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Two Ways of Life

Galatians 3:10-13: For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”.

Today’s Christian seems to live in two worlds. Not only the spiritual world and the earthly world, but the Old Covenant and New Covenant world. The problem with the Old and New Covenant combination is that if we don’t live by and obey all things written in the Law, we are living under a curse.

The Law was given to the ungodly as a tutor and guide to show us that on our own, we can’t measure up. We can’t live a life acceptable to God and the perfection He demands. Righteousness doesn’t come through the Law, and if it did, then Christ died needlessly. Jesus came into this world born under the Law. He lived and taught it for the first 33 years of His life. When He died, the Old Covenant came to an end because Jesus lived a perfect life and fulfilled the Old Covenant. When He rose from the grave, the New Covenant began.

By accepting the grace He provided, we can live a life pleasing to God. God sees Christ in us, and we are now counted as holy and righteous in His sight. The Law is no longer needed for those saved by grace. We are free, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law. We now live under the New Covenant, one that is a free gift provided to us by Christ. We now live by Christ’s commands to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and love others as ourselves.

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A lot of us grew up in organized church and were taught that we needed to live by the 10 commandments to be pleasing to God.

Fortunately, I have come to realize that this just isn’t true. Many well meaning people over the years taught this, but I am finding that they were mistaken. Christians today still want to combine the New Covenant with the Old Covenant, and that just don’t work.

There are a few places in the New Testament that refer to following Christ’s commands, but we need to take a look at just exactly what are His commands. We find that Christ’s commands in the New Testament are something different from the 10 commandments of the Old Testament.

Another thing we need to remember is that the New Covenant doesn’t start where men have divided up the Old from New Testament. The New Covenant starts at the death and resurrection of Jesus. For the 33 years that He lived on this earth, He was following the Old Covenant laws, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law ” Galatians 4:4 (NASB). I think this is where a lot of us get confused.

Once Christ lived and fulfilled the Old Covenant, He became the perfect sacrifice needed to provide forgiveness to us. We were unable to live up to the standards set by God, and we still cannot do it. It is by grace that we are saved, and because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we are new creatures in Him. We now have an inner man that is righteous in God’s sight because of grace. We are no longer required to try and live up to the 10 commandments and all the law, rules and regulations of the Old Covenant. In fact, under the New Covenant we are told that if we try to follow the law, we are under a curse, “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Galatians 3:10 (NASB)

The Old Testament Commands have been fulfilled in Christ. The New Testament Commands we are told about are John 6:28, 29 “They said therefore to Him, what shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent”;  John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another”;  John 15:12 “This is My commandment that you love one another, just as I have loved you”;  and John 15:17 “This I command you, that you love one another.” (NASB)

Jesus Commandments continue in 1 John 3:23 “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us”.

The commandments of Christ are based on the grace He provided for us at the cross. We never could live up to the Old Covenant with its rules and regulations. Christ did live up to the law and fulfilled it. He is the only one who could ever do so. It is because of His grace that we no longer follow the Old Covenant teachings. Once we accept Him and the grace He provided, we become new creatures and no longer have the sin nature controlling us. Our inner man is now perfect and righteous in His site, we have become the righteousness of God, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB).

Enjoy the freedom you have in Christ. We don’t have to worry and strive to fulfill any law other than the law of loving God and loving others. Don’t worry that this freedom with lead you to sin. We have died to the law and the power of sin. We now live for Christ out of love, not out of obligation, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13, 14. (NASB). This gives us a new freedom from the sinful lifestyle. We are new creatures in Christ.

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Be Holy

1 Peter 1:16 –  because it is written, “you shall be holy, for I AM holy.”

I used to read this verse and think of it as a command. I thought God was telling us we had to live a holy life. Of course this made me wonder how that could ever be possible.

As I became more aware of God’s grace and what all it means, I found my answer as to how to be holy.

God’s grace is a gift. Our sins were crucified with Christ when He died on the cross. Our old sinful nature was buried with Christ and we were raised up a new creation.

Because of God’s gift of grace, our souls are now made perfect. Our hope is fixed completely on the grace brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. We no longer have a soul that is sinful. We are a new creation in Christ.

Our soul has been made perfect by the grace of Christ. Our body and our mind are still in process of being transformed. As we allow the spirit of Christ to change and transform us, our body and mind will start to come in line with our soul. Of course, that will take a lifetime to complete.

I now realize this is not a command, but a statement. We are holy, because God is holy. Now that Christ has given us the gift of grace, we don’t have to live a Holy life by works, but God sees a perfect and holy soul within us.

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Living in Grace

There seems to be some confusion among Christians in regard to grace living and law living. I usually don’t write this long of an article, but felt the added scriptures were necessary to show that living by the law is no longer necessary, thanks to the grace Jesus provided.

I think the mistake a lot of  Christians make is that we don’t truly accept the whole idea of grace. Grace is a free gift given to us by God. When Jesus died, he took all our sins upon Himself and destroyed them, covering them with His blood. We were totally unable to fulfill the law and live a perfect life, so He lived a perfect life for us and then took our sinful nature upon Himself and provided salvation for all who would accept Him (Galatians 2:16, 19-21  nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified… For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly”).

He then put His perfect, righteous nature in us and made us sons and daughters of God. Nothing we did, and nothing we can do can add to it, or pay for it. It is a totally free gift provided by Christ. It is hard for us to accept this without feeling the need to do something to justify God’s love for us. We think that if we do this or that and don’t do this sin or that sin, then we are worthy to come to God. This is performance based living and not grace. Grace is a gift. Grace is God seeing us as perfect and righteous, not of our own doing, but the free gift provided by Jesus’ blood.

Jesus lived by the 10 commandments, but here is the important part, we need to remember that Jesus lived under the Old Covenant Law (Galatians 4:4,5 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons). Jesus had to live by and obey all the commandments, ceremonial rules and laws so He could fulfill the old covenant. Jesus said on the cross, ‘it is finished’, meaning He had lived under the Old Covenant, lived a perfect life and fulfilled the law, thereby making Him the perfect sacrificial Lamb that would take away the sins of the world.

Not until the time of His death and resurrection was the Law fulfilled and a New Agreement took effect. The new covenant did not start until this time. This new agreement is one in which we live by grace, and not by trying to fulfill the Law, which we never could do in the first place. That is why Jesus came to earth, because we could not live a perfect life and keep all the commands and laws of the Old Agreement. So since the old covenant has been fulfilled and we live by grace, why do so many of us still feel a need to try to live by old testament rules and regulations, since we never could do it anyway? Why do we seem to want to put ourselves back under slavery to an old testament set of rules when Christ has already fulfilled them and done away with that need (Galatians 5:1-4 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision (a part of the law), Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace). When we accepted Christ as our sacrifice, we in a sense died also. And since we died, we can now live free from the law (Romans 7:1-8 “Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “you shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead”).

Before grace, we could not live up to the law because we are an imperfect people. Now that Jesus has become our perfect sacrifice and fulfilled what we could not, we are saved by grace and we live a perfect sinless life in God’s eyes because of the gift He gave us. We are sinless in God’s eyes because of Christ, although we still fall from time to time in this life, it is all covered by the blood of Christ, where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. We are no longer required to live up to the Law that we couldn’t live up to in the first place. If we try to fulfill the Law but fall in just one area, we are guilty of all the law and worthy of death.

Now that we live by grace and faith in Jesus, the law, which was our tutor to point out our sin, is no longer needed (Galatians 3:23-26  But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (the law). For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus). To say we need to live trying to obey the 10 commandments is saying that Jesus blood alone was not enough to cleanse us from our sins.

The Bible goes so far as to say that if we still try to live by obeying the old covenant law we live under a curse (Galatians 3:10-13 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “the righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “he who practices them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Mat. 5:43-48). Obviously there is no way we can do this on our own, and God wouldn’t have told us to be perfect without making a way for us to do it. The only way we can be perfect, is through grace. Accepting the free gift of grace through Christ will allow us to live out the new covenant commands of Christ, which are to accept Christ, love God and love others. The law that is mentioned under the new covenant is always to accept Jesus, love God and love others (Galatians 5:14  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”; (1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us); (1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also); (2 John 1:6  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love). We are totally incapable of living up to the law and we are no longer required to do so. Christ died and by His grace, He put His righteousness in us and we are perfect and righteous in God’s sight.

God has provided such a fantastic gift of freedom for us, and most of us today just don’t realize all that entails. Because of grace, it is as though we have never sinned and will never sin. Not because of anything we have done, or can do, but because God loves us enough that he sent his Son to take our sins, past present and future, and because of His grace we stand perfect in the eyes of God. Now we need to walk in that freedom and follow the Spirit, loving God, loving others and not worry about the old covenant law, but live a life for God through love (Galatians 5:16-18  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law).

Thanks be to God, we now live in grace, not trying to live up to rules and laws that we cannot do on our own, being free in Christ and living a life of love for God and for all we come in contact. We no longer do things because we are bad or displeasing to God if we don’t, but now we do them because we love God and want to do what pleases Him.

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When does the Old Covenant end and the New Covenant begin? We tend to forget that the Old Covenant does not end with Malachi and the New Covenant does not start with Matthew.

For the 33 years that Jesus walked the earth, He was still under the Old Covenant, which required following all its rules and regulations.

The New Covenant began when Jesus was crucified. When He said ‘It is finished’, He was talking about the Law, the Old Covenant. Upon His resurrection the New Covenant began and we are no longer required to try and live under the Law, and the way of the Old Covenant.

The old agreement was basically a tutor. A way God used to show humans that we were unable to live a perfect life on our own. It was a way to show us that we needed someone to save us from our sin. Once Jesus came and lived a perfect life on earth, He was able to be the sacrifice that fulfilled the Law and save each of us from our sinful nature (Matthew 5:17).

Now that the Law has been fulfilled in Christ, we are no longer required to try to live by the ten commandments, and the rules and regulations of the Old Covenant (Galatians 5:1-6). To many times we seem to forget that because of grace we now live by faith in Christ. We are no longer slaves to sin, we are no longer just a poor sinner saved by grace, although we were sinners and we are saved by grace. We are now the righteousness of God, through Christ. God no longer calls us slaves, but He calls us Sons (John 15:15). We are seated in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6). This isn’t to say that we should go out and do what ever we want, right or wrong (Galatians 5:13). We do have freedom in Christ to do what we choose, but of course there are consequences if we choose things that God has warned us to stay away from.

Today we choose to live a life pleasing to God because of love (Matthew 22:37-40). Godly love is the fulfillment of the Law (Galatians 5:14, Romans 13:8 and 10, 1 John 3:23). We love God, we’ve been made righteous through Christ, and we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who guides us, teaches us, and gives us strength. We do what is pleasing to God because we choose to out of love for Him, not out of obligation or because we are trying to fulfill a set of rules and Old Testament laws that we couldn’t live up to anyway.

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Galatians 3:24, 25

The Law very clearly was used under the Old Covenant as a tutor, a set of rules to basically keep us in line. The Law was there for us to follow, and if we kept it entirely, we would be perfect and could obtain salvation.

Unfortunately, due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, evil had control over the earth and we mere men could not live up to the standards of the Law. We kept falling short and were unable to obtain perfect living by the Law.

The Law showed us that we were in need of someone to save us. We were unable to do it ourselves. The Law, through its rules and regulations were ineffective to bring us to salvation.

Fortunately, Jesus came and lived on this earth and was able to fulfill the Law. He lived a perfect life and fulfilled every part of the Law up through His death on the cross.

At that point, He said ‘It is finished’, meaning that fulfillment of the Law was complete in Him and He was now the perfect sacrifice for us. The Old Covenant was a thing of the past and a New Covenant began at His resurrection.

Now we live through love. We love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and we love others as ourselves (Galatians 5:14).

Jesus lives in us and He has fulfilled the Law. We now live by faith in Christ and are saved through His grace. We no longer need to worry about trying to fulfill the Law or any part of the Old Covenant.

Jesus fulfilled all that was needed to provide for our salvation. We live through faith in Christ and depend on Him solely for our salvation. We are no longer slaves to the Law, but we are sons of God (John 15:15). We are righteousness in God’s eyes because He sees Jesus in us.

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Philippians 2:3-7 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

In today’s world, it seems everyone has the I’m number 1 attitude. We are all interested in what is best for us, what makes us happy, how to be more comfortable and satisfied in our lives. Seems like we will do anything we can to get ahead in life, to get all the comforts and ‘things’ to make it easier for us.

These verses state that as followers of Christ, we should be doing just the opposite. Our thoughts and attitudes should be how we can show the love of God to others, what we can do to help those in need, how can we use the money God has blessed us with to help the less fortunate.

God says that the fulfillment of the Law is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others as yourself. While the jobs and ‘things’ we have been given and blessed with by God are not wrong, we need to keep in mind that they are not the important part of our lives. We are to be thinking of others and their need for love, acceptance and help. How can we encourage and build up someone, how can we help meet a need in their life.

There is nothing wrong with taking thought of our wants, needs and interests. The verse states ‘do not merely look our for your own interests’. Unfortunately, many times our own interests are all that concern us. May we daily ask for God to help us think of others and be ready to care for them in any way possible with God’s leading.

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My Journey

Welcome. My blog is a place where readers will find writings of personal experiences, thoughts, and the peace that the Lord provides throughout my walk. I intend to bring inspiration and insight, as well as providing a very personal and transparent view into my life, in order to help others see their own lives in a different perspective. I strongly believe that we all need a different view at times, in order for our own personal growth to take place.

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