Wednesday, September 10, 2008

10 Commandments - The ministry of death


...not only that, it is the ministry of condemnation as well.

I am not playing the safe game of 'balance' between law and grace here. Teaching that we are fully free from any form of law including 10 commandments is considered heretic and 'extreme' by a lot many Christians. They say it is only the ceremonial laws we are free from, not the 10 commandments. It's kind of funny when Christians themselves trying hard to prove Apostle Paul, who wrote the major part of NT, wrong! What we are not realizing is that when we make 10 commandments our sacred cow, we are in effect negating the work of Jesus on the cross.

The freedom from law and living under pure grace wasn't just an idea Paul came up with. In the Old Testament itself God gave us many typologies and even direct revelations (Jer 31:31-34) about the New Covenant and the righteousness apart from law, and how His mercy is going to triumph over the judgment which came from law.

Mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2: 13)

The lid on the Ark of the Covenant in the OT was called the 'mercy seat'. There were three things in the Ark - Tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments, Aaron's rod and a pot of manna. These three were covered by the Ark's cover called 'mercy seat'. It says that God's presence was between the two cherubims on the mercy seat, where the priests sprinkled the blood of the lamb. No one was allowed to look into the Ark, the tablets were kept hidden under the mercy seat. While God's presence dwelled on the mercy seat, He saw the the blood of the animals sprinkled on it, but NOT the tablets which are under the golden lid. The picture it shows is that God's mercy (blood of Jesus) triumphs over the judgment(Law).

It is also interesting to see the Hebrew word used for mercy seat (Kaporet) is same as the word for propitiation in NT, which literally means 'wipe out'. Jesus wiped out our sins for ever through His one sacrifice and kept the law hidden under His mercy, not only that he took the law (which was against us) away. I love the typologies in the Bible!

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. - Colossians 2:13-14

Isn't it ridiculous that we still want to unnail the 10 commandments from the cross and hang on our walls? and give permission to the Devil (the accuser of the brethren) to accuse us using the same?

...the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone - 2 Cor 3:7

...the ministry that condemns men - 2 Cor 3:9

...for the letter kills - 2 Cor 3:5

We all know what was engraved in letters on stone. It's nothing but the 10 commandments. Let me make it clear, it was NOT the ceremonial laws what was engraved on the stones, it was the 10 commandments.

Why is the 10 commandments a ministry of death and condemnation?

It's quite simple: those two cold stones couldn't cleanse people from their sins, though it accused them. And that's exactly the purpose of the law was - to accuse us, to blame us, to condemns us, to take us to the end of our ropes, there by point us our desperate need for a savior.

Bible says, law is like a mirror which can show the dirt on our face, but couldn't make an ounce of difference to our condition (When we see dirt on our face, we don't use the mirror to wipe it, we use water). The law is perfect and holy, but it can't make us perfect and holy (But don't blame your mirror for showing you your true face. God found fault with the people - Heb 8:8). So, once law completes it's work in a person's life (pointing him/her to Christ), it has to be done away with and should get rid of it. Let's not give the Devil a tool to accuse us further.

We have better things to deal with today. We have God's mercy. We have a new spirit. We have a glorious New Covenant which brings righteousness. We have a ministry of the Spirit of which the glory lasts for ever unlike the Old Covenant which had a fading glory.

Moses had to hide his face with a veil, so that people wouldn't see the glory/radiance on his face was fading. He had to run back to the presence of God to get the radiance again. In Christ, the veil is taken away (2 Cor 3:9). So, today we don't have to shy away from God or from people, since our unveiled faces reflect God's everlasting glory and 'we are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit'.

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. (2 Cor 3:16)

Let's stop reading Moses, start reading Jesus.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. -John 1:17. Look, Law was given (keeping a distance), but grace came, to accomplish something for us which we couldn't accomplish ourselves through the law.

5 comments:

Amy said...

Bino,
Excellent points made here. Thanks, as well, for the detailed historical background of the Ark of the Covenant.

"Isn't it ridiculous that we still want to unnail the 10 commandments from the cross and hang on our walls?"

Yes, indeed it is! This instantly caused me to think back to my family's first house. My mother had hung a plaque of the 10 Commandments on our Living Room wall. Imagine the message there. (I was raised Catholic, but fortunately, left this religion (law) in college).

"...the purpose of the law was - to accuse us, to blame us, to condemns us, to take us to the end of our ropes, there by point us our desperate need for a savior...law is like a mirror which can show the dirt on our face, but couldn't make an ounce of difference to our condition...So, once law completes it's work in a person's life (pointing him/her to Christ), it has to be done away with and should get rid of it. Let's not give the Devil a tool to accuse us further.

Amen! Very well stated. Good stuff. I'm going to be posting another "re-visit" how NOT to play on the Law/Grace See-Saw in about a week and a half. This an important understanding.

Blessings my friend,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

Bino M. said...

Amy,
Yes, the difference between living under law and grace is in fact an important understanding. It makes a whole lot of difference in our relationship with God. Law is a doctrine, but grace is a person and we can't have relationship with doctrine, but we can have a relationship with a person.

In pretty much everything of OT, Christ, His death and resurrection, is either typified or pointed out. There was a time I was scared of going to the OT, but now it seems like fun and excitement finding out How wonderfully God was symbolizing everything in OT and preparing us to encounter Christ in a magnificent way.

RJW said...

Fabulous!! And I love what you said to Amy; reading from a perspective of reconciliation changes everything. :)

Joel B. said...

"But if we sin, don't we need the law to lead us back to Jesus?"

That's one of the common questions I've heard coming from people who think we still need law. Actually, it's not a question but rather a statement they're trying to make. But no matter what, once we've come to Christ we are dead to the law and there is no need for it whatsoever. In fact, as you say, if we stay under it, it provides a perfect opportunity for the Accuser to do his job. But the law was a tutor that led us to Christ (past tense) one time, and now that we're in Christ its job is done. I don't know why people think they need to keep coming back to Jesus. Well, actually I do know why. It's because a very deficient "gospel" is preached that mixes law and grace, and people think that when they sin they've gone away from Jesus, and they need the law to "show them the way" again, to lead them "back" to Jesus. It's sad!

So keep on refraining from playing it safe, and keep on preaching the pure gospel, teaching that we are fully free from any form of law. You will be a heretic in the eyes of many Christians, but you will be teaching the truth of God!

Bino M. said...

RJW,
Thanks!

Joel,
You made a great point. Yes, many people think that they need law to lead them back to Jesus. I think such thinking coming from their insecurity in grace. Bible says, what they need is GRACE.

It [Grace] teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age - Titus 2:12

The more we indulge ourselves in law, the more sin we do, because the power (strength) of sin is the law. -1 Cor. 15:56

Thanks for your encouragement, Joel! I too encourage you to keep on proclaiming our freedom in Christ. I am hoping to see that in your book as well.