Freedom from the Law and Spiritual Growth
by Elder G. E. Jones
Paul wrote the epistle to the Galatians to combat and expose the error of legalism which had been brought into these churches by false teachers. He charged the Galatians with being removed from the grace of Christ to another gospel, but which he said was not another, but that there were some who would pervert the gospel of Christ. See Galatians 1:6,7. He said to them, "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed," Galatians 1:9. He even went so far as to say, "I would that they were even cut off which trouble you." See Galatians 5:12.
After severely rebuking the Galatians for their unstability and denouncing the legalistic teachers who were troubling them he said, "Stand fast there in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1.
Man, By Nature Is A Legalist.
Men are by nature legalists. Instead of being concerned about what Christ has done for them, and will do for them, and in them, they are more concerned about trying to do something for Christ. This has led man away from the simplicity that is in Christ unto unscriptural methods and a multiplicity of organizations which have sapped the spiritual life of the churches, and have burdened the people with so many unnecessary and unprofitable things. Little time is left for meditation, devotion and scriptural study. It makes us think of the question Jeremiah asked Judah, "Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?" See Jeremiah 2:36.
A few years ago, I was visiting a college friend in his home. We were talking on certain scriptural subjects. He was pastor of a large Convention Baptist Church. He was uninformed on those scriptural subjects. I asked him why he did not study up on them and inform his people on those things which they needed to know. He said, 'Brother, I do not have time. I have to speak once a week to the Men's Brotherhood, and once a week to the boys' organization, and once to this organization and that organization, and I have this committee meeting and that committee meeting." He was so busy looking after things the Lord had not told him to do, that little time was left for doing what the Lord did tell him to do. The word of God tells the servant of God to study to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. He is to teach the same to his people. The average church member today knows little about the book of Revelation. Why? The preachers themselves do not know. They are too busy operating, and keeping up with an hundred and one different organizations we could well do without. Too many, like Martha, are troubled about many things, and they have not chosen the good part as did Mary.
Men are prone to put the emphasis on that which is outward, rather than that which is inward. They are more concerned about that which makes a show before men, than they are with that which is pleasing to God. They think more about the things which can be put in statistics, and will make a good report before the churches and religious leaders and men, than they are about the record that is being made in heaven. They are more interested in greenback than they are in grace. They are more concerned about that which brings glory to themselves, than they are with that which glorifies God. Paul said, "As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ." Galatians. 6:12. He also said, "Neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law, but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh." Gal 6:13. Many of our churches today, like the church at Sardis, have a name that they live, but they are dead. See Revelation 3:1.
We need to go back to the word of God again and study anew the law, and our freedom from the same. This writer believes that at least nine church members out of ten, and four preachers out of five are in some measure entangled in the meshes of the law.
As a proof that the above statement is true, I refer to an article which recently appeared in one of our papers. The writer said that he was under eleven commandments, the ten which were written on tables of stone, and the new commandment which Jesus gave that we should love one another. And he thanked God that he was under eleven. Well, we shall see that the ten commandments which are written in tables of stone are called the ministration of DEATH and the ministration of CONDEMNATION. 2 Corinthians 3:7-9. So this man was thanking God that he was under the ministration of DEATH and the ministration of CONDEMNATION. I thank God that I have been made FREE from the law of sin and DEATH, and am standing in the liberty wherewith Christ has made me free, and that I am not under the ten commandments. Such persons still have the veil over their hearts. After speaking about the ministration of DEATH and of CONDEMNATION in 2 Corinthians 3:7-11, and saying that this ministration had been done away, Paul went on to say, "But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart," 2 Corinthians 3:15.
The main purpose of this book which I am now writing is to get the people, preachers and others, to see our freedom from the law, and teach the people the same. If I thought I was under the ten commandments, I would go and join the Seventh Day Adventists. This man claims he is under the ten commandments. One of those ten enjoins the observance of the sabbath, and plainly says that the seventh day is the sabbath. See Exodus 20:8-10. This man does not belong to the Advents or he would not be writing to a Baptist paper. And I will say that he makes no attempt to observe the seventh day of the week. If he is a preacher, he needs to study his Bible closer. If he is not a preacher, he needs a pastor who can teach him the truth on this line.
The Law Stands or Passes As A Whole
Many think that some part, or parts of the law have been fulfilled, and we are not under obligation to keep them, while other parts of it remain which we as believers are under obligation to observe. This is a mistake. The law stands or passes as a whole, not in parts. Jesus said, "One jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," Matthew 5:18. If we are under any part of it, we are under all of it. If we have been made free from any part of it, then we have been made free from all of it. If we are under the ten commandments, as the Adventists teach, then we are obligated to observe the seventh day of the week, as the law commanded Israel to do. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall thou labour and do all thy work: but the SEVENTH day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God." Exodus 20:8-10. Do we observe the seventh day of the week as a day of rest? We cannot say that this commandment has been fulfilled and abolished, but the other nine remain. Jesus said, "One jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," Matthew 5:18. To say the believer is under nine of them is to teach that he is under all ten of them, and that he must observe the seventh day of the week, as did Israel, and as the Advents claim to do.
Neither can we say that the sabbath has been changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week. There is not one line of scripture which teaches that. Neither is there one place to be found where the first day of the week is called the sabbath, or a sabbath. We often hear it called such by people in their prayers, conversation, and sometimes in sermons.
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