 12:3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.

Leviticus 12:4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.

Leviticus 12:5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

Leviticus 12:6 “’When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.

Leviticus 12:7 He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. “’These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl.

Leviticus 12:8 But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”

St. Luke 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

St. Luke 2:5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

St. Luke 2:6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

St. Luke 2:7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

St. Luke 2:21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

St. Luke 2:22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

St. Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” ),

St. Luke 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Galatians 4:4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Galatians 4:5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

As we can see from the Scriptures above, the Jews in the Old Testament had strict laws regulating child-naming and child-dedication. These ceremonies concerning newborns were not left to parents and families to decide when to perform them, but were fixed by laws which had to be observed strictly. Thus, believers under the Old Testament had clear-cut instructions concerning naming ceremonies and dedication of newborns. Under the New Testament, confusion still lingers among some believers as to when to perform these ceremonies for their newborns. Are New Testament believers to follow the regulations of the Mosaic law concerning naming ceremonies, circumcision and child-dedication, or are parents at liberty to decide when to perform these duties for their babies? The key to answering this question lies in understanding the fact that New Testament believers are not under the Mosaic covenant and its injunctions. The old covenant under which the Jews in the Old Testament operated has expired and has been abolished. Therefore, the regulations of the Mosaic Covenant are no longer binding on believers in the New Testament. We’re now under a new covenant, the terms and conditions of which are to be found in the Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic epistles. The Christian does not therefore look back to the expired and abolished Mosaic Covenant for conduct, order and doctrine. Rather, we look to the writings of the original Apostles of the Lord (who are the foundation of the church) for guidance and spiritual direction.

Hebrews 8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

Hebrews 8:8 But God found fault with the people and said : “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

Hebrews 8:9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

Hebrews 8:10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Hebrews 8:11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ’Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

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

Romans 7:1 Do you not know, brothers and sisters —for I am speaking to those who know the law —that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?

Romans 7:2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.

Romans 7:3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.

Romans 7:4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

Galatians 3:11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

Galatians 3:12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

Galatians 3:14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

Galatians 5:3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

Colossians 2:10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

Colossians 2:11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,

Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

Colossians 2:14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Colossians 2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.

Colossians 2:19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Colossians 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:

Colossians 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?

Colossians 2:22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.

Colossians 2:23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

St. Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

St. Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

St. Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

St. Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

St. Matthew 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In the New Testament, there are no injunctions on when to name babies or when to dedicate them to the Lord. Circumcision of male infants is no longer a religious requirement to be strictly observed on the eighth day. Thus, believers are now free to decide when to name their babies and when to present them before the Lord for dedication. Women are no longer considered ceremonially unclean after childbirth, and so can appear before the Lord whenever they’re strong enough to do so. No purifying sacrifices are required to make parturients fit to appear before the Lord, as the blood of Jesus Christ has sanctified them once and for all when they became born again. Whatever parents offer in thanksgiving during child dedication is to be a freewill offering now, and not a mandatory offering as required by the Mosaic law. Thus, parents can name their newborn children anytime they like (and they may choose not to have any special ceremony for that). In the same vein, parents can dedicate their children anytime they wish. Similarly, a new mother can resume fellowship with the saints anytime she wants, guided by her strength and speed of recovery from the effects of childbirth. These are the liberties that the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ have procured for believers under the dispensation of grace. Let us then stand fast in these liberties and be not entangled again with any yoke of bondage, by attempting to go back to observance of the Mosaic law!

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Jesus Christ Was Born A Jew, Lived Under The Mosaic Covenant And Fulfilled The Law, So That His Followers Would Be Liberated From The Bondage And Curse Of The Law!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

Too often we hear Christians using the Lord Jesus Christ’s obedience to the Law of Moses to justify his followers’ obedience and subservience to the Mosaic covenant and its ordinances. Such people readily quote the Lord’s statements in the gospels where he upheld and taught obedience to the Law (and warned against its violation) to justify continued adherence to the Mosaic Law. These followers of Christ argue that since we’re to follow in Christ’s footsteps, we should imitate whatever he did, including his obedience to the Mosaic Law. Are Christians to follow the footsteps of the Lord Jesus in keeping the Mosaic Law? Are we to live under the same covenant that our Lord Jesus Christ subjected himself to? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

The Scriptures make it clear that Jesus Christ was born a Jew, to the royal family of David, as the promised seed of Abraham and the Jewish Messiah, who was to be Israel’s Saviour and King. He was thus born under the Law and lived under the Law. As a Jew, Jesus had no option but to fulfill the Law, which he did. He taught and expounded the Law like no other man before him had done, focusing not just on the letter, but more importantly, on the spirit of the Law. He brought grace and truth to the Law. In that regard, Jesus’ teachings stood out from those of the hypocritical religious leaders of his day, who had succeeded in putting the people into bondage by their addition of human doctrine to the Law, thereby making it non-effective. Jesus observed all the injunctions of the Mosaic Law, followed all its regulations and did not violate any of its precepts. No wonder he could boldly state that no one could convict him of sin, for sin is a transgression of the Law. He didn’t violate a single law in the Mosaic covenant all his life! Not only that, he also taught his original disciples (who were all Jews) to be obedient to the Law, warning them that anyone who broke the least precepts of the Law and taught men to do so would be considered the least in the kingdom of God. Our Lord was categorical in making people know that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. That was the purpose of his life, to fulfill the Law, which no other man before him had done. And the Lord fulfilled his purpose perfectly!

Matthew 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

Luke 1:26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

Luke 1:27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

Luke 1:28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

Luke 1:29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

Luke 1:30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Luke 1:31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.

Luke 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

Luke 1:33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Galatians 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Matthew 5:18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Matthew 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

John 8:46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?

1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (AKJV).

Matthew 7:28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching,

Matthew 7:29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Now, it must be remembered that Jesus Christ came to the Jews and ministered to them exclusively during his earthly ministry. He was a minister of the circumcision (the Jews) who came to fulfill the promises God made to their ancestors. He was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and he equally sent his disciples out during his ministry to evangelise only among Israelites. When a Gentile woman approached the Lord for help, he ignored her, and when his disciples begged him to attend to the woman, he told them emphatically that he was sent only to the Jews, and not to Gentiles, and that he couldn’t take bread meant for the children (Jews) and give to dogs (Gentiles). Although the Lord eventually attended to the woman because of her great faith, the point had been clearly made that he was a Jew sent to Jews primarily! Thus, he upheld the Jewish traditions and taught and expounded on the Mosaic Covenant to his Jewish followers.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers (AKJV).

Matthew 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

Matthew 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

Matthew 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

Matthew 10:4 Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.

Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 10:7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

Matthew 15:22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

Matthew 15:23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

Matthew 15:24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Matthew 15:25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

Matthew 15:26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

Matthew 15:27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

So Jesus, according to his humanity, was a Jew who lived under the Mosaic Covenant and fulfilled all its precepts during his lifetime. Now, are his Gentile disciples to follow him in keeping the Law after his death and resurrection? Are Christians to follow Christ in keeping the Law of Moses as Christ did during his lifetime? Although Jesus lived as a Jew and obeyed the Law until his death, the purpose of his death was to abolish the Law! Though Christ fulfilled the Law in his lifetime and upheld every precept of it, his death delivered his followers from the jurisdiction of the Law, making them no longer subject to the Law. By his death on the cross, Christ nailed the Law and its precepts to the cross, delivering his people from the bondage of the Law. The Law was a schoolmaster and a prisoner to keep God’s people in check until the coming of Christ. The Law was like the governors and tutors appointed to train underaged princes until they come of age. Now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the tutelage of the Law, nor its custody. We do not require the guardianship of the Law anymore, having come to spiritual maturity. The Law also created enemity between Jews and Gentiles (whom the law considered as unclean outcasts). Christ’s death abolished that racial division and enemity occasioned by the Law, by nailing the instrument of that division (the Law) to his cross. By his death, Christ abolished the Mosaic Covenant and instituted a new covenant of interracial peace in its place. Thus, there is now a new covenant for believers in Christ to live by, and not the old Mosaic Covenant that has expired and has been abolished. We therefore do not live by the Law of Moses anymore, like Jesus and the Jews did. We are no longer bound by the ordinances of the old covenant and its regulations. The Apostles of the Lord made it clear that going back to keep the Law, which Jesus kept in his lifetime, was going back to the bondage his death was meant to deliver us from. It is tantamount to falling from grace. The Law has served its purpose and has been abolished. To attempt to go back to it is to attempt to place oneself under a curse! Rather than looking backward to the Law for spiritual guidance and direction in matters of the faith, we’re to look to the Apostolic teachings and writings for spiritual guidance, for the original apostles of the Lord are the foundation of the Christian faith, not Moses and his Law!

Colossians 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Colossians 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

Colossians 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

Colossians 2:14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Colossians 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

Colossians 2:17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Colossians 2:18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

Colossians 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—

Colossians 2:21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”

Colossians 2:22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

Colossians 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

Romans 7:2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.

Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

Romans 7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—

Ephesians 2:12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

Ephesians 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,

Ephesians 2:16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Ephesians 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

Ephesians 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.

Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,

Galatians 4:2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Galatians 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Galatians 4:8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4:9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

Galatians 4:10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.

Galatians 4:11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

Galatians 4:21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?

Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.

Galatians 4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

Galatians 4:24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—

Galatians 4:25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—

Galatians 4:26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Galatians 4:27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.”

Galatians 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

Galatians 4:29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.

Galatians 4:30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”

Galatians 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

Galatians 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

Galatians 3:12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

Galatians 5:3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Galatians 5:7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Galatians 5:8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Galatians 5:10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.

Galatians 5:12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

Galatians 5:16 Walking in the Spirit
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Hebrews 8:1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,

Hebrews 8:2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

Hebrews 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer.

Hebrews 8:4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law;

Hebrews 8:5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

Hebrews 8:8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—

Hebrews 8:9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.

Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Hebrews 8:11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 8:13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,

Hebrews 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 9:16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Matthew 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

In conclusion, in his incarnation, the Lord Jesus Christ was born a Jew, and lived in strict obedience to the Mosaic Law all his life. He upheld, lived and fulfilled the Law like no man had ever done (or could ever do), being perfect and sinless. As a minister to the Jews, Jesus taught and expounded the Law of Moses to his Jewish followers, magnifying the Law and making it more honourable, by focusing on its spirit rather than its letter only. He also taught his Jewish disciples to uphold the Law and teach others to do same. So, Jesus was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, ministered to Jews and died as a Jew. Although Jesus lived under the Law in his lifetime, by his death he abolished the Law and the old covenant, establishing a new covenant that was ratified by his blood that was shed at Calvary. His death thus delivered and liberated his people from the bondage of the Law, and translated them into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Thus, believers in Christ are no longer subject to the Law and its ordinances. They are no longer required to keep the precepts and ordinances of the Mosaic Covenant, though Christ himself observed and kept them, as a faithful Jew. Thus, Christians are to operate under the new covenant of grace, and not under the principles of Judaism which regulated Christ’s life during his earthly ministry. We are therefore not to follow Christ’s footsteps in keeping the Law of Moses which has been abolished and replaced by the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. The terms and conditions of the new covenant (which forms the basis of conduct, order and doctrine for Christians) are to be found in the Apostolic writings. Christians do not therefore follow the Lord Jesus to go back to the Old Testament for spiritual guidance and light, but look to the New Testament which Christ has established, for superior light and revelation of God. Jesus was a Jew but Christians are not Jews, and we are not to live under the Jewish code!

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Is Circumcision Of Male Infants Still A Mandatory Religious Obligation For Christians?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

Circumcision was the seal of the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants. Under this covenant, all male descendants of Abraham (including slaves born in his house and those bought with his money) were to be circumcised on the eighth day of life. Any descendant of Abraham who was not circumcised was to be cut off from his people. In fact, Abraham himself had to be circumcised when he was 99 years old, to seal this covenant between him and God. Consequently, circumcision was made a cardinal part of the Mosaic covenant, and no uncircumcised person was to appear in God’s house, or partake of the sacred feasts of the Lord in the Old Testament. Gentiles who wanted to be admitted into the Jewish faith had to be circumcised as a prerequisite. In fact, circumcision was such a fundamental part of Jewish theology that no true Jew would enter the house of an uncircumcised person or eat with them. To associate closely with uncircumcised people was a taboo for the Jews. Thus, an uncircumcised person was considered an outcast by God and his people in the Old Testament.

Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty ; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.

Genesis 17:2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Genesis 17:3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,

Genesis 17:4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.

Genesis 17:5 No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

Genesis 17:6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

Genesis 17:7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

Genesis 17:8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.

Genesis 17:10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Genesis 17:11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

Genesis 17:12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner —those who are not your offspring.

Genesis 17:13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.

Genesis 17:14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Genesis 17:22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.

Genesis 17:23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.

Genesis 17:24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,

Genesis 17:25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen;

Genesis 17:26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.

Genesis 17:27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.

Leviticus 12:1 The LORD said to Moses,

Leviticus 12:2 “Say to the Israelites: ’A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period.

Leviticus 12:3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.

Exodus 12:43 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover meal: “No foreigner may eat it.

Exodus 12:44 Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him,

Exodus 12:45 but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it.

Exodus 12:46 “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.

Exodus 12:47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.

Exodus 12:48 “A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the LORD’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it.

Exodus 12:49 The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.”

Exodus 12:50 All the Israelites did just what the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.

Exodus 12:51 And on that very day the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.

The Acts 10:25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.

The Acts 10:26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

The Acts 10:27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.

The Acts 10:28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.

The Acts 11:1 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

The Acts 11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him

The Acts 11:3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

Galatians 2:11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

Galatians 2:12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.

Galatians 2:13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

The Jews continued to have such disdain for the uncircumcised until after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. With the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost, the gospel was carried by Jewish believers to non-Jews. With the acceptance of the gospel by the Gentiles, the divisive issue of circumcision had to be dealt with, as it threatened to tear apart the early church. After Paul and Barnabas had preached the gospel to some Gentiles and witnessed a large conversion among them, some Jewish believers insisted the new Gentile believers must be circumcised and made to keep the Mosaic Law before they could be saved. This generated a huge controversy which had to be settled by the Apostles in the first church council in Jerusalem. In that historic church council, the Apostles unanimously agreed that circumcision was not necessary for Gentiles who were turning to Christ. Not only that, it was also agreed in that council that with the exception of a few provisions, observance of the Mosaic law was not necessary for Gentile Christians. This council thus abolished circumcision as a mandatory religious requirement for acceptance before God. The Apostles made it clear that being uncircumcised was no longer an abomination before God. It was no longer a ground for rejection by God and God’s people.

The Acts 15:1 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

The Acts 15:2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

The Acts 15:3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad.

The Acts 15:4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

The Acts 15:5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

The Acts 15:6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question.

The Acts 15:7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.

The Acts 15:8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.

The Acts 15:9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

The Acts 15:10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?

The Acts 15:11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

The Acts 15:12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.

The Acts 15:13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me.

The Acts 15:14 Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.

The Acts 15:15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

The Acts 15:16 “’After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it,

The Acts 15:17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ —

The Acts 15:18 things known from long ago.

The Acts 15:19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.

The Acts 15:20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

The Acts 15:21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The Acts 15:22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers.

The Acts 15:23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings.

The Acts 15:24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.

The Acts 15:25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul —

The Acts 15:26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Acts 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.

The Acts 15:28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

The Acts 15:29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

Paul took the issue of circumcision a notch higher, by teaching that those who insisted on being circumcised on religious grounds in order to gain acceptance with God had actually fallen from grace. The Apostle to the Gentiles maintained that the observance of that cardinal part of the Mosaic law was tantamount to denying the grace of God in salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. It was attempting to mix law with grace. People who do that are actually deemed to be denying the Lord and seeking to go back to the curse and bondage of the law. Paul was emphatic in warning Gentile believers to resist the pressure to be circumcised as a seal or sign of approval with God, as required by the law of Moses. Paul’s greatest fight was with Judaizers who wanted to bring Gentile believers under the yoke of slavery as represented by the Mosaic law. The law plus grace theology was the first corruption of the gospel, which Paul called “another gospel”. It was considered a perversion of the gospel of grace, and all those propagating it are placed under a curse! Paul was relentless in calling on Gentile believers to reject such a perverted gospel, and to hold unto the grace of God in Christ Jesus, as the law of Moses (including the requirement of circumcision) was a curse and a bondage which should be avoided at all costs!

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

Galatians 5:3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Galatians 5:7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?

Galatians 5:8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.

Galatians 5:9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

Galatians 5:10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.

Galatians 5:11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

Galatians 5:12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Galatians 6:12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.

Galatians 6:13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh.

Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

Galatians 2:3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

Galatians 2:4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.

Galatians 2:5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel —

Galatians 1:7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

Galatians 1:9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

Galatians 3:11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

Galatians 3:12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

Galatians 3:14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Thus, Gentile believers are no longer under any obligation to circumcise their male infants as a religious duty, as circumcision of the flesh (the foreskin) is no longer a seal of God’s approval. The circumcision that matters now is that of the heart, by the Holy Spirit, who is now the seal of God for believers in Christ Jesus. The true sons of God are now identified, not by the circumcision of their foreskins, but by the fruits of the spiritual circumcision, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. To glory in circumcision of the foreskin is to glory in the flesh. We’re not to know any man any longer after the flesh. He that glories now should glory in the Lord. In Christ Jesus, circumcision does not avail anything. What matters now is the keeping of the word of God. It is faith which works through love that’s important, not the mutilation of the flesh. Anyone who so lives is approved of God, irrespective of the status of his foreskin. What is an abomination to God now is the uncircumcision of the heart. It is those with uncircumcised hearts and ears that God opposes and resists now, because they oppose and resist his will, and can never please him, being carnal and unspiritual.

Romans 2:28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.

Romans 2:29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

Colossians 2:10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

Colossians 2:11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,

Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

Colossians 2:14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

1 Corinthians 7:17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.

1 Corinthians 7:18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised.

1 Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.

1 Corinthians 7:20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (AKJV).

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (AKJV).

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not from now on live to themselves, but to him which died for them, and rose again.

2 Corinthians 5:16 Why from now on know we no man after the flesh: yes, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now from now on know we him no more.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (AKJV).

1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1 Corinthians 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are:

1 Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

1 Corinthians 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord (AKJV).

The Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you (NKJV).

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God (NKJV).

In conclusion, circumcision started with Abraham, as a seal of the covenant between him and God, and was mandated for every male descendant of Abraham, including slaves born in his house and those bought with his money. Any uncircumcised male descendant of Abraham was to be cut off from his people. The Jews continued to detest and avoid close interaction with all uncircumcised people, until the birth of the church, after the ascension of Christ. With the coming into the church of Gentiles who were never under the Mosaic law, it was agreed by the original Apostles of the Lord that Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised before they could be saved. Paul made it very clear that circumcision of the foreskin does not matter anymore, and has been supplanted by the circumcision of the heart by the Holy Spirit, which is achieved by the new birth experience. Thus, the seal of God’s approval is no longer the circumcision of the flesh but the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Christians are no longer required to circumcise their male infants on religious grounds, as circumcision is no longer a religious obligation nor a seal of the new covenant in Christ Jesus. Embracing circumcision on religious grounds now is considered placing oneself back under the bondage of the law of Moses, and a falling away from the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

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Confession Of Sins Should Be Directly To God, As Only He Can Forgive Sins: A Rebuttal Of The Doctrine Of Auricular Confession Of Sins To Priests

Sin entered into the world from the fall of man, and has affected every man’s relationship with God ever since. Part of God’s requirements for admitting fallen mankind back into his presence is for sinful humanity to acknowledge and confess their sins in order to obtain mercy and forgiveness from God. The Bible tells us that whoever covers his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes them shall obtain mercy. The Scripture also reminds us that if we claim to have no sin, we make God a liar and the truth is not us; but if we acknowledge and confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thus, confession of sins is a necessary prerequisite for God’s forgiveness. Without sinful man acknowledging and confessing his sins, there can be no mercy and no forgiveness from God. That’s what the Bible teaches.

Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy (NIV).

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us (NIV).

From the very beginning, the prerequisite for sinful man to approach a holy God has been the offering of an acceptable atoning sacrifice (to appease God), followed by confession of sins to God. Confessions of sins from the beginning were always made directly to God. Only God can forgive sins, and thus only he has the right to listen to confessions of man’s guilt and sin. In the Old Testament, we see God’s people approaching his presence and confessing their sins directly to him, without passing through an intermediary. Yes, prophets and high priests could intercede for the entire nation and confess the people’s sins to God for forgiveness and mercy; however, the people never confessed their sins to God through prophets or priests. Personal confessions of sins were made directly to God, after presenting the right atoning sacrifice.

Joshua 7:19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” (NKJV).

Ezra 10:9 So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month; and all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain.

Ezra 10:10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have transgressed and have taken pagan wives, adding to the guilt of Israel.

Ezra 10:11 Now therefore, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives.”

Ezra 10:12 Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, “Yes! As you have said, so we must do (NKJV).

Daniel 9:4 And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,

Daniel 9:5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.

Daniel 9:6 Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.

Daniel 9:7 O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.

Daniel 9:8 “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

Daniel 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.

Daniel 9:10 We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.

Daniel 9:11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him (NKJV).

Psalms 32:1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Psalms 32:2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Psalms 32:3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

Psalms 32:4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

Psalms 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Psalms 32:6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.

Psalms 32:7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance (NIV).

St. Mark 2:7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (NIV).

In the New Testament, believers are still required to approach God personally, with the required sacrifice to present now being the blood of Jesus Christ. We are to call upon the name of the Lord in salvation, believing in him with our heart and making confessions unto him, with our mouth, following repentance. Every knee is to bow before God, and every tongue is to confess to him. In the model prayer the Lord Jesus taught his disciples, he enjoined us to pray directly to God, our heavenly father. In that prayer guide, the Lord instructed us to ask God directly for forgiveness of sins, as we confess our sins directly to him. The only person we’re to pass through to approach God, both in prayer and in confession of sins, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and mankind. We approach God and present our petitions (including our confessions) to him through Jesus Christ only.

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (NKJV).

Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Romans 14:11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God (NKJV).

St. Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

St. Matthew 6:10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

St. Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

St. Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

St. Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’

St. Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

St. Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (NIV).

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time (NIV).

John 14:12 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.

John 14:13 And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:14 If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it (AKJV).

For offences committed against our fellow men, Scripture requires us to confess such to them and seek forgiveness from them. If you sin against your brother or sister, you’re to confess such sins to the person you offended, as you ask for their forgiveness. Jesus taught his disciples to always seek reconciliation with people they’re not in good terms with. Part of that reconciliatory process involves confessing sins and faults to people we’ve offended. The Apostle James encouraged us in his epistle to confess our faults to one another (whenever we offend one another) and to pray for one another for healing. Thus, the only occasion we’re required to confess sins or faults to a fellow human being is when we directly sin against them or offend them. In such cases, as soon as we realise our faults or are confronted with them, we should apologise and acknowledge our wrong doing. For sins against God, we’re to confess them to God, and for sins against man, we’re to confess them to man.

St. Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.

St. Luke 17:4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ’I repent,’ you must forgive them.” (NIV).

St. Matthew 5:23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,

St. Matthew 5:24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift (NIV).

James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

James 5:15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (NIV).

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and empowered them to both remit and retain certain sins, as leaders of his church. This mandate given to the original Apostles of the Lord has generated unnecessary confusion as to the powers men of God wield in forgiving or retaining sins. Let’s look at this portion of Scripture in John’s gospel carefully, and try to analyse it in context, to understand the Lord’s intention and how the Apostles understood it.

St. John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

St. John 20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

St. John 20:21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

St. John 20:22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

St. John 20:23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (NIV).

Some denominations have latched onto this portion of Scripture quoted above to empower priests to listen to people’s confessions of sins and to offer forgiveness on God’s behalf, claiming the Apostolic authority derived from the mandate given to the original Apostles on that occasion after Christ’s resurrection. Thus, such denominations have foreclosed direct confessions of sins to God, making priests intermediaries between God and the people. The laity in such churches must confess their sins to the clergy before they can receive pardon for such sins. Such pardons are usually pronounced by the clergy on behalf of God! Even the Levitical priesthood under the Law wasn’t this restrictive in granting the people access to God! Under the law, the people could still confess their sins directly to God and obtain pardon directly from him. Why then should God’s children who are supposed to enjoy the extravagant liberty of sonship under grace be so muzzled and restrained? Why should any New Testament church deny people direct access to God?

Let it be stated categorically here that the original Apostles of the Lord to whom that instruction was given did not interpret it to mean they were now to become mediators between God and men. They didn’t interpret that mandate to mean they now had the authority to admit auricular confessions of sins and to forgive sins (or refuse to do so) on God’s behalf. Those Apostles of the Lord still taught that there was only one mediator between God and mankind, and that confessions of sins should be made to God and not to man, as we find in their epistles written years after that post-resurrection mandate was given to them.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time (NIV).

Hebrews 7:24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Hebrews 7:26 Such a high priest truly meets our need —one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens (NIV).

If the Apostles understood that mandate not to mean their authorisation to stand in God’s place to both admit confession of sins and offer forgiveness of sins, what then was the mandate they were given by the Lord? To answer this question, let’s examine a similar instance where the Lord had given the disciples such powers to forgive or retain sins before. We find that example in the power of the church to either forgive an erring believer or to cast out an unrepentant one who had sinned and refused to repent, even when confronted by the church government. When church leaders sit in judgement to adjudicate disputes between believers, they have the power and authority to pardon repentant offenders or excommunicate unrepentant ones. In such situations, the government of the church can forgive or retain sins. The church government has such authority only in judging those within their jurisdiction who stand in judgement before them for gross sins that are capable of tarnishing the image of the church, or for rebellion/heresy. It’s not a universal power to forgive or retain the sins of all men.

St. Matthew 18:15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

St. Matthew 18:16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ’every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

St. Matthew 18:17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

St. Matthew 18:18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

St. Matthew 18:19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

St. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (NIV).

1 Corinthians 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.

1 Corinthians 5:2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?

1 Corinthians 5:3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.

1 Corinthians 5:4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,

1 Corinthians 5:5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?

1 Corinthians 5:7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people —

1 Corinthians 5:10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

1 Corinthians 5:12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?

1 Corinthians 5:13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” (NIV).

1 Corinthians 6:1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people?

1 Corinthians 6:2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

1 Corinthians 6:4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church?

1 Corinthians 6:5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?

1 Corinthians 6:6 But instead, one brother takes another to court —and this in front of unbelievers! (NIV).

Titus 3:10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,

Titus 3:11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned (NKJV).

If the original Apostles of the Lord did not stand in the place of Christ to hear confessions of sins and claim to forgive same, where did this doctrine come from? If Christ’s original apostles taught of the priesthood of all believers and the birthright of every child of God to approach God directly (for both confession of sins and supplications), without the need of human intermediaries, how come some churches insist on dividing the body of Christ into a holy clergy (alone qualified to approach God) and an unholy laity that are forbidden to approach God on their own? This reversion to the Old Testament Levitical priesthood (or even worse) is recorded in the book of Revelation as one of the damnable heresies sneaked into the church by demon-inspired teachers. It’s called the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. The word “Nicolaitanes” is derived from two Greek roots, “Nicos” (meaning to conquer), and “laos”, (meaning the people or laity). It’s a doctrine designed to create a priviledged class of believers (holy priests) who alone are deemed worthy to approach God, through conquering or subduing the rest of the believers (laity). This doctrine thus divides the body of Christ into two- a holy clergy consisting of priests who have priviledged access to God, and an unholy laity who are subdued and prevented from accessing God on their own. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes is hated by the Lord and is satanic in origin. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no special class of believers who alone have the priestly right to approach God on behalf of others. All believers in Christ are priests unto God, and all have the right to approach God on their own, through our common high priest Jesus Christ. To teach and practise otherwise is to teach and practise a demon-inspired lie. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes is indeed a damnable heresy. Believing in it is a sure sign of departing from the true faith and giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils!

Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Revelation 1:6 And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (AKJV).

Revelation 5:5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Revelation 5:7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Revelation 5:8 Worthy Is the Lamb
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.” (NKJV).

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

1 Peter 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Revelation 2:6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.

Revelation 2:15 So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

1 Timothy 4:2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron (NIV).

In conclusion, after the fall of man, God designed that sinful mankind could only be reconciled back to him through the offering of an acceptable atoning sacrifice, coupled with the acknowledgement and confession of personal sins. From the very beginning, confessions of sins were made directly to God, as only he can forgive sins. Even under the Law where the Levitical priesthood acted as an intermediary between God and the people, the people were still required to confess their sins directly to God. Under the new covenant of grace, every believer is a priest unto God, and all can approach him directly by virtue of the blood of Jesus Christ that has opened the way into God’s presence for all believers. We do not need to go through the clergy to approach God, nor do we need to confess sins to the clergy, or obtain God’s forgiveness through them. The doctrine of the necessity of a priviledged, holy clergy, who alone can approach God and are authorised to listen to confessions of sins, is a fallout of the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which divided the body of Christ into a holy clergy and an unholy laity. That doctrine is hated by our Lord Jesus Christ, as it is satanic in origin, seeking to take believers back to the yoke of the Law and the Levitical priesthood that the Lord Jesus Christ has delivered us from. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ makes every believer a child of God and a joint heir of God with Christ. We all have unhindered access to God’s presence by the blood of Jesus Christ. We all can pray directly to God and obtain mercy and grace directly from him, without the need of passing through any Nicolaitane priest!