Gentiles have to obey only 4 Commandments? Misunderstandings regarding Acts 15

As Christians, we have been taught that we are no longer under the “Old Testament”, and that the commandments of old have no bearing on us. But what if I told you that the decision made by James in Acts 15 is also from the Old Testament? Acts 15 is most often used as a clear indication that we are free from the Old Laws. And it is generally taught to all Christians that Gentiles, unlike Jews, need to only abstain from the four things decreed in Acts 15:20. If these 4 abstentions were proved to be from the Old Testament, would we see things differently?

In this study, we will attempt to look at the context of Acts 15 and the origins of these four abstentions, making it clear to all of us that James and the Jerusalem Council did not set Gentile converts free from God’s Law, but gave them a good starting point. The four Abstentions are as follows.

Act 15:20  But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
(Abstain from    1.Pollutions of Idols    2.Fornication    3.Things strangled    4.Blood)

If you want to skip the lead up and the context of the Abstentions, and want to know about the origins of the 4 requirements and their connection to the Old Testament Scriptures, please move on to point no.7 given below. But I highly recommend you follow through, if you have the time on your hands for serious study.

1.Context of the events leading to this decision (Acts 14)
Leading upto Acts 15, we see that Paul and Barnabas sail in their missionary journey, ending up at Antioch (Act 14:26). It is here, in Antioch, that men from Judea come and teach the brothers as written in Acts 15:1.

2. What was the teaching that led to this Jerusalem council meeting? (Acts 15:1)
It is very important to know what exactly these men from Judea were teaching the congregation of Antioch.

Act 15:1  And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

The teaching was that, “Whoever is not circumcised according to the custom of Moses, cannot be saved”. In other words, “you need to get circumcised to be saved”. This is obviously an unbiblical doctrine which Paul and Barnabas both opposed(Acts 15:2). Nowhere in the Scriptures do God require anyone to get Circumcised as a requirement for Salvation. Even the patriarch Abraham got called by God when he was 75 years old(Gen 12:1-4) but was given Circumcision as only a “sign” of the covenant between God and himself, when Abram was 99 years old (Gen 17:1,11). In a similar fashion, Joshua circumcised the Children of Israel before entering the promised land, as none of them had gotten circumcised along the way in their wilderness journey for 40 years(Jos 5:3-6). Circumcision was a commandment given by God, but nowhere does keeping any of God’s Commandments guarantee us salvation. Salvation, was, is, and ever will be, a free gift of God.

These men from Judea were making a claim that you needed to do a specific act to earn Salvation. It’s like someone saying to new converts that unless you’re baptised, you cannot be saved. Baptism is a commandment, but it does not guarantee us salvation.

3. Paul and Barnabas go to Jerusalem (Acts 15:2,3)
This dispute led the believers in Antioch to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, so that they could return back to them with a favorable answer.

4. A question of what basic requirements are needed from a new convert (Acts 15:4-6)
After Paul and Barnabas were welcomed by everyone at Jerusalem, some of the believers of Christ who were from the Sect of the Pharisees (Yes, there were pharisees who believed!) expressed there views on what a new convert should be “required” to do.

Act 15:5  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

The view of some of the believers from the sect of Pharisees, was that they should indeed circumcise them and command them to keep God’s commandments. Zealous as this sounds, making or forcing anyone to obey God’s Law does not bring true obedience. This is why the Apostles and Elders considered this question and came to discuss what the basic requirements of a new convert should be (Act 15:6).

5. Peter’s Speech (Acts 15:7-11)
After there were disputes regarding the matter, Peter addresses the council proclaiming how through him, God declared the Gospel to the gentiles and how God did not see any difference between the Jew and the Gentile giving them the Holy Spirit, referring to Cornelius’ household as we see in Act 10.

Acts 15:10 is of special importance as we must clarify what Peter is talking about. He says “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”. Some Christians believe that the “yoke” Peter is talking about in this verse is the Law/Commandments. This does not make sense as Peter talks about tempting God by placing this yoke on disciples. If the yoke was God’s Commandments, this would mean that Peter is saying that they were tempting God by placing God’s Commandments on the disciples. furthermore, the next verse clarifies what Peter meant. Peter says “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” So the yoke can mean only one thing. Peter was saying that we should not make adherence to God’s Commandments a prerequisite to Salvation. In other words, we are saved through Grace and not through any commandment we keep. (Please note that this does not mean that Peter or any other member of the Council agreed or ever thought that new converts do not have to obey God’s Commandments. The issue was in keeping laws for salvation)

The other part of the statement he made, reads “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear”. What does Peter mean by this? The religious establishment of his day believed that one could be saved only by keeping God’s Law. This is the yoke he is saying neither their fathers or they could bear. It is Obeying God to earn Salvation. (This fact is true in Orthodox Judaism even today. If someone wants to convert to Judaism, that person must prove that he is keeping God’s Law and be Circumcised prior to being accepted as a follower of Orthodox Judaism)

6. James’ speech and judgement/decision (Acts 15:13-20)
James makes it clear that God indeed had plans to bring Gentiles back to him, giving proof to the council from the Scriptures by quoting Amos 9:11,12 and paraphrasing Isa 45:21(read Isa 45:22 as well to understand James’ point). Finally, James makes his decision known. Firstly, he says that no one should trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God. But that they write asking them to abstain from Pollutions of Idols, Fornication, Things strangled & Blood.

7. Why these specific 4 abstentions and where do we see these in the Scriptures
We must spend a bit of time studying these 4 abstentions and where it comes from. The reason for these 4 abstentions would have originated because of the society they lived in. The abstentions themselves originate from the Old Testament, more specifically Lev Chapter 17&18. Let us read through each of the abstentions looking at the Old Testament origins of these as well.

1.Pollution of idols/Meat offered to idols
The Greek speaking world of the first century was known to be a culture that had many gods. A particular person at that time would worship many gods, depending on the day, season or circumstance. For some YHVH(God Almighty’s name) would have been another god that they could believe in. A restriction on sacrificing and partaking in any rituals to other gods was an understandable abstention. And the origins of this commandment is clearly from Lev 17 where God specifically says not to offer sacrifices to foreign gods, and that whoever does so would be cut off from being one of His people.

Lev 17:7-9  And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations. And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.

2.Fornication
Fornication or sexual immorality was rampant in the 1st century Greek society. The Congregation in Corinth is said to have a big problem with fornication as it is recorded in 1Cor 5:1. This makes it clear, why James would mention “Fornication” as one of the 4 things to abstain from. And just like the other 3 abstentions, this is also found in the Scriptures. The whole of Leviticus Chapter 18 is descriptive of what sort of sexual activity is abominable to God. (Please read the whole chapter to go through each description. I have provided a shorter version highlighting a few, so as to prove the point. There are many more abstentions described in this portion of Scripture)

Lev 18:6-24  None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. … Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:

3. Things Strangled
Just like in the society today, most of the butcheries in the 1st century did not know or adhere to killing an animal in the way which is stipulated in the Scriptures. “Strangled” by it’s mere definition means that it was not bled to death, letting the blood drain out of the meat. God made it clear in the Scriptures that no one was to eat blood. And even gave clear orders on how a person should kill an animal so that its meat could be consumed. Christians erroneously believe that they are free to eat what they like. Not only do we have to eat what is stipulated in the Scripture as “clean”, this abstention of things strangled, means we need to eat things which are prepared according to how it is commanded in Scripture. This abstention is also clearly described in Lev 17.

Lev 17:13  And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.

4. Blood
Eating meat of animals which have been “strangled” is closely connected with “Blood”. If the blood is not drained out properly, the consumer of the meat will inadvertently be consuming blood. This abstention, just like all the others proclaimed by James came from the Scriptures in Lev 17 as shown below. Historians say that most of the ancient pagan rituals even had people consuming blood of animals, to attain strength (such as from a bull). These practices of the first century might have also led James to bring out this abstention specifically.

Lev 17:10-12  And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.

8. Final words from James (Acts 15:21)
Now some of us will have a hard time believing the evidence shown above in the 4 abstentions and their connection to Lev 17&18. Some would say, that it still does not prove that we need to keep any other commandments from the Old Testament. This is why the following verse is of so much importance. James finishes his speech and his decision with why he thinks it is enough to command these 4 abstentions only. He says “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” Why would he use such a statement to finish his speech? We should look at his judgement again, reading it altogether.

Act 15:19-21  Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

His judgement hinges on a simple fact. For Moses is preached in every city being read in the synagogues every Sabbath. In other words, he is telling the council that they should not trouble the Gentiles, but only ask them to abstain from 4 things as the rest of the commandments can be heard in every city on every Sabbath. This statement proves two important facts and clears up a major misunderstanding.
1. The Jerusalem Council did not decide that the Gentiles are free from obeying God’s other Commandments
2. They knew all of the Gentile converts would attend synagogue and listen to the Old Testament (Moses) on the Sabbath

If this was not so, there would be no reason for him to make such a statement at the end of his speech as it is recorded in Acts 15:21.

Conclusion
Acts 15 and the decision made by the Jerusalem Council is one of the biggest misunderstood chapters in the New Testament today. I hope you have clearly understood the reason for this decision, the origins of these abstentions in Scripture and that it does not give us freedom to throw out all of God’s other commandments. No one should keep His commandments to earn salvation (which is impossible), but we must obey Him and His Commandments because we love our Heavenly Father. Just because “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal” was not mentioned in the decision of James, does not mean Gentiles were exempt from obeying those Commandments. We cannot pick and choose what we obey and what we don’t from God’s everlasting Word, which will not loose even a jot or tittle, till heaven and earth pass away.

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29 thoughts on “Gentiles have to obey only 4 Commandments? Misunderstandings regarding Acts 15

  1. Pingback: Sinning in ignorance : How long can we hide behind “God sees my heart” | Bible things in Bible ways

  2. Pingback: Can we eat all meats? Food sacrificed to idols and misunderstandings regarding 1Cor 10:25 | Bible things in Bible ways

  3. Pingback: Paul – falsely accused of breaking God’s Law | Bible things in Bible ways

  4. kate

    What about Galatians? Specifically chapters 4 and 5? I’m curious about your take on them. What you’re saying about Christians obeying the old testament law is a new concept to me.

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Kate,
      Just like you, when I first understood God’s Law to be in effect even after Yeshua, to be honest, I was in a bit of a state of shock. I went through the same stages where my thoughts would say… “But Paul said…”. The more I researched, the more I found that Paul is gravely misunderstood. The fact is that He was even misunderstood in His day. Acts 21:21,24 & 2Pet 3:15,16 is witness to this. I am currently doing a study on Galatians… and have been wondering how to put it together as the letter cannot be understood without reading it from start to end in one go. I believe our Father in Heaven has confirmed to me that I must complete it diligently, through your question. Since it would not be right for me to not to give you even a short answer, I ask you to read the complete letter in one go, with the following in mind:-Galatians is written to a congregation which has been convinced that they need to be “Circumcised to be saved”. God’s Word has no such instruction. But the religious system of the day required converts to be circumcised before they were considered part of the congregation/saved. This was the same question considered in Acts 15. The whole letter of Galatians is written to convince these new converts that they do not need to be circumcised to be saved. A person who tries to be saved/made righteous through the Law is who has fallen from Grace. Because the Law is not kept to earn salvation. The Law can only guide you to be obedient to God. Salvation comes from God – free of charge. There is much more to explain. If I do not do a verse by verse explanation on this misunderstood letter, I would not be doing justice – as some of the gravest misunderstandings in mainline Christianity have sprung up because of it. Dear sister, keep reading… I am sure that you will come to understand what I am trying to get at on your own, if you study this letter carefully and critically without preconceived ideas.

      Be a blessing to everyone around you
      Love and Shalom
      Ramesh

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Examining Paul’s letter to the Galatians | Bible things in Bible ways

  6. Pingback: Was God’s Law blotted out and nailed to the cross? Misunderstandings regarding Col 2:11-17 | Bible things in Bible ways

  7. Craig

    Hi Ramesh,

    Have you recently done a article on Galatians, or is it still a work in progress? I would like to read it if you have put something together?

    Regards,
    Craig

    Reply
  8. manny

    The bible isn’t supposed to be read like a regular book Isaiah 28:9-14 proves that but also the bible isn’t for everyone one it is only written for the Israelites and it proves that as well

    Reply
  9. Jenny Olson

    Should gentiles (non-jews) convert to a form of Judaism that accepts Jesus Christ as their savior? Such as Messianic Judaism? Your article has lead me to wonder about many such things. How & where should gentiles live & worship?

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Jenny,
      Judaism has different meanings to different people. The truth is that the 1st century church was called a sect, and the only difference they had with the mainline beliefs of their day is of Yeshua as Messiah and the authority of Scripture (Old Testament as we call it) without the Oral Law(Traditions of the fathers/elders). We should not be followers of religous denominations but of the one true God as per the Holy Scriptures. As per Romans 11, whoever is born a Gentile (wild olive tree) is grafted into the Children of Israel(Natural Olive tree). We are no longer gentiles, if we believe and follow according to the Covenants of YHVH. We are adopted into the Children of Abraham & Israel. What we can do is follow Him according to His instructions wherever we live.
      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
  10. Pingback: Unclean Foods sanctified by God’s Word and Prayer? Misunderstandings regarding 1Tim 4:1-5 | Bible things in Bible ways

  11. Nikki

    Your article is errant on so many levels. Jesus says in Luke 11:16 that the law was only until time of John. Paul said in Gal 3:19 that was inly until the coming of the seed “Christ”. Romans 10:4 Christ is the end of the law of righteousness to those who believe. When Christ came is when the gospel was brought to all so it lines up that the Gentile is under grace not the law. The law is wriiten in ones heart as sin has long since been revealed and Christ manifest. Read GALATIANS and HEBREWS. Free your mind.

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Nikki,
      As a person who has been on your side of the debate, I full well know all of these verses. I have done my research and have arrived at my conclusion by looking at my own views critically. If you are interested I have studies on both Hebrews and Galatians that you can read. The only advise I can give you is not to judge another view too quickly.

      https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/examining-pauls-letter-to-the-galatians/

      https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/old-covenant-abolished-by-new-covenant-part-ii-does-the-book-of-hebrews-prove-that-the-old-covenant-is-no-more/

      https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/was-the-law-changed-misunderstandings-regarding-hebrews-712/

      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
  12. Russ Neal

    Naw. I don’t think that’s it. Jews were everywhere , however Especially Jewish belivers were the target of this verse. “Do not cause your brother to stumble” comes to mind. Even the sect of Pharisees who belived were all in a grumble about what “laws” they needed to adhere to. The Counsil was set up not to impose the law on gentiles, but to keep them from unpsetting the Jewish believers who still had to practice the law until the destruction of the temple in 70AD which is the Heaven and Earth that needed to pass away for the law to be done away with for all. I urge you to use the “whole of Scripture” and do not put a Yoke on people that Jews couldn’t even bear.

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Neal,
      The Council concidered one question – “Salvation through Law”

      “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses”, YE CANNOT BE SAVED”.

      This was the Yoke Peter spoke of:

      Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ WE SHALL BE SAVED, EVEN AS THEY.

      Did Peter say that even the Jews were saved through Grace? Yes he did.
      What is the “Yoke” he is speaking of? Is it not the notion that people are saved through the Law.

      Just want to make this clear… The Law is not there to attain Salvation. It is there to show us what is sin.

      The “believing” Pharisees (the ones who accepted Yeshua as Messiah) wanted the entrance into the congregation be under the strict adherence to the Law. This is what they considered… Do new Gentile believers need to obey every Law before they are admitted into the congregation.

      I am not sure how you equate the destruction of the temple, to the passing away of Heaven and Earth. If the Law is done away my friend, tell me what is the New Covenant? Do we need to keep the 10 Commands? Do we need to keep these 4 commands outlined by James?

      Remember that the Yoke is to say “we are saved by keeping the Law”. Salvation does not come through the Law, but through Grace we have in Yeshua. But does this negate the importance of the Law?

      Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
      Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

      Be a blessing to everyone around you.

      Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Devora,
      I think the 4 commands set out in Act 15 (taken from Lev 17&18) were not a requirement for attending synagogue, but to be included as one of the brothers/sisters of the fellowship. Some did not know what was wrong and what was right, so they were told it would be good if they kept these 4 commands. Again, it was not a warning or a order, but a request. Obedience was in the hand of the believer. If they still did not obey the 4 commands, I believe it would have been dealt in the way Yeshua told us to deal with it. First personally, one on one. If that does not work, then with 2 others. If that also does not work putting them out of the congregation.
      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
      1. Devora Clark Cohen

        Thank you for your comment. My question is, then, what’s the difference between fellowship vs. attending synagogue? 1 Cor. 5:11-13 tells us not to fellowship with those who don’t want to adhere to these commands. I believe that would mean BOTH in fellowship AND at synagogue.

      2. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Devora,
        Synagogues were traditionally rooms adjoining a house which was used on Sabbath days for study of the word and coming together to worship YHVH. We see a hint of this in Acts 18:7. Anyway, fellowship goes beyond this, as it would consist of spending time and eating together etc. A person who you fellowship with would be a person you know, and if that person was breaking God’s commands, it would be the duty of the other believers to show him/her the error. A person attending synagogue maybe not a person necessarily that you know of, so unless you know that he/she is breaking God’s commands there is no way to show them the correct path. But this has to be done (I believe) in the way that Yeshua spoke of in Mat 18:15-17… whether it be in the synagogue or in fellowship.
        Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      3. Devora Clark Cohen

        I agree on the approach toward Believers who are hiding sins as described in Matthew18:15-17, but I also believe that one deliberate sinner in the synagogue (Achan) can make the entire gathering in the synagogue unclean (a little leaven spoils all), so, allowing gentiles into a Torah study/service who are unclean in this manner is very unwise according to Torah. I would think any persons who want to enter an assembly according to Acts 15:19-21 would have to be told upfront what the 4 commands are, and then, if they don’t agree to them, they have free will to walk away. That protects the others which is an obligation of every true leader teaching Torah.

  13. Brian

    Your argument falls apart when you say this meeting of apostles was ONLY about what needs to be done in order for Gentile believers to be saved when you consider verses 20 and 29 of Acts chapter 15. The meeting and discussion did deal with salvation and how the law of Moses applies to it, but it also deals with commandments given to the Gentile believers regarding their behavior.
    If this discussion was simply ruling out circumcision and keeping the law of Moses for salvation, why then are they told to abstain from meats offered to idols, blood, things strangled, and fornication? Are those a requirement for salvation? Of course not, they are guidelines for behavior. James didn’t say start with these, then go listen to the law of Moses being preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath day to learn and follow the Mosaic law. He said in “Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” … which makes perfect sense when you consider that there was no New Testament at this point. Reading the books of Moses and the prophets (which was all that was available to them) was essential for them to learn about God and what brought them to the current timeline on God’s calendar of history and redemption. These are gentile believers with no background of the true God. The book of Acts is a transitional book, and Acts 15 is an important part of that transition into the time of the Gentiles. Paul and others further expound upon the revelation in future writings.
    James goes on to state: “Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

    In the example letter sent out to the forming churches they wrote: “Acts 15:28-29 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”

    NO GREATER BURDEN THAN THESE NECESSARY THINGS…. He’s not talking about what needs to be done to be saved here, clearly, he’s talking about general behavior for Gentile believers. This is my speculation, but I’d think if they were sending out letters to new Gentile believers and they thought that these new believers needed to obey the law of Moses for obedience that they’d be very clear about it, and state so in these letters, but they didn’t.

    Paul later writes in “Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”. The law of Moses gave us a guideline, it showed us our sin and need for a redeemer. The law doesn’t save us and it doesn’t make men behave better. If it did, then why did the Jews continually fail, as a nation and as individuals? Why do you and I continue to fall short? The law is good, but we are not. Just as you pointed out in one of your comments “Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” The law, simply put, is a mirror.

    As I’m studying this topic out, I think I see why some of this “putting believers back under the law” comes up. I think some of it comes down to a lack of rightly dividing the word and some of it is because there’s a general absence of teaching in the church as a whole on the obedience and admonishments given to us by Paul. There are those who swing so far to the left, that because they are saved by grace through faith they pay far too little attention to the way we are told to conduct ourselves before others and before our Lord. Then there are those who swing so far to the right that they believe in order to please God that they need to place themselves under every commandment written in the scriptures, some even taking it as far as claiming that in order to be justified or saved they must keep the law of Moses. I think a great deal of attention should be paid to Paul’s comments about a Christian’s conduct. His epistles are full of statements about proper conduct before God and our brethren.

    Listed here are just a few of the ways we are told to conduct ourselves:

    Colossians 3:8-9 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
    Colossians 3:12-17 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
    Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
    Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
    2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
    1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.
    Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Paul gives us council ALLTHROUGH HIS EPSITELS about proper behavior, but nowhere does he say that we are to put ourselves back under the law of Moses and all the intricacies that come with it.
    Jesus summed up the law: “Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

    Notice the connection with Romans 13:8-10 and in both of those passages the lack of all the intricacies of the Mosaic law and the emphasis on simply loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself, and how that is fulfilling the law. Does that mean there aren’t lessons for us to learn from the Mosaic law and the prophets? Of course not, there are many lessons and guidelines for us to learn from. The law is good. If I’m going to love God with all my heart, of course I’m going to look to the Mosaic law, the prophets, and all the scriptures! I do that to learn about God and his dealings with men and the lessons he taught them in the past. I’ll use those lessons to understand what he wants from me now in concordance with the New Testament. Read the law of Moses and the prophets, study them, learn from them, but consider the full revelation of scripture as well when determining your conduct before God and others in this present day. Don’t be so quick to throw yourself under the law of Moses because it was required for Israelites before the Messiah came. There are plenty of do’s and don’ts throughout the epistles, we need to learn them, practice them and live them to the best of our abilities through the Holy Spirit. Just because we aren’t under the Mosaic law now, in no way claims that we are to be without instruction about how we are to conduct our lives.

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Brian,

      In no way am I saying that we need to keep the Commands to be saved. I want to make that crystal clear. But as we see in Rom 7, we can know what sin is only through the Law. If we break the La, we are in sin according to 1John 3:4. So if we want to live a sinless life to the best of our ability, we need to walk according to the Law, to the best of our abilities. Will we fall short.. surely. That is why we have Yeshua. In this study, I have shown what it took for new believers to be admitted into the congregation. James drew from Leviticus for these requirements and wanted the new believers not to have any part of these 4 commands, before they were admitted into the congregation. No one was forced or commanded to obey, as each has to obey willingly. We are saved through the grace of God, but we must be obedient and change our life according to the Law of Moses if we are to live a sinless life in Yeshua. Not to justify ourselves (as Yeshua has already done that for us) but to live according to God’s Word because we love Him(John 14:15, 15:10). I apologies if the study was not clear on this distinction. Paul fought against “Justification through Works” all his life. God forbid, that I would say something contrary to Yeshua, His Disciples, Paul or God Himself.

      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
      1. Brian

        Devora,
        You were clear originally, I understand that you also believe that salvation comes by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and not of any of our works. My point was that Paul and the others also make it clear that we are not to reckon ourselves under the law of Moses. Paul gives us so many guidelines on how our behavior should be, the epistles are full of them, and some of those instructions are contained in the law of Moses, but his instructions and the law of Moses are not the same in every aspect.
        Many of those 600+ laws in the Law of Moses wouldn’t even apply to me if I tried to make them. But all of the instructions written by Paul apply to me and my behavior easily, including those that are also contained in the law of Moses. I think that distinction is often missed. I believe the scriptures are clear in that we should be looking in the epistles for our “do’s” and “don’ts” at this time. I believe they do contain the ten commandments (although I’m still studying them out), those we should keep as part of our sanctification process, most are listed by Paul (maybe all?), we keep those, not for salvation, but to be sanctified, to be good to one another, love one another and the Father, but not all of those 600+ laws under Moses. Those I don’t believe that we are to keep.

        It makes sense when we talk about loving God and one another as fulfilling the law and not being burdensome.

        The Ten Commandments covered by Paul:
        01 – No God’s before the Father
        1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

        02 – Make no graven image to bow down and serve – Still looking for this one…

        03 – Do not take the Lord’s name in vain – Still looking for this one…

        04 – Keep the Sabbath day / Rest and do no work / keep it holy, the Lord has blessed and hallowed it
        Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: – This one says that you shouldn’t be judged about the sabbath days, but it doesn’t command you to keep it or not to keep it, so still studying this one out…

        05 – Honor your mother and father
        Ephesians 6:1-6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

        06 – Do not kill
        Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

        07 – Do not commit adultery
        Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

        08 – Do not steal
        Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

        09 – Do not lie
        Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

        10 – Do not covet what is not yours
        Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

  14. Devora Clark Cohen

    Just like the Jerusalem Council had this discussion on what MINIMUM requirements needed to be established to allow non-Jews into fellowship to their synagogues, so we must continue to do today. This is NOT a prerequisite for Salvation. The disciples went out into the nations as Yeshua commanded and preached the Salvation message. Once they were saved, THEN they were presented with these 4 minimum requirements before entering into the synagogue. If they refused to make teshuvah, they continued to stay outside the synagogue until they were willing to repent from idolatry/sexual immorality/eating things strangled/eating animals’ blood, according to Acts 15:19-20.
    http://RabbiAndRabbitzinCohen.sermon.net/The_DeVora_Clark_Cohen_Show/TheDeVoraClarkCohenShow/21015254

    Reply
      1. Devora Clark Cohen

        Indeed, I will pray for the opportunity to welcome Jews to their congregation whose eyes have been opened to their Messiah, and pattern this congregation after the Jewish synagogue of Acts 15, where non-Jews were/are also welcome provided they agree to the restrictions stated in Acts 115:19-21.
        Shalom!

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