LINING UP THE BIBLE
The Old Testament is not a story of the Gentiles. The Old Testament is not directed to the Gentiles (Rom 2:14-15). The Gentiles do not come into the scene of having anything to do with God until after the death of Jesus (Eph. 2:11-22). At the death of Jesus, the New Covenant goes into effect. The Gentiles come into the scene at the New Covenant. If you have been taught all your life, and most of you have, that you as a Gentile fit right along side of the Jews of the Old Testament; then what you have been taught is tradition; and not taught in accordance with how the Bible lines up, nor taught in accordance with what the the Bible plainly says.
The book of Hebrews has always been a neglected book because it does not line up with tradition. At the time it was written, it was addressing two groups of people: Jews who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and Christian Jews who could not let go of Judaism. However, God in his infinite wisdom, knowing the future, had a third group in mind that Hebrews would be addressing: Gentile Christians who want to act like Orthodox Jews. These Christians instead of offering up an animal sacrifice for their sin, offer up a confession for their sin; and they do this over and over again and think that it puts them back in good standing with God. It's called: 1 John 1:9. Why would you need to offer up a confession, in order to get forgiveness, when you already have it. This is the traditon that has been taught throughout church history; and this is what we have today. When you teach tradition for a long time, it's hard to come out of tradition for fear of losing credibility.
The Old Covenant of the Old Testament is a covenant of conditions. The conditions are the law. The New Covenant is an unconditional covenant that states: "For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more." (Heb. 8:12). The next verse says: 'By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete: and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.' (Heb. 8:13). It says in Gal. 3:25: 'Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.' There are many scriptures that tell us that we are no longer under the law.
However, the traditionalists always say that this is referring to the "ceremonial" law and not the "moral" law. 'The moral law is the Ten Commandments, which we will always be under;' they say. The Reformation came out of the result of many people rebelling against the rule of Catholicism; which prohibited people from even reading the Bible. The Reformation was only successful to a point. It needed to go a little further. Today we have people wanting to tell us that the scriptures are really not saying what they are plainly saying. The reason for this is the same as it was back then...control. When the scriptures tell us that we are no longer under the law, it means all of the law. We are not under the moral law (The Ten Commandments). It plainly states in 11 Cor. 3:7 that the Ten Commandments is the ministry that brought death. It is the ministry that condemns men (vs. 9). Couple this with what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:10-11, when talking about the "moral" law: 'I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.'
Folks, read the Bible for yourselves. Your relationship with God is between you and God, not between you and what church leadership says. Again, the issue is control or it's ignorance on their part. In their mind if you are not keeping the law, then you have to be out there breaking it. 'We must teach our people that they cannot sin, therefore they have to do what the law says.' Can't you just hear the desperation in their voices? Fine, if you want your people not to sin, then you better keep them away from the law, because the power of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56). In other words, if you want to keep sin powerful in you life, then keep yourself under the law. Let's get this once and for all: LAW IS NOT THE ISSUE ANYMORE; LIFE IS THE ISSUE. As born again Christians our goal is: not to stop sinning. Our goal is to trust the life that now lives in us. Trusting the life that now lives in us is what faith is. And it is faith that justifies us before God and it is faith that pleases God (Gal. 3:11); (Heb. 11:6). Why would you want to sin anyway? We want to sin because our flesh wants to be satisfied. But this satisfaction is so fleeting and shallow, and then what follows is reaping what we sowed. Now that we have been brought into the kingdom of God (the buffet line), and all the significance of what that means, why would we want to go back to eating out of the dumpster?
The dividing line of human history from man's perspective begins at the birth of Jesus. All calendars in all countries are based on the birth of Christ. However, from God's perspective, and this is the one that counts, the dividing line begins at the death of Jesus. It was at the death of Jesus that the New Covenant went into effect (Heb 9:16-18). Let me ask this question: When the Lord walked the earth for three years of ministry, what covenant was he under? It had to be the Old Covenant. That is the right answer. Jesus taught under the Old Covenant, while at the same time he was proclaiming what was coming in the very near future at his death...the New Covenant.
If you think the law of the Old Testament was hard to keep; try keeping the Sermon on the Mount. The purpose of the law is to lead one to Christ, by proving to the one, that he fails the one hundred percent requirement everytime. When the one realizes he is unable, he cries out to God, and God says: "I know you can't, but my Son can; and he did." "Take his life that I'm offering to you, and walk in faith that he did it for you." As Jesus is getting closer to his death, which means the New Covenant just around the corner, he amplifies and makes the law even more severe in its effect, through the Sermon on the Mount. He's preparing the people's hearts, for the recieving of himself, after his ressurection. When he says for example, quoting the law: ("Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.") anger carries with it the same judgment as murder does. We can't win; but that is the point. Read all the examples of Jesus quoting the law in Matt. 5:21-48.
Another long standing tradition that is out of alignment is in regards to tithing. The most popular scripture that's always used in order to make people feel extra bad is taken from Malachi chapter 3, talking about God being robbed of the tithe. Most churches teach this, but the worst culprit for this is Christian television. Over all, what could be more of a deterrent to the lost being saved than watching this embarrassment? Turn off your televisions, read your Bibles, and let God speak to you directly, not the charlatans. What Testament is the book of Malachi in? Old, is the right answer. What covenant was that under? Yes, you are right again. It's under the covenant that has become obsolete and has disappeared. Are you in a church that is telling you, that you have to tithe? If so, what other things could be wrong in your church? I'm not telling you not to give your money, but give it according to how you do now under the New Covenant. This you will find in 11 Cor. 8 and 9. Verse 9:7 says: 'Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheeful giver.'
Again, under the New Covenant, God is not dealing with us on the issue of our sins anymore. The Lamb of God has taken them away (John 1:29). With that understanding we can now correct another long standing tradition regarding the Lord's Supper. Judgment for our sins for all time was placed upon Jesus at the cross. When Paul in 1 Cor. 11:29 says that we eat and drink judgment on ourselves, (for eating and drinking the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner) he is not talking about a judgment for our sin from God. An unworthy manner is not referring to unconfessed sin in our lives that now needs to be confessed, as tradition has told you. It's referring to the manner of how the people were taking the Lord's Supper. The food was all being eaten up by some before others could partake. The wine (real wine) was all being drunk to the point of some getting drunk. Paul told them that they can do this sort of thing in their homes. The judgment being talked about here is the people judging each other for being so greedy and selfish. Another way Paul could say it is: 'If you want to act like pigs, then do it at home, so you won't be judged by the others. Read all of 1 Cor. 11:20-34 in context.
When you read these scriptures in context, it is not hard at all, to see what's going on here. But; what we have done in our churches is come under the spell of putting our faith in our leadership never being wrong. Your leadership are mere men like you. Also, they may be a nondenominational church, but they are still, really a denomination that is teaching according to what they believe. The Word of God is available to us all for a good reason. It's for us to read it ourselves. If you are having a relationship with God through another person; then there is something wrong. Your relationship should be direct, just like it is with your own children. And this is what good church leadership should be telling you all the time.
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