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God's Only Law Chapter 7

The Bible

 

The Bible is a collection of sixty-six books written by some forty authors over 1,500 years. Nothing less than a miracle could cause forty writers spread over 1,500 years to write such a cohesive work. Only God could inspire this work, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). He asks each of us to reason with His Word for ourselves, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15). God wants us to challenge everything we read and hear, including what we think we read in the Bible, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 Jn. 4:1), and "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21). Every verse in the Bible teaches us something about God, His love, and our rebellion.


The Bible is not a list of dos and don’ts; it is God describing His law of love and our rebellion. It is humanity that keeps making up lists of dos and don’ts. We are the ones rebelling against God’s simple law of love, and we keep trying to get others to do what we want them to do. God gave us the Bible to help us understand the difference between loving unconditionally and trying to force others to love us, or worse, obey us because we want to be their god. The Bible teaches us how to become humble and unselfish, to care for others more than we care for ourselves, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn. 15:12). If we do not understand God’s unselfish law of love, how will we ever choose to live it?


Wait … Didn’t God give us the Ten Commandments and all of the Mosaic Laws? Aren’t there 613 laws in the Torah? It appears so, but are they all really from God? Not exactly. Because we would not accept His simple law of love, God had Moses bring us the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3-17) and Jesus the beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-48), and we have responded by hardening our hearts and creating an uncountable number of unnecessary laws. Those who produce these unnecessary laws want us to feel like a society of lawbreakers, which generates a hostile atmosphere of fear, guilt, and foreboding. Then they layer in the idea of scarcity to heighten societal anxiety. The laws we have created are not intended to save us, only to control us. Those trying to control us want us to think we are running out of water, air quality is eroding, and we are losing our ability to protect ourselves from viruses and people who wish to harm us. These illusions weaken our resolve and leave us with feelings of fear and helplessness. Then they purport themselves to be the answer, which only leads us away from God’s path to eternity.


God’s law of love is all we need, and when we are living it, we become selfless; giving and sharing, which produces an attitude of peace and plenty, and results in the fruit of an ever-increasing number of good works pouring out of us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). This is how His law of love shines His light, drawing others to Him, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” (Heb. 10:24). We can have this attitude of plenty because God will provide for all of our needs, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19).


He established a covenant with us long before we hardened our hearts and began creating our own laws, many of which we attribute to God, “But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” (Gen. 6:18). His covenant relationship, like the marriage vow, is founded on a promise of love, “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” (Deut. 7:9). His promises are for everyone who chooses to accept His love because He already loves every one of us, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Jn. 6:40). He didn’t say God loves every Jew; He said “everyone,” and He created us to live with Him.


In Matthew, Jesus helps us understand how the hardening of our hearts leads us away from His love and toward the creation of our own laws, many of which we attribute to God, such as divorce, “They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matt. 19:7-8). Notice He said that “Moses suffered you,” not God, and “from the beginning it was not so.” There was no divorce in the garden, it is not part of the Ten Commandments, and it has no place in God’s law of love. In Mark, Jesus tells us we have chosen to teach the doctrines of men, including the 613 laws in the Torah rather than His simple commandment of love, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mk. 7:7-9). Notice He said, “laying aside the commandment of God,” commandment, not commandments. We do not need the 613 laws in the Torah, many of which we have created if we live His law of love because He does not care how we wash our pots, only how we love each other.


Of the 613 laws, only those describing God’s law of love are important to Him. He does not want us to set up lists of things people should or should not do, for those lists would oppose God’s law of love and push people away from Him. Instead, God keeps it simple; we are to love everyone all of the time, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom. 13:8). This means that we are to live His law of love all of the time and not try to force it on others. Instead, we are to reflect His light, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 Jn. 1:7). His light draws others to Him if they are ready to accept His love.


We are to love everyone and forgive their sins, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” (Lk. 17:3-4), no matter what the consequences are. This is part of picking up our cross, which draws people to Him, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Lk. 9:23). For we would be reflecting His love and selflessness.


God wants us to read the whole Bible, so we can see how it all fits together and help us understand the truth of His will for us, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Col. 1:9). He continues to protect His Word from those who would change it or attempt to keep the rest of us from understanding it, “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Ps. 12:6-7).


This is why God called a wealthy merchant, Peter Waldo, to give up his property in 1173 to create the Poor Men of Lyon. They would come to be called the Waldensians, and they dedicated their lives to distributing handwritten copies of parts of the Bible translated into local languages. But, unfortunately, the church leaders were prohibiting the translation of the Bible because they were busy adding burdens to the common man’s life. Moreover, these church leaders hated the Waldensians for challenging the church’s departure from scripture.


And as part of the Inquisition initiated by Pope Lucius III in 1184, the church branded the Waldensians heretics and began hunting down these soldiers of God, killing thousands of them. One day, the church trapped 3,000 Waldensians in a cave, built a fire at the cave entrance, and suffocated them. Did the church’s response to the Waldensians demonstrate God’s law of love? No matter how treacherous the church became or how many they tortured and killed, they could not keep God’s people from doing His work. Can we not see we were all made to be courageous? “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” (Phil. 1:27-28), and “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7). We are to preach the gospel and lead others to our risen Lord.


“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Rev. 21:1-3). Those who have lied and changed His Word or the meaning of His Word will not be part of His family, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev 22:18-19). There can be no other way, for only those who genuinely love Him and His Word will be fit to live together for all eternity within a family totally in love with each other.


God knows the number of people He wants in His family, and even though He would like all of us to accept His offer, He knows only a percentage of us will. So, He uses these two numbers to calculate how many people He needs to create and the date He will send Jesus back to us. Those of us who choose to accept His offer will be taken to heaven. This is what guarantees there will be no pain and suffering in heaven, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4). If we want to be in heaven, we need to come to His Word and reason with it for ourselves; this is the only way we will ever get past this world’s lies and finally understand His unselfish law of love.


God wants us to understand that the Ten Commandments are nothing more than a clarification of His law of love in a few areas of our lives. As an example, Moses pointed to God’s love by giving us the short version on the subject of killing in Exodus, “Thou shalt not kill,” (Ex. 20:13), but in the Be-Attitudes, Jesus went deeper, “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matt. 5:21-22). Being angry with our brother means we are judging, and it will not lead to our forgiveness.


If we want to understand whether a commandment is from God, we need only use the plumb line of God’s law of love as Jesus did when He summarized the Ten Commandments, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38). That was a summary of the first four of the ten. “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:39-40), and this was a summary of the final six. Together, these four verses provide the foundation of God’s law of love. God brought us this truth before He sent Jesus to reaffirm it, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut. 6:5), and “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19:34). God never changes, and those who would have us believe He does are lying to us.


Until we realize Jesus came to help us understand God’s Word, we will be lost in Pharisee-like interpretations arguing about the meaning behind the original Greek and Hebrew words, the correct number of books the Bible should include, or debating the 613 laws in the Torah. “And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:7-8). Thus, God tells us His Word will be delivered in every language to the uttermost part of the earth. We are being drawn to Him by His unselfish love and the fulfilling of His prophecies, “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Mic. 4:1-2), and “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isa. 2:2-3). Eventually, we will understand His Word, God does not mumble, and our language is no barrier, for His law of love transcends language, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Tim. 2:25-26).


His Word will soon be heard in the uttermost part of the earth fulfilling those prophecies, and He asks us not to argue about differing interpretations or translations, “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” (2 Tim. 2:23-24). All we need to do is use the plumb line of God’s law of love and make sure there are no conflicts in our individual interpretation of His meaning. It is like working on a jigsaw puzzle. Two pieces cannot fit in the same place, and two verses in God’s Word cannot have contradictory meanings. Instead, there is one consistent meaning throughout the Bible. The apparent conflicts in the Bible have all been exposed to be nothing more than our rebellion.


Jesus tells us killing our brother is not an act of love, and neither is being angry with him. Every law humanity has created, including those we have attributed to God, are examples of God allowing us to harden our hearts unto our own death. If we truly loved our neighbors, we would not kill them. Thus, if everyone lived God’s law of love as they will in heaven, there would be no need for laws to punish those who kill because there would be no killers. We can use this same thought process to see how everything evil would disappear if we all lived His law of love. Once we see that the apparent conflicts in His Word are caused by people distorting God’s law of love, we can spread His truth to everyone.


So, the Bible is God’s love letter to us. It explains His law of love, the fact that His love is unconditional, and that He will not force us to love Him. This is why He asks us to reason with His Word for ourselves until we settle the issue of our belief in our own hearts and minds, which will lead us to Jesus, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Then we can understand why Jesus asks us to repent, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17), we will then share His love, “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Lk. 10:27), and preach His gospel to the uttermost part of the earth, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

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