All Things Lawful
The priest woke up early that morning, so also the Levite. Traveling down the way, each of them saw a man in the way, soaked in blood with cuts all over of him. A priest must not defile himself. So also the Levite must keep himself clean. Else, they are out of the service of God for a time, for so says the law. What about the morning and the evening sacrifices? The priest hastened away, perhaps to the temple to accomplish the services of God. The Levite unlike the priest was a bit compassionate. He looked at the man with an eye full of pity. Perhaps, he muttered words of prayer to God to deliver the dying soul form death. But the near death condition of the man is not strong enough to make him transgress the law to help the man. Those who bear the holy things must keep themselves from things that defile, so the Lord commands. (1)
The King threw a great banquet. He gave invitation to many people. But when the banquet was ready, none of the invitee showed up. He sent his servant to remind them; perhaps they have forgotten the time. When the servant got to them, it became evident that nothing, of a truth, slipped their memory. They all had reasons which the king must understand and as a result excuse them from His banquet. Among the invitee is a man who knew very well what the law says. To have the condition for his not attending the banquet genuine, he must take the king by His own Word. He sent the servant back with these words; “I just got married, so I can’t come.” (2) After all, it was the King who gave them the law in which it is written “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” (3)
The question is still before us to answer, as many of us as are professing the faith of the Christ of God. Shall we follow the letters that kill or the Spirit that gives life? (4) Just like how Peter was unable to comprehend how the Saviour of Israel could suffer in the hand of men to the point of death (5), the priest and the Levite could not understand the mystery of the Christ coming as a suffering Servant. They could not receive Him in a figure as Abraham did upon Mt. Moriah (6, 7). They did not understand His word that says “… in as much as you have done it to one of these little ones, you have done it to Me.” The exalted king they hastened to worship in the temple lay in the pool of blood, but they could not perceive it, for their hearts were sealed up by the letters of the law. Do you wonder why they could not still receive Him when He came to them in an unusual way?
The man must obey the law rather than the God who gave the law (8). He had a lawful way out of the call of God. He took advantage of the loophole in the way of God, or so he thought, to overcome God Himself. He must bind God with His word! He has just gotten a new wife. Not even the law can force him out of his chamber before the due time. Is not this man a type of the present day church? He failed to understand that the marriage we do here on earth is just a picture of the great mystery of that of the Christ and His wife the Church, to be consummated at the end of this age. The marriage we do here is given to keep the picture of the reality alive before us until the time of the fulfillment. He held tenaciously to the shadow and disregarded the invitation to the real substance the shadow typified (9).
How much of the substance do we hold on to today as the Church? We have completely yoked the substance and the shadow in unholy matrimony against the commandment of the Lord of the Church that the new wine be put in a new wineskin. We are not truly seen as the true Church in biblical prophecies or a replacement for the nation Israel as some have claimed. We carry all around the corpses of the long dead law and carnal ordinances along the way to Mt. Zion where God seeks worshippers in spirit and in truth (10, 11).
This is where the woeful failure of the man is buried. He was deaf to hear the God who gave the law of “honeymoon” crying through the Prophet, saying; “Gather the people, consecrate the assembly, bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. LET THE BRIDEGROOM LEAVE HIS ROOM AND THE BRIDE HER CHAMBER.” (12) Such is the folly of many of us who believe we can grasp the width to bind God by His Word. We do forget that it is His Word, only when it proceeds from His mouth. Searching the law to do things which are lawful; things which are allowed, will take us to no where but the nadir of Hell. We will never come to the knowledge of the truth by searching the scriptures to authenticate things we allow, for the truth of God is not a combination of some good and correct doctrines. Christ Himself is the Truth that leads to eternal life. (13)
The priest and the Levite could not carry the man in blood because he may die along the way and rendered them defiled. How would men of such a heart be able to bear the reproach of Christ which qualifies the carrier to be regarded at best as the dung of the earth; I mean bearing the death of Christ in their body that the life of Christ may also be revealed in their body? (14)
All the days of our lives we have misheard the Law of God. We have mistaken man’s interpretation of the law for God’s revelation. We have concluded that a little knowledge of the law will satisfy Him, except He lacks the spirit of contentment. We need to return to the humbling place of law redefinition at the feet of Christ the Master; the only place we can learn what the perfect will of the Father is. (15) When Apostle Paul fell at His feet on the way to Damascus, deadness of religion gave way to the life of faith in his heart. All his life he has been learning from a wrong master. When he changed master, it was evidenced by a changed heart. (16)
What we need is not another Bible. Neither do we need another infallible translation. What we desperately need for the rescue of our souls dying on the laps of error and fallacious doctrines of men and of demons is change of master. When our teacher changes, our perception and understanding also change. God has not relegated His position as the sole Teacher of His people to any man or any of man’s systems. God is the One who teaches His people to prosper and to make wealth that will endure for all eternity. He has given the Holy Spirit to teach those who believe in Him all things. (17)
Upon this very foundation the New Covenant is established; “All your children shall be taught by the Lord.” The Pharisees used the Scriptures to make their followers twice children of Hell than themselves. Jesus Christ when He came did not bring from Heaven another version of the Scriptures. He used the same existing Scriptures to lead those who believe in Him into eternal life. What works death in the hand of the Pharisees, the same works life in the hand of Christ Jesus. Man who is carnally cannot teach the things of God which are divine.
It is when we are taught by the Lord that we will come to the place of discerning what is expedient from what is lawful. There we will be able to do away with all those carnal observances which avails nothing in bringing the flesh in subjection to the Spirit of God. (18) It is the Spirit that gives life, the Law binds. Christ came to deliver us from every form of bondage and translated us into the liberty of His glorious kingdom. (19) We need an urgently radical move towards the beckoning of the Spirit of God to our hearts, if the King of glory is not going to meet us in the condemnation of the Devil we are glorying in, the rebellion of our hearts which makes us give His sacred throne of our hearts for the god of man to sit on witnessing against us.
It takes a Samaritan who dare not approach the Temple of God to worship, who is regarded as being a habitation of demons, whose land the people of God would not pass through on their yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem to recognize God when He came in an unusual way. We often refer to this man as a Good Samaritan. What is there that is good in a Samaritan? His fathers have all their lives worshipped an unknown god upon Mt. Gerizim. Their predicament became proverbial in Israel. He possessed nothing of true religious advantage to make him recognize God in an unusual way.
Religiousity would not permit the priests, the Levites and those who assumed they know all God ever is to recognize Him when He comes in such a way. Was not Christ Himself disdainfully called a Samaritan by the religious leaders of His Day who ought to lead the people to their long awaited Christ and King? (20) How could those religious leaders who themselves could not recognize the Lord they profess to believe lead those who follow them to Him. No wonder Christ called them blind guides of the blind.
Religion is a school of dos and don’ts. Religious people are always people contrary to Godliness. Everything in religion is contrary to sound doctrine, hence the need for law which is not made for the righteous. Law is made for law breakers. How under heaven can they do well, who by nature are evil! (21) Remove law from any religion, its carcass will soon be consumed by the worms of time. Laws, rules and regulations are the very life of religion. Out of these God has called us. Our meticulous observance of the law will lead us to the righteousness which is before God a filthy rag. (22) Jesus Christ told the rich young ruler who had kept the law perfectly from his youth to go and sell all he possessed and come and follow Him. It is in following Christ the Master that our righteousness is. The young man is asked in other words that he has followed the law enough. He needs to change master at that point. He needs to follow Christ who Himself is salvation. (23)
May our hearts like David’s never cease crying to God out of the realization of our wretchedness and doom bound without Him “Show me Your ways O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in You all day long.. Teach me O Lord to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.” (24, 25) May our hearts come to dwell in this solemn resolution of Paul which says “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (26)