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Church:  Are we the New Testament Church today?

Gary Googe Jul 17

At the heart of spiritual growth is the process of unlearning a lot of things and the process of learning a lot of new things.  For instance, people typically think that to please God and to qualify for Heaven they must do certain works, certain good things to deserve it.  But in the Bible, we discover that through Christ, God has done all the work needed to provide each of us with a way to be saved and end up in Heaven without charge.  We find that salvation is something God gives freely by grace through faith alone to anyone.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]

Then the Bible tells us all we need to know and believe is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, but raised on the third day.  It is this alone which Christ has done that must be the object of our faith for salvation.

I Corinthians 15:3-4

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

Again, we find that by putting our faith in that work alone salvation becomes ours forever.  It is after we are saved that our objective needs to be to learn of all the other marvelous things God wants each of us to know.  This then introduces us to a whole new way of life.  In times of old, God’s way of life for His people Israel was given in what is called the Law of Moses.  That included what are called The Ten Commandments [the Decalogue], but there were many more than that.  There was a total of 613 laws God gave to His people.  Most people today couldn’t even cite the ten of the Decalogue, let alone cite and obey the 613.  You should be thrilled to know that we are not under that system of law God once gave to His people Israel.  But there surely is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about this in the world today.

In many church circles you’ll hear comments about us being a part of what is spoken of as The New Testament Church.  You’ll also hear of Scripture that’s used to support this thinking.  Here’s an example of that.

II Corinthians 3:6

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. [Emphasis added]

But who is Paul talking about here? It may seem he’s speaking of something that applies to us in our time, but is he? Instead, Paul, being Jew, is speaking about his people, IsraelHe’s NOT talking about us as members of the Body of Christ church of today.  We today are not Israel.  We’re not even spiritual Israel, as some state it.  As believers in Christ, we are the church which is spoken of in Scripture as the Body of Christ.

Romans 12:5

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. [Emphasis added]

All together this adds up to the fact that we are a new people.  Scripture also speaks of us as a new creation

II Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [KTISIS = creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [Emphasis added]

We are God’s people as believers and as a new creation, but we are not Israel.  Again, we’re not even what some people call spiritual Israel.  Instead, we are a church, that is, an assembly of God’s people who are said to be related one to another as members of this which is called the Body of Christ.  God’s policy for us today is spoken of as one of grace.  Instead of being under “the Mosaic Law” as Israel was, we are under God’s policies of “grace” set forth in the writings of the apostle Paul.

Under the leadership of Moses God made a covenant [usually called the Old Testament] with Israel and that included for them a system of law to govern them as a nation.  However, they failed in their observance of it.  He then later promised Israel that He’d provide for them a new covenant [a New Testament].

Jeremiah 31:31

31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [Emphasis added]

A major difference this time would be that He would write this covenant into their hearts so there would be complete compliance.  The writer of Hebrews comments about this.

Hebrews 8:10

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: [Emphasis added]

This tells us that when this occurs, this time they will obey His laws.  But please notice that this covenant, this “New Testament,” was given to Israel.  It was not given to the Gentiles.  We are told that God will put these laws in their mind and this time they WILL obey them because they will be written in their hearts.  The writer of Hebrews speaks of it a second time.

Hebrews 10:16

16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; [Emphasis added]

Note that God Himself will put these things in their hearts.  This tells us that all 613 laws will be placed in their hearts.  They’ll know them and be able to recite and obey them. 

Ezekiel 36:27-28

27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. [Emphasis added]

This is all addressed to the House of Israel, the Jews.  God has not promised us as members of the Body of Christ a piece of real estate on this Earth.  This was promised to regenerate [saved] Israel.  These are not our statutes, our judgments, or our fathers.  But it is as stated earlier in that passage.

Ezekiel 36:10-11

10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:

11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. [Emphasis added]

This passage has nothing to do with us but plenty to do with regenerate Israel.  This tells us we are not what some call New Testament Christians.  We, today, are the new creation, created by God to be what is called the Body of Christ church.  The apostle Paul, being a Jew and having been a Pharisee, thoroughly knowing the Mosaic Law, was quite familiar with all this that God had promised to Israel.  But none of this was ever promised to us.  Our future is not in a new land, but in Heaven.  Believing Israel has a wonderful future, but it’s not the same as ours.  Being a “minister of the New Testament” is not the same as being under it.  In other words, being able to teach about it and to explain it is not the same as being under it.

All this tells us that unlike the first time, the people of Israel will not only know the laws God gave them, but they will live obediently to them. They won’t even need anyone teaching them these laws.  They’ll have a special anointing of the Holy Spirit that will enable them for this.  They got a preview and a taste of this in the timeframe of early Acts.  The apostle John wrote about it.

I John 2:27

27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. [Emphasis added]

This is a promise to Israel, not us today.  They will have this special anointing to enable them to know these things.  We today must learn everything we know about God by studying the Scriptures.

II Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

We have to be diligent in our study of God’s Word to learn and comply with God’s will.  I John 2:27 simply isn’t speaking about us, as some wish to claim it is.  It is extremely important to understand that while all the Bible is FOR us it is not all TO us or ABOUT us.

As we’ve noted, Jeremiah talks about this new covenant that would come as a followup to the one first given of God through Moses.  Let’s look at it again.

Jeremiah 31:31

31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [Emphasis added]

Where is there any evidence this “new covenant” was made with us today? There is none at all!  As the Scripture says, this new covenant, this “new testament,” was made exclusively with Israel.  It is through what is spoken of as the right division of Scripture that we are able to sort these things out.

Most churchgoers will tell you we’re not under the Mosaic Law today.  They’ll say we’re now under the New Covenant.  But what is that? It is the same covenant as the Old one, it’s just that under this new covenant Israel will be enabled by the Spirit of God to comply with it perfectly.  The “New Testament” is for the same people the Old one was for—The house of Israel and the house of Judah.  Again, these things were not given to us for today.  They’re for our learning, but they are not to us.

Romans 3:19

19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [Emphasis added]

Those under the law were and will be [in the time of the coming Tribulation and beyond] the people of Israel, not us as members of the Body of Christ.  We are said to be under grace.

Romans 6:14

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [Emphasis added]

It has always been Israel that’s been under the Law, not us.

I Corinthians 9:20-21

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

21 To them that are without law [Gentiles], as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. [Emphasis added]

It is to Israel exclusively that God gave this system of law, not us.  I keep saying this because this false point of view has become so prevalent in the minds of so many people in our time.  Sometimes great spiritual progress can be made by just unlearning certain things.

Galatians 4:21

21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

We’re not the New Testament church.  What do people who claim they are know about it? Typically, not much at all.  Let alone are they then able to be obedient to it.  But the day will come when, for Israel, things will be different.

Ezekiel 36:27-28

27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. [Emphasis added]

This is all addressed to the House of Israel, the Jews.  These are not our statutes, our judgments, or that of our fathers.  But it is as verses ten and eleven of this passage say.

Ezekiel 36:10-11

10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:

11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. [Emphasis added]

This passage has nothing to do with us but plenty to do with regenerate Israel.  Here we have wonderful promises God gave Israel.  We are foolish if we somehow think we can or should claim them as ours.  We have our own promises to claim.  Our future is not tied to a restored Earth.  Our future is in Heaven.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation [POLITEUMA = citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

In conclusion, we today are not New Testament Christians.  We are the new creation, created by God to be what is called the church which is the Body of Christ. 

II Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [KTISIS = creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [Emphasis added]

Again, believing Israel has a wonderful future, but it’s not the same as ours.  Being a “minister of the New Testament” is not the same as being under it.  In other words, being able to teach about it and to explain it is not the same as being under it.  God’s instructions TO us are not the same as what God gave TO Israel.  What He gave to Israel is FOR our understanding and appreciation.  Let us make a practice of sorting these things out and giving thanks to God for ALL He’s provided for His people, whether Jews or Gentiles.

 

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