by Rick Sterling
‘It is for judgment that I have come into this world, so that those without sight may see and those with sight turn blind’. (John 9:39)(JB)
Start talking about divine judgment, and you will soon discover that no one is listening. Most Christians have a certainty about themselves and judgment; succinctly put, there is no judgment for those who are in Christ. This belief is based upon a salvation theology described by Paul; salvation that operates by faith, through the gift of grace. When compared side by side, the two “gospels” (the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of grace) are quite different in function. The gospel of the Kingdom describes the significance of obedience and required performance. The gospel of grace is best described by the words of Paul.
Law involves the possibility of punishment for breaking the law-only where there is no law can that be avoided. (Romans 15)(JB)
Paul is clever in that he does not do away with the Law; he simply changes its role. The Law which Paul is describing is the Ten Commandments. These ten commands were the words of the testimony/covenant between God and His kingdom. There is no other way to be in God’s Kingdom other than by promising to learn to keep all of the Ten Commandments. The Son of God spoke to this very thing when He said the following words. When asked by the rich young man about what he needed to do to have eternal life, Jesus said:
But if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said, ‘Which?’ ‘These’ Jesus replied ‘You must not kill. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not bring false witness. Honor your father and mother, and; you must love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 19:18-21)(JB)
Not only does Jesus list commands from the Covenant, but He adds, “love your neighbor as yourself”. It is important to understand that the ten commands of the Covenant is an all or nothing promise. While it is true that Jesus did not state all ten in the above verse, it is understood that to enter life eternal you must keep every single one. Jesus also did not condense these down to the command to “love”, God and your neighbor. Paul states categorically that it is completely impossible for sinful flesh to keep the Law, and this is calling God a liar.
All the commandments I enjoin on you today you must keep and observe so that you may live and increase in numbers and enter into the land that Yahweh promised on oath to your fathers, and make it your own. (Deuteronomy 8:1)(JB)
Many believe that there is an old covenant, which required the children of Israel to keep the Ten Commandments; but they believe that after the resurrection of Christ a “new covenant” was instituted, a covenant of grace. The only person that teaches that there is a new covenant of grace is Paul. Note the difference in the following texts: (Remember that Luke was not a disciple, nor did he know Jesus, nor does he site the names of any of the “witnesses” he claims to have used as the source of his information. If these witness were present at the time these words were spoken they should have heard the same words the disciples heard, and wrote down)
Then He took a cup, and when He had returned thanks He gave it to them. Drink all of you from this, He said for this is My blood the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:27-28)(JB)
Then He took a cup and when He had returned thanks He gave it to them, ‘This is My blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. (Mark 14:23-24)(JB)
He did the same with the cup after supper and said, ‘this cup is the new covenant in My blood which will be poured out for you. (Luke 22:20)(JB)
In the same way He took the cup after supper, and said,
This cup is the new covenant in My blood. (1 Corinthians 1125)(JB)
The Son of God did not come to bring a new Covenant; He came to confirm the covenant, and to show that it is possible for flesh to obey its (His) commandments. What the great deceiver has accomplished by deluding God fearing people into believing that there is a new covenant of grace is to keep these believers from entering the kingdom of God. In preventing people from entering the Kingdom of God, He has no one with which to go to war against the ruler of this world. It is only when God has a Kingdom of Heaven on earth filled with people who obey the commands of the Covenant, and who hold to the testimony of His Son, will the war begin (see Revelation 12:17)
‘Whoever believes in Me believes not in Me but in the One who sent Me, and whoever sees Me, sees the One who sent Me. I, the light, have come into the world, so that whoever believes in Me need not stay in the dark any more. If anyone hears My words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall comdemn him, since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world: he who rejects Me and refuses My words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For what I have spoken does not come from Myself; no, what I was to say, what I had to speak, was commanded by the Father who sent Me, and I know that His commands mean eternal life. And therefore what the Father has told Me is what I speak. (John 12:44-50)(JB)
It is my experience that most believers are only familiar with the words of Paul. Christians believe that the words of Jesus were specifically for the Jews and have no application for “new covenant” Christians; this is a lie. According to the testimony of Jesus, we are all in darkness. He came to show us the way out of the darkness into the light of truth. Paul’s words support the darkness, and convince well meaning people that darkness is forever. Paul says to be saved we must live by faith, and believe in that which you cannot see. He states that by doing this God will reward your blind faith with salvation. On the other hand, the Son of God said He came to show us the way out of the darkness, to give sight to those who are blind (spiritually). He defined the difference between His sheep and the world:
I am the good shepherd; I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for My sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to My voice, and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd. (John 10:14-16)(JB)
This testimony of Jesus as given to Him by His Father is clear. The testimony of Paul that is exposed by these words (of Jesus) is a lie. The sheep that belong to the good shepherd hear and listen to His voice ONLY. The words of Paul are not the words of the good shepherd. Notice also that Jesus says, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold-they will be one flock with one shepherd”. The other sheep are the gentiles. Contrary to what Paul says, there is one flock, not two. Paul has Christians believing that the Jews are one separate flock and the gentiles are another separate flock, each with its own unique covenant/form of salvation. According to Jesus, Gentiles must enter the sheepfold through the same gate as do the Jews. Salvation has never belonged to an exclusive group; it has always been open to anyone who would commit to keeping the covenant (Ten Commandments).
The judgment is in process now, the standard of this judgment are the words of the Son of God. If you do not know what these words are you need to spend time in study of the testimony of His eye/ear witnesses. It is the gospel of the kingdom that will be preached throughout the whole world, as a witness to all human-kind, then the end will come. The gospel of the kingdom is the testimony of Jesus. Don’t be weighed in the balance and found wanting.