Law Vs. Grace

Recently, a good friend of mine was preparing to teach on the Old Testament book of Joshua and we began a discussion of the relationship between the Law and Grace. This is a portion of that discussion that I thought might be beneficial to our readers.
There is a huge difference between God’s Word and God’s Law. We should not use the two terms interchangeably. At best, it will confuse your listeners. At worst, it will undermine the true faith of Christ. Or, let’s put it this way, God’s Law is part of God’s Word, but God’s Word is not synonymous with God’s Law.

The basics : There is a direct connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament, but they are not equitable. The Old Testament contains the history, the theology, the religion, the covenants and the Law given to God’s chosen nation, Israel. The New Testament contains the fulfillment of some Old Testament prophecy, new prophecy concerning the future, and the arrival of the Messiah promised to God’s chosen nation, Israel. Oh yes, and there is also the introduction of Gentiles into God’s covenant relationship with God’s chosen nation, Israel.

The New Testament is about the outgrowth of the New Covenant, the New Testament in the blood of Christ. It is the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31, God’s everlasting love for Israel and Judah culminating in the birth, death and resurrection of David’s greater Son. It is the proof that God has not cast off His people, Israel and Judah, whom He foreknew and loved despite their rebellion.

Why am I pounding this so pedantically? Well, I’m a pedantic sort of guy. But, we must see the clear demarcation between how God deals with His people in the Mosaic economy and how He deals with them in the New Covenant economy.

Joshua 1:8 deals with the “book of the law.” That is the Law of God, handed down to the nation of Israel through their mediator, Moses. It was a list of commands imposed on Israel, whether they wanted them or not. They had no choice in the matter, nor were they consulted to see if they felt that they could achieve them. The Law was handed to them and they were commanded to keep the Law in its entirety, or die under its curse.

But, if we – as New Covenant teachers – instruct people using Joshua’s words, to be “careful to do everything written in it [the Law]” (Josh. 1:7-8), we run a perilous risk. We are asking them to achieve a personal level of righteousness that will be acceptable to God. If we have learned anything from the Old Testament, it is that not one single person ever achieved righteousness by the Law. But, that was not the Law’s purpose.

“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.”

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Rom. 5:20)

“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Rom 7:12-13)

So, what was the purpose of the law? According to Paul, the law was added to Israel to make their sin and rebellion all the more sinful and rebellious. The high standard was set in order to make them realize their inability to achieve personal righteousness. Of course, they missed that point. The steady stream of animal blood flowing from the altar in the Holiest Place was meant to teach the reality that sin requires death and that living creatures had to continually die because Israel continually sinned. Unfortunately, they believed that the animals actually atoned for their sins, not recognizing the type and foreshadow of the one death to come, which would be sufficient payment for all their iniquity. But, the law was imposed on Israel so that their offence would abound. That is the point of the law.

Now, was Joshua correct in telling Israel to concentrate, meditate and perform all the Law? Yes, absolutely. They were under the dispensation of law. God imposed that rule on them and they were absolutely under its authority. Could they perform it? Nope. Could they achieve the righteous standard? Nope. Was that how God planned it? Yep.

The Law was a schoolmaster, a “paidagogos,” designed to lead Israel to their Savior.

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal. 3:26)

And, that brings us to a really important point. Is the Law of Moses still in effect and is it still the standard for the Church? The book of Galatians argues adamantly, as do the books of Romans, Colossians and Hebrews, that the Law is no longer in force for the New Testament Church. Faith has come; the law has been taken out of the way. The ordinances of performance – which could only condemn, but never save – were taken out of the way when Christ died and rose again.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross: And, having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:13-15)

The Law of Moses was not intended for perfection or sanctification. Paul said that it was “contrary to us” and “against us.” Consequently, the Law, which was designed to condemn men, was taken out of the way. It has no more power over us. It cannot condemn us. It is no longer in effect for all those who are in Christ.

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:4-5)

Our sanctification is accomplished in Christ’s own righteousness imputed to our account on the basis of faith. The Law was the perfect standard against which we would be judged and condemned. But, the Law is powerless against the perfect salvation Christ proffers.

“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Rom. 8:33-34)

There is a popular, albeit anti-Biblical, credo that many churches adhere to. It goes, “Lead men to Christ for justification, and lead them to Moses for sanctification.” But, I am dreadfully concerned about any theology that points the Church of the redeemed back to the Law of Moses when our whole faith rests on Christ’s finished work, imputed to us, proven in faith, accomplishing righteousness on our behalf.

That’s dangerous. Here’s why –

The Gentile church at Galatia had been infiltrated by Judaizers from James who were trying to impose Israel’s Law onto the new Gentile converts. The first line of defense in this theological war was circumcision, the mark of the Abrahamic Covenant, which came to designate the people who were under the Mosaic Covenant. But, Paul countered –

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Gal. 5:1-5)

Now pay attention to those words. Christ made these Gentile people utterly free. Think about it from a historical perspective. Only Israel was ever under the Mosaic Law. God did not impose His law on the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, the Canaanites, the Hivites, the Hittites, or other “-ites.” Only Israel was under the Law. But, Christ, the Jewish Messiah, came to free them from the obligation of that impossible standard. He came knowing that the Law was designed to condemn them. He knew that they needed someone to attain righteousness on their behalf, or they were all eternally lost. So, He died for their sin and rose for their justification and glorification.

Gentiles were never under the Law. Only Israel was obligated to Moses. How incongruous is it to attempt imposing that Law Covenant onto people who were never under it in the first place? And, how misleading is it to encourage them to accomplish some form of self-induced holiness when such an attempt is not only futile, but it obligates them to the entirety of the law, taking them out from under the protective cover of grace.

Meanwhile, back in Galatia, the Jewish converts from the Jerusalem Church could not extricate themselves from their longstanding traditions and deeply rooted system of religion. And, they thought that the only way Gentiles could be brought into their covenant of salvation via the Jewish Messiah was for them to be equally yoked with the Law. But, Paul cried against them and asked who had “bewitched” them that were so quickly turned from the grace that bought them. He said that if they took one single step toward seeking personal justification by the elements of Law – in this case, circumcision – they were automatically responsible to perform the entirety of the Law and would be judged on the basis of that Law. No one would be saved that way. They were “fallen from grace.” Only faith can achieve an actual, lasting, God-accepted righteousness.

Even the apostle Peter argued against the leaders of the Jerusalem church,

“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10)

So, I prefer Paul’s admonition – Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free, and don’t be entangled in the yoke of bondage – the Law of Moses. To impose the Law on believers is tantamount to tempting God!

There’s more. There’s so much more.

Paul cried to the people who were under the law and begged them to understand their freedom. They were free from its ordinances and finally freed, through the infilling of the Spirit, to love God in Spirit and truth, something the Law could never attain.

“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Rom. 7:1-4)

Paul retained the distinction between Israel and the Gentile world. So, he wrote these particular words to Israel, those who “know the law.” And, his conclusion was that when Christ (their Messiah) died, they were free from the Law of Moses and able to marry their new love, Christ. To be in Christ is to be “dead to the law.”

On another occasion, Paul likened the Old Covenant (the Law) to Abraham in the tent with Hagar, trying to work out God’s declared will in their flesh. But, when the child of promise, Isaac, was born, God told Abraham to put away the bondwoman and her son because they would not share in his inheritance.

“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” (Gal. 4:21-31)

We are not children of the bondwoman, we are children of the free. And, the two are not to be intermingled. They will hate us for our freedom, but we will bask in it. There are two covenants, and they are opposed to each other. One engendered death, but Christ nailed it to His tree and took it out of the way. The other engendered life, joy, peace, and eternal life. To ask the children of Sarah to act like the children of Hagar is to undermine the whole plan of redemption and salvation by faith in Christ.

If we preach sanctification by the Law, we are instructing people to attempt achieving spiritual cleanliness and personal holiness via an impossible standard. Worse, we are imposing on them a covenant of death.

“For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. 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. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Rom. 7:5-11)

Look again at how Paul described the law:

“the motions of sins, which were by the law…bring forth death.”

“…we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held.”

“…the oldness of the letter…”

“I had no known sin, but by the law.”

“…sin, by occasion of the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.”

“…when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”

“The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.”

“Sin, taking occasion by the commandment the [law], deceived me and by it [the law] slew me.”

I will say this clearly. The law cannot cleanse people. It cannot help them achieve purity, sanctification, or holiness. It can only condemn, and sin uses it as a means to kill us.

Now, from Joshua’s perspective, indeed Israel should never let the law depart from their mouths. That was God’s command concerning Israel. But, this command is never put on the Church. Not once. Instead, you have Paul saying, “You who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law????” (Gal. 4:21)

Remember, to do one part of the Law is to be a debtor to perform the whole Law, utterly and completely. But, again, that begs the question: have you heard the law?

The Law, to be completely exercised, includes things like keeping feasts in Jerusalem three times a year. Not many of us making that trip, eh?

Or, we are required to stone disobedient children to death before the elders (Deut. 21:18-21).

Or, when we build houses, we’re to put a “battlement,” or flat ridge, around the roof in order to catch anyone who may fall from the roof, so that blood is not spilled (Deut. 22:8). Not a lot of those in the building codes.

Or, how about the rule against wearing garments of diverse sorts, like wool and linen together? (Deut. 22:11) Nobody’s keeping that one, lately. Lots of cotton blends going around.

Or, how about the rule concerning the public display of bloody sheets after the wedding night to prove a woman’s virginity? (Deut. 22:13-18)

Or, keeping men with wounded testicles and out-of-wedlock children out of the assembly? (Deut. 23:1-2)

Or, for goodness sake, the rules against lending for usury, or interest, unless he’s a stranger to Israel! (Deut. 23:19)

Or, when you come to a neighbors vineyard or standing corn, you could eat your fill, but you could not carry any away. (Deut. 23:24-25)

Or, of course, the ability to divorce any of your several wives by simply giving her a bill of divorcement because she displeased you. (Deut. 24:1-4)

There are lots of such laws. I’m sure you get my point. Are we willing to advocate that New Covenant Christians study and keep all these commands in order to achieve holiness?

Again, it was never the Gentile law. It was never the Church’s law. It is a dead and finished law that went into the grave with Christ. And, when He rose from the dead, He left those ordinances behind, starting the New Covenant of life and righteousness by faith.

There is also a teaching running through the Church world that says that the one things God demands is obedience. But, that’s not true. The Pharisees, the leaders of Israel who were committed to achieving righteousness by obedience to the Law asked, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?”

Jesus did not say, “Be obedient to the law.”

“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:30)

God requires faith, without which it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6). Faith can save disobedient children. Obedience cannot save faithless people.

The contrast between the Law and grace is that the Law says, ‘Do it and live. Fail to keep it perfectly, constantly, completely, and you die.’

Christ’s message is not “Do it and live.” His message is, “Live. I have done it.”

Big difference.

Christ died to free His people from the yoke of bondage, and we – as His representatives – should never be encouraging people take back that yoke.

Now, many people confuse the Law with the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are not the whole Law. But, they attempt to impose the Ten Commandments on the Church, as though that is a sufficient substitute for performing the whole Law.

Only nine of the ten commands are repeated in the New Testament. But, they are not even repeated verbatim. Christ adjusts some of them. He was undeniably a Sabbath breaker. He was the Lord of the Sabbath.

“For the son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” (Mat. 12:8)

He was the new lawgiver for the Church. Having eliminated the need to run to Moses for sanctification, He laid out the new law of love and personal liberty. He was the end of the Law of Moses because He was superior to the Law of Moses.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)

I’ve always found it interesting that when Jesus was asked which command of God was the greatest, He answered with the first of the Ten, and a command that was buried away in the minutiae of the law.

“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:35-40)

Jesus went to Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18.

But, again, He saw Himself as above the Law. He redefined it according to His new, better covenant. He said, “You have heard it said…” and He would quote from Moses. Then, He would say, “But, I say unto you…” and He would lay down His standard.

For instance:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Mat. 5:19-20)

He did not instruct people to follow the Ten Commandments. He asserted His own standard for His New Covenant people. He went past external actions – which were the standard for Moses – into the intentions of the heart. No longer could men look righteous on the outside while being “dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” on the inside. The external actions of the Law were undermined by the superior standard of the One who knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts.

Now, let me ask – is the Law holy? Yes, indeed. Is the commandment just? Absolutely. Are the Ten Commandments reflective of God’s will for Israel and a window into the mind of God? Yes, definitely.

But, are the Ten Commandments the standard we are to impose on the conscience of Christians as a means of establishing a personal holiness, in order to make us clean enough to be accepted in God’s presence? No, no, no.

Christ did that for us. We are “accepted in the beloved.” We are not accepted because we cleaned up our “white washed sepulchers.”

Okay, fundamental theology 101 –

The first tables of stone – called the Tables of the Covenant, the physical emblem of God’s exclusive covenant with Israel (Ex. 34:28) – were carved out of stone and written on by God (Ex. 32:16). They were God’s commands, created by God and levied by God. But, those commandments were broken. Israel failed to conform to them. Likewise, the first tables of stone were broken when Moses came down from the mountain and saw them worshipping a golden calf (Ex. 32:19).

Now, that’s important. The first Law was broken, and the first tables of stone were broken. But, God did not leave Israel in their miserable estate. Moses went back up onto the mountain and God gave him a new directive. He told Moses to carve tablets out of the rock (Ex. 34:1). God wrote His commands on those stone, carved by the hands of a man, a covenant for Israel (Ex. 34:27-28).

As soon as God handed down His law, embodied in the Tablets of Stone, they were immediately broken over the Children of Israel because of their sin. But, the second Tablets of Stone, cut by a man and written by God, remained intact. The point? The first law was broken because of sin, but the second law, hewn by a man (Christ) was fulfilled and kept entirely.

And, that brings us back to Joshua – What is the point of Joshua’s story?

Briefly, Moses died. Moses was the embodiment of the Law. The Law could not lead Israel into their promised land, flowing with milk and honey. So, Moses was replaced. When Israel marched through the Red Sea, they were all – as a nation – baptized into Moses’ Law (1Cor. 10:2). But again, the Law could not deliver them.

They needed a new deliverer and a new baptism. So, God raised up Joshua. Joshua is the Hebrew contraction of the name of God, Jehovah-oshua, which means “God with us,” or “God will deliver.” The Greek cognate of that name is “Jesus.” So, when the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary about her impending pregnancy, he said, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus [Jehovah saves/Joshua] for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mat. 1:21)

Joshua, then, is the type of Christ in the deliverance of Israel to the Promised Land, the type of Heaven. The first generation, though, that was baptized into Moses, died during the forty-year journey in the wilderness. It was the second generation, the ones with the new deliverer, who actually made it all the way home.

But, before they could enter that land, they needed a new baptism. This is great. When they approached the Jordan River, it was at flood stage. Not good for crossing. Starting at Joshua 3:11, it reads –

“Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.”

We have to talk about the ark. The golden box had three things inside it. The first object was the two Tables of Stone that were hewn by Moses and written with the finger of God. The second object was a golden cup with Manna. And, the third item was Aaron’s rod that budded (Heb. 9:4).

Now, why were those three things in there? They typify the Trinity, but they all speak of Christ. The intact Law is a type of God’s righteous standard, but it was fulfilled in the finished work of Christ. The rod that budded was a type of resurrection, which is the work of the Holy Spirit, and proven by Christ, the firstfruits of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20). And, Christ identified Himself with the Bread from Heaven that Israel ate for forty years, the sustenance that brought them to the Promised Land (John 6:31-35). Father, Son and Spirit, all wrapped up in One: Christ.

There was also a “kappereth,” or covering over the top of the Ark, which is the root of our English word “atonement.” Christ is the covering, by grace, that makes atonement for us and protects us from the Holy judgment of God, which the elements inside the box would require. Men cannot stand before the thrice-holy God without atonement, a covering.

So, Joshua told the men of Israel, one from each tribe, to prepare to pass over Jordan. But, first the priests had to carry the Ark, the type of Christ, before them.

“Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.” (vs. 12-13)

There’s a great contrast here, not to be missed. When the Children of Israel passed through the Red Sea, Moses told them to stand still and observe the deliverance of the Lord. He raised Aaron’s rod (the one that later budded), and the sea parted before the first Israelite started walking. But, this time it was different. This time God required faith. They had seen his miracles for forty years, eaten His manna, and worn shoes that never wore out. They had to march toward the roaring torrent, confident that God would act or they would drown. And, as soon as the soles of the their feet hit the water, it was abated.

So cool. Faith in action.

“And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant before the people;” (v. 14)

Now, follow the action. Christ went before them.

“And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.” (v.15-17)

Then, the ark waited in the middle of the dry passageway, and all the children of Israel, in order to reach the Promised Land, had to pass through the ark. Then, with the Ark still in the middle, they followed God’s command to collect twelve large stones, one for each tribe, to make a memorial of that event.

By the way, about twelve years ago, following the pottery trail through the wilderness from Egypt through Sinai, there were archeological digs at Mt. Ebo that unearthed Joshua’s pillar stones. It’s the oldest Biblical archeological find so far. But, it proves the story. Stones from the middle of the Jordan River were propped up as an altar on the shore.

Anyway, the end of the story is:

“For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.” (Josh 4:10-11)

The Ark of the Lord, the type of Christ, went before the second generation of Israel, leading them into their promised inheritance. It waited in the midst of Jordan, the type of death, as every single one of His people crossed over, safe and secure. And, when the last of them had passed over, the ark passed over, sealing their redemption, finishing the promise to Abraham, and completing the typology of our redemption.

Christ led the way to Heaven, going before us. He will gather His church to Himself at the rapture, standing between Heaven and Earth until each of us is crossed over, and He will come up behind us, securing our eternal promised inheritance.

So, what’s the message of Joshua? Is it to keep the law? We are not Israel. We were never under the Law of Moses. We are free from any law that would condemn us. We are children of salvation, atonement, redemption and freedom.

And, what about our righteousness? We are made righteous by the finished work of our elder brother, who paved the way for our eternal journey. And, do we need to work to be perfect, “hagios,” separated, holy, sanctified? No, He accomplished that, too –

“For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14)

Whether it’s Joshua or Paul, the message is the same. Whatever we need to approach God and find sufficient grace for our standing, we find in Christ and His finished work. The Law of Moses served to condemn Israel, but the Messiah took that law to the grave. Those who are found in Christ not only have their sins forgiven, but their perfection is accomplished, wholly and completely, in His atoning work, covering us and protecting us from anything or anyone that seeks to condemn us.

We cannot work out our own righteousness, and it is both confusing and dangerous to encourage people to clean themselves via the Law, personal performance, or works of the flesh. We are to rest (the New Covenant parallel to the Sabbath) in His finished work.

After all, we are here to preach Christ, my brother. We are not here to give people a false hope or to encourage fleshly effort. We are to live and worship in the Spirit of Truth. Christ is the key. Christ is the truth and the life. Christ is the whole of our message.

Even Joshua would agree.

Yours in Him

Jim Mc.