Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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June 15, 2013
Last Updated :
June 20, 2013
Love Is The Great Commandment Royal Law And Golden Rule, Law Of Love Is Inscribed On All Our Hearts, God's Universal Code Of Conduct, Love Is The Fulfilling Of The Law, What Is Meant By "Dead To The Law", Jesus Christ Introduced New Covenant To Replace Old Covenant, Covenant Grew Old But Moral Laws Were Not Just Thrown Out, What Had To Be Changed, Israelites Were Not Able To Keep Mosaic Law, The Law Was Their Schoolmaster, Dependence For Being Made Righteous Changed From Keeping The Mosaic Law To Depending On Jesus' Sacrifice, Christ Is The End Of The Law For Righteousness To Every One That Believeth, Married To Christ And Not To The Law, Washed In The Blood Of The Lamb, Jesus Did Not Destroy The Law, If We Are In Christ We Are Under Grace But If We Reject Christ We Are Under Law, Being Dead To The Law Isn't A License To Sin, Proof That Paul Still Upheld God's Moral Laws, Marriage To Christ Results In Spiritual Fruit, Letter Of The Law And Legalism Bring Bondage And Death While Jesus Offers Us Love Life Liberty And Fruit, Necessity For Old Testament Animal Sacrifices Became Null And Void With Jesus' Death, Jesus Became Our Sacrificial Lamb And High Priest, Office Of Jewish High Priest And Temple Services No Longer Necessary, Jesus Warned Of Destruction Of Herod's Temple, General Titus And Romans Destroy Jerusalem And Temple
As I have emphasized throughout this series, and as I also point out in the article entitled "The Royal Law: Thou Shalt Love", Jesus and His inner core of Apostles -- Peter, James and John -- along with the Apostle Paul, all emphasize the preeminence of Love. Love is the Great Commandment, the Royal Law and the Golden Rule; because as Jesus Himself informs us, it encapsulates all of the most important Moral Laws of the Old Testament period. In other words, if we are motivated by Love in all that we say and do, we will not murder, or steal, or bear false witness, or commit adultery or contradict any of the other moral aspects of the Laws of Moses. This is why I explained in part five that the Law of Love appears to be comprised of the core Moral Laws of the Mosaic Law, and that these are the Laws which God has inscribed upon the tables of our hearts; even if we are not Jewish, even if we didn't live during the time of Moses, and even if we have never even read the Bible.
In a sense, the Law of Love represents the primary Moral Laws of the Mosaic Law in a simplified form. It is God's Universal Code of Conduct. We don't need to remember all of the dos and don'ts of that complicated Old Testament legal system. If we just remember to be motivated by Love in everything that we do and say, we will naturally fulfill God's expectations, and His Divine Laws which are written on our hearts; because as the Apostle Paul wrote, "love is the fulfilling of the law".
Having now explained to you what I personally believe the Law of Love is, and which Laws are written on our hearts, let us return to the issue regarding the phrase "dead to the law", as it is found in Romans 7:4 below:
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
Romans 7:4, KJV
As I asked earlier, exactly what does "dead to the law" mean? Tragically, as I briefly mentioned in part five, beginning as far back as the 1970's, there have been misguided Christians who have erroneously misinterpreted the phrase, and who claim that it means that we are no longer bound by the Moral Laws of the Bible which -- as we have clearly seen -- are found in both the Old and the New Testaments. Because both Jesus and the authors of the New Testament speak about the introduction of a New Covenant or a New Testament, and explain that it has replaced the Old Covenant or Old Testament, these Christians mistakenly conclude that everything that was associated with the Old Covenant -- including God's Moral Laws -- was simply thrown out. However, is this what Paul really means by "dead to the law"? This New Covenant is mentioned in verses such as the following:
"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Matthew 26:28, KJV
"And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many."
Mark 14:24, KJV
"Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
Luke 22:20, KJV
"After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
1 Corinthians 11:25, KJV
"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
2 Corinthians 3:6, KJV
"But now hath he [Jesus] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 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 continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
Hebrews 8:6-13, KJV
"And for this cause he [Jesus] is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."
Hebrews 9:15, KJV
"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
Hebrews 12:24, KJV
There is something very important that you need to realize from the previous verses. As I said, the erroneous assumption that has been made by certain Christians is that everything that is associated with the Old Covenant that was made with Moses and the Israelites was just thrown out. In other words, they claim that even the Moral Laws are no longer applicable. However, if you carefully read the verses, you will see that there is nothing in them which states that God's Moral Laws grew old, or that they were thrown out. What they say is that the Covenant itself grew old. There is something about that Divine Agreement which became invalid. That Covenant was not faultless, and thus had to be updated and changed. But what was it? What had to be changed?
In fact, rather than throw out the Laws, what those verses really say regarding the Israelites is "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts"; which is exactly what we learned earlier. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand this. If God says that He is going to write His Laws in their hearts, then obviously, this can only mean that they have not been annulled, and that they -- meaning God's Moral Laws -- still exist, even after Jesus died on the Cross. We have already seen that this is so by the verses which I shared with you in part five. Whether the Jews look to the Mosaic Law, or we Gentiles look to the Laws which God has written on the tables of our hearts, the fact remains that God's Universal Moral Code -- which as we have seen is encapsulated in the Law of Love -- has definitely not been annulled or destroyed.
So as I asked a minute ago, if the Moral Laws were not just thrown out, then what is it that really changed between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? What changes occurred in the Divine Agreement? The answer can easily be found in all of the verses which I shared with you previously. In a word, God already realized that the Israelites were not capable of keeping every single statute of the Laws of Moses. He knew that they could not possibly achieve righteousness on their own. While He had given them a Moral Model to follow, He knew that the Divine Model was so strict, harsh and rigorous, that very few Israelites -- if any -- would be able to satisfy its requirements for righteousness. As we learned earlier in this series, the Apostle Paul informs us that in His Wisdom, God used the Mosaic Law as a type of harsh schoolmaster to point the Israelites to the Love, Mercy and Forgiveness which can be found in Jesus Christ, and the Righteousness which is also found in Christ alone.
Thus, the major change that God made -- which obviously had been foreordained from the foundation of the world -- is that achieving righteousness would now only depend on faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, instead of on one's own ability to observe all of the demanding statutes of the Laws of Moses. In other words, as Paul explains in Romans 7:4, rather than being married to and depending on one's obedience to the Laws of Moses in order to achieve one's righteousness, one had to now be married to and depend upon Jesus Christ alone for his righteousness. Thus, as Paul writes in the previous verses, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth".
Personally, I am absolutely convinced that this is what Paul means when he says that we are "dead to the law". Keeping the Laws of Moses never could save anyone, and never will save a single soul. Only believing in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and being washed in the Blood of the Lamb of God can do that. This truth is made so clear in the following verses:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18, KJV
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Matthew 26:26-28, KJV
"And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many."
Mark 14:22-24, KJV
"And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
Luke 22:14-20, KJV
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;"
Romans 3:25, KJV
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
Ephesians 2:13, KJV
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;"
Hebrews 10:19-20, KJV
"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate . . . Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Hebrews 13:12, 20-21, KJV
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."
1 Peter 1:2, KJV
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
1 John 1:7, KJV
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
1 John 2:2, KJV
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
1 John 4:10, KJV
"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. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
Revelation 1:5, KJV
"And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Revelation 7:14, KJV
Please notice carefully that Paul does not write "Christ is the end of the law". Rather, he writes "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness". It is that prepositional phrase "for righteousness" which helps us to understand what Paul is actually saying. To reiterate, his intended meaning there is obviously "Christ is the end of the law for [obtaining] righteousness". In other words, if you still think that you can obtain your own righteousness by keeping the Law, forget it. It is done. It is over. It is finished. With His loving Sacrifice, Jesus has put an end to it. You need to depend on Him now -- not on the Law -- to acquire righteousness in God the Father's sight. As we saw in part two, even Jesus said that He had not come to destroy the Law, as we see here:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
Matthew 5:17-18, KJV
Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier in this series, this condition is only true for people who actually believe in Christ; or as Paul writes, "to every one that believeth". To repeat that important point, if a person is not in Christ, then they are not righteous, they are not under the Law of Grace, and they will be judged by the harsh mandates of the Law.
I truly hope that you understand now what being dead to the Law means. Please do not be deceived by those Christians who promote the erroneous belief that our Heavenly Father will not hold us accountable if we break His Moral Laws and don't repent. Don't fall for the subtle deception which claims that we can do whatever we desire, and live however we choose, as long as it is done in love. Being dead to the law, and being under the Law of Love, does not mean, for example, that we can live the gay and lesbian lifestyle, live a life of sexual promiscuity, or anything similar. Being dead to the law isn't a license to sin. Furthermore, contrary to the claims of such misguided Christians, God's Moral Laws didn't suddenly become obsolete or nullified by the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They simply became encapsulated in the Greater Commandment of the Law of Love.
For those stubborn people who continue to resist this truth regarding what being dead to the law means, let me share two verses which we examined earlier in this series. It is my hope that by placing these two verses -- both of which were written by Paul -- next to each other, it will shock some of those people and wake them up to Scriptural truth:
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
Romans 7:4, KJV
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,"
1 Corinthians 6:9, KJV
If we accept their mistaken understanding regarding what it means to be dead to the law, we run into a serious problem with these two verses. In the second verse, Paul is clearly referencing moral statutes which we find in the Mosaic Law. If Paul is truly saying that God's Moral Laws are dead and became invalid due to the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then it makes absolutely no sense that he would turn around and quote from those very Laws, and warn those people who are guilty of such sins. This obviously demonstrates that God's Moral Laws are still very much valid, intact, and in effect, and that their understanding of what it means to be dead to the law is seriously flawed. There is simply no other way to interpret those two verses without making Paul contradict himself.
There is another very sharp contrast which Paul is making in Romans 7:4. In addition to informing his readers that they are married to -- or spiritually dependent upon -- Jesus now, Paul states that the goal of this symbolic marriage is that Christ's spiritual Bride will "bring forth fruit unto God." In other words, being in a spiritual relationship with Jesus is marked by life, love, liberty and fruit. In contrast, as we learned earlier in this series, Paul wrote the following in several of his Epistles:
"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter . . . for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life . . . Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty . . . if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
Romans 7:6, 2 Corinthians 3:6, 17, Galatians 5:18, KJV
My point is this. The letter of the Law -- a.k.a. legalism -- only results in bondage, spiritual sterility and death, while being married to Jesus and depending upon -- or being cloaked under -- His Righteousness -- as a woman is "cloaked under" the man during sexual intercourse -- results in new life; that is, spiritual fruit. So if you are a legalist who is peddling the harsh mandates of the Law, you are peddling bondage and death. However, if you are married to Jesus and the freedom which He offers us, you are sharing true life and liberty. As we saw earlier, the Apostle Paul wrote:
"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, KJV
While we have now examined the major change which occurred between the Old Covenant -- or Old Testament -- and the New Covenant -- or New Testament -- as a result of Jesus' Death on the Cross, before concluding this series, I would like to share with you some other changes which likewise resulted from that very same Act of Divine Love.
As I explain in articles such as "Is Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God?", we know that once Jesus had offered up Himself as the final Sacrificial Lamb for the sins of the world, all of the Old Testament animal sacrifices for sin became null and void, because there was simply no longer a need for them. However, even this is still not everything that was changed once Jesus introduced the New Covenant which was signed with His own Blood. As I point out in the aforementioned series, not only did Jesus willingly become our Sacrificial Lamb, but He simultaneously acquired the position of being our own High Priest as well, as is evidenced by the following verses:
"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings . . . Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil . . . For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
Hebrews 2:9-10, 14, 16-17, KJV
"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;"
Hebrews 3:1, KJV
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:14-15, KJV
"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
Hebrews 6:20, KJV
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"
Hebrews 8:1, KJV
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;"
Hebrews 9:11, KJV
If Jesus became the new High Priest, what does this tell us regarding the office of the Jewish high priest and all of the services and ceremonies that were related to it? It should be obvious to you that they too became null and void and totally unnecessary. In fact, as I have mentioned a number of times before, Jesus shared this coming reality with the Apostles and others during the course of His earthly Ministry, when He informed them that the physical temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed in the coming years, as we can easily determine by the following verses:
"Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John 4:20-24, KJV
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Matthew 23:37-24:2, KJV
"And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Mark 13:1-2, KJV
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Luke 13:34-35, KJV
"And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down . . . And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh."
Luke 21:5-6, 20, KJV
As many of my readers will already know, this is exactly what happened during the seven-year First Jewish-Roman War of the mid First Century. After conquering the rest of Israel, the legions and allies of Roman general Titus laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and built a siege wall around it. Finally, according to historical records, in 70 AD they destroyed the city of Jerusalem and burned the Temple to the ground. Many thousands of Jews died from the edge of the sword, from being crucified, from starvation, and from disease, while yet many others were imprisoned as slaves, and carried off to foreign countries, exactly as Jesus had warned them would occur, and exactly as had also occurred during both the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions hundreds of years earlier. Consider the following verses where Jesus describes this coming time of trouble:
"But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Luke 21:23-24, KJV
Please go to part seven for the conclusion of this series.
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