Posted by: forfreedomalone | 15/03/2015

Are you a peacekeeper or a peacemaker?

Here’s a question for you.
Are you a peacekeeper or a peacemaker?

Peacekeepers attempt to keep warring factions apart, they attempt to create a no-man’s-land where there is absence of war and call it peace. They have no part in helping the two sides to understand the problems or challenges of the other, no part in helping either side mature and come to a grown up resolution; because war is not grown up. They simply separate the two and maintain the buffer zone between, in a state of so called, peace.
This is all that can be done in some cases and it is better than all-out war, but it is not Biblical and it is not the role of a Spirit filled believer. We are called to be peacemakers. We are called to get involved and to actually bring peace to both sides, not just a zone in the middle.

How do we do this?
We follow God’s example and he started by showing us our lack of peace. When Adam chose which god to follow he lost his peace, because it was only available in God. He chose the wrong one.
God had to show man that this is where they were, he needed a way to make them see that they were not in a peaceful relationship with him, just because there was, currently, no war. The absence of war is not peace, it is a cease fire.

He gave them The Law to show them where they were in lack. The Law highlights our lack of peace with God.
Many people teach that we are no longer under Law, therefore, it is done away with and we are now in this nebulous thing called ‘grace’. This is just not true.

Firstly, many teach about The Law as though it were one complete and hermetically sealed unit. It is not, and, in my opinion, if you don’t get this bit you won’t be able to get any of the rest….or peace!

If Exodus is read carefully, which it rarely is, it is quite clear that God gave Moses tablets of stone on which was written ALL The Law, not just the 10 Commandments. Even the 2nd set had ALL The Law written on them.
So what is ALL The Law?
It is the Commandments (sacred will of God), the Judgements ( civil rules) and the Ordinances (religious rules).
In Col 2:14 Paul, according to King James VI & I, said “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”

The Ordinances were the part of The Law which contained God’s instructions about which sacrifices to offer and for what reason, and the role of the High Priest. Without this part of The Law the rest was a waste of time. THIS is what gave them their righteousness in those days. Many will tell you there is no righteousness in The Law, but that was not so when The Law was given.
Righteousness is right standing with God. These people had right standing with God, as far as it went, and it was based upon their obedience to his ORDINANCES.

There were rules and regulations about all of life, but at no point did God think anyone of the people keep them all perfectly. He knew they could not, so he gave them a way of atoning for the ones they broke, so he could keep them in relationship with him. The way was sacrifices.
There was a sacrifice for EVERYTHING. They were covered no matter what. Even on the Day of Atonement they were covered for everything they had overlooked, forgotten about or not even considered as sin. He was merciful to them at every turn. He was tying himself in knots to give them a way out, yet some say, he gave The Law to make them see their sin; as though he were malicious.
The Law did highlight their sinful state, you could not avoid thinking about your sin and worrying if you have it covered. You probably also worried that you would die before the Day of Atonement, because if you did and you had not sacrificed for a particular sin, you were not covered. There was a huge degree of fear associated with living under The Law.
But The Law also highlighted God amazing mercy, in that he provided a way for his people to escape the wrath to come.
When Jesus came he kept the Commandments, the Judgements and the Ordinances. He kept the whole Law. He had to; to be perfect before God on that account; but he would have, just like every other Jew to that time, observed all The Law because they is how they lived.
They all kept The Law. They kept what rules they could or felt like, but they all offered the correct sacrifices, in the correct way, at the correct time, and if they didn’t even do that…the High Priest offered the Atonement Sacrifice for all of them, for every sin, on the Day of Atonement. They were all right with God, based upon The Law.
Assuming they did not die between the Days of Atonement.

Jesus, however, change it all.

He elevated the whole thing to the level of love.
The Jews kept The Law out of religious duty and fear. Jesus kept it out of love for his father. He then became our sacrifice and our High Priest, which is what “blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” is about. This part of The Law was fulfilled, it was complete, it was finished. Never again will a sacrifice be required for sin. This was the part which was keeping us from the peace of God.

The sacrificial system reminded the people constantly of death. The animals were crying in fear day and night, they were being slaughtered in their thousands, there was blood running in the Temple area constantly, the smell of death was everywhere. The people knew that ‘there but for the death of that bull go I’. They were fully aware, every minute of their lives, that The Law brought death. The death was ordained, it was in the ordinances.

The Law (in the shape of the ordinances) was a peace keeper. It fulfilled the terms of God’s conditions to not wipe these people off the face of the earth, but the people never knew peace with God. They knew peace FROM him, because war did not break out, but they never knew peace WITH him. They could live peacefully at a distance from God, but they could not live with him, in peace, because there was no peace MAKER to create that possibility.

Jesus was our peace maker. He made peace, by the total, unchanging, fulfilment of the Ordinances. It is interesting that all that was written about The Law, in Hebrews, was written about 2 to 3 years before the Temple was destroyed. Suddenly, the Jews had no way to offer sacrifices any more, they had no way to be right with God, they were completely unable to keep their peace with God. They must have been terrified. Their salvation (the blood of animals) was gone and they were left awaiting their fate
.
We have a perfect sacrifice who is also our High Priest, we are at peace with God, and He with us, and we need never fear that we will be wiped off the face of the earth for our sins. They are expunged in the blood of Christ, which, right now, is living and flowing on the Alter in the Holy of Holies in heaven, a perfect, permanent, eternal sacrifice.

God’s sacred will never changed, his wisdom on how society should function never changed, his desire on how those two should be brought to life, never changed. He always wanted us to live by grace; by his empowering presence; but until Jesus became our perfect sacrifice and our High Priest forever, we were stuck in a system where there was no peace.

For many people ‘grace’ means things like God is pleased with me, God likes me, God is not angry with me, I am no longer required to keep any law etc. It is nebulous and it, quite frankly, is powerless. This is not what grace is. Grace is the empowering presence of God in my life. When I live by grace I live by his ability working through me. I am strong in my weaknesses, because of grace.

Grace has also been adopted as the alternative for law. People quote “I am not under law” and believe that the WHOLE law was somehow done away with and no longer applies to them. Being UNDER law means being burdened by it, weighed down by its requirements, being squashed by its demands.Praise God I am no longer under law. But that does not mean the law has been done away with. The only part which was ‘fulfilled’ was the Ordinances. It is by his grace that I now can keep the rest of the law… and yes, I do mean that in both senses.

That statement will also rile many. “We are not supposed to be keeping the law” they cry. Really? Then why would he bother to write it on our hearts if he didn’t want us to keep it?
We become burdened when we look at the law and sigh as we pick up the daily grind of living a good life and being what God wants us to be. We become free when we acknowledge that the only way to live that life is by grace, God’s ability working in and through me. The only way to grace was through the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God and the ministrations of the perfect High Priest.

Under The Law the people indicated their acceptance of the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. It was being killed for them and they had to indicate that they were accepting that substitution.
We are asked, today, to so indicate our acceptance of our sacrifice in the person of Jesus Christ. When we do we can access the peace of God in our hearts, which abides with grace, to enable us to live life as he intended. From his power, fuled by love and not fear, we live, effortlessly, in the perfect will of God and in harmony with man.

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Responses

  1. You err not knowing the Scriptures. Paul declared the letter written in stone to be the ministry of death. He called it the ministration of condemnation. Jesus fulfilled the Law. The Law has 613 commandments. No one can keep them. Only Jesus did. You err because you see it say the law was written on our hearts, which is true, but you are reading into Scripture suggesting the law written on our hearts is the Mosaic Law. It doesn’t say that. Hebrews 10 clearly teaches the Old has been made obsolete and done away with so the New Covenant can come. The New is a better Covenant. The Law written on our hearts, is the perfect Law of liberty, the Royal Law of Love. The other two Laws we see mentioned in the New Covenant is the Law of faith, and the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. This mixture of Grace and Law, this blending of the Old and New Covenants does not produce victorious overcoming Christians. Throw aside these errors and live in the fullness of the New. We are not under Law but under Grace. The strength of sin is the Law and we aren’t under Law but Grace therefore sin has no more dominion over us.

    • I am glad you raised these points, as I am sure there are many others who also may be thinking as you are, but many not make comment.

      We have to begin at the beginning, with a definition of “The Law”, or more correctly Torah. This is NOT 613 commandments, it was 613 commandments, plus a plethora of, what some call, Ceremonial Law. If you read Exodus 20 – 24, give or take a few verses, you will find the Commandments and the Judgments (the 613 ‘instructions’ covering relation to God and our fellow man). If you then read Exodus 25-35 and the Book of Leviticus you will find all the Ordinances, the ceremonial law relating to how the priesthood functioned and what sacrifices were required when and for what reason.

      Most Christians never read what they called The Law, so they assume, or are taught generation by generation, that it is JUST the commandments. This is just not the case. Moses went down the mountain with two tablets of stone and tradition tells us those tablets had written on them the Ten Commandments, but Scripture tells us that the stones were written on “both sides, on the front and on the back” (Ex 32:19). In Ex 34:27 God tells Moses to write down all that they had been speaking about and that it was in accordance with those words that the covenant was made with the people. The words were not just 10 commandments, they are everything God and Moses had been speaking about, which included all the Ordinances. This seems to go over the heads of many, but it is vitally important.

      Why is it important?
      It is vitally important because God knew from the first that there was no way to keep all the Commandants and Judgments (rules, if you like). He never expected that anyone WOULD or COULD keep them. It is a false teaching to even suggest that the Israelites every thought such a thing. They never thought they were righteous based upon what they did, they always knew they were righteous in the eyes of God, by his Grace and Mercy, through one thing and one thing only. The Yom Yippur Sacrifice.

      This was the sacrifice of sacrifices, this was the only time anyone could enter God’s presence and this was the only blood which could atone for the nation. This happened once per year and it was a day of terror. There was NO WAY to know if God would find the sacrifice acceptable and if he didn’t they would all die. The priesthood were on tenterhooks and the High Priest must have been a nervous wreck. But year after year God accepted their sacrifice and they are set free from the consequences of all the ‘sins’, the broken ‘rules’ of the past year. There was not one single year when the High Priest was perfect in his execution of his duties, not one year when his own sins did not need atoning for and not one year when the blood of the sacrificed goat was good enough to be accepted by God. Every year it was by grace and mercy that they were found guiltless.

      As you rightly point out only Jesus kept all of the Commandments and Judgments; no one else could, did, or was ever expect to.

      Hebrews 10 is indeed a chapter which confuses many who don’t read it with both their brains and hearts….in fact, the whole Book of Hebrews seems to have that effect on people.
      I’ll quote it here, for those who can’t or won’t look it up.
      Hebrews 10:1-10

      For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come, instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near.Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered? If the worshippers had once been cleansed, they would no longer have any consciousness of sin. But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,’ as it is written of me in the roll of the book.” When he said above, “Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.

      This passage, as indeed is the whole book, is about the Ordinances. The word Sacrifices is mentioned 4 times, Offerings, 6 times and blood, once. In 10 verses the writer is painting a very clear picture for the reader….who would have been Jewish (after all that is what a Hebrew is) and who would have understood exactly what was being spoken of…… of the Ceremonial Law. He clearly says, that Jesus said, “I came to take the place of all of those sacrifices. You, father, never desired that all those animals should die and now you have prepared for me a body so that I may die to end this”. Then the writer says “He abolishes the first in order to establish the second”.

      For some reason, nearly everyone leaps to the conclusion that he is talking about the covenant God made at Sinai. The word ‘covenant’ is not mentioned here, not once. It is not in the Greek. It is simply not there. Nothing that writer has said to this point has even eluded to covenants, everything is about sacrifices and the priesthood. The first priestly and sacrificial system has been done away with, the second has come. How else can Jesus be our High Priest…he has no right to be a priest of any kind under the system in place in the time of Moses? It is only with the abolition of the system that a new could be put in place. In fact, it is the book of Hebrews which explains this to us, in chapter 7 :12 “For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is, necessarily, a change in the law”. It was the priesthood which changed, resulting in a change in the law; not the law which change in and of itself.

      So where does that leave us?
      It leaves us with the prefect sacrifice, whose perfect blood is eternally on the Altar in heaven. It leaves us with an atoning sacrifice which can never fade or die or fail to be enough. The whole system of priests, high priests and sacrifices is finished with. We are free from that burden. We are no longer under the weight of the law which required us to sacrifice and caused us to fear, lest our sacrifice wasn’t good enough. So what about this Law of Liberty, this Law of Love, written on our hearts? What is it?

      It is exactly the law which Moses wrote down, minus all the Ceremonial Law. Every word of God to his people was a word of love. The whole reason he gave them the ‘rules of conduct’ was to protect them, to show them how to relate to one another in love, how to relate to HIM in love. They couldn’t do it, he knew that. Neither can we, he knows that too. But now that we are no longer under the law of sin, we have been set free from the burden of continual sacrifice, continual fear…..which is what focuses one’s mind on sin and makes one aware of just how sinful one is…..and able to walk boldly into the presence of God to receive his very own Spirit. The Spirit of love, who had been from the beginning of time leading the people of God in the way of love. This Spirit, who writes the law of love on our hearts is writing the very same law as the figure of God wrote on tablets of stone on Sinai. The huge and vast difference is, we now have a helper, who through God’s grace makes us able to live in love towards one another and towards God. We do not learn the law, recite it, practice it, check we got ti right, we just follow the lead of the Spirit of God, the God of love, who leads us in love and he will cause us to live in harmony with the law of God. God did not create a ‘new’ law, one which was loving for us, but the one he gave to the Israelites was a law of what..hate, fear? Are these things from God? No, they are not. God’s ‘law’ has always been a ‘law’ of love…or more properly a teaching of love.

      The reason sin has no dominion over us is because Jesus is our perfect Yom Yippur sacrifice. There is no mixing of rule keeping and God’s ability in anything I have said. Everything is about God’s grace and his love; but equally there are is NO mention of covenants in Hebrews 10. It is not possible to mix covenants as there is only one. It began in Genesis and it is still the same today, for those who are God’s, barring the Ordinances which Jesus set aside for us, so that we could be free from the burden of sin consciousness and able to receive, in personal relationship, the Spirit of God.

      I get the impression you do not understand what I am saying but that does not mean I am in any kind of error. It just means you don’t understand what I am saying. I realise you feel I am teaching error, but perhaps if you would read Hebrews with an open mind and the though that it is about the priestly system and the sacrifices and NOT about covenants, you may discover something to which, at this moment, you are blind.

  2. Ok, this is a really good article, but I think you might have forgotten to get back to one point you mention (unless I missed it of course). In the third paragraph you say “Many people teach that we are no longer under Law, therefore, it is done away with and we are now in this nebulous thing called ‘grace’. This is just not true.”. But you never address what you mean by that. In the end, you point out that we (my paraphrase) are enabled to fulfill the law by the atoning sacrifice and power of Jesus, but you don’t anywhere mention the “done away” part. I did read pretty fast, so I might have missed it. Just my thoughts, have a great week.

    • Thank you for pointing that out. I write pretty fast and must have just gone off on a different track.
      I will go back and attempt to clarify that, but I am commenting here for the sake of anyone else who read it and wondered what I was talking about.

      For many people ‘grace’ means things like God is pleased with me, God likes me, God is not angry with me, I am no longer required to keep any law etc.
      It is nebulous and it, quite frankly, is powerless.
      This is not what grace is. Grace is the empowering presence of God in my life. When I live by grace I live by his ability working through me. I am strong in my weaknesses, because of grace.

      Grace has also been adopted as the alternative for law. People quote “I am not under law” and believe that the WHOLE law was somehow done away with and no longer applies to them. Being UNDER law means being burdened by it, weighed down by its requirements, being squanshed by its demands.Praise God I am no longer under law. But that does not mean the law has been done away with. The only part which was ‘fulfilled’ was the Ordinances. It is by his grace that I now can keep the rest of the law… and yes, I do mean that in both senses.

      That statement will also rile many. “We are not supposed to be keeping the law” they cry. Really? Then why would he bother to write it on our hearts if he didn’t want us to keep it?
      We become burdened when we look at the law and sigh as we pick up the daily grind of living a good life and being what God wants us to be. We become free when we acknowledge that the only way to live that life is by grace, God’s ability working in and through me. The only way to grace was through the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God and the ministrations of the perfect High Priest.

      Does that help?

      • Yes. Although I wasn’t confused, I think your clarification is good.

        My paraphrase; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I can do nothing of spiritual value without Christ.


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