In This Issue...
LIVING IN ADULTERY
From time to time we use the phrase living in
adultery to refer to those who have been divorced for a cause
other than fornication and have subsequently remarried. Does this
phrase accurately describe the condition of such people? We believe
that it does. We will address this matter with three points:
1. It is possible to live in adultery.
It is possible to live in sin in general or in a sin
in particular. 2 Peter 2:18 refers to those who live in
error. Titus 3:3 addresses the idea of living in malice
and envy. James 5:5 accuses some of having lived in
pleasure. Colossians 3:5-7 is most helpful in establishing
this matter: Mortify therefore your members which are
upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection,
evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which
things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of
disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived
Fornication is a broad category which includes among
other things the sin of adultery. Adultery, of necessity, involves
the sins of uncleanness, inordinate affection (passion), and evil
concupiscence (lust). Adultery is clearly a sin which is included
in this list of sins.
And Paul, earnestly beholding the council,
said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before
God until this day (Acts 23:1). It is clear that Paul
had lived in all good conscience because he had continued
to do the things his conscience prompted and refused to do those
things his conscience forbid. Biblically speaking then, when we
continue in something we are said to be living in it. The
Colossians were described as having lived in these sins
because they continued to commit them. Any sin we continue in, we
are living in. Since it is possible to live in these
sins, it is clearly possible to live in adultery.
It is also interesting that Paul seems to be
describing the lifestyles of the Colossians before they became
Christians. God's law is the same for Christians and
non-Christians. The Corinthians were guilty of adultery before they
were washed and sanctified (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Paul made it plain in
writing to the Corinthians that all men are under the law to Christ
(1 Cor. 9:21). It is possible for both Christians and
non-Christians to live in adultery.
2. People who divorce for a cause other than
fornication and then remarry are living in adultery as
long as they continue in that marriage relationship. Matthew 19:9,
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife,
except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth
adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit
Jesus declares that those who marry under such
circumstances commit adultery. This means clearly that
those marriages are not legitimate marriages, for how could they be
both adultery and marriage? Such relationships are not the marriage
bed that is always holy or undefiled (Heb. 13:4); such
relationships are adulterous. God joins people in marriage (Matt.
19:6). It is not possible for God to join people in marriage
through the act of adultery.
This concept of living in adultery is seen
in Jesus' use of the present tense verb, showing a matter that is
ongoing or continued in. It matters not whether the people under
consideration are Christians or non-Christians since all are under
the law to Christ (1 Cor. 9:21). Since Jesus labeled remarriage
after a divorce for any cause other than fornication
adultery, it is adultery as long as one
continues in it. To continue in such a relationship is to live
3. People who are living in adultery must
leave the adulterous relationship. As we have seen, people are
described as living in various sins when they continue to
commit those sins. Repentance involves turning from those sins,
i.e. not continuing to commit them. If we understand repentance,
then we also know the answer for those who are living in adultery
(see 2 Cor. 7:10-11).
Christians who are living in adultery must
repent and leave the relationship that Jesus labels as adulterous.
As long as they continue in that relationship they are continuing
in adultery, and they are therefore living in adultery.
Non-Christians who are living in adultery
must repent and leave the relationship that Jesus labels as
adulterous. As long as they continue in that relationship they are
continuing in adultery, and they are therefore living in
adultery. As we teach the Gospel to people, we are obligated
to try to get them to reflect on their lives, to understand those
areas of their lives that are sinful, and to repent, or turn from
those sins. Baptism has no power to turn adultery into a marriage.
Let us be bold to teach true repentance and purity. Let
us not give in to the pressures of the day, bow to cultural
influences, and follow a multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2). In a
day of high divorce rates we will find many who hate the truth of
the Gospel because it demands the sacrifice of leaving their
present relationships. The sinfulness of our world is no
justifiable reason to change the truth of the Gospel. Instead, it
should be a call to shine even brighter (Phil. 2:15).
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HERE AND THERE
With this column, I wish to begin a new section of
Seek The Old Paths bearing the title of Here and
There. This section will be made up of excerpts
from correspondence and news briefs -- items that I believe will be
of interest to our readers. It will contain a hodgepodge of
QUESTION: There seems to be a new view on divorce and
remarriage. A view called the waiting game is being
taught by some preachers in the brotherhood. The way it is being
taught is that a couple gets a divorce for the simple reason that
they can't get along with each other, no fornication has been
committed, they just don't get along. Then they say the waiting
game begins. The first one that commits fornication with someone
automatically frees the other to remarry. Matthew 19 doesn't say
anything about the waiting game that I recall! I would appreciate
it if you have some insight on this subject in which I feel very
strongly it is purely false teaching to soothe people and to fill
a few more benches.
ANSWER: The idea of the waiting game as you
have described is not supported by the Scriptures. The Lord said
the only authorized putting away and subsequent
remarriage is for fornication (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). When
one is divorced, the question is: did you put away your spouse
because of their fornication? If the answer is YES, then you
are free to remarry. If the answer is NO, then you are not free to
remarry. The one free to remarry must obviously marry someone who
is also eligible to marry.
A couple who divorces for whatever reason is
not free to remarry. It makes no difference that somewhere
down the road one of the two commits fornication. That does
not automatically free the other. If so, I would like to see the
passage that authorizes it. Of course, there is no such passage.
QUESTION: If a person divorces their spouse for
fornication according to Matthew 19:9, can the spouse who was
put away ever get married again or must they remain
single for life?
ANSWER: There is no scripture that authorizes the
put away spouse to marry again. Matthew 19:9 says that
whosoever marries her/him that is put away, keeps on committing
adultery with her/him as long as they continue in that marriage
relationship. The article by brother Rusty Stark in this issue
addresses this point.
There are only three classes of individuals who have
Bible authority to get married: 1) those who have never been
married (1 Cor. 7:28; Heb. 13:4), 2) those whose spouse has died
(Rom. 7:2-3), 3) those who have put away their spouse because of
their spouse's fornication (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). The put
away fornicator is not included in any of these three classes.
QUESTION: Do you think that Alexander Campbell was
a Christian? Remember, he was baptized by a Baptist preacher. What
about Barton Stone, was he a Christian? What about Walter Scott?
Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone were the prime movers in the
American Restoration Movement, from which the present day Church of
Christ traces its roots. In fact, the Church of Christ actually
split over the Instrument.
ANSWER: I have read some restoration history
concerning the period of Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone and
Walter Scott. I've never followed their teaching and do not intend
to. What they did or did not do has nothing to do with us today.
There is not one single doctrine we hold today because they did or
did not. The church of Christ does not have its roots in the
restoration movement. You have been misinformed! It's roots go back
to the first century and the New Testament as taught and practiced
by the apostles.
I do appreciate any good that they or others have done
in the past. But nothing we do has any connection with them.
Whether they were scripturally baptized and were faithful
Christians or not has no bearing on the Lord's church (church of
Christ) today. I'm glad we don't base our beliefs on men. I am not
what I am because of them or anyone else. The Bible is our guide.
Yes, there were some, even many, who left the faith
once delivered by embracing mechanical instruments of music
and other apostate doctrines over 100 years ago. They were the
digressives who left us (the Lord's church) because they
were not of us (1 John 2:19). There have always been
divisions and always will. 1 Cor. 11:19 says they are necessary to
prove who is really faithful and who is not. It separates the
saved from the lost. When one leaves a thus saith the
Lord, apostasy is always the result.
QUESTION: From all that I have read in Seek The
Old Paths, it seems to me you are teaching baptismal
regeneration -- the false doctrine that teaches baptism actually
and really forgives sins. Do you agree that baptismal regeneration
is heresy? Our five finger steps of salvation has led many to
believe that is what we teach. This is why some conclude that if
one who believes, repents and trusts in God to forgive him, and is
killed on the way to the baptistery before we can immerse him is
still lost. I am afraid many among us teach that. This would be the
result of this false doctrine and heresy. The necessity of baptism
I agree with. The way we have taught it leads one to believe we
teach this heresy. I think we need to articulate it better,
beginning with Jesus and Him crucified -- seldom heard in our more
conservative churches. I am not saying baptism isn't
necessary, we need to teach it in a Biblical way. God is left out
if we don't.
Not only that, we should do a better job of teaching
on the security of believers. It is shameful so many of our elderly
can't give an affirmative answer to the question, If you were
to die today would you go to heaven. Of 35 elderly people I asked
this question too in a class, not one could say yes with
confidence, this is shameful.
ANSWER: This person has plainly stated what I fear
is a growing sentiment among many in churches of Christ. They have
not heard the pure and unadulterated Gospel in so long they have
started parroting denominational jargon. They have totally lost
their identity with the Lord and have no concept of the true
I cannot deny that baptism saves us. 1 Peter 3:21
says so in plain English. There's no misunderstanding that. What
God has said, we must not deny! What is it about baptism that
would make God say it saves us? God is the one that said it. Who
am I to tell him he don't know what's he's talking about -- that he
There are MANY THINGS by which we are saved: grace
(Eph. 2:8), faith (Rom. 5:1), blood (Eph. 1:7), baptism (1 Peter
3:21) and YES, even works (James 2:24). There are many more things
that could be listed that save. We are saved by every one. The
problem comes in when we want to single out just one or perhaps two
things and say that we are saved by these things alone. Calvinism
has long been striving to put the word ONLY after faith -- such as,
faith only. It is amazing that some who call themselves
brethren have now put the word ONLY after grace. If that is true,
then we all might as well quit serving the Lord now, once saved
always saved is true.
In an earlier comment you said, some conclude
that if one who believes, repents and trusts in God to forgive him,
and is killed on the way to the baptistery before we can immerse
him is still lost. Surely, you don't mean to indicate that
one can possibly be saved BEFORE baptism? Yet, that is what you
If one can be saved before water baptism, then: 1.
One can be saved without Christ because baptism puts one INTO
Christ (Rom. 6:3). 2. One can be saved without having PUT Christ on
because that is not done except in baptism (Gal. 3:27). 3. One can
be saved without the blood of Christ because that's where we
contact the blood (Rom. 6:3-6). 4. One can be saved without ever
walking a new life because that is not done until after
baptism (Rom. 6:4). 5. One can be saved without taking part in the
death, burial and resurrection of Christ. That is only done in
baptism (Rom. 6:3-5). 6. One can be saved without being in the
church because baptism puts you in the church (1 Cor. 12:13). Jesus
only saves the church (Eph. 5:23). 7. One can be saved without
dying to the old world of sin because that is not done until
baptism (Rom. 6:11). 8. One can be saved without being born
again because that's when one is born again (John 3:3-5). 9.
One can be saved without entering the kingdom because baptism puts
one into the kingdom (John 3:3-5). Only those in the kingdom
(church, body) are saved (Eph. 5:23). 10. One can be saved without
the forgiveness of sins because they are forgiven at one's baptism
(Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Baptism is that point in time at which one
changes from being a sinner to a saint, from being lost to being
saved, from being unforgiven to being forgiven, from being outside
the body of Christ to being inside the body of Christ. There's not
a man, woman or child in the world that can successfully say this
is not so.
Does all this mean I place undue emphasis and
importance on baptism? Not at all. It is no more important than
faith, repentance or confession. All these are steps
(how else can it be said?) toward being forgiven -- being saved.
If a sinner is here and the saved are over
there, how else can I get there from where I am
without moving in that direction? Each movement (step) I take is
governed and regulated by God. I take no steps that are not
ordered by God. All the while, I take no credit for my own for I
did not devise the plan of salvation. I did not make
faith, repentance, confession and baptism essential to the
forgiveness of sins (being saved), God did. These are his works,
not ours. He's the one who provided them and makes them available
to us. However, we must perform these works to be saved.
Salvation is found ONLY IN CHRIST (2 Tim. 2:10). If
one is IN Christ, he is saved. If one is NOT IN Christ, he is
lost. Wouldn't you agree? Two questions must be answered and
understood in this regard -- HOW and WHEN does one get INTO Christ.
HOW does one get into Christ? God ADDS him (Acts 2:41,47). WHEN
does God ADD one to Christ? When he is baptized (Acts 2:41).
Jesus made water baptism essential for the
forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16) and told Nicodemus that without
it, no man could enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5). Peter
preached it was for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Saul's
sins were washed away when he was baptized (Acts 22:16). I could go
on and on, but even one verse would be enough. I know the Bible too
well to teach/preach the devil's doctrine of baptism is not
essential. The demons in hell leap for joy at the proclamation
of the junk this person has vainly declared. Oh, where has the day
gone that men would rightly divide the word (2 Tim. 2:15)?
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SHOULD THE CHURCH SPLIT?
For many years I have discussed the problem of division
with individual brethren and congregations. The Holy Scripture
emphasizes the need for unity, with compounded references from the
Old and New Testaments. David said, Behold, how good and
how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity
(Psalm 133:1). Unity is an odor of a sweet smell -- a coveted
commodity. The idea of seeing the Lord's church divide, split,
rupture, or rend itself apart is an ugly and repulsive sight. What
Christian of sound Scriptural mind would want to see or participate
in such a horrific destruction of the Lord's church?
Division is carnal mindedness which produces death
(Rom. 8:6; 1 Cor. 3:1-3). Jesus prayed for the unity of all
believers (John 17:20-21). Furthermore, Paul pleaded for the church
at Corinth to speak the same thing and that there are no divisions
among them (1 Cor. 1:10). God clearly stated without any hesitation
that churches of Christ be united or else they will be overcome
with division. It is not that division and serious ruptures in the
body of Christ did not occur. It was a frequent problem in the days
of the apostles, however, they did not condone it, nor was it given
an apostolic stamp of approval. Division was always thoroughly and
completely condemned as noted by Paul in Gal. 5:20.
Some in our brotherhood are heretics and apostates that
find sheer joy in being disruptive and creating confusion. This
writer has served the Lord's church for nearly thirty years, and to
see those congregations that were once peaceful, and worked
harmoniously together only to suffer division is a terrible sin.
Solomon said, These six things doth the Lord hate, yea
seven are an abomination unto him...A false witness that speaketh
lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (Prov.
6:16-19). The wise man with great clarity reveals how God feels
about those who would sow discord and divide the Lord's people.
Such an act of the flesh will reflect the deep feelings conveyed by
our Creator. We must not commit such an act of the flesh but work
tirelessly in building up the kingdom wherever we might live.
When they allow false doctrine to enter the body of Christ,
either by invitation or by the members advancing it without
recrimination, the church becomes a corrupt leaven. Time and again
we allow those to enter our pulpits, or speak to our youth seducing
and subverting their souls while the leadership becomes preoccupied
from their primary duty. An eldership within the congregation has
the primary responsibility of watching, and
feeding the flock of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2).
Many years ago a preacher was preaching for a
congregation in a Gospel meeting. Several members from the
Methodist Church attended the service and announced, Well,
your visiting preacher speaks the same kind of message that ours
do. What a sad commentary on an eldership that will allow a
visiting preacher to come and preach Methodist doctrine, or grace
only, from the pulpit of the Lord's church. Souls left the building
thinking that our teaching was compatible with the Methodist on
points of fundamental doctrine. How many will delude themselves
into thinking they preached the truth that evening, and for that
matter all week. This event occurred nearly thirty-years ago and
now in the adjoining area, church of Christ ministers and sectarian
ministers are exchanging pulpits (2 Thess. 3:6). Paul once wrote
the Ephesian brethren, And have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them
Note the following question? Should the church split
or divide? It is a very difficult question, but one thing is sure,
If God is not in that congregation, then surely we should
remove ourselves. God is only there when we respect his holy word,
taught without compromise, and live a life so that it will mirror
the Gospel of Christ (Phil. 1:27). Suppose someone said that you
would become seriously ill or die if the medication given to you by
the pharmacist was by mistake, what decision would you make? Any
sane or sensible individual would refrain from taking that
medication. Human life is too important and we would not take any
chances, would we? Likewise, we should not take any chances when it
comes to the church or congregation that we are presently
attending. Our spiritual welfare is much more important than the
physical life that we hold so dear. Why not take every precaution
when it comes to our eternal souls? If it requires splitting or
severing ourselves from the church we are presently attending to
save our souls, then we must do it without fail. The only way we
can know for sure is when we study and investigate the Word of
truth to see if what they are teaching, is in fact the truth (2
Tim. 3:16-17; Acts 17:11).
For one to split or divide the church for his own
gain is sin. However, if we permit rebellion to remain, then we
have no alternative. Keeping the church pure in God's sight should
be a top priority (Eph. 5:27).
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OKLAHOMA HAS A NEW KIND OF NATIONAL CHAMPION
Jerry C. Brewer
With the 2000 national football's NCAA championship
trophy residing in Norman, Oklahoma, some so-called members of the
church in that city seem bent on making Norman another NCAA
champion as well --- National Church Apostate Association.
One of Oklahoma's premiere change agents/apostates,
Dan Bouchelle is leaving the East Alameda church in Norman
and heading to Central in Amarillo, Texas. Bouchelle has been in
Norman for 7 years, during which time he was an active member of
the Norman Ministerial Fellowship headed by St. John's Episcopal
Church's Father Joe Ted Miller.
'As a professional association, we have shared
our profession and our faith. Although our church traditions are
different, we are all rooted in God,' said Bouchelle. 'We have been
able to share common things like sermons, study and research,
counsel; our day-to-day (routine) is very similar.
Bouchelle has spoken during two of the seven
Holy Weeks (the week preceding Easter) that the NMF organizes,
something he has enjoyed.
'Typically, a Church of Christ preacher has not
done that and it has been a great experience (to try to) change the
perception (of the Churches of Christ),' said Bouchelle.
(Stefanie Brickman, Staff Writer, Alameda to bid farewell to
Dan Bouchelle, The Norman Transcript, Friday, July 27, 2001,
While we are glad to be rid of this false teacher,
the fruit of his apostasy will continue to bloom for a long time in
the Sooner State because so few have the backbone to stand up and
refute his error. And, we pray that faithful brethren in Amarillo
will be warned. We'll see if the West Side church in Norman will
remain silent about this item that should be publicly answered in
a paid article in the Transcript. I can't predict the future, but
I'm not holding my breath on that. After all, West Side engages men
like F. LaGard Smith to speak on their special programs.
It isn't enough for faithful Christians to simply
shake their heads and exclaim, Tsk, Tsk, ain't it a
shame?! We ought to have the courage of Elijah at Mt. Carmel,
John the Baptist before Herod and Jesus in the temple. These things
need to be and must be answered if we are to acquit
ourselves like men and be unashamed at the last day, but most
brethren in this state prefer to just lie on the floor like a
jellyfish and allow error to go unanswered.
When Quail Springs church in Oklahoma City had a big
spread in the paper about their fellowship with the Baptists last
year, only one congregation in Oklahoma City had the courage to
stand up and oppose their error --- the Barnes church where Marion
Fox preaches. Robin Haley wrote a response to the article about
Quail Springs and faithful brethren paid for its publication in the
Daily Oklahoman. While they refused to participate in the response,
some other churches in Oklahoma City later had a meeting
and expressed their concern. They didn't have the guts to
stand up, unsheathe the sword of the Spirit and wage battle. Their
lack of response was despicable and shameful.
To paraphrase a familiar song, shall Jesus bear the
cross alone and weak-kneed brethren go free? No, brethren, there's
a cross for everyone and there's a cross for you and
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NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE WHO WILL NOT SEE
Marvin L. Weir
Physical blindness is a handicap that no right thinking
person would wish upon himself. It is indeed a tragedy when a
person cannot see the beauty of God's creation. An even greater
tragedy, however, is one who can see, but chooses not
The Jews of Jesus' day were eagerly awaiting the
coming of the Messiah, but then refused to accept Him when He came.
Such an attitude of the people prompted Jesus to say, And
in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By
hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye
shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed
gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have
closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear
with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should
be converted, and I should heal them (Matt. 13:14-15).
There is no greater tragedy than that of one who
chooses to be willfully ignorant of God's Word. The Jews of
Christ's day saw His miracles and heard His
preaching and concluded that He was no different from any other
man. Likewise, there are many today who hear the Gospel message in
its purity and yet refuse to accept what they have heard.
Many today profess to believe in the Bible as God's
authoritative Word, but continue to stubbornly uphold the doctrines
and creeds of men. When such a one is confronted with verses of
Scripture that contradicts his erroneous doctrine, he closes his
eyes to the truth and says, I just do not see it that
way. The truth of the matter is that he is refusing to see at
all -- he is willingly blind to the truth.
It is a challenge to keep oneself from becoming
spiritually blind. Such must be done, however, if heaven is to
become a reality and the soul is to be saved. Let us now note some
areas where many who claim to believe the Bible have become
I just don't believe that baptism is
necessary for one to be saved. The apostle Peter had the
privilege of preaching the Gospel on Pentecost in Jerusalem, 33
A.D., and said to those who inquired what they must do to be saved,
...Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the
gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). Peter also spoke of
the ark, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by
water (1 Peter 3:20), and said the like figure
whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (1 Peter
3:21). Jesus said, He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved (Mark 16:16). Only the spiritually blind
will reject water baptism as a perquisite to salvation.
I believe there is but one Christ, but I
just don't believe there is only one church. Only
tradition and prejudice can so blind one to the truth. First,
Christ promised to build His church (Matt.
16:18). His church was purchased with His
blood (Acts 20:28). The apostle Paul affirms that Christ
the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the
fulness of him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:22-23).
Christ has promised to save only His body (Eph. 5:23), of which
there is but one (Eph. 4:4).
In view of such Scriptures, how can one profess to
love and honor Christ while believing that the Lord's church (body)
is unimportant? One cannot have the head without the body, or the
body without the head! Christ and His church cannot be separated
because of man's whims and wishes.
I just believe that it is more meaningful
to partake of the Lord's Supper only once a month. How
can one profess to love the Lord and then think that what he
believes is more important than what God says? An approved example,
which is as binding as a command, is found in the book of Acts
20:7. Luke records, And upon the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto
them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until
midnight (Acts 20:7). Ask the same denominational
preachers and leaders if it is also more meaningful to
give only once a month! Most will affirm, and rightly so, that the
first day of the week in 1 Corinthians 16:2
means just that -- the first day of every week. It is indeed
inconsistent, is it not, that many believe the first day
of the week in Acts 20:7 can mean monthly, quarterly, or
I just believe that instrumental music
sounds better. Notice that the Scriptures commands us to
sing -- not play (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26; Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15;
Heb. 2:12; James 5:13; Rev. 5:9; 14:3; 15:3). There is Bible
authority to sing, but no Bible authority to make music
any way one pleases.
It will be sad in the Day of Judgment for those who
have chosen to be spiritually blind to God's glorious truth!
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Rowlett, TX 75089
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SABBATH or SUNDAY?
Robin W. Haley
This is the day which Jehovah hath made; We will
rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). To the
diligent student of God's word, this verse is recognized as a
prophecy pertaining to the first day of the week, Sunday. The
context bears this out, as we see Christ portrayed within this
Psalm (v.22). Note also that as surely as Christ is the head
of the corner by God's doing, so also is this day
God's doing -- both of which are marvelous in our eyes.
Just what does the Bible teach regarding the Sabbath Day? Is it to
be kept holy (observed) today? Where does Sunday enter
into the observance by God's people for worship? Is Sunday the
Christian Sabbath? These are all answered in Scripture
and we shall attempt to answer them in this article.
Those who would contend that we are still bound to the
Sabbath Day law fail to observe a number of factors regarding this
First, the Sabbath was never given to all people, nor
was it ever given to Christians. It was first introduced to
Israel under Moses while God's people were in the wilderness.
Having left Egypt two and a half months previously (Exodus 16),
Israel did not even receive this as a law for nearly a month
subsequent to this introduction (Exodus 20:8ff). Thus, the Sabbath
observance was for Israel and for them alone (see Exodus 31:13-17;
Deut. 5:2-3,15). Three times the children of Israel are
the ones to whom the Lord applied this law.
Having ignored this distinction between Israel and all
others, some are still determined to bind the Sabbath on themselves
and others today. They allege that there were two laws given at
Sinai: one was ceremonial (the Law of Moses) and the other was
perpetual (the Law of God). Although there are certain aspects or
principles of the Law which are eternal, the law regarding the
Sabbath is certainly not one of them. Now the question is:
What is the difference between the Law of Moses and the Law of
God? This is the distinction Sabbatarians make. The Bible
makes no such distinction. With Paul we ask, What saith the
Scripture (Rom. 4:3)? Ezra, the ready scribe of God, was
skilled in the Law of Moses (Ezra 7:6). This same one was appointed
by the people to read from this book of the Law of Moses (Neh.
8:1). This he did (Neh. 8:8) day by day from the book of the Law of
God (Neh. 8:18) for seven days. The Bible makes no distinction
between the Law of Moses and the Law of God.
When Jesus was born of a virgin, he was circumcised and
brought before the Lord according to the Law of Moses (Luke 2:22).
Sacrifices were made for him and Mary's purification according to
the Law of the Lord (Luke 2:23-24). Now, which law was it? Was it
the Law of Moses or of the Lord? Answer: there is no distinction.
When Paul wrote to the Gentile Christians of Ephesus, he
told them, But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far
off are made nigh in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who
made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having
abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments
contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two
one new man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one
body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity
thereby (Eph. 2:13-16). Friends, Paul included
everything in the Old Testament when he spoke of law of
commandments and ordinances. That includes the
Sabbath Law also (which was for only the Jews anyway).
Why do we call the Old Testament Old? Hear the
word of the Lord: But now hath he obtained a ministry the
more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better
covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises. For if that
first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been
sought for a second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold,
the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with
the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (Heb.
8:6-8). Again, In that he saith, A new covenant he hath
made the first old. But that which is becoming old and waxeth aged
is nigh unto vanishing away (Heb. 8:13). The first
covenant (testament) is gone and we now live and walk by a new
and living way (Heb. 10:20).
Upon what day do God's people today worship? The first day
of the week. Is this called Sunday in the Bible? No, but
it is identified as the Lord's day in Revelation 1:10.
This is in answer to the prophecy found in the Psalm at the
beginning of this article. Remember, Jeremiah said something new
was coming (Jer. 31:31-34). The writer of Hebrews quoted from this
text twice. Jesus was resurrected upon the first day of the week.
The church began on the first day of the week. Paul refers to the
Lord's table, supper, death and body (1 Cor. 11,12). All these
things are attended, remembered, observed, eaten and proclaimed
upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). Why then
is it difficult to accept the fact that John spoke of the first day
(Sunday) when he wrote the words the Lord's day (Rev.
Since the law was given through Moses; grace and
truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17), and if I attempt
to justify my religion by the Law of Moses, Paul would tell me:
Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the
law; ye are fallen away from grace (Gal. 5:4). So is
everyone who would seek to go back to the rudimentary things,
rather than cling to Christ and His law regarding the first day of
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Next year's lectureship will be July 28-August 1, 2002