As long as God is, there are some things that are good and some things that are bad. There are things that are permitted and others that are prohibited. The origin of the distinctions is the very nature of God. The distinctions do not come from His revelation to Israel at Sinai. They are included in it. These aspects of the nature of God are imprinted in all that He has made. This is the law of God.
Some people say that they do not have to obey the law of God, it does not apply to them. They claim to live in a lawless world. They are mistaken, for God will bring every thought, word, and deed into judgment. He will judge according to His law. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." Rom.1:20
What do the New Covenant scriptures say about those who live as though there were no law of God to obey? The simplest way to find out is to look at the verses where the Greek word anomian, i.e. lawlessness, appears. 1John 3:4 equates living without the Law of God with living in sin. "Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness."
Messiah is described as one who hates lawlessness. In fact, it is because Messiah loves righteousness and hates lawlessness that God has chosen and anointed him. "But about the Son he says, Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. " (Hebrews 1:8,9, quoting Ps.45:6-7, vv.7-8 in Hebrew)
Adam was created to live in obedience to God. Adam did not do that, nor did his descendants. Yeshua did. Because he did that, his throne and kingdom are established forever. When Yeshua returns to set up the Messianic kingdom, his character will be exactly the same. He will still love righteousness and hate lawlessness. He will still live in obedience to the law of God.
Lot lived in the midst of Sodom, a city whose inhabitants hated righteousness. Lot, "living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds [ajnovmoi" e[rgoi"] he saw and heard." 2Pet. 2:8 The inhabitants of Sodom had not been given the Law of Moses, but they still knew what God required of them. "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the Law [of Moses], do by nature things required by the Law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the Law, since they show that the requirements of the Law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them." Rom. 2:14-15
They cannot escape from what God has put in their hearts and consciences. In the new covenant, "the goal of our commandment is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1Tim.1:5 God has commanded these things.
All disciples of Yeshua are also to hate and turn away from living in opposition to Gods Law. "Don't go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, your members as instruments of righteousness to God....I'm speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh for just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness resulting in lawlessness so do the opposite now.....But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." Rom.6:14,19,22
Disciples of Yeshua are to "do the opposite" of lawlessness. The mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, i.e. it does not subject itself to the law of God. The mind set on the Spirit is the opposite of the mind set on the flesh. As Paul explains, "Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Rom. 8:5-8
When Yeshua speaks of the last days, he characterizes them as a time when more and more people reject Gods Law, and the resultant ungodliness will quench the love of many. "Because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of most will grow cold." Matt. 24:12
In speaking about the time of judgment, Yeshua said, "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out demons and in your name perform many miracles, and then I will declare to them I never knew you. Depart from me you who practice lawlessness." Matt 7:21-23
He will not deny that they cast out demons or that they performed miracles. He will simply say, "I never knew you because you lived as though there were no Law of God." "...For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 2Cor. 6:14
"Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire so shall it be at the end of the age. The son of Adam will send forth his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness and will cast them into the furnace of fire. In that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father. He who has ears let him hear." Matt 13:40,41
Yeshua is speaking about the consequences of how a person chooses to live. Those who choose to live as though there is no Law of God will be cast into the furnace of fire. They will be cast out of his kingdom into a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is a judgment especially for hypocrites, i.e. those who profess to know and serve the Lord, but deny him by their actions.
God "will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." Rom. 2:6-8 Messiah loves the Law of God, and so do those who follow him. As Paul wrote, "I joyfully agree with the Law of God in my inner being." Rom.7:22 Yeshua said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to establish." Mt.5:17
Yeshua did not come to do away with the Law of God, he came to establish it. It is the "Antichrist", the enemy of Messiah who proclaims a world free from God's law.
"Let no one in any way deceive you for it (the day of the Lord) will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction....For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way and then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of his mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of his coming. That is the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved." 2 Thes. 2:3,7-10
The one who seeks to destroy the Law of God comes in the power of Satan. He is not the Messiah, but the antichrist. Thats why "He who turns away his ear from listening to the Law, even his prayer is an abomination." Prov.28:9 Irenaeus was a second century Gentile believer, the disciple of Polycarp, the disciple of John. As a Gentile, he did not follow the Law of Moses. But he condemned as heretics all those who maintained that the Law had passed away.
"For all those who are of a perverse mind, having been set against the Mosaic legislation judging it to be dissimilar and contrary to the doctrine of the gospel, have not applied themselves to investigate the causes of the differences of each covenant. Since, therefore, they have been deserted by the paternal love, and puffed up by Satan, being brought over to the doctrine of Simon Magus, they have apostatized in their opinions from Him who is God, and imagined that they have themselves discovered more than the apostles, by finding out another God; and [have imagined] that the apostles preached the gospel still somewhat under the influence of Jewish opinions, but that they themselves are purer and more intelligent than the apostles." Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Vol.5/1, trans. by A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 1867, P.309
Judgment came upon Israel time and time again because we turned away from God's law. The purpose of atonement is to bring forgiveness for sin, not to make sin permissible. Yeshua redeemed us so that we would live holy lives, not so that we could continue to turn away from God's law. He redeemed us so that we could fulfill it, as he did.
"If anyone turns a deaf ear to the Law, even his prayers are detestable." Prov. 28:9
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