Is God’s Law Done away? ( Part 2)

by: Wayne Schatzle


       Many times the biblical record of the apostolic era as recorded in Acts 15 is touted as proof that the Law is not binding on Gentiles. The reason for the council is that Paul brought up question because of the many gentile converts were coming into the church. These gentiles were not brought up in the Faith revealed by God to Moses. This was all new to them as they were brought up in the various pagan mystery religions. Notice the few things mentioned that the new converts should adhere to, "abstain from things polluted by idols; sexual immorality; things strangled; and blood" {verse 20}. Out of the entire Law of God those are some odd things to pick out, and it obviously was a particular problem for them in the first century. Strangely there are ministers today that insist those are the only laws binding on Christians even today! The easy answer is revealed in the same very chapter. James relayed in verse 19 "not to trouble those Gentiles who are TURNING to God", and verse 21 says, "for Moses is preached in every city and read in the synagogues every Sabbath". Sure enough we see Paul preaching to the Gentiles every Sabbath in their areas. The problem was that some of the Jews of those synagogues insisted, and probably as they always had, that any convert adhere in all points of the Law when they initially enter. All the council of Act 15 did was allow converts to learn things at their own pace, much like we would do for any new convert coming into our churches today.

       The arguments put forth today are far from new. Throughout history this has been a point contention and continues to be perpetuated by shallow thinking ministers. In nearly all cases the Apostle Paul is quoted as support to their view but texts are easily shown to be FOR the Law when read in proper context. Another popular verse is Romans 14 where Paul speaks of observing special days and eating certain foods. A careful reading in context does not make any pronouncement on what is right- but the whole point of the passage is not to judge one another. The letter to the Galatians offers a few verses for anti-law advocates. In the first chapter we learn that it is addressed to gentile churches {which were the focus of Acts 15 previously discussed} who were turning back to their former PAGAN religions not Law observing. The first couple chapters enforce the truth that no amount of any law keeping can save anyone- even Abraham and Moses. Chapter 4 speaks of bondage of observing the pagan roots they were brought up in, described as "weak and beggarly elements". In many places the phrase "under the law" is used. Good commentaries will show that this is not the Law, but rather the death sentence for breaking the Law. As great as Paul was he couldn’t create a different code to live by- in fact he did say that anyone that preaches another gospel let him be accursed. Paul had a very difficult ministry in going to the gentiles, who had no background in the society structure revealed to the Hebrew people. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reveals, "Christ abolished in His flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances" those laws that pertained to sacrifices.

       In addition to the difficulty of bringing a new and very different religion to Gentiles, Paul had a sometimes-confusing writing style. Also it should be remembered that his writings were actually letters to specific churches whom were aware of the background information addressed but not revealed in the letters. Peter warned that some would twist Paul’s letters for the purpose of lawlessness. Never quoted is James "but be DOERS of the Word and not hearers only", nor John in Revelation 12: "Blessed are those who DO His commandments that they may right to the tree of Life" 8/03

Written by Wayne Schatzle, director, Freedom Biblical Information Center
P.O. Box 1806, West Chester OH 45071)