Gal 3:28                                 The Transition                                 9/9/2012        

·        The Old Testament Saint (Isa 60:12-15, 59:20-21, Mic 5:2)

 

 

 

 

#1.       The New Testament Saint (Rom 2:25-29, Psalm 58:3, John 3:18, Gal 3:28, John 1:13, Rev 20:1-3, Matt 12:29, Heb 2:14, Isa 49:25, Col 2:15, Jude 6)

 

 

 

 

·        Coping With the Transition (Gal 3:28, Matt 2:15, Hos 11:1, Rom 9:6-8, Heb 7:12)

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Law and the Prophets (Psalm 119:97, 1Cor 2:2, John 17:3, 2Cor 4:10, Eph 5:2, Col 3:16, Heb 12:2-4, 1John 3:1-3, Matt 7:12, Phil 2:13)

 

 

 

 

·        The Curse of the Law (Matt 5:48, Gal 3:10, Ecc 7:20, Gal 3:13, Rom 4:25)

 

 

 

 

#3.       How Then Shall We Live? (Gal 5:1, John 8:36)

 

 

 

 

 

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 60:12 (2X). Today I want to take you into a new direction that I have not heard before from any other preacher.

·        The Old Testament Saint (Isa 60:12-15, 59:20-21, Mic 5:2)

Just imagine that you are a Jew by birth. Your name is Nathanael, of the stock of Benjamin, and you were born in the year 10 BC, just a few years before the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, probably at the same time as Saul of Tarsus. You are a Jew who wants to serve God faithfully, and so in your earliest years you have learned all the doctrines of Judaism. You have learned that the nation of the Jews are God’s elect people, and that all the Gentiles are on the way to hell. You have learned that Messiah is coming some day to take care of all the sins of all His elect, and He will establish a glorious kingdom on this earth wherein the Jews will reign forever. Where did you learn that doctrine? You have learned that in many places in the Bible. For example you found in Isa 60:12-15,

Isa 60:12-15, “12  For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. 13  The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. 14  The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15  Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.”

Can you see that? An eternal excellency. It means it is a glorious kingdom which shall have no end, better than a millennium. Please turn to the page on your left to Isa 59. We read in Isa 59:20-21,

Isa 59:20-21, “20  And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 21  As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever.” And when God says “forever” He really means “forever.”

And so, you wait in eager expectation for the coming of Messiah who shall with His flaming sword swipe all the Romans into the Great Sea, and who shall also take care of all the Gentiles and shall establish a glorious kingdom forever. But look at it now objectively. It is a religion that worships a tribal god, a god who only favors the tribe that is called Israel, and who has no mercy for anyone who is not born from the bloodline of Jacob. And as you patiently wait, something happens which throws all your doctrines and expectations in turmoil: Through reliable sources you have learned that Messiah has been born in Bethlehem, as predicted by the Prophet Micah in Mic 5:2, and He has ministered in Judaea and in Samaria with great signs and wonders to testify that He indeed was sent by God, and then He was crucified, was buried, and He rose again from the grave, and was taken up into heaven. Moreover, reliable sources say that Messiah came for both Jews and Gentiles. What about the glorious kingdom for the Jews which shall have no end? Do we have to forget that? What about God’s elect people? Do we have to forget that the Jews are God’s elect people? And so, there is much confusion in your mind, for the manner of entrance of Messiah into human history has thrown all your doctrines into turmoil. But God does not lie. We want to believe the Old Testament doctrines and we also want to believe the New Testament doctrines. How can we bring harmony into these doctrines that seem to contradict one another? Did God give us modifications or improvements on Old Testament doctrines? Let us begin with those modified doctrines one step at a time.

#1.       The New Testament Saint (Rom 2:25-29, Psalm 58:3, John 3:18, Gal 3:28, John 1:13, Rev 20:1-3, Matt 12:29, Heb 2:14, Isa 49:25, Col 2:15, Jude 6)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 2:25 (2X). The Jews claimed that they were the circumcised, whereas the Gentiles were the uncircumcised. But this was only an outward sign in the flesh. Does God not consider the heart of man instead? We read in Rom 2:25-27,

Rom 2:25-27, “25  For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26  Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27  And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?” Verse 25 says, “If you break the law, your circumcision is made null and void.” Well, God calls us liars the first hour that we come into the world (Psalm 58:3). That puts an end to all the doctrines elevating the nation of the Jews. So, let us not be too proud of ourselves. God looks upon the heart of man. That is how God judges. And then God continues in this passage:

Rom 2:28-29, “28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” And now God uses the name “Jew” as an honorary title, for the name “Jew” means “Praise”. The name Jew was derived from the name Judah, and Judah means “He shall be praised.” But now we must include this fact in our vocabulary. Those of the nation of the Jews who are saved are looked upon favorably by God, just like all the Gentiles who are saved. The Jews who are not saved are under the wrath of God, like all the Gentiles who are not saved. All those who are saved are now called “Jews”, or “Those who shall be praised”, and those who reject Christ as their Savior are now called “The Synagogue of Satan.” Let us remember this new definition of Jews and Gentiles. And this brings up another aspect of the language of the New Testament: It is not Old Testament language any more. Here is the principle that we have learned: We must keep in mind that God’s terminology has changed after the cross. To the Old Testament Jew this brings utter confusion. And so, we need to keep our eyes open for other changes God has introduced after the cross. And then Nathanael discovered that there are quite a few more of those changes. Please turn to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 3:28 (2X).  The first thing we see is that the Jews are no longer the favorites of God, but the Gentiles can enter into that condition just as readily. God is no longer a tribal god, no longer just a god over Israel, but He is God over all the world. The Gentiles are no longer the cursed people, but all the unbelievers enter into the condition of being accursed whether they are born as Jews or as Gentiles. God says in John 3:18, “He that believeth not is condemned already.” And thus God states in Gal 3:28-29,

Gal 3:28-29, “28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” I want you to see two principles in this passage; principles which many theologians in this age deliberately forget or refuse to apply. The first is that “There is neither Jew nor Greek.” It means then that from now on, after the cross, there is no more distinction between those born as Jews and those born as Gentiles. No longer can you draw up fanciful stories about the Jews having a special place in God’s program of salvation. That is no longer possible. Does God not say in John 1:13, “Not of blood”, which means your condition of being born of God is “Not of blood?” It means, “Not of the right bloodline.” The spectacular stories about a Jewish millennium are feeding on sensationalism, but they are not Biblical. There is no glorious millennium in the future, either premil or postmil, but the millennium is now. The entire period of time from the cross to the last day is the millennium that the Bible speaks about. Does the Bible say this? Let us carefully derive this. Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 20:1. What do we read here?

Rev 20:1-3, “1  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” This was not an angel. Only Christ has the key of the Bottomless Pit. He came down to bind Satan. And when did He bind Satan? Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 12:29 (2X). The Lord Jesus spoke here of Satan as a strong man who guards his house. But then someone stronger than he will enter his house and will bind the strong man and plunder his goods. We read in Matt 12:29,

Matt 12:29,  “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.” Christ is the one who is stronger than Satan. At the cross Christ bound Satan and plundered his house. Christ purchased all His elect out of the house of Satan during His atonement for their sins. We read in Heb 2:14 that through His death Christ destroyed the power of the devil, and then He plundered Satan. We read in Heb 2:14,

Heb 2:14, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” God says in Isa 49:25 that the captives of Satan will be delivered. Not all captives of

Satan will be delivered, but only those who are the children of Christ. We read in Isa 49:25,

Isa 49:25  “But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” When will this come to pass? It came to pass when Christ was crucified. Col 2:15,

Col 2:15, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” But evil spirits do not die like humans. How long shall Satan remain defeated? He will remain in darkness until the Day of Judgment. We read in Jude 6,

 “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” The words “under darkness” mean struck with stupidity until the time of the end. Satan and his demons were bound for a symbolic 1000 years until the time of the end. And after that they will be loosed for a little season. The 1000 years are symbolic, for the context indicates that everything around it must be considered symbolic. And so, today we are surrounded by people who take these three verses concerning the 1000 years literal, whereas they take everything around it symbolic. It is utterly unbiblical and confusing.

·        Coping With the Transition (Gal 3:28, Matt 2:15, Hos 11:1, Rom 9:6-8, Heb 7:12)

How is the New Testament saint coping with the transition? How can he bring harmony in all this confusing information? There is only one way that harmonizes everything: He must let go of the literal Jewish millennium, for the Jewish millennium is not being continued in Rev 20. Most of all, the Jewish millennium violates the principle of Gal 3:28 that there is now no more distinction between Jews or Greeks. We must now keep our eyes open to a spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures, for the literal historical interpretation leads us astray. The Bible is a spiritual Book. It should not be interpreted as any other book in the world. And a major stumbling block to those who are literalists is the name Israel. They do not want to believe that Christ is called Israel. Please turn to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 2:15 (2X). We have here the story of Joseph and Mary and the Lord Jesus who fled into Egypt, to escape the wrath of king Herod. As you know, this is the king Herod who murdered all the male babies in Bethlehem. They were hiding in Egypt. And then we read in Matt 2:15,

Matt 2:15, “And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” Where in the Bible do we find the prophet saying, “Out of Egypt have I called my son”? Nowhere! But the verse that comes closest to it is Hos 11:1, and this is definitely the passage God was referring to in Matt 2:15. We read in Hos 11:1,

Hos 11:1, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”

Without the information from the New Testament we would have interpreted this verse as if God called the nation of Israel out of their bondage to Pharaoh and delivered them from their slavery. But with the New Testament information we have to say that Hos 11:1 refers to the Lord Jesus returning out of Egypt. Now, this causes many people to turn to unbelief. They will refuse to accept that Hos 11:1 refers to Christ, for that will upset all their sensational stories about the future millennium. But the plain teaching of the Bible shows us that Christ is called “Israel”, and all the elect who are in Christ, and who are the Bride of Christ, are also called “Israel.” This is another example of how God has changed His terminology in the New Testament. Depending on the context we must keep our eyes and ears open to the possibility that Israel refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, or that it refers to all those who are in Christ. For example, please turn to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 9:6 (2X). God gives us here an example that all those who are in Christ must also be called “Israel.” Those who are the elect out of all the nations of the world have now received a new most honorable name: We are called “Israel”, or “Prince of God.” Is that really true? Let us read about that here in Rom 9:6-8,

Rom 9:6-8, “6  Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Paraphrased verse 6 says that not all who are the children of Jacob are of the Israel of God. Not all who are Jacob’s children of the flesh are called Israel by God, but only those who are the children of the promise; just like Isaac was not a child of God because he was of the seed of Abraham, but because he was a child of the promise. And then follow seven examples of who the children of the promise are. That is why God said in Rom 9:6, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Moreover, the law was changed after the cross. God said so emphatically in Heb 7:12. How many of you have seen this before? Heb 7:12,

Heb 7:12, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” If one item of the law has changed, perhaps there are many more items of the law that have been changed. Moreover, when Christ died the curtain in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies from the remainder of the temple was torn from top to bottom, as if the finger of God tore it to open the Holy of Holies to the world. God was indicating thereby that from now on people could come directly to God through the body of Christ, instead of through the prayers of the high priest. This was also a change in the law, for the law dictated that only the high priest was allowed to see the inside of the Holy of Holies once a year. And so, we see that Nathanael would have been in total confusion if he would not have informed that God has introduced many changes in the New Testament. But the greatest of all changes is still coming. It concerns the change in the law and the prophets.

#2.       The Law and the Prophets (Psalm 119:97, 1Cor 2:2, John 17:3, 2Cor 4:10, Eph 5:2, Col 3:16, Heb 12:2-4, 1John 3:1-3, Matt 7:12, Phil 2:13)

Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 119:97 (2X). What is the greatest treasure in the religion of the

Jews? It is the law of God. And the law of God was identified as “the law and the prophets.” They worshipped the law as something that could not be changed, like God could not be changed, even though we have already seen that there were a few changes made in the New Testament. We read in

Psalm 119:97, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Is this really true? As you know, the church has worshipped Psalm 119, and has placed it on a high pedestal throughout the centuries. Today I want to challenge that notion. Let us take this verse, verse 97. What does it say? It says that this psalm is worthy to be loved and adored, to the extent that I must meditate on it all the day. In other words, it says that the law of God must be on our mind all the day. This is absolutely not true. Christ must be on our mind, and the crucifixion of Christ must be on our mind all day and every day. This is what it means to love Christ above all, and to serve Him all the day and every day. God tells us this in many passages. For example, we find in 1Cor 2:2, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Not the law, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified must be our meditation all day and every day. Do we really know Him? Do we really know what He has done for us? This is what we must understand first of all, for the lord Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” We cannot be saved unless we know who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. He paid on our behalf the equivalent of an eternity in hell. Is that not the greatest thing to be meditating about? We read in 2Cor 4:10, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” We are always infinitely grateful for the dying of the Lord Jesus on our behalf. We cannot stop thinking about the great love with which He has surrounded us, even though we were sinners, deserving hell for our sins. Even though we were like maggots in His eyes, yet He loved us and protected us, and led us to salvation. Eph 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.” Col 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” You can do that with your family or friends, or you can do that when you are alone in the house. It truly drives the loneliness away. Heb 12:2-4, “2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4  Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” 1John 3:1-3, “1  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Did I make the point? The law of Moses did not attain to the excellency of Christ and the cross of Christ. We must be meditating on Christ and not on the law. This is really what should occupy our mind. But then, what is the meaning of Psalm 119:97, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day”? What would be the meaning in our days of Psalm 119:97? We should not simply erase this from our mind, for God has put these words in the Bible for a reason. The reference is Gal 3:24,

Gal 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Now this makes more sense. We should be meditating on how Christ was brought into our life by the schoolmaster, for then we will know how we should deal with those who have never heard the Gospel. This then is the equivalent of the law and the prophets. The Lord Jesus said something to this effect in Matt 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Remember, it is only the Pharisees and the Judaizers who will meditate on the law every day and all day, but we will meditate on the love of God through Jesus Christ. And why is this so? There is a very logical reason for this. Meditating on the law causes me to think of me and all my doings and all my failings. But meditating on Christ causes me to think of God’s work in me, and that is far more profitable. God says in Phil 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Let this encouragement bring the joy of salvation back into our life. And another thing that also brings us joy is this:

·        The Curse of the Law (Matt 5:48, Gal 3:10, Ecc 7:20, Gal 3:13, Rom 4:25)

Did you know this? He law brings a curse. What is the curse of the law? The law requires perfection, and we are an imperfect people. We cannot attain to perfection. We do not need a God who requires perfection. We need a God who is merciful. And in His mercy He atoned for all our sins, wiped our sins from our souls, declared that we now are clean in His sight, and in this way He has attained perfection for us in our place. And so, when the Lord Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matt 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” He commanded us to do something that we are unable to do: To be perfect. But then, when Christ atoned for our sins, and through the action of God the Holy Spirit we did become Born Again, He declared us as perfect as perfect can be. Even though we still are sinners, God calls us saints. This is just one of the signs of the unfathomable mercy of God.

But how does the curse of the law enter into the picture? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 3:10 (2X). Most churches consider the Epistle to the Galatians to be the Epistle that discusses the law of circumcision. But that is not so. It is the Epistle that discusses salvation by the law versus salvation by grace. Let us look at this question in Chapter 3. We read in Gal 3:10,

Gal 3:10, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Is it possible for mankind to continue in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them? No, it is not possible, for as soon as we are born we are declared liars, and one sin breeds another sin, and very soon we have dug ourselves a deep hole in hell. Trying to quit sin is not possible, for God says that even the most holy men continue to sin. He says in Ecc 7:20, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Even a just man, which means a righteous man who is doing good works, also sins at the same time. And thus trying to accomplish salvation by obeying the law of God results in utter failure. How then can we be delivered from this curse of the law? God says it can only be done through Christ crucified. Drop down to Gal 3:13, and there we read,

Gal 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” The emphasis in this verse is not on the fact that Christ was hanged on a tree, referring to the tree of the cross, but the emphasis is that Christ was accursed for us, and the fact that He was hanged on a tree only shows us that He was accursed by God. The curse of the law fell on Him, for our sins were imputed to His account. Christ was able to pay for these sins the equivalent of an eternity in hell. We are not able to pay such a severe penalty. And thus it is in this way that He saved us, through the cross and through the resurrection. Both the cross and the resurrection of Christ are all one package. That is why we read in Rom 4:25,

Rom 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” This all took place on Friday, April 3 in the year AD 33. It was at that time that we were declared just in the sight of God. And so, the question remains:

#3.       How Then Shall We Live? (Gal 5:1, John 8:36)

Let us continue in our Bibles with the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 5:1 (2X). Since all our sins were paid; past, present and future sins were all paid, there is no more law that can accuse us of any sin. Do we understand this? Because Christ died for our sins, we were delivered from the law. The Lord Jesus said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” And so, if we can discover if we have been Born Again, then we can rejoice in the glorious future that awaits us. And so, we can rejoice in the glorious liberty wherewith Christ has set us free. We read in Gal 5:1,

Gal 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” What was that yoke of bondage? It was the law. It was not just the ceremonial law, but it was the whole law, lock, stock and barrel, and the whole kitten caboodle, for Christ paid for all of our sins. You know, when the children of Israel were delivered out of Egypt and they wandered in the wilderness, many times they wanted to return into Egypt. That was a picture of their desire to go back under the law. That was evil. But today people want to do the same thing. They set up a list of things they must do and things they must abstain. They arrange to be baptized in water, and they imagine that the mode of baptism would affect their salvation. Some say it must be backwards dunked under water, or else it would not be a valid baptism. Some say that the Lord’s Supper must be served with real wine rather than grape juice. Some say that women must come to church in dresses or skirts rather than in pants. And so on and so on. It is all ceremonial hoopla. It is equivalent to going back to Egypt, equivalent to putting ourselves back under the law.

But God says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” The liberty that we enjoy with Christ is not a license to sin. It is the liberty of a child of the King of kings, and who lives like an heir of the throne. It is a glorious awareness that we are on our way to glory, and that we love our heavenly Father and we love our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an eternal thanksgiving, every day, for the salvation that He has given us, and of which He has made us more sure every day. It is a thanksgiving for keeping us faithful to the Gospel of grace alone, and for protecting us against Arminian gospels that want to draw us back to the law. We have been called out of the Arminian gospels, and let us not fall back into it. Rejoice that Christ is coming soon. Rejoice if you see that this world is getting more evil and is falling apart, for it means that Christ is coming soon. Rejoice if the homosexual community becomes stronger and stronger, for it means that Christ is coming soon. But first and foremost,

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Remain faithful to Christ.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.