Conservative Protestant Orthodox





As students of scriptural topics we struggle with law/commandments and grace topics. Discussion typically doesn't address the whole counsel of God, including the subject of what lawlessness is about and where antinomianism applies, based in referenced books. Denial retreats into accusations of legalism, while ignoring any call for genuine repentance. The Kingdom of The Cults pg 610 defines legalism as "the doctrine that keeping the law merits salvation", which is contrary to scripturally taught obedience (the fruit) (eg Acts 5:32) - being the evidence of authentic saving faith (the root). Many Christians profess the moral law and 10 commandments to be relevant as evidence that we're obeying the law of love, for God and our neighbour/s, followed by the Apostles teachings on noble clean standards of behaviour; that recognise God endowed purpose or function.

Rom 9:30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;
Rom 9:31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
Rom 9:32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.
What does this mean ?
Wasn't it contrasting circumcision of the heart (heart felt convictions and reality check/s) with just going through the motions due to rote learned religiosity, symbolized by circumcision of the flesh ? 1 Corinthians 7:19 "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters", ie the moral law and Jesus & Apostles noble/godly standards of behaviour. Authentic faith includes progressively learning the obedience of faith in God. We're saved by authentic faith alone but we're saved to the fruits of a repentant way of life - that recognise noble/godly standards of behaviour. Written Law has no power to change our heart, but keeping God's way of life and commandments is empowered by the Holy Spirit, (when we appreciate God's noble and majestic beauty), as a progressively learnt labour of love. We also see this in the OT verse (Deu 5:29) "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear(/trust/honour) Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever! " cf entropy.

Jesus upheld the commandments of God, including the 10 commandments. Matt 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. " Jesus reiterated the highest of the 10 commandments, to love God and our neighbour Matt 22:37-40. The rich ruler was loved for having kept God's commandments from his youth Mark 10:19-21, Matt 19:17-20 "... But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." The great commission mentions teaching willing disciples to adhere to Jesus's commandments, Matt 28:20, but the New Testament and Paul's letters hadn't been written in Jesus time, so He included the Old Testament moral law too, as seen in Rev 14:12. We know that all the 10 commandments are valid standards of behaviour now as much as when they epitomised the moral law - of which the 10 obviously are part. If Jesus upheld the 10, there's no exemption from God's more detailed moral commandments, of which they're the highest part. Others would have us believe that we're not under God's commandments/law, but that isn't what Jesus said (before the NT existed).

Valid standards of behaviour can never do enough to earn our salvation, but that doesn't mean we're exempt from doing our best to progressively learn noble standards, even aspiring to the lofty goal of godly holiness and a pure heart of righteousness. The Christian isn't exempt from godly standards but, again, can never do enough to earn salvation. We're required to progressively become worthy, but we're justified by authentic faith alone (the root), though that faith is never alone (the fruit). To assert that believers are not under the moral law is to say that we're not required to keep God's commandments (the fruit), including the 10 commandments, which is easy believism; and risks emasculating society's rule of law. Rev 14:12 "... keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Act 5:32) "And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." (1Jn 2:3) "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." It's both authentic faith (the root) and biblically consistent works (the fruit), as James teaches. Intellectual assent or lip service won't cut it, as we're to be fruit inspectors, actions speak louder than words. Praise God and pass the ammunition is the motto of some (not legal execution by the rule of - God's - law). (Mat 18:3) and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matt 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I/He is gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

God's noble standards of behaviour start with loving our neighbour and God, then pursue all righteousness - noble standards of behaviour and intent. Society's rule of law is built on that foundation, so that chaos doesn't occur, when stealing, murder, lying, character matters, etc is humanity's base instinct. Weeds grow more readily than wheat, so we're required to keep those seeds of our intent or thought life under discipline, to nip it in the root and bud, leading to the fruit of authentic saving faith. Practice makes perfect when God's Holy Spirit is leading willing disciples in the way of life detailed in the Bible, with it's unique heptadic structure. First we make our habits then our habits make us.

It's accepted that Gal 5 teaches if Christian's lead a godly/holy way of life, which is the fruit of God's Holy Spirit, as expounded on by Jesus and the Apostles, then they're not under the restraints of the moral law. That means the 10 commandments are being kept as second nature, so what is broadly codified by the moral law is now lived through the Holy Spirit, of "authentic" faith. But the reality is liberal Christians are largely indistinguishable from everyone else, being more products of their culture. So therefore they have a form of godliness but deny it's power (Why Entropy Matters), including the excesses or occasional abuses of those in leadership. Fiduciary responsibility is a totally foreign concept to some percentage of Christians, and others, hence exacerbating the backdoor problem, ie cultural baggage and human propensities. The way of life, so that God endowed purpose or function are second nature, is narrow but manageable when practice makes perfect. When we're innocent as simple children then Jesus yoke is light. (1Jn 2:3) "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." We know there is no salvation without repentance, a change of our way of life in favour of noble/godly standards of behaviour. Jesus mentioned that God's view of sin potentially could require cutting off a hand or plucking out an offending eye if it causes us to sin, a serious matter indeed. Some would call that legalism, and not recognise easy believism. I have a distinct aversion to outer darkness so i try not to gamble with anything which risks that outcome.

Hebrews 8 indicates that believers are under the New Covenant. This might be integrated with keeping Jesus commandments, because the Holy Spirit brings Bible teachings to our attention, and to our rememberance - sometimes by our scholarly study and sometimes by teachers. The key thought is that believers aren't to learn by rote unless it's a labour of love and through heart felt convictions. We're to progressively learn how to have a circumcised heart (heart felt reality), not merely parrot head knowledge, going through the motions, which was symbolized by circumcision of the flesh under the Old Covenant. As many as are led by the Holy Spirit, in biblically consistent ways, as endorsed by mature believers, Rom 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." We'll know if we truly know Jesus teachings because (1Jn 2:3) "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." Again, (Act 5:32) "And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." That is "authentic" faith that saves, and increasingly has biblically consistent fruit to prove it, as we're to be fruit inspectors. We'll know if our way of life is led by the Holy Spirit because it will progressively become biblically consistent, to godly standards of behaviour, as contrasted with finite spirits that aren't biblically consistent. 2Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 2Pet 1:6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 2Pet 1:7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 2Pet 1:8 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. cf John 15:1-11 about becoming productive Christians as we are guided by God's Holy Spirit, through developing interests (based on numerous scholarly reference materials at Christian bookshops).

This will be what distinguishes the five wise and the five foolish virgins - who had a form of godliness but deny it's power (cf entropy), not having Holy Spirit filled oil lamps - being born again, (like the oil used to symbolically anoint OT kings and saints). 2Co 3:3 "clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart." Heb 8:10 "For This Is The (New) Covenant That I Will Make With The House Of Israel After Those Days, Says The Lord: I Will Put My Laws In Their Mind And Write Them On Their Hearts; And I Will Be Their God, And They Shall Be My People." The New Covenant is not about rote learned religiosity but righteousness through Holy Spirit led authentic faith (moral law and Jesus & Apostles noble standards of behaviour, with God endowed purpose or function - increasingly becoming second nature as practice makes perfect) that result in heart felt convictions. We're to progressively become the message, living epistles, as our lives are transformed by personal or group study and application of God's Word. The Word became flesh to teach us how our flesh is to manifest God's Word, as we're transformed in to the body of Christ - with biblically consistent lives. Aka "What would Jesus do - WWJD"; also cf Matt 7:12 The Golden Rule, or Luk 6:31 "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise".

1 John 2:3-5 "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him."

Matt 3:8-9 fruits worthy of repentance. Being under Abraham's covenant wasn't a ticket out of a biblically consistent way of life. The Christian isn't exempt from noble godly standards of behaviour, when they become second nature, through a biblically consistent lifestyle.
Luk 3:8 "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones."
John 8:31-34 So he said to the Jews who believed in him, "If you continue to accept and obey my teaching, you really are my followers. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Many who'll never read the Bible do read the lifestyle/way of life of believers. Experience often trumps theory or dogmatic rhetoric; it's not do as i say rather than do as i do. It's said that if it doesn't work at home then don't export it. All the bumper stickers or jewelry go largely unnoticed by those trying to make the best out of life experiences. Signal to noise ratio is distinguished by noble standards of behaviour where experience and theory/rhetoric/dogma agree, as we walk the talk. We humans may never be perfect, due to a multiplicity of stumbling blocks, but progressively practice improves making perfect when first we make our habits then our habits make us; when led by God in biblically consistent ways.

We humans struggle to comprehend and live upto God's noble standards, that recognise God endowed purpose or function, as a way of life. Galations 6 teaches us how to progressively manage the weeds in all our lives. Gal 6:1 "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." Gal 6:2 "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." We attempt low key mention of concerns, through associated topics by gifted teachers, treating each case on it's merits, depending on how influential it is and the duration of a matter, and how teachable believers are. Reading the riot act usually is counter-productive. The Golden Rule Matt 7:12 "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Luk 6:42 mentions removing the plank (bossy or superior religiousity) in our own eye before attempting to remove the speck in someone else's eye (without button-holeing folks and pointing the finger). The moral high ground evidently requires the gentle humility and graciousness of people who know that, there but for the grace or providence of God go any of us. If our personality is more like a-bull-in-a-china-shop (colloquialism) then we can be sure that other believers, with better people skills, are much more suited to tactful considerate handling when delicately teaching on any concerns, after requisite prayer over a period of time. We humans tend to be products of our environment as much as we are of our limited knowledge of the Bible, or other learning, due to our limited life experiences. The penitent tax collector was forgiven, but the self-righteous pharisee (religiousity) remained unjustified Luk 18:13-14 . We need to be as innocent as little children too though, as the role model or way of life of the Apostles demonstrated for all of us. Spiritual reality checks are said to be caught as much as taught. If we're neglecting to impart a labour of love for noble standards of behaviour then taught often isn't caught in a lasting way. Some like to be life-coaches, others run seminars.

I'm puzzled by how Abraham was accepted by God, because this passage talks about commandment keeping, which is glossed over by Paul while he's focusing on distinguishing faith and fruit, but made explicit in 1 Corinthians 7:19 "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters". If only i had access to all the notes of commentators on this topic, i might be able to unravel contrary views. Genesis 26:4 "And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; 'and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 "because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
This passage agrees with Matt 3:8-9 "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones."
It's "authentic" faith alone that saves (the root), but faith that saves is never alone (the fruit), as James teaches, we're to have fruits, and to be fruit inspectors.
To include the whole counsel of God on this topic, people need to cover what lawlessness is about, repentance from lawless works into what?, and how antinomianism applies.

1 Timothy 1: 8-11 is included in the whole counsel of God, that the law applies to the lawless, not to holy people. The moral law is good if used lawfully, and is not made for a righteous person. If we keep God's commandments as second nature then we're not doing it by, rote learned, going through the motions. The 10 commandments are lived by keeping Christ's law (1 Cor 9:21, Gal 6:2, Jam 2:8), to love God (biblically consistent lifestyle) and our neighbours, through the obedience of faith.

Gal 5:23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Eph 5:9 "for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth." Laodicean lawlessness isn't part of that 'fruit', again, we're reminded to seek "the whole counsel of God". And when we're innocent as little children, then Jesus yoke is light.
Again, 2Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
2Pet 1:6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
2Pet 1:7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
2Pet 1:8 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.

Again, many Christians profess the moral law and 10 commandments to be relevant as evidence that we're obeying the law of love (1 Cor 9:21), for God and our neighbour/s, followed by Jesus and the Apostles teachings on noble/godly clean standards of behaviour; that recognise God endowed purpose or function.

cf Afterlife.html

Rom 16:26
but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for *obedience to the faith*. We increasingly/progressively learn to obey because we're saved, as a labour of love -- which is the 2 highest commandments, Christ's Law of love.
Eph 5:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. If there's no fruit, it's possible there's no root, as James teaches.
Mat 5:19
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
1 John 2:3
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.
John 8:31-34 So he said to the Jews who believed in him, "If you continue to accept and obey my teaching, you really are my followers. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
Again, we increasingly/progressively learn to obey because we're saved, as a labour of love -- which is the 2 highest commandments, Christ's Law of love Gal 6:2, 1 Cor 9:21 .
We know there is no salvation without increasing progressive repentance from lawless deeds.
God can save people who're weak in the faith, according to His grace, like the parable of the Talents, as long as they're faithful according to their measure of faith in Jesus & Bible teachings. But it's sensible to not gamble with our afterlife, by increasingly/progressively learning the way of life detailed above in 2 Pet 1:5-8 so as to become worthy.
During the time of trouble, it ?may? be, according to the Bible, and if we got it wrong before then, that God will save all who call on Him, Acts 2:17-21, as long as they don't receive the mark of the beast, but they'll possibly be outside the Church, like loyal foreigners weren't Jews, though living in the land of Israel. The mystery of the Church might explain this.

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