THE CHRISTIAN AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
It has been difficult for Christian people to understand the relationship between the Law of Moses, particularly the Ten Commandments, and salvation through the grace of Christ. The typical Christian reaction to this question is, "I am not under the Law but under grace" (Romans 6:4).
What is the scriptural relationship of the Ten Commandments to the Christian redemption? Perhaps the truth can be arrived at more readily when we change the traditional goal and means of the Christian salvation to the scriptural goal and means.
Table of Contents
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
It has been difficult for Christian people to understand the relationship between the Law of Moses, particularly the Ten Commandments, and salvation through the grace of Christ. The problem has been intensified because many Jews are receiving Jesus as Christ. "Messianic" Jews sometimes believe firmly that we still are to observe the Ten Commandments, including the fourth commandment concerning not working on the seventh day of the week.
The typical Gentile Christian reaction to this question is, "I am not under the Law but under grace" (Romans 6:14).
While this response is scriptural it does not communicate effectively.
It does not communicate effectively for two reasons: (1) The Jew has a strong tradition of law and morality—the idea that God no longer requires righteous behavior is not satisfying to many Jews; and (2) the Christian who advances this argument may not have a clear, scriptural understanding of what it means to be "under grace."
Often the Christian means, I do not have to keep the Ten Commandments or any other commandments because Christ has forgiven my sins and will bring me to Heaven when I die regardless of my behavior.
The explanation given in this booklet of the relationship between the Christian salvation and the Ten Commandments will be based on the goal, and the means to the goal, of the Christian salvation. Therefore it is important to note when the Christian states I am not under the Law of Moses but under grace, he means his goal is to obtain eternal residence in Heaven, and his means of reaching his goal is to believe Jesus has forgiven him through the blood atonement made on Calvary.
The Messianic Jew also believes in the blood atonement, but in addition he may believe in the necessity for adhering to the letter of the Ten Commandments, circumcision, kosher dietary laws, the feast days, and the mikvah bath.
What is the scriptural relationship of the Ten Commandments (and the other observances) to the Christian redemption?
Perhaps the truth can be arrived at more readily when we change the traditional goal and means of the Christian salvation to the scriptural goal and means.
In our discussion we will use the fourth commandment, the observance of the Sabbath, to represent the Ten Commandments and other ordinances. The role of the fourth commandment in the Christian redemption has been a particular point of controversy.
Also, we will be emphasizing the transformation of personality of those predestined to be brothers of Christ—the members of the royal priesthood.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)
We will discuss the following concepts:
The scriptural goal of redemption (John 3:16).
The scriptural means of attaining the goal; the goal as the result of a process rather than a reward assigned by mercy and forgiveness or merited by our efforts (II Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 6:8).
Paul’s statement of the goal (Philippians 3:11).
Paul’s statement of the means (Philippians 3:8-14; II Corinthians 4:8-12).
The relationship of the white robe to the bodily resurrection unto righteousness, immortality and glory (II Corinthians 4:17; Revelation 3:4; 6:11; 7:9; 19:8).
The Law and the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33).
The meaning of the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13,14).
The new-covenant Sabbath; the relationship of the writing of the Law in our heart to the rest of God (Hebrews 4:1-11; Isaiah 28:10-13).
The definition of grace (John 6:54).
The meaning of, "ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 7:4).
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).
"But have everlasting life."
We often cannot grasp what we are reading in the Scriptures, because the traditional goal of salvation is to attain eternal residence in Heaven. Actually (and scripturally) the goal of salvation has little to do with eternal residence in Heaven. The goal of redemption is "everlasting life." The goal is the resurrection of the body to righteousness, immortality, and glory.
The traditional goal, that of making Heaven our eternal home, is not scriptural. Making the goal of redemption eternal residence in a golden mansion in Heaven introduces confusion into the attempt to relate our behavior to our goal. If the goal of redemption were to bring the redeemed to the realm of spirits to abide forever, God would be reversing His accomplishments of the first chapter of Genesis. God would be doing away with the firmament and the earth and returning to the condition prior to the creation.
Being raised in the body to righteousness, immortality, and glory is different from making our eternal home in the spirit realm.
It is true of any system that confusion concerning the objectives may cause wasteful, destructive methods to be pursued and illogical explanations to be made. Measurement of progress to the goal becomes impossible. Because the Christian is assuming an incorrect goal, confusion is introduced into the discussion of the relationship of the Law of Moses to the Christian salvation.
That the Lord Jesus Christ came to bring us eternal life is found throughout the New Testament. Never once, however, is it stated that the Lord Jesus came to bring us to Heaven or His purpose in returning is to bring us back to Heaven.
One of the Christian traditions is that the Lord is coming to "catch away His waiting bride to Heaven." The believers are not considering the fact that the Christians for two thousand years have been waiting for the Lord to return. If He came to catch away His waiting bride to Heaven it would be only a very small part of the Bride that would be caught away at any given time.
One might reason, but He will raise the saints of all ages and then catch them away to Heaven.
What would be the sense of this? The great majority of saints are in Heaven already. The deceased saints do not need to experience the resurrection of their bodies in order to enjoy the spirit Paradise.
Making our home in the spirit Paradise never is presented in the Old Testament or New Testament as the objective of the Christian salvation. The venerable "mansions," of John 14:2, refer to our abiding in Christ and He in us. An examination of the context and the Greek text will demonstrate this.
Eternal life, meaning especially the resurrection of the body to righteousness, immortality, and glory, is set forth in the Old Testament (Daniel 12:2,3), and numerous times in the New Testament (the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians, for example).
One final thought: the Old Testament Prophets speak many times of the purpose of the return of Christ. It is not to "catch a waiting bride away." It always is to bring justice to the nations of the earth.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)
It is important that today the Christian ministry begin to announce clearly to the churches and to the world that Christ is going to return in order to bring justice to the nations. The reason the saints must attain their personal goal of eternal life is that they may return with Christ and bring justice to the nations of the earth. This is the teaching of the Scriptures.
The Scriptural Means of Attaining the Goal; the Goal as the Result of a Process Rather Than a Reward Assigned by Mercy and Forgiveness or Merited by Our Efforts
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)
The only means of attaining the goal of bodily resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory is that of entering a process of transformation—a daily dying to the adamic nature and a daily forming of Christ in us.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:16)
We hardly can stress enough that bodily resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory is neither a result of forgiveness nor a reward for good conduct. Resurrection to life is the product of our interacting on a continuing basis with the Life of Jesus. Resurrection to life is a reaping of what we have sown.
There is no exception to this. Multitudes of Christians are trusting in "grace" (forgiveness) to qualify them for a resurrection into the image of Jesus’ glorious body. Yet they themselves are not entering the process of inner transformation through daily death and resurrection. Their hope of glory is vain. Can we sound the trumpet loudly enough? Their hope is not based in the Scriptures.
What about the saints of the Old Testament, or those of more recent times, who have not heard or else have not obeyed the Gospel of the Kingdom of God?
The answer to this question is simple: the righteous will be blessed with eternal life and the wicked will be punished.
As soon as we realize the goal is not eternal residence in the realm of spirits but participation in a kingdom on the earth it becomes easier to grasp the plan of God.
Each individual will be judged fairly. Those whom Christ has called to Himself are being prepared to govern saved mankind. Others who do not have this high calling will be judged in terms of their circumstances.
The wicked and rebellious will be cast into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. One may, object, "They never heard the Gospel." True, they may never have heard the Gospel, but God is revealed in His handiwork. We can learn much about God from our environment. Also, all human beings have a conscience.
The wicked, those who defile themselves, are without excuse. Those who have sought to live righteously will be received of God. Those who have practiced wickedness will have their reward with the wicked. This is true, with specific exceptions, whether or not the individual professes belief in Christ.
God does not divide mankind into those who believe in Christ and those who do not believe in Christ but into the righteous and the wicked. Think about the parable of the wheat and the tares, for example.
Those who have been called to be part of the royal priesthood will be judged by the talents they have been given.
We are not teaching there are many roads to God for that is not the case. The Lord Jesus is the only door to God. All must come through Him. He reveals Himself to some in the present world, to others in the realm of spirits, apparently.
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; (I Peter 3:19)
No individual will be judged guilty of rejecting Jesus if the Spirit has not spoken to him concerning the Lord, because a person cannot come to Jesus except the Father draw him.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)
If the Father does not draw someone to Jesus, how, then, can he be judged guilty of not coming to Jesus? To state that a person in total ignorance of Jesus can be judged guilty for not coming to Jesus is nonsense.
If the Spirit presents the Lord to us, and we reject Him, we are under condemnation. There is no way to come to God except through the Lord Jesus.
The Israelites under the Law were judged by the Law.
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (Romans 2:12)
Those who are not under the Law are not judged by the Law.
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed (ascribed) when there is no law. (Romans 5:13)
We are not judged on the basis of receiving Christ until we have known of Christ.
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. (John 15:22)
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:24)
Christian theology is incorrect. It teaches that lazy, self-centered "believers" will be carried to Paradise because they have acknowledged the facts concerning Jesus’ death and resurrection. It maintains also that the Jew of the Holocaust, laboring in the Torah, who would die before he would commit adultery but to whom Christ never was presented, will be tormented in the unquenchable fire throughout eternity.
The Christian concept is this: the Protestant Christian who stood guard in the concentration camp will walk with Jesus in the white robe of righteousness because of a statement of belief, although he never presented his body a living sacrifice to God, never forsook the world, never took up his cross, never followed the Lord to the death of self-love.
The guard disobeyed Christ at every point, but because his theology was correct the Lord welcomed him to the throne of glory, crying out, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" This is neither scriptural nor reasonable. It is absolute nonsense. But it passes today in Christian churches for the truth of God.
How long will Christians persist in such manifest unrighteousness?
The Jew who has walked in the light he has, behaving righteously, telling the truth, showing mercy to the poor, kindness to the widow and orphan in the fear of God, will not lose his reward. He has done the works of God. When the Spirit of God reveals Jesus to him he must continue to do the work of God by accepting his Christ.
The Gentile who has professed Christ but who does not practice righteousness, does not tell the truth, does not show mercy to the poor, kindness to the widow and orphan in the fear of God, will not be received of God or His Christ. He is a wicked person and will be cast into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Listen to what a Christian Jew states:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)
As we have stated, the world is not divided into Christians and non-Christians but into the righteous and the wicked.
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:35)
God revealed His expectations regarding human beings in the following words:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to practice righteousness, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)
The above is one of the central commandments of all Scripture.
Many Jews throughout history have walked in this light and God has blessed them. Many Jews have not kept God’s word, and they are not the glory of Abraham.
Many Gentiles throughout history have behaved according to Micah 6:8 although they may not have been acquainted with the Scriptures. Other Gentiles have behaved wickedly, and some of them have been professing Christians.
Every human being will reap what he or she sows.
In the case of those called to be part of the royal priesthood under the new covenant, the grace of God begins its work of correcting our behavior by directing us to die to our adamic nature and to receive on a daily basis the resurrection Life of Christ.
The resurrection to bodily righteousness, immortality, and glory must be attained to by the new-covenant priesthood in this manner. Resurrection to glory is not a gift of "grace," it is a product of our interaction with the Lord Jesus.
It is not that we experience bodily resurrection in increments. However, our inner man is experiencing increments of resurrection life. If such transformation has met the Lord’s standard, when He comes our body will be raised (or changed) into glory.
If there has not been an adequate transformation of the inner nature there will be no bodily glorification. There will be no house from Heaven, no white robe to glorify the flesh and bones of the deceased believer. He has sown to the flesh and will reap corruption, not eternal life.
The episode of Noah’s Ark illustrates the doctrine of bodily righteousness, immortality, and glory being the result of a process rather than a reward assigned by mercy or merited by our efforts.
God found Noah righteous and warned him of the coming flood. Also, God gave Noah directions for building a ship. The warning and the directions were examples of grace given under a former covenant.
Noah was not saved by the warning. Noah was not saved by the directions. Noah was not saved by Divine mercy. Noah’s preservation from drowning was not a reward he merited by his behavior (except in a secondary sense). Noah was saved by the Ark. Noah’s salvation was a product of his Divinely directed behavior.
The same is true today. We shall not attain immortality and glory by Divine mercy. We shall not be given the first resurrection as a reward for our efforts. We shall attain righteousness, immortality, and glory only as we build what God has commanded. It is the "ark" that has been constructed that will clothe us in glory in the Day of the Lord; not our doctrine, not our statements of faith, but what we have constructed according to the directions God has given us.
The current doctrine stating that our profession of faith saves us apart from a change of our behavior is unscriptural.
God has told us to put our fallen nature to death and seek the eternal life in Christ. God has commanded us to present our mortal body a living sacrifice and to live by the Spirit of God. We can call Jesus, Lord as much as we want. But if we do not present our body a living sacrifice, if we do not count ourselves dead to the world, if we do not take up our cross and follow the Lord each day, we will reap corruption in the Day of the Lord.
Noah was not saved by assenting to what God had stated but by building the Ark. We are not saved by assenting to what Jesus has said but by submitting to the crucifixion our natural man and abiding in Jesus every moment of every day.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
Paul stated clearly his (and our) objective, the objective of our daily pursuit of Christ.
Paul was near the end of his life when he wrote these words. They are the expression of a mature Christian. Today one would not ordinarily hear a minister of the Gospel say he was seeking to attain to the resurrection from the dead. The goal of Paul seems to be unknown to us.
Paul’s comments a few verses later indicate he was speaking of bodily resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory:
Who shall change our vile [humbled] body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21)
There is a "mark," a goal of the Christian redemption. It is stated here in Philippians by the Apostle Paul.
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. (Philippians 3:14)
We know that all people who have lived and died will be resurrected by the Lord Jesus.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)
But to be raised to righteousness, immortality, and glory in terms of the promise of I Corinthians, Chapter 15 must be attained. It is the reverse of the rebellion of Eden, which led to physical death. The destroying of the last enemy, physical death, is accomplished only when every other enemy of Christ in us has been conquered.
The out-resurrection (to use the Greek term found in Philippians 3:11) is the first resurrection. The first resurrection is the privilege of those who have attained the transformation of the inner man, who have chosen Christ as the supreme goal of their life.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
Notice the accent on behavior, in the preceding verse. Those who lived and governed did not do so on the basis of a profession of belief in Christ’s death and resurrection but on the basis of forsaking their life for the Gospel’s sake. They did not worship the beast or the image of the beast, nor did they receive his mark, the mark of the world spirit, in their right hand or their forehead.
The statement is being made today that all such verses apply only to the Jews because the "Gentile Church" already had been "raptured" into Heaven. If this is the case, then it is the Jews who will be priests of God and of Christ and who will rule with Him throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age. But the Scripture teaches that it is the members of the Body of Christ, the royal priesthood, who will rule with Christ.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
These are the Lord’s kings and judges. They chose to set aside their own "head," their own mind and self-direction, so they could follow the Lord with a perfect heart. They refused to worship the Beast (Antichrist) This means they resisted the temptation to make a God of themselves by following their own will and desires. They did not serve the gods of the world—the gods of money, of lust, of violence, of occult practices, of drunkenness and revelry (the mark in the hand), neither were they changed into the thinking of the world (the mark in the forehead).
They came to life (were raised bodily to immortality and glory) and ruled with Christ throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
It appears that most Christians in the world of today are not attaining to the bodily resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory.
There is a clearly stated goal of redemption. It is the filling of our personality with eternal life and glory. When we emphasize any other objective we bring confusion into our thinking and practice. The Christian churches of our day are in theological confusion because they do not present the resurrection of our body to righteousness, immortality, and glory as the true goal of our salvation in Christ. Sometimes the catching up is emphasized, as in the pre-tribulation "rapture" error. This produces further confusion.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)
For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:11)
Our redemption begins with belief in the Gospel, repenting of our past manner of life, and receiving by faith the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus.
Then we are baptized in water. Water baptism signifies we have died with the Lord Jesus and have been raised with Him to the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
The remainder of our discipleship consists of working out in practice what we declared to be true in water baptism: our whole first nature, not just our sinful tendencies but our entire old nature has died with the Lord Jesus on the cross; our new born-again nature has ascended in Jesus to the right hand of the Father, there to await the Day of Resurrection.
We bear about in our physical body the dying of the Lord.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10)
A firstfruits of our personality, our born-again spiritual nature, already has entered the Kingdom of God. Now we are to interact with the Divine Life of Jesus until all of our inner personality has experienced the death of the cross and the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. It is a daily death and a daily resurrection. It is the forming of Christ in us.
In this manner we attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory.
At the time of the Lord’s appearing we shall be given the white robe—the body of incorruptible life that is formed as our mortal body is sown to the death of the cross.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:44)
Then we will descend from Heaven with the Lord (or be changed if we still are alive on the earth) and clothe our mortal remains with the white robe of resurrection life that has been formed as we faithfully have sown our body to the death of the cross.
This is the first resurrection, the resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory. It is achieved by entering the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus on a daily basis.
The Christian pilgrimage is full of challenges. Let us say someone has hurt us grievously. Now the battle is joined. We can place the hurt before God and seek the grace of forgiveness, or we can plan on avenging ourselves.
If we choose to avenge ourselves our inner nature remains unchanged. We have saved our life, so to speak, but we have lost the part of the first resurrection that could have been ours. We have not attained to the first resurrection in this instance.
If we place the hurt before God, obtaining the Virtue of the body and blood of Christ, part of our natural man dies on the cross as he forgives his enemy. In his place comes the body and blood of the Lord, which is eternal life.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
The action of forgiving the person who hurt us has resulted in our attaining to the first resurrection, in this measure. Part of us has died. Christ has been formed in part of us. The new creation, the Kingdom, has come into being. The new creation is neither Christ nor us. The new creation is a new person formed from the marriage, the union of our personality with Christ. It is eternal. It is "new wine" and God will put it in a new bottle in the Day of Resurrection.
Paul continually was given the opportunity to die and live.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:8-11)
Paul at any time could have chosen to save his life. Instead Paul chose to commit his way to the Lord. There was added to Paul a "thorn in the flesh" to further crucify his natural personality. God gave great fruitfulness to Paul because he was willing to permit the Lord to remove everything of which he could boast.
Paul sought to know the resurrection Life of Jesus, and also to have fellowship with the suffering of Jesus, realizing that the power and wisdom of Jesus are developed in us when we are suffering tribulation.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Corinthians 12:9)
Paul entered the death and resurrection of Christ until he could say:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
In the Day of the Lord, Paul will descend from Heaven with the Lord Jesus. Paul will be clothed in a mountain of glory and splendor—a white robe of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life. This white robe was formed as Paul was brought down to death and raised again by the Life of Jesus.
Paul’s body, which he had kept under strict control, is still buried somewhere in the earth. The mammoth spirit that now is Paul will enter his mortal remains, clothing them with life. He together with all the Lord’s men of war will be caught up to meet the Commander in Chief in the air. Then Christ will divide the spoil with the strong.
The Relationship of the White Robe to the Bodily Resurrection Unto Righteousness, Immortality, and Glory
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18)
And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (Revelation 4:4)
And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:11)
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; (Revelation 7:9)
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteousnesses] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)
The "eternal weight of glory" (above) is the white robe, the body of glory.
We have included a number of references (above) to emphasize the importance in the spirit realm of the white robe. The white robe is the "righteousnesses" (righteous works) of saints (Revelation 19:8). To be in the spirit realm without the white robe of the royal priesthood, the robe of eternal life and glory, is to be spiritually naked or clothed with filthy garments.
He who overcomes is clothed in white raiment (Revelation 3:5).
We are exhorted to buy white raiment from Jesus. To not have white raiment is to be shamefully naked (Revelation 3:18).
God’s elders are clothed in white raiment (Revelation 4:4).
The saints slain for the Word of God and for their testimony are given white robes (Revelation 6:11).
The saints who die during the great tribulation wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Suffering, if received in the Lord, causes us to turn away from sin and cleave to the Lord (I Peter 4:1,2; Revelation 7:14).
To wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb is to walk in daily confession and repentance. We are to be quick to confess our sins as the Spirit points them out and then, with the Spirit’s assistance, to turn away from them and behave righteously. This is how we continually wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb.
We believe the purpose of the great tribulation is to provide white raiment for the saints. Many believers of today are not washing their robes because no one has instructed them in the relationship between our behavior now and our resurrection in the Day of Christ.
Until our robes are washed they are dirty with worldliness, sin, and self-will. They remain dirty until they are replaced by the Lord.
And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4)
The above verse reveals that if we will follow the Holy Spirit in putting to death the deeds of our body, when the Lord Jesus appears He will remove the body of sin that has plagued us throughout our Christian walk and will clothe us with a body filled with the righteous ways of the Lord.
If we go through life and never avail ourselves of the opportunity to have Christ formed in us, in the Day of Resurrection we will be clothed with a dirty robe—a robe that reveals the sin and lawlessness of our nature.
The Divine law is stated clearly: we will receive the good we have practiced or the evil we have practiced.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
Satan has succeeded in convincing the Christian ministry that II Corinthians 5:10 does not mean what it says. However, like every other passage of Scripture it means exactly what it says.
II Corinthians 5:10, like Romans 2:6 and Revelation 22:12, includes all people, not just the Christians.
It is equally true that there is no condemnation to those who are "in Christ." But being in Christ means much more than the contemporary "accepting Christ." Being in Christ signifies we are abiding in Christ, we are walking in daily crucifixion and resurrection.
After having stated that those who are in Christ are without condemnation (Romans 8:1), Paul continues to warn the Christian that if he walks "after the flesh," instead of "in Christ" he—the Christian—will die.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)
In terms of the context of Romans 8:13, "ye shall die" means you shall not attain the resurrection to bodily righteousness, immortality, and glory.
First, Paul announces:
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
Two verses later, Paul issues the warning of Romans 8:13: "if you live after the flesh you shall die."
In God’s goodness, we begin our Christian walk without condemnation. But we must build a new creation on that foundation.
If, after having begun in Christ, we choose to give the bulk of our time and effort to eating, sleeping, playing, working, and reproducing, instead of seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness by attending to prayer, the Word, and service to the Lord, we will not weave the white robe of righteous conduct with which we hope to be clothed in the Day of Resurrection.
The relationship between our conduct today and our condition in the Day of Resurrection is as straightforward as this. There is no alternative means, such as mercy and forgiveness, by which we can attain to the first resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory.
In the Day of Resurrection we will receive what we have practiced—a white robe, or a spotted garment. Those with spotted garments (Christian or not) will not be raised in the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears.
The Bride is to be without spot or wrinkle; not spotless by imputed (ascribed) righteousness but spotless by the actual righteousness of personality and behavior that results from the creating of Christ in us.
The Lord’s armies are clothed in the righteousness that is Christ formed in us. Those who are raised in the first resurrection are an army. They stand on Mount Zion, on the place of spiritual war.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
Many of these will be saints of the Old Testament. This is demonstrated on the Mount of Transfiguration, where Moses and Elijah appeared with Peter, James, and John. The Mount of Transfiguration was a preview of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, (Matthew 16:28-17:1)
The armies of Heaven will follow the Lord Jesus when He returns to earth. The white-robed saints, mounted on white horses, will appear in glory with the Lord. Antichrist and his armies will be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of the Lord with His saints and holy angels.
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (II Thessalonians 1:10)
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (II Thessalonians 2:8)
We believe that only the Lord’s "mighty men" will be raised in the first resurrection. This follows the type of Gideon and his three hundred. Only a remnant of Israel were used by the Lord at that time to overthrow the enemy. The victorious remnant will be those who attain to the bodily resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory. For eternity they will be with the Lord Jesus wherever He goes.
One of the errors of current Christian thinking is a reliance on imputed righteousness to the exclusion of the righteousness of personality and behavior that comes from the formation of Christ in us. By imputed righteousness the believers mean that God does not see their behavior, God sees only the robe of Jesus’ righteousness that has been placed on them.
This means that if I lie, God sees only the truthfulness of Christ. If I engage in moral filth, God sees only the holiness of Christ. If I refuse to do God’s will in a matter, God sees only the obedience of Christ.
This doctrine has destroyed the Christian churches of our day. It springs, at least in part, from the belief that justification cannot be affected by our behavior whether it be godly or ungodly. The expanding of justification until it displaces the need for godly behavior can easily be shown to be unscriptural. Faith without works, without corresponding behavior, is dead—worthless as regards salvation.
The purpose of the new covenant is to make a new creation, not to forgive the actions of our adamic nature. No matter how often the old Adam is forgiven he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. He cannot receive a body of immortality and glory.
How is the white robe formed? From where does it come? How do we obtain a white robe to cover our spirit?
The white robe comes from our prayerful, faithful, obedient response to our afflictions (II Corinthians 4:17).
As the judgment of God touches our fallen nature, as we experience trouble, sickness, impoverishment, dread, we cry out to the Lord for deliverance. The Lord helps us commit our way to Him and rest in Him. As we do this, as we refuse to break out of our "prison" or to sin in any manner, our old nature dies. In its place is formed the Life of Christ. His body and blood are given to us in the spirit realm and are eternal life in us.
We are sowing our earthly body to the death of the cross. As the body and blood of Christ form resurrection life in us, the new life is raised to the right hand of God. The new resurrection life takes the shape of a white robe. It is that robe that will be given to us in the Day of Christ, that will be the immortality and glory with which our mortal remains will be clothed.
Our interaction with the Person of Jesus in the present hour is fashioning the kind of resurrection we shall experience. We shall be clothed with the "righteousnesses" that have been created in us as we abide in the Lord each day of our discipleship.
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inner parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)
Christians are fond of saying that God has done away with the Law of Moses. They are correct in one sense but incorrect in another sense. The new covenant indeed is a replacing of the Law of Moses with a better covenant. However, the better covenant is the eternal moral law of God of which the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, is an abridged version.
God never will do away with the moral law. The moral law is eternal, being of the Divine Nature of God. To alter the moral law in the smallest part would be to bring the worst of all calamities on the universe.
The Ten Commandments are a limited expression of the eternal moral law of God. The Ten Commandments are spiritual and perfect. Our adamic nature was born in sin and shaped in lawlessness and in no manner can conform to that perfect, spiritual law of God—the Ten Commandments.
How does God write His law in our hearts and minds? In the manner we already have discussed. Christ is the Word, the Law of God. As we submit to the crucifixion through which the Lord guides us, Christ is formed in us. The Word is formed in us. The new covenant is formed in us. The eternal moral law, of which the Ten Commandments are, as we have stated, a limited expression, is formed in us.
As death and life work in the Christian he begins to reveal the deeds of the law in his personality. It is not a case of escaping the law of God. Rather, it is a case of dying to Moses, being married to Christ, and bringing forth the fruit of union with Christ, which is righteous, holy, obedient behavior. The intent of the Law of Moses is righteous, holy, obedient behavior.
If a Gentile believer says to the Jewish person, I am not under the Law but under grace, he is not conveying the truth of the new covenant although he is quoting a verse from the Book of Romans.
The believer ought to be saying something like the following: "I am not attempting to keep the Ten Commandments in my own strength. I am submitting to death and resurrection so Christ, who is the Law, the Word, made flesh, may be formed in me. I am not without law or else Christ would be the minister of sin. Rather, Christ, who Himself is the Law of God, is bringing forth a new creation in me—a creation that by nature keeps the eternal moral law of God."
The new covenant is not a doing away with the law of God but a bringing forth in us of Christ who Himself is God’s eternal law.
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 58:13,14)
What we shall say concerning the observance of the Sabbath is true of all the commandments. In the new covenant the full intent of all the commandments and observances is created in us in an exceedingly greater comprehensiveness than could ever be true of a law written on tables of stone.
Ordinarily the emphasis of Sabbath observance is on not working. But the words of Isaiah reveal that not working is not the central intent of the Sabbath. The doctrine is not that of not working but of not doing our work.
"Turn away your foot from doing your pleasure."
"Call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable."
"Honor the Lord by not following your own ways nor finding your own pleasure nor speaking your own words."
"Then you will delight yourself in the Lord."
What we have here is a description of the rest of God, of the state of abiding in Christ where our old nature is crucified with Christ and Christ is living in us.
The Lord Jesus dwells eternally in the Sabbath of God. He does not pursue His own ways or find His own pleasure or speak His own words. Jesus dwells in God and God in Him. He is the Expression, the Word of God. The Lord Jesus, in addition to being the Son of God and Lord of all, is the first Man as God meant men to be. The Lord Jesus always dwells in the fullness of the rest of God.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)
By concentrating on not working we miss the point of the Sabbath. The purpose of the Sabbath is to honor the Lord by following His ways, finding His pleasure, speaking His words.
The New-covenant Sabbath; the Relationship of the Writing of the Law in Our Heart to the Rest of God
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)
To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. (Isaiah 28:12)
The fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews presents the rest of God as a goal toward which we should be striving.
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)
The rest of God is the state in which the saint is abiding in the perfect will of God at all times, under all conditions, for eternity.
The rest of God is compared, in the fourth chapter of Hebrews, to the Sabbath day, and also to the land of promise.
For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. (Hebrews 4:4)
For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (Hebrews 4:8)
The rest of God is based on the fact that God finished all His works at the time of the creation of the universe, and now is resting.
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3)
Each saint is to struggle to enter the rest of God, to cease from his own ways, his own pleasures, his own words, and to honor God by following God’s ways, by embracing God’s pleasures, speaking God’s words. We enter God’s rest by entering the death of Christ and entering His resurrection. When Christ is living in us we fulfill the Sabbath commandment perfectly.
The old covenant commands us to live in God on the seventh day of the week. The new covenant commands us to live in God seven days of the week. We are directed to present our body to God a living sacrifice. The requirement to present his body to God a living sacrifice was not placed on the Jew of the old covenant. He kept the Sabbath one day of the week. We enter the eternal Sabbath, the eternal rest of God, as our adamic nature is crucified and the risen Christ is formed in us.
The demands of the new covenant are much greater than the demands of the old covenant. The grace given under the new covenant is much greater. The promises to the faithful are much greater under the new covenant. It is a superior covenant based on superior promises.
Indeed, our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. He who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than the Prophets of Israel.
The writing of the Law in our heart, which is required if we are to attain to bodily resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory, is the way we enter the rest of God. We enter God’s rest as we cease from our own works and permit the Lord to crucify and then resurrect our inner nature in His own Life —which is equivalent to writing His Law in our heart.
Isaiah indicates that the daily writing of the Word of God in our heart is associated with speaking in tongues and with the rest of God.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:10-13)
The writing of the law of God in our heart is accomplished one line at a time. Speaking in tongues assists in the process of transformation, for as we speak in tongues we learn to cease from our own strength and wisdom and lean on the Lord.
The end result of leaning on the Lord, allowing Him to slay our old nature and form His own Life in us, is that we "go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." We find rest as the old Adam is crucified and Christ is formed. The mark of full entrance into the rest of God is the clothing of Christ-filled inner man with the white robe of righteousness and resurrection glory. After the full transformation of the inner nature it is only the work of a moment to raise the deceased flesh and bones and clothe them with immortality.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
God’s grace includes the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever spiritual need we have, the body and blood of the Lord are sufficient for that need.
Mankind is dead in sin, bound by lawlessness. There is Divine Virtue, Divine Life, in the body and blood of Jesus. As we eat of Him we receive righteousness and eternal life in our inner nature.
If we are weak spiritually the body and blood of Christ will strengthen us.
If we cannot forgive someone the body and blood of Christ will provide the ability to overcome the hatred and bitterness.
If we are addicted to alcohol or drugs the body and blood of Christ will overthrow the desire for these harmful things.
If we are given to murderous rages the body and blood of the Lord Jesus will bring peace and love to our heart.
The Communion we celebrate portrays the body and blood of the Lord. The saint lives by the Lord’s body and blood, not just during the Communion service but throughout each day as the need arises.
When we cry to Him for help, confessing our sins and repenting of them, the Lord comes to us and delivers us, and feeds us in the spirit realm with His body and blood.
The saints of the old covenant did not have the marvelous grace of the body and blood of the Lord. Through the blood of bulls and goats their sins were forgiven. Under the new covenant we are given the Life of God to eat and drink. Therefore, we overcome by Divine Life the lusts and rebellions in our personality.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4)
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:56,57)
The true saint dwells in Jesus and Jesus in Him. The saint lives by Jesus as Jesus lives by the Father.
Whoever would attain to the resurrection to bodily righteousness, immortality, and glory must learn to lean rather than scheme. God brings many experiences to us so we will cease from our own works and commit every aspect of our personality and behavior to God. We are to lean on the Lord, understanding that we know nothing at all, committing everything and everyone to Him, trusting Him for every detail of life.
New-covenant grace is the body and blood of Christ. When we open the door of our heart, the Lord Jesus enters and dines with us on His body and blood. The Wife of the Lamb eats the Lamb, the Passover Lamb. She is married to Him, brought into eternal union with Him, by eating Him and drinking His blood. This is the true grace of God.
The Meaning of, "Ye Are Not Under the Law, But Under Grace."
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4)
We are "dead to the law." By associating ourselves with the death of Christ on the cross we are released from the authority of the Law of Moses.
But the purpose of being dead to Moses is not that we no longer will be under the law of God; rather, we are dead to Moses so we may be married to the Lord Jesus Christ. We were married to Moses. Now, through the death of our old nature, we are released from Moses and married to Christ.
As we have pointed out in this booklet, marriage to Christ brings forth in us the righteousness of the eternal law of God, of which the Ten Commandments are a preliminary expression. The eternal life working in us produces righteous behavior. The righteous behavior brings more eternal life to us, which in turn produces more righteous behavior. The daily increase of eternal life and righteousness is leading to bodily resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory.
The new covenant works as follows:
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. ( II Corinthians 3:18)
The new covenant results in the change from a filthy robe of immorality and violence to a white robe, a robe of righteousness and eternal life.
We have explained that the Sabbath is fulfilled in us because we are entering God’s rest, not one day out of seven but every day throughout eternity. God is resting, and we are becoming an eternal part of His rest through Christ.
To attempt to add to our rest in God the letter of the fourth commandment, or the dietary ordinances, or circumcision, or observance of the feast days, or any of the other statutes of the Mosaic Law, is not a sin. But it may bring confusion to what should be a simple following of the Lord.
There are believers, both Jewish and Gentiles, who keep the Sabbath-day commandment by doing no work of any kind on Saturday, who observe Passover, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles. These practices may be a blessing to them while Christ, who is the fulfillment of all these, is being formed in them.
The Lord loves His people who observe some of the ordinances of previous covenants, and a morality that works by the letter of the Law is better than the current teaching that produces little or no righteous behavior.
The new covenant of death and resurrection has a goal and a process infinitely higher than any previous covenant. There is no religious practice that can add to or improve on the process of death and resurrection.
Keeping the Mosaic statutes does not lead to the goal of bodily righteousness, immortality, and glory. Only the death and resurrection of the inner nature can produce the first resurrection.
Since the process of death and resurrection derives its authority from the blood of the Lord, no one can condemn the saint for failing to keep the letter of the Law of Moses.
He who has died to the world and is bringing forth fruit through union with Christ need not look back to a lesser covenant. He is without condemnation because the living Christ is justifying him. Yet he is not to despise his brother who does not have this understanding or faith.
Let not the one who is keeping the ordinances of Moses despise the believer who trusts in the Lord Jesus alone for his salvation, and let not the one who observes none of the ordinances despise his brother or sister who believes the observance to be necessary.
Are the Ten Commandments binding on the Christian?
No, in the sense he is under a superior covenant.
Yes, in the sense that as Christ is formed in him he keeps the eternal moral law of God to an exceedingly greater degree than is possible to the sincere believer who is seeking to go back and observe the letter of the Law.
Let us repeat: there is no sin in observing the several statutes and ordinances of the Law of Moses. Let the believer in Christ observe the Passover, the Sabbath, circumcision, bar mitzvah, Succot, the mikvah cleansing, or whatever else he or she desires to do before the Lord. Let him practice these according to the Scripture and rejoice before the Lord.
The believer also must keep in mind that all such ceremonies are pointing toward the day when Christ is formed in the believer. It is the forming of Christ, the new creation, that is the new covenant and the salvation of the Lord. All else is temporary and a scaffolding that will be done away when we come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Listen to the Jew, Paul:
For in Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Galatians 6:15)