Monday, March 5, 2012

The Law Fulfilled in Us

Did you realize that the Law is fulfilled in the life of the obedient disciple of Christ?  That's right.  It's true.

Many people like to quote the passage that says there is no condemnation for the believer.  They like the part that says, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." (Rom 8:1-2)  I like that part, too!

But let's look at the rest of it. Paul wrote to the Romans: "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Rom 8:3-4).  Paul said that if you walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, then the requirement of the Law is fulfilled in you.

D.L. Moody

In my previous post on the Four Tallest Homes in Heaven, I mentioned that a Korean pastor who died and was raised back to life has seen the four tallest homes in heaven.  Two of them belong to D.L. Moody and John Wesley.

Today I want to quote from Standing in the Gap ministries, which exposes the error of the "once saved always saved," doctrine of "eternal security."  The author considers D.L. Moody to be a heretic.  I would not condemn Moody as a heretic.  But I think the author of Standing in the Gap did a fine job of showing the merits of Moody's preaching, as well as expounding on the important part he left out. He shows how the weakness of Moody's doctrine has led to major error in many of today's preachers that have taken grace to the extreme. I'd like to quote directly from excerpts of the article here, and all Scriptures cited are quoted in their entirety at the end:

You are saved by 'Receiving' the implanted WORD (which is Christ) that is able to save your soul and then PUTTING it into practice..." James 1:21-22. Be DOERS not hearers only, deceiving your own self!"  The 'Receiving' & 'Doing' cannot be separated, for James states, "That a man is Justified by WORKS and NOT by Faith only!" Js2:24 This is seen throughout the bible. We are called to 'Obedience to the faith!' Rom1:5, 16:26 etc. The act of 'Continual' obedience is shown in such passages as Rom2:7, Col1:23, Heb3:14, 2Pet1:4-11 God cannot Obey for us. Salvation is therefore 'retained' by our willingness to 'Continue' with Him.

Rom8:1-3 make perfectly clear that IF you walk in the Spirit & not the flesh, you fulfill the righteous requirements of the law and suffer no condemnation. But IF you walk according to the flesh nature, you fall BACK under the condemnation of the law. Read Gal6:7-10 and contemplate the truth of Reaping what you Sow. Grace doesn't magically remove you from the consequences of fulfilling the lust of the flesh. (Gal5:19-21) You MUST Crucify the flesh with it's passions & desires, Gal5:24, or end up in hell.

“The people must be made to understand that the Ten Commandments are still binding, and that there is a penalty attached to their violation. We do not want a gospel of mere sentiment. The Sermon on the Mount did not blot out the Ten Commandments.” – DL Moody

Although Moody preached free grace, he did not view it as an unconditional license for immorality, as many osas preachers do today. He understood the teachings of Christ to the extent that they compelled men to 'take up' their cross and follow. In his mind there were no half baked Christians who were depending on a past moment of faith to get them through. It was a life of discipline & self denial, energized by the Spirit of God in Love. The danger I see however is in neglecting the reams of scripture that deal with falling away, warning the righteous and avoiding false doctrine. Moody may have believed that a person 'once saved' was KEPT by God against every temptation & snare, but SCRIPTURE says otherwise! "KEEP yourself PURE, from idols, from sin, from immoral behavior, from the error of the wicked!" (1Tim5:22, 1Jh5:18,21, 1Pet2:11, 2pet3:17 to name a few)  Why would Jesus Himself TELL us to MAKE EVERY EFFORT to enter by the Narrow Gate, if He was going to do it for us? Lk13:24. And this teaching follows throughout: Heb4:11, 12:14, 2Pet1:5, 3:14,  "Make every effort to: Enter, Be Holy, Add to your faith, Be found without spot or blemish!"  At least SOME of the responsibility rest with us according to these scriptures, wouldn't you say?

For a fuller explanation of DL Moody's views, read 'Sovereign Grace' at this link:   But I can save you the trouble by stating that basically he believed wholly that the Gift of Salvation was given without merit (which is 100% correct) and since it's given without merit, NOTHING done afterward has any merit toward it's ultimate goal. Although, as I pointed out, he DID NOT teach that you could live in open rebellion to God's law, commit adultery, immorality or suicide and still inherit the kingdom of heaven.

The Narrow Path to the Kingdom is one of Constant striving, persuasion, struggle against sin. (Lk13:24, 2Tim3:12, Heb13:4)  YES, it must be done in His Strength, by His Grace through Faith in His Word! But it MUST be done nonetheless. It's the WORK of Faith with POWER, 2Thes1:11, that saves. Those who refuse to remain STEADFAST in the faith to the end WILL NOT enter the kingdom.

Grace is the dynamic by which God transforms the heart and stamps in the image of His Son. Here's an accurate translation: Charis: good will, loving-kindness, favor, of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

Although Eph2:8-9 alone can 'sound' as though NOTHING is required of man. You MUST understand that the 'Gift' of salvation in itself is Free and cannot be earned by anything we do, BUT ENDURING to the end once we enter into this Grace & Receive His Power, is an ABSOLUTE necessity if you want to enter the Kingdom. The Scriptures make this perfectly clear. Had Abraham merely said to God, "Okay, God, I believe, now I'll just wait here for the promise."  He would NEVER have INHERITED the promise & God would have chosen another!  But his OBEDIENCE made his FAITH perfect before God, WORKING out his salvation & final entrance into the kingdom. (Phil2:12-13, 2Pet1:4-11)  You will only enter heaven by Continuing to DO His Word! Js1:22

Grace DID NOT lower the Holy Standard of God, as Moody as his cohorts imply. Christ declared when he introduced His ministry that He came for the express purpose of FULFILLING the Law & the Prophets! Matt5:17  Further He taught that under GRACE if your hand or eye causes you to sin, CUT them off! Matt5:28. Heb10:28-29 declares that it's WORSE to sin against Grace than it was the law of Moses, even though the penalties were severely enforced. Because you are "Insulting the Spirit of Grace!"  And Paul specifically pointed out that by Faith we ESTABLISH the law, not abolish it! Rom3:31 THAT'S why the Righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled IF we Walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh. Rom8:3 AND the 'Law of sin & death' are STILL in effect! (Rom8:1-3)

Grace calls you to OBEDIENT Love of God and His Commandants. When you Walk in Love, you fulfill the law, Mark12:20-31, when you REFUSE to walk in love by the power of His Spirit, you fall BACK under the condemnation of the law & Judgment shall befall IF you do not repent. (Rom8:1-13)  Grace doesn't 'soften' the requirements of God, it provides the Divine Power to MEET those requirements.

[The reason Christians lack spiritual POWER is because they lack OBEDIENCE!] Plain and simple, NOTHING is going to occur in your heart or life & you are guaranteed to end up in hell fire, UNLESS you Steadfastly OBEY God's Word, Purify your heart by faith and endure to the end!  (Rom2:7, Gal5:6, 1Pet1:22, 1Jhn5:4).

These excerpts above have been taken from the article on DL Moody at Standing in the Gap ministry.  To read the full article, key here.

Scriptures cited above:
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. (Jam 1:21-22)

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (Jam 2:24)

through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake, (Rom 1:5)

but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; (Rom 16:26)

to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; (Rom 2:7)

if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (Col 1:23)

For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, (Heb 3:14)

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (2Pe 1:4-11)

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom 8:1-4)

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.  (Gal 6:7-10)

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Gal 5:19-21)

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  (Gal 5:24)

Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.  (1Ti 5:22)

We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
(1Jo 5:18-20)

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
(1Pe 2:11)

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,  (2Pe 3:17)

"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
(Luk 13:24)

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.  (Heb 4:11)

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14, NIV)

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, (2Pe 3:14)

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2Ti 3:12)

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Heb 13:4)

To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, (2Th 1:11)
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Phi 2:12-13)

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. (Mat 5:17)

but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Mat 5:28)

Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10:28-29)

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. (Rom 3:31)

"There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children. "The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise; and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also. "In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one's wife will she be? For all seven had married her." Jesus said to them, "Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. "But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, and the God of Jacob'? "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken." One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mar 12:20-31)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (Gal 5:6)

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, (1Pe 1:22)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. (1Jo 5:4)

Scriptures: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note: We are not endeavoring to keep up the law of Moses in conjunction with the gospel of Christ. You cannot rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5), and if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).  This post is a follow up on the following articles I've written recently:

The Law of Love in the New Testament
The Law Established Through Faith
Is Obedience Optional? 
Keeping Sundays Holy
Resting from Work
Is Tithing Required for Christians?
Salvation with Fear and Trembling
The New Covenant
Obedience by the Spirit 
The Ways of Life
The Flesh vs. the Spirit
You can also find my complete collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.

Photo credit: Image is from a post by Dr. Michelle T. Johnson, called Obedience is the Antidote, on her Alabaster Woman blog.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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