Why We’ve Never Needed the Ten Commandments
“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading as it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?”
2 Corinthians 3:7-8
The short answer to the title of this devotional is:
Because as Christians we have God’s Spirit in us, guiding us. His Spirit will never lead us to sin. He is enough.
I know this is a very sensitive subject so I’ve been extremely careful compiling the following Scripture. Before I began writing about the use of the Ten Commandments I asked God to help me, as I usually do before I compose my thoughts, but for this devotional He knew how overly-important the topic is to me. The golden calf that is the Ten Commandments is extremely important to millions of people, for some, even more important than Christ Himself.
As I often do, I’ve tried to come up with the most strenuous rebuttals to test what I’m claiming based on conversations I’ve had with both Christians and non-Christians. Grace is what I hope you feel in my replies. Any interaction we have with a believer or non-believer should always be seasoned with grace (see Colossians 4:6, 1 Peter 3:15). If it’s not, then it’s not coming from God’s Spirit.
Please learn from my mistakes and don’t attack those who disagree with you, don’t interrupt them, don’t be condescending, and don’t mistakenly find your identity in being right all the time. You are righteous, Christian, so you don’t need to prove it (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Instead, just talk easy. Keep friendships and healthy relationships in mind.
Listen and be sensitive to others. If you mess up, so what. You’ll have plenty of more chances to practice being your true self before you go Home. Forgive them, forgive yourself, and move forward.
I don’t usually introduce my devotionals with a buffer as I’m doing now, nor are they normally as explanatory. But with the gravity of the context of the Ten Commandments, I felt God leading me to soften the blow toward those who immediately got upset from reading the title. Remember, we’re all friends, we’re all one Body, and we’re all learning and growing in the knowledge of God’s immeasurable grace; a grace we’ll still be learning about in 100 trillion years.
This grace is not just a what but a who. It’s Jesus. Each and every one of us is maturing in the truth of what He’s done for us and to us, so that He can do through us what He may. My only desire is to help set you free, in your mind, through the guarantee He’s given by way of the New Covenant. So here we go…
Before Christ was born, killed, and then raised back to life, nobody had God’s Spirit inside of their spirit. He was with them and even on them, but not infused with their spirits. We see examples in Judges 14:6 and John 20:22, as well as many other on and with verses. But after the Cross God’s Spirit becomes one with us! (See Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 6:17-19, Colossians 3:3, John 14:23).
This is the main difference in the Old and New Covenants, which is God’s life implanted inside of us like a sperm in an egg–irreversible. This is also why Jesus said, “Don’t be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again'” (see John 3:7). He was talking about Nicodemus’ spirit, not his physical body, as well as everyone’s spirit who would ever believe.
Although right standing with God has always been based on faith from the beginning of creation, before the Cross, God’s Spirit came and went based on a person’s actions and attitudes, as well as for His own purposes. But now, as believers in Christ, He stays in us forever, not because of our proper choices and thoughts, but because Jesus will never die again (see Hebrews 7:25). The previous Covenant–the Old Covenant–was a contract between God and man–namely the Jews–and it was brought in by Moses beginning at Mount Sinai. The New Covenant is between God and God. That is, the Father and the Son, not the Father, Son, and man (see Hebrews 6:16-19, 8:6-8).
Was there anything wrong with the Old Covenant given to Israel by Moses that it needed to be replaced? No. The problem was the sinful human race who actually agreed to it. The Old Covenant was based on the Father and the people’s faithfulness. The people failed, not God. The New Covenant is based on the Father and Son’s faithfulness to one another. Israel has been taken out of the equation of the Covenant, and instead, all of mankind has become beneficiaries to their Covenant. Beneficiaries don’t do anything. They just open up their hands and receive by way of a death. When Jesus died, we benefited (see Hebrews 6:16-19, 8:7-9, 2 Timothy 2:13, 1 Corinthians 1:9, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:12).
The New Covenant was brought in by Jesus’ death on the Cross, and not a moment sooner.
How would we receive stuff from an old rich relative–everything they’ve worked for? Only by their death. So how would we receive the benefits of Jesus’ efforts during the course of His human life? Only by His death. When His death occurred it wrote over the Old Covenant therefore bringing in the New! According to the Old, the people were responsible for their sins. According to the New, Jesus is! (See Hebrews 9:16-18, 2 Corinthians 5:21).
I had to set this up because improper actions and attitudes to God are called sins. Every sin deserves death, from jealousy to legalism to murder to gossip (see Romans 6:23). So with all sins deserving death, and with Jesus dying for all sins, God could now make His home inside of our very own spirits by grace through faith because our spirits supernaturally died with Christ in the spiritual realm. We’ve been reborn as sinless spirits (see Romans 6:3-11, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 3:3, Galatians 2:20, Hebrews 10:14, Ephesians 2:8-9).
As Christians, Jesus has caused our spirits (past tense) to become sinless according to the New Covenant. Not by what we do, but by who we are. For example, my brother’s occupation is a barber. He commits acts of a barber and has thoughts of a barber all day long. But is his identity a barber? No. He’s a child of God. It doesn’t matter how many ideas and actions of barbering he commits, such will never alter his identity as a heaven-ready saint. He can barber all day every day until he’s 102, but his supernatural DNA is set because of the New Covenant. He has benefited from the inheritance brought in by Christ’s death, which is Christ’s life! (See John 3:16, Colossians 3:4, 1 John 5:11-13).
Luke has received the Spirit of God within his very own being (see 1 Corinthians 6:19). Barbering is a neutral act. But now, so are his righteous acts as well as his sinful acts because he’s been reborn connected to Christ.
We’re not a promise keeper in the New Covenant, the Father and Son is. We benefit. Nothing we do or don’t do alters our identity because of Jesus dying a sinful death as a perfect Person and then passing that perfection on to us. Becoming supernaturally righteous, freely, is not fair to us. Just the same as Jesus becoming physically sinful, willingly, was not fair to Him. This is how we know He loves us so much!
I’ll explain how this applies to the Ten Commandments shortly, but first, we need to understand how we’ve benefited from Jesus’ actual death on the Cross. Two main reasons:
- A death is required for every single sin, and Jesus died once for all of them, for all who would ever believe (see Hebrews 10:10, John 1:12).
- A death is required to establish the pay-out of a will, a covenant (see Hebrews 9:17).
This brings us around the horn to realize Jesus has no more deaths to dole out for any sin, ever again. He isn’t dying again and again in heaven for each of our mistakes in order to bring in the New Covenant again and again. His single death completed this new agreement and now He’s resting just fine (see Hebrews 9:28, 10:12).
If we look at the Old Covenant even deeper, it was based on a contract between God and Israel–not us Gentiles–but rather, those whom Moses had just freed from Egypt. The good news is, now, every single person on this planet–not just the Jews who would believe in Christ–is one with God in full! (See 1 Corinthians 6:17, Colossians 3:11)
With Him being in us, this is a ministry. Paul calls this ministry the ministry of the Spirit. He said we don’t need tablets of stone for daily guidance because the Spirit of the Living God is written on our hearts. Why would he say tablets of stone? Because only the Ten Commandments were written on stone. The other 603 commandments given to Israel by Moses were written with ink (see 2 Corinthians 3:3-8).
Moses gave them a grand total of 613 legal orders, not just 10, so keep that in mind as you eat bacon with your eggs or do yard work on Saturday. Not eating pork and not working on the Sabbath are two of the 613. (Friday evening to Saturday evening is the true Sabbath according to the Law, by the way, not Sunday). To add insult to injury, if you break one commandment you break them all. Sin once, you’re sinning 613 times, and blood must be shed at the next annual Day of Atonement! (See Deuteronomy 14:8, Exodus 23:12, Hebrews 9:22, 10:3, Galatians 3:10).
The Ten Commandments are included with the entire Mosaic Law, and no one is allowed to modify any of it (see Deuteronomy 4:2). The Law of Moses was an all or nothing proposition (see James 2:10). Thankfully, rather than 613 commands to follow, according to the new ministry of the Spirit brought in by way of the Cross, God has written His desires on our hearts.
“But Matt, I’ve been told I have a wicked heart!”
Friend, you had a wicked heart–past tense–if you’ve believed Jesus has forgiven you. Now you have a pure, clean, holy heart, just like God, because of the New Covenant (see 1 John 4:17). How could God write His desires on our hearts if we have wicked hearts? He couldn’t. He wouldn’t. THIS IS WHY HE GIVES US A BRAND NEW, SINLESS HEART! The Prophet Ezekiel knew this would happen, so he wrote about it:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
A new heart?! This flies in the face of those who claim Christians still have wicked hearts! We don’t have wicked hearts! Why? BECAUSE GOD TOOK OUT OUR OLD HEART AND GAVE US NEW HEARTS! HEARTS LIKE HIS! SOFT HEARTS! Ezekiel said soft like flesh!
Our hearts are who we are! Spirits! That’s why Ezekiel made the claim that God would put a new spirit in us! This is the New Covenant he saw coming but would never get to enjoy while he was still alive because Christ had not yet come!
When Ezekiel said God will remove our heart of stone–which is our sinful, wicked spirit–and God would give us a heart of flesh, he’s not talking about physical flesh. He’s referencing the opposite of dead, hard stone; which is soft, tender flesh. This reference to flesh is different from Paul’s often-used reference to the flesh. When Paul talks about the flesh in his teachings he’s explaining the power of sin through the flesh, our bodies, as a conduit. Sin can even use our physical brains to create sinful thoughts. For Ezekiel, he’s explaining who we become as new creations interwoven with God’s Spirit. God’s soft, loving, hopeful and graceful Spirit, inside of our very own spirits (see 1 Corinthians 2:16, 6:17).
Why does this matter? What does all this have to do with the Ten Commandments not being useful for Christians? Here’s the why and what:
Because this new ministry of the Spirit being conjoined with our spirit–which is a greater ministry than the ministry of Moses (see Hebrews 8:6, 2 Corinthians 3:8)–could not have happened if we still had sinful spirits, sinful hearts. God in us would not be possible if we had wicked hearts. God cannot live in wicked, sinful places, so He rigged it to where we become new sinless beings by grace through faith, then He joined us forever! (See Romans 6:6-8, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:17,19).
“So Matt, are you just saying we can go out and sin all we want?! Are you saying sin doesn’t matter since the Ten Commandments aren’t valid for believers, because of this new ministry of the Spirit? Are you saying we can just go out and commit adultery, steal, and murder?!”
…Take a deep breath…relax…friend, the truth is, if you’ve received God’s Spirit into yours, you don’t even want to sin. You’ve been supernaturally baptized into Him. Baptized means “to place inside of” and has nothing to do with water (water baptism is simply a celebration of your new spiritual birth, it doesn’t cause your new spiritual birth; no liquid in all the universe could do such a wonderful thing). So now, you want what He wants. Does God want to sin? No, of course not, and news flash: NEITHER DO YOU.
Why do you think you’re so miserable when you choose to act on sin? Try all you like, but you will stay in misery until you realize your new spirit has no desire to sin whatsoever. Sure, the flesh–not you–might get a quick thrill from it, but once you commit a sin as a saint, which is what you are, the Spirit quickly reveals that sin as oil and you as water. Countless saints stay in sinful misery or deny their sinful misery until they die, but I repeat, you don’t want to sin. You are a spirit who is one with a perfect God! You are sealed up together forever! (See Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:22).
Because of this, you don’t need 613 rules, or 10, or 1,000. The Spirit of Christ has caused you to become obedient from the heart (see Romans 6:17). This means your natural bend is to now live a holy life. You have a new, divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4). Divine means heavenly. Your identity has completely changed. So even though you sometimes don’t live out your true identity, your identity can never go back to where it was, no matter how you might feel at any given point. Remember, a sin requires a death, not a toasty feeling. Jesus won’t die. Therefore, you’re stuck being one of God’s kids so you’ll have to take this up with Him.
Sure, it’s healthy to be remorseful for non-organic behavior–sinning–but don’t act like you’re condemned because you’re not (see Romans 8:1). Jesus was condemned for you, once. Instead, begin to look at sin this way:
A pig returns to the mud, but you’re no longer a pig. You’re an eagle. Eagles weren’t made to wallow in a mud-hole, even if a pig convinces them they’re still a pig because of their piggy behavior. Even if the eagle forgets it’s an eagle, focusing on the mud will never help and neither will listening to the pigs.
REFOCUS ON YOUR IDENTITY!
YOU ARE A WHOLE NEW SINLESS CREATION! (See 2 Corinthians 5:17). Religious works or lack thereof cannot modify, improve, or sustain this! Your identity has changed to match up with your perfect Creator’s! The Spirit of God, as well as your true self, will never lead you into sin! The devil and his demons will, the power of sin will (the noun, not the verbs, see Genesis 4:7), religious people will, and even your old, stinking thinking will. But God will not lead you toward sin and neither will you!
This is what you must deal with when you incorrectly choose to sin. Not losing your salvation, not having your square footage diminished in heaven or crowns taken away–what selfish ideas are those–but instead, understanding what God has really done to you. He’s written His very own desires on your heart not on tablets of stone for you to obsess over.
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” (Hebrews 10:16)
“See Matt?! Laws! It says it right there! God has written the Ten Commandments on our hearts!”
My friend, it says laws not Law. The author of Hebrews was writing to the unbelieving Jews. This person knew the Hebrew people would see that word specifically pluralized. Why? Because the Jews never called Moses’ Law laws when speaking about it as a whole. The Mosaic Law was always written as singular: Law.
Again, in regard to Moses’ Law it’s all or nothing, remember? So the Hebrew audience knew this couldn’t be from Moses or about his commandments. If it was, then all 613 laws would be written on their hearts, so it would say Law.
The book of Hebrews was written to Hebrews–Jewish people–not us dirty, crazy Gentiles. According to their Law that’s what we are. This is a letter about their unbelief and not any other sin according to Moses. For the first ten chapters unbelief is the only sin mentioned and a Gentile is never addressed. Why didn’t the author have a laundry list of other sins to repent of rather than just one, the sin of unbelief in Jesus’ deity? Because the Jews were already “keeping” the 613–or so they thought–including the Ten. It was their absolute refusal to believe in Christ as Messiah which was preventing them from being saved not Law observance. They wanted a different Messiah, not this peasant from Nazareth who stepped on their self-righteous toes.
They’d rather keep sacrificing animals at the temple once a year to be forgiven, yet, there was no more sacrifice for sin left (see Hebrews 10:26). Jesus was the final bloody sacrifice and He entered the temple in heaven to present His own blood, one last time, rather than going into a man-made temple which was inferior because it had been constructed by human hands (see Hebrews 9:24).
Unlike the letters written to the Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians, and Galatians, these Hebrews were “well behaved” people, but they were still hung up on 613 commandments and didn’t realize those commandments were but a shadow of Christ’s grace. Just like some of today’s churches, unbelief is the only sin they had to truly repent of in order to be saved.
I need to be perfectly clear about something else: the Spirit of God is not writing 613 commandments on our hearts. Some of that stuff was really strange. Of course it was all holy, according to the Old Covenant, but still strange. One commandment was for men to not shave the bottom of the hair around their heads (see Leviticus 19:27). So much for getting a nice fade from my brother. Another command is to not have two different kinds of seeds planted in one field (Deuteronomy 22:9). This proves the Holy Spirit did not write the Law of Moses on our hearts, and He’s not “helping us” do this stuff either.
Sadly, and arrogantly, we’ve hand-picked 10 of these commandments, and truthfully, we’re not even obeying the 10. The Sabbath is not on Sunday. It’s from Friday to Saturday, and all you’re allowed to do is sit still. You can’t do anything on the Sabbath or else you deserve death. I’m not exaggerating:
“For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death.” (Exodus 35:2)
We’ve copy-pasted so much stuff in regard to Jewish Law–as non-Jews–it’s baffling. We think God grades us on a curve in regard to Law observance but He does not. Jesus said the standard is perfection if you want to obey the Law for righteousness, and so did Paul (see Matthew 5:48, Romans 2:13). Why would they say such a thing? Because you can’t be perfect according to the Law. It’s a set-up.
The Ten Commandments, as well as the other 603, were simply a shadow of what was to come. Jesus is the real thing who stood there making that shadow. Now that He’s here and in our hearts we must stop focusing on His shadow. “The baby has been born!” so to speak, so why would we choose to continue gawking at the ultrasound picture when we can kiss the actual baby on the face?
Just imagine it, a father gets handed his newborn baby after his wife was in labor for hours; yet, instead of looking down in love and affection he reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a photo of the same baby while still inside of his wife’s stomach. He then smiles at the nurse and begins talking about how amazing it will be on the day his baby is born. The real thing is here, in his arms, but he’s still focused on the picture.
This is what a person does when they worship the Ten Commandments, or any of the Law. They’re placing all of their adoration into what was to come rather than what is now here! Which is free, spiritual, sinless perfection through faith in Christ!
When Moses went up onto Mount Sinai and came back down with the Ten Commandments his face was literally shining brightly. Yes, literally. My wife and I always get a kick out of people misusing that word, but Moses’ face was literally bright. That’s how holy the “ultrasound picture” was given to him by God. Engraved on letters of stone, the Ten Commandments were so glorious, its glory spilled over onto Moses. He even had to put a veil on his face so he didn’t blind the Israelites (see Exodus 34:35). However, from the very moment he received these commandments from God the bright glory of those commandments were fading away–again–FROM THE VERY MOMENT HE RECEIVED THEM (see 2 Corinthians 3:7-11).
Why was the glory fading away? Because those commandments were never meant to be permanent. The Ten Commandments–the whole Mosaic Law, even–was the ultrasound picture. It was a shadow of what Christ would do for us and to us through faith in Him. Here’s proof:
“The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves.” (See Hebrews 10:1)
“These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:17)
Do you see it? Friend, this ministry of Thou shalt this and Thou shalt that was only meant to bring death and condemnation on those who attempted to obey it. Why would God do such a thing? To get the observers to lean toward faith alone! Faith alone has always been man’s way to God’s approval!
No human being who’s ever walked this planet has ever obeyed the Law of Moses, no not one–even the Pharisees were frauds (see Galatians 2:16, Romans 2:13, James 2:10, Matthew 5:20). As a former Pharisee himself, Paul called the Law a ministry of death (see 2 Corinthians 3:7). Why? Because he attempted to follow it.
In his pursuit of righteousness through Law living, he called himself the chief of sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15). The grace-confused Christian will pull this verse out of context to prove that even Paul called himself a sinner, but that’s not correct. Paul called himself holy, blameless, and righteous. He called himself an ambassador for Christ and was named a member of a royal priesthood (see Colossians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, 1 Peter 2:9). He said he no longer even judges himself because God doesn’t either, because of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 4:3). The only time Paul calls himself a sinner was when he referenced how terrible he was at obeying the Law; he even insulted himself in Romans 7 while writing about the same thing: the impossibility of Law abiding.
Today’s self-proclaimed “sinner/saints” twist this as they’re blinded by the guise of false humility of trying to obey Mosaic Law. “Oh I’m getting better at these commandments! Much better than you! But I’m still a dirty rotten sinner! Yep! You betcha!”
Law observance is what causes a person to sin, it doesn’t help manage sin. We don’t have a sin-management ability, although the enemy and religious people want us to believe we do. This was Paul’s whole point as he wrote this part of his letter to young Timothy. As he “tried” to organize his sin through the Law, he increased his realization that he actually was a sinner and needed Christ to set Him free. All you have to do is read the verses in 1 Timothy before he called himself a sinner:
“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:13-14)
He is speaking in past tense! He was once a rejector of the grace of God through faith in Christ–that’s what blasphemy is! REJECTING CHRIST’S SPIRIT INTO OURS THROUGH FAITH! It’s speaking ill of the Holy Spirit of God which prevents Him from joining our spirit! Christians don’t have the ability to blaspheme God because our words won’t break the enforcement of the New Covenant! Words had no power before the blood of Jesus, and words have no power now–that is, to create, modify, or break God’s contracts. It’s blood that matters to God, not words. Even Moses had to sprinkle animal blood onto the original Covenant and the people to bring it into force. Nasty (see Hebrews 9:19-21).
Paul was not believing in Jesus, while at the same time trying to obey the Law. This is why he said he died to the Law so that he can live for Christ! (Galatians 2:19).
“You’ve gone too far, Matt! Are you saying to get rid of the Law?!”
NO! LEAVE IT! DON’T REMOVE ONE JOT OR TITTLE! But keep it where it belongs for Christians. In the photo album. Behind us. A stringent reference of life before faith in Christ.
The Law is but an impossible-to-climb mountain. We respect it and say, “Whoa. No thanks. I choose faith in Jesus.” Jesus is not helping us climb that mountain of Law, as some would think. Instead, He’s come down the mountain, put His arm around us, turned us away from it and said, “Let’s go out into this green pasture. It’s nice out there. We will have a great time together.”
Thankfully, as the ministry of death was immediately fading away, it also prepared a way for Jesus’ ministry of grace. John the Baptist emphasized this as he said, “He must increase, I must decrease” (see John 3:30).
What needed to decrease? John’s ministry of teaching the Law of Moses. John wasn’t talking about himself, but what he represented: 613 laws. Legalism. This verse–“He must increase, I must decrease”–has been smeared by modern-day Type-A Law-lovers. The legalists who use the Bible as a math problem, want us to believe that we must decrease, as a person, so that Christ can “increase” in our lives. This is wrong. We work together with Jesus! There’s nothing about us that needs to decrease! Truth be told, as we learn just how holy our spirits are, we increase more and more! (See 2 Corinthians 3:18, Philippians 1:6, Romans 12:2, Galatians 5:22-23).
Sure, our non-holy actions and attitudes decrease, but we do not! This happens by way of growing in the knowledge of God’s grace, not by growing in the observance of God’s old Jewish laws. We have the ministry of the Spirit of Christ! He counsels our very own spirits! He doesn’t convict us, but counsels us!
“Nope! You’re wrong, Matt! The Bible says the Spirit will convict the world of sin!”
Friend, I agree. But we are not of this world. Only unbelievers are. We are already saved and seated with Christ in heaven–that is, our spirits–this very moment! (See John 17:16, Ephesians 2:6).
What does “convict” mean? It means you’re guilty. What could a person possibly be guilty of in God’s eyes? Sin. What is the punishment for being guilty of sin according to our Creator? Death (see Romans 6:23). Again for emphasis, what did Jesus do? He died! So why would we say God is convicting us of our sin all the time? Is Jesus dying again and again in heaven for each sin we commit? NO! IT’S FINISHED! (See John 19:30, Hebrews 10:11-12).
So rather than constant conviction, the Holy Spirit of God counsels us and guides us away from sin and into our true divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4, John 14:26). Even better, He does this with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, mercy, and He doesn’t flip out when we mess up. He’s under complete control of Himself, and we’re no surprise to Him! (See Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8). He’s pouring out never-ending grace! Grace we cannot fathom! (See Romans 5:1,20).
Yes, the religious people might try to convict you of your sins, and so will the enemy and his demons. Even your old, unrenewed mindsets can pull you toward conviction. But conviction of sin is not coming from God. Instead, convincing of your righteousness is! (See Romans 2:4, 5:1, 8:1, John 3:17, Titus 2:11-12). He speaks the truth over you! He tells you who you really are! You’re completely forgiven and holy forever! (See 1 John 2:12, Hebrews 10:14).
Because the Ten Commandments are part of the 613 given to Israel by Moses, they are all equal. From committing adultery to lying, to females not leaving the house during that time of the month–and even not eating shellfish–they’re all evenly distributed as Mosaic Law. Just because 10 of them were etched on stone doesn’t mean they’re any more important nor any less important. And as I mentioned in the beginning, we’re not allowed to modify them in any way:
“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2)
So for those who claim that only the bloody ceremonial laws have gone away but not the moral laws, they’re sadly mistaken. The Law is not a buffet line. Eat all of it or don’t eat any of it. James explains:
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)
Paul said the same thing to the Christians in Galatia who were trying to make their faith in Jesus “better” by adding the Law to their faith. These Christians needed their ears tickled by being told to do stuff to improve their belief in Jesus. They didn’t think Christ was enough by Himself and Paul quickly called them “Fools!” (See Galatians 3:1). Then, once again, Paul emphasized the strictness of Law observance:
For all who rely on the works of the Law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10)
Do you see that word everything? Do you see that word continue? The Law was meant to do nothing except make us shut the heck up. Why? Because we can’t do everything and because we can’t continue.
For this reason, the rich young ruler–a total Mosaic legalist–went away sad after asking Jesus what else he needed to do. It wasn’t because he had money, as some would like you to believe, it was because he lacked the understanding of grace. He was still relying on Law for righteousness, yet he wasn’t righteous by Law to begin with. So Jesus told him what the commandments truly required: BE ABSOLUTELY PERFECT IN ALL YOU DO! (See Matthew 19:16-22).
Be perfect like God! (See Matthew 5:48).
The Law is supposed to make us look stupid and un-righteous, and it does a great job even for today. We’re idiots if we think we can continue to do everything in it. Just do a quick Google search of What are the 613 Mosaic laws and you’ll get bored to tears before you even finish reading them. Yet, you have to continue doing everything listed in order to be righteous. We can give it our best shot, but eventually it shuts us up and makes us look like hypocrites. Paul tells the Romans:
“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” (Romans 3:19)
Every mouth be silenced? That means, “Shut up! You can’t do this stuff! If you claim to be under the Law you will eat your own words! No person in the whole world has ever accounted perfectly to God through the Law!”
So why even have the Law? Simple: to point us toward our need of grace. The only use of the Law was to increase and magnify sin’s ugly head, which, in turn, would increase and magnify our need of grace. Paul continues explaining this to the Christians in Rome:
“The Law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20)
Paul never said, “Stop sinning or else you’ll wear our God’s grace!” No, not once! Instead, he kept explaining to them what God has really done for them through Christ–in them and to them–despite their off-putting behaviors and attitudes. God had re-created them as His children who no longer enjoyed sinning from the heart. They had died to sin and didn’t need laws to point it out any longer.
The Law was meant to help us find a better way. Jesus is that way! He said so Himself!
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The reason why some of us want to cherry-pick the Ten Commandments from the Law and then add them to Jesus’ finished work is because we think we’re doing a great job at some of them but not the others. We think God will give us a B or a C, but He does not. His class is pass or fail. All or nothing. Sheep or goat. Look at what Jesus said:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” (Matthew 25:31-33)
You are a sheep or a goat. You will be on His right or His left. In the words of my dear friend, and one of my most favorite teachers, Andrew Farley, “There are no shoats, and there are no geep. There is no hybrid animal. You’re either a sheep or a goat, you can’t be a mixture of both.”
You’re either 100% righteous, or 100% sinful. You’re either 100% forgiven, or 100% not forgiven. You’re either a child of God, or a child of wrath. Pick one. You decide. You are never in the middle and you only become a sheep by belief, once. Believe you’re righteous by grace through faith in Jesus’ forgiveness, and you’re instantly one with God! (See 1 Corinthians 6:17, Colossians 3:3).
“Nope! Nope! NOPE! Wrong, Matt! James said even the demons believe and they shudder! We gotta do our part! Your blood will be on many people’s hands for this false teaching!”
Really? If that’s your standard for me, then is that your standard for yourself? Let’s look at what you just said, but in the mirror. Will the blood of many people not be on your hands because of what you’re doing and not doing? Are you sure? How do you know if you’re actually doing enough to make certain no blood is on your own hands?…How do you know?
Do you see how this double-standard would put more pressure on you than it would me? I’m telling people it’s Jesus only, you’re telling people it’s Jesus plus.
Friend, the blood-on-your-hands verse has been worn out for generations by vindictive fear-mongers. It’s not in the New Testament, but instead, a taken-out-of-context verse from the Old Testament, in Ezekiel. Nobody’s blood will be on your hands from your sins of commission nor omission. If you’re a believer, a sheep, then Jesus’ blood was suffice to deal with everything, so relax. Make every effort to relax in Him (see Hebrews 4:11). And yes, I know the demons and all of hell believe Jesus is the Son of God. Their theology is spot on. But they don’t have any faith in His forgiveness–we do. And they are already damned to hell–we aren’t. So all unbelievers still have a chance to believe, as long as they’re still alive. Demons don’t.
Righteousness by faith in God–by simply believing Him–is older than the Mosaic Law. Some Jews didn’t know this (yet some did), righteousness by faith was God’s way of right standing with Him before the Law was even given, and it continued during the time of the Law. Consequently, even before Christ or Moses were on earth, faith alone was mankind’s way to please our Creator (see Hebrews 11).
Nobody has ever been justified with God through Law observance even during its time in force. In fact, the righteous have always lived by faith even from the time of Adam. Adam was completely righteous and full of eternal life until he didn’t believe God any longer about the tree. There was nothing powerful about that piece of fruit he ate. Instead, his lack of faith–not believing God–removed the power of God from him, which was God’s life! (See Hebrews 10:38, Romans 3:20,28, 5:12-14, Galatians 2:16, 3:11, Colossians 3:4).
God has always been interested in one main thing: belief.
“Do you believe me? Do you believe what I say about you, and about me?” (See John 1:12, 3:16).
Still don’t think I’m telling the truth about righteousness by faith alone and not by obeying the 10 Commandments? Let’s look at it this way: Abraham lived before Moses, so he didn’t even have any law to live by–nothing written down or carved in stone. However, he was still justified by simply taking God by His word–SIMPLE BELIEF! Although he messed up quite often–that is, he sinned without any law telling him he sinned–Abraham still became the patriarch of an organic relationship with God, which is by way of faith! (See Genesis 17:4, Romans 4:1-5, Galatians 3:6-9).
“No way, Matt! I’m not buying this! We need the 10 Commandments and we need to do all of them!”
Well, that’s exactly what the Israelites said to Moses, “We will do everything the Lord has said!” (See Exodus 19:8). And they meant all 613 not just 10. This included not trimming the edges of their beards (see Leviticus 19:27), not eating grapes that hit the ground (see Leviticus 23:22), and even breaking the neck of their firstborn donkey if it wasn’t offered up to God on an altar (see Exodus 13:13).
My friend, do you see why the two new commandments Jesus gave–believe and love–are so much less burdensome than the original 613? (John 13:34, 1 John 3:23, 5:3). It’s not even close! The New Covenant is so much better than the Old, and it’s the only Covenant available to the people of planet earth! See?
“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15)
Further, what makes us think we’re any different than Israel, after they had the first bust of a Promise Keeper’s Convention at the base of Mount Sinai? No wonder the author of Hebrews said there was a problem with the people and not the covenant, and that’s why we needed a new covenant. Israel screwed it up from day one! (See Hebrews 8:7-8). But we do the same things they did when we get hung up on how “amazing” our efforts are to keep the 10 Commandments! Those tablets of stone weren’t even cooled off yet and the Israelites were already breaking the first commandment (see Exodus 32). To the same effect, billions of Christians break the Sabbath commandment every single Sunday! It is not on Sunday!
…Yes, I know, this is hard to swallow for those who find their identity in their wonderful behavior. It will take time, but as we are led by the Spirit rather than by the Law, the Law soon fades away from our minds, including the supposed “Top 10.” Just imagine how hard this was for the Jewish people in Christ’s time. Here I am harping on 10 commandments when they saw all 613 like we do the 10–or the 9, plus tithing, of course.
Traditional error is hard to shake. Why? Because it’s old. But old doesn’t equal truth, and old doesn’t equal usefulness. Like the VHS player, less and less homes had them when the DVD player came out–the VHS player was fading away. Then the DVD player began to fade away when the Blu-ray player was available. Now, most people are streaming and downloading rather than using the physical disk of the Blu-ray. But in time, somehow, streaming and downloading will fade away as something better comes along.
The Spirit is better than the Law. The Law is fading in our thinking because its use is obsolete for those who are in Christ. No matter how old the tradition is of what we’ve been taught in certain churches, or how angry and out of control a Law-teacher is from the pulpit–it’s kaput (see Hebrews 8:13).
The more we walk by the Spirit, which is natural to us, the less we pay attention to the Ten Commandments or Mosaic Law–as well as the flesh (see Galatians 5:13-24).
We only think we need to be told what to do and what not to do, but we don’t. God’s Spirit in our spirit guides us. God’s Spirit in us is the ministry of life! Just like with Abraham–as well as every single Jew who realized they couldn’t follow the Law before Jesus came–life comes from faith in God alone! On this side of the Cross, we receive His Spirit into ours by grace through faith! (See Ephesians 2:8-9). This is why Paul said the ministry of the Spirit is much more glorious than the ministry of death, which is the ministry written on stone: the 10 Commandments (see 2 Corinthians 3:7,8).
I have to be honest with you, I too was once caught up in mixing law in with my grace–both Mosaic and self-made law. What misery. However, God lets us try it out just to see how nasty it tastes. For me, I liked to “act” humble by saying, “It’s all of God and none of me! I’m just a dirty sinner! Anything good in me is all Jesus!”
Those were lies. The Spirit revealed this to me. I was not a sinner, but a saint. I was not a hollow tube, but a person. It was Christ and I together, an actual relationship where we both make choices. I didn’t need to “get out of the way” or belittle myself. I just needed to learn who I was and then be myself (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). I needed to stop believing the lies of the people who said I needed “more” of God. I had Him in full from the beginning of my belief in Jesus as a young boy! What could possibly cause Him to leave?! Sin! But Jesus had taken those all away! Therefore, He had never left me despite my dumb, immature choices! It was an impossibility to get more of Him! (See 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 13:5).
No matter how many religious rules I thought I was following, or church services I was attending, all I needed to do was be me. The who God had made me to be in my spirit, I needed to let him out through my hands, feet, and mouth! HOLY! BLAMELESS! FREE FROM ALL ACCUSATION! Paul tells the Colossians who Jesus had caused them to become:
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22)
“Yeah right, Matt! Finish that passage! Colossians 1:23 says, if you continue in your faith!”
Friend, think about it, we all continue in our faith. How could you not? What is our faith? Is it 613 commandments given to the Jews? No. Is it ten commandments? No. Then what’s our definition of continuing?…It’s Jesus. It’s His life that is continuing. It’s Christ in us. It’s us getting new, perfect spirits, which are infused with the life of Jesus Christ! (See Romans 6:6-7, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 3:4).
You were born from your mom, and now you are continuing in your life, right? How could you not continue being the person you are if you’ve been born? Even you can’t change that event. Same with us as reborn children of God! WE. ARE. BORN! (See John 3:3, 3:16, 1 John 3:9).
So many people are angry about this good news. If that’s you, my friend, why are you angry? Anger comes from fear. Fear has to do with being afraid of punishment. Jesus was punished. You placed your faith in Jesus. You now have nothing to be afraid of any longer. God’s perfect love for you casts out all fear, so don’t be afraid! (See 1 John 4:18).
Further, that word if in Colossians 1:23 is not pre-scriptive of Christians but de-scriptive. It describes us! It’s not what we have to do in order to get, but what we already have! Also, keep in mind this book is being written to many people. Paul doesn’t know if each hearer or reader is a believer or not, so he’s telling them what Jesus does for us all for free, instantly and forever! We can’t do anything or not do anything to complete what Jesus has already completed! The author of Hebrews explains:
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
This is not an ongoing event, but once. Jesus isn’t offering up sacrifices all the time for each sin we commit. HE’D NEVER GET TO REST. This verse is referencing every human in history who will place their faith in Him! And we have, Christian! So we will stay saved, holy, and blameless because Jesus will never die again!
Why does it matter if Jesus will never die again? Because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (see Hebrews 9:22). A lot of people think confessing forgives us, but it does not. 1 John 1:9 has been taken out of context for centuries to create fear in Christians as well as control/extort them through church hierarchies, when all along John is addressing Gnosticism infiltrating the early church. Gnostics were those who thought sin was not real and Christ was not flesh, but a hologram. He is inviting them to become one of us. Just start from the beginning and you’ll see. 1 John is a book of contrast between what a true believer is from the heart and what a true non-believer is from the heart. Again, the actions and attitudes in this epistle are not pre-scriptive but de-scriptive. Keep that in mind as you read it.
No part of the Mosaic Law commands a Jewish person to “ask for forgiveness” or “confess for forgiveness.” All 613 required blood and the Jews knew this fact. For this reason, you’ll never find anyone in the Bible begging God to forgive them without blood. Instead, the Jewish people received forgiveness once a year at the Day of Atonement; a day in which their very best animals were sacrificed by priests at the temple.
Why do you think Jesus’ blood was so important to them? It was because they no longer had to deal with getting forgiveness year by year by year. They were forgiven once for all time! (See Hebrews 10:10,26). This throws water in the face of day by day forgiveness, week by week forgiveness, or even sin by sin forgiveness. If confessing sins forgave a person, well then they’re in deep crap if they forget about one.
If you look at this immaturity in an even deeper way–confessing to be forgiven–why not just be shallow and do a blanket confession for your whole life’s sins at once. Then you’re good to go, right? Do you see how this is not the gospel? New Covenant forgiveness is once for all. Deal with it.
Our begging, pleading, not even our behavior repentance forgives us, but only blood. Honestly, even the blood of bulls and goats didn’t remove the Jews’ sins, it simply reminded them of how many times they screwed up the 613 commandments. That blood covered their sins for a year at a time–atoned for–which gave them relief until the next year. Yet we think that we need to “get” forgiven all the time from a special person at the altar or in a small confession room–as if a geographical location, wooden platform built by men, or a human being has such power.
We already have our forgiveness in full through the bloodshed on the Cross, the final altar, from the final High Priest! (See Hebrews 4:14,15).
Even better, Jesus actually removed our sins for good through His blood–not covered, as if they can slip out or will need another covering next year with animal blood–but once forever! GONE! Jesus looked down the timeline of your life and yanked your sins away from you as soon as you committed one! How? Because He’s not bound by time, we are! (See 2 Peter 3:8).
Here’s Scripture to back this up:
“It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4)
“But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.” (1 John 3:5)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
Keep in mind, if you aren’t Jewish, you were never even invited to obey the 613 commands. Friend, if you think you’re following the Ten Commandments and you’re a Gentile, a non-Jewish person…sorry. You are running out onto the field in a game in which you’re not even a player. A Pharisee usher would tackle you for doing so. People like us were considered dogs to the Jews (see Matthew 15:27, John 4:9, Luke 10:25-37).
You’re simply observing the old, Jewish stuff–not participating. We don’t qualify because of our lineage. Only Christ’s blood, which created the New Covenant, brought us into the game. Check it out:
“In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (Colossians 3:11)
Don’t get caught up on that word, “slave.” The slavery of the Bible, for the Jews, was not like the slavery of the early United States. What selfish white men twisted from Scripture as a way to sin terribly in order to be lazy, rich, and greedy, in context here, was a way to pay off a debt. In the Bible, slavery was more like a job.
Here’s another verse that lets us know Christ has made the entire world of believers one Body, not just the Jews:
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
Therefore, if we are one Body of believers through faith, being guided by God’s Spirit, then what do we do, and what do we don’t do? How will we know without the Ten Commandments? Simple. We must count ourselves dead to the Law–even though it wasn’t for us in the first place–and instead, count ourselves alive in Christ! Paul explains this supernatural epiphany in two different books, Romans and Galatians:
“So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the Law through the body of Christ (that is, his physical body), that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” (Romans 7:4, my note added)
Here, in Romans 7, Paul is explaining his past battle “trying” to follow the Law–namely, being jealous (one of the Ten Commandments, more proof that we’re dead to even the Ten). He said the only way to not break the Law was to not have any Law to break! The Law is good! The Law is holy! But all it does is point out how much of a failure we are without Jesus! So once we are alive in Christ, ignore the Law! Yes, it’s still there, but for unbelievers to fail at so they can turn toward grace! We don’t need it!
He also explains this “dying to the Law” to the Galatians:
“For through the Law I died to the Law so that I might live for God.” (Galatians 2:19)
We can’t live for the Law and live for God, a great divorce must happen. Hollywood has even gotten in on this confusion. We have some wonderful Christian movies available to us nowadays. However, some of them are mixing in the Old Covenant with the New, which creates angst for the viewers and double-talk for the actors. The Bible-belt movie directors want to sprinkle in some Law with their grace teaching in order to “keep the people accountable” and “in line” (eye-roll). All this does is cause grace to revert back to all Law (see Galatians 5:9, Romans 11:6). Paul said law excites sin! (See Romans 7:7-8). It doesn’t minimize it but throws it in the fan! If you want more sinning in your congregation, then teach more Law! A dab’ll do ya! And not just Mosaic Law, but church law as well: Thou shalt volunteer! Thou shalt tithe! Thou shalt read your Bible! Thou shalt praise the pastor! Thou shalt do, do, do! Thou shalt don’t, don’t, don’t!
Not too long ago there was a movie that came out called Courageous. This was during the legalistic phase of my walk of faith. I was still learning and growing, but my religious burn out hadn’t yet happened. I was “on fire” (pronounced: on fie-yah!) for the Lord, and trying to make sure everyone knew it including myself. This juncture of my life was obsessed with being weird about the gospel by force-feeding it to everyone and attempting to get God to bless me more by way of my Christian Ninja Warrior skills.
“Be like me! Go to church more! Get up earlier! Read more Scripture! Do more stuff! Save more people! Correct every person who wants to battle you! Appease the church leaders, blue-hairs, and zealots!”
…Whew! It was not easy. Just thinking about it causes my blood pressure to rise.
I had taken my tremendous work ethic and retrofitted it into my Christian faith. The self-made effort I used to achieve the American Dream I was now trying to shove into the gospel. I was “obviously” doing it better than everyone else, and I wanted everyone else to know I was obviously doing it better than them.
What madness. What unrest. Thank you, Jesus, for setting me free from that stuff. It wasn’t until I began to understand the New Covenant that the tide finally turned.
Although Courageous is a nice movie with ethics and morals being taught, as well as how “doing bad stuff never pays off,” at the end of the movie they create a new Old Covenant. Like the Israelites standing in front of Moses, the men of this film literally sign off on a new contract called The Resolution. If you purchased the DVD or Blu-ray, you actually got a physical copy of this contract in the disk-box for you to sign, frame, and hang up in your most-visited area of your house for all to see (but mostly for ourselves–wink, wink). Here it is:
I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
- I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
- I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
- I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength (My note: this was love according to the Law, not the New Covenant, see Matthew 22:36-40. On this side of the Cross, we are to love as Christ loves us, see John 15:12).
- I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
- I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
- I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
- I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
- I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
- I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
- I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
- I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
I will, I will, I will, and I didn’t capitalize those words, that’s how it’s written–all caps for emphasis. So what happens when I fail? Because I will. Do I get a 60% or a 54%? Maybe one day I’ll do a good job and get a 92%!
Do you see it? Friend, this isn’t the gospel. This is American Churchianity. This is United States Quasi-Judaism. This is, “Hey! Over here! This is what you’re looking for! My example of holiness! My I wills! Just do what I do! I’m held to a higher standard so watch me glow!”
Even in my addiction to legalism I couldn’t find it within myself to sign The Resolution and hang it up. I knew I’d bomb it every day. The Resolution, like the Mosaic Law, stirs up hypocrisy, it doesn’t do anything to remove it or make us righteous. Try until you’re blue in the face, you suck at it, and so do I.
Friend, the gospel is not about what we will do or won’t do, but about what Jesus has done, for us and to us! Although there’s nothing wrong with a list of stuff to do and not do, it’s not the gospel. It’s a new form of Judaism with a 3-piece conservative suit on it. Rule of thumb: anything that begins with I do or I don’t do–in order to get, keep, maintain, or achieve–is wrong. It’s grace from beginning and grace to the end. There’s no fine-print in the good news and this is what upsets the most religious people as they search for “gotcha” verses day and night. They want everyone to be “good like them” because that’s where they find their self-worth, rather than in the Cross of Christ.
I hate to say this, but according to the 10 Commandments and the other 603, such people only deserve death. Even worse, Jesus will say He never knew them when they finally meet Him face to face (see Romans 6:23, Matthew 7:21-23).
“So Matt, what do I do if I don’t have to look to the Ten Commandments?”
Be yourself. Live out who God says you are inside. Look to the Scripture to see it clearly. Scripture reveals He has removed our dirty selves and given us clean, new selves (see Romans 6:6-7, 1 Corinthians 6:11). No, the flesh and unrenewed thinking were not removed and replaced, but the real us was. Our spirits. Our spirits were crucified on the Cross with Christ, removed, replaced with a new spirit which was brought to life, and then conjoined with the Spirit of Jesus forever! (See Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 John 4:13).
Our spirit which has been sanctified and meshed with Christ, now sanctifies our actions and attitudes into organic behaviors and thoughts which match up to our true selves as holy people. We are eagles who are learning how to fly higher and higher (see Romans 12:2, Philippians 1:6). We are not flying higher to become eagles or to stay eagles, but doing so because flying high is in our eagle DNA.
When we forget that we were meant to fly high, then we have forgotten who we really are as we stare at the ground, nearsighted and blind. Peter tells us:
“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” (2 Peter 1:8-9)
Friend, please stop believing the lie that you’ve not been reborn or that you need to rededicate yourself to God! Rededication is the devil’s way of trying to get you to think your salvation is never real, and that you gotta keep doing something in a much better way. Rededication is just a B-movie way of getting saved over and over and over and over. It’s a demonic Groundhog Day starring Satan rather than Bill Murray. It’s salvation lite. Don’t be fooled. You get saved once. Jesus died once. No need to rededicate yourself to trying harder or being better. Instead, just keep learning more about who you really are, even when you don’t really act or feel like it.
The gospel is about God’s dedication to you, not the other way around! It’s about believing the truth of your heavenly heritage and supernatural lineage! You are going to eventually act like who you think you are! This is why I get irked when I hear a believer say they’re a sinner–you are royalty!
“Okay. I hear you, Matt. I like this and I think I’m starting to get it. But are you saying we don’t need any laws? Like laws of the land? If not, then won’t our society be crazy? And do you think we should remove all the monuments of the 10 Commandments?”
No, I’m not saying get rid of the laws of the land. Those are needed for order because we live in a world of both believer and unbeliever. But Mosaic Law? Yes. Get rid of them in your mind. Count yourself dead to them. As for the monuments, fighting to keep them up is silly when you know the truth about them. However, if you want to leave a statue of 10 cherry-picked Jewish commandments on the courthouse square, go right ahead. It’s just a statue. It means nothing. Ask God for wisdom about such trivial matters and His Spirit will guide you. Certain things we should take a stand on, but for others, not so much (see James 1:5, 1 Corinthians 10:27-33).
If that rubs you wrong, just think of it this way: you can have a thousand statues of the Ten Commandments spread everywhere in this country; you can have all 613 laws written in 325 million books and every American is required to read them by law. However, YOU CANNOT LEGISLATE FAITH. YOU CANNOT MAKE ILLEGAL ONE’S BELIEF. No matter how many statues, or even punishments for breaking the law on that statue, or in a book, love cannot be legalized. Love is a choice. Belief is a choice.
God knows that, and for this reason He sent Jesus (see John 3:16, 1 John 4:19).
Paul said no man will be counted righteous by the Law but only by faith in Jesus (see Galatians 2:16). Therefore, we don’t need to be told what to do or what not to do via this old ministry of condemnation written on stones. We have something better! The ministry of the Holy Spirit! God Himself living in us by faith and leading us into love! Love is now written on our hearts and it’s incorruptible! (See Ephesians 6:24).
The fulfillment of the Law is love! (See Romans 13:10, Galatians 5:14). If you love someone you won’t kill them, cheat on them, steal from them, lie to them, put religious rules on them, or whatever the Spirit leads you to or away from! Use the New Testament epistles to back up everything the Spirit says to you! There are tons of behavior and attitude passages for organic living and deep purposefulness!
So today, my friends, know this: The only Covenant available for believers is the New Covenant. Not the Old, which included the Ten Commandments (see Hebrews 7:22, 8:6,13). The good news about the New Covenant is that it’s based on belief and love, the two very things which cannot be forced by way of punishment for disobeying. Don’t worry about what you’ll do or not do, but instead, pay attention to the fruit that grows in your life. If what you’re doing–or not doing–is producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then you’re on the right path. Keep doing that. This stuff is called fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). It naturally sprouts out from children of God without effort, need for inspection from yourself or others, and without Mosaic Law. This is why after Paul listed such fruit, he said, “against such things there is no law.” So just be yourself! YOU ARE FREE! (See Galatians 5:1, John 8:36).
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, your Spirit has revealed so much information to me about the New Covenant, I could continue writing for hours. I get so much joy from doing this! It’s like a non-stop explosion from my fingertips onto this keyboard, and before I know it, literally hours have passed by but it feels like only minutes! What exciting news this gospel of grace truly is! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Dad, so many of them have been taught a mixture of Law and grace, and they’re confused. Today I ask that you open up their minds to understand what Jesus has really done FOR them and TO them. Reveal the grace of the better Covenant, a Covenant based on a promise between you and Christ at the Cross! A promise based on mercy, belief, and love! We are forever grateful to be the beneficiaries and coheirs with Christ! In His name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from an upcoming book! Check out my other bestselling books here!