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What to Obey as His Church?

What to obey as His Church?

This is important to ‘fulfill the Will of God’ with regards to ‘His Holy written Scripture’.

What Laws are we supposed to follow under this New Testament Age?

I believe that this question is essential for anyone who desires “to do His Will” as “believers”.

Putting human opinions aside, here are the facts “those with verses only” (albeit complex) as I see from Scripture as it unfolded:

(i) The 10 Commandments

To answer the question as ‘what does one need to do to inherit (the reward of) age-during life’, our Blessed Saviour quoted parts of the 10 Commandments when He answered this question (verses below):

“And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain age-during life?”

And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”” (Matthew 19:16 – 17)

Because the “Law” (comprises of hundreds of commandments), the ‘smart’ man who asked this question to the Lord, asked further, “which commandments (to clarify whether Christ meant all Law or parts of it)”; As Christ replies (in verses below), we see that it indicates ‘mostly 10 Commandments laws as example’ except ‘love your neighbour’ from the latter given laws (Leviticus 19:18)

“Which ones?” the man asked.

Jesus answered, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 19:18 – 19)

What I understand is that 10 Commandments are essential because the question of “obtaining age-during life” here applies to Gentile believers too.

To understand whether we need to obey ‘all law’ (as the Law comprised of the giving of the ’10 commandments first’ followed by the ‘latter custom of Moses laws’ marking a clear distinction between the importance of the former than the latter), we need to look at ‘other Scriptures’ where ‘this exact issue was addressed’.

(ii) The Mosaic Law (Customs of Moses)

Scripture begins by addressing this question as to whether ‘Gentile (Non-Jewish by descent) believers’ such as me need to observe ‘these laws’ as a ‘believer in Christ’. Some believing Jewish teachers ‘wrongly’ assumed so as the verses below describe too:

“Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”” (Acts 15:1)

Yes, these men even believed that the “Gentile believers” need to obey ‘all law of Moses’ (a root of the ‘Gentile believer need to become Jewish heresy’ type of error in doctrine):

“But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”” (Acts 15:5)

Fortunately, this issue was discussed & ‘concluded’ in this chapter by the the apostles & elders of the early church itself. A letter was sent to Gentile churches mentioning that only “4 aspects” from the “Law of Moses” applies to “Gentile Believers” namely:

1) Don’t take things (or food) offered to idols
2) Don’t eat strangled animals
3) Don’t commit sexual immorality (of any sort)
4) Don’t eat blood

Here is that verse:

“that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”” (Acts 16:28)

The common error of ‘including tithes’ or other laws from the Law of Moses is prevalent today as well. We should not add/remove this doctrine as it is endorsed by the “Holy Spirit” of God Himself to ‘lay no further burden than these (four) essentials mentioned’:

““For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:””(Acts 15:28)

A common fallacy is to argue that ‘tithes’ pre-dates the Law of Moses & thus it must be kept. Going by that same reasoning, a far more important practice of circumcision which pre-dates the law of Moses too must be kept by Gentile believers as well! This is false as may be seen in the verse below (‘hence such reasoning is incorrect & has never been found in Scripture, a man-made logic not backed by verses either):

“Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” (Galatians 5:2)

The well meaning intentions of wanting to keep extra parts of the law of Moses with regards to circumcision or other aspects as a “Gentile Believer” is clearly not just discouraged but prohibited in Scripture. The verse below clearly warns that if anyone tries to persuade “Gentile Believers” into keeping such “extras from the Law of Moses”, we don’t end up pleasing God but shockingly ‘put Him to the test’ as the verse below “warns”:

““Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?”” (Acts 15:10)

(iii) Does Scripture make a distinction between a Jewish believer vs Gentile believer with respect to keeping these ‘Law of Moses’?

Yes! Scripture does give two distinct ways namely, ‘the Jewish believers may be zealous for the Law keeping it while the Gentile believers not beyond the four things mentioned’.

Here are the proof verses for this statement as Jewish elders also request apostle Paul (being Jewish too!) to demonstrate his obedience to the law too! (thus this in ‘no’ way supports false teachings that Gentile believers may choose to keep these laws if they wish):

The issue:

“And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;

and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.” (Acts 21:20 – 21)

Jewish believers (such as Paul himself) may keep the law:

““What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. “Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.” (Acts 21:22 – 24)

Gentile believers have no commandment to keep beyond the “four” things aforementioned:

““But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.”” (Acts 21:25)

Scripture in James regarding keeping the Law agrees to the “Jewish believers keeping it” as the book of James was addressed to the “dispersed 12 tribes of Israel” (Jewish believers scattered across the ‘diaspora’ or the ‘great dispersion’ at that time). Thus, to quote part of James to prove “Gentile” believers’ law-keeping is false and out of context!

“James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.” (James 1:1)

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

Likewise, the “non-law keeping” as addressed in the book of Galatians certainly refers to Gentile believers only!

“For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:3 – 4)

(iv) The Sabbath

Regarding the 10 Commandments, a “Gentile Believer” may keep or may not keep this “special day” (either way of practice is allowed in principle by this verse):

“One man regards a certain day above the others, while someone else considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5)

In such “either way allowed matters”, both the one who is keeping it or not keeping it are doing it for the Lord!

“He who observes a special day does so to the Lord; he who eats does so to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.” (Romans 14:6)

We are “not” allowed to “judge another” who is not following our custom (say, Sunday a special day for church attendance) by condemning a brother who is not observing it, as Scripture warns below; in fact, we are “not” encouraged to share about these beliefs which are allowed either way:

“Keep your belief about such matters between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” (Romans 14:22)

Some may think that the verses above doesn’t include the Sabbath as allowed either way (i.e. observed or not observed either way); here is a Scripture directly pointing that regardless, A Gentile believer is “not judged” from the observance of “Sabbaths” in the same manner he cannot be judged for not keeping any Jewish feasts nor any dietary restrictions in food or meat whatsoever (proving the claim):

“Therefore let no one judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a festival, a New Moon, or Sabbaths.” (Colossians 2:16)

(v) Church Order & Traditions written in Holy Scripture

The Corinthian church is the Gentile church model. The rules given to a Gentile church at Corinth applies to all Gentile churches.

I do “not” see a Verse suggesting that God allows for church rules to change or be modified in accordance to the era of modernization. Such man made excuses have no Scriptural basis. I don’t believe in non Scriptural opinions.

Rules & Traditions written “anywhere in the New Testament” (E.g. 1 Corinthians 14, 1 Corinthians 11) must be followed by “all” (not some) churches of the saints to “avoid confusion”:

“for God is not a God of confusion but peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

We are supposed to “firmly hold to these traditions” given to the earliest church:

“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

By doing so, we “imitate Christ”:

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 – 2)

We are to teach this “sound doctrine” as revealed in the New Testament:

“holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” (Titus 1:9)

We are to speak the “same” doctrine/judgment as written in the New Testament:

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

Does this include “all” or “some” of Paul’s writing (even the New Testament writings) as the “Lord’s Commandment” (not a human suggestion open to interpretation)? Can a “prophet” or “spiritual” person (Example: pastors) teach “differently”?

No! As the verse below clearly states this “sign”:

“If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.” – apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37)

What if some continue to “ignore” all these New Testament Rules & Commandments? The next verse answers:

“But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.” (1 Corinthians 14:38)

Probably that’s why very few end up doing the “written will of God in obedience” (avoiding “lawlessness” of any kind) while many are “denied” (or ‘not’ recognised) on that Great Day:

““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

“Many will say to Me on that 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 to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21 – 23)

May God have Mercy on all of us!

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