Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Law is Good if Used Lawfully

In the Body of Christ, you rarely hear anyone teach about the Law, except to say that we are free from it, since we are under grace.  But there are few teachers of the Word, who seek to explain to us what place it has in our lives today as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.  I'd like to share with you from the apostle Paul's epistle how the Law is meant to be used.

Paul wrote to Timothy:

"But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted." (1Ti 1:8-11)

First of all, Paul taught that the Law is good, provided one uses it lawfully.  He himself used it lawfully (e.g.,  Eph 6:1-3; 1 Cor 14:34,37)! So there is a lawful way to use it for good.  The problem is that most people don't understand how to use it lawfully, being unable to handle it correctly, so they are unable to do any good with it, nor can they understand how anyone could do so.

If you are interested in a more detailed explanation about the role of the Law or the importance of obedience for the disciple of Christ, I recommend reading the following articles below, beginning with the ones in the left column:

Is Obedience Optional?
The Law of Christ 
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The Cost of Discipleship
Faith Works!
Costly Grace
Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?
Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?
The Obedience of Faith
Remember the Eternal Law of God
Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God
Aim for Perfection
Righteous Deeds and White Robes
Doing What is Right
Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice
Partaking of the Divine Nature
Walking in the Perfect Will of God
Pressing on Toward the Goal
Obedience by the Spirit
What Then Must We Observe
Listen to Jesus

Secondly, Paul taught that the Law is not made for a righteous person.  The reason is that the righteous person will have the Law written in his heart and will be living a holy and godly life that is spotless and blameless (see 2 Pe 3:14; Heb 12:14; 1 Pe 1:15-16).  A righteous person will be led by the Holy Spirit, who will always have us do that which is holy and good.

Thirdly, Paul taught that the Law is made for certain people, namely for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers.  Such people need to see in the law that the way they are living is detestable to God.  They need to see that God hates what they are doing.

Here is where (in my opinion) most Christians miss it.  They assume that all Christians, including themselves, are righteous people, who do not engage in such a lifestyle as Paul described here.  They assume that they are neither lawless nor rebellious, neither ungodly nor sinners, neither unholy nor profane.  But this is a big mistake!  If the people of God have gone astray, then they most certainly are practicing certain things that are either unholy, profane, lawless, rebellious, ungodly, or sinful.

In many of the divine revelations I have posted on Eternal Destinations, the Lord is warning His Church that we have gone astray, and He is calling us back to holiness, righteousness, and truth.  He is addressing things that are making his Church "dirty," like wearing ungodly attire and adornment, watching secular television, listening to rock, reggae, and rap, cross-dressing, worshiping idols, and not keeping Sundays holy.  Many people are hearing what the Spirit is saying to the Church in these revelations. They are waking up, repenting, and getting right with God before it is too late.

However, there are many more believers who reject these revelations as legalism and deception from the enemy, as if the devil would want to call us back to holiness with God.  And when we try to show them that the things the Lord warned us about in the divine revelations are found in the Bible, including the Law and the Prophets, some of them argue that these Scriptures are not for those of us today, who are living under the New Covenant of grace.  They argue that anyone who cites a verse from the Law is being legalistic, and sometimes they even ridicule us. But they are badly mistaken.  The Law is good if used lawfully.

Lastly, in Paul's epistle to Timothy, he taught that the Law is also for "whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted." (1 Tim 1:10b-11).   I want to highlight this phrase, which Paul added in addition to the other things he already mentioned the Law was made for, namely "for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers."  Let's now look more closely at this "whatever else" phrase.

In this phrase, Paul taught that: 1) Those who are lawless and rebellious, the ungodly and sinners, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers are all living contrary to "sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God." 2) The Law was made not only for such people as he specified here, but for "whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God." The term "whatever else" covers everything else in that category without the need for Paul to specify it. 3) When the Law is used lawfully, it is not contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel, but rather it is in harmony with it. 4) When Paul said the Law is for such people and whatever else, although the word "for" is not in the Greek, it is implied.  And in saying the Law is for such people, he did not limit this to non-believers, who are outside of Christ.  He taught that the Law is made "for" all of these situations, regardless of whether the person calls himself a brother.  The reason the Law is established for such people, and whatever else is contrary to the gospel, is that it is a means of rebuking, correcting, teaching, or training in righteousness.

All of these are lawful purposes for which the Law is good to use, since Paul taught that the Law is good, provided one uses it lawfully.  The Law is a lamp, a mirror, and a safety net.

Putting it All Together
Those who reject the Lord's message to the Church in the divine revelations, and those who reject anyone citing from verses in the Law (e.g., to validate such revelations), fail to realize that living a lawless life, or an ungodly life, or an unholy life, or a profane life are all contrary to "sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God."  They also fail to understand that the sexually immoral, the homosexuals, the liars, and the perjurers are all contrary to "sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God," along with those who kill their fathers or mothers, and with murderers.  They incorrectly assume that no Christian, including themselves, would engage in anything that is "contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God."  They incorrectly assume that the Law would never be necessary as a means of reproof, correction, instruction, or training in righteousness for such so-called believers.  They forget that "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16).

But I would like to pose a question.  Is it possible that a born again believer in Jesus Christ could become wayward and engage in the kinds of lifestyles that Paul specified in this passage?  And is it possible that a born again believer could do anything else that is "contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God"? Is it possible that even a pastor or elder could be deceived and could do such things?  I say the answer is most certainly yes, there are plenty of real-life examples we could point to, and the New Testament is full of warnings against such apostasy (see The Apostasy Parables and Drifting Away).

Don't be so quick to say, "I'm not deceived!"  Please let me remind you that the very nature of deception is such that if the person who is deceived knew he was deceived, he would no longer continue to allow himself to be deceived.  So it is certainly possible that you have been deceived, in which case you would not even know it, especially if the majority of so-called Christians are living their lives the same way you are.  But truth is not necessarily in the majority, so don't be fooled by the fact that so many are taking that wide road.  Don't be fooled by those who are conforming to the pattern of this world.

Prayerfully consider whether you have been deceived into sin, into any of the categories Paul specified in this passage, or into anything else that is "contrary to the sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God."  If what you are believing is not true, wouldn't you want to know?  Read the divine revelations I have posted on Eternal Destinations, and diligently examine the Scriptures, including the Law and the Prophets, in order to see if these things are so.  Then if the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, repent to God, confess your sin, and ask for him to forgive and cleanse you.  And don't forget to warn others, so that they too might wake up spiritually and be saved.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted. Richard Harrison's article called God's Ten Commandments.

Author's note I invite you to see these related articles of mine: Holy Living in a Perverted World"Is Obedience Optional?", "Faith Works!," "Obedience by the Spirit,"  "Righteous Deeds and White Robes,"  "Messages from the Lord for Catholics Worshiping Idols," "Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?" "Zipporah Mushala’s Third Testimony of Hell,"and "Doing What is Right", as well as the other posts on the Main Directory for this blog.  And of course, you are invited to visit Eternal Destinations. You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus Christ personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what the God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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