A Battle of Viewpoints
By: Scott Morton
There is a battle going on in society today. There are two opposing viewpoints that are going on related to things of the Bible. This is important to realize, because the Apostle Paul warns us many times about the dangers of this world. He states we have to redeem the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). This statement shows the days are evil because of the things that are going on in them. It is obvious that there are evil things going on, as all we have to do is watch the news and we will see things we once thought were unheard of.
The Apostle Paul also discusses in 2 Timothy 3 some things related to the end of this dispensation:
2 Timothy 3:1-5
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
The description listed above is something every generation has used to try to show they are living in the last days. They list out things going on at that time and show how these things meet all of the criteria listed above. The problem with this is that each generation has started to get worse. This has been particularly true over the last 100 years, where there has been an increase in the things that have been going against God.
The number of people who claim to be atheist or agnostic has been on an increase in the last few decades. People are trying to get farther and farther away from the things of Gods Word. An example of this comes from an recent interview of Bill Maher on television. Bill Maher is an atheist and is very vocal about this fact. He also is very vocal with his attacks on religion of any kind. During a recent interview on the Joy Behar show, he said the following:
The Bible is filled with wickedness, filthiness, and just plain silliness. I dont know how anyone could read the Bible and want to believe it.
This is the problem facing our society. There is a lack of understanding of what the Bible says that comes in and it has an impact on all things in society. The mindset a person has is an important factor in all areas of life:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
A person needs to change their way of thinking in order for something to have a real impact on their life. It does not matter what kind of problem someone is dealing with, their thought process will be the place where a change needs to be made. If I start with a thought process where God cannot be part of it, then I will find no comfort or hope in the things of God, no matter what happens. If I start with a thought process that God is real and can have an impact on my life, then things are going to work out differently in my life.
Why dont people understand the Bible?
This question is something that needs to be understood. If people did have an understanding of what the Word of God says, there would not be any of the confusion that is out there. They would know what God intends for us and they would be living their lives accordingly.
Many people take the Bible out of context, which is easy to do. If you walk around your local Christian bookstore, you will see many books that are written about how to understand the Bible. These books all are written from a particular viewpoint, but they tend to be contradictory and confusing. In order to understand the Bible, there needs to be a clear message on how to study it.
This confusion is why you get people out there today saying we should not believe the Bible. One of these is another statement given by Bill Maher during the same week, where he was referring to this passage, which is actually out of Exodus and not Deuteronomy as he attributed it:
And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them.  Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
This passage is looked at and it is said that this does not seem to be a reasonable passage to follow. The person looking at this and saying it needs to be applied to our lives says we should be killing all of those who are working on the Sabbath, which is usually taken to be Sunday. (We will address this line of thinking later on in the article.)
Another passage that has recently been discussed as a problem is this one:
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:  Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;  And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.  And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Those reading this passage immediately have a reaction to what it says. If this is something I am going to try to apply to my life today, there would be trouble. Every time a child is disobedient to their parents, the first thing that should happen is that they would be chastened, which means they would be afflicted for punishment. If this does not work, the child would then be taken to the elders of the city, who would then punish the child by taking him or her outside the city and killing them for their disobedience.
These passages seem to be very cruel in todays society. Many people do not want there to be the possibility of capital punishment for crimes such as murder. To kill someone for what would be considered minor offenses is seen as going contrary to things that are good. This is why passages such as these are often brought up by those that want to attack Christianity. Those who believe the Bible can be made to seem intolerant, ignorant, and foolish for putting their trust in passages such as these.
What were these passages for?
The law system was put in place for the nation of Israel. This system started out after they were brought out of Egypt. The start of the law can be seen here:
In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.  For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.  And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;  Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.  And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.  And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
God was making a covenant with His people. In verses 5 and 6, there is a description of how they were going to be viewed. They were to be a peculiar treasure, above all people, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. This is what God intended for them. The only thing they had to do was to obey His voice and keep His covenant. It sounds fairly easy. In fact, the nation of Israel agrees to do this, even though they have not even heard what this covenant is going to be.
The covenant is then given to them when they agree. The covenant that is made is the entire law system that can be found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. Many people feel the law is only the 10 commandments and this is what someone needs to follow. God clears this up in the following passage about what someone needs to do:
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:  But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
James could not have made it any clearer. Those who were under the law were expected to keep the entire law. There was no system in place of where the pieces of the law were put on a grading system, to where it would be okay to break pieces of it and not okay to break others. An individual would be guilty of the whole law if they broke even the simplest part of this law. An example of something that we break all the time is this:
Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.
If you look in you closet right now, there is almost a guarantee that there is at least one article of clothing that would break this. In fact, there is a pretty good chance you are wearing something right now that breaks this part of the law. This would mean you are just as guilty of committing a murder by putting on your 50% cotton/50% polyester blend shirt.
It was extremely difficult for members of the nation of Israel to follow the law. The first thing they had to do was to remember all parts of the law. Since there were over 600 different laws to remember, this was a difficult task. Ignorance was never an excuse for them, as they were instructed to meditate in the law daily (Joshua 1:8).
The law functioned for one thing. It was to point them to a Savior who would be able to keep the law for them. This was the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only man to walk the earth that was able to keep the law perfectly. This is why He was able to function as the sacrifice for all mankind.
What about us?
Since the law was for the nation of Israel, the common question is does this apply to a believer today? It is important to note in the dispensation of grace that we are not under the law:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.  And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
These two passages prove the glorious truth for us today. We have been free from the law. This means that sin that would condemn us cannot be reckoned to our account, as this is the sin that is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, Romans 4:15, Romans 5:13).
It is truly glorious to realize this truth, as it shows what happens to a member of the Body of Christ. The passages that were mentioned above do not apply to a believer today. It is wrong to even attempt to put a person under these passages, because this is not what God intends for us today. He has a clear purpose for the law today related to those living in this dispensation:
1 Timothy 1:5-11
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:  From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;  Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.  But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;  According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
The law is to function for those that are not saved. It points out to individuals all of the things they have done wrong. It should help them to realize they need a Savior and help point them to the salvation that is needed. It should cause them to see they need to understand what Paul wrote here:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
This gospel is the only thing that can save us today. When I put my trust in this alone and do not attach any work to this (Romans 4:5), I become a member of the Body of Christ. This means that the things of the law no longer apply. As I read the Bible and start to understand Romans through Philemon, the doctrine that is written for me today, I understand the liberty I have (Galatians 5:1). This will help to clear up any confusion and will show how those passages mentioned above could never apply to me today.