Thursday, July 29, 2010

Everything Old is New Again - Part Four

It is necessary that you begin this series at the beginning
Everything Old is New again - Part One
Everything Old is New Again - Part Two
Everything Old is New Again - Part Three

In bondage to the Sabbath and Feast Days - 
The most common verse that the average Christian uses to correct Saturday Sabbath keepers is this:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (Colossians 2:16)
I cannot begin to tell you how tired I got of hearing people quote me this verse, because - honestly- I believed that I understood the Apostle Paul better than they did. People in the Hebrew roots movement translate this verse to mean that we should not let anyone judge us if we do keep Sabbaths and feasts. But, the Lord has been merciful to open my eyes to better understanding this verse by the whole context, especially verse immediately following:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (Col 2:17)
The Apostle Paul is stating that Sabbaths and feasts are a shadow of things to come. These are just a few of the many shadows in Scripture, are they not?
Think of the passover lamb. The lamb had to be sacrificed and its blood painted on the doorposts, so that the Angel of Death would pass over. This is the shadow of the ultimate pass-over, that of Christ's blood being poured out on the cross, so that God would pass-over our sin and death sentence!
But, back to the specific issue of Sabbaths and feast days. Have you read this verse by the Apostle Paul?
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. (Gal 4:9-11 emphasis added)
I am personally able to make more sense of this from the New American Standard version, which says:
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.(Gal 4:9-11 NASB)
It seems that the Apostle Paul is referring to the observation of days, months, and times as "beggarly elements" ("worthless elements" NASB), that are enslaving them! In fact, he says that when the Galatians are worried about these days, they are making his ministry and teaching unto them "in vain." Those are strong words. But, not as strong as the language here:
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.(Gal 2:21 - emphasis added)
If a Christian is living a life of Torah Keeping, always concerned with eating the right foods, keeping the Sabbath correctly, etc., then he is most likely trying to find his righteousness in the Law, and has rendered the death of Christ meaningless. Trust me, when I say that I know that this is not at all your intent! I know that you are striving to please God and live your life as holy before Him. I have a lot of respect for the lengths to which you are willing to go to show your love for the Lord. BUT, at some point this love for God often turns into trying to earn salvation!
Think about this - when you are contemplating your salvation, and that you can be assured of it because of your Torah Keeping - consider these verses:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
We have salvation because God looks upon Christ's sinless perfection as ours, because we are hidden in Christ.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.(2 Cor 5:21)

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Col 2:2-4 emphasis added)

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.(Gal 3:27-19)

Some more strong language from the Apostle Paul:
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 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. (Gal 5:2-3)
So, you see, if you are trying to keep the law, you become a slave to (in bondage to) the whole law! And, no one (other than the Messiah Himself) has ever kept the law perfectly. So, where then is salvation to come from?

Salvation is in Christ alone, through faith alone.
See the last post of this series Everything Old is New Again -Part Five

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