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Documentation


NM 17: Freedom And Law



Definition of Freedom and Law

Law in the Bible

Free From the Letter of the Law

Council at Jerusalem

Liberty

New Law Prophesied

New Commandment

System of Love

What Law did Christ Free us from?

Do Christians keep the Ten Commandments?

Do Christians keep the Sabbath?

Hate in the System of Love?

How can you Love your Enemy?

Difference between Biblical Love and Other Love



NM17 Abstract

In this paper we are going to learn what the Bible says about law and freedom. Are Christians under the law or are they under freedom? What happened at the council of Jerusalem concerning this matter? What is the new commandment? And what kind of love did Christ teach?

Freedom and Law: Definition of

The definition of Freedom is

nm711 >> Freedom is the lack of restriction. Freedom to do anything, including evil, is bad because the harm connected with such freedom can destroy life. Forms of freedom that do not destroy or diminish life are good. Therefore freedom can either be good or bad. The system of love that we will explain later in this paper is a form of freedom that does no ill towards others (Rom 13:10).

The definition of Law is

nm712 >> Law is restriction of activity and movement; law is regulated order. Law restricts random or chaotic movement and dictates movement that is orderly. Law can either be good or bad. Law made by men must be in harmony with the true nature of mankind or it is bad law. Good law is not self-contradictory. Too much law makes life less spontaneous and less individualistic. If the abundance of law is against the nature of mankind, it makes life less enjoyable. There is a law of love or system of love that brings harmony which we will explain later in this paper.

No Total Freedom; Life has Structure

nm713 >> Total freedom in the cosmos would mean there would be no structure in the cosmos: therefore there is no total freedom in the cosmos because the cosmos has order. All life has structure; life is the order of elements. Our bodies have structure. Our bodies are forms of life. Our bodies have law. Certain parts of our body must work in certain ways. A heart must beat (pump blood); it cannot breathe or fly. Our heart functions in a certain way. It has order. It has structure. It has law. A heart by itself would be meaningless. But a heart with a body has meaning. It has purpose. It's purpose is to keep the blood moving through the body and thus nurturing the body and keeping it alive.

nm714 >> Not only is there a law of our body, there is also a law for the interaction within our society. Human beings can die. We can be harmed by each other either on purpose or by accident. We can harm each other in degrees, from hurting someone's feelings, to breaking someone's arm, to killing someone. Because some human actions can harm ourselves and others, there is law against them. Governments make law to order the behavior of people. Good law is law that keeps people functioning together towards harmony and life. Bad law is law that causes disharmony and death. Since God created the universe and everything in it, then God knows the law of the universe and consequently also knows freedom. This is why we look at Biblical freedom and Biblical law.

Law in the Bible

nm715 >> As indicated in the "Other Mind Paper"[NM 21], the first law uttered to man was, "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it" (Gen 2:17). God didn't give man a bookcase of law books. He gave man one law. But mankind broke that law when Eve took and ate and gave it to Adam who also ate from the tree. From this one act of law-breaking, sin entered the world. Sin is lawlessness (1John 3:4). Sin is action or behavior against law. The law in the garden of Eden was that man shall not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; mankind broke that law; sin entered the world.

nm716 >> Now, just because God orally only gave this one law, does not mean that God was saying that killing others was okay, or that lying was okay. God articulated that one law to them. It was a very simple law. Mankind could eat from all the trees in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But it was from this one simple law that the evil in man's mind was manifested. As shown in the "Other Mind Paper" [NM 21], this evil is the enemy mind or spirit that dwells and works inside the mind of mankind in this, the old age. This old mind is an evil mind that actually enjoys evil and law-breaking. From the first sin, the "law of sin" was shown to be in the world. The "law of sin" is an order or system of law-breaking. It is a system of going against the way or order that God created. God created everything to work in a certain way. When you do things the right way, you are doing it the way God intended it to be done. Doing things God's way is doing it the right way. When one buys a car he follows the manufacture's instructions on how to operate it and keep it running in good shape. If the car was made to operate through the use of the fuel we call gasoline, we use gasoline, because if we do not we would harm our car engine. But the "law of sin" is illogical and confused. The "law of sin" acts like a person who puts a different fuel in the car's tank, just for the thrill of destroying the car or of breaking the law of the car.

nm717 >> An example of the law of sin at work is homosexuality. It is confusion for males to perform sexual-like acts with males; it is confusion for females to perform sexual-like acts with females. Males were created to fit and complement females; Females were created to fit and complement males. But the law of sin in some people actually makes them desire their own sex. This is not only confusion, it is against the natural order that was created by God and a form of spiritual foolishness and rebellion. "He that created them, in the beginning made them male and female" (Mat 19:4).

nm718 >> Man by breaking the one simple law shown in Genesis 2:17 manifested the law of sin in its thinking. But the only law that is True law is the law that is in harmony with God's laws. Today at least some, if not much more than some, of the law in the law books of governments is corrupt and unlawful, mostly because the law makers do not understand or know God the creator.

Use of "Law" in the Bible

nm719 >> The word "law" is used in different ways in the Bible. "Law" in the Bible may refer to all Old Testament scripture as a whole (John 10:34) , or to the five books of Moses (Gal 3:17-21), or sometimes only to the tables of stone written by the finger of God (Deut 24:12). The New Testament also talks about the "law of sin" (Rom 7:23), the law of the Gentile nations, etc. Therefore when studying "law" in the Bible one must be sure to know what law the scripture is speaking about. Careful attention must be given to context.



Law of Mount Sinai and the Promises

nm720 >> Now, the main body of law that was given in the Bible was the body of law given to the nation of Israel from mount Sinai (Exodus chap. 19 ff; Deut 5 ff). This law not only had the ten commandments (Ex chap. 20; Deut 5:7-21) in them but also other laws and judgments (Ex chap. 21, 22, 23; Deut 12ff), and religious ordinances concerning offerings, the ark of testimony, the golden candlestick, the tabernacle, garments for the priests, sacrifices, the altars, atonement, the Sabbath as a sign, the holy feasts, etc (Ex 25-31 ff; Book of Leviticus; and the book of Deuteronomy). Before and after these laws were given, the people of Israel promised to follow them all: "All the words that the Lord has said we will do" (Ex 19:8; Deut 5:27). Israel gave its promise that they would do all these commandments of God (Exo 24:3, 7-8). God had promised Israel certain things (Ex 19:5-6; Deut chap 28) if they obeyed his voice. If Israel didn't follow all these laws they were cursed (Deut 11:26ff; 12:1; 26:16-18; 27:1, 10, 26; 27:26; 28:1, 15; 28:15ff; 30:15-20). But if they followed all these laws they would be blessed (Deut chap. 28).

Only Jesus Obeyed All the Laws and Received the Promises

nm721 >> There has only been one Israelite who has followed all these laws of God. It is through this one, Jesus Christ, that all of mankind will be blessed by the promises of God (Rom 5:18-21). Jesus Christ is the one "to whom the promise was made" (Gal 3:19). This "promise" not only was the promise to Abraham, but the promises promised if Israel obeyed all of the law (Deut 28:1ff). The only way the people of Israel could be saved or could receive the True promises of God was for them to follow all the laws of God perfectly. This proved impossible for the people of Israel, and the curses for disobedience came on the head of the Israelites. It was impossible for them because they had the other-mind misleading them to destruction (see "Other Mind Paper" [NM 21]; Rom 8:7). It is only through Christ and his Spirit or mind of God that people can be saved or receive the promises of God (see Acts 4:12; John 14:6 & read all of this book). Before Christ, the only way people could be saved and receive the True promise of God was for them to belong to physical Israel and to follow all the laws of God (Gal 3:10; James 2:10). Those outside of Israel, the Gentiles, could not receive the promises of God (Eph 2:11-12). But now this condition has been abolished. Now even non-Israelites (Eph 2:11-12; Gal 3:13-14; Acts 4:12; Heb 11:39, 13; Rom 2:12-16; 3:9; 5:12, 18; 9:4-5) can receive all the promises first given to physical Israel (Eph 2:11-13).

We are free from the letter of the law to follow the Spirit of the law.

nm722 >> What some believe about keeping the Old Testament law and about Grace depends on how they have been taught by their physical teachers. These teachings have become a part of their brain cells (See "Mindset Paper" in the Preface). Once you have these teachings imprinted on your brains it is difficult and sometimes painful to correct them. Although there are plenty of scriptures that say we are no longer under the letter of the Old Testament law, in order to be saved, nevertheless, some of us have been taught, at least in part, that the Old Testament law has not been abolished since Christ said he did not come to abolish it. With this in mind, lets review some of these scriptures to see what Paul meant when he said we are not under the law. Remember Paul was taught Spiritually and by the authority of Christ (Eph 3:1-11; 1Tim 1:11; Titus 1:3; 1Thes 4:15; 1Cor 15:3; Gal 1:11, 12). Christ called and changed Paul, a legalistic Jew, to start to teach to the Spiritual Church about the new Spiritual law of grace and love (Acts chap 9). The night of Christ's death, when he was speaking about the future (John 13:1-3; 15:26; etc.), he gave his Jewish followers his new commandment; he also called the law of Moses, "their law" (John 15:25), not the apostles' law. Here he was making the distinction between the physical Jew and the Spiritual Jew - the Jew led by the letter of the law versus the Jew led by the Spirit of the law

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2Cor 3:7-18).

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the spirit, and not in the old way of the written code" (Rom 7:2-6).

Council at Jerusalem

nm723 >> In the fifteenth chapter of Acts we see more proof that the old testament law was done away with:

Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses."

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them:

"Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up:

"Brothers, listen to me. Simon [Peter] has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages.

It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from the pollution of idols, from fornication, from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath." [That is, Moses' law has been taught for generations, but no one truly followed it - except Christ who died because of it.]

Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barnabas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul - men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord (Act 15:1-35).

nm724 >> Notice that not only was the contention here concerning physical circumcision, but the contention of some that the Gentiles are "required to obey the law of Moses" (Acts 15:5). The answer to the argument was that the Gentiles did not have to follow circumcision and other aspects of the law (circumcision was part of the Old Testament law [Lev 12:3]), but "you are to abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication."

What Does It Mean That Christians Are Not Under The Law?

nm725 >> "What then, shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?" (Rom 6:15) Paul asked this question, but he also answered it - no ("God forbid" - KJV). Christians were not taken out from under the requirements of the law so they could sin. Christians were given liberty from a law that could not by itself bring salvation or justification: "Through Him [Christ] everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39). With the law of Moses, one had to follow perfectly all the commandments and orders (James 2:10; Gal 3:10). This law of Moses was prescribed through angels (Acts 7:38, 53; Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2). But we are no longer in subjection to angels, but to Christ (Heb 2:5ff). For with Christ and His Faith - the Spirit of Faith - you are free from the law of Moses. Be careful here. We are not free to sin. Do read on to see what is meant.

Liberty

nm726 >> There is liberty in Christ: "our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus" (Gal 2:4). We are in liberty because "Christ has made us free" (Gal 5:1). "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2Cor 3:17). This liberty from the Spirit of Christ is actually a "law of liberty" (James 1:25; 2:12) or a system of liberty.

nm727 >> This liberty is not the liberty to sin. "For brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not the liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal 5:13). This law of liberty has nothing to do with the freedom to sin. Sure when you have the Spirit of God you do not have to follow the letter of all the Old Testament laws in order to be saved. (You are given the Spirit and you now follow the Spirit of the law.) But this does not make it right for you to kill, or for you to lie. Just because a Christian was released from the requirements of the Old Testament laws, does not mean the Old Testament laws were bad. As mentioned above the Old Testament laws had a curse for those who did not follow them all. In the truest sense, if the Jews didn't follow all the law, they were under a curse: "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the book of the law."' (Gal 3:10)

nm728 >> And one of the curses was death: "But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day; that all these curses shall come upon you, and overtake you ... The Lord shall send upon you cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that you set your hand to do, until you be destroyed, and until you perish quickly" (Deut 28:15, 20).

nm729 >> So the Old Testament commandments which were to be for life and happiness if Israel followed them all (Deut 28:1ff), were instead to death because Israel did not keep its word - they transgressed the written laws. Thus Paul said of this factor, "And the commandment, which was for life, I found for death [the curse of not following the law]. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Rom 7:10-12).

nm730 >> The commandments of the Old Testament are good, but the evil or the sin in man (the other-mind) took the good laws and used them to deceive mankind. The other-mind is an evil power that gets thrills from breaking laws (see the "Other Mind Paper" [NM 21]). The evil power took something that was good, the law, and used it to kill mankind by deceiving mankind into thinking that breaking these laws was fun. So the liberty of Christ is not the liberty to sin, "you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Gal 5:13-14). The freedom of Christians is the freedom from the written requirements of the old Testament. But these written requirements have been replaced with a Spirit - the very Spirit of love with the New Commandment of love.

New Law and Spirit Prophesied

nm731 >> "And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them" (Ezek 36:19). BUT, "I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land ... . A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them" (Ezek 36:24, 26-27; see Ezek 11:19-20).

nm732 >> These scriptures show the promise of God's Spirit. It was through Jesus Christ that this promise came (see Acts 1:4; 2:33; Eph 1:13). And it is this Spirit of promise that frees us from the old law written on stone, and replaces the old law with a New Law written on the heart. Therefore Paul could write, "You [Christians] are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of fleshly hearts" (2Cor 3:2-3).

New Commandment

nm733 >> God in the Old Testament said he would send a Spirit, and through that Spirit man would follow his laws, not by letter, but by Spirit: "I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes" (Ezek 36:27). This Spirit is God's Spirit. This Spirit is Christ's Spirit. All of this book manifests that we are saved only if we have this Spirit or New Mind, which is the Spirit or Mind of God. And with this New Mind comes a New Law, a New Commandment. That New Commandment was, and is, Love. Not any kind of love, but Love with the power of the Spirit of God. "For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal 5:13). True liberty, true law keeping has something to do with love. As we will see, "Love" is the New Commandment.

nm734 >> In the 24 hours or so before Christ was killed he gave his commandment: "A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). This new commandment was love. Paul shows us what love is: "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law" (Rom 13:8). As Paul shows, the true fulfilling of the law is love. And this love can be stated simply, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom 13:9-10). Christ said basically the same thing, "Jesus said unto him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Mat 22:37-40). All the law of the Old Testament hung on love - first the love of God, second the love of our fellow man.

nm735 >> Christ gave a new law. But this law was not really new for all the old commandments hung on love (Gal 5:14). Christ emphasized this great law of love. And as we have seen it was because of Christ and the Spirit that He gives, that real Christians are freed from the old law (which was good, but had no power because the people had no Spiritual power to truly follow that law). The old law was replaced by the New Law, the New Commandment of Christ, the New Law of Christ, which is love.

nm736 >> John has something to say about the new commandment: "Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shines ... He that loves his brother abides in the light" (1John 2:8, 10). John speaks of love: "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love" (1John 4:7-8). God is love. That is, God is Spirit (John 4:24). Thus, God's Spirit is love. Christians are Christians only if they have the Spirit of God. With this Spirit comes the love.

nm737 >> What is this love? Is it sexual desire? Can you hate something and still love it? What kind of love was Christ speaking about? What is Biblical love?

System of Love

nm738 >> The love Christ spoke of is a system of behavior, or a law of behavior. Paul helped to define it:

nm739 >> From the 1978 New International Version:

nm740 >> From the BeComingOne Bible:

nm741 >> The fruit of God's Spirit of love is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Gal 5:22-23). There is wisdom from this Spirit of love: "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).

nm742 >> What did Christ say when he gave His New Commandment? "A New Commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you" (John 13:34). Christ who had the Spirit of God inside of him behaved and acted one way - with Love. Everything Christ did was the living of the system of love, or the law of love. Every behavioral quality mentioned as belonging to the Spirit of God in the New Testament is also a description of love, the law or system of love. Let's look at scripture for further descriptions of love.

nm743 >> The so-called sermon on the mount in Matthew, chapter five, was one of Christ's amplifications on the system of love. In chapter five Christ showed how deep the law of love goes; it goes to the very heart of man. In love you should not only not kill, but not be angry with your brothers (Mat 5:21-22; 1John 3:15).

nm744 >> Love does not give evil for evil (Rom 12:17). Love does not bless and curse at the same time (James 3:10). But love is "peaceable, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).

nm745 >> Love does not worry or fear (Mat 6:25-29). Love, loves its enemies yet not their ways (Mat 5:44; Prov 8:13). Love does not hate his brother (the person himself), yet if his brother's ways are of evil he hates his brother's ways, yet not the person himself (Prov 8:13 & Luke 14:26).

nm746 >> Love does in deeds what it utters in tongue (1John 3:18 & James 1:22). Love does not overtly tempt others with objects that might lead them away from the truth (Rom 14:20-21), yet Love knows no thing in itself is bad (Rom 14:14 & Titus 1:15).

nm747 >> Those with love will clothe themselves "with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" (Col 3:12-14).

nm748 >> "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing" (1Peter 3:8-9).

nm749 >> "And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need ...

nm750 >> Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Eph 4:24-28, 31-32).

nm751 >> "Brother, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him, speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?" (James 4:11-12) Be slow to judge because only God has all the factors that enter into people's apparent misbehavior. This says nothing about obvious evil, where you have sound evidence of the evil. But we must be careful. Some people on one part of the earth believe one thing is wrong, while others on another part of the earth believe it is okay. Be careful. In areas of gray, it is better not to judge, than to make a mistake.

nm752 >> "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil 2:3-4).

nm753 >> "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Gal 6:10).

nm754 >> "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1John 3:17-18).

Law of Love Is More Flexible

nm755 >> In the kingdom of God when all people have the New Mind and the new immortal body, some kinds of behavior that are now evil, or considered evil by some, may not be evil in the New Cosmos. For example, you can jump off a high cliff without it being a sin (suicide) because you cannot get hurt. Your angel will glide you down safely.

nm756 >> People with the New Mind and new body will have fewer social restrictions. Compared to today, their behavior will be more flexible because they do not see evil in as many places as those with the other-mind. Some of those of the other-mind see evil in the ankles of women, or in the wearing of red, or in having money, or in moderate drinking, or in other things that are not evil in, and of, themselves. Remember nothing God has made is evil in itself (Rom 14:14; Titus 1:15).

nm757 >> People in the New Cosmos (new heavens and earth) with their new body of immortality will have fewer restrictions concerning their body because the body will be incapable of becoming diseased, will not age, cannot get pregnant, and will be truly beautiful to all. There will be no marriage in the New Cosmos between the new age people (Luke 20:35) because there will be no more child bearing. But if two agree to stay together as a couple for a million years or more, then this is, of course, alright. Relationships will last longer than any marriage ever lasted in the old age.

nm758 >> Sexual intercourse in the old age foreshadowed two, the physical and spiritual, becoming one in the New Age. Sexual intercourse in the New Cosmos will be a memento of the creation, a reminder of the reason for the old age (see God Papers, Parts 5-7).

nm759 >> Remember, "love works no harm to his neighbor." When people receive the New Mind and the new body, and begin to live in the new creation, the Spiritual law of love is flexible enough to take the new situation into account. But written law on stone is not as flexible.

What Law Did Christ's Spirit Free Us From?

nm760 >> As shown above, those with the Spirit of God are freed from the Old Testament law and the curses in it. A Christian with the Spirit does not have to obey physically all those laws and rituals in order to be saved. But this does not mean a Christian can lie, or kill, commit adultery or do any other form of evil, for now they are under the law of love which goes deeper than the written laws in the Old Testament. But even though we are not under the law of the Old Testament, the law still projects to us what forms of behavior will harm us as individuals and as groups, and the law is an example to us and projects the antitype to us (see God's Appointed Times [NM16]).

Do Christians keep the Ten Commandments?

nm761 >> Christians are not under the letter of the law, but they are under the Spirit of the law. In the New Testament scriptures we see the ten commandments reiterated in a deeper more Spiritual way in the Spiritual Church:

  1. "We ... preach unto you that you should turn from these vanities unto the living God" (Acts 14:15).
  2. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1John 5:21).
  3. "But above all things brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath" (James 5:12).
  4. Paul taught on the Sabbath (Acts 13:14; 16:13) even though there were no references in the Bible after Christ was resurrected that said that Christians had to keep the physical Sabbath. Christians did come together on the Pentecost (Acts 2:1), which is an annual Sabbath. We who are Spiritual Christians keep the Sabbath Spiritually (See next section).
  5. "Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right" (Eph 6:1).
  6. "Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eonian life abiding in him" (1John 3:15).
  7. "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers ... shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1Cor 6:9-10).
  8. "Steal no more" (Eph 4:238).
  9. "Lie not" (Col 3:9).
  10. "Covetousness, let it not be named among you" (Eph 5:3).
  11. According to Lewis Sperry Chafer, in his book called Grace, "Under the teachings of grace, the appeal of the first commandment is repeated no less than fifty times, the second twelve times, the third four times, the fourth (about the Sabbath day) not at all, the fifth six times, the eighth six times, the ninth four times, and the tenth nine times" (p. 156; I have not confirmed his count of the scriptures, but I know that the ten commandments are reiterated many times in the scriptures of Grace.).

    nm762 >> Christ taught a more Spiritual law (Mat 5:20-48; 6:1-7:29) because unlike physical Israel, he had the very Spirit of God in him so that his words and actions were Spiritual (John 4:24; 6:63). For example, Christ's words about eating his body can only be understood correctly in a Spiritual manner (John 6:55-56, 63). Those churches that try to make physical sense out of these scriptures become foolish in their doctrine. Christ just before his death, when he was still under the law (remember he was born under the law [Gal 4:4], for his mother was a Jew), began to teach his followers about the coming new Spiritual commandment, a system of love (John 13:34; 15:12). See "Keep the Commandments?" in the "Proof Paper" [NM 10] for more information.

    Do Christians Keep the Sabbath?

    nm763 >> Yes. The only question is how do you keep it.

    • If you have the Spirit you keep it Spiritually.
    • If you are under the law, then to be saved you must keep all of it physically - you cannot keep it Spiritually since you don't have the Spirit (Rom 8:7-10; Gal 5:18).

    Old Law Led to New Law

    nm764 >> Israel put themselves under the law when they promised to keep all the laws of Moses (Ex 24:3, 7; 19:8; James 2:10). One (Jesus Christ) did keep all of the physical laws. And we are saved through Him by our faith, our Spiritual faith (Gal 3:23-24; "Proof Paper" NM 10). But physical Israel did not keep the law even though they promised to do so (Acts 7:53). The law was set up to lead us to our true leader (Gal 3:19). We were given a new commandment by this new leader, Christ. That new commandment is the commandment of love on which all the laws of Moses hang (Mat 22:37-40). This new commandment only works with the new law's New Spirit. Those without the New Mind, the New Spirit, will say such things as, "It is okay to take these street drugs, I don't see anything in the Bible saying it is a sin to take them - so it is okay" (a person commenting to another about his street drug usage). Those of the New Mind will say, "I don't see any law in the Bible that tells me the street drug is wrong, but I know this drug will harm me, therefore I will not use it because not only do I not wish to hurt others, but also not to hurt myself." Therefore those with the New Mind do not need a library full of detailed laws to know how to behave; they know it intuitively, depending on their measure of the Spirit (Eph 4:7; see, nm336). This "love" is not sexual and it is not friendship love, but this New Love is a system of love, a system of behavior that Paul wrote about (Gal 5:22; 1Cor 13:4-8; etc). In this system of love there is no adultery, fornication, witchcraft, hatred, wrath, murders, drunkenness, and so forth (Gal 5:19-21).

    New Way of Keeping the Sabbath

    nm765 >> We in the Spiritual Church do not have to keep all of the letter of the Old Testament law to be saved; we keep it Spiritually, which is a greater standard of morality. In reference to the Sabbath, we keep it always, we set each day aside to keep it holy, we seek to be holy always, not just on the seventh day. We fellowship, we congregate, and we, so to speak, are in church every day because we have the Spirit of Christ inside of us teaching us. But since we are also physical and need to fellowship with each other and need a day of rest, we gather when possible with others who have the New Spirit, on the seventh day and more often if possible, and at other days besides the seventh day if we are forced to by circumstance and state laws. Of course, if we controlled the laws in our country we would set aside the seventh day for rest and holiness. During the 1000 years the seventh day of the week will be the day of rest because this new age will be controlled by those of the New Spirit. See "Thousand Years and Beyond" paper [NM 15] and the "God's Appointed Times" paper [NM 16] to understand more about the Sabbath.

    Do Christians Have To Follow the Laws of the Civil Government?

    nm766 >> Christians should attempt to follow all the laws and regulations of all nations on earth as long as the laws are not against the law of love. But if a government should try to force Christians by law to do things such as kill, or lie, or hate the truth, Christians need not and should not obey these laws. If laws are being applied wrongfully against us, we should try to correct the situation through the courts or in other ways.

    nm767 >> Real Christians can live under almost any kind of government including communism and dictatorships. All these governments are temporary. If you are not forced to kill, lie, hate, rape, bruise, and so forth, then Christians can live in these societies even if they forbid your Christianity. In such countries your example will teach. If such countries forbid you to teach, you may teach, howbeit in a more restricted matter, but be careful. If you teach in a discreet manner the authorities may let you be (Acts 4:18-20; 5:28-29). No country has the right to put you in jail for teaching Christ. But you must teach Christ with respect towards the rights of others. You can't teach Christ and be rude at the same time. If they do put you in jail for teaching Christ, you may escape if you can. You have done no wrong. (But maybe God through predestination put you in jail to teach those in jail; maybe this is your mission.) But be careful. Why affront the authorities when with a little thinking you can teach, and not provoke the authorities. In countries in which you can vote, vote for the best and less corrupt representative. If your country allows you to be honest, allows family, allows liveable wages for your work, allows you to in some way to teach or at least speak about your faith, then you can live in such a country.

    Hate In The System of Love?

    nm768 >> Yes, for real Christians who have the law or system of love in them, do hate their life in the present system of this world (Rev 12:11; John 12:25; Luke 14:26; James 4:4). "If any one come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 12:26). This does not mean you hate your father, mother, wife, children and so on because they are your father, mother, wife, children and so on, but you hate their wrong behavior: "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate" (Prov 8:13). You cannot have the Spiritual law of love and at the same time love evil behavior. When you have true love, you hate evil. If your brother behaves evilly, you hate his evil behavior, not because of anything else. If you hate your life in this world, you hate it because of evil behavior in this world, not for anything else. Each and everything God has created is good in itself (Rom 14:14; Titus 1:15). It is merely the misuse of these things that we hate, not the thing itself. "You adulterous people, don't you know that love ['friendship'- KJV] of the world [system] is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend [or lover] of the world [system] becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4). In this present age the world is evil, how can you love a system of evil? If you have the Spiritual law of God, you hate your life in this evil world. You do not hate life itself, you do not hate the few moments of joy in this world, but generally you hate the world because of its evil.

    How Can You Love Your Enemy?

    nm769 >> When you have the Spiritual law of love in your heart, you can and do love your enemy, but you do not like him (his wrong behavior). The love Christ spoke of was the system or law of love. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast" (1Cor 13:4). When you love your enemy you are patient with him, you are kind to him, you do not envy him, you do not boast to him, etc. This is how you love your enemy. You do not like your enemy, you love him, or that is, you practice the system of love on him.

    Difference Between Biblical Love and Other Love?

    nm770 >> Yes! Greek is the language of the New Testament of the Bible. In Greek there are at least three words that can be translated into "love" in the English language: (1) eros (which means, love between the sexes); (2) phileo (cherishing or friendship or high regard or even sexual love depending on the context); (3) agapao (system of love). The last two Greek words were used in the New Testament. But it was mainly the Greek word, agapao, that was used in the New Testament to describe Christ's love. Agapao was the Greek word Christ used when he asked us to love our enemies (Mat 5:44). It was also the Greek word Paul used to describe love (Rom 13:9-10). Christ's love is the system of love.

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