In a previous Q&A we discussed the meaning of grace. We pointed out that grace does not dispense with individual responsibility. In this Q&A, we will show in more detail what God expects of us.
It is claimed that the New Testament teaches that we are no longer obligated to keep Godís Law, and that especially Paul made clear that the Law is no longer binding for us. This is a terrible and, quite frankly, abominable doctrine stemming from demons.
An important tool for right Bible study is to look first at the clear and plain passages, before trying to understand the more difficult ones. Even Peter said that Paul wrote a few things, which are difficult to understand, and that the unlearned try to misinterpret and twist them for their own purposes (2 Peter 3:16). Letís not make the same mistake, but look at Paulís clear and plain statements.
And so, Paul is telling us in Romans 2:13 that the doers of the law, and not the hearers, will be justified. (James 1:25 says the same thing, and James 2:8-12 shows that the law is a reference to the Ten Commandments, and that we are guilty of the transgression of the entire law if we break just one of the Ten Commandments. Compare also James 4:11-12).
In Romans 2:22-23, Paul reconfirms that he is speaking of the Ten Commandments (referring to idolatry and adultery as examples), when he says that we dishonor God when we break the law.
In Romans 2:27, he states that those who keep the law, even though they are physically uncircumcised, will judge those who are physically circumcised, but who transgress the lawóclearly referring to the Ten Commandments.
Romans 3:31 does away with the wrong concept that because of faith, we are no longer bound to keep the law. Rather, Paul says here that we do not make void the law of God through faith, but quite to the contrary, we are establishing the law.
To leave no doubt as to how Paul felt about the law of God, he tells us in Romans 7:12 that the law is holy, and that the commandment (that is, any one of the Ten Commandments) is holy and just and good.
He also adds in Romans 7:14 that the law of God is spiritual, and he states in Romans 8:7, 9, that the carnal mind does not and cannot obey the law of God in its final spiritual application, and that one must have Godís Spirit dwelling in us to be able to obey the law of God.
In Romans 13:8-10, Paul emphasizes that Godís Law is a law of love, and that we fulfill the law (at least the portion of the law which deals with our relationship with our fellow man) when we love our neighbor. He stresses the same in Galatians 5:14, stating that all the law (dealing with our fellow man) is fulfilled by us when we love our fellow man; and he says in Galatians 6:2 that we fulfill the law of Christ when we love our neighbor by bearing his burden.
However, many have a wrong concept of love, thinking that we can love someone while breaking Godís law. This is totally false. When we break Godís law, we do NOT love our fellow man. Godís Law DEFINES for us what true love is. We read in 1 John 5:3 that ďthis IS the love of God, that we keep His commandments.Ē When we commit adultery with our neighborís wife, we do not love our neighbor or his wife. When we kill or lie to or steal from our neighbor, we do NOT love him.
But Paul says in Galatians 5:22-23 that when we love our neighbor and live in peace with him, have patience with him and bring joy to his life, etc., then we do not transgress the law, because against such right conduct and feeling, there is no law. In other words, the law does not prohibit right conduct. It does not tell us, for example, not to have peace with your neighbor.
The same is expressed in 1 Timothy 1:9-10 where we read that the law is not made for the righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, and then Paul lists numerous examples of sinful conduct. This statement must not be twisted to say that the righteous is under no obligation to keep the law. Rather, as long as he lives righteously, he obeys it and the law is not convicting him as a transgressor; but once he begins to disobey it, he lives no longer in righteousness and has become a transgressor of the law.
And so, Paul tells us that if we are unrighteous and abide in the kinds of sins which he listed in 1 Timothy 1:9-10, we will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."-Matthew 5:14