PART 4 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 6:30pm

CHAPTER 5

The Church Age

From the Day of Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church:

Jesus promised the disciples after he left this earth, that he would send to each of them the Holy Spirit, who is another member of the trinity, to come and indwell them. On the day of Pentecost, this promise was fulfilled. From this time on, the disciples (apostles) mission would be to proclaim the good news that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who is God, came to earth to die on a cross as a substitute for mankind, thus paying the penalty demanded by another member of the trinity, God the Father, for all of the sins that were committed by the entire world, past, present, and future. This payment opened the door for sinful man to have an opportunity to enter into heaven immediately at physical death, provided they repented (acknowledgement of sin) to God the Father and professed belief in this Christ, as to who he is and what he has done, at some point in time during their years on earth.

     When any person repents to God the Father and believes in Christ, they will receive the Holy Spirit, who will provide spiritual gifts, divine power, and the opportunity to experience a new way of life that is based upon a new way of thinking, which is delineated in the scriptural sections of the New Testament (e.g. some passages in the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation). Some of these new believers might also receive an office gift, which is a gift that is a calling to a leadership position in the church (e.g. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers), the collective purpose which is for: the perfecting (mending, repair, or correcting all that is deficient) of the saints; the work of the ministry (the work of Christian service); the edifying (to cause to grow strong) of the body of Christ so that every member might become mature or fully grown.                            

A non-dispensationalist will look at scriptures, in which obeying the Ten Commandments were mentioned, and will choose those verses that support the perpetuation of this practice.

A dispensationalist will look at scriptures, in which obeying the Ten Commandments were mentioned, and confine the conditions of this practice to the dispensation in which these verses were found.

     We are now going to take a look at scripture sections from the Church Age, which is the age we currently live in. This will provide us with insight as to what the dispensationalist would have to say in regard to the question, “Is a Christian obligated to obey the Ten Commandments?”

 

Were the commandments that Jesus gave to the apostles the Ten Commandments?

9. That he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles:

Acts 1:1-5

Under the guidance and instruction of the Holy Spirit, Jesus following his resurrection, when he remained on the earth in his glorified body for 40 days and 40 nights, gave commandments to the apostles before he ascended to heaven. Were these the Ten Commandments?

     Before Jesus ascended, these were the commandments which he conveyed to them.

 a. To remain in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit.

They were to wait in Jerusalem, so that they could receive the indwelling Spirit.                                                                                                                     

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:4-5)

 b. To preach the gospel to every creature.      

They were to travel everywhere over the earth and make a public proclamation of the gospel (good news) to every person.                                                                                                                                                      

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.(Mark 16:14-15)

c. To teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.      

Suggested Reading: Matthew 28:1,5-7,19-20

After the disciples received word that Jesus was risen and would meet them at a particular place in a mountain of Galilee, they went forth and found him there. Jesus instructed them to go forth and teach (to proclaim the truth about Him) all nations. Those who believed in who he is and what he has accomplished should be baptized in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is not only used to initiate converts into the faith, but also to signify that the union of the three names indicates that the Son and Holy Spirit are co-eternal and co-equal with the Father. The newly converted would then be instructed in those things (the truths) that the disciples were commanded by Jesus.

Was one of the truths that these converts were to be instructed in, was to obey the Ten Commandments?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in (into) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

 

Can observing any aspect of the Mosaic Law provide salvation or spiritual growth?                                                                                                                                                                   

10. The Gentiles are not commanded to keep the law:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Suggested Reading: Acts 14:26-28; Acts 15:1-30          

And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And when they were come to Jerusalem, … But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren. Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. (Acts 15:1-2, 4-5, 22, 24, 28-29)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

There were certain men, who contended with Paul and Barnabas, teaching that the Gentiles must be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul and Barnabas decided to go to Jerusalem in order to discuss this matter with the apostles and elders, who were residing there. After much discussion, a conclusion on the matter was arrived at, which stated that an epistle was to be written and given in the care of four men, Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas, who would take it and read it before the assembly of the churches of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia informing them that the Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised in order to be saved, and neither did they have to keep the law of Moses. However, it was recommended that they should abstain from the pollutions of idols, fornication, from things strangled, and from blood.

      Why if the Gentiles were not obligated to keep any of the Mosaic Law were they instructed to not drink blood or eat animals, which had blood in them?

     The reason for this was because the Gentiles and Jews would partake of a common meal together following their assembling for worship. It was understood by the Jewish Christians that they were allowed to continue to observe the tenets of the Mosaic Law fully understanding that they could neither become saved nor grow spiritually by doing so. One of aspects of the Law had to do with their dietary restrictions. They were not allowed to drink anything which had blood in it and neither were they allowed to eat animals, whose blood had not been drained. The Gentiles, some of whom liked to consume drinks with blood in them and eat animals with blood in them, were asked to bring food and drink to the feast in compliance with the Jewish dietary Laws so they could enjoy this meal without any confrontation or dissension.

     It would appear that in this case, the Jewish Christians could continue to obey the Ten Commandments. The question to consider is, were there teachings which were unveiled in the future which brought the Jewish Christians to the realization that they could not address the weaknesses or strengths of their flesh (sin nature) by obeying the Ten Commandments?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

How is a believer able to fulfill the righteous demands of the Law?

11. For with my mind I serve the law:

Suggested Reading: Romans 7:1-8:3

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:7-9)

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:23-24)

Before his conversion to Christ, Paul was a Pharisee. This was the strictest sect in Judaism. He adhered to the duties of keeping the Mosaic Law and the interpretive traditions of the scribes without fault (blameless). Some twenty years after his conversion, he was still having a very difficult time in his walk with God. The moral aspects of the Law (e.g. thou shalt not covet; thou shalt not steal, etc.) would express to him what he shouldn’t do. As he tried to comply or obey the law in his mind (thoughts), he was aware of another law, which was warring against his mind. This was the law of sin and death; the old nature with its affections and lusts, that delights in breaking the Law.

     Paul, who was at his wits end, asked himself this question, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? This was the condition of a mind in deep distress, and conscious of its own weakness, and looking for aid. He declared to the readers of this epistle how he was able to be an overcomer in respect to the law of sin and death. It was not through self-effort, but through the power of someone else, this being the person of the Holy Spirit. For Paul said in Romans 8:2, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin (the sin nature) and death (spiritual death-separation from God in time).

     What does the law of the Spirit of life mean?

     The law of the Spirit of life refers to the rule of the Spirit, which causes a believer to be free (delivered from) the lusts of the sin nature. Another way to describe the law of Spirit of life is found in Ephesians 5:18b when Paul instructed the believers to, …be filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit means to be constantly controlled by the Spirit in our mind, emotions, and will. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will express the nature (spiritual qualities, e.g. love, joy, peace, etc.) of the Spirit filled life.

     How does a believer become filled with the Spirit? This is the million dollar question. The answer to this will be presented in the section which follows.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

     Paul goes on to say something else which is profound. He stated that if a believer is operating in the law of the Spirit of life, then the righteousness of the law will be fulfilled in him. What does this mean? It means that the righteous demands of the law, its moral precepts, the Ten Commandments (e.g. thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, etc.) that God demands in His Law is fulfilled in us through the Spirit's power. Another word, the believer lives a righteous life, not in obedience to the Law or in the power of the Law, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.

     We’re back to answering the million dollar question. How does a believer become filled with the Holy Spirit? Even though this study is concerned with the question, “Is a believer obligated to keep the Ten Commandments?” I think it’s important to explain how a believer can become filled with the Spirit.

 

Being filled with the Spirit is analogous to putting on the new man.

12. Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge:

Colossians 3:10a

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  

This verse is asking us to put on the new man. Who is the new man? This is the new person who we have become when we repented of our sins to God the Father and believed in his Son for salvation. At which time, we not only received the indwelling Holy Spirit, but a bundle of benefits.

     What are these benefits? Some of these benefits are that:

● We have become a new creature.

This means that all of the things which characterized our pre-Christian life have passed away, and all things have become new (far different from what they were before).

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.(2 Corinthians 5:17)

● We are God’s handiwork.

For we are God the Father’s workmanship (denotes a work of art or masterpiece; spiritual handiwork), being made a new spiritual creature in which there is a moral and spiritual renewal for good deeds, which God has prepared beforehand a path of good works that he will perform in and through us as we choose to walk by faith.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10)

     In effect, what we are saying is the putting on the new man means to put on a new disposition, a new attitude. How do we put on a new disposition?

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Colossians 3:10b)

     By being renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Being renewed in knowledge refers to the idea of forming a new character through knowing ourselves in the light of God. Another way to say this is, we need to think about ourselves and others differentlyaccording to God’s perspective. You might respond by saying give me some examples.

     Let’s say that as we grow in the Lord we experience persecution form others. How should we respond when this happens?

Charity suffereth long… (1 Corinthians 13:4)

     The scripture states that we should be patient in bearing the offences and injuries of others. This is what the word “suffering” means. Let’s give you another example. Maybe when we were an unbeliever, we exhibited a tendency toward taking pleasure in hurting others.

Rejoiceth not in iniquity… (1 Corinthians 13:6)

     Now that we are a Christian, God’s perspective in this area is for us to not take pleasure in injuring or hurting others.

 

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)

     How does the appropriation of either of these divine perspectives cause the believer to be filled with the Spirit? The scriptures tell us that whoever will keep on keeping God’s word (God’s perspective that he wants us to appropriate about ourselves and others) in them will the love of God (the spiritual qualities of the Holy Spirit) be perfected (manifested; exemplified).

     So, there it is. If we learn and appropriate the perspective that God has concerning ourself, others, the circumstances of life, whether in adversity or prosperity, then this will activate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will fill us with himself.

   

When Paul said to the believers at Thessalonica that they knew what commandments they were given, was he referring to the Ten Commandments?

 13. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus:

1 Thessalonians 4:1-4

1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.        

3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

 

As you have received (learned) from us (Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus) how you ought to walk (behave toward one another) so as to please God, so this quality of life should increase more and more. For you know what the commandments (instructions) were in this regard (as to how you should live). Then Paul said that it was God’s will for them to be involved in a process which depended on Him called sanctification, so that they could be completely free from sexual immorality. The first work of sanctification is in overcoming the propensities to evil in our nature, checking and subduing the unholy habits which we had formed before we became Christians; the second part of the work consists in cultivating the positive principles of holiness in the soul.

4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

     What was it that these Christians needed to do so that the tendencies toward sexual immorality would be subdued? Was it to observe the Ten Commandments? It said they should know how to possess (know how to gain mastery over) their vessel (body). How is this accomplished? This is accomplished by sanctification, which is a process of learning how to think differently in any area of weakness. If a Christian has a desire for sexual gratification with another person whether a believer or unbeliever, then their main interest is in satisfying their sexual needs. In order to break this lust pattern there must be a change as to how the Christian is thinking about the other person.

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12)

     If the other person is an unbeliever, then they should be occupied with the verse which says that their manner of life should be beautiful by reason of purity of heart and soul so that when the unbeliever may speak of us as being an evil doer, they might respond favorably to God’s initiation of salvation, because of them having viewed attentively our good deeds (works).

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22)

     Likewise, if the other person is a believer, then our mindset should be to love them with a pure heart [the idea of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the person loved; genuine, free from hypocrisy (a pretense of having a virtuous character) or deceit (a distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading] fervently (continually).

 

When God said to the Jews that he would put his laws in their mind and write them in their hearts, was he talking about the Ten Commandments?

14. I will put my laws into their mind:

Suggested Reading: Hebrews 8:1-13          

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: (Hebrews 8:6-8)                                                                                                                                 

Jesus is the mediator (the one who deals impartially with two parties who have made a contract) of a new covenant that is established upon better promises (promises to enjoy greater benefits). For if nothing was lacking in the first covenant, the covenant made under the Mosaic Law, then no place should be sought for another covenant, the covenant of grace. But the first failed to provide an atonement that would pay for sin, once and for all. It also did not provide for enabling the people to live up to the terms or conditions of it. Therefore, the Lord decided to make a new covenant (one that is fresh and different) with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)   

     What follows is a surprising statement. In respect to the Jews, the Lord said, he will put his laws into their minds and write them in their heart. Does this mean that all of the laws under the Mosaic Covenant will no longer have to be observed in written form, because God will put them into their minds and write them in their hearts?

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (Hebrews 8:9)

     He answers this by saying that these laws, which he will put into their mind and write them in their hearts, will not be according to the covenant that he made with their fathers. What are these laws that God will put into their mind and write them in their hearts? These laws probably have something to do with the new covenant. The word “laws” mean of the things prescribed by the divine will.The laws of the Hebrews pertained mainly to external rites and ceremonies; the laws of the new dispensation would relate particularly to the inner man, and be designed to control the heart.

     With this in mind, what are those things (laws) prescribed by the divine will for the Jewish Christian (i.e. for all Christians) during the dispensation of the Church?

     The laws prescribed by the divine will are:

 a. For our sanctification.

To know how to possess (know how to gain mastery over) our vessel (body). This is accomplished, by a process of learning how to think differently with God’s perspective for any area of human weakness or strength?

         For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

b. For our mind to be renewed.

Of forming a new character through knowing ourselves in the light of God. Another way to say this is, we need to think about ourselves and others differentlyaccording to God’s perspective, which has been revealed to us during the Church Age.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)    

     And how will God put these laws into our minds and write them in our hearts? God has given us those in leadership such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers, who will convey to us the word of God, hopefully while being under the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, hopefully we who are listening to what is being said will also be operating under the anointing, the person of the Holy Spirit, who will teach (endue us with judgment and discernment; the corrector and approver of doctrine; he alone can be a witness to himself, so as to convince our hearts that what our ears receive has come from him) us.

     So, it is the person of the Holy Spirit who will put these laws into our mind and write them in our hearts. Here is a verse which substantiates this.

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

 

Can a believer be intimately acquainted with Christ’s character by keeping the Ten Commandments?

15. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments:

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

How can we have evidence that we know Christ? This scripture says that this can be realized by keeping his commandments. Is this saying that if we keep the Ten Commandments this will bring about evidence that we know Him? We can restate this verse in this way. We know (come to recognize) that we know (in a personal way; intimately acquainted with a person’s intentions and character; implies fellowship and communion) him (Jesus), if we keep (the moment by moment safeguarding of; to hold in remembrance) his commandments.

     What are these commandments, which if we were to keep them they would cause us to be intimately acquainted with His intentions and character?

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)

     What we do know about Christ throughout his life on this earth was that he was sustained by the Holy Spirit not having committed one sin. In this respect, we can only become intimately related with Christ’s character is if we are sustained (filled) with the Spirit. We’re back to looking at a topic which we addressed earlier. I will briefly repeat it here again. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:22-24)

     To be filled with the Spirit means the Holy Spirit fills the believer with Himself. This filling enables the believer to be able to experience the Spirit’s presence (power) and manifest His fruit (e.g. love, joy, peace, etc.). This fruit is a divine love, a divine joy, a divine peace, a divine longsuffering, a divine gentleness, a divine goodness, a divine faith, a divine meekness, and a divine temperance; and not a human love, a human joy, a human peace, etc. This fruit expresses a Godly nature to others. Divine love evidences self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved. Divine joy is reflective of a rejoicing within that is not dependent on outward circumstances. Divine peace seeks reconciliation between offending parties. Divine longsuffering patiently endures wrong while under ill-treatment without anger or thought of revenge. Divine gentleness treats others with politeness, making them as happy as possible. Divine goodness gives graciously without strings attached. Divine faith is being faithful to God’s promises. Divine meekness involves compliance to the teaching of the word. Divine temperance involves a mastery of one’s desires and impulses.

     Even though we have already answered this question earlier, let’s ask it and answer it one more time.  How does a believer become filled with the Spirit?

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)

     A believer becomes filled with the Spirit by keeping God’s word. What does it mean to keep God’s word? It could mean one of two things.

   ~ To keep the Ten Commandments, which were given to Moses at Mount Sinai under the institution of the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant.

   ~ To be renewed in our mind. To think with the perspective about ourselves that God has toward us and to think toward others with the perspective that God wants us to have toward them, each of which perspectives are found in the scriptures, which are contained under the New Covenant being found in some of the scriptures contained in the Gospels, the book of Acts, the epistles, and the book of Revelation.

     In the keeping of God’s word, the believer will be filled with the Spirit. Is this spiritual reality accomplished by means of keeping God’s Ten Commandments or by being renewed in the mind?

 

What are the commandments we are to keep, which are not grievous?

16. His commandments are not grievous:  

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

When the believer is operating in the love of God by being filled with the Spirit, they will keep (observe) his commandments, which are not difficult to keep. What are these commandments that could be kept or observed when the believer is filled with the Spirit?

     Again, we have two choices?

●  Keeping the Ten Commandments.

●  Keeping the word as expressed in some of the scriptures from the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation such as:

        ~  Providing help for the fatherless (those bereft of father or mother); providing help for widows (women whose husbands have died); keeping ourselves from walking in the values and behavior of the world.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)

        ~  To lay down one’s life for his friends.

            As we have acquired and possessed the knowledge that Christ gave of himself on the cross for us in our place, so should we walk in the Spirit and according to the word of God as He did. Laying down our lives for the brethren can take many forms: helping them

with financial needs; helping them in their walk with God; praying with them in a particular matter, etc. These are just a couple of the commandments which are not difficult to keep.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)

     This is the last of the scriptures which we will look at from the Church Age. Let’s summarize and then provide the perspectives of this topic from the dispensationalist and non-dispensationalist in regard to the question, “Is a believer obligated to obey the Ten Commandments?” Since the dispensationalist hasn’t had much of an opinion on this topic because the view which he/she espouses will only be taken from verses that pertain to the topic at hand from the dispensation at hand, we will present the dispensationalist perspective after we present the perspective of the non-dispensationalist.

 

Summary:

● Jesus gave commandments to the apostles before he ascended into heaven. He told them to wait at Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit; to preach the gospel to every creature; and to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Acts 1:1-5

● The Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised in order to be saved, and neither did they have to keep the Law of Moses. The Christian Jews were not told that they couldn’t continue to practice their customs, which were based on the Mosaic Law. However, they were made aware that observances of any aspect of the Mosaic Law could not bring about salvation nor sanctification. Acts 14:26-28; 15:1-30

● The righteous demands of the law, its moral precepts, the Ten Commandments (e.g. thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, etc.) is fulfilled in us through the Spirit's power. Romans 7:1-8:3

● If we learn and appropriate the perspective that God has concerning ourselves, other, and the circumstances of life whether in adversity or prosperity, then this will activate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will fill us with himself. Colossians 3:10

● What were the commands that were given by Paul to the believers at Thessalonica, which if they were to observe them their behavior toward one another would be such as would please God?

There are two choices:

a. The Ten Commandments, which were given to Moses at Mount Sinai under the  institution of the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant.

b. Of learning how to think differently in any area of human weakness or strength by appropriating and applying God’s word as revealed in certain scriptures from the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5

● The Lord has decided to make a new covenant (one that is fresh and different) with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. He will put his laws into their mind (cause them to think about his ways) and write them (to fix indelibly) on their hearts, which is the center and seat of the spiritual life. What are these laws?

There are two choices:

  1. The Ten Commandments.
  2. Laws (i.e. scriptures) that cause the believer to become aware of themselves and others according to a divine perspective. The laws of the new dispensation which relate particularly to the inner man. Hebrews 8:1-13

● A believer can have evidence that they know Christ if they keep his commandments. What are these commandments, which if we were to keep them they would cause us to be intimately acquainted with Christ’s character?   

There are two choices:

  1. The Ten Commandments.
  2. To be renewed in our mind. To think with God’s perspective about ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life whether in adversity or prosperity, which are found in some of the scriptures of the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation.

1 John 2:3

● When the believer is operating in the love of God by being filled with the Spirit, they will keep (observe) his commandments, which are not difficult to keep. What are these commandments that they are to keep?

Again, there are two choices:

       a.  Keeping the Ten Commandments.

       b.  Keeping the word as expressed in the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation some examples of which are:

        ~  Providing help for the fatherless (those bereft of father or mother); providing help for widows (women whose husbands have died); keeping ourselves from walking in the values and behavior of the world.

        ~  To lay down one’s life for his friends, etc. 1 John 5:3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

     What might be the final perspective of some non-dispensationalists in regard to the question, “Is a believer obligated to keep the Ten Commandments?” The non-dispensationalist would use certain verses from the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of the Jews, and the Age of Christ’s Incarnation to formulate the perspective that a believer is obligated to keep the Ten Commandments.

     They might start out by reiterating that the admonition given to Abraham and his sons in the book of Genesis to keep the Lord’s commandments was prophetic of the Jews receiving the Ten Commandments. The obligation of keeping the Ten Commandments not only continued during the time when the Jews entered the Promised Land of Canaan, but also during the time when Christ came to earth as he expressed no objection to this. Because Jesus never objected to the keeping of the Ten Commandments, therefore, he was sending a message to Christians during the Church Age that they were also responsible for obeying them.

     When the words “commandment” or “commandments” appear in any of the verses from the New Testament they will refer to the Ten Commandments. Accordingly, they will say that the benefits of keeping the Ten Commandments are such:

~ A believer can live a righteous life. Romans 7:1-8:3

~ This activates the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Colossians 3:10

~ A believer’s behavior toward their fellow believers can be improved. Thessalonians 4:1-5

~ They will be placed by God in their mind and heart. Hebrews 8:1-13

~ They are evidence that the believer knows Christ. 1 John 2:3

~ They are operating in the love of God, the filling of the Spirit. 1 John 5:3

     What comes next is the perspective that the dispensationalist would have in regard to this topic. They would not use any verses from the Age of the Gentiles or the Age of the Jews. Some verses could be used from the Age of Christ’s Incarnation (the Gospels) if they pertained to the Church Age which followed.

The dispensationalist might say the following.

~ The commandments which Jesus gave to the apostles before he ascended into heaven had nothing to do with the Ten Commandments. These commandments were to: wait at Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit; to preach the gospel to every creature; and to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Acts 1:1-5

~ The Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised in order to be saved, and neither did they have to keep the Law of Moses. The Christians Jews were allowed to practice their customs understanding that the Mosaic Law could not provide salvation nor sanctification. As time went on, Jewish Christians were not only kicked out of the synagogues, but were persecuted by the Jewish hierarchy. Acts 14:26-28; 15:1-30

~ The righteous demands of the law, its moral precepts, the Ten Commandments (e.g. thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, etc.) can only be fulfilled in the believer’s life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Another word, living a righteous life has nothing to do with trying to keep the Ten Commandments but by being filled with the Spirit. Romans 7:1-8:3

~ Activating the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not by keeping the Ten Commandments, but by learning and appropriating the perspective that God has concerning ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life. Colossians 3:10

~The commandments (instructions) that were given by Paul to the believers at Thessalonica had to with learning how to be filled with the Spirit. As the believers learned how to think differently in any area of human weakness or strength by appropriating and applying God’s word their behavior would change, because their thoughts had changed. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5

~   The laws that God put in the mind and hearts of the Jewish Christians had to do with the inner man. These laws pertain to newness of thought, to scriptures which reveal to the believer not only all that has taken place in their life at salvation, but how to walk in the Spirit. Hebrews 8:1-13

~   When a believer is operating in the fruit of the Spirit (e.g. a divine love, a divine joy, etc.) there will be evidenced to both believers and unbelievers a Christ like attitude of laying down their life for others (e.g. helping them with financial needs; helping them in their walk with God; praying with them in a particular matter, etc.) 1 John 5:3

     So, what you have are two entirely different perspectives, each of which is based on which scriptures are used to support the view not only on this topic, but on any biblical topic. No wonder why there are differences of opinion in regard to biblical topics. I would like to leave you with some parting words.

 

To Obey the Ten Commandments Or Not to Obey Them

Hopefully, this book has enlightened you as to whether you should or should not be obeying the Ten Commandments. For many Christian churches what you will find is that the leadership mixes their teachings, some from the Old Covenant and some from the New Covenant. Some of the observances which the Jews were mandated to keep under the Mosaic Law during the Age of the Jews are still mandated to be kept by the Christian assembly. I know, because in every church I have been involved with this has been the case.

     How should we respond if we find ourselves in a church whose teaching involves this admixture? I have a couple of guidelines which are helpful to me in this regard. I simply ask myself the following questions and then make a decision as to whether to stay or leave and look for a different church.

     Does the church I attend preach the gospel?

     Are the names of those in leadership in this list (e.g. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers?

     Am I learning about who God has made me to be and how to be filled with the Spirit?

     Does God show up in the gatherings of the saints, meaning are the gifts of the Spirit operative?

     The last one is, how much of the Law am I asked to obey?

Am I told to give of the firstfruits of my income?

Am I told to tithe?

Am I told to observe the 7th day Sabbath?

Am I told to keep the Ten Commandments?

Am I told that the sins of those in leadership, like David the king of Israel, cannot be judged, because they are only answerable or accountable to God?

Am I told to observe certain days of the year in order to fulfill certain religious obligations?

Is it made clear that if these mandates are not kept, then I or any other believer will never be used in any capacity in the church?

     Recently, I was in a church whose teachings were pretty much as described. I was delighted to hear the gospel; to see professions of faith be made; to observe the various gifts of the Spirit be manifest. However, spiritual growth was based on keeping various aspects of the Mosaic Law. Walking in the Spirit was based on whether a Christian obeyed certain requirements of the Law. I was torn as to whether to stay or not.

     I continued to attend until during one of the teachings a person in leadership made a comment in front of the group, which I decided at that time enough was enough. They said something like, why are you here listening to the teachings if you don’t agree with what they say? What struck me about this was it seemed apparent that no one was allowed to have a difference of view on anything which was taught.

If he had made a comment such as, if you have an issue with anything that was said, I am open to discussing it.   

     Enough said. I think you get the point. I have truly enjoyed putting this study together and sharing it with you. I hope after you read it, you will add to it by doing a further study on it.

    GOD BLESS!

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CHAPTER 5

The Church Age

From the Day of Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church:

Jesus promised the disciples after he left this earth, that he would send to each of them the Holy Spirit, who is another member of the trinity, to come and indwell them. On the day of Pentecost, this promise was fulfilled. From this time on, the disciples (apostles) mission would be to proclaim the good news that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who is God, came to earth to die on a cross as a substitute for mankind, thus paying the penalty demanded by another member of the trinity, God the Father, for all of the sins that were committed by the entire world, past, present, and future. This payment opened the door for sinful man to have an opportunity to enter into heaven immediately at physical death, provided they repented (acknowledgement of sin) to God the Father and professed belief in this Christ, as to who he is and what he has done, at some point in time during their years on earth.

     When any person repents to God the Father and believes in Christ, they will receive the Holy Spirit, who will provide spiritual gifts, divine power, and the opportunity to experience a new way of life that is based upon a new way of thinking, which is delineated in the scriptural sections of the New Testament (e.g. some passages in the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation). Some of these new believers might also receive an office gift, which is a gift that is a calling to a leadership position in the church (e.g. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers), the collective purpose which is for: the perfecting (mending, repair, or correcting all that is deficient) of the saints; the work of the ministry (the work of Christian service); the edifying (to cause to grow strong) of the body of Christ so that every member might become mature or fully grown.                            

A non-dispensationalist will look at scriptures, in which obeying the Ten Commandments were mentioned, and will choose those verses that support the perpetuation of this practice.

A dispensationalist will look at scriptures, in which obeying the Ten Commandments were mentioned, and confine the conditions of this practice to the dispensation in which these verses were found.

     We are now going to take a look at scripture sections from the Church Age, which is the age we currently live in. This will provide us with insight as to what the dispensationalist would have to say in regard to the question, “Is a Christian obligated to obey the Ten Commandments?”

 

Were the commandments that Jesus gave to the apostles the Ten Commandments?

9. That he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles:

Acts 1:1-5

Under the guidance and instruction of the Holy Spirit, Jesus following his resurrection, when he remained on the earth in his glorified body for 40 days and 40 nights, gave commandments to the apostles before he ascended to heaven. Were these the Ten Commandments?

     Before Jesus ascended, these were the commandments which he conveyed to them.

 a. To remain in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit.

They were to wait in Jerusalem, so that they could receive the indwelling Spirit.                                                                                                                     

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:4-5)

 b. To preach the gospel to every creature.      

They were to travel everywhere over the earth and make a public proclamation of the gospel (good news) to every person.                                                                                                                                                      

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.(Mark 16:14-15)

c. To teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.      

Suggested Reading: Matthew 28:1,5-7,19-20

After the disciples received word that Jesus was risen and would meet them at a particular place in a mountain of Galilee, they went forth and found him there. Jesus instructed them to go forth and teach (to proclaim the truth about Him) all nations. Those who believed in who he is and what he has accomplished should be baptized in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is not only used to initiate converts into the faith, but also to signify that the union of the three names indicates that the Son and Holy Spirit are co-eternal and co-equal with the Father. The newly converted would then be instructed in those things (the truths) that the disciples were commanded by Jesus.

Was one of the truths that these converts were to be instructed in, was to obey the Ten Commandments?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in (into) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

 

Can observing any aspect of the Mosaic Law provide salvation or spiritual growth?                                                                                                                                                                   

10. The Gentiles are not commanded to keep the law:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Suggested Reading: Acts 14:26-28; Acts 15:1-30          

And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And when they were come to Jerusalem, … But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren. Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. (Acts 15:1-2, 4-5, 22, 24, 28-29)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

There were certain men, who contended with Paul and Barnabas, teaching that the Gentiles must be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul and Barnabas decided to go to Jerusalem in order to discuss this matter with the apostles and elders, who were residing there. After much discussion, a conclusion on the matter was arrived at, which stated that an epistle was to be written and given in the care of four men, Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas, who would take it and read it before the assembly of the churches of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia informing them that the Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised in order to be saved, and neither did they have to keep the law of Moses. However, it was recommended that they should abstain from the pollutions of idols, fornication, from things strangled, and from blood.

      Why if the Gentiles were not obligated to keep any of the Mosaic Law were they instructed to not drink blood or eat animals, which had blood in them?

     The reason for this was because the Gentiles and Jews would partake of a common meal together following their assembling for worship. It was understood by the Jewish Christians that they were allowed to continue to observe the tenets of the Mosaic Law fully understanding that they could neither become saved nor grow spiritually by doing so. One of aspects of the Law had to do with their dietary restrictions. They were not allowed to drink anything which had blood in it and neither were they allowed to eat animals, whose blood had not been drained. The Gentiles, some of whom liked to consume drinks with blood in them and eat animals with blood in them, were asked to bring food and drink to the feast in compliance with the Jewish dietary Laws so they could enjoy this meal without any confrontation or dissension.

     It would appear that in this case, the Jewish Christians could continue to obey the Ten Commandments. The question to consider is, were there teachings which were unveiled in the future which brought the Jewish Christians to the realization that they could not address the weaknesses or strengths of their flesh (sin nature) by obeying the Ten Commandments?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

How is a believer able to fulfill the righteous demands of the Law?

11. For with my mind I serve the law:

Suggested Reading: Romans 7:1-8:3

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:7-9)

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:23-24)

Before his conversion to Christ, Paul was a Pharisee. This was the strictest sect in Judaism. He adhered to the duties of keeping the Mosaic Law and the interpretive traditions of the scribes without fault (blameless). Some twenty years after his conversion, he was still having a very difficult time in his walk with God. The moral aspects of the Law (e.g. thou shalt not covet; thou shalt not steal, etc.) would express to him what he shouldn’t do. As he tried to comply or obey the law in his mind (thoughts), he was aware of another law, which was warring against his mind. This was the law of sin and death; the old nature with its affections and lusts, that delights in breaking the Law.

     Paul, who was at his wits end, asked himself this question, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? This was the condition of a mind in deep distress, and conscious of its own weakness, and looking for aid. He declared to the readers of this epistle how he was able to be an overcomer in respect to the law of sin and death. It was not through self-effort, but through the power of someone else, this being the person of the Holy Spirit. For Paul said in Romans 8:2, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin (the sin nature) and death (spiritual death-separation from God in time).

     What does the law of the Spirit of life mean?

     The law of the Spirit of life refers to the rule of the Spirit, which causes a believer to be free (delivered from) the lusts of the sin nature. Another way to describe the law of Spirit of life is found in Ephesians 5:18b when Paul instructed the believers to, …be filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit means to be constantly controlled by the Spirit in our mind, emotions, and will. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will express the nature (spiritual qualities, e.g. love, joy, peace, etc.) of the Spirit filled life.

     How does a believer become filled with the Spirit? This is the million dollar question. The answer to this will be presented in the section which follows.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

     Paul goes on to say something else which is profound. He stated that if a believer is operating in the law of the Spirit of life, then the righteousness of the law will be fulfilled in him. What does this mean? It means that the righteous demands of the law, its moral precepts, the Ten Commandments (e.g. thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, etc.) that God demands in His Law is fulfilled in us through the Spirit's power. Another word, the believer lives a righteous life, not in obedience to the Law or in the power of the Law, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.

     We’re back to answering the million dollar question. How does a believer become filled with the Holy Spirit? Even though this study is concerned with the question, “Is a believer obligated to keep the Ten Commandments?” I think it’s important to explain how a believer can become filled with the Spirit.

 

Being filled with the Spirit is analogous to putting on the new man.

12. Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge:

Colossians 3:10a

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  

This verse is asking us to put on the new man. Who is the new man? This is the new person who we have become when we repented of our sins to God the Father and believed in his Son for salvation. At which time, we not only received the indwelling Holy Spirit, but a bundle of benefits.

     What are these benefits? Some of these benefits are that:

● We have become a new creature.

This means that all of the things which characterized our pre-Christian life have passed away, and all things have become new (far different from what they were before).

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.(2 Corinthians 5:17)

● We are God’s handiwork.

For we are God the Father’s workmanship (denotes a work of art or masterpiece; spiritual handiwork), being made a new spiritual creature in which there is a moral and spiritual renewal for good deeds, which God has prepared beforehand a path of good works that he will perform in and through us as we choose to walk by faith.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10)

     In effect, what we are saying is the putting on the new man means to put on a new disposition, a new attitude. How do we put on a new disposition?

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Colossians 3:10b)

     By being renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Being renewed in knowledge refers to the idea of forming a new character through knowing ourselves in the light of God. Another way to say this is, we need to think about ourselves and others differentlyaccording to God’s perspective. You might respond by saying give me some examples.

     Let’s say that as we grow in the Lord we experience persecution form others. How should we respond when this happens?

Charity suffereth long… (1 Corinthians 13:4)

     The scripture states that we should be patient in bearing the offences and injuries of others. This is what the word “suffering” means. Let’s give you another example. Maybe when we were an unbeliever, we exhibited a tendency toward taking pleasure in hurting others.

Rejoiceth not in iniquity… (1 Corinthians 13:6)

     Now that we are a Christian, God’s perspective in this area is for us to not take pleasure in injuring or hurting others.

 

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)

     How does the appropriation of either of these divine perspectives cause the believer to be filled with the Spirit? The scriptures tell us that whoever will keep on keeping God’s word (God’s perspective that he wants us to appropriate about ourselves and others) in them will the love of God (the spiritual qualities of the Holy Spirit) be perfected (manifested; exemplified).

     So, there it is. If we learn and appropriate the perspective that God has concerning ourself, others, the circumstances of life, whether in adversity or prosperity, then this will activate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will fill us with himself.

   

When Paul said to the believers at Thessalonica that they knew what commandments they were given, was he referring to the Ten Commandments?

 13. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus:

1 Thessalonians 4:1-4

1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.        

3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

 

As you have received (learned) from us (Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus) how you ought to walk (behave toward one another) so as to please God, so this quality of life should increase more and more. For you know what the commandments (instructions) were in this regard (as to how you should live). Then Paul said that it was God’s will for them to be involved in a process which depended on Him called sanctification, so that they could be completely free from sexual immorality. The first work of sanctification is in overcoming the propensities to evil in our nature, checking and subduing the unholy habits which we had formed before we became Christians; the second part of the work consists in cultivating the positive principles of holiness in the soul.

4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

     What was it that these Christians needed to do so that the tendencies toward sexual immorality would be subdued? Was it to observe the Ten Commandments? It said they should know how to possess (know how to gain mastery over) their vessel (body). How is this accomplished? This is accomplished by sanctification, which is a process of learning how to think differently in any area of weakness. If a Christian has a desire for sexual gratification with another person whether a believer or unbeliever, then their main interest is in satisfying their sexual needs. In order to break this lust pattern there must be a change as to how the Christian is thinking about the other person.

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12)

     If the other person is an unbeliever, then they should be occupied with the verse which says that their manner of life should be beautiful by reason of purity of heart and soul so that when the unbeliever may speak of us as being an evil doer, they might respond favorably to God’s initiation of salvation, because of them having viewed attentively our good deeds (works).

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22)

     Likewise, if the other person is a believer, then our mindset should be to love them with a pure heart [the idea of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the person loved; genuine, free from hypocrisy (a pretense of having a virtuous character) or deceit (a distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading] fervently (continually).

 

When God said to the Jews that he would put his laws in their mind and write them in their hearts, was he talking about the Ten Commandments?

14. I will put my laws into their mind:

Suggested Reading: Hebrews 8:1-13          

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: (Hebrews 8:6-8)                                                                                                                                 

Jesus is the mediator (the one who deals impartially with two parties who have made a contract) of a new covenant that is established upon better promises (promises to enjoy greater benefits). For if nothing was lacking in the first covenant, the covenant made under the Mosaic Law, then no place should be sought for another covenant, the covenant of grace. But the first failed to provide an atonement that would pay for sin, once and for all. It also did not provide for enabling the people to live up to the terms or conditions of it. Therefore, the Lord decided to make a new covenant (one that is fresh and different) with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)   

     What follows is a surprising statement. In respect to the Jews, the Lord said, he will put his laws into their minds and write them in their heart. Does this mean that all of the laws under the Mosaic Covenant will no longer have to be observed in written form, because God will put them into their minds and write them in their hearts?

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (Hebrews 8:9)

     He answers this by saying that these laws, which he will put into their mind and write them in their hearts, will not be according to the covenant that he made with their fathers. What are these laws that God will put into their mind and write them in their hearts? These laws probably have something to do with the new covenant. The word “laws” mean of the things prescribed by the divine will.The laws of the Hebrews pertained mainly to external rites and ceremonies; the laws of the new dispensation would relate particularly to the inner man, and be designed to control the heart.

     With this in mind, what are those things (laws) prescribed by the divine will for the Jewish Christian (i.e. for all Christians) during the dispensation of the Church?

     The laws prescribed by the divine will are:

 a. For our sanctification.

To know how to possess (know how to gain mastery over) our vessel (body). This is accomplished, by a process of learning how to think differently with God’s perspective for any area of human weakness or strength?

         For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

b. For our mind to be renewed.

Of forming a new character through knowing ourselves in the light of God. Another way to say this is, we need to think about ourselves and others differentlyaccording to God’s perspective, which has been revealed to us during the Church Age.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)    

     And how will God put these laws into our minds and write them in our hearts? God has given us those in leadership such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers, who will convey to us the word of God, hopefully while being under the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, hopefully we who are listening to what is being said will also be operating under the anointing, the person of the Holy Spirit, who will teach (endue us with judgment and discernment; the corrector and approver of doctrine; he alone can be a witness to himself, so as to convince our hearts that what our ears receive has come from him) us.

     So, it is the person of the Holy Spirit who will put these laws into our mind and write them in our hearts. Here is a verse which substantiates this.

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

 

Can a believer be intimately acquainted with Christ’s character by keeping the Ten Commandments?

15. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments:

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

How can we have evidence that we know Christ? This scripture says that this can be realized by keeping his commandments. Is this saying that if we keep the Ten Commandments this will bring about evidence that we know Him? We can restate this verse in this way. We know (come to recognize) that we know (in a personal way; intimately acquainted with a person’s intentions and character; implies fellowship and communion) him (Jesus), if we keep (the moment by moment safeguarding of; to hold in remembrance) his commandments.

     What are these commandments, which if we were to keep them they would cause us to be intimately acquainted with His intentions and character?

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)

     What we do know about Christ throughout his life on this earth was that he was sustained by the Holy Spirit not having committed one sin. In this respect, we can only become intimately related with Christ’s character is if we are sustained (filled) with the Spirit. We’re back to looking at a topic which we addressed earlier. I will briefly repeat it here again. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:22-24)

     To be filled with the Spirit means the Holy Spirit fills the believer with Himself. This filling enables the believer to be able to experience the Spirit’s presence (power) and manifest His fruit (e.g. love, joy, peace, etc.). This fruit is a divine love, a divine joy, a divine peace, a divine longsuffering, a divine gentleness, a divine goodness, a divine faith, a divine meekness, and a divine temperance; and not a human love, a human joy, a human peace, etc. This fruit expresses a Godly nature to others. Divine love evidences self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved. Divine joy is reflective of a rejoicing within that is not dependent on outward circumstances. Divine peace seeks reconciliation between offending parties. Divine longsuffering patiently endures wrong while under ill-treatment without anger or thought of revenge. Divine gentleness treats others with politeness, making them as happy as possible. Divine goodness gives graciously without strings attached. Divine faith is being faithful to God’s promises. Divine meekness involves compliance to the teaching of the word. Divine temperance involves a mastery of one’s desires and impulses.

     Even though we have already answered this question earlier, let’s ask it and answer it one more time.  How does a believer become filled with the Spirit?

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)

     A believer becomes filled with the Spirit by keeping God’s word. What does it mean to keep God’s word? It could mean one of two things.

   ~ To keep the Ten Commandments, which were given to Moses at Mount Sinai under the institution of the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant.

   ~ To be renewed in our mind. To think with the perspective about ourselves that God has toward us and to think toward others with the perspective that God wants us to have toward them, each of which perspectives are found in the scriptures, which are contained under the New Covenant being found in some of the scriptures contained in the Gospels, the book of Acts, the epistles, and the book of Revelation.

     In the keeping of God’s word, the believer will be filled with the Spirit. Is this spiritual reality accomplished by means of keeping God’s Ten Commandments or by being renewed in the mind?

 

What are the commandments we are to keep, which are not grievous?

16. His commandments are not grievous:  

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

When the believer is operating in the love of God by being filled with the Spirit, they will keep (observe) his commandments, which are not difficult to keep. What are these commandments that could be kept or observed when the believer is filled with the Spirit?

     Again, we have two choices?

●  Keeping the Ten Commandments.

●  Keeping the word as expressed in some of the scriptures from the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation such as:

        ~  Providing help for the fatherless (those bereft of father or mother); providing help for widows (women whose husbands have died); keeping ourselves from walking in the values and behavior of the world.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)

        ~  To lay down one’s life for his friends.

            As we have acquired and possessed the knowledge that Christ gave of himself on the cross for us in our place, so should we walk in the Spirit and according to the word of God as He did. Laying down our lives for the brethren can take many forms: helping them

with financial needs; helping them in their walk with God; praying with them in a particular matter, etc. These are just a couple of the commandments which are not difficult to keep.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)

     This is the last of the scriptures which we will look at from the Church Age. Let’s summarize and then provide the perspectives of this topic from the dispensationalist and non-dispensationalist in regard to the question, “Is a believer obligated to obey the Ten Commandments?” Since the dispensationalist hasn’t had much of an opinion on this topic because the view which he/she espouses will only be taken from verses that pertain to the topic at hand from the dispensation at hand, we will present the dispensationalist perspective after we present the perspective of the non-dispensationalist.

 

Summary:

● Jesus gave commandments to the apostles before he ascended into heaven. He told them to wait at Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit; to preach the gospel to every creature; and to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Acts 1:1-5

● The Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised in order to be saved, and neither did they have to keep the Law of Moses. The Christian Jews were not told that they couldn’t continue to practice their customs, which were based on the Mosaic Law. However, they were made aware that observances of any aspect of the Mosaic Law could not bring about salvation nor sanctification. Acts 14:26-28; 15:1-30

● The righteous demands of the law, its moral precepts, the Ten Commandments (e.g. thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, etc.) is fulfilled in us through the Spirit's power. Romans 7:1-8:3

● If we learn and appropriate the perspective that God has concerning ourselves, other, and the circumstances of life whether in adversity or prosperity, then this will activate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will fill us with himself. Colossians 3:10

● What were the commands that were given by Paul to the believers at Thessalonica, which if they were to observe them their behavior toward one another would be such as would please God?

There are two choices:

a. The Ten Commandments, which were given to Moses at Mount Sinai under the  institution of the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant.

b. Of learning how to think differently in any area of human weakness or strength by appropriating and applying God’s word as revealed in certain scriptures from the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5

● The Lord has decided to make a new covenant (one that is fresh and different) with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. He will put his laws into their mind (cause them to think about his ways) and write them (to fix indelibly) on their hearts, which is the center and seat of the spiritual life. What are these laws?

There are two choices:

  1. The Ten Commandments.
  2. Laws (i.e. scriptures) that cause the believer to become aware of themselves and others according to a divine perspective. The laws of the new dispensation which relate particularly to the inner man. Hebrews 8:1-13

● A believer can have evidence that they know Christ if they keep his commandments. What are these commandments, which if we were to keep them they would cause us to be intimately acquainted with Christ’s character?   

There are two choices:

  1. The Ten Commandments.
  2. To be renewed in our mind. To think with God’s perspective about ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life whether in adversity or prosperity, which are found in some of the scriptures of the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation.

1 John 2:3

● When the believer is operating in the love of God by being filled with the Spirit, they will keep (observe) his commandments, which are not difficult to keep. What are these commandments that they are to keep?

Again, there are two choices:

       a.  Keeping the Ten Commandments.

       b.  Keeping the word as expressed in the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation some examples of which are:

        ~  Providing help for the fatherless (those bereft of father or mother); providing help for widows (women whose husbands have died); keeping ourselves from walking in the values and behavior of the world.

        ~  To lay down one’s life for his friends, etc. 1 John 5:3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

     What might be the final perspective of some non-dispensationalists in regard to the question, “Is a believer obligated to keep the Ten Commandments?” The non-dispensationalist would use certain verses from the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of the Jews, and the Age of Christ’s Incarnation to formulate the perspective that a believer is obligated to keep the Ten Commandments.

     They might start out by reiterating that the admonition given to Abraham and his sons in the book of Genesis to keep the Lord’s commandments was prophetic of the Jews receiving the Ten Commandments. The obligation of keeping the Ten Commandments not only continued during the time when the Jews entered the Promised Land of Canaan, but also during the time when Christ came to earth as he expressed no objection to this. Because Jesus never objected to the keeping of the Ten Commandments, therefore, he was sending a message to Christians during the Church Age that they were also responsible for obeying them.

     When the words “commandment” or “commandments” appear in any of the verses from the New Testament they will refer to the Ten Commandments. Accordingly, they will say that the benefits of keeping the Ten Commandments are such:

~ A believer can live a righteous life. Romans 7:1-8:3

~ This activates the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Colossians 3:10

~ A believer’s behavior toward their fellow believers can be improved. Thessalonians 4:1-5

~ They will be placed by God in their mind and heart. Hebrews 8:1-13

~ They are evidence that the believer knows Christ. 1 John 2:3

~ They are operating in the love of God, the filling of the Spirit. 1 John 5:3

     What comes next is the perspective that the dispensationalist would have in regard to this topic. They would not use any verses from the Age of the Gentiles or the Age of the Jews. Some verses could be used from the Age of Christ’s Incarnation (the Gospels) if they pertained to the Church Age which followed.

The dispensationalist might say the following.

~ The commandments which Jesus gave to the apostles before he ascended into heaven had nothing to do with the Ten Commandments. These commandments were to: wait at Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit; to preach the gospel to every creature; and to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Acts 1:1-5

~ The Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised in order to be saved, and neither did they have to keep the Law of Moses. The Christians Jews were allowed to practice their customs understanding that the Mosaic Law could not provide salvation nor sanctification. As time went on, Jewish Christians were not only kicked out of the synagogues, but were persecuted by the Jewish hierarchy. Acts 14:26-28; 15:1-30

~ The righteous demands of the law, its moral precepts, the Ten Commandments (e.g. thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, etc.) can only be fulfilled in the believer’s life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Another word, living a righteous life has nothing to do with trying to keep the Ten Commandments but by being filled with the Spirit. Romans 7:1-8:3

~ Activating the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not by keeping the Ten Commandments, but by learning and appropriating the perspective that God has concerning ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life. Colossians 3:10

~The commandments (instructions) that were given by Paul to the believers at Thessalonica had to with learning how to be filled with the Spirit. As the believers learned how to think differently in any area of human weakness or strength by appropriating and applying God’s word their behavior would change, because their thoughts had changed. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5

~   The laws that God put in the mind and hearts of the Jewish Christians had to do with the inner man. These laws pertain to newness of thought, to scriptures which reveal to the believer not only all that has taken place in their life at salvation, but how to walk in the Spirit. Hebrews 8:1-13

~   When a believer is operating in the fruit of the Spirit (e.g. a divine love, a divine joy, etc.) there will be evidenced to both believers and unbelievers a Christ like attitude of laying down their life for others (e.g. helping them with financial needs; helping them in their walk with God; praying with them in a particular matter, etc.) 1 John 5:3

     So, what you have are two entirely different perspectives, each of which is based on which scriptures are used to support the view not only on this topic, but on any biblical topic. No wonder why there are differences of opinion in regard to biblical topics. I would like to leave you with some parting words.

 

To Obey the Ten Commandments Or Not to Obey Them

Hopefully, this book has enlightened you as to whether you should or should not be obeying the Ten Commandments. For many Christian churches what you will find is that the leadership mixes their teachings, some from the Old Covenant and some from the New Covenant. Some of the observances which the Jews were mandated to keep under the Mosaic Law during the Age of the Jews are still mandated to be kept by the Christian assembly. I know, because in every church I have been involved with this has been the case.

     How should we respond if we find ourselves in a church whose teaching involves this admixture? I have a couple of guidelines which are helpful to me in this regard. I simply ask myself the following questions and then make a decision as to whether to stay or leave and look for a different church.

     Does the church I attend preach the gospel?

     Are the names of those in leadership in this list (e.g. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers?

     Am I learning about who God has made me to be and how to be filled with the Spirit?

     Does God show up in the gatherings of the saints, meaning are the gifts of the Spirit operative?

     The last one is, how much of the Law am I asked to obey?

Am I told to give of the firstfruits of my income?

Am I told to tithe?

Am I told to observe the 7th day Sabbath?

Am I told to keep the Ten Commandments?

Am I told that the sins of those in leadership, like David the king of Israel, cannot be judged, because they are only answerable or accountable to God?

Am I told to observe certain days of the year in order to fulfill certain religious obligations?

Is it made clear that if these mandates are not kept, then I or any other believer will never be used in any capacity in the church?

     Recently, I was in a church whose teachings were pretty much as described. I was delighted to hear the gospel; to see professions of faith be made; to observe the various gifts of the Spirit be manifest. However, spiritual growth was based on keeping various aspects of the Mosaic Law. Walking in the Spirit was based on whether a Christian obeyed certain requirements of the Law. I was torn as to whether to stay or not.

     I continued to attend until during one of the teachings a person in leadership made a comment in front of the group, which I decided at that time enough was enough. They said something like, why are you here listening to the teachings if you don’t agree with what they say? What struck me about this was it seemed apparent that no one was allowed to have a difference of view on anything which was taught.

If he had made a comment such as, if you have an issue with anything that was said, I am open to discussing it.   

     Enough said. I think you get the point. I have truly enjoyed putting this study together and sharing it with you. I hope after you read it, you will add to it by doing a further study on it.

    GOD BLESS!

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