As part of Paulâ€™s letter to Titus and in his admonitions concerning â€œthings that become sound doctrineâ€ he gave advice and godly instruction on how all Christians are to act and as to the character they should exhibit. In chapter two and verses seven and eight is this statement: â€œâ€¦in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.â€ (Titus 2: 7, 8)
The Messiah fulfilled the Law. He said so. The details given of his life demonstrated that he was the point of fulfillment of the prophecies of Moses and all of the rest of the prophets, and that he was the means for the fulfillment of the earlier covenant with Abraham. The record states that he also honored and kept the conditions of the Law completely. The Word of God verifies all of that (Jn. 19:30, Mt. 5:18, Ac. 3:23 – 26, Ep. 2:15, Co. 2:14 et al).
When something is fulfilled, when a testament is completed, its status is changed and it becomes a settled matter and is set aside. You file it away; you box it up and put it on a shelf: case closed. It retains usefulness no longer as it had when it remained unfulfilled. The Law of Moses, therefore, as it was completed, went from being the base of religious law and the foundation of Israel’s worship to becoming a reference source (used as the KJV stated, for examples and ensamples: “forms and types” being an accurate English translation); and thenceforth retained usefulness only as it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. But, it was no longer law. Aside from that, when you have a better High Priest, a new King heading up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed, you received along with Him a new law: a better way. That is exactly what we received with Christ: there is a new administration – there is a new law – a better covenant.
Therefore the religion of Moses and David, from that point to this, has become a dead religion. What we may glean from it and from Israel’s example has great value, but there is nothing to be gained by imitating or leaning upon its formula. It bears no authority over anyone any longer. In fact, it will have an altogether adverse effect if we seek after it. For Christ had taken it (the Law) out of the way having nailed it to the cross, as Paul so ably said. That same Apostle, though he had been a Hebrew of Hebrews, understood then that he could not be saved at all through it or by it. So he gave it up. He didn’t give some of it up. He gave up all of it. And he turned from it and to the teaching of Christ exclusively, exactly as he had been commanded. If the apostles of the Lord gave up the religion of their families and ancestors, what does that suggest that all should do today?
Paul wrote to others who, though Christians, were being misled by third parties that maintained Christians must hold to this or that part of the Law of Moses. That was their “made up” law, supplanting what God gave. The outcome of going part of the way is that you eventually end up going all the way.
Paul stated that to go backwards would allow that they would fall from the lofty place then held and plummet out the God’s favor. They would be fallen from grace. They could no longer be held in the hands of God, but would become castaways. That these folks had become Christians is without doubt; that at least some were yet more Jew than Christian religiously speaking is also without doubt. Certainly some were being mislead. The outcome would be the same in any case: they would fall from grace if they continued to walk the path provided in the Old Law or if they turned back, regardless of where they had started out.
Just how can it be that some still would maintain that once we have come to Christ that we cannot fall from grace? It appears that all we too would have to do is to go backwards. After all that is what some of those folks did. What was true for them certainly must be true today. We could travel back to old ways or into old allegiances. And that can happen whether we go through the Old Law in part or parcel, or in returning to old activities, by revisiting our own former useless and godless pursuits. The scriptures state precisely the same things: that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written (so) that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. There is to be no division; we are all to teach and practice the same things.
This entire exercise is also a proof text that the religion of David will now avail nothing. You cannot please God by following its principles and you cannot perform any of its obligations, for God made doing so impossible. To try just means that you would be throwing yourself from off the high pinnacle gained and that you would fall from grace and you would therefore be lost. For there is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved.
You simply cannot have it both ways. And, it is either all true or it is all an utter fabrication. You will be upright in Christ, and saved through Christ and in Him alone; or you will be cast down based upon what you do; but you can be nothing in between before the Throne of God. You can certainly then pass from being safe to fallen and vice versa; but whichever state you are in when you go to meet God is the one in which you will remain eternally. Upright or fallen; unregenerate or repentant and in a covenant relationship with Christ – we get to choose. Any other relationship has no covenant of support.
Again, we’d better pay attention to the details. The devil indeed is there. And the burden is clearly on us as individuals to be able to discern and to do exactly what God has said or to pay the inevitable consequences.
Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and the entire world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what Law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the Law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
(Romans 3: 19 – 31)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
(2 Corinthians 5:10)