Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Does Faith Abolish YEHOVAH's Law?
Does faith in the Messiah mean that the Law of YEHOVAH God is no longer necessary, and is therefore abolished and repealed, done away with as obsolete and no longer relevant to Christians? Where did this idea come from, any way?
by HOIM Staff
Many Christians believe that there was an age-old battle between faith and Law, works and grace. They have been taught by preachers and ministers to disdain, abhor, and detest the "legalism" of the Old Testament, and proclaim that the "grace" of YEHOVAH God as revealed in the New Testament has abolished that "Law" with all its legal requirements. So they claim to preach "Christ," and him alone, and worship an image in their minds of "Jesus Christ."
At a funeral recently of a man whom I knew for many years, a leading minister of one Church, which used to teach obedience to the Laws of YEHOVAH God, walked amidst the people wearing a large cross, which he held out to people, and they kissed it. When he asked one woman, however, she refused, believing the cross to be a pagan object of shame, and that true Christians should not kiss "relics" or "images." He berated her and shouted at her, or so I was told.
I marveled when I heard the story, how so many people could so supinely, ignorantly, "kiss" a cross proffered to them by a modern priest of Jezebel (paganized Christianity), without so much as a hesitant thought or care in the world. Don't they remember, I thought, that the cross is an emblem of a pagan sex symbol -- the male phallic symbol -- and represents the upright penis of the pagan god? How vulgar, how abominable, to "kiss" such a symbol! Have they forgotten so much, so soon, so quickly, so completely?
How Quickly Apostasy Spreads
Paul marveled at the church at Galatia, when he heard bad news that they were already departing from the faith, the truth of YEHOVAH God, and turning to a form of "bastardized" Christianity -- a fake and a fraud. He lamented, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to PERVERT the gospel of Christ." Paul went on, "But even if we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:6-9).
The expression Paul used in this passage was no Casper's Milk Toast kind of expression. It was the language of a blunt, strong, powerful, masculine MAN. Literally, he said, as the Phillip's Translation has it, "Yet I say that if I, or an angel from Heaven, were to preach to you any other gospel than the one you have heard, may he be damned! You have heard me say it before, and now I put it down in black and white -- may anybody who preaches any other gospel than the one you have already heard be a damned soul!"
Says the Jewish New Testament Commentary on this passage:
"As the man responsible for establishing the Galatian congregations on the right path, Sha' ul has no choice but to condemn in the strongest possible language those who try to destroy what is not merely his own work but God's work. Those who willfully and in defiance of the truth choose for base reasons (2:3-5, 6:12-13) to preach a sub-gospel should not be spared; they have earned their punishment (5:7-10) and deserve accursedness if they will not repent..."
The apostle Peter used similar harsh and strong words in his ringing condemnation of the arch-apostate Simon Magus, who he discerned was a devious and wicked man. We read in Acts, chapter 8, that this Simon had been a great "sorcerer" and magician who had deceived the Samaritans -- he "previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was some great one, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, `This man is the great power of God.' And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time" (Acts 8:9-11, NKJV).
This false religious figure, who was a charlatan and a fraud, saw the miracles Philip performed when he brought the true gospel of the kingdom of YEHOVAH God to Samaria (verse 12), and he "believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done" (v. 13).
Hearing that the Samaritans had accepted the preaching of Philip, the apostles at Jerusalem sent Peter and John to check on the reports, who, when they came, prayed for the new converts, "that they might receive the Holy Spirit" (v. 15). "Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (v. 17). When Simon Magus, the magician, saw "that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money [a big donation or contribution, which would have no doubt turned the heads of most ministers, today!], saying, 'Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit"' (v. 18-19).
Peter Cursed a Wicked Man!
Peter saw right through him, however, He replied, "TO HELL WITH YOU and your money! How dare you think you could buy the gift of God? You can have no share or place in this ministry, for your heart is not honest before God. All you can do now is repent of this wickedness of yours and pray earnestly to God that the EVIL INTENTION of your heart may be forgiven. For I can see inside you, and I see a man bitter with jealousy and bound with his own sin!"' (Acts 8:20-23, Phillips). Says the Phillips Translation, in a footnote to this expression, "To hell with you and your money":
"These words are exactly what the Greek means. It is a pity that their real meaning is obscured by modern slang usage."
The Greek expression translated "to hell" in the Phillip's Translation, or "perish," in the King James, or "Destruction" in the Amplified Bible, is eimi eis apoieia and literally means, "Be unto destruction," or "damnation." The word eimi is used only when emphatic, and has the sense of "to be" or even "go." The word eis means "to" or "into." And the word apoieia means "ruin, loss, damnation, destruction, perdition." Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon says of it, "in particular the destruction which consists in the loss of eternal life, eternal misery, perdition, the lot of those excluded from the kingdom of God" (p. 71). It means "utter destruction." Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says this word is used of things, signifying their waste, or ruin; of money; "of persons, signifying their spiritual and eternal perdition, Matt. 7:13; John 17:12; 2 Thess. 2:3, where 'son of perdition' signifies the proper destiny of the person mentioned.
Thus Peter is, in essence, telling this wicked, abominable deceiver and spiritual fraud, who seeks the spirit of YEHOVAH God for selfish purposes, "Your money be damned with you," or, "You and your money be damned," or, "Go to hell, you and your money!" He is not mincing words with this culprit, this spiritual impostor, this conniving deceiver.
"Destruction" and "Utter Destruction"
This word for "destruction" or "damnation" or "hell" is used of the "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (Rom. 9:22), and of those who are the spiritual enemies of true Christians, "whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame -- who set their mind on earthly things" (Phil. 3:19). Paul warns about those who "desire to be rich" and who "fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition" (I Tim. 6:9). But, Paul says, we who are true Christians are "not of those who draw back to perdition [ destruction], but of those who believe to the saving of the soul" (Heb. 10: 39).
This word, "utter destruction," is specifically used of false teachers and ministers, in the New Testament usage. Peter warns of them, "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will SECRETLY BRING IN DESTRUCTIVE ["DAMNABLE," KJV] HERESIES, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves SWIFT DESTRUCTION. And MANY will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their DESTRUCTION does not slumber" (II Pet. 2:1-3).
Such ungodly men, Peter says, are "reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition ["utter destruction" or "damnation"] of ungodly men" (II Pet. 3:9). Peter warns all of us who are true Christians to beware of those "unstable people" who "TWIST to their own destruction" the Holy Scriptures, especially the writings of the apostle Paul (II Pet. 3:16).
Cursed Are Those Who Twist Scripture
Paul's writings, in particular, have come in for awesome misrepresentation and twisting and misconstruing and misinterpretation, of all the New Testament writings: Ungodly men have insisted that he teaches that the Law of YEHOVAH God is abolished, done away, and no longer in force or application to Christians. But is this true?
Paul himself wrote categorically, without pulling any punches: "What shall we say, then? Is the Law sin? CERTAINLY NOT! On the contrary, I would not have known [i.e., recognized] sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, You shall not covet" (Rom. 7:7).
In other words, the LAW tells us what SIN is, by definition! As the apostle John wrote, "Sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). Or as the New King James Version has it, "Sin IS lawlessness." In my own words, "Sin IS breaking the Law" -- that is what it is! Therefore, if we live a life of lawlessness, of breaking the Law, YEHOVAH God judges us as guilty of SIN! And the wages of "sin" is DEATH (Rom. 6:23) -- death in the Lake of Fire, Gehenna Fire, which will consume the incorrigible wicked at the end of the Age! As John wrote, "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers; sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and ALL LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).
In other words, ALL WHO LIVE LIVES OF DISOBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS OF YEHOVAH GOD will be punished by being thrown into the lake of fire, at the end of the Age, which is the final Death for the lawless and disobedient!
How Judge The Wicked Without a LAW to Judge By?
But how could that be, if the Law of YEHOVAH God is abolished? How could YEHOVAH judge and condemn anybody if all His Laws have been terminated -- nullified -- rendered void by "grace"?
Imagine the O. J. Simpson trial, which continued on for many months -- so long, in fact, that some people think that the punishment of eternal hell will be to be forced to see reruns of the O. J. Simpson Trial for ever and ever and ever. The prosecution said that the former football star is guilty of the horrendous murder of his wife and another man, in a vicious knife attack. A double murder. The defense claimed he is not guilty, despite the evidence of DNA testing, blood at the scene, on a bloody glove found at O. J. Simpson's estate, and on and in his Ford Bronco.
But wait a minute! What if there were no Law? What if the LAW against murder did not exist at all?
Can you imagine it? If there were no Law against murder, rape, false witness, and any number of other offences, then there would be no need for a jury, no Judge Ito, no Prosecution team, no District Attorney, and no need either for any Defense team -- no need, in fact, for a trial at all -- for where there is no "law, " there can be no "guilt" and no "offence"! If there were no Law, there would be no need of any Courtroom, Judge, Jury, or Prosecution, or Defense -- NO NEED OF A LEGAL SYSTEM OR CRIMINAL LAW SYSTEM AT ALL!
LAW AND GRACE Together
Frankly, if there were no law in effect, by which YEHOVAH God will judge the world, then there would be absolutely NO NEED OF GRACE! THERE WOULD BE NO NEED OF "FORGIVENESS, " "MERCY, " OR "DIVINE PARDON" -- for no law would have been broken, or would even be capable of being "broken"!
Do you see? In order for grace to exist, and be meaningful, law also has to exist!
Obviously, then, the LAW of YEHOVAH God is not done away, whether by grace, or substituted for by grace! Rather, grace is simply a spiritual state of being in union with YEHOVAH God, under His favor and within His love -- a condition of having received His forgiveness and mercy for our sins and debts. But if we decide to live in sin -- that is, lawlessness -- YEHOVAH God would remove His grace from us, and we would come under the threat of dire judgment and perdition and eternal damnation!
The apostle Paul was clear on this subject. He wrote, "Therefore the law is HOLY, and the commandment HOLY and JUST and GOOD" (Romans 7:12). He added, "For we know that the law is SPIRITUAL, but I am carnal, sold under sin" (v. 14). Paul found himself struggling against sinful temptations, which lurked in his flesh (vs. 15-20). He declared without equivocation, "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man" -- that is, according to his mind, and mental understanding (v. 22), but his flesh seemed intent on serving the lusts of the flesh, "warring against the law of my mind" (v. 23). The struggle was intense -- a great battle. Paul cried out in anguish, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the LAW OF GOD but with the flesh the law of sin" (Rom. 7:24-25).
What about you? In your mind, do you serve the Law of YEHOVAH God? Or have you bought into the damnable and destructive heresies which claim the Law of YEHOVAH God is abolished -- done away with -- terminated?
Does Faith Make Law Pointless?
Does faith make void the Law of YEHOVAH God?
Paul clearly answers this question in the third chapter of Romans. The apostle Paul declared plainly: "Do we then make VOID the law (of YEHOVAH God) through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, WE ESTABLISH THE LAW" (Romans 3:31).
The Amplified Bible makes this truly plain: "Do we then by [this] faith make the Law of no effect, overthrow it or make it a dead letter? Certainly not! On the contrary; we confirm and establish and uphold the Law."
In the Greek, the expression "Certainly not!" as stated here is very powerful. It is me genoito and means, literally, "Let it not be!" However, this literal rendering loses the power of the original idiomatic expression. The Septuagint uses this idiom to translate the Hebrew expression, "Chalilah!" It is used in Genesis 44:7 where the children of Jacob said, "Far be it from us!" Also in verse 17, where Judah exclaims, "Far be it from me that I should do so!" This same Hebrew expression is used in Joshua 22:29, "Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn from following the Lord." Similarly, in Joshua 24:16, the people of Israel declared, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods."
The Hebrew and Greek expression means, literally, "Profanation!" Says the Jewish New Testament Commentary about this expression:
"Heaven forbid! Greek me genoito, which some modern versions render literally, `Let it not be!' But this loses the force of the idiom, used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew expression, 'Chalilah!'...which means, 'PROFANATION!' "A CURSE ON IT!" "AWAY WITH IT!" 'Chalilah' may be Hebrew's most intense wish for negation; therefore, KJV's 'God forbid!' conveys the sense well. I substitute 'Heaven' for 'God' in this expression because neither the Hebrew nor the Greek refers to God at all..." (p. 341).
Rather than teach that YEHOVAH's Law is abolished by grace, or faith, or anything else, the apostle Paul upheld the Law of YEHOVAH God completely. He showed that faith works together with the Law of YEHOVAH God. He cursed the very idea that faith does away with YEHOVAH's Law. He said, in effect, "To hell with such an idea!" The point is, keeping the law of YEHOVAH God, without faith in the Messiah, would constitute legalism, an attempt to "earn" salvation by one's own good works. But all of us have sinned at one time or another -- many times (Rom. 3:10, 23). None of us can "earn" our salvation, therefore. It must come to us by FAITH in the Messiah, by his grace and forgiveness. But on the other hand, merely "believing" in the Messiah, and then living a wicked, lawless, disobedient life would be a DEAD faith. Even the demons "believe," with that kind of faith, James wrote -- and tremble! (Jas. 2:19). That kind of faith won't save a single soul (Jas. 2:17, 20, 26).
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