In a recent conversation on Facebook about sabbath keeping, one will find that the idea is not appreciated by most Christians. To attempt to limit what one is able to do on the sabbath day is not taken lightly. Men demand autonomy with their time. They do not like to be told how and what they can do on any day. Some of the problems arise secondarily to the theology that one follows; for example, if you are premilenial, you are by default dispensational and you will see the sabbath command as an outdated Old Testament principle that has no relationship to the church of the New. If you are a person that has a hyper understanding of grace, you as well will suffer under the dispensational idea as you believe that the law is returning to beggarly items, items that Christ has freed you from. You will be led to believe that anyone who returns to this type of theology is reducing the Gospel to a works based theology. Most of these misunderstanding is based on a wrong hermeneutic. God does not change and when he tells us that a thing is for all generations, it means just that. Understanding covenant will be at the epicenter with the character of God being the crux.
Since the law is a direct reflection of God’s character, to say that He changes in this regard is to call him fickle and schizophrenic. On one hand He says this and on the other he contradicts Himself and says that. This cannot be true. There are no contradictions in God’s word. However, if you read things in the word and you have a faulty theology and a faulty understanding of covenant, you will end up with bits and pieces; it will be akin to a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces missing. I will not say more on the covenant at this point. Many articles on covenant can be found in this website for further reference and growth. Some of the ideas will be expressed in the questions I pose below.
Lets start here: The Decalogue
When one approaches the decalogue, it should be done in a level of fear and prudence; God gives mankind a list of the most important things He requires of mankind. These are non negotiable and literally etched in stone. The scriptures speak incessantly about the law of God. Adam first experienced it in the garden in the command to ‘Do this and live. Don’t do this and die!’ This is known as the Covenant of Works or the Adamic Covenant. When we consider the law of God, it must be seen in the light of Christ Jesus and God’s grace and mercy towards sinners. For some reason or another, there are different teachings out there on the subject. You often hear statements like, “Do we still need the law, in the age of grace?” or “Why go back to the Old Testament when we are in the ‘new’ dispensation of Christ and victory?” and “To hold to the law is an assault on the gospel as the gospel is grace and not work! That was the old dispensation-after the cross, all we have to follow is the great commandment! Jesus fulfilled it all so that we do not have to be burdened by trying to keep the law! Believers are justified by faith alone in Christ alone-to return to the law is the antithesis to grace!”
There are generally 3 lines of thought in regard to the law of God.
- The Reformed view-the law is good and for the believer unto sanctification-we are justified by faith alone in Christ alone. Keeping with the law does not add one iota to our justification. We are saved by grace through faith. The Law of God is perpetual.
- The antinomian view-to keep the law after the work of Christ has been fulfilled is a direct attack on the gospel message. Law keeping runs against grace as described in the New Testament! To keep it makes the work of Christ fruitless.
- The dispensational view-Law keeping is for the Old Testament saint-it is how they were saved.
In this paper I will address some of these statements by way of a questionnaire with responses. The focus will be on the sabbath day and if it should be kept still in the New Testament age. Most people that I have encountered that are against sabbath keeping are generally people that continue to use the day for their enjoyment. They attend restaurants on the day; they watch sporting events on the day. Many work on the sabbath when it is needful. Some even redefine acts of mercy and necessity so as to support some of these things. They do set the day apart in some fashion or another, i.e. they go to church, they pray, they take the sacraments, fellowship. The difference between the Reformed view and the other line of thoughts is that after corporate worship has ended, the day belongs to the person to use in any way they see fit. They do not necessarily sin in what they do, per se. Let say they use the day in an excellent fashion otherwise. They just don’t keep the sabbath as how the reformed would understand the command.
I recall a few years back an elder in my church asking me, “Scott, can we truly know how to keep the sabbath?” At the time, as I pondered the question for a day or two, I decided that he was correct; one cannot really know how to define the day so as everyone would be uniformed in their approach to the day. In my studies, over the years, I have concluded otherwise. For example, what can we glean from scripture in this regard?
- We know that we are commanded to rest; the scriptures call it a ‘holy convocation’.
- We know that this would mean, outside of acts of mercy and necessity, we are not to work.
- We know that the sabbath day was made for man.
- We know that this is the prescribed day of worship where God meets His elect in a special way.
If we look to the Prophet Isaiah, much can be gleaned from his exhortation:
11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually,
And satisfy thy soul in drought,
And make fat thy bones:
And thou shalt be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places:
Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations;
And thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach,
The restorer of paths to dwell in.
13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath,
From doing thy pleasure on my holy day;
And call the sabbath a delight,
The holy of the Lord, honourable;
And shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways,
Nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord;
And I will cause thee to ride uupon the high places of the earth,
And feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father:
For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
If one does a biblical word search on the phrase ‘the law”, one will see that God commands law keeping. Some of the responses I encounter that rail against this fact has to do with the Covenant of Works and not the Covenant of Grace. Many people confuse the two and import the C of W’s into the C of G. One needs to remember that the C of G started at the original proclamation of Christ in the Protoevangelion of Genesis 3:15. The Mosaic covenant is a gracious covenant and an administration of the Covenant of Grace! Law-keeping is a secondary effect of regeneration and conversion. The law is used to continually sanctify the saint. It should be the litmus test at the front of every thought and action we have. In my life, it is akin to a constant billboard in my mind, where I go, there it goes with me.
The believer loves the law of God.
The law is not the antithesis of Gods mercy and grace in Christ Jesus.
The law is not an enemy and grace and law are surfaces of the same coin.
Consider these examples (There’s a bunch. Bear with me.)
Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.
And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar.
Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy.
Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy.
And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord.
This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings;
This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
Who shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.
This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.
This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.
This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,
To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;
This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the Lord for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.
This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.
And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord commanded Moses;
And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:
According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.
And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.
And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.
But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
1 Kings 2:3
And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
2 Kings 10:31
But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
2 Kings 14:6
But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
2 Kings 17:13
Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
2 Kings 17:34
Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;
2 Kings 17:37
And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods.
2 Kings 21:8
Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.
2 Kings 22:8
And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
2 Kings 22:11
And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
2 Kings 23:24
Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.
2 Kings 23:25
And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.
1 Chronicles 16:40
To offer burnt offerings unto the Lord upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the Lord, which he commanded Israel;
1 Chronicles 22:12
Only the Lord give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the Lord thy God.
2 Chronicles 12:1
And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.
2 Chronicles 14:4
And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
2 Chronicles 17:9
And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.
2 Chronicles 23:18
Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the Lord by the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was ordained by David.
2 Chronicles 25:4
But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.
2 Chronicles 30:16
And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites.
2 Chronicles 31:3
He appointed also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord.
2 Chronicles 31:4
Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord.
2 Chronicles 31:21
And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
2 Chronicles 34:14
And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses.
2 Chronicles 34:15
And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.
2 Chronicles 34:19
And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
2 Chronicles 35:26
Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the Lord,
Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.
This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.
Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellers, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;
And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,
And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.
And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.
And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:
Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the Lord their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the Lord their God.
And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;
And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the law:
Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions of the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited.
Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure.
If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, And lay up his words in thine heart.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; And in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.
ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord.
The law of thy mouth is better unto me Than thousands of gold and silver.
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother:
My son, keep thy father’s commandment, And forsake not the law of thy mother:
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; And reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To depart from the snares of death.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: But such as keep the law contend with them.
Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: But he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer shall be abomination.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Lest they drink, and forget the law, And pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; Give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths: For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, And the flame consumeth the chaff, So their root shall be as rottenness, And their blossom shall go up as dust: Because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this word, It is because there is no light in them.
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant.
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, Children that will not hear the law of the Lord:
The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, Or the lawful captive delivered?
The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.
Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.
So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:
Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: Her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; Her prophets also find no vision from the Lord.
Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.
And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.
And the Lord said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary.
Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Judah, And for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; Because they have despised the law of the Lord, And have not kept his commandments, And their lies caused them to err, After the which their fathers have walked:
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, And to the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths: For the law shall go forth of Zion, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: For the wicked doth compass about the righteous; Therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: Her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,
Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, And the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: Therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.
The law of truth was in his mouth, And iniquity was not found in his lips: He walked with me in peace and equity, And did turn many away from iniquity.
For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, And they should seek the law at his mouth: For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
But ye are departed out of the way; Ye have caused many to stumble at the law; Ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, According as ye have not kept my ways, But have been partial in the law.
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, Which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.
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.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.
Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.
And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
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.
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
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.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
1 Corinthians 7:39
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 9:8
Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
1 Corinthians 9:9
For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
1 Corinthians 9:20
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
1 Corinthians 9:21
To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
1 Corinthians 14:21
In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
1 Corinthians 14:34
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1 Corinthians 15:56
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
1 Timothy 1:7
Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
1 Timothy 1:8
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
1 Timothy 1:9
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
1 John 3:4
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
In light of the scriptures above, please answer the following questions:
The Test (answers provided at the end of test)
- When did the first proclamation of the gospel appear to mankind?
- How was Abraham, Isaac and Jacob saved?
- How many covenants are there?
- When did the Covenant of Works begin?
- When did the Covenant of Grace begin?
- What covenant is the Mosaic covenant in?
- How is the New Covenant different from the C of G?
- When ‘the law’ is spoken of in the OT, does it refer to the C of W’s or the C of G?
- When did the church age begin?
- Whenever we see the command in scripture (both OT and NT) exhorting people to follow the law, how do you reconcile this if in fact this command happens within the confines of the C of G?
- Is the law and grace enemies?
- Is Christ our Sabbath rest?
- How is Christ our Sabbath rest?
- If Christ is our rest in that He kept the law perfectly, how is it that you have come to the conclusion that this implies we no longer have to keep the law, i.e. the 4thcommandment?
- If Christ has fulfilled the law and kept it perfectly, and as a result, the believer no longer has to keep the 4thcommandment, how can you reconcile this idea with the rest of the commandments?
- Are believers free of the command to not lie? Or Not Murder? Or to honor thy father and mother?
- How many commandments are there?
- If there are 10 commandments, how are we to practically apply the commandments in our walks in light of the accomplishment of Christ?
- If there are 10 commandments, how are we to practically apply the 4thcommandment in our walks?
- When we see statements in scripture like ‘for all generations’, ‘throughout your generations’, ‘perpetual covenant’, how is that to be interpreted in the age of Grace?
- What did Jesus mean after pronouncing the great commandment when He says: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” — Matthew 22:35-40.
- What did Jesus mean when He said: “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
- Has heaven and Earth disappeared?
- Has ‘everything’ been accomplished?
- How is this statement by Christ practically applied in the believers walk?
- In another place, Christ uses language that is for end-times: Matt 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and whatshall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them…..20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22
- If this statement of Christ is an ‘now and not yet’ prophecy, why would He tell believers to pray that their flight not be on the sabbath day if the sabbath has been abrogated?
- Is there a passage in scripture that shows that the sabbath day is abrogated?
- Is there a passage in scripture where we are told that the decalogue is abrogated?
- What did Paul mean when he said, “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”
- If men are saved in the same fashion since Genesis 3, by justification by faith alone, in Christ alone, how are we to interpret all the biblical exhortations in favor of keeping the law of God?
- In regard to Gal 4:10,11: Knowing that Paul was a ‘Jew of Jews’, would you think it be logical in light of this fact that on one hand Paul tells us to ‘uphold’ the law and on the other he tells us to break the command of God, i.e. the 4th
- In Gal’s 4:10,11 does it not mention days, weeks and yearly festivals? Aren’t many of these civil days like the 4thof July? Do you think Paul was talking about illicit holidays like Christmas, Easter and other vulgar days? The Sabbath?
- Would the Apostle Paul ever advocate for something that is not commanded?
- Did Christ and the Apostles attend temple on the sabbath day while He lived?
- Does scripture show that there was a transitional period after the death and resurrection of Christ where Jews still attended temple on the last day of the week?
- What was the penalty for failing to keep the Sabbath?
- Is the Lord’s day and the sabbath the same?
- How are they the same?
- How are they not the same?
- The law is made up of 3 components: moral, civil or judicial and ceremonial.
- Can you explain the difference between these aspects?
- If the ceremonial aspects and civil aspects of the law have passed, how do we apply the moral command to the principle of sabbath keeping?
- In Psalm 1:2 it reads: “but his delight is in the law of the Lord. And in His law doth he meditate day and night. How would you understand this? How would you apply this practically?
- If we are no longer under the 4thcommandment, why does the writer of Hebrews warn us for failing to cease from our works? Heb 4:1-11
- Does the writer of Hebrews in the same cited verse not compare sabbath breaking and refusing to rest to stiff necked Israel? And does he not call it ‘unbelief’?
I have heard it said on a few occasions that keeping the Sabbath is a direct attack on the gospel! I have come to conclude that this is true in that the way you are interpreting the Reformed in keeping to the law, you are importing and equating this law-keeping with the Covenant of Works. I would agree that if a man believes that his keeping of the law gains one iota for him in the sight of God, he remains in his sin. However, the learned man, the regenerated and converted man who understands these theological ideas, loves the law of God. He understands that His King has commanded obedience and he submits gladly. It is not saving. It is an outworking of sanctification. Everything this man has is in Christ. By grace are ye saved. Not of works! In this, it is not an attack on the gospel at all. In fact, Christ tells us that not keeping the law, pursuing perfection and purity is considered lawlessness.
If a man rejects any single command of God, i.e. Honor thy Father and Mother, can this man be said to be saved? Pick any commandment. Would you consider this man that emphatically rejects one of God’s commandments to be in truth?
- Genesis 3:15: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.