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Question: What is the Scriptural ground for Christians to gather together on? L. C. G.
Answer: Matthew 5:34-3734But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. (Matthew 5:34‑37) and James 5:1212But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. (James 5:12) refer to the habits and customs of the Jews to make vows and pledges in the name of Jehovah. The Lord teaches us not to make vows or pledges, but to be content with “yes,” or “no”. A vow made in Jehovah’s name, they could not take back. It was needless and wrong in some instances (Judg. 11:30, 31, 34-4030And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. (Judges 11:30‑31)
34And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back. 36And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. 37And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. 38And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, 40That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year. (Judges 11:34‑40)
; Matt. 14:7-117Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. 8And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. 9And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. 10And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 11And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. (Matthew 14:7‑11)).
Question: Is the law (the ten commandments) the rule of life for the Christian? D. H.
The Lord Jesus died for sinners. And the gospel, unlike the law, goes out to every creature (Mark 16:1515And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)). Since Christ died for all (2 Cor. 5:1515And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)), both the believing Jew and Gentile are saved through Christ’s death, and can say, “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:33For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (1 Corinthians 15:3)). Now they have life “in Christ,” and no condemnation can come to them (John 5:2424Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)). Christ is their life (Col. 3:1-41If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1‑4)). They are, or shall be saved by His life—that is, by His living for them at God’s right hand (John 14:1919Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (John 14:19); Rom. 5:1010For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)). He is their Intercessor (Rom. 8:3434Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34); Heb. 7:2525Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)). He is their Advocate, if any man sin (1 John 2:11My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 John 2:1)). The converted Jew being dead with Christ is freed from the law (Rom. 7:44Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4); Rom. 6:1414For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)).
Christ is the pattern for the Christian’s walk (Phil. 1:21, 2:5; 1 Peter 3:18; 118For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1 Peter 3:18)
18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (1 Peter 1:18)
John 2:66And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. (John 2:6); 2 Cor. 5:14, 1514For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:14‑15)). He is our goal in glory (Phil. 3:14, 20, 2114I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
20For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20‑21)
; 1 John 3:2, 32Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3:2‑3)). Christ is our all in all (Col. 3:1111Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11)).
The Epistle to the Galatians was written specially to Christians, free from the principle of law-keeping (See also Acts 15). Our proper privilege and relationship is sons, and children of God (Gal. 4:4, 54But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:4‑5)). If Christ is our pattern, that is far higher.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:11Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)).
Jesus our Lord is our only rule of life.
Answer: The question here is how sin, or the flesh which is in us, is to be treated. From verse 12 of chapter 5 we are viewed as not now associated with Adam, though in the body still, but rather associated with Christ who has passed through death. He not only died for our sins, but died to sin, and we are seen as dead to sin. “How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein,”
The lesson taught in baptism is that being baptized unto Jesus Christ we are baptized unto His death. “We are buried with Him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” We are not to own the claims of the flesh; we are to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin; but alive unto God. Sin is not dead, but we are to reckon ourselves dead unto it; faith owns that we are really planted together in the likeness of His death, and that we surely shall be in the likeness of His resurrection; knowing this that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed (annulled), that henceforth we should not serve sin. Our old man has been crucified, but the nature—sin in us—is still there. We are to reckon ourselves dead to its claims. We are to disregard it, refuse its suggestions as unworthy of a child of God, count ourselves dead to its claims, go on living for Christ as if it was not there. We know it is there, but we can turn from it, and give our minds something good to be occupied with (see Phil. 4:88Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)). Let us never cherish bad thoughts, but turn the mind to good at once. Baptism is brought into this chapter to illustrate how we are to be dead unto sin in our behavior. We are baptized unto Jesus Christ, unto His death. Ordinarily we bury a dead body, but in baptism it is burial to be dead—that is, unto death, the death of Christ.