Law or Gospel?
Within the church there is a growing sect called the “Hebraic Roots Movement.” This movement believes that they are returning back to the roots of the original teachings of scripture, but what they are actually doing is returning back to the law instead of back to the lamb slain or back to the root which is Christ and Christ alone.
The Ten Commandments of God can be found all over the world in churches, court houses, and statues. The Ten Commandments were given by God to provide us with a measurement of moral standard as we live our day to day lives. Unfortunately as centuries passed, we have forgotten our moral responsibilities defined by the Lord’s Commandments to live our lives in a morally corrupt world filled with violence, pestilence, greed, fornication, gluttony, sloth, and envy. Today’s society lives to satisfy the hunger of fleshly needs rather than the hunger of spiritual needs.
Isaiah 65:2 (KJV)
I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good (The only way is Jesus Christ and him crucified, and every other way is unprofitable and “not good”), after their own thoughts (The way of the cross is so much higher than man’s thoughts);
Matthew 23:37-38 (KJV)
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
One of the major problems facing the church today is that we have taken upon ourselves a personal interpretation of the Lord’s scripture. We have learned to use personal knowledge or experiences to reshape scripture to fit our own personal needs and this is wrong and misleading. Scripture cannot be revealed to a believer through “Law” or the flesh! Scripture can only be revealed through faith in the cross of Christ. The gospel of the Cross predates the “Law of God”, but the “Law of God” is not separate from the Gospel. The Cross is within the Commandments and the Commandments were given to the children of Israel just as they have been given to us.
Hebrews 4:2 (KJV)
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
The Cross of Christ was preached to the children of Israel, but it did not “profit” them because they did not put their faith in the Cross. It is hard to associate the Cross of Christ with Moses ascending Mount Sinai, but if we do not put our faith exclusively into the cross of Christ, then we will end up like the children of Israel as well.
Exodus 20:7 (KJV)
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
We all recognize this verse as the third commandment given to Moses by God.
Vain in Hebrew means: “in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literal (ruin) or moral (especially guile); figurative idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective; also adverb in vain): – false (-ly), lie, lying, vain, vanity.”
Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
The Commandments were given to us in order to reveal sin within the lives of believers, and I believe that there is not a believer in the world that has not broken this Commandment at least once in their life. Like most of you, I was taught early that taking the Lord’s name in vain means that I have used it in a profane or sacrilegious way, but I believe there is a deeper truth to be found within this Commandment.
1 Samuel 25:5-9 (KJV)
5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.
7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
9 And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.
The ten young men went to Nabal to deliver David’s message. The young men went in David’s name and spoke in David’s name because David gave them a specific message to deliver at Nabal. If the ten young men came to Nabal and gave him a message that David had not spoken, then they would have taken David’s name in vain.
1 Kings 22:16 (KJV)
And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?
When a minister of the gospel (Cross of Christ) stands in their office and delivers the message of the Lord they are speaking in the name of the Lord “God”. If the messenger or minister speaks something that is not true, then they are “taking the name of the Lord in vain.” Therefore as ministers or messengers, we must be extremely careful to never speak idle words.
The title “minister of the gospel” is defined as someone that preaches, i.e. messenger of, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Sadly, there are many who bring their own personal gospel before congregations that fail to stress the importance of the Cross within their message because they are more concerned about magnifying their own personal interpretations. True ministers or messengers of the Lord will speak directly from scripture by stressing that salvation and sanctification can only be found through Christ and the Cross.
Light, when it is revealed, is either rejected or accepted. If the light is accepted, more light can be given, but if light is rejected then that light will be taken away and given to those who accept it.
Matthew 13:11-13 (KJV)
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance (Those that accept the cross and the light): but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath (When the cross and the light is rejected then it will be given to him that has accepted).
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Before God’s pure and perfect message can flow from our lips, we have to repent from false messages that we have preached and produced by the flesh. A good “public speaker” can come up with a sermon, but coming up with a sermon and obtaining God’s message are two different things. Only God knows the heart of the messenger.
Matthew 13:34-35 (KJV)
34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
1 Peter 1:19-20 (KJV)
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
The “lamb slain before the foundation of the world” is the great secret spoken of by Christ, but when the work of the cross is not understood then the scripture is in parables and hard to understand.
As mentioned before, the word “vain” carries with it a meaning of “guile,” and Jesus Christ took upon himself this sin that we are all guilty of.
1 Peter 2:22 (KJV)
Who (Jesus) did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
John 19:30 (KJV)
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar (i.e. guile), he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
(side note: Rev 14:4-5 (KJV) the 144,000 witnesses had no guile in their mouths “And in their mouth was found no guile”)
I have come to realize that we are all in a constant state of spiritual growth. Sometimes we can faithfully study the bible and then preach what we think is the truth, only to find later, as we have grown in Christ, that what we thought was the “message” was slightly off. For example, dogma differs from denomination to denomination. Each denomination always has and always will believe that they are closer to the truth than all other denominations when in reality there is not one denomination any closer than another. Denominational dogmas rest in deceit and lack the enlightenment that God so desperately wants within His church. Truth does not evolve but remains constant, our knowledge of that truth grows, but truth stays the same. A house built upon a rock will with stand the storm, but a house built on uncertain “truths” will crumble and fall.
God’s message is singular and has never changed over the centuries. Since the beginning of the human race God has been speaking one thing, which is the Lamb slain.