The Letter of the Law

THE LETTER OF THE LAW AND THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW

– Now we will look at the moral commandments given by Moses and see why literal interpretation can be very dangerous and lead to error.

1. KEEP THE SABBATH DAY HOLY

This is the fourth commandment. The Seventh Day Adventists teach this commandment as a literal commandment and have themselves in hot water! The creation Sabbath was indeed observed on our present Saturday and was so observed until Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Beginning with the Passover and Israel’s exodus from Egypt the Sabbath was celebrated every seventh DATE beginning at the first Passover feast. All Sabbaths of days weeks and years were kept from that DATE, let us say the 15th day of April for clarity. This would mean that the seventh day of rest would fall on a Tuesday for the first year and then Wednesday on the second year and so on. If this is a fact, and it surely is, then will the Adventists admit they are wrong and reverse the teaching they have dogmatically defended for tens of decades? Not hardly.

THE WAY THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT IS GIVEN IN ITS LITERAL FORM ALLOWS FOR NO EXCEPTIONS! That is, as it is given by Moses there are no exceptions or explanations that would change that commandment. So we have the majority of Christians observing Sunday (the resurrection day) as the Christian Sabbath and then another segment of the fundamental church holding to Saturday (the original Sabbath). Where has all of this confusion come from? It has come from those who teach a literal commandment according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW and will not deviate from it and admit for neither THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW or THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW.

THERE IS ALSO REGARD TO BE GIVEN AS TO ACTIVITY ON THE SABBATH. In the previous paragraph we spoke of the DATE OF THE SABBATH and now we will consider what activities are to be carried out on the Sabbath. There is no exceptions given when we are told not to work on the Sabbath. So literally, not to work on the Sabbath according to the law as Moses gave it has no exceptions. But other Scriptures and in other places God speaks and qualifies the commandant and tells us that there are certain exceptions. So in the ten commandments He gives

us THE LETTER OF THE LAW, but then later as we read more about the Sabbath we learn of THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW such as pulling your ox out of a hole. The priests were also exempted in the carrying out of their priestly duties in the ministry of the tabernacle on the Sabbath, even though another man was stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath! This does not include eating out in restaurants on the Sabbath or taking pleasure trips. Commerce, personal pleasure and secular activity are forbidden by the Word of God. (Isaiah 58)

IN THE CASE OF THE MAN GATHERING STICKS – In the case of the man gathering sticks the commandment was taken literal, it was an act which God found to be worthy of death. (Numbers 15:35) Why was the death sentence put upon the man by God?!? Because this man’s trifling with the law of God would set a precedent and bring an early break down of the law if he was not punished severely. He was to be made an example. This trend of trifling if not dealt with harshly, would lead to an early apostate condition in Israel.

IN THE CASE OF THE PRIESTS – In the case of the priest, it was necessary for them to officiate and carry on the worship of Israel at the alters of sacrifice. In this case there was an exception made for the priesthood. So there was an exception to the literal meaning of the Sabbath commandment. So, we see by Biblical example that there are reasonable exceptions to the literal day the Sabbath (rest) is to be observed and Biblical exceptions as to the literal meaning of the commandment when it states Thou shalt not do any work. (Exodus 20:10)

In Luke 13:13-17 Jesus illustrates for us the difference between THE LETTER OF THE LAW, or limiting the commandment to its literal form, and THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. In Luke 13 Jesus rebuked the ruler of the synagogue because he took the Sabbath commandment too literally. The fourth commandment says Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. (Exodus 20:8,10) The ruler of the synagogue was disgraced by Jesus for putting a literal interpretation on this commandment. The Rabbi was not directing his remarks at Jesus but rather at the people who were thronging around Jesus, who had been walking from a distance to be in Jesus presence. Walking any distance was considered labor and was prohibited by the teachers of the law. According to the LETTER OF THE LAW they were right, but according to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW they were “dead” wrong! And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: IN THEM THEREFORE COME AND BE HEALED, AND NOT ON THE SABBATH DAY. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. Luke 13:13-17

And then in Luke 14:5 He addresses this matter of the literal interpretation of the commandment; And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? An ox lodged in a deep miry pit is a pretty big task involving a lot of sweat and work! Jesus taught that there are sensible and necessary exceptions to the commandment as it is given in its literal form. Jesus made it clear that compassion for the animal laying afflicted in a pit with perhaps a broken leg was an exception to the law in its literal form, and so how much more should the people be allowed to walk to the place of their deliverance.

Does Matthew 12:1-8 teach that Jesus abided by THE LETTER OF THE LAW or by THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW? At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. THE LETTER OF THE LAW forbid David or any but the priests to eat the shewbread. But THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW took into consideration the fact that David and his men were being hated and hunted wrongfully and their urgent need of food was being met by the shewbread. God did make an exception to the law which forbid David under normal circumstances of doing such a thing. The law is not senseless or insensitive – the law is both sensible and sensitive.

THE MERCY PRINCIPLE AFTER THE CROSS – We know that the law was exacting, but under Grace more is required of Christians morally. The reason is obvious – more of God’s power is available to us. HOSEA 6:5 Therefore have I hewed {them} by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments {are as} the light {that} goeth forth.

When Jesus called Matthew from the receipt of custom (the table for paying taxes), He went with His disciples to eat in the house of Matthew. Many Publicans and sinners came and sat at the table with them. When the Pharisees saw this they criticized Jesus for sitting with these kind of people. that was when Jesus answered with the words, But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Matthew 9:13 Were there divorced people among those sinners? Probably so. Jesus was making a point; that under the dispensation of Grace there would be a full pardon. The way He uses the word mercy here implies that. The word sacrifice refers to the Mosaic sacrifice system, the ceremonial law. It has nothing to do with the moral law.

The mercy principle was shown in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. In the old Testament it was shown to David and Bathsheba. In the new Testament the woman brought to Jesus in the temple by the Pharisees was shown mercy in that the law was NOT exacted against her as they demanded and as the law read.

Mercy implies that penalty is relaxed against the transgressor when there is sufficient reason to believe that pardon will make reform possible. God was not legally obligated by any Kingdom laws to redeem us. The fact that man’s soul is eternal caused God to think that He was morally obligated to provide man with a way out of his damnation.

Under Grace the evidence is very strong that God excuses mistakes buried in our past giving us a whole new start, a new birth, a new beginning.

TERMS THAT SPEAK OF THE CANCELLING OF THE PAST TRANSGRESSIONS

BORN AGAIN – To be born again would indicate that the whole life of sin behind you is in the past and that you are being given a whole new start in life. It means that you have no past, that you are another person with a new name written in the book of Life and nothing from the past

remembered against you. Repentance is a birth into a new life. Nothing can be held against a person who has no past!

In the case of David and Bethsheba as well as the woman brought to Jesus in the temple caught “in the very act” of adultery there was no penalty. In David’s case he repented and was forgiven – the penalty was deferred. In the case of the woman there is no record she repented, but nevertheless Jesus granted her forgiveness (which indicates He saw a repentant spirit in her demeanor) and she was cleared from the penalty of her sin. Where the forgiveness of God is actually granted there is with it reprieve.

There are two words in the New Testament that imply a complete release from sin that has been committed in the past. JUSTIFICATION and REMISSION both speak of being released from sin. Not forgiveness IF… but a complete and unconditional release from any sin committed in the past. That means that what sin you have been forgiven of you should not return to. In the case of married persons with marriage in tact that would be the sin of divorce and remarriage. If you have been forgiven that past remarriage then you will not commit that sin again, and if you do it is an act of open rebellion against God and His Word!

This is the only way we can explain God releasing David from death by stoning and the woman caught in adultery in John 8.

But should we continue in sin that Grace may abound? GOD FORBID! So, once Grace enters our lives then there is no more sacrifice for sin! (Hebrews 10) To remarry under any conditions after becoming a Christian is to be removed from church membership. To remarry if your partner leaves you is expressly forbidden by the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)

Three times in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul speaks of the Christian remaining in the state he is in when converted. (Verses 17,20 and 24.) This instruction is given in the marriage and divorce chapter and in the context of the state of marriage by new converts. In all of this chapter Paul never once

addresses the idea of previously married partners separating. It is apparent by this that the apostles nor any of the early churches required this separation of converts with a previous marriage before conversion.

IS STEALING AND MARRIAGE THE SAME? – Those who believe that previously married couples who get saved and continue to live together are committing adultery, often insist, “When a thief gets saved he stops stealing, and when murderer gets saved he stops killing – and when somebody living in adultery gets saved they have to stop committing adultery. But by this you are comparing murder with marriage. God created the married state. In the words of the Bible, marriage is honorable – stealing is never honorable; killing is never honorable and God is not the author of sin. You may say that God is not the author of second marriages…but He did allow divorced people to remarry in the Old Testament! He has never allowed stealing or murder. Adultery as it is mentioned in the ten commandments must be referring to extra-marital affairs by married people showing infidelity toward a married partner. This is indicated in Jesus words found in MARK 10:11 when He said, And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. The words, “against her” implies that the choice of another woman was unjust and out of lust for another woman. Men ought to be content and keep their marriage vows as they were uttered before God in the marriage ceremony. To turn against the wife of “thy youth” is evil and shows a spirit of infidelity. So there was a time that remarriage was tolerated by God. If He tolerated remarriage under the law, would He forgive it under Grace and allow a happily married couple to continue their lives together thus avoiding another divorce experience, avoiding the temptations of a single life, avoiding the possibility of backsliding and remarrying the third time! Marriage is an honorable state for man and God’s plan for a man to be united with a wife. THE FACT THAT THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE OF THE LORD OR ANY OF THE APOSTLES REQUIRING THAT TWICE MARRIED CONVERTS SEPARATE AND THAT THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE OF TWICE MARRIED PEOPLE BEING INSTRUCTED TO SEPARATE, AND BECAUSE THE SCRIPTURES WERE WRITTEN IN THE TIME OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE THAT WAS RIDDEN WITH HIGH DIVORCE RATES AND IMMORALITY, we come to a conclusion based on Biblical evidence that the early church did not require converts with a previous marriage in their past to break that marriage.

THE PRINCIPLE OF THE MORAL COMMANDMENT – There is yet another way to understand the moral commandments of God. We have spoken of THE LETTER OF THE LAW and THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW but here is also the principle of the law. While we are speaking

on the subject of the Sabbath we will use it to demonstrate THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW. When we speak of a principle we are speaking of the purpose or meaning of a given law. None of God’s commandments are without principle, that is a purpose, a good reason. Sometimes we may not understand the good of some of God’s commandments but you can rest assured there is always a principle or a good reason behind them. One of the great joys of searching the Scripture is to get understanding that reveals the purpose and meaning of God’s commandments. This is why Satan wants to keep you from the Word of God! He wants us to fall out with the Lord because we think His commandments are unreasonable and harsh. Apostates all have this problem with the moral law. They don’t understand it so they try to rewrite the book and improve on God’s moral government. But when they do this they only self destruct and bring judgment on themselves.

THE WORD SABBATH MEANS INTERMISSION – The Greek word for sabbath (sabbaton) is taken from the Hebrew word shabbath meaning a day, a week or year of rest. There are two purposes of the sabbath. The first would be what the word sabbath implies, a time of rest from secular work. So the first principle of the sabbath is to provide a time of respite and rest, an intermission for the laboring person. Those who work in offices and factories can relate to the sabbath every time they take “break.” The second and very important principle of the Sabbath is that it’s origin is in the instantaneous creation of the world by God the creator. The sabbath commemorates the instantaneous creation and for that reason also Christians should observe the sabbath. The enemies of Christian values, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, who want to eliminate all blue laws prohibiting the shut down of businesses on Sunday are opposing instantaneous creation and Biblical influence on society when they do so. SO WHETHER WE KEEP THE SABBATH ON SATURDAY OR TUESDAY DOES NOT VIOLATE THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW NOR THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW SO LONG AS EVERY SEVENTH DAY IS OBSERVED. The principle of the sabbath is not keeping a certain day as the Sabbath, the principle of the sabbath is resting every seventh day no matter the day.

Jesus was mentioning THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW concerning the sabbath when He said, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: (Mark 2:27). As Charles Finney has said, God’s commandments are not good because they are God’s commandments, but they are God’s commandments because they are good.

CONCLUSION: God’s systematic sabbath system assures the preservation of the seventh day principle to give rest and to commemorate the Genesis creation. It is not the commandment itself which God hopes to achieve in man but THE GOOD THAT RESULTS FROM IT.

2. THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS (LIE)

Are there any exceptions to this commandment? Rahab the harlot lied to the men of Jericho (Joshua 2:4-6) and was later commended for her lying as showing faith in God! (Hebrews 11:31) Critics may say that Rahab was not under the law of God and therefore not to be guilty for lying as a Hebrew would be guilty. That is the point in referring to Rahab. If she is not to be blamed because she was not under the teaching of Israel then it means no one is accountable to God for what they have done before becoming a believer. WHAT SHE DID WRONG IN HER PAST WAS FORGOTTEN ONCE SHE BECAME AN ISRAELITE BY FAITH. But if she was guilty of lying in THE LITERAL SENSE then it must be admitted she was not condemned for her lie under the circumstances.

RAHAB’S LIE NEVER CONDEMNED – It says she received the spies with peace. At the same time she told the men of her cities that the two strange men had left at dark and gave them a false direction which they pursued. The point is that God did not blot her out of the book of life because she was a harlot or because she lied but commended her for her faith in God. Rahab’s case shows us that God did not deny her favor because she lied but winked at her lying because she had such great faith in God and that He was with Israel.

LYING HARLOT SAVED BY FAITH! – In Joshua 6 (verses 17-25) as Israel was preparing the seventh day to march the seventh time around Jericho, Joshua lectured the priests and soldiers giving them strict orders to destroy everything but those who were in the house of Rahab (6:17). Some of the most beautiful words of Scripture are found in Joshua 6:25, And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Joshua 6:25. Rahab found a godly life and a whole new future among the Israelites. Her past was never mentioned, neither was she reproved for lying. Taking the commandments literally can destroy the meaning of God’s forgiveness of the past and cancels the real meaning of faith, which Rahab was commended for.

3. THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY

Is a very clear commandment which we understand to be an absolute moral fact. THE LETTER OF THE LAW makes no exceptions. But how has God treated this commandment? I am asking a very direct question when I say, how has GOD HIMSELF handled this matter of adultery? Would God do anything contrary to His own moral commandments? Would God not want us to understand this commandment? We have the LETTER OF THE LAW in the commandment as it is given in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, now let’s consider THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. The best example of God dealing directly with adultery is the case of David and Bethsheba. Even though it is an Old Testament sin it covers everything in Jesus teaching in the New Testament.

And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:10

ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD David and Bathsheba should have both been stoned to death! There is no quibbling, no getting out of it . . .according to Leviticus 20:30 David and Bathsheba were both guilty of transgressing the law of adultery. YET WHEN GOD SPOKE TO THE PROPHET NATHAN HE DID NOT TELL NATHAN TO GO TO THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL AND HAVE THEM DRAW DAVID AND BATHSHEBA OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM AND HAVE THE PEOPLE STONE THEM! NO? THE PROPHET CAME TO DAVID AND SAID, “THOU ART THE MAN”!

God did not impose the death penalty on David and Bathsheba according to the literal meaning of the law. He did require the death of the baby conceived in adultery but did not bring death by stoning ACCORDING TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW. He then allowed David to marry Bathsheba and gave David a son, Solomon. who all were a part of the Messianic line!

DAVID’S SINS DEMANDED DEATH ACCORDING TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW –

David’s sins were legion in his affair with Bathsheba! He coveted another man’s wife (10th commandment); He committed adultery with her (7th commandment); He conspired against the innocent (Uriah); He lied (9th commandment), he murdered (6th commandment) and then married the victim’s widow! David was not just guilty of adultery, he had violated about every moral principle in the ten commandments! Yet it is very clear that God did not deal with David after THE LETTER OF THE LAW. Those who teach perpetual adultery would not agree with God in the way He showed mercy and did not carry out absolute and literal meaning of His law on adultery.

Let’s stop right here to point something out that is very important. Please notice how angrily David reacted to the man who had selfishly killed the pet lamb when he could have killed any of the many other lambs; And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 2 Samuel 12:5

DAVID’S HUMAN REACTION AGAINST THE MAN WHO KILLED THE LAMB WAS IN GREAT CONTRAST TO GOD’S JUDGMENT OF DAVID WHO HAD KILLED A MAN! We humans are much more demanding and harsh in our judgment of evil than was God against us.

Perpetual adultery doctrine is a human way of reacting against adultery when we never see God making the extreme demands on us that we make upon ourselves. Remember, we are speaking of how we are to react toward sin when it is committed by people who have repented and confessed their rebellion and sin against the laws of God. David and Bathsheba lived under the full knowledge of the law and yet God graciously wiped out their transgression and cancelled the law that was against them, yea! that demanded their very lives.

Oh, but that was under law, someone says. Yes, it was under law but nevertheless it was not executed in its harshest and literal sense according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW. It matters not which dispensation. God’s law is as binding under one covenant as the other and even more so under the law than under grace.

BUT LET US CONSIDER ADULTERY NOW UNDER GRACE and see what Jesus did regarding this matter. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, (4) They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. (5) Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? (6) This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with {his} finger wrote on the ground, {as though he heard them not}. (7) So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, HE THAT IS WITHOUT SIN AMONG YOU, LET HIM FIRST CAST A STONE AT HER. (8) And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. (9) And they which heard {it}, being convicted by {their own} conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, {even} unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (10) When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? (11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:3-11)

SOME PEOPLE READ MEANING INTO THE WORDS OF JESUS THAT IS NOT THERE – Go and sin no more are the words Jesus spoke to a woman who was caught in an adulterous act and not to a woman who had been divorced and remarried. The idea that this means that the woman caught in the very act of adultery was not to commit adultery again or there would be consequences. . .and then further conclude beyond the meaning of this text, that if this applies to this woman’s adultery, then it applies to people who are twice married, and that they must stop living together if they are to “sin no more” (stop sinning) is to read into the word of God something not mentioned or implied.

This woman was forgiven a promiscuous act of adultery – Therefore Jesus’ words to her were meant for her and would apply to people guilty of her sin – Go and sin no more. In the case of promiscuous sin it means just that, but it cannot be made to imply separation of married people

who remarried in sin before conversion. That bit of added meaning to this text by those who badly lack Scriptural support of their separation theory try to wrest the Scriptures to back their contentions. It is amazing how rigid and literal some brethren can be with some texts and then be so loose and assuming with other Bible texts when they want to make it mean something not implied in the text.

GOD’S OBJECTIVE IS TO REDEMPTIVE, TO SALVAGE US – There is another way we see the words of Jesus as they apply to this woman that are just as logical as (and certainly more Scriptural) as the interpretation that demands separation. He might have meant by His Words that she was not condemned by any wrong she had done in the past and that she was to go and never commit again the sin He was forgiving her of. In the case of persons with remarriage in their past before they became Christians, would mean they would be forgiven of their past marriage but they should never do it again.

THE PHARISEES WERE APPLYING A LITERAL INTERPRETATION of the law to the woman caught in the act of adultery. What Jesus did with this woman and how He Himself regarded THE LETTER OF THE LAW is our example in applying the adultery laws of God to those who come to Christ in the church today. Did Jesus demand that THE LETTER OF THE LAW be carried out without one bit of regard for this woman, her future, the marriage she apparently had? No! He released her from all obligation to the demands of the law and warned her that she was not to commit this sin, implying grave consequences.

JESUS WAS QUITE AWARE OF THE ALTERNATIVE. He knew that stoning was what the law called for. But He made an exception to THE LETTER OF THE LAW! Why? Was it because He knew her accusers were also guilty of breaking the law of Moses? Was it because their motive was to embarrass Him in the eyes of the temple crowd? Was it because He felt a compassion for her in the way they were publicly disgracing her because of their hatred of Him? These are all factors very real and present in this confrontation. But if we believe in a literal obedience to a literal law then none of these are good reasons for the exception He made. He made and It simply demonstrates what the compassion of Christ really is. It a chance to start all over again with a clean slate, no matter what the past had in it!

THIS WE KNOW, THAT JESUS DID MAKE AN EXCEPTION TO THE LITERAL MORAL LAW OF GOD, AND HE DID NOT REQUIRE HER TO SUFFER THE PENALTY OF DEATH AS THE LAW IN ITS LITERAL FORM DEMANDED.

JESUS HAS MADE A POINT PERFECTLY CLEAR, that THE LETTER OF THE LAW is not to be used without or apart from the SPIRIT OF THE LAW. THE LETTER OF THE LAW may be required when we violate THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. is not always the rule by which God acts but rather by THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. What did Jesus finally say to her? He said, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. What?!? But she was caught in the act of adultery and her guilt is established by both the accusers and the Lord! Jesus was not a literalist who went by THE LETTER OF THE LAW, He was a Savior who wanted man redeemed and to be able to go from His presence and SIN NO MORE.

GOD HATES THE PUTTING AWAY! – Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for {one} covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. Malachi 2:14-16

If God cancels our sin and showing mercy gives me a whole new life with a new beginning and then after tasting that heavenly life I ignore to apply His will to my life, there can be grave consequences To live contrary to the truth and not appropriate the power of the Spirit and commit a sin (rebel) against what I know to be God’s will as revealed in His Word, IS SIN! Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27.

WE REPENT BECAUSE WE AWARE OF OUR SINFUL STATE. If God forgives us through Christ of our past that included a divorce and remarriage and then we divorce and remarry again, we have flagrantly abused THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW and have fallen under the consequences of THE LETTER OF THE LAW. There remaineth no more sacrifice for our sins.

NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW! This we know, that in the case of David and Bathsheba God did not apply His judgment according to THE LETTER OF LAW! There were conditions involved, though we may not understand them all, the Word reveals that there were consequences which were according to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW, though not after THE LETTER OF THE LAW.

God has made exceptions to THE LETTER OF THE LAW but never does he make exceptions to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW!

NO TRIFLING WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW – Saints will not get away with trying to live by Scriptures that are given to sinners! Nor will God tolerate sinners taking advantage of Him, nor should we be deceived into believing that God’s grace is mercy winning out over justice. Paul said of the Jews, For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. Romans 10:2.

RECONCILING THE WORD WITH THE WORD – What Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery must be applied to the meaning of what He taught in Matthew 19:9. He is personally speaking to the woman caught in the act of adultery, yet He also taught that this woman could be forgiven of adultery.

REMARRIAGE AFTER REBIRTH IS ADULTERY – Remarriage in sin is a sin that is removed from us and cancelled by the legal death we experience through faith in Christ.

SAINTS ARE RESPONSIBLE TO THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW – Hebrews 10:28-30 The Word of God warns against those who “do despite unto the Spirit of grace” and warns of a terrible fate. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. Hebrews 10:28

ALL SCRIPTURE IS TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY – We have no argument against the fact that all Scripture must be understood as being literal and that it should be accepted as being literal when possible. One of the first laws of hermeneutics is that all scripture is to be taken literally when possible. HOWEVER, ALL SCRIPTURES TAKEN IN THE LITERAL SENSE MUST NOT CONFLICT WITH ANY OTHER SCRIPTURE, ALL SCRIPTURES DEALING WITH ADULTERY AND MARRIAGE MUST BE CONSIDERED AS A COMPLETE REVELATION ON THAT SUBJECT.

GREAT HARM COMES FROM SUBJECTING ALL OTHER VERSES ON A GIVEN SUBJECT TO ONE VERSE. It is wrong and even evil to force twenty verses into the meaning of one verse. Scriptures on any given subject are reconciles with each other and not forced (interpreted) to fit the meaning we give a pet verse. No one Scripture can be used as being the

complete meaning when there are other Scriptures on that same subject which give the other verses a broader meaning.

SINNING AGAINST KNOWLEDGE – Teachers of perpetual adultery insist that sinners are as morally responsible for breaking moral commandments as saints, that to enter heaven they must divorce and break up their home and go back retroactively into their past, no matter the consequences, and be responsible for a sin they committed against God when they divorced and remarried as sinners. Jesus makes a very clear statement regarding adulterous marriages. But to disobey that commandment is the same as disobedience to any moral commandment including murder. If a murderer gets saved we praise God and let him testify of his murderous past and ordain him to the ministry even though he never rectifies or restores or pays the penalty for his murder. We treat murderers better than we do people who have transgressed a commandment that was not even considered wrong under the Old Testament! Surely adultery is as pardonable as murder! Both were to be punished by death. Do we make the murderer go to prison for a murder he committed in his sinful past? He can become a preacher with a sensational testimony but the persons who had a double marriage are not forgiven and told they will not go to heaven and sometimes denied church membership.

BULLDOG DOGMATISM IS GOOD WHEN YOUR RIGHT – One of the reasons dogmatic people will not admit that there is a complete release of guilt from adultery at the time of conversion is because they have been so dogmatic and have made such rank assertive confident and forceful statements about their views that they are ashamed to recall them. This is a trick of the enemy to destroy the happiness and faith of some of the strongest and best Christians . . .to get them off on a tangent championing some doctrine and then fight the truth and resist the light of God until they are chastised or suffer a complete spiritual setback. Christians be warned.

THE TERM “PERPETUAL ADULTERY” is man-made term that teaches that any marriage in the persons past has to be dissolved no matter the consequences. This is a good example of THE LETTER OF THE LAW interpretation. We know what Jesus taught in Matthew 19! He taught clearly that second marriages were adulterous and forbidden of God as of the revelation of the cross! “If any man” is a reference all who hear Him and all He speaks to. Any person who claims to a Christian and possessing the Spirit of Christ is absolutely living in adultery and damned if they have entered a second marriage having heard and known the teaching of Christ. In this case grace will lead you in dissolving the adulterous marriage and keep you in self control to remain single and in the fervent service of the Lord the rest of your life. People think they have to get married only because they WANT TO GET MARRIED. Get rid of the thought and reconcile yourself to the obedience of the cross and you will lose that desire.

PERPETUAL ADULTERY DOCTRINE NOT SUPPORTED BY SCRIPTURE – The “Perpetual adultery” doctrine is a cold and literal interpretation of a moral commandment that is certainly not supported by the Biblical case of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel chapter 11; Jesus forgiveness of the woman caught “in the very act” of adultery in John, chapter 8. This story from the life of David is ample proof that God does not require the letter of the law in all cases. God deals with us not according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW but according to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. (Psalms 103:10-18)

IT VIOLATES THE PRINCIPLE OF PRECEDENT – There is not a single instance in all of the New Testament where Jesus or any of the disciples ever commanded any persons with double marriage to separate themselves or break up their homes in order to enter the Kingdom of God, and the Roman empire was full of it!. THIS IS A CONSPICUOUS FACT! There is not one instance in Scripture where the matter of “perpetual adultery” was illustrated by example. If separation of married partners with divorce in their past prior to conversion keeps one from heaven, why is there not one Biblical example to illustrate this fact?

THERE IS NO ARGUMENT to the fact that Jesus makes it clear that adulterers and adulteresses will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not to be argued that Jesus made double marriages with a living partner adulteress relationships. (Matthew 19; Mark 10)

THE JESUS ONLY DOCTRINE is a literal doctrine. Literalists should all be Jesus only. One or two verses make this doctrine literally correct.

SOUL SLEEP is another doctrine that is taken from one or two verses of the Bible and then all the rest of what is said about departed saints is forced into those few verses that use euphemism when referring to the death of the sanctified.

PENALTIES FOR ADULTERY ARE THE SAME – Someone says, Yes, but this woman didn’t marry into adultery she was only found committing adultery having nothing to do with her marriage. So is one kind of adultery to be judged as something different from another kind of

adultery? Of course not. According to Moses promiscuous adulterous affairs between married or by a married person was a sin unto death (received the death penalty. According to Jesus remarriage with a living mate is adultery and no adulterer shall enter the Kingdom of God. It seems they are both sins unto death.

THE DOCTRINAL COMPLICATIONS OF “PERPETUAL ADULTERY” – If you believe that this woman caught in adultery can be forgiven and not be stoned as the law of Moses called for, then why is it you cannot believe God would also release converts from the guilt of their sinful past?

JESUS DID NOT REQUIRE THE LETTER OF THE LAW – for this woman, AND SHE WAS AN ISRAELITE WHO KNEW THE LAW. Why do we want to apply THE LETTER OF THE LAW to those who had sinned in their past who had little or no knowledge of God living in a lost state?

LITERALISM ANSWER: Because Jesus was living under the law of Moses and therefore not teaching grace. Bunk! Think! Be honest with the Word of God! Jesus was demonstrating grace as clear as crystal. He was certainly acting according to the law of Moses. He, in fact, referred to the law of Moses and eliminated it from being executed according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW. Jesus was clearly demonstrating the power of God’s forgiveness and the divine desire to give man a new beginning WHATEVER HIS PAST.

FORGIVENESS AT THE CROSS but obedience AFTER THE CROSS. When we speak of God’s forgiveness we are speaking of grace at the time of forgiving the past. After we become new creatures then we WILL NOT TRANSGRESS THE LAWS HE HAS WRITTEN ON OUR

HEART! If we do then we are sinning against grace and there is no forgiveness of sin we choose not to forsake. That is transgression against THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW and there is no redemptive salvation from that except to forsake it!

THE DEPTH OF GOD’S FORGIVENESS – Moreover, Rahab was the mother of Boaz, the great grandmother of King David (Matthew 1:5; Ruth 4:18-21) and a member of the family tree of Jesus! If God forgave the adulterous harlot Rahab and made her a part of the savior’s genealogy then I do not have much stock in the man made doctrine of perpetual adultery.

IS FORGIVENESS OF ALL SIN RETROACTIVE? The perpetual adultery teachers say it is not, that the sinner must go back and right every wrong in his past before he can be forgiven. It is the Catholic view of making personal atonement for your sins by afflicting yourself with punishment that will please God and earn you your right to heaven.

FORGIVENESS IS REDEMPTIVE, NOT RETROACTIVE! God is interested in getting people’s lives back on a course of pure living from the point He finds them. He is not interested in remembering everything they ever did in there past and holding it against them until they retrace their steps and restore every wrong they ever committed. God is more interested in us repenting of every wrong we ever did more than rectifying the wrongs. The reasons are very easy to see. A wicked man could spend the rest of his life as a Christian trying to dig up and re-live his life. When God delivers us out of the pit its alright to glance back and thank God for deliverance from the pit, but to go back into the pit and try to straighten everything out that was done in the pit is not the meaning of forgiveness and it is not taught in the New Testament.

THE PURPOSE OF SALVATION IS A NEW BEGINNING – The purpose of redemption excludes the idea of putting distress and tension into life when that is avoidable and unnecessary. There are cases of remarriage that do need to be dissolved, and especially when both partners are sensing it for spiritual reasons. All of the instruction given to saints in the New Testament is as if the Christian has had a new beginning and the thrust of the new spiritual life is toward living a pure life from the day of conversion. We do not find the apostles turning believers out of the church because of something in their past. IT IS JUST NOT THERE!

ONLY LOVE FOR GOD CAN OBEY GOD – Jesus said, If you love Me, keep my commandments. There is no way sinners are able to keep Christ’s commandments and there is no way they are to be legally responsible morally for something they are incapable of and uncaring for. Sinners do not have a moral nature capable of response to spiritual truth. They are spiritually dead! BUT, ONCE THE CREATURE ACKNOWLEDGES HIS OR HER SIN AND TAKES ON THE NEW CREATION NATURE OF CHRIST, THEN THAT PERSON BECOMES RESPONSIBLE TO EVERY WORD FOUND WRITTEN IN THE WORD OF GOD. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know {them}, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:11-14

 

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