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Divine Law

by Gordon Stewart

The Divine Law as applied to Christians today

(Editorial note - see the comment in the editorial of this issue)

In further examining Divine Law, certain Christians raise the objection that they are not under bondage of the Law, but subject to God's Grace; which presumably gives them license to violate law. That being the case, I would say to those Christians, they are without sin; for as John states: Sin is the transgression of the law (I John 3:4). No Law - no Sin ! Their objections, of course, stem from Paul's dissertation in Romans (6:14-16), and he makes it very plain that violation of the law is not on. Paul writes: Sin (law violation) shall have no dominion over you: for ye are not under the law (in bondage of it), but under Grace (free from the penalties, having favour with God and able to keep that law through his Son Jesus Christ) What then ? Shall we sin (violate the law), for we are not under [the bondage of] the law, but under Grace ? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin (law violation) unto death, or of obedience (law observance) unto righteousness ?  Additional confirmation of the relevance of the Law is found in the New Covenant: I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and [I] will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33, also Hebrews 10:16)  Why inscribe the Law in our hearts if it is not to be obeyed ?

Legitimate objections will be raised quoting Paul in Galatians 3:24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster,to bring us unto Christ,that we might be justified by faith. But after faith is come, we are no longer under the schoolmaster.   History tells us that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws (Gen.26:5), resulting in God making a covenant with him. It was not till 430 years later that Moses codified these laws (Commandments, Statutes and my Laws) at Sinai. After the debacle of Aaron and the Golden Calf, the Law of Ordinances/Ritual was ADDED, because of transgressions: What therefore is the law ? It was ADDED because of transgressions, till the seed come to whom the promise hath been made.... (Gal.3:19)   It was this ADDED law of Ritual that is the Schoolmaster that brought us to Jesus, and of course, is now, no longer relevant. The Laws observed by Abraham, and subsequently codified by Moses are not disannulled. (Gal.3 :17)

Objections have been raised to the Food Laws as quoted in Leviticus 11, and Deuteronomy 14, quoting certain passages in the New Testament as giving the green light to all foods. Deuteronomy (14:3) states that: Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.   I cannot comprehend that the Word of God would take a back-flip and reverse an injunction not to eat an abominable thing. Let's take a look at some of these passages offered in the NT: 

1. Acts 10 records a vision of Peter detailing a sheet letdown from heaven containing all manner of unclean beasts. A voice said rise Peter kill and eat, with Peter responding: I have never eaten anything which is unclean or common. Again a voice:  What God has cleansed, that call thou not common. This vision is purely and simply a metaphor, and not to be taken literally. Its sole purpose is to illustrate to Peter the conclusion he correctly interpreted :  God has shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean (v.28) Nothing to do with eating unclean meat - he did not kill and eat.

2. Mattthew (15:11) Hear and understand: not that which goeth into the mouth defielth man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.   This passage is all about the Pharisees' gripe concerning the disciples not washing their hands before eating. Dirty hands entering the mouth do not defile. Jesus' outburst is all about the " tradition of the elders". Nothing to do with foods, clean or unclean.

3. One other objection often quoted is I Timothy 4:4-5:  ... seducing spirits... commanding to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused... it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.   The only word of God that Paul and Timothy had was the Old Testament, and those created and sanctified meats - together with the "abominable" ones - are fully listed in the OT.   What then is the "truth" that believers should know? In that great Psalm 119 and under each of the twenty-two Hebrew alphabetical headings of eight verses, David extols the Law in all its various forms. And in verse 142, David defines the "truth",

And thy LAW is the TRUTH

Food comes under the headings of Law and Truth.   Early mention of "clean" meats occurred when Noah was instructed to load every clean beast thou shall take to the ark by sevens, these being subsequently listed by Moses. These are the meats that God has created (Greek: ktizo ) to be received with thanksgiving. The second part of the passage:  For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused ... it is sanctified by by the word of God.  "Nothing to be refused" is not a free-for-all, it refers to the subject matter; meats created and listed according to LAW = TRUTH. In the words of great David's greater son:  ... one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law (Matt. 5:17).   "Creature" is translated from the Greek: ktisma, and it means "the created thing", which again refers to the subject: created to be received. There are an infinite number of "good" creatures, but I shudder at the thought of eating many of them, in spite of their "goodness"; only the listed "clean" ones are for our table.

God is vitally concerned with our health. Jesus and his disciples healed the sick, and the word of God sets out our diet to remain healthy. It tells us how to treat our land- sow the fields, prune the vineyards, and gather the fruit for six years - the seventh year was a Sabbath of rest. The bonus is: the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein safely.

We are exhorted to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. A Kingdom without rules and regulations is unworkable, and here the great bodies of the Laws of God's Kingdom stand firm:

Laws contained in the Commandments
Laws set forth in the Statutes
Laws governing Judgements


Ref Howard B. Rand, L.L.B. - Digest of Divine Law.

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