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Falling from Favor (2)

Why should there be any concern over bits and pieces of the Old Law being placed into our worship or before us in service to God? Simple; there is not a scrap of authority to hold onto the dead over the living. It is condemned in the New Testament. Paul told those who would incorporate the Law or any portion of it that they would be condemned to obey its every obligation, and yet they would at the same time be falling out of God’s favor.

If that was true then, what of those in modern religious service to Christ who today call for or command a tithe? What of groups with priests, their wearing of vestments, and the offering of incense? What of instrumental music in worship, which though commanded in the OT, has no precept, no inference, and no example within the New? What about the person who believes that the Sabbath is the proper day for Christian worship, or those who teach that the Lord’s Day has itself become “the Christian Sabbath?” What of modern prophets and offerings on special days? I could go on and on.

When Paul wrote, the letter kills but the Spirit gives life; he was comparing the Law of Moses to the new Law in Christ. He was not contemplating that by following the letter of the Law believers would somehow be condemned (in both Romans and First Corinthians he clearly weighs the Old Law against the New — not just any law), while a personalized indwelling of the Spirit would be one’s ticket to everlasting life. Such things are not taught in the New Testament. Where the assembly in the wilderness (comparing Israel in Sinai to the church) is mentioned, Paul was not intending that we should think the second was some extension of the first, like some denomination that springs forth from out of another. The church does not date to Abraham. It dates to Jesus. And I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Israel under the Law of Moses was the type of things to come, but Christianity is the real deal. One was shadow, the other is substance. There are no grounds to pull from one to supplement the other. We should not even want to try. It is not accidental that the obligations and ceremonies of the Law of Moses can no longer be kept and offered as they had been given.

Just as Moses was a type of Christ, so the Old Law pointed to the New. The writer of Hebrews and the Apostle Peter call it a case of type and antitype. That is what God’s Word instructs. To believe and practice otherwise would surely also drop us out of God’s favor.

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For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “The just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “The man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”). Galatians 3:11 – 13