Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seeing Mixed Covenant Teaching

Perhaps the reasons why churches teach mixed covenant, law & grace is because Jesus taught law & grace at the end of the old covenant. While we can benefit from them we must understand that Jesus' teachings were for a very specific 3 year period in history. Jesus was preparing Jews who were under the law for grace. The key words are "preparing" & "under the law." Grace has been here as long as we've been alive & we've never been under the law.

I dare say most churches teach Jesus like atheists would teach Jesus, as a wise historical teacher. The only difference is that Christians have "made Jesus lord" (something scripture never says to do) so they must obey Him & they think obeying Him means keeping commands He gave that scripture records. But those commands were to a very specific group of people (Jews under the law), at an even more specific time (3 year period before the resurrection), with a specific reason (to get people past sin, past the enemy, & past bad leadership to the resurrection so that they might be saved).

To teach law & grace mixed together today creates a non-reality where people work hard to receive gifts from God. That is not how gifts work! The most grace most mixed law & grace teachings give is "you get a free ticket to heaven." The truth is that people under this mixed teaching see grace as a bonus for work or an incentive to work. You get saved so you can serve God/the church.

Here's a list of things you will never see in scripture that churches teach you about salvation:
You give your life to God
You make Him Lord
You surrender to Him
You make a commitment to Him
You ask God to use you

I won't go into specific reasons why those aren't true but I will ask, "How many of those are grace?" All of them are about what you do for God. NONE, I say NONE of them are about what God did for you. Grace & the gospel are about what God did for you. All of those are works based salvation. They say YOU do the giving so God will rule over you so you can work for Him some more. 'nuff said!


  1. Michael, Michael my awesome son-in-law. I write this fully realizing how much more intelligent you are than I am. And how you are so much more learned in some areas than I. But there is something amiss in your theology. Where have you learned these things? Jesus didn't teach for a specific period of time or people. He said His words and commands were eternal and they would never change. Jesus was the Lord God Almighty and He made the moral law which all men were under. It wasn't only the Jews under the law, they were only keepers of the law. The law is eternal and "the righteousness of the law has been fulfilled in us." Rom 8:4 That's one of the things Jesus did in His life He fulfilled the law. And that has been given to the born again. The commands Jesus gave were for all people for all time, He said so. Basically Michael we have two choices. We can believe God's word the way it was written or we can have our own opinion. I cannot base my theology on my own opinion or the opinion of anyone else. If I pick up my Bible and start at "In the beginning" and I pray each time I read that God will allow the Spirit to lead me in my understanding when I get to "Amen" my understanding will be deeper and richer than before. Or I can never read the Bible completely through and I can conclude certain things are true because that's what I want to believe. I can even come to the decision that the Bible is not God's word. See Deut 12: 1-8 "Which choice would you like to base your eternity on? Pray for me. I pray for you everyday.

    1. I learned it on my own considering the scriptures. It is obvious to me from culling from the context that the old covenant was in effect while Jesus spoke & that according to the teachings of Paul & Hebrews things changed at the cross when the new covenant was put into effect. Again & again in Jesus' teachings I have found that many of them applied only to the pre-cross Jews & when understanding that I ultimately see those scriptures pointing to God & His works rather than to mankind & our works which ends up giving God more glory than the predominant misapplication of these scriptures do.

      It is reckless to apply all of scripture to ourselves without considering who was being spoken to, when, where, & under what covenant.
      Here is a post I wrote when I first discovered this that could give you more insight into my journey & thoughts, http://love-god-love-others.blogspot.com/2011/04/notes-on-jesus-teaching-on-mount-why.html

    2. I could not find notes-on-jesus. You know I'm a low tech man in a high tech world. I have read some of the other articles and some are excellent especially His love for you. You are absolutely right about the covenant changing at the cross. And you are correct in saying the scriptures point to the glory of God. But none of Jesus' teachings apply to only the pre-cross Jews. My intent here is not to insult or even correct you but to help you in your understanding. Let me give you my qualifications as Paul did to help. I have been walking with Jesus longer than you are old. I have been teaching the Bible almost as long as you are old. And for humility's sake I will tell you I have read the Bible from cover to cover a double digit number of times. Now let me share my rules for interpreting the Bible. 1. Pray. God will enlighten,He wants you to understand. 2. Plain sense. Take what you read literally unless the passage is obviously figurative.3. Context. Read the whole passage not one verse.4. Context. Who was it written to? A, Try to understand the text as the original audience may have. B. Don't try to expand the text beyond what the original audience would have understood.5. Context. What does the passage say? 6. Context. What does the passage mean? A. Does the situation involved change our understanding? B. Does the culture of the time change our understanding? C. Does the covenant of the time change our understanding? 7. What is the principle? 8. How can I apply this to form my theology? 9. How can I apply this to my life? You covered some of this in your last paragraph but I wanted to write my whole list. I hope it helps.

    3. I agree with that type of interpretation, & I come to a different conclusion than you because of the context considerations in regards to Jesus' teachings.

      Jesus said in Matthew 15:24, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Before the cross what Jesus did & taught was to save those sheep, to point them to the cross, the resurrection, & the spirit & rebirth.

      I wouldn't go for "How can I apply.." until I answer "Does this apply.." Of course apply might be too broad of a term. Can I benefit from or learn from all of Jesus' teachings, yeah. Did everything He said apply to everyone for all time in the exact way He said it, no. I personally think that your assumption that "none of Jesus' teachings apply to only the pre-cross Jews" throws out most of your interpretation rules.

      While I have numerous posts on this blog about this sort of thing here's an easy example
      “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore do all that they tell you to do, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. (Matthew 23:2-3)
      Why would Jesus tell people to obey wicked leaders? Because under the law those who had an office had power by the law. There is no "chair of Moses" anymore & Gentiles were not subject to it in Jesus' time. Thus who does this teaching apply to? Pre-cross Jews.

      Another example
      “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly; and if he refuses to listen even to the assembly, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." (Matthew 18:15-17)
      Jesus said this before the cross. Gentiles are a part of His body now. Today the Assembly includes Gentiles thus at least that portion of what Jesus spoke of here was something only for the Jews at the time. How do you treat someone like a Gentile when you are one? Gentiles are our brothers in Christ.