Monday, November 30, 2009
Keep the commandments of God; that is what matters
But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. (I Corinthians 7:17-19)
In this passage, the Apostle Paul very clearly resolves the conundrum of whether we are under the Law or under grace. The external, religious rituals of the Law are done away with, in Christ Jesus. However, the clear moral commandments of the Law continue, and are "what matters."
Jews were so caught up with ceremonial minutiae, that they made an external, religious ritual a substitute for obedience; circumcision, for instance, was considered a protection against judgement for committing adultery (circumcision serving as a talisman).
Well, without the circumcision of the heart, circumcision of the flesh was nothing; and continues to be nothing. There are some health benefits for circumcision, but no eternal benefits. However, there are eternal benefits for remaining faithful to the wife (husband) of one's youth.
We are not saved by our good works (circumcision, animal sacrifice, keeping of the feasts and religious rituals) ... we are saved for good works (worship of the Triune God, respect for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, true sabbath rest, respect for parents and those in properly constituted authority, hard word at a vocation, and so forth) which God has prepared before hand that we should walk in them; these are the commandments of which Paul says, "keeping the commandments of God is what matters."