Skip to comments.Liberty in Christ
Posted on 01/20/2014 3:38:48 AM PST by HarleyD
It is crucial that you understand the nature of Christian liberty. As a Christian, you are not under law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14). Freedom from the law certainly does not mean that the principles of righteousness revealed in the Old Testament law are now nullified. It does not mean that the Ten Commandments have no application to your present life. It does not mean that you can subjugate Gods holy standards to personal preference. It obviously does not mean you are free from any moral requirements.
What does it mean? It means that Christians are not bound to observe Old Testament ritual. We dont have to sacrifice animals, observe the laws of ceremonial cleanness, and celebrate all the new moons and feasts and sacrifices. We dont have to follow the dietary laws given to Israel through Moses. We are free from all that.
Likewise, obviously, we are free from all Gentile religious ceremony and superstition. Whatever our religious background or heritage, in Christ we are free from all the trappings of it. We now live by Gods grace, which has the principle of true righteousness built in.
In other words, our spiritual lives are governed not merely by an external code, but by Gods grace, which operates in us to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law (Rom. 8:4). Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly (Titus 2:12). And grace empowers us to live holy lives.
This tremendous liberty is one of the most remarkable aspects of the Christian life. We have no need to yield to custom or ceremony or human opinion. There are no earthly priests to intercede between us and God: There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). We dont need to make a pilgrimage to a temple somewhere to worship; our very bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). We can worship God in spirit and in truth anytime, anyplace (John 4:23, 24). Whatever we ask in Jesus name He will do (John 14:13, 14). The Holy Spirit is given to us as our advocate and comforter (vv. 16, 26). All things belong to us, and we are Christs, and Christ is Gods (1 Cor. 3:2123).
Quite a contrast to the “religion of peace,” as our dear leader often refers to Islam, isn’t it? Well written.
This would be confusing without more elaboration, as it does not state where the moral requirements come from, as they are certainly not subjective. Which MacArthur does not teach , upholding that
"What you and I do with God's moral law will bring upon our lives a direct effect."
What you and I do with God's moral law will bring upon our lives a direct effect. How we deal with God's law will directly affect us.
On the one hand, in some sense, the law passes away. It is no longer binding ceremonially, civilly, and in the sense of its moral consequence and penalty. But in another sense, the law is still binding, so that Paul can say, "I delight in the law of God. So the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." He's saying, "I delight in it," in chapter 7 and, "I fulfill it," in chapter 8.
We don't want to be libertines, we don't want to be legalists, we just want to be law-abiding believers
Yet he also lacks balance in while erroneously teaching you can "go ahead and do what you want anyway, and turn your back on God, and disobey Him as flagrantly and openly as you want" thinking this is what the Lord meant in Mt. 5:19 - and still be considered one who has saving faith. Besides the texts (Gal. 5:14; Heb. 3:9,12,14; 10:38) we have previously debated, the classic Calvinistic doctrine of perseverance of the saints would require that such a one repent and be restored in fellowship with Christ before he died to be considered saved, not simply be called the least in the kingdom.
What needs to be said is we are not under law as a means of salvation, which excludes any system whereby a soul earns eternal life, becoming good enough to be with God, and that while the typological ceremonial law is abrogated, (Heb. 9:9,10; Col. 2:16; Gal. 4:10) that the moral law is upheld under the New Covenant, as seen its reiterations of 9 of the 10 commandments as well as the others.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (Ephesians 6:1-2)
Yet the Law is not actually our standard, but Christ is, who supremely fulfilled it. And thus we seek to fulfil the righteous intent of the law, not simply the letter. And it is not Moses who administers the Law to us, but Christ, calling us to practically be what we are positionally by faith in Him and in Him If we are washed, sanctified, justified new creatures in Christ, and accepted in the Beloved by faith and made to sit together in heavenly places, then think and live like it.
Likewise, obviously, we are free from all Gentile religious ceremony and superstition...We have no need to yield to custom or ceremony or human opinion.
Except in December!
I believe most members of churches formerly connected to the state/civil govt. don't understand that the Cross changed everything. In many instances we see a Jewish model carried forward. However, Jesus Christ changed all that. He paid the price so no new sacrifice needs to be made and he established a decentralized body of believers united by faith not institutional control.
Gamecock posted a great thread a couple weeks ago that I believe was authored by Tim Keller. In it Keller made the point that the state as an implementer of religious punishment for sinful behavior ended after the Cross because the penalty for sin was paid and Christianity was not established by Jesus Christ as a state religion. However, history shows that we ignored this within 300 years of the crucifixion and again at the initial stages of the Reformation.
Good post. Love your last point on December. Touche’.
I like to explain that the Law (”a shadow”) is a glimpse of what God is like. But it is a very limited and partial glimpse.
The Jews and legalistic Christians make the Law a “bar”, a measurement, a level, of what our lives should look like.
The great error (deception?) about that is that it is a bar too low. Using it, the Pharisee’s and some Christian’s think they can measure themselves and come out ok.
But our Lord Jesus blew that bar to smithereens on the Sermon on the Mount. “You think........I say to you......” Yes, the Law is good, and true, and holy. But it’s not a “bar” set by God - and even if it was, in reality we all fail utterly and totally - when our hearts are revealed. Jesus exposed the heart in the Sermon on the Mount....”You think the bar is here....(the Law).....”but I say to you it is HERE!” (the heart exposed: lust = adultery, hatred = murder, etc.). Thus, he gave in this short message, a fuller, more complete revelation of who God really is.
BUT, the ultimate revelation of who God really is - is Jesus Himself. He is the full and complete revelation of God (Colossians 1, Hebrews 1). He is THE BAR, who exposes our true nature apart from His salvation, and the mystery of “Christ in us, the hope of glory...”, the bar that no man can match or meet, the bar that makes us fall on our faces before Him crying for mercy and forgiveness - which He always graciously gives in abundance.
And living in and through us, He fulfills the Law - because, in reality, He is greater than the Law. The Law is but a shadow of who He is, it is not Him. And now that Christ has come in the flesh, the Law is a very poor shadow.
Another point is that the Law as in the Ten Commandments is not the major commandment. That, as Jesus noted, is in Deut. 6, not Deut. 5, in verse 5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your might.” “And the second is like unto it - love your neighbor as yourself...”
Who can stand before this law? No man.
The good news is that He has fulfilled the law - not only the 10 commandments, but Deut. 6:5, and born the penalty for all of our sins on the cross “that we might become the righteousness of God in Him...”
The old covenant was based upon obedience, the new on faithfulness. And through this faith in the saving grace of Jesus we can now live free of the burden of sin. It returns us to the condition Adam enjoyed in the Garden - free to “walk with God”, because our sin no longer clings to us. It is - indeed - a new world!
No, new covenant is based on faith and grace. Or “grace through faith”.
If it were on faithfulness, we would all still be total failures.....
But you could say it is based on HIS faithfulness - not ours.......
Rev. 17:14 - “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
AMEN & Hallelujah! “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Indeed, as the Word made flesh.
Another point is that the Law as in the Ten Commandments is not the major commandment. That, as Jesus noted, is in Deut. 6,
And as we fail of that, so we need the one who alone did so.
And play full court basketball; too!
One aspect provided by dispensationalism studies institutions established by God for believers and unbelievers alike, namely Volition, Marriage, Family, and Nation.
Each of those institutions provide blessings, provided the legitimate authority in each is properly respected. When disobeyed, we also fall out of fellowship with Him.
While we live in an age of grace with respect to our relationship with Him, His Perfect sacrifice didn’t remove our duties to remain obedient in those institutions for their blessings.
Law still remains, but through Him, we also fulfill His Law by faith in Christ.
Where do you believe these moral "requirements" come from? There are a lot of non-believers who are far more moral than some believers. One can be very moralistic and still not be saved. MacArthur would argue they stem from the commandments of God. Where do you believe they come from?
Yet he also lacks balance in while erroneously teaching you can
You are taking MacArthur out of context. If you were to read the entire argument of his article he states:
And thus we seek to fulfil the righteous intent of the law, not simply the letter.
If we are seeking to fulfill the "righteous intent of the law", how is that different from MacArthur's statement of following the "moral requirements"?
I disagree that the doctrine of the "perseverance of the saints" is a Calvinist doctrine only. It agrees with the Scriptural assurances we have that salvation is a gift of grace and grace is not earned or merited. Since that is the case, then, just as we do nothing to deserve this gift, we need do nothing to keep the gift. That makes the doctrine of eternal security (OSAS) or perseverance of the saints a Biblical and correct one. When, not if, a believer falls into sin, his fellowship with the Lord is hindered but his eternal security is not - it can't be.
A believer, born again into the family of God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, can never lose the gift of grace. Now should one who sins repent and be restored into fellowship with God? Yes, of course, but should he die before he reaches that point, he would NOT lose his salvation. That is the whole point of grace. Works don't save us, works don't keep us saved. Not sinning doesn't save us, sinning doesn't make us lose our salvation. If it WERE the case, then we would be in the same boat as other religions that preach a faith and works-based salvation. This is a very important distinction.
You did no work that would merit eternal life, but you made a response, as by God's grace you believed, which you otherwise could not and would not have done. But if faith appropriated justification, then denying that faith would forfeit what faith obtained - if you can being the issue. Thus when believers are effectively denying the faith, (cf. 1Tim. 5:8) God works to chasten them unto repentance, so that we will not be condemned with the rest of the world. (1Cor. 11:32)
Which is contrary to the idea that saving faith can mean trusting Christ for salvation while continuing impenitently in known sin.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me : And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
There are texts of varying strength on both sides, the strongest ones being that those that indicate once elected then always elect, (OEAE) the others for OSAS make salvation contingent upon believing in the continuous sense, (Jn. 3:36) and the issue is whether God would let a converted soul, as a steward of the gift of faith, die in a state of denial of faith, finally resisting God, which is where Calvinism with its irresistible grace comes in.
I think Jn. 6:35-40 (cf. Rm. 8:28-39) offers the strongest support for OSAS (but to be so must disallow God's will being resistible, as Arminians see 1Tim. 2:4) and we need to have faith that what God began then He can and will also accomplish. (Ps. 138:8) And which Paul had confidence that God would. (Phil. 1:6; 1Cor. 1:8) While also exhorting,
That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. (2 Timothy 1:14)
In making the case for believers being stewards of the gift of faith and warning them of forfeiting what it appropriated, we have many texts which tell believers - and it is clear in context these texts are addressing believers as believers - that we are Christ's house
"if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." "if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." (Hebrews 3:6,9)
This holding fast is the opposite of departing from God in unbelief, for faith is always the condition for salvation, and while we are "kept by the power of God," it is
through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)
Thus believers are exhorted to keep that which was committed unto them, and are warned,
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12) Only a believer can depart from the living God, and the holding fast refers to that which they had.
And likewise is the warning against being of them that
"draw back unto perdition" rather than being of
"them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)
This drawing back is not having besetting sins, which a believer struggles against, (Heb. 12:1,4) or weakness of faith at times, like Abraham lying about Sarah, but by sinning willfully, impenitently, after having received the knowledge of the truth, (Hebrews 10:26) which in 1Tim. 2:4 means salvation, thus such a one, being the most accountable of souls,
hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified , an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29)
A man who will not provide for his own, and specially for those of his own house, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8)
A formal doctrinal way of departing from the faith is that of assent to a false gospel, such as earning salvation a under the law, versus by faith being counted for righteousness, and thus working to fulfil the righteousness of the Law. (Rm. 4:1-7ff; 8:4)
The Galatians were such a case, being believers who had received the Spirit of God, (Gal. 4:6) but were being seduced by Judaizers who would place them back under the Law for salvation, a decision signified by circumcision, and who thus were exhorted as believers,
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing . (Galatians 5:2)
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace . (Galatians 5:4)
Thus because they were believers who were set free, they were warned not to go back into bondage under the Law, and if they assented to Judaizers in this then Christ shall profit you nothing becoming of no effect, and rendering them fallen from grace.
I do not see how this making Christ of no effect, etc. could mean anything less than a forfeiture of what faith had appropriated, and thus we are left with only one option in order to uphold OSAS. Which is that these warning against Christ profiting them nothing, and thus drawing back into perdition, are only hypothetical, and are a means of keeping the elect in the faith. This would not be much of a problem for most Calvinists, as they already believe God calls souls to do what they cannot do because of Adam, and them condemns them for not doing it. But i am not doctrinally comfortable with either.
I think as honest student so the Word of God, we must recognize that saving faith is an obedient faith, that is its character, though not that it is the obedience that saves one, as eternal life is a gift by faith, yet a faith that worketh by love. Thus the libertarian OSAS is wrong.
And acknowledge that the warnings against denying the faith and its damnable implications are there, and thus be zealous to hold fast our "confidence, which hath great recompence of reward." (Hebrews 10:35) - which i need to do - but have the confidence of Paul,
I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)