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The Early Church
The first New Covenant Church was started by Followers of Christ who were also the Jewish descendants of Abraham. They had wrongly assumed that the Messiah had been sent only, for them.
Therefore, they could not agree on how the Jewish requirements of the Law should apply to the new Gentile Followers of Christ, (or, even if they should be allowed to join); so a council meeting was held in Jerusalem.
Many of the Apostles attended, including Peter and Paul. After a heated debate, James, the earthly brother of Jesus, and leader of the New Church stood up and said:
“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 food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood" (Acts 15:13-21).
This action did away with more than 600 Old Testament Laws and Rituals; including the sacrificing of animals; cleansing and purification rituals; forced attendance of various feasts; circumcision; foods they were allowed to eat, the clothing they wore, and much more.
Under the Old Covenant, the way to reach Heaven was through faith in the promised Messiah, and by obeying the Law.
Under the New Covenant Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection fulfilled the requirements of the Old Testament Law.
Attempting to reach Heaven by simply obeying the Ten Commandments of the Old Covenant will no longer work.
Do We Still Obey the Ten Commandments?
According to the Apostle Paul, the Ten Commandments, "written by the finger of God," (Ex 31:18), identify the things God considers to be sin.
Paul said: "Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, "You must not covet." (NLT, Rom 7:7).
Christians keep the Commandments of God as a demonstration of their love and reverence for Christ.
In the New Testament, Jesus paid it all. No longer are those in Christ who break one of the Ten Commandments stoned to death; nor do they face the last judgment at the "Great White Throne," (where those who are not in Christ will be forever cast away and separated from God).
Those in Christ are under the "Law of Grace" and will not be found guilty of breaking the Law. Jesus died in their place; thereby paying for their sins and fulfilling all the requirements of the Old Testament Law on their behalf. What a great and incredible Savior!
The Law of Grace redeems those who have been born again. The Commandments of God, so impossible for humankind to fulfill, now serve the Christian by identifying things God considers to be sin, and the need to be born again.
Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments," (John 14:15, KJV).
The Law of Grace
"...Sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law, but under grace," (Rom 6:14).
Grace is the result of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. He is now your Great High Priest, seated at the right hand of the Father.
Those in Christ only need to ask to receive forgiveness for sins:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," (1 John 1:9).
Jesus Paid it All on the Cross
Those who have been born again are no longer under the condemnation of the Law.
Those who attempt to enter Heaven any other way will be judged by the Law and condemned to Hell, (Matt 7:22-24).
God does not change, and sin is still sin, (Mal 3:6). The difference, in how the Old Testament Law applies to those in Christ is how the sin is forgiven.
There is no longer any need for animal sacrifice. The New Covenant unveiled a new way to be forgiven; that is through the shed blood of the "Lamb of God," Christ Jesus.
When someone accepts Christ as their Savior, they instantly become Born Again. God places the Holy Spirit within their heart, and old things pass away, and all things become new, (2 Cor 5:17).
They are now Children of God and call Him Father, and He places the Holy Spirit within them and calls them His Children. This alone sets Christianity apart from every religion in the world.
No one has ever earned their way into Heaven. Eternal life can only be obtained through, "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,"(Jn 1:29).
According to Jesus, His Followers are not to live by the world's moral standards, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God, (Matt 4:4).
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments, (Jn 14:15).
We are to obey His Ten Commandments out of love, reverence, and adoration for our Lord and Savior, not in an attempt to earn our way into Heaven.
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Law and Christianity:
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