Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wash Over Me

Wash Over Me

Come and be
Wash over me
I open my heart to You alone
When I am weak
You meet my need
Finish the work You've started here

And I lift my life to You now
I raise my voice to sing your praise
I will follow Your command

Find me here
Calm my fear
Strengthening hope inside my heart
Teach me Lord
To know Your word
Let it be alive in me
Alive in me

- "Come and Be" by Matt Brouwer

Monday, February 16, 2009

Banner of Rest

Banner of Rest

"In that day the Root of Jesse
will stand as a banner for the peoples;
the nations will rally to Him,
and His place of rest will be glorious."

- Isaiah 11:10

Return to Thy Rest, My Soul (Hymn by W.Gadsby)

Return to thy rest, my soul, and rejoice;
Let Christ be thy boast, for thou art His choice;
And through sin and Satan, and their hellish guest,
Do vex and dishearten, Jehovah's thy rest.

A sweet resting-place is Jesus to thee;
A fulness of grace, rich, sovereign, and free;
From slavish works cease, then, and rest in the Lamb,
For Christ is thy freedom from wrath, law, and sin.

O yield not to fear, rest only in Christ;
His promise is sure: He's Jesus thy Priest;
And by one atonement thy sin has condemned,
Then by Himself sworn that He'll love to the end.

Return, then, my soul, to Jesus, thy Rest;
By faith on Him roll, and lean on His breast;
He will not deceive thee; His faithfulness prove;
He never can leave thee, till God is not love.

#639, by William Gadsby (From William Gadsby's Hymns)

With Sin and Guilt Poor Zion Toils (Hymn by W.Gadsby)

With sin and guilt poor Zion toils,
And labours hard for peace;
But till the Lord the Saviour smiles,
Her conscience gets no ease.

[Her efforts all abortive prove;
Her working makes her worse;
Nought by the Saviour's flesh and blood
Can save her from the curse.]

The Lord the Saviour is her rest;
On Him she casts her cares;
By faith she leans upon His breast,
And banishes her fears.

But till the Holy Ghost applies
The Saviour's precious blood,
Above her guilt she cannot rise,
Nor lean upon her God.

#638, by William Gadsby (From William Gadsby's Hymns)

God Thus Commanded (Hymn by J.Hart)

God thus commanded Jacob's seed,
When, from Egyptian-bondage freed,
He led them by the way:
"Remember, with a mighty hand
I brought thee forth from Pharaoh's land;
Then keep my Sabbath Day."

[In six days God made heaven and earth
Gave all the various creatures birth,
And from his working ceased;
These days to labour He applied;
The seventh He blessed and sanctified.
And called the day of rest.]

To all God's people now remains
A Sabbatism, a rest from pains,
And works of slavish kind;
When tired with toil, and faint through fear,
The child of God can enter here,
And sweet refreshment find.

To this, by faith, he oft retreats;
Bondage and labour quite forgets,
And bids his cares adieu;
Slides softly into promised rest,
Reclines his head on Jesus' breast,
And proves the Sabbath true.

[This, and this only, is the way
To rightly keep the Sabbath Day,
Which God has holy made.
All keepers that come short of this,
The substance of the Sabbath miss,
And grasp an empty shade.]

#358, by Joseph Hart (From William Gadsby's Hymns)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spirit of God

(Holy) Spirit of God
Spirit of God
You live in me
And I live by You

You're the breath and
Heart of God and
You're His love, yeah
Holy Spirit of God
You're around me
And You're in me
And I find I'm
I am resting in You

My escape from
Sin's addiction
You're the peace that
Jesus died to give me
My witness of
The God of love
And His Son who
Died and rose for us all

You're my teacher
My counselor
And You always
Heal my wounded heart
So I'm learning
To walk in You
Holy Spirit
You are Eden in me

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Fulfillment of the Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments have been fulfilled! Hallelu Yah!
The Ten Commandments have been fulfilled! Hallelu Yah!
The Ten Commandments have been fulfilled! Hallelu Yah!

click to read about this picture
(Click to read about the picture - "Fulfilled!")

Huh? Aren't we supposed to "keep" the Ten Commandments?

Remember how Jesus "fulfilled" the prophecies about Him? He also declared that just as He fulfilled the prophets, He was also the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments (and all the other commandments of the Law) --

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law
or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them
but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)

But how could the Ten Commandments be fulfilled? Aren't they an eternal, moral law forever and ever? Well, no, that's not quite how Scripture defines them. To understand, we'll have to set aside what we've thought of the Ten for so many years (and the way we've preached them), and let Scripture re-set our understanding.

Here are more than "two or three witnesses" from Scripture in both Testaments from the time of the giving of the Ten, which teach us about how God defines the Ten Commandments:

He declared to you His covenant, the Ten Commandments,
which He commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two
stone tablets. (Deut. 4:13)

...the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the
Lord had made... (Deut 9:9)

...the two tablets of the covenant... (Deut. 9:15)

And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the
Ten Commandments
. (Exodus 34:28)

These are a few of the Old Testament references to the Ten Commandments. In Hebrew, they are actually called "The Ten Words". What is clear here is that the Ten are called "a covenant", or rather, the covenant. The Ten Commandments are the "words of the covenant". The "Ten Words" are "the words of the covenant".

The Old Testament says that the 10C are the words/tablets of the covenant. The OT records the 10 twice, once in Exodus 20 and the second time in Deuteronomy 5 (and the name "Deuteronomy" actually means "second law" because it is read a second time). Just before Moses re-reads the 10, he has this to say about the covenant:

The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb [Sinai].
It was not with our fathers [Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.]
that the Lord made this covenant, but with us [whom He brought
out of Egypt], with all of us who are alive here today.

Moses makes it clear that the Ten Commandments are a covenant, and that God did not give this covenant (the Ten Commandments) to Israel's fathers, but to the generation that He brought out of Egypt. The covenant was given at Mt Sinai.

The covenant had many parts. Most famously, it had the sacrifices. But at its core were the Ten Commandments, the "tablets of the covenant", the "words of the covenant". You could simply say that the 10C were the covenant in condensed form. This is likely why you can find all of the 10 re-stated several times throughout the books of Moses (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy).

There were many, many things involved in the covenant, but again they are somehow summarized and contained in their most basic form in the Ten Words (the 10 commandments). The New Testament, in the book of Hebrews, recognizes these things and that the 10 are the covenant itself:

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an
earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room
were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this
was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a
room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of
incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark
contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded,
and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were
the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover.
But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
(Hebrews 9:1-5)

The Old and New Testaments agree that the Ten Commandments are the "tablets" or "words" of the covenant. This covenant---made at Sinai and not before--included many things. About this same covenant, God says through Hebrews & Jeremiah:

The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to My covenant,
and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
(Hebrews 8:8-9 or Jeremiah 31:31-32)

Hebrews and Moses both agree that the "covenant" was given at Sinai to the generation of Israel that God brought out of Egypt. The Lord says that Israel did not remain faithful to that covenant, so He will make a new covenant with them, not like the old one.

Paul writes,

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant
(2 Corinthians 3:6)

God has given a new covenant. He has not made us competent as ministers of the old covenant (the 10 Commandments are the words/tablets of the Old Covenant), but instead He has given us a new and better covenant. It is Jesus who has given us this new covenant, this ministry:

...the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as
the covenant of which He is mediator is superior to the
old one, and it is founded on better promises. (Heb.8:6)

Here, in context, Hebrews was speaking of Jesus' priesthood. The Old Covenant had a priesthood of Levites descended from Aaron. But those priests were human, were sinful themselves, and died. Jesus, on the other hand lives forever, was not sinful, and although He is human Jesus is God, too. As a priest (intercessor, leader and teacher), Jesus is far superior to the Aaronic priesthood! There is really no comparison between the Aaronic priesthood and Jesus, don't you think?!! But Hebrews said that just as Jesus is superior to the Aaronic priests, just like that, in that same degree of comparison, the New Covenant is SUPERIOR to the Old Covenant! The New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant, and the "words" of the Old Covenant are the Ten Words (Commandments).

The New Covenant is superior to the 10 Words of the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is superior to the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were the tablets/words of the Old Covenant, but God has given us A New Covenant. God says its better and superior to the Old Covenant.

In God's eyes, there is no comparison between the New and Old Covenants! The Old just can't cut it anymore compared to the surpassing greatness of the new.

By calling this covenant "new," He has made the first one
; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
(Hebrews 8:13)

He sets aside the first to establish the second.
(Heb. 10:9)

Paul speaks of the difference between the covenants in terms of life and death:

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant
—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but
the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death,
which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory,
so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of
Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the
ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the
ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more
glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For
what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with
the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came
with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which
lasts! (2 Cor. 3:6-11)

That passage is packed! I'll lay it out in short comparison here. Remember that the Ten Commandments are included in the "Old Covenant":

The Old Covenant is of the letter,
But the New Covenant is of the Spirit.

The Old Covenant kills,
But the New Covenant gives life.

The Old Covenant was engraved in letters on stone,
But the New Covenant is written on hearts.

The Old Covenant is "the ministry that brought death",
but the New Covenant is "the ministry of the Spirit" (& life).

The Old Covenant is "the ministry that condemns men",
But the New Covenant is "the ministry bringing righteousness".

The Old Covenant came with a fading glory and has no glory now,
But the New Covenant has surpassing glory and is (ever)lasting!

According to both testaments of Scripture, the Old Covenant included the Ten Commandments, and the 10C are even called the "tablets" and "words" of the Old Covenant, both by the author of Hebrews and by Moses himself. Here in 2nd Corinthians 3, Paul specifically references the Ten Commandments by speak of the Old Covenant being "engraved in letters on stone". He then also speaks of the "fading glory" that was on Moses' face. The story can be found in Exodus 34:29-35, and there is no question that the "engraved letters on stone" that Paul is referring to are the Ten Commandments, because right before the story of Moses' face the tablets are engraved with the words of the old covenant, the Ten Commandments (Ex.34:28).

In fact, the names "Old Testament" and "New Testament" are old English names which refer directly to these two covenants. The King James Version uses the term "Old Testament" in place of "Old Covenant" in 2 Corinthians 3:14 (which I quoted from above in a modern translation). The King James Version uses the term "New Testament" in place of "New Covenant" in the following six verses: Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:20, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 9:15.

In other words, while there is more contained in the books of the "testaments" than the mere legal terms of the covenants, all the same the major feature of each "testament" is the covenant which gives the testament its name. The Old Testament records the history of the Old Covenant, and the New Testament records the giving of the New Covenant which replaced the Old Covenant.

This does not mean we throw away the Old Testament by any means. But it means that the Covenant which we are "under" and "bound by" is not the Old Covenant. Instead we are bound by and are "under" a New Covenant, which Scripture says is better, far surpassing, more glorious and brings life & righteousness instead of death. The New Testament interprets the Old Testament for us. In other words, the New Testament gets the final word and interpretive authority over what goes and what stays from the Old. The reason for this is that the Old Testament was written as an incomplete revelation:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in
many portions
and in many ways, in these last days has
spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things,
through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance
of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.
(Hebrews 1:1-3)

The revelation through Moses and the prophets was given "in many portions"... in other words, in many parts. It was not the complete picture by any means of God's nature or character. In blessed contrast, in these last days He has revealed His Son, who is the exact representation of His character and nature. The Old Covenant contains shadows, while the New Covenant radiates the Light -- the Son!

If we look first to the Old Covenant to understand God's character and nature, it is like we are groping around in the dark! It is like trying to see the whole picture with only a few pieces of the puzzle. No, we look to the LIGHT first now! And He illuminates the whole room, our whole lives, our whole understanding of Him, what He's like, and what He wants from us! We do not belong to the darkness anymore, but we belong to the LIGHT! Scripture declares that if we want to be in Christ, we must die to the law!

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for
God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but
Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in
the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do
not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be
gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
(Galatians 2:19-21)

Amazingly, Paul states that he died to the Law (including the Ten Commandments, the very words of the Old Covenant) so that he might live for God! Paul states that he could not be righteous when he was living by the law. In order to live for God and gain righteousness, he needed to die to the law and live by faith instead. It was not by "law and grace" that he could live for God or be righteous. It was not "law plus grace" that would help Paul. No, he said it is only by grace that he could live for God. Only by faith could he live for God.

And, if he was living by law, Paul would not be truly "dead" enough for Christ to live in him and express Himself through him! Christ needed Paul to be dead to the law in order to express Himself fully through Paul! Christ could not show His righteousness through Paul unless Paul had died to the law and chosen to live by grace and faith instead. Living by law, Paul says, does not allow Christ full room to move in us! Because as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3, the law ministers death and condemnation! How can Christ minister His life to us and through us if we are holding onto the ministry of death?

Elsewhere Paul states:

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body
of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was
raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to
God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the
sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies,
so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once
bound us, we have been released from the law so that we
serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way
of the letter. (Romans 7:4-6)

In order that Paul might "bear fruit to God", Paul died to the law. God then made him alive by the Spirit, by the "new way"---that is, the New Covenant. The New Covenant is not a covenant of the letter and by the letter like the Old Covenant. It is not engraved in letters on stone. We have been released, Paul says, from the letters engraved on stone which brought death. The letters in stone aroused the sinful passions of our flesh. The law showed us that we were so sinful we could not keep all of it perfectly. It showed us that we fell short.

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight
by observing the law; rather, through the law we become
conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God,
apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law
and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God
comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:20-24)

The law could not bring us righteousness. We could not be righteous through the law. Instead we only saw how much of sinners we were! And if we didn't, then we were blinded, because in God's sight we couldn't be righteous by the law! Instead, apart from law, God gave us His righteousness as a free gift. Not only that, but He gave us His Spirit to live by so that we may live righteous and holy lives. Living according to the law, we found our sinful passions were aroused, and we were not free from the control of sin. But living by the Spirit, we find grace and freedom from sin that we could not have when living by law.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are
in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of
the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and
death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it
was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending
His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.
And so He condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the
righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in
us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but
according to the Spirit. (Romans 3:1-4)

Under the law (which Scripture labels "the ministry of condemnation"), we are condemned because we are shown to be lawbreakers. But in Jesus Christ, we are set free from sin and death, and are released from the law. The truth is that we were not able to be free from sin under the law. The law was powerless to help us out of sin's grasp. So what the law couldn't do for us, God did by sending His Son to die for us. And He didn't die for our sins in order to hand us back to the law. No, He gave us His Spirit -- a covenant that is better than the law. The law could not keep us from sin, but the Spirit can. The Spirit brings us life! The law brought us death. But the Spirit brings us Christ's righteousness and leads us in the way of holiness.

The great irony here is that when living by law and setting our sights on obeying the law, we can't fulfill it and find ourselves great sinners without hope. But when we die to the law and believe His word that we are released from the law, we "fix our eyes upon Jesus" -- we fix our eyes on Him, on His faithfulness (instead of our own!) -- and as we do that, we end up living in a righteousness that surpasses the law! The Spirit leads us in a way that is above above and beyond the law and what it could do.

This great irony reflects what Jesus said, that if we want to live for Him, we must let go of ourselves and let go of this life. A seed can't bear fruit unless it falls to the ground and dies. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. We want to bring forth fruit, so we try to live by the law. We try to be righteous, we try to keep it. But we can't. The answer the Lord gives us in the New Covenant is that if we want to live, we must die to the law. We must die to trying to produce His fruit through ourselves, through keeping the Old Covenant law. It didn't work for Israel, and it won't work for us either!

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue
righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by
faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has
not attained it. (Romans 9:30-31)

He has not made us to be adequate or competent as ministers of the law. We aren't created for that. We are created for the New Covenant. We were put together, constructed and made for the New Covenant. We were made to be houses of the Holy Spirit and to live by the Spirit, not by the letter of the law. When living by the law, we find that sin grows stronger and stronger in us. That is why Paul says that "the strength of sin is the law" (1 Corinthians 15:56). But through Christ (instead of through law) we have victory over sin and even victory over death!

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to
keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was
fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day
the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It
has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken
away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers
their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the
veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who
with unveiled faces all behold as in a mirror the Lord's glory,
are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing
glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:13-18)

Paul writes that to live by the Old Covenant Law (and remember the Ten Commandments are the condensed form of this law) is like living with a veil over our face that dulls our minds and covers our hearts. But when we turn to the Lord and His New Covenant, when we turn to the law of the Spirit instead of the law engraved on stones, He is able to transform us into His likeness. When we live by the Ten Words of the Old Covenant, He cannot transform us into His likeness. His glory in us is then limited and will fade, and we cannot see His glory clearly then either. His glory will be dulled to our sights. He will offer us new wine, but we will not accept it because we will think "the old is better." But when we die to the law, He is able to transform us into His likeness and shine His glory through us.

We cannot be saved if we are looking to the law for righteousness. And neither is the law our main guide for righteous living. God did not free us from our sins only to return us to bondage under the law. He didn't die on the cross to hand us back to Sinai:

You have not come to a mountain [Sinai] that can be
touched and that is burning with fire
; to darkness, gloom and
storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words
that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken
to them, because they could not bear what was commanded:
"If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned."
The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling
with fear." But you have come to Mount Zion, to the
heavenly Jerusalem
, the city of the living God. You have
come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful
assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are
written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all
men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus
the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled
blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
(Hebrews 12:18-24)

There is another good "mountain" or "city" contrast in the New Testament between the Old Covenant (Sinai and the Ten Commandments) and the freedom and righteousness of the New Covenant.

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not
aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham
had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the
free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the
ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the
result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively,
for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is
from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves
This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia
and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because
she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is
above is free
, and she is our mother. For it is written:

"Be glad, O barren woman,
who bears no children;
break forth and cry aloud,
you who have no labor pains;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband."

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At
that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son
born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what
does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her
son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the
inheritance with the free woman's son." Therefore,
brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of
the free woman. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened
again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 4:21-6:1)

The Ten Commandments are the "words" of the Sinaitic Covenant, the Old Covenant, and this covenant bears children to be slaves! It does not bring us the freedom, blessing and righteousness of Jesus Christ. It is "a yoke of slavery" to us. It does not bring us the eternal inheritance of Jesus Christ in heaven for us. It brings us a heritage of slavery instead. But the New Covenant is the title deed of our heavenly inheritance. In Christ, in the New Covenant, we are free, truly free! We are not burdened by the yoke of slavery -- neither to sin nor to the law! But we are controlled by the Holy Spirit and bear fruit to God -- something we were not able to do under the law of death and condemnation, the Ten Commandments!

In Christ we declare that we are NOT righteous because of what we have done, are doing, or will do! No, we are righteous solely because of the righteous blood of Jesus Christ poured out for us! His name is "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS"!!

"The days are coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will raise up from David's line a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
In His days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which He will be called:
The Lord Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6, 33:16)

In Him we are saved, in Him we are safe! In Him we are safe from sin and sinning and condemnation! Christ Jesus has now become for us "wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30).

This kind of declaration----that Christ Jesus is our righteousness and we are no longer bound by the Old Covenant law---this kind of declaration makes many people angry. It made the Pharisees incredibly angry. Jesus declared in Matthew 5 that He would fulfill the Law & Prophets completely, filled up to overflowing! He declared that He would complete the Law in the same way that He fulfilled all of the prophecies about the Messiah! He declared that the Law was the question, and He was it's Answer! No wonder they wanted to kill Him!

Jesus said:

Blessed are those
who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,
for in the same way they persecuted the prophets
who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

The Pharisees believed with all of their lives and energies that keeping the Law was their way to become righteous, just as Moses had said (Deuteronomy 6:25). Jesus effectively swept that whole hope aside (because He knew it was a doomed hope) and declared instead that HE IS RIGHTEOUSNESS. To be persecuted because of Him is the same as being persecuted because of righteousness. For He is "The Lord Our Righteousness"!

Paul wrote that those who are children of the Law cannot stand this kind of freedom in Christ! They persecute the children who are born of the free, new Jerusalem above, the children born of the New Covenant. They accuse the children of the New Covenant of being sinful, prophesying falsely, and of leading people astray. Seventh-day Adventism has leveled such accusations against Christian churches since the very beginning of its foundation, calling Christians who looked to Jesus Christ as their righteousness "Babylon" and "Fallen". The founders of Adventism left the freedom of the new Jerusalem to go back under the yoke of slavery, the Old Covenant law. Once established there, they began to persecute and speak against the children of the free woman, those who rested in Jesus Christ's righteousness instead of in the righteousness of the law.

I am the child of Seventh-day Adventists, born into three generations of Adventists. My great-grandfather was an elder in the first Spanish Adventist church in Phoenix, Arizona. I was raised and educated close to the General Conference (the headquarters) of Seventh-day Adventism, at their flagship church (Sligo) on the east coast of the United States. I attended Adventist institutions and was thoroughly indoctrinated in the teachings of the church. On a one-year break from an Adventist University, I served as a missionary in Japan, attempting to teach the truth of Jesus Christ while at the same time teaching the yoke of slavery---the Old Covenant and the Ten Words (commandments) of that old covenant. I tried to minister life, but according to Scripture, I was actually trying to minister death and condemnation. With Ellen White, I spoke against Christians and churches who trusted in Jesus Christ's righteousness alone. I wanted them to be under law---a slave---like I was. But God had other plans for me. Because of His love, because of His grace, He set me free.

What is the truth?

The law was given through Moses; [but] grace and
truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

The truth is in Jesus Christ. The law came through Moses and showed us death. But truth is found in Jesus Christ alone. Life is found in Jesus Christ alone. Grace, abundant and overflowing, is in Jesus Christ alone!

Bless you in Jesus Christ alone!
In Jesus,


P.S. I should add an important note. This is only a short study from the Scriptures about the Ten Commandments. There are several things I have not hit on, especially the cultural impact and Christian history of the Ten. But one important and significant matter bears mention:

The Ten Commandments (the ten words of the Mosaic covenant) were never given to any nation but the ancient, historical nation of Israel.

This is obviously written all over the Ten, however we are used to skimming over those parts or re-interpreting them for today, as if "The Ten Commandments" were a universal moral document given by God to Moses for all humanity. But they were a covenant, a contract or agreement between God and ancient Israel. This is obvious from the preamble and very first words, and in the second reading (in Deuteronomy) the 4th command spells it out even more extensively.

Because the Ten were a covenant and not a moral document whose every letter was intended for all humanity, there are parts that need re-interpretation in the light of the New Covenant -- that is, in the light of Jesus Christ. For example, the Sabbath has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Col.2:16-17, Heb.3-4, Matt.11:28-30, etc.). The moral principles in the Ten remain intact, however they may need re-interpretation at times.

The clearest example is the command to honor parents which mentions the "promised land" of the Old Covenant. In Ephesians 5, Paul cites the commandment but changes the wording -- because the original "promised land" has been fulfilled in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and He is our land now. The principle and promise of that command remains effective, but the reward is no longer limited to Old Covenant boundaries -- in Christ it is applied to all the earth.

(This example --among other examples from the Prophets-- of how the apostles interpreted things of the Old Testament is clear and powerful, and needs to be studied. Much confusion in the Body today stems from not interpreting things from the Old Testament in the light of the New Covenant, in the light of the gospel of God's grace given to us in the face of His Son, Jesus Christ. Entire theologies have been built which rest on sinking foundations of pulling commands or prophecies from the Old Testament into the New and insisting they be fulfilled according to the letter, ignoring how the apostles interpreted the Law & Prophets.)

On a final note, it's important to recognize that the morality of the New Covenant is far more piercing, powerful, and effective than what the Old Covenant (the 10C) could command & produce. The New Covenant is a "better" covenant in every way! To get a whiff of that, ask how much Jesus Christ has done for you, and then think of what He has commanded you when He says, "Love one another as I have loved you!"


See also: "Fulfilled!" (at Heart For Adventists)