Sunday, February 26, 2012
Another Gospel 2
However, then, when you knew not God,
you did service to them which by nature are no gods.
But now, after that you have known God,
or rather are known of God,
how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements,
whereunto you desire again to be in bondage?
You observe days, and months, and times, and years.
What was Paul referring to here as “weak and beggarly elements”
... that which he said were leading some back into bondage?
Are we in danger of falling into this same deception today?
Of course we are ... in a thousand different ways.
Well, I would think that this would be apparent to all, after my previous post entitled “Another Gospel”
but there are many sincere teachers out there and I fear some are confused.
I will attempt to help clarify this dispute that has arisen among some followers of Christ in a men's Bible study that I attend.
Here is what one Christian friend wrote this past week in questioning the verse above.
"Is the verse in Galatians 4:9 calling the Sabbath, one of God's 10 Commandments - weak and beggarly? Simple question; and the answer is either yes or no. If Paul is classifying scripture - God's Word - as revealed in the Old Testament as weak and beggarly; then I think we need to really understand how scripture, which is what the feasts are, and what the Sabbath is derived from has become known to be weak and beggarly. It doesn't rationally follow in my mind. Paul must be talking about other things. I don't think Paul would call Scripture weak and beggarly."
I can only imagine the Galatians getting off track here as well. Men have been attempting to understand the things of the Spirit logically since the beginning of time. It is how we are wired. But logic and rationale are not the ways of the Spirit.
The things of the Spirit at times make all the sense in the world, but all of God’s Word is Truth; and Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are eternal Truth, whether we understand or believe or follow; or not.
Whenever anyone adds anything to the Gospel of Christ, it becomes “Another Gospel” which leads followers away from Christ and the Truth. The problem here was: the adding of Old Testament law which had been replaced by the Gospel, together with the new Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ; and the result being: Another Gospel. This new false man-made gospel is that which is weak and beggarly. The law is still God’s Truth but God through Paul gave clarification to understanding the Gospel of Christ.
Men get hung up on rationale and logic when trying to understand the things of the Spirit. I could name hundreds of things of the Spirit that make no sense to me at all, from a worldly point of view; but on the other hand, they make all the sense in the world when I simply accept them as God’s Truth. This is the meaning of accepting Christ; and the Truth and Promises of His Word by faith.
Some things of the Spirit will never make sense to us rationally or logically. Our minds are limited and one dimensional. Most things of the Spirit are beyond our rational comprehension. For example, we are told: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. And this: "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Rom 11:6.
From a human perspective this is totally illogical. It only makes sense that we go to heaven because of the good things that we have done, but God has given us a new gospel that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ; not works. The only deeds that save us were performed by Jesus on the cross at Calvary.
Without Christ, man's condition is hopeless; our rational thinking is foolishness.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calls on your name, that stirs up himself to take hold of you: for you have hid your face from us, and have consumed us, because of our iniquities. Isaiah 64:6-7
What a friend said here is Truth: "We don’t obey God’s Law to be saved; we obey God’s Law because we are saved!" In order to be Ambassadors for Christ with a ministry of reconciliation we should all do the best we can to not be a hypocrite and to follow Christ. But this is accomplished not by rigidly following the Old Testament laws but rather by standing upon this undeniable New Testament Truth."
"Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 10Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Rom 13:8-10
The all-inclusive truth is: "and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Only God knows our hearts and minds and gives us understanding through the guidance and power of His Spirit and his Holy Word. At times, we are not even able to understand the motives of our own heart. Only God knows: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:9-10. The things of the Spirit are never-ending; beyond our human comprehension, and they are impossible to understand ... logically.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:1, 14
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Tim 3:16-17
On the basis of this truth, all of God's word is Truth including all of the law and all of Paul's letters and therefore, context is the key. In the context of the "gospel of salvation by grace through faith" the 613 Mosaic laws including the Sabbaths and feast days are weak and beggarly when added to the Gospel of Christ unto salvation and righteousness. This is about context and does not change that all of God's Word including the Old Testament which remains forever God’s eternal Truth.
But Living out the Old Testament laws has nothing to do with our salvation or our righteousness as born again believers. That thinking is out of context with the Gospel. We have a new Gospel and a new covenant. It is now, natural for us in the Spirit to not want to do the things of the flesh as born again believers because: "the old things have passed away and new things have come"
"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. 18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
We cannot live out the law ... the Love of Christ is the answer to any and all other commandments. Only His Spirit and His Word can result in His Righteousness coming alive within each of us. Any Good works that we might gain credit for are a result of what the Savior did for us at Calvary.
God Bless you my friends, Bob