This post is going to be different from my usual posts. I suppose you could say its an invitation to explore and reconsider. To begin, I suggest you either have your Bible ready(I use the ESV and King James versions) or a good digital version of the bible. I recommend the Blue Letter Bible app. Get a Strong’s concordance and learn to use it. You’ll find it a valuable tool. There are many other Bible study concordances and dictionaries but for now start with a Strong’s. Stay away from Googling or internet fishing for stuff to match up with your current indoctrinations or belief system for now – it’s a tool that can also become a trap and will trip you up. Let’s just stick to the scriptures in the Bible until you gain a strong foundation and knowledge in them. Let scripture interpret scripture. Use your center column when needed. Be careful about only reading added footnotes or commentaries if your Bible has them. Stick to the scriptures.
So, in order for any of what I will share here to be of value to you you must already believe that the Bible isn’t just some ancient text that contains only history, geneaologies, or words that have no value for our present day. You need an element of trust to begin understanding. The following scripture must ring true for you as it does for me:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The apostle Paul wrote the book of Timothy toward the end of his life around A.D. 66. In this letter to Timothy he reminds him to continue in what he’s been raised from childhood to know. Read in verses 14-15 and see what Paul tells him.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)
Did you catch that? The “sacred writings” were able to bring someone to the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ. What part of the scriptures do you think he was speaking of? It wasn’t what we call the New Testament. Many don’t realize how much of the Old Testament(as we call it now) points to Jesus. More on that later.
So, if you agree that all scripture, both Old and New Testaments is useful for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness then we can move on.
Let’s go straight to one of the most stern things I’ve ever read that Jesus said.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)
What Jesus refers to as the Law or the Prophets was what they understood to be the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch or the books of Moses) and the books of prophecy. When he says “fulfill” he did this by accomplishing and obeying the scriptures, thereby bringing clarification and fulfillment to the prophecies foretold of him. He is NOT saying that because he is the fulfillment of those prophecies that God’s laws were now old news and done away with.”
Some other noteworthy things written in Matthew that were said by Jesus:
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”(Matt. 5:46-48)
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”(Matt. 7:13-14)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”(Matt. 7:21-23)
Did you read that? Lawlessness. The word “lawlessness” was translated from the original Greek word anomia which means “lawlessness, iniquity, disobedience; utter disregard for God’s law.
Side note- there are a couple other times that the phrase “depart from me, I never knew you” (or words meaning the same) are used in the Bible. See Luke chapter 13 and Matthew chapter 25. There may be others and if you find them please comment below.
There is so much more contained in the book of Matthew. I recommend reading the entire book. A Strong’s concordance is helpful for clarification of hard to understand verses. Get a notebook, take notes and make highlights and your own notes in your Bible.
Now, before I get emails thinking I need to be informed about how we can no longer keep ceremonial laws of Moses’ day, please gain an understanding and knowledge of how Jesus became the atonement for our sins. So, of course, I know that the ceremonial sacrifices were indeed done away with. He alone is why we no longer have to make ceremonial sacrifices for our sins. He canceled our debt to sin that stood against us-that’s what he nailed to the cross, not God’s moral laws. To see what Paul said regarding sacrifices of the old covenant go read all of Hebrews chapter 10. Read it in entirety and then go back and reread verses 26-31 in case you’re inclined to think that you’ve now got a ticket to ride on the grace-train without walking in obedience to God. Never, never, take for granted what He did for us! We walk in obedience to God not because it is what brings us salvation. Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life.”(see John 14:6) Obedience to God is a result of salvation through Jesus. We obey because we love him.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”(John 14:21)
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”(John 15:10)
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.”(1 John 2:3)
“Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”(1 John 2:4)
“and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”(1 John 3:22)
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”(1 John 5:3)
Now go read what Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 14:12 says. Truly, these two verses were what caused me to rethink, pause, and dig deeper into God’s word. I was studying prophecy several years ago and started by reading Revelation. The rest is history and ongoing enlightenment and growth. Oh, the things the Lord has shown me since.
I’m going to stop here. Word of advice: pray before beginning your studies of the scriptures. Ask God to open your heart to His truth and give you discernment.
So here’s your invitation and challenge:
READ AND STUDY-
*All of Matthew
*All of Hebrews(or at least the 10th chapter)
*All of the gospel of John
*All of I and II John
*All of Psalm 119
*read the Ten Commandments- you can find them in Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy chapter 5