If not a relationship with God through His Law, then how else?
Absolutely! But then how do we validate our love for God to prove that it’s LOVE worthy of a relationship with Him? How do we prove that we are truly loving Him and our fellow man according to His will? How do we demonstrate that it’s the “biblical” love God commands us to abide in?
There’s only one way and that’s through His Law:
1 John 2:3 – Now by this we know that we “know Him,” if we keep His commandments.
1 John 2:4 – He who says, “I know Him”, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1 John 2:5 – But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
1 John 5:2 – By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
1 John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Scripture tells us that keeping God’s Law is the definition of God’s biblical Love. The love of God “IS” keeping His commandments.
You can’t hype your love for God and brethren on one hand and disavow God’s Law on the other. Otherwise, it isn’t the true biblical love that encompasses God’s Law. It wouldn’t be the love that God is commanding that we should abide in.
Whether one knew it or not, it would be disingenuous to go around proclaiming a loving relationship with God, while at the same time holding the theory that Christ abolished, altered, or butchered God’s everlasting Law to fit into a Christian’s New Covenant way of life.
That wouldn’t be a legit and loving relationship with him at all. Sure, the relationship is what matters. But the Law- which is an integral part of the relationship, is the X-factor that determines whether the relationship is honest. Whether it’s legit or not.
In the case of spouses, they can always say they have a loving relationship with each other, but one of them could potentially be having an affair behind the other’s back, despite their love for them. And so, even though they loved their spouse, it wasn’t a true, and sincere love. This is only a human’s, earthly love.
But the spiritual love that God speaks of is more profound and is qualified through keeping His spiritual Law. If you’re not keeping His Law, you’re not loving Him or your fellow man the way He wants us to.
The only viable way to have a relationship with God is through His Law. We know this because that is exactly what he demands of us:
1 John 5:3 – For THIS IS the love of God, that WE KEEP His commandments.
This is how love fulfills the Law and the Law is fulfilled through Love. It’s truly a very simple concept. One is not possible without the other.
So for those who keep on making the astonishing claim that Christ came to abolish the law, are obviously void of any biblical clarity or knowledge in regards to the New Covenant. Or are purposely ignoring what Christ has been saying all along about the Law:
Matthew 5:17 – “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.
Matthew 5:18 – 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.
Christ makes it abundantly clear that he didn’t abolish the Law because that’s not what He came to do. And he put away any doubts by further saying in His very next breath that heaven and earth would pass away first- and all things fulfilled, finished, or accomplished, before even being remotely possible for even a small portion of the Law to fade away.
Some make a crucial mistake of saying that Christ finished- or fulfilled all things at the cross- including the abolishment of the Law when he said:
John 19:30 – After Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.
However, what Christ was saying here is that His mission, the redemptive work or plan of salvation- and that alone, was what was finished. He wasn’t referring to the “all is accomplished or everything fulfilled” that Matthew 5:18 is speaking of.
The “all is accomplished” or “all is fulfilled or finished” that Matthew 5:18 speaks of in regards to the Law, is actually referencing the cumulative end-time events of the following verse:
Revelation 21:6 – “Everything is finished”! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. (CEV)
You will always hear the argument from some who say that we don’t have to keep the Law to be saved. That’s not true!
They will tell you that it is the saving grace of Christ’s blood that saves us and not the Law. That it is Christ who saves us through the sacrifice he made. That’s true!
But, just know, that the sacrifice he made, is made available only to those who embrace the conditions set forth in the Covenant. Even though salvation is a free gift from God, it is still conditional. It is evident that not everyone will be saved despite salvation being a free gift to all men. Not all men will be willing to accept the conditions set forth to merit the free gift. And others will be robbed of theirs through deception and through their own ignorance- or lack of knowledge.
It’s all about the Covenant, the mutual agreement between God and Man… which was re-ratified as a New Covenant by Christ at the cross. For more on the New Covenant go here.
No one is saying that the Law saves you- but only that you have to keep it in order to be saved. You don’t have to believe me, believe Christ! This is what Christ says in regards to obtaining eternal life. We best believe Him:
Matthew 19:16 – Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
Matthew 19:17 – “Why ask Me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. BUT TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION—if you want to receive eternal life, KEEP the Commandments.” (NLT)
Let’s clarify. The Law doesn’t save you- the shed blood of Christ does. But you still have to keep the Law (to the best of your ability) in order to be saved just as Christ says. Yes! Christ is the one who saves us. But in order for him to act on that- we must be practicing law keepers. That’s what Christians do, try to obey God and keep His Law to the best of their abilities because they love Him. Remember, “If you love me, KEEP my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Those who are practicing God’s Law are showing evidence that God’s Love and Spirit are working through them. Those who aren’t, are showing evidence of the spirit of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10) at work in them.
Why did Christ say that we have to keep the Law in order to receive eternal life? Because aside from it distinguishing a Christian from a non-Christian, it is the condition set forth in the “everlasting covenant” between God and man.
In this New Covenant with God that Christ ratified by his shed blood on the cross, God’s Laws are placed in our minds and hearts (Hebrews 8:10) and his spirit in us will cause us to keep them (Ezekiel 36:26-27). This condition is set in stone, it will never change. As soon as a man is truly converted to Christianity, he automatically falls under the conditions set forth in the New Covenant.
Even Paul understood that salvation was conditional when he said:
Romans 2:13 – for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but THE DOERS OF THE LAW will be justified…
And why is keeping the Law a no-brainer and vital to eternal life or salvation? Because if you’re not keeping it- then, you’re breaking it!
And what is breaking the law? SIN! And what does sin do? It separates us from God and condemns us to eternal death in the Lake of Fire.
So don’t let the misinformed tell you that you don’t have to keep the Law because Christ abolished it at the cross- or that he kept it for you- he didn’t! If Christ kept the Law for all of us- not one of us would be condemned. But that won’t be the case!
Do you want evidence? Here you go! Let Christ take you all the way forward to the future Judgment Day and show you a glimpse of an end-time prophetic scenario when He’s facing off with a modern-day, “In the name of Jesus” Christian who- when it came to the Law, had it all wrong. Christ says there will be MANY of these:
Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who calls out to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter.
Matthew 7:22 – On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name (and bound Satan in Your name) and performed many miracles in Your name.’
Matthew 7:23 – But I will reply, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU. Get away from Me, you WHO BREAK GOD’S LAWS.’ (NLT)
A very somber experience indeed! There you have it! There’s no question that the Law is still in full play till the very end of the age. Christ has validated God’s Law through this vivid glimpse into this future, prophetic event that involves Him, us, and God’s Law.
These people are going through life thinking that all along, they’re having an intimate and loving relationship with God, only to find out at the very end that in fact, they never did.
Why? Because we can only have a relationship with God through His set conditions – not ours. In this case, His Law is the qualifier. His Law is what determines if we love Him or not. It’s what determines if we are obeying Him or not. It’s what determines if we are abiding by the New Covenant which was ratified by the shed blood of Christ- or if we’re completely ignoring it. Obedience to God’s Law is evidence of God’s love and Holy Spirit abiding in us.
The Law is what separates a true Christian from one who only claims to be one. It’s what distinguishes a man that is not from this world, from one who is. Just like God’s Law was the distinguishing factor between Israel and the pagan nations in the old days. No one could see God- he was invisible. But His Laws were evident among His people- it would set them apart from everyone else. Their ways were very distinctive from those of the pagan, common nations. And it was all because God’s Law distinguished them from everyone else.
And since everyone is always falsely accusing Paul of teaching that we no longer have to keep the Law- or that it was done away with at the cross, I’ll let him have the last say:
1 Corinthians 7:19 – For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing IS TO KEEP God’s Commandments. (NLT)