Law of Christ
Many Christian teachers claim that Apostle Paul taught that God's Law
no longer applies to Christians. They claim that salvation is all about God's Grace since Jesus was crucified on the cross. Yet Apostle Paul taught us this: "To those without [or outside the] law I became as one without law, not that I am without the law of God and lawless toward Him, but that I am [especially keeping] within and committed to the law of Christ, that I might win whose who are without law." Apostle Edward
Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 9:21
Law Of Christ 1
I am Not Lawless! 3-4
I Obey The Law of Christ 5-6
The Nicolaitans 7
A Modern Baptist 8
I Serve The Law of God 9
You Can Obey God 10-12
A Sabbath Day Teaching 13-14
Teach The Law 15-16
Summation Of The Law 17
Summation Of Sin 18
God's Internal Program 19-20
It's About Righteousness 21-24
Locked Out Of Heaven 25
Christ's Higher Standard 26-31
Apostle’s Prayer 32
Salvation Prayer 33
The Apostle Edward 34-35
Two Heart Gateways 36
I am Not Lawless!
Paul says: "I am not lawless." His statement in 1 Cor. 9:21 is straightforward, simple, and sounds mild. One does not detect a lot of emotion in Paul's words. Yet, wouldn't Paul be mad today and screaming it out loud in anger? Because of those who now twist his words and say God's Law is done away with completely? The verse on the front is from the Amplified Bible. The King James Bible (KJV) and New International (NIV) read:
"To them that are under the law, [I became] as under the law; 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 Cor. 9:20-21 KJV
"I am not free from God's Law but am under Christ's Law." 1 Cor. 9:21 NIV
The New Living Translation (NLT) reads:
"When I am with the Jews, I become one of them so that I can bring them to Christ. When I am with those who follow the Jewish laws, I do the same, even though I am not subject to the [Jewish] law, so that I can bring them to Christ. When I am with the Gentiles who do not have the Jewish law, I fit in with them as much as I can. In this way, I gain their confidence and bring them to Christ. But I do not discard the law of God; I obey the law of Christ." 1 Cor 9:20-21 NLT
Get the picture? Paul was not lawless, was he? No! While Paul tried to fit in with any people that he found himself with, he did not "discard" God's Law. However, Paul stated something new, didn't he? He added the phrase "I obey the law of Christ." So what does it mean to obey the law of Christ?
This is the main question that is answered in this tract. Two related questions will also be answered. (1) Are God's Laws done away with? (2) What's the difference between the "Law of God" and the "Law of Christ?"
Before going on, let me make it very clear exactly what Paul has said in 1 Cor. 9:21.
Paul Said: "I am Not Lawless; I Obey The Law of Christ!"
In spite of what some in Christianity now teach, the Apostle Paul knew better than to teach that God's law was discarded. Paul knew what his God said in Malachi 3:6 and also what Jesus taught in Matthew 7:23.
God said: "For I am the Lord [God], I do not change!" Malachi 3:6
Jesus said: "Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness." Matthew 7:23
Meditate on these two Bible teachings and you'll come to the conclusion that the idea the Law has been done away with must not be exactly the whole truth of the matter. God says He doesn't change and Jesus rejects many Christians who he claims are lawless. IF God's Law were "discarded," why would the Holy Bible have these two teachings?
Jesus' message to the church of Ephesus includes the following compliment.
"But this you have [in your favor], that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." Rev. 2:6
God told Christ to compliment this church because they hated what the Nicolaitans were doing. In contrast, God told Christ to rebuke the church at Pergamos for having Nicolaitans within their congregation. See Rev. 2:14-15. So who were the Nicolaitans?
Today's Dictionary of The Bible, 1982, Bethany House Publishers, provides this information on the Nicolaitans.
"They were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who tried to introduce into the church a false freedom or licentiousness, thus abusing Paul's doctrine of grace (compare 2 Peter 2:15, 16, 19), and were probably identical with those who held the doctrine of Balaam (Rev.2:14)."
Licentiousness means pursuing your desires very aggressively and selfishly, unchecked by God's morality, especially when it comes to sexual matters (sexually immoral people).
Therefore, Nicolaitans claimed that Paul's teachings on grace meant God's laws were discarded and no longer applied to humans.
In 2 Peter 2:14-22, the Apostle Peter makes it clear that such interpretations of Paul are a lie. A complete discussion of this issue is found in "Matters of the Heart" chapter 7. You will find it at www.bookofedward.org.
One modern Baptist minister who is near the top of this denomination's leadership has teachings similar to the Nicolaitan doctrines and now teaches, "You can't [even] obey the Ten Commandments. That is why God came down and died on the cross for you. He knew you couldn't do it." Sound familiar? Maybe you have heard a similar teaching?
When I heard this Baptist televangelist preach this message, the first thought that came to my mind was wondering which commandments he couldn't obey. Was it don't steal? Don't commit adultery? Have no other gods before Him? Which one?
I Serve The Law Of God
So, from Paul's days to current times, some professing Christians have created doctrines to discard God's laws in favor of a freedom to do anything one wants to do while on this earth. It includes a second chance theology that asserts God's grace will forgive even the most vile and unrepentant sinner from hell and the death of their soul in the lake of fire.
This is not the God of the Holy Bible who makes a distinction between the righteous and unrighteous and calls upon all people to repent of their sins and to obey His laws. This is the struggle of all humans: To get out of our flesh (law of sin) and to observe that God gave us a spirit within to serve Him.
Paul said: "So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." Romans 7:25
You Can Obey God!
God makes a clear distinction between those who are righteous in His eyes and those who are ungodly. His Word teaches that keeping His commandments are not burdensome.
"For the Lord [God] knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall [lead them to] perish." Psalm 1:6
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And [keeping] His commandments are not burdensome."
1 John 5:3
Jesus said that it is he or she, "who does the will of my Father [God]," that will enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt 7:21
Jesus said: "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do the things which I say?" Luke 6:46
Jesus said: "Do not think that I came to destroy [or discard] the Law or the Prophets." Matthew 5:17
The truth is that you can easily obey all of God’s Ten Commandments with the sole exception of the fourth commandment:
"Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.” Deuteronomy 5:12
The phrase "as the Lord your God has commanded you" reflects the fact that God added many instructions to Jewish law for properly observing the Sabbath day. I.E. See Exodus 16:23-26; 31:15-16; 35, Leviticus 16; 23; 24; 25; Numbers 15. For additional discussion of the fourth commandment, see chapter 17 in the Book of Edward.
This does not mean you cannot set aside a day to worship God and rest your body!
When the Pharisees saw that Jesus and his disciples were not obeying the Sabbath laws, they complained. In his reply, Jesus said:
"The Son of Man [Jesus] is Lord [even] of the Sabbath." Matthew 12:8
The fact is, when Christ came, the Sabbath laws were changed. Along with these laws, all of the ritual (carnal) laws were cancelled. See Hebrews 9:10 and 2 Corinthians 3:6-18. It would be an insult to God if anyone went to an altar to sacrifice an animal for the sins of their people. Christ's crucifixion was the final sacrifice for the sins of all people in the world for all time from the beginning to end.
When Paul taught against the law, he was teaching that these ritual laws and especially the ritual of circumcision no longer applied to those "in Christ Jesus." See Gal. 2:15-16 and 3:15-29. That is why Paul taught us …
"Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath. Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ." Col. 2:16-17 AMP
A Sabbath Day Teaching
The issue of the Sabbath is put into a proper perspective by the Gnostic Gospel of Truth, which teaches us the following:
"He [Christ] labored even on the Sabbath for the sheep which he found fallen into the pit. He saved the life of that sheep bringing it up from the pit in order that you may understand fully what that Sabbath is, you who possess understanding."
"[The Sabbath] is a day in which it is not fitting that salvation be idle, so that you may speak of that heavenly day which has no night and of the sun which does not set because it is perfect. Say then in your heart that you are this perfect day and that in you the light which does not fail dwells."
IF the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, dwells within your heart, then the Sabbath day dwells within your heart and you are this perfect day. It is because "the light which does not fail" dwells within you and you are free to worship God anytime. You are not limited to a Saturday, Sunday or any other day. And, remember Jesus said …
"The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Mark 2:27
Therefore, always worship God and do not forget to rest your body one day in seven.
Teach The Law
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9
"For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is a messenger of the Lord of hosts." Malachi 2:7
"Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching."
2 Timothy 4:2
It is clear that God wants us to teach people about His laws. It is also clear that some aspects of what could broadly be called "the law" in the Bible have changed. All of the ritual laws provided for in Jewish law no longer apply. This would include tithing and circumcision and animal sacrifices, etc.
In fact, it is religious laws that have been negated. The commandments & commands of God have not been changed. And, our call to obey God's commands has not changed.
Jesus said: "I know that His command is everlasting life." John 12:50
Jesus said: "These things I command you, that you love one another." John 15:17
"[Jesus] became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey [God]." Heb. 5:9
Summation Of The Law
If all of this sounds a little confusing at times, it can be. However, Jesus simplified the essence of the law in Matthew.
Jesus said: " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus teaches us that obeying the Law is as simple as obeying two commandments. If we do this, our spirit will express God's love into the world and will lead us to eternal life. It is hard to sin if we are faithful to observe the above two commandments from God.
Summation Of Sin
The issue of what is called sin can also be confusing. What one church allows, another might call sin. However, God has a simple standard for sin in the Bible that applies to every individual and circumstance no matter what his or her education happens to be. This even includes a very limited knowledge of God and His human begotten Son Jesus.
"Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."
"So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin."
James 4:17 AMP
Everyone knows the right thing to do for any given situation they find themselves in and regardless of their education. Why is this?
God's Internal Program
How is it that we know the right thing to do in any given circumstance, regardless of our education or background? God Himself has programmed part of our minds and hearts!
God says: "I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know Me." Jeremiah 31:33-34
"[God] has put eternity in [our] hearts, except that [none of us] can find out the work that God does from the beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11
Like an internal computer program, every human heart and mind knows what is right.
If we know what is right, why is it that many continue to do wrong and thereby sin? The trouble lies in the fact that most people will not take the time to "listen" to the spirit that God has put inside us. God's Spirit speaks to our spirit in a soft and quiet voice. In order to communicate with Him, we need to slow down, quiet the internal noise of our mind, and quiet the external background noise around us that inhibits our spiritual hearing.
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
Once we escape the physical limitations that surround our minds and we start to focus on the spiritual realm, we can begin to hear God very clearly. We have, as the old saying goes, "tuned in" to God. At that point we have become spiritually alive and born again unto God. Then, doing what's right is easy.
It's About Righteousness
Many preach there is no salvation without going through Jesus Christ. However, this is not what Jesus taught us about salvation. He taught that it was all about righteousness. He called everyone to repent and stated clearly that if they didn't, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus' teachings are the same as those found in the Old Testament.
"I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him."
"Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.' " Acts 10:34-35
What Peter is saying is simple. The salvation Christ taught us in the New Testament is the same salvation as taught in Ezekiel 18 and in many other parts of the Old Testament. The idea that anyone who does not know Christ is destined for hell is a false doctrine found in the Church at large. Christ always pointed us to his Father, whom he called our God.
Christ's teachings taught us to repent and return to God. We do that by acknowledging God exists and that He expects us to live a righteous life to Him while on this earth.
Ergo, everyone who lives unto righteousness is acceptable to God no matter what country they live in, what ethnicity they are, and no matter what religion they claim. However, God will not accept idol worshippers. If your religion worships any idols or offers sacrifices, you do not know God. Having said this, Christ is God's gift to us. Why?
Those who are baptized in the name of Jesus will receive God's Holy Spirit. Jesus and God, the Father, will come and live within them guiding their spirits back to their own heavenly mansion. While all of mankind is free to search for God on their own, they are also free to acknowledge Jesus as God's gift to us that helps our spiritual search for truth. Jesus is the teacher and when we learn from him and follow his teachings, we get on a fast track to fellowship with our God.
Thus, we can choose to be taught by Jesus, the Christ, who was sent by God Himself to make it spiritually easier on us to get home.
Without Jesus Christ in our lives, it is like wandering through a big city without a map or any idea of where we are going and what we are searching for. With Christ, spiritual clarity comes to our mind and all we have to do is follow the teachings of Christ.
Salvation and eternal life follows a spiritual choice to repent and live unto righteousness.
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." 1 Peter 3:12
"[You, who through Jesus] believe in [the] God, who raised [Jesus] from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." 1 Peter 1:21
Jesus' purpose is well expressed by Peter. It was so that "your faith and hope would be in God." To put this in another way, Jesus did not come so you could worship him. Jesus came to bring you back to his God.
"[God is] not willing that any should perish but that all [people] should come to repentance [and eternal life]." 2 Peter 3:9
Locked Out Of Heaven
Finally on the Law, we see in Romans 1:18, 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and in Rev. 22:15 that the following 15 types of people are excluded from heaven. God's Laws still apply here!
10. Sexually immoral
14. Lovers of lies
15. Practitioners of lies
16. Christ's Higher Standard
You have learned:
1. God's laws have not been discarded.
2. Jewish laws have been discarded.
3. Christ changed the Sabbath laws and yet you can still worship God and take time out to rest your body, as the Sabbath day commandment basically asks us to do.
4. Salvation is really about repentance and righteousness. Those locked out of heaven are unrighteous in God's eyes.
Before focusing on the Law of Christ, you needed to understand the role of repentance and righteousness in obtaining salvation and eternal life. God gave a higher righteousness standard to Christ so our sensitivity to sin would be increased. Not only do evil deeds get us in trouble, but also the unrighteous thoughts that lead to those evil deeds.
Therefore, the Law of Christ is God's call to a higher righteousness standard. He calls us to become more sensitive towards sin in our life. Those who walk closely with God are very sensitive to the issue of sin and do not want even an appearance of sin to occur. In a basic explanation, the Law of Christ calls on us to follow the spirit of God's laws and not just the letter of His laws.
Ergo, we don't look for legal loopholes with God's Word, as modern day lawyers would do with man's laws. Consider the tattoo as a simple illustration. It is written …
"You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you; I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:28
We do not get any reasons or explanations for God's instructions to not tattoo our body. This is very popular in today's culture, but ...
It begs the question: Exactly how close is your walk with God? Is it close enough to obey His commands even when He gives you no reason for doing so? When you can answer yes to this question, you are talking with God and walking in faith. You have begun your spiritual adventure with God.
You can study the Law of Christ in Matthew chapters 5-7. I will give you a few examples below and, now that you know it represents a call to an increased righteousness, you can understand what Christ is teaching and why God gave him these instructions.
"You have heard that it was said to those of old. 'You shall not murder,' and whosoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." Matthew 5:21-22
In the above illustration, Christ teaches us to watch our thoughts of anger without cause against our brother. Such unrighteous mental thoughts lead to murder. Christ then teaches us to reconcile ourselves with our brothers before bringing a gift to God's altar. In other words, don't come to God when "your brother has something against you!"
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery,' but I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
Christ isn't talking about a man looking at a woman in an admiring way. Christ is talking about a man whose "heart" is "lusting" for a woman. It means the man has plans for sex with the woman and it doesn't involve love and marriage, but unrighteous fornication.
See Chapter 19 in the Book of Edward for a detailed discussion on the issue of sexuality.
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' but I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." Mt 5:38-39
Christ IS NOT teaching you to roll over and allow evil to have its way in your life. Christ is teaching you to show more than just raw human emotions to the people of this world. After all, you are supposed to have God's Spirit inside you. If so, then you will be able to respond with a spiritual response and not just as an ordinary human would respond. Why? It is because God's Spirit has taken you beyond the physical limits of our earthly existence and has shown you that you have a heavenly mansion waiting for you. Let your response show your adversary God's love, God's ways and that you belong to Him!
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,' but I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." Mt 5:43-44
Again, Christ is NOT teaching you to let an enemy rule over your life. Christ is teaching you a higher righteousness standard. He is teaching you to show your enemies God's love and adds: "For if you [only] love those who love you, what reward have you?"
Show People The Love Of God That Is Inside You!
The Law of Christ is our higher standard of righteousness and love that we have been given. When we obey the Law of Christ like Paul did, we subscribe to the Spirit of God's Laws and not just the letter of God's Laws.
Study the Scriptures cited in this booklet very carefully. While in the Spirit, God gave these Scriptures to me for your benefit.
Please open up your heart to God's Word and let Jesus Christ, our Teacher, become the example you follow all the way back to your own heavenly home.
Do this and you will not only love Jesus and the sacrifice he made for our sins, you will also fall in love with God. You can call Him heavenly Father in all of your prayers.
Heavenly Father and God of my brother Jesus Christ, who is our Teacher, hear my prayer. Bless every soul that reads this booklet and will open up their heart to Your Son Jesus and also to Your Spirit. And, to all who pray the salvation prayer on the next page, grant them repentance.
Father God, I accept this special invitation of Yours to an eternal life in heaven.
I confess with my mouth that You raised Jesus Christ from the dead and that he is the first of many humans to be resurrected to be with You, as Your sons and daughters.
I believe in my heart unto righteousness and I will do my best to live a righteous life in Your eyes. I will follow the example of Jesus and be faithful unto my own death.
Father, I thank you that You and Your Son will become one with me to help me overcome this earthly life. I know that this will make us of one mind and that Your Spirit will dwell within me to guide my path back home. Teach me Your ways Lord.
The Apostle Edward
Please accept God's Invitation to an eternal life. This may be the only time you will be presented with God's Word.
These are only the basics, but they will get you started on a life with God and His Son Jesus Christ.
You must understand that Jesus Christ is God's human begotten Son; he is not God. It is as simple as believing what Jesus taught us and accepting Scripture over manmade church doctrine. If your church doesn't preach the Word, find another church that does. You can read more about this topic and others at http://www.bookofedward.org.
Notations in small caps such as Lord, He, Him, His, You, and Father refer to God.
All Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) unless otherwise noted. © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved
Scripture Key: If you keep the relationship between God and His begotten human Son straight, you will understand your Bible and God's invitation to an eternal life will be for real. It's a key to understanding His Word.
Contact Information: Apostle Edward may be contacted using an online feedback form or by mail. Prayers & donations welcomed.
Rev. Edward G. Palmer
Apostle Ministry, Inc.
13570 Grove Drive #361
Maple Grove, Minnesota 55311
Copyright 2008-2013, Edward G. Palmer, All Rights Reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this booklet for non-profit use without restriction as long as the content is left unchanged. [4JLP-62-041508]
Two Heart Gateways