We often hear some accusations toward anyone who preaches His Commandments (New Testament verses) —> toward Gentile believers —> as someone who is being ‘legalistic’ or as ‘being like the Pharisees’. Is this so?
Let’s begin looking at the ‘verses’ to understand this better.
(i) The Pharisee accusation
The Pharisees were NOT accused by Christ because they were ‘enforcing obedience to the Law’ but rather
—> when they ‘did NOT obey the Law’
“Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 7:19, NASB)
—> when they did ‘NOT enforce obedience to His Law’ for their own man-made reasons
“Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. He [Lord Jesus Christ] was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” (Mark 7:8 – 9, NASB)
“For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” – Lord Jeus Christ (Mark 7:10 – 13, NASB)
—> when they ‘taught FALSE teachings’ even holding on to ‘man made teaching against the verses in trying to nullify His Word’
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.” (Jeremiah 8:8, NASB)
“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering [His Kingdom, implied].” – Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 11:52, NIV)
Please note that when the ‘key of knowledge’ (Correct Teaching) is taken away —> it causes the false teacher not being able to enter His Kingdom —> while at the same time it ‘hinders’ the followers of that false teacher from entering [His Kingdom] as well. So, isn’t Right Doctrine according to His Holy Word as He Commanded is of Primary Importance?
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:13, NASB)
—-> when they neglect MERCY which can STOP or TRIUMPH (END) any JUDGMENT as Christ Demonstrated on Earth too (an afterlife Judgment-Ending Truth of Mercy is seen likewise in James 2:13):
“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]” (John 8:3 – 11, NASB)
Can we see that MERCY is Greater than JUDGMENT (not equal to it)? That is WHY His MERCY can STOP/CANCEL even the JUDGMENT sentence in verses above which going by the Law of Moses requires that woman to be stoned.
This is NOT a contradiction in the Bible but the True Principle regarding MERCY vs JUDGMENT (even in the afterlife context as well as James 2:13 mentions). It basically means like this: The LAW tells us the JUDGMENT SENTENCE which we deserve due to our sins (Matthew 5:26) but MERCY determines how long we are to be judged in that sentence (as in ‘Wrath, remember Mercy’, O LORD, Habakkuk 3:2) or if we should be excused from judgment (“no” Judgment, John 5:24) or that the Judgment shall be triumphed (or ended) eventually (James 2:13) toward “ALL” as well (Romans 11:32, Psalm 85:6).
For more details regarding ‘how Mercy triumphs over Judgment’, please consider:
“For [afterlife] Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; Mercy triumphs over [afterlife] Judgment.” – apostle James (James 2:13, NASB)
In verse above, if the first part of it mentions “Judgment” referring to “[afterlife] Judgment” then the word “judgment” found in the second part of this ‘same verse/sentence’ also refers to “[afterlife] Judgment” which is said to be ‘triumphed over [or ended]’ by HIS MERCY. Can we understand it as it is Written?
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:23, NASB)
Please note that in verse above, the Pharisees’ obedience to the ‘tithe’ and all that does NOT guarantee them any ‘overlooking toward the WEIGHTIER matter of the Law which is JUSTICE, MERCY and FAITHFULNESS’. Can you see it? For example, when we teach a wrong concept of God’s Justice and Mercy, are we excusable likewise? May God have Mercy on whom He Wills.
(ii) Loving God – A Purpose for His Commands
Some people often claim that they ‘love God’ but then do not believe in obeying His Commands. This position contradicts these verses:
“For this is the Love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3, NASB)
Yes, the very definition of the Love of God is to keep (obey) His Commands as the verse above means. Also, Christ Declares the proof of one loving Him is by ‘obedience to His Commands’ (Matthew 7:23) and ‘not sacrifice in ministry’ (Matthew 7:21 – 22) as the ‘fruit’ (Matthew 7:20) in verse below:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:21, NASB)
Yes, He will even reveal or disclose Himself to those who obey as the verse above states. Indeed, “obedience [to His Holy Word, Commands] is better than Sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).
“And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” (2 John 1:6, NASB)
By obeying His Commands, we also become His friends:
“You are My friends if you do what I command you.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:14, NASB)
His Love for His friends (i.e. those who ‘obey Him’, implied) is Greatest:
“Greater Love has no one than this, that one lay down His life for His friends” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:13, NASB)
He also Died for His Sheep (some obedient, some not so obedient, John 10:11, Luke 7:47) and even including other sinners (Romans 5:8, 1 Timothy 1:15) & the whole world too (1 John 2:2, John 1:29, John 6:51) making His Love Perfect (Matthew 5:48) but His Love is Greatest toward those ‘who obey’, whom He calls ‘friends’ (John 15:14, example, John the apostle who was specially Loved, John 13:23, John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7, John 21:20). Can we see it?
Yes, God loves All but some He Loves more than others as the example of apostle John clearly proves. That’s His Choice just like a man may love his mother more than others. In fact, the difference is this: some humans have ‘hate without love’ which is NOT righteous —-> where in comparison, God’s Hate is NOT absent from His Love though His Love is lesser toward the ones He Hates and that’s how His Anger itself is Righteous (James 1:20) and has a Purpose to Reconcile the ones (Colossians 1:20) to whom His Full Anger is Poured upon too (Zephaniah 3:8) that ALL these as well may Call upon the Name of the LORD and Serve Him Shoulder to shoulder (Zephaniah 3:9) as it is seen from the verses quoted. Can we understand His Anger to such Depths as well as Holy Scripture Reveals Truths?
So, where is the verse which proves that God’s Hate contains His Love and is NOT absent from His Love?
This must be seen from a couplet of verses as God only Revealed this in the New Testament verses in a Hidden Way. All these while in the past, some people have erred in thinking that God’s Hate is absent from His Love. Please consider the explanation below:
The Verse in Luke 14:26 uses the word HATE while the verse in Matthew 10:37 IMPLIES the word LOVE LESS (when contrasted with the phrase LOVE MORE found in this verse) —> where BOTH these verses —> speak of the SAME TOPIC —> and thus their MEANING must be the SAME. Thus, mathematically we may say that it’s like a Hidden Crypt or Code in Scripture (which is valid since Christ Spoke this to the Crowds, generally quantifying the ‘parable’ context here, Mark 4:11) —> from which we may deduce that:
HATE = LOVE LESS (proven via a combination of Luke 14:26 and Matthew 10:37 speaking this SAME MEANING)
Thus, when it refers to God’s Usage of the Word HATE in Holy Scripture —> it means He LOVES LESS and NOT that He is VOID of LOVE as so popularly erred against these verses —> making sense that God’s HATE in His Anger is RIGHTEOUS (implied from James 1:20) —> in the context of JUDGMENT too (Psalm 7:11) –> for example, ALL who endure His FULL BURNING ANGER (Zephaniah 3:8) —> is the SAME ALL who will eventually CALL UPON HIM (Zephaniah 3:9) —> and be SAVED (Joel 2:32, Isaiah 45:22) —> and SERVE HIM shoulder to Shoulder (Zephaniah 3:9) —> making sense of the FIERCE ANGER of the LORD (Jeremiah 30:24) —> to achieve these examples of UNIVERSAL RECONCILIATION in Lord Jesus Christ Alone which is His Immutable and Unchangeable Holy Will (Colossians 1:16 with Colossians 1:20). Can we REALLY see it? HalleluYAH, as God is the GENIUS!
“The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has performed and until He has accomplished The intent of His heart; In the latter Days you will understand this.” (Jeremiah 30:24, NASB)
Yes, the New Testament Age’s —> Days —> are the “latter Days” —> in which we have begun to understand that the Fierce Anger of the LORD (Jeremiah 30:24) implies Him Loving Less with Hate to accomplish their Salvation too post Judgment (example: Zephaniah 3:8 – 9) —> which is Revealed by Lord Jesus Christ Himself in a Parabolic (Hidden Crypt) in Luke 14:26 with Matthew 10:37 with regards to the meaning of HATE (Luke 14:26) when it is used in Holy Scripture to mean LOVE LESS (Matthew 10:37) and that it CANNOT be understood by ‘human or man-made definitions regarding the meaning of HATE as James 1:20 agrees as well’. Can we REALLY understand it?
That’s why the verses which speaks of His Hate also encloses a ‘lesser Love’ toward them too from which we realize that God Truly Loves all but some more than others by His Choice & it makes Perfect Sense that, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).
So, we need to understand that God’s Hate (Psalm 11:5, Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:13) includes His Love (Definition via a combination of Luke 14:26 & Matthew 10:37) and is NOT absent from His Love (1 John 4:20) since His there is NO Hidden Darkness in Him (1 John 1:5, John 8:12) as commonly erred against James 1:20 too, please consider the write-up below for an explanation with verses:
Other closely related posts:
Firstly, the ‘man of LAWLESSNESS’ (2 Thessalonians 2:3, as there are many other antichrists too, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 2:18) —-> have a common trait which is LAWLESSNESS (as mentioned even as the Prime Reason for His Great Denial, Matthew 7:23 toward MANY Christians too who did ministry in His Name, Matthew 7:20 – 22) —-> where LAWLESSNESS means NOT Obeying God’s Commands within a Covenant or ‘Age’. Apostle John himself who warned about the antichrist also mentioned in verse below that ‘one who keeps (obeys) the Commandments of God’ is certainly NOT the antichrist (implied):
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His Commandments.” (1 John 5:2, ESV)
The antichrist CANNOT deceive by ‘teaching God’s Commandments’. In fact, the exact opposite is Written in Holy Scripture, namely that the antichrist will deceive by teaching “changes” to God’s Commandment as it is revealed in verse below:
“He will speak out against the Most High and oppress the saints of the Most High, intending to change the set times and laws, and the saints will be given into his hand for a time, and times, and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25, BSB)
For example, in New Testament Covenant (or Age, context) —> please ask yourself ‘wisely’ —> Are the ‘Commands of the Lord’ (as it is Written in 1 Corinthians 14:37) obeyed by our churches? —> Some pastors claim that ‘times have changed and so does those commands’ but I don’t buy it since God says (His Principle) that He Will NOT change the Utterance of His Lips & His Law (in Psalm 89:34) within His Covenant, e,g. the New Testament Covenant which is to be Obeyed by all Gentile believers till the end of this age (Romans 16:26, Romans 1:5). Can you see it?
Now, who tries to ‘change’ God’s Laws within a Covenant? Daniel 7:25 clearly mentions that only the antichrist or the antichrist spirit (implied, from 1 John 2:18) seeks to ‘alter/change’ God’s Laws within a Covenant or Age (Psalm 89:34). Can the Devil teach you God’s Laws to obey New Testament verses or is the Devil the one who tells you that these New Testament commands of the Blessed Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37) are not important?
Did you notice that the ‘fruits’ (Matthew 7:20) of those who will be denied by Christ (Matthew 7:23) —> refer to those who did great ministry in His Name first (such as prophesying, casting out demons & even other miracles, Matthew 7:21 – 22)? This means that the ‘fruits’ of ministry cannot save us if it is done in LAWLESSNESS, right?
The Great Denial in Matthew 7:23 sounds very similar to the ‘being ignored or not recognized’ (denied) as it is mentioned in the Judgment verse in 1 Corinthians 14:38 with regards to disobeying the WRITTEN commands of the Lord as delivered to apostle Paul toward Gentile believers (1 Corinthians 14:37).
The case where those Christians who didn’t have these Written Commands is analogous to the Judgment of those who didn’t have the Law of God either as mentioned in Romans 2:12 with regards (context) to the Gospel given to apostle Paul (Romans 2:16). Judgment only differs for those knowing vs those not knowing —> in severity —-> where the former gets ‘more beating’ (Luke 12:47) while the latter gets ‘fewer beating’ (Luke 12:48) according to one’s sins which is Perfect Judgment (Luke 12:59) .Can we see it?
So, which is the safe or narrow path (Matthew 7:13 – 14)?
To follow the WRITTEN commands of the Lord as it is delivered to apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37, Romans 2:16) —> toward every Gentile believer (Romans 1:5, Romans 16:26) —-> to avoid the Judgment for disobeying it (1 Corinthians 14:38) or due to Lawlessness (Matthew 7:23, 1 Corinthians 14:40) —> where we strive to speak the “same” thing as apostle Paul too (1 Corinthians 1:10) —> by following him as God used apostle Paul to demonstrate ‘how to follow Christ’ as a Gentile believer (1 Corinthians 11:1) —> where we are ONLY to IMITATE leaders who follow after the pattern of apostle Paul first (Philippians 3:17) and not those leaders who don’t follow apostle Paul (Titus 1:14) —> to the extent that there should be NO other alternate practices in churches too (1 Corinthians 11:16) —> yes, we avoid those being ‘contentious’ (1 Corinthians 11:16) toward apostle Paul’s WRITTEN Commands of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37, 1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Are we really able to see the Truth set forth in these verses with regards to LAWLESSNESS?
Indeed, Grace is not a license for Lawlessness and obedience is better than sacrifice.
Think of it like this:
Apostle Paul who taught these Truths and the churches who obeyed these verses are all in heaven, right?
Can anyone opposing apostle Paul be greater than him?
Now, can you be condemned for obeying and teaching these same commands as apostle Paul instructed toward Gentile believers (in principle of Matthew 5:19 too)?
Please note the phrase “practices and teaches” (NIV), ” keeps and teaches” (NASB) or “do and teach” (KJV) with regards to the Commands of God which pertain to us as mentioned in Matthew 5:19 —> where often some may “do, practice, keep” it —> but often forgets to “teach” others as well to gain the full reward as mentioned in this verse —> which is being “called great in the kingdom of the heavens.” (BSB). Can we see it? —-> So, are we going to ‘miss’ this Blessedness in the ‘kingdom of the heavens’ by continuing to teach AGAINST these verses or even in practicing LAWLESSNESS in some way? Let us be “wise” (Ephesians 5:16).
Can the devil smartly ‘deceive’ by teaching obedience to His New Testament Commands? Nope, since the Devil through the antichrist or others will only teach AGAINST His Law (Commands) trying to CHANGE it even (implied in Daniel 7:25 clearly) against what it is WRITTEN by apostle Paul & COMMANDED by the LORD for this ‘New Testament Age’ (e.g. 1 Corinthians 14:37 for Gentile believers).
Please note that it’s not merely enough to ‘fight the good fight of faith or in finishing the race’ (1 Timothy 6:12) because it requires ‘competing according to the Commands (Rules) of God’ too for us to obtain a “Prize” as it is Written in verse below:
“Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does NOT WIN the PRIZE unless he competes ACCORDING to the RULES.” (2 Timothy 2:5, NASB)
*EMPHASIS mine. Isn’t it a serious thing to consider in our walk of faith?
‘Let there be verses for each claim made & ignore the opinions of men’ – Anonymous
‘Some may finish the race but not everyone gets a crown’ – Unknown
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:10 – 12, NASB)
Please note that only after Speaking about ‘obeying His Commands to show Love for Him’ (John 14:15), our Blessed Saviour Speaks of the ‘Spirit of Truth’ (John 14:16 – 17) as revealed in consecutive verses (context). Thus, ‘obeying His Commands to Love Him’ is successive to ‘His Spirit of Truth’. Can you see it?
“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” – apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 1:20, NASB)
For example, regarding women not being allowed to ‘teach or have authority’ in SPIRITUAL matters only as commanded in 1 Timothy 2:12 —> any example quoted prior of this happening (for example, Acts 18:26 in the Priscilla-case, probably only Aquila-the-man explained) —> so, even if ‘Priscilla-did-teach-in-Acts 18:26’, this has been disallowed from the time apostle Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2:12 —> or even 1 Corinthians 14:34 or other verses which are all to be “obeyed” as ‘commands of the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 14:37) & ——–> these are NOT apostle Paul’s opinions as Scripture distinguishes these when it occurs (example: the phrase “I say, not the Lord”, NASB in 1 Corinthians 7:12).
Further, don’t you know that WOMEN being allowed but NOT approved by God as LEADERS in the PAST TIMES of IGNORANCE (Acts 17:30) depicts a CURSED state (Isaiah 3:12) in verses quoted? So, do the churches today prefer to remain in the ‘allowed’ cursed state of such ‘women leaderships’ against 1 Timothy 2:12 which prohibits it as it is COMMANDED from that point on? it’s your choice & your consequence to bear (Hebrews 2:2 and please remember Matthew 7:20 – 23 when thinking about the ‘fruit’ and ‘ministry’ excuse and please note the word ‘many’ too found in this passage; my Judgment is this: may God has Mercy on whom He Wills despite the mistake made).
“For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,” (Hebrews 2:2 – 3, NASB)
“Although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times, He now commands all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30, BSB)
“O My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray And confuse the direction of your paths.” (Isaiah 3:12, NASB)
“As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12, KJV)
Those who ‘choose’ such ‘cursed’ states may continue to remain in “confusion” (please note the word ‘confuse’, NASB or ‘destroy’, KJV in Isaiah 3:12 above) and the word “confusion” in verse below too whenever any “church” tries to teach AGAINST apostle Paul’s WRITTEN Commands of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37):
“for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” – apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:33, NASB)
“There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:30, NASB)
Are we demonstrating the ‘trait below’ which God promised toward those who believe in Him, right?:
“for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 21:15, NASB)
For other related posts, please consider the following for further edification & thank you for reading:
Peace to you