As soon as we sit down for our midnight Bible study, Blake says, 3…2…1…
Lights, camera, ACTION!
Hello everyone, in today’s program I would like to welcome Pastor Jim Staley from Passion for Truth Ministries. As all of you know, we here at XYZ Ministries believe that we are not under the law but Pastor Staley believes that Christians today should keep the law of the Old Testament. Today he has kindly come onto our program to defend his views.
Welcome Pastor Staley.
Me: Thank you for having me. It’s good to be here. (I am playing along having absolutely no idea what he is doing or why.)
B: Pastor Staley, Jesus said in Matthew 5 that He came to fulfill the Law. What do you have to say about that?
Me: Well, I’m glad you brought that up. You are absolutely right. He did come to fulfill the Law. But the word for fulfill in Greek is “pleroo”, which means to fill up, make full, or complete the purpose of or meaning of something and is used just two chapters earlier when Jesus was said to have fulfilled all righteousness. Furthermore, Jesus is using a contrasting thought. He says that He did not come to destroy the law, BUT he came to fulfill it. So, even if we didn’t know what the original word was in Greek, we know for sure that the word fulfill is the opposite of destroying, which would be to build up. So, in every case, we know that He is not saying that He is removing the Law. Also, He goes on to say that Heaven and Earth will not pass away until all is fulfilled and anyone that teaches against the law will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. So, Jesus himself says that if we believe the Law is done away with, we will be least in the Kingdom.
B: Thank you, Pastor. In the Book of Hebrews, it says that the Old Covenant has been done away with to make room for the New Covenant. It says that He didn’t desire the blood of bulls and goats. It says that Jesus has given us a better covenant. What do you say about that Pastor?
Me: Well, it is very true that Jesus has given us a better covenant. When you and your wife first got married almost 50 years ago now, you said that both of you were not saved and were terrible alcoholics, isn’t that right?
B: Yes, you are right Pastor, we were quite a scene before we got saved.
Me: But, you were still in a marriage covenant with each other right?
B: Yes, we were. Even though we were sinners, we still loved each other.
Me: Great. Would you say that when you got saved and the Spirit of God entered into both of your lives that it made your existing covenant with one another better?
B: Well, when you put it that way, for sure.
Me: So, when Jesus came along into your lives, did He do away with the previous covenant that you had with one another? Or would you say that because He was now the true High Priest of your house that the “New Covenant” was much richer and better than the “Old Covenant” you began with? In a way, making your “Old Covenant” obsolete?
Me: Think about it, Jesus didn’t do away with your original marriage covenant, He simply made it better. In the same way, He doesn’t do away with the entire Old Covenant, He just took the place of the human high priest, making it now a perfect covenant! As you know, from being a former businessman in your past life, if you change a single word in a contract it makes the entire contract null and void. It doesn’t mean that the new contract is a brand new contract in its content, but simply brand new from what was changed and added. And in this case, when Jesus took the helm, instead of a fallible man, the contract is not only better but it fulfills and builds up the original covenant.
B: Wow Pastor, that was certainly a thorough explanation and…
Me: (interrupting him mid-sentence) After this commercial break I would be happy to answer any more of your questions. (commercial break) Ok, Blake, what are you doing and what are you up to? (asking while laughing)
B: I just thought that if God had called you to minister to an international television audience with the message that He gave you, you might need some practice.
Me: Yeah, but these are easy questions and I’ve done this so many times that we could go through a hundred more verses and we still wouldn’t be done yet.
B: This time I’m gonna rattle your cage Pastor.
B: Action! Welcome back, everyone. Pastor Staley, I want you to explain to me one more verse. Romans 10:4 says that “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness for everyone that believes”. How do you interpret that one?
Me: Well, I do admit that verse seems to really be saying that the Law of God is certainly done away with until we go back to the original word for “end” in that verse to find out what it is really saying. The English just doesn’t do it justice. The Greek word is telos #5056 in the Strong’s and it means, to set out for a definite point or goal, the point aimed at as a limit.
Paul is not saying that it is the termination of the Law. He is simply saying that it is the goal or entire point aimed at righteousness. He goes on to quote from the Hebrew Scriptures that there is righteousness and life that comes from the Law when you keep it. He is simply bringing deeper meaning to that well-known Scripture of his day and telling them that they have been focusing on the righteousness and the blessings that come from keeping the Law and he wants them to see that Christ WAS the righteousness and the entire point of every law, period!
Furthermore, telos cannot possibly mean termination, as the exact same word is used several more times in the New Testament in the sense of goal or point. Take a look at 1 Timothy 1:5. It says, “Now the PURPOSE of the commandment is love from a pure heart…” The word “purpose” there is telos, the same word used in Romans 10:4. Interestingly enough, in the King James Version, they translate it as “end” instead of purpose. (I am smiling knowing that the host of this “interview” should be convinced by now…lol.)
B: Well, Pastor Staley, you certainly have eloquently defended your position and we all here at XYZ Ministries want to thank you for taking the time to be on the program. But, as I said before, we here at XYZ Ministries believe that we are not under the Law and so I guess we will have to agree to disagree. (What? I think to myself while I’m still on the “air”. How can he possibly say that after I just answered every question he had without reservation?) Join us next time as I interview a man that says that eating pork gives him the power to do miracles. (What?)
Me: You’ve lost it, man. What on earth was all that about anyway?
B: (shaking his head in disappointment) No, Pastor, you lost it. You lost the opportunity to make a huge impact to millions of viewers.
Me: What are you talking about? I debunked your every question. I answered every objection. I…
B: I never saw God.
B: I never saw God. (voice inflection rising)
Me: What do you mean you never saw God? If I showed you God, you would die according to the Bible, so I was just saving your life! (I said jokingly.)
B: Pastor, (Great. He’s about to get real serious.) you missed the entire point. Do you remember how you have been telling me how much the Father has been teaching you about pressing into the Spirit through prayer and holding onto Him all the way through and not trying to fix the problem yourself? How He was teaching you to learn to wait for Him to move in the situation? (I nervously nod my head.) Do you remember how you were telling me that you used to always react to situations first with what YOU thought should be done in the situation, running around like a chicken with your head cut off? Do you remember how you were always sure that you were on the right track solving the problems as you went? Remember how you told me that YOU were always so busy trying to manage the situation, that YOU were always throwing up prayers and then moving forward with whatever YOU thought should be done?
..Jim…(he lowers and softens his voice while taking his glasses off and leaning forward across the old beat-up table that separates us)…Jim, while you are doing everything that you are doing, God says, “What About Me?”
You were eloquent. You were thorough. I couldn’t rebut anything that you said. You know your theology. You won the debate. But, you never showed me God. God says, “What About Me?” (I’m starting to slump a bit as I looked at him completely dazed, silent, and confused as my eyes filled with water and I didn’t even know why. Why did this not feel like a mock interview anymore? Why am I now emotional over something that isn’t even real? What is the matter with me? He continued.)
Pastor, if you are going to ever truly get this message across to the masses, you can’t go through the mind. You have to go through the heart. They have to feel and see God. You told me that the Father brought you here because you were about to broadcast an incomplete image of Him and His message. He has been teaching you for months about BOTH SIDES of the coin. Which side of the coin did you show me tonight? Which side did you just show millions of our viewers? (At this point, I look up at him and I truly felt like God, Himself, was sitting across from me personally trying to get me to see something so big that His heart was about to break if I didn’t get it.)
Me: (Trying to keep the tears that have filled my eyes from breaking through the dam and streaming down my face) I understand now. I understand. (I take a deep breath)
B: 3…2…(Is he serious?)...1…Action.
Blah, blah, blah, introduction…Pastor Staley, can you tell us what Matthew 5 means when Jesus says that He fulfilled the law?
Me: Well sir, first I want to thank you for having me on your program. You know, the truth is, sir, that it’s not really about Matthew 5, Romans 10, Galatians, or Hebrews. You see, before I looked into the roots of my faith, I was a pretty normal Christian. I loved God, loved my family, and loved my country.
But, deep down, if I was truly honest, there was something missing. I was constantly saying to myself, there has got to be something more! I hadn’t had a zeal for the Word since I got saved and my marriage seemed like it was constantly being challenged by whatever life seemed to throw my way. I struggled with purpose, was unsure of my future, and was frustrated spiritually. I know that there are millions of other Christians out there that are right now feeling some of those very same feelings. However, when I dug into the roots of my faith and began looking through the eyes from the Author‘s perspective, my faith was flooded with new life. When I realized that the word Law, in the Hebrew language, really meant Instructions, my faith took on a whole new meaning. The Creator of all was giving us Instructions for life and for blessing. We didn’t have to keep it if we didn’t want to. We don’t have to do anything. But, in His great love and mercy, He didn’t leave us all alone down here since the fall. He gave us a roadmap. And that roadmap is His Word, His instructions.
1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome”. When it dawned on me that the New Testament didn’t exist when this was written and that it was all the laws and traditions of the religious leaders of the first century that the writers of the New Testament were so against, I realized that His instructions were not legalistic, they were for a legal relationship! These were the wedding vows!
I got saved by faith, just like I got married under oath. But afterward, I needed to spend my time finding out what pleases my spouse and then doing those things to make her happy! We say that B.I.B.L.E. means “Basic INSTRUCTIONS Before Leaving Earth”. Instructions for what? Instructions for a dynamic, spirit-filled, love induced, on fire and passionate relationship with Him!
Sir, I could go verse by verse and share how we have misinterpreted Paul and Jesus. I could show you how in Mathew 5 that fulfill actually means to build up or make complete and not to be done away with. I could explain to you that Romans 10:4 actually reads in the original language that Christ is the PURPOSE of the Law for righteousness and that Jesus came to bring full purpose and meaning to the Instruction manual for life. But sir, all I can tell you is that He has completely fulfilled me and my family since we have been looking into these ancient truths. He has shown me the “end” and “purpose” of my life.
My marriage has been healed. My family has been restored. My kids are on fire for God. I have seen more supernatural visions, dreams, healings, and miracles than in all the previous decades of my life combined.
All I know is that one day Jesus showed up and showed me another side of Him that I had never seen before in my entire Christian life. He showed me something more that we have all been looking for. My thirst has finally been quenched….not from Law, but from LOVE. The same Word that was in the Old Testament written down in the form of instructions and commandments, that same exact instruction manual (Word) came in the flesh to teach me how to love Him and love my neighbor.
We could talk theology until we are blue in the face. (Now, I’m looking directly into the camera.) Ladies and Gentlemen, when we stop seeing a list of rules and start seeing the love of Jesus in the instructions when we see that He cared so deeply for us and knows what is best for us that He would leave behind for us a training manual for our kids and for our entire lives, then our families will begin to be healed…our children will begin to come back to the Lord, and we will see more of the hand of God in our lives than ever before!
When we start actually doing Bible things in Bible ways, we will once again be living in Bible times and experiencing the power that we all so eagerly are waiting for. When we stop loving Him our way, through our traditions, and through our man-made ways, then maybe we will see God…face to face…and live.
B: (wiping his eyes) Pastor…you got it. (Pause)... My assignment is almost done.
I walked back to my bunk stunned at what the Spirit taught me tonight. This night will never be forgotten. For years, I have taught thousands of people around the world how to defend their faith, how to defend the Scriptures, and how to share their faith and be the last one standing. But, the entire time, God was saying, “What About Me?”
Had I raised and taught a debate team instead of a true army of God that shows the love of the Messiah and exemplifies His grace and mercy everywhere they go? The two-sided coin seems to be THE instrument that the Father has chosen to really emphasize the order in which all things go. The light comes from the top of the coin (Spirit side) and THEN filters through into the Truth side. If you push the Truth first, only a small percentage will see it. We must show them “Jesus” and the fruit of the Spirit first. They have to see and hear the testimony first or they will see nothing else.
Have you made the same mistake that I have made and shared the message of Torah with friends and family by sharing the wrong side of the coin first? Perhaps they are having a very hard time accepting this life-changing message because they don’t see God. Perhaps your parents are offended, not because of what you have shared with them, but because it feels like you are indicting or rejecting them for how they raised you. Maybe, if they knew how much you loved them and were thankful for the wonderful job of raising you, they would pause and listen. Maybe, if they knew how much you appreciated their care and love for you they, too, would see the new revelations which are sitting on top of the foundation that was laid that you are uncovering. Maybe, just maybe, then they could actually hear the theology. Maybe if it was all about Him instead of theology, they would see it.
We pray, and then do things our way. We share with people the Truth that He has shown us and then get frustrated that they don’t understand it or accept it. In both cases, the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth says, “What About Me?”
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