As a subscriber I get a regular email from the Bereans containing some thoughts about a particular Bible passage or concept. They take their name from a passage in the Bible where the believers were extremely focused on truth.
I received the following comment from the Berean.org on Luke 4:16 the other day...
The truth about those ceremonies, rituals, and laws is not done away or changed. Jesus' own testimony to this effect is found in Matthew 5:17-18, "Not one jot or tittle will pass from the law." They are still in effect but elevated to their spiritual application. The Head of the church, the One whose example His disciples are to follow in all things, kept the Sabbath. He did not keep it because He was a Jew but because the Word of God - the Old Testament - instructed Him to do so, and He set an example for His followers.
In considering context (the application) of any passage in the Bible we need to weigh (1.) what the verse says (2.) what the passage itself says (3.) what the book the passage is in says (4.) what the Testament the passage is in says (5.) and what the Bible says. Any passage has to be interpreted in agreement with the whole Bible.
The Berean.org author is essentially saying that since Jesus kept the Sabbath, his followers should as well. The number one thing we need to understand is Jesus was never a Christian. Jesus kept the Sabbath because he was Jew and Jews before the death of Christ were under the law of Moses. Jesus lived and died under the Law. Jesus lived and died under the Old Testament. The Old Testament contained the Ten Commandments which included the commandment "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." (Exodus 20:8) The Ten Commandments were in the Law of Moses. And the Law of Moses was given to the Jews only, not to Gentiles (non-Jews) or to the church. (Deuteronomy 4:7-8, Psalm 147:19-20, Malachi 4:4)
The Berean.org author says we would be worshipping an unstable God if we fear that He might change something without us knowing about it or telling us about it. Absolutely true. God is trustworthy far beyond our greatest human imagination. There is no inconsistency in Him.
The author says, "The truth about those ceremonies, rituals, and laws is not done away. Jesus' own testimony to this effect is found in Matthew 5:17-18, "Not one jot or tittle will pass from the law." The author uses an incomplete part of the passage.
Here is the entire passage with the omitted words underlined...
The Law of Moses is not destroyed. It still exists and will always exist. We can read it, discuss it and examine it to our heart's content. It still exists, it simply is no longer in effect.
What did we learn from the Law?
If anyone was able to keep the law that person would be righteous, justified, before God. The law was intended to make one righteous, and would have if one had kept the law. We learned that no man could keep the law. Therefore, even though the law made one righteous, it made no one righteous. Jesus kept the law to show that it could be done. But it wasn't the law that made him righteous, it was his obedience.
Remember the quote in the Matthew 5:17-18 passage we read before "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled?" Fulfilled means completed or finished or accomplished.
What is finished? One of the finished, or fulfilled or completed is the Law of Moses.
The apostle Paul had this to say in the New Testament about relying on parts of the law of Moses in Galatians 5...
Insisting on "remembering the Sabbath (Saturday) and keeping it holy" or relying on any or all of the Ten Commandments is relying on the law of Moses for justification since they are in the Law of Moses. If one keeps any part of the law, one is a debtor to do the whole law.
The author of the Berean.org email questions the stability of God in that He might change things unknown to us and hold it against us because we weren't kept informed. As we said earlier, God is not unstable. The change is clearly spelled out in both the Old, Gospels and New Testaments. Not only does God clearly announce the change, He enhances it.
"You are saying the Ten Commandments are done away with and we can murder and do whatever we want???" is the response I often hear.
No, I'm not. What the Bible says is that the 10 Commandments are no longer binding as written in the Law of Moses.
Every one of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament is restated in the New Testament in an enhanced form. For instance, the 6th Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," is elevated to "being angry without a cause."
The 7th is elevated from "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (physical act) to a mental act.
The day that takes the place of the Sabbath is the "first day of the week." It is not "our Sabbath," it is the new day of worship for all Christians. The Old Testament ends on the last day of the week. The New Testament begins on the first day of the week. The first day of the week is the Lord's day. The first day of the week is the day he arose. (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20) The first day of the week is when the apostles gathered to break bread, the first day of the week was set up for regular congregation collections for the saints. (Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:2) The first day of the week is a brand new beginning.
Jesus is so much better than the Law of Moses.
Salvation comes through Jesus and not observing the Law of Moses or any part of it...
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