- Cultural Exegesis in Faith or Works?I rather stick to only ‘what is written’ regardless if I can obey or not obey it (my weaknesses is only shown when I disobey God’s Word but God’s Word proves Perfect regardless).Firstly, please consider the verses below which is so often quoted to justify ‘whatever one does in Christianity against verses’:“To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.” (1 Corinthians 9:20 – 21, NASB)The verses above are under the ‘Biblical Context’ of ‘methods or things or practices’ allowed so as long as it does NOT contradict NOR go against any written commandments especially the New Testament ones as three verses later (subsequently) apostle Paul himself (who wrote all these verses) means when he writes ‘run in a way that you may win’:“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” (1 Corinthians 9:24, NASB)Yes, running the race ‘in a way that you may win (the prize)’ is “according to the Rules” (the Law part which applies to the New Testament too) as the verse below clearly states:“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)The consequence of ‘not’ following is to be ‘disqualified’ though ‘having preached to others’:“but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NASB)And ‘Christian Ministry’ not done according to the ‘Rules’ (His Law) is ‘Lawlessness’ and will face Judgment (as God decides to show Mercy or Judge First, His Choice upon our guiltiness) as He alone decides as our Blessed Saviour Himself ‘warned’ (against NOT obeying His Law, ‘Lawlessness’):“Every tree not bearing good fruit is cut down and is thrown into fire.Then surely by their fruits you will recognize them.Not everyone saying to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of My Father in the heavens.Many will say to Me in that the day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’And then I will declare unto them, ‘I never knew you; depart you from Me, those working lawlessness.’” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:19 – 23, BLB)No Cultural Exegesis found in Holy Scripture as God is no respecter of any persons (culture too) & we (Gentiles) will be judged by the Gospel in full as it is delivered to apostle Paul:“For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:11, KJV)“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!“As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” – apostle Paul (Galatians 1:6 – 12, NASB)“on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.” – apostle Paul (Romans 2:16, NASB)When Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles wrote about the “Commands of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37), he didn’t change it or fit it with any cultural sentiments.God’s Laws are Universal and the only difference between a believing Jew & Gentile’s observance is “on which parts they could or should or should not keep” (Acts 21:24 – 25).It’s the same with “man vs woman” requirements for Gentile believers too (1E.g. 1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Corinthians 14:34).We stand by the “earliest churches” and ‘not fight against it’ (being “contentious”, as ‘rebellion is not love but as witchcraft’, 1 Samuel 15:23) as “it is written” too:“But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.” (1 Corinthians 11:16, NASB)P/S:Upon the blood of the ‘true martyrs’ who died for Christ whilst obeying all these was the “chosen Church of God”. It is Best therefore to be identified with them following their ‘Scriptural’ (imitation of Christ).Yes, following after apostle Paul’s writings and manner is ‘endorsed by Scripture’:“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” – apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 11:1, NASB)‘God may have Mercy and our disobedience may be forgiven, but we make ourselves proud & ugly by disobeying His Written Commands for there is nothing beautiful against the Word of God’ – Anonymous“Or has the word of God gone out from you? Or has it come to you only?If anyone considers himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things I write to you are the commands of the Lord.But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignored.” – apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:36 – 38, BLB)Apostle of the Gentiles means that everything that he (apostle Paul) wrote applies to every Gentile believer. Let us not practice going against God’s divine inspired mandate to apostle Paul by honouring His Word. Remember, Paul is chosen way more than you and I.Indeed, the ‘reward’ is ‘great’ for ‘obeying’ (Salvation is not a reward but His Free Gift by His Unconditional Love to all eventually, these are “Distinct” aspects as Holy Scripture differentiates these clearly, let’s not remain confused by such simple verses):“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish, but to fulfill.For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth shall pass away, not even one iota, nor one stroke of a letter, shall pass away from the law, until everything should happen.Whoever then shall break one of the least of these commandments and shall teach others the same, he will be called least in the kingdom of the heavens; but whoever shall keep and shall teach them, he will be called great in the kingdom of the heavens.For I say to you that unless your righteousness shall abound above that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall never enter into the kingdom of the heavens.” –Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:17 – 20, BLB)Yes, all these helps us to ‘learn’ what ‘Mercy’ is (that Salvation itself is independent of any works of the Law):“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 9:13, KJV)No ‘Justification’ for ‘Salvation’ by ‘any’ role of our ‘works of the Law’:“because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20, NASB)“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28, KJV)‘Justification’ by ‘works’ in ‘faith’ speaks not of Salvation but a ‘perfection’ (for rewards ‘according to what one has done’):“You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;” (James 2:22, NASB)“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:12, NASB)Yes, “Mercy” as understanding it leads to the “knowledge of God”:“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6, KJV)Please notice the link between ‘treasure my commands’ and obtaining ‘wisdom’ to ‘discover the knowledge of God’ as the verses below beautifully describe (imply):“My son, if you will receive my wordsAnd treasure my commandments within you,If you seek her (wisdom) as silverAnd search for her (wisdom) as for hidden treasures;Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1,4,5, NASB)Let us remember, the meaning of His “Mercy”“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5, NASB)SummaryWhat is the most important reason to ‘obey His Commands’?To be “His (True) friends”:“You are My friends if you do what I command you.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:14, NASB)Yes, please note the phrase ‘friend of God’ in verses below which distinguishes between ‘saved by Faith (of Lord Jesus Christ)’ & followed by our ‘believing in Him’ (as recipients of ‘His Righteousness’ unto Salvation’ and followed further by ‘our works’ (e.g. Abraham’s example shows) to ‘perfect our faith’.Yes, only after ‘obeying’ and ‘doing works’ according to ‘his faith’, Abraham is called the ‘friend of God’ agreeing to John 15:14, earlier too as “it is written” with these verses ‘seen together’ giving a more ‘detailed’ picture of this ‘Scriptural’ (verse-based) truth:“And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the Faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:9, KJV)“You see that his faith was working with his works, and by his works, his faith was perfected.And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God.you see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.” (James 2:22 – 24, BLB)*BLB = Berean Literal Bible (Version)‘I don’t believe in things which are not proven with Scripture; There is something beyond just being Saved, and it is to know God by His Commands too which gives true Spiritual Blessedness & Great Peace’ – Unknown“Aleph. How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.” (Psalm 119:1, NASB)“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165, KJV)“But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 10:31, NASB)
Jonathan Ramachandran is founder at AnonymousChristian.org which serves as a Christian Blog discussing the Greater Hope of Biblical Christian in Christ Alone. He is also an IMO (International Math Coach) and a featuring Guitarist for many bands.