No Walls, No Ceiling?

“No walls, no ceiling…,” cried a plaintive 1970s song. It expressed a longing for freedom from restrictions and inhibitions that many in our modern world feel hemmed in by. Indeed, the words “liberty” and “liberation” have been used to explain some definition of “freedom” which people want, or which Jesus Christ is supposed to have brought to sinners. “Limitless” or “unlimited,” a word bandied about by mobile phone service providers and by some restaurants, expresses the idea. So does the wish or boast: “without borders” or “beyond borders.”

The question is: Is there never a place for walls and ceilings – for limits or borders — in our lives? What is God’s Word on this?

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No Such Thing as Sin?

Some years ago an urgent Internet message was forwarded to me separately by two persons via e-mail. The message carried a warning about the alarming teachings being actively promoted by a popular female TV host.

One such alarming doctrine is that there is no such thing as “sin.” That means that whatever one does is OK — even if it hurts oneself or others; one doesn’t need to feel guilty about it.

And, since there is no such thing as sin, there is no need to repent. Nor is there anymore a need for a Savior to forgive us of sin because sin, according to this belief, does not exist anyway.

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The Two Laws in Hebrews 10

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews [in all probability the apostle Paul; see: Who Wrote the Letter to the Hebrews?], in Chapter 10, continues his theme about the law of God. In 7:12, he had talked about a “change of the law” being made of necessity because of the change in the priesthood from Aaron/Levi to Jesus/Melchizedek.

The author then proceeds to explain the law being changed in regard to the tribe of Israel assigned by God to the priesthood: from Levi to Judah (7:14-17) — in Jesus Christ, who was a Jew (short for Judah).

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Transgressions Under the First Covenant

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15, NKJV)

There is a prevailing understanding among many Bible students that, with Christ’s coming and ushering in the new covenant, the Law in the old covenant which God struck with ancient Israel is now all done away. After all, Hebrews 8:13 says that, when Christ ushered in the new covenant, “He has made the first [or the “old” covenant] obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

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Law Added to Law Transgressed

“What purpose does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; …”  (Galatians 3:19, New King James Version)

Some — if not most — people who read the above Bible passage assume that “the law” mentioned here is the law of God that defines what sin is and what righteousness is [see: Barking up the Wrong Tree].  They understand this verse to say that that law of God was added only because man had — beginning with Adam and Eve —  “transgressed.” That, before that, there had been no other law.  Now that Christ (“the Seed”) has come, that law, supposedly, is no longer necessary.

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Barking up the Wrong Tree

Some people say that there is little love in the world because there is so much focus on, or preoccupation with, “lists and duties” to do, instead of simply “loving” God and neighbor as oneself. This preoccupation is often called “religion” as opposed to true “spirituality.” And because such a religion has often caused pain and heartache – even alienation among family and friends because of judgmental and perfectionist attitudes – it has been labeled as “toxic religion.”

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The Trinity Doctrine Reconsidered

If the Holy Spirit is the third Person of a Trinity, then is not the spirit in man also another man?  — Herbert W. Armstrong (Mystery of the Ages,  New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1985, page 112.)

The time-honored belief in a divine Trinity posits the idea that the Holy Spirit is the third Person in that Trinity, in addition to the Father and the Son. The Spirit, according to this belief, is not just the power of God but also a distinct Person, as are the Father and the Son.

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“Your Eyes Will Be Opened!”

So goes the second lie which Satan, in the guise of a wily serpent, told mankind’s first mother (Eve) in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:5).

The first lie – directly opposite to what God had told Eve and her husband (and mankind’s first father) Adam (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:2-3) – was that they would surely not die even if they ate the fruit which God had forbidden them to eat, the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Sure enough, because they went ahead and ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6) Adam did die (Genesis 5:5), and presumably Eve died as well (1 Corinthians 15:22), just as God had told them.  [See:  What Happens to Man After Death?]

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Freed From Bondage

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law (Galatians 5:1-3, NKJV throughout; emphasis mine).

The Scripture verse  quoted above has been used by many Bible students to prove that Jesus Christ has freed everyone who would believe in Him, from a “yoke of bondage.”  And that “yoke”:  the keeping of the “whole law” of God.  Therefore, as the understanding of many goes, the keeping of the law – and particularly the law in the Old Testament, starting with the law on circumcision – is bondage.  Thus, for any preacher to insist on imposing the law of God on a person who wants to come to God would, supposedly, be to bring that person into bondage.

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