INSIGHTS, OBSERVATIONS, AND QUOTATIONS
“According to the plain teaching of the New Testament, the church is a spiritual body, Christ is head over it, every Christian is a member of it, and there is no organization in it but local congregations. All Christians are ‘one body in Christ;” there are ‘many members, yet but one body;” that one body is the church. In New Testament times the Christians in each locality formed, or constituted, a congregation for religious work and worship. Each local congregation thus formed or constituted was the church—the body of Christ—in that place, and every Christian in that locality belonged to it because he was a Christian, and worshiped in it and worked through it because there was nothing else for any Christian to be a member of or to worship in and work through. Thus they kept ‘the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ There were no ecclesiastical brotherhoods [“tribes,” “traditions,” “fellowships,” “denominations,” etc., hf] in Christianity in New Testament times. Christ and all Christians were one, as the vine and its branches are one” (F. D. Srygley, Letters and Sermons of T. B. Larimore, Volume 1, reprinted by Guardian of Truth Foundation, 2006, p. 208). xxxxxxxxxx
“Paul argued that the Roman Christians had ‘become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God’ (Rom. 7:4). They had ‘been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter’ (7:6). Paul defined what he meant by referring to the law that said, ‘You shall not covet’ (7:7; Ex. 20:17; Dt. 5:21), the tenth of the Ten Commandments. Paul later noted, ‘For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes’ (10:4)” (Phil Sanders, “Rome: Capital of the Empire,” The Spiritual Sword, Volume 50, No. 4, July 2019, pp. 38-39).
Of significance is the fact that Christ our Savior did not say to His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the torah (the five books of the law of Moses) to every creature.” Rather, He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16, emphasis mine, hf).
Of further significance is the fact that the apostle Paul did not say, “For I am not ashamed of the torah of Moses for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Rather, he said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16, emphasis mine, hf).
Of still further significance is the fact that Paul did not say that Christ will take vengeance “on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the torah of Moses.” Rather, he said that Christ will “take vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 1:6-9, emphasis mine, hf).
“New Testament churches are under a new covenant (Heb. 8:7-13). Churches in the New Testament honored the day on which Jesus was resurrected from the dead (Mk. 16:9). The disciples assembled on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7). The apostle Paul admonished the saints to lay by in store upon the first day of the week, knowing that was when they would be assembled (I Cor. 16:1-2). The new covenant would not be like the old covenant (Jer. 31:31-32). The Lord’s Supper would not be the Passover, and the Lord’s day would not be the Sabbath (Col. 2:14-17). The priesthood would not be after the order of Levi (I Pet. 2:9), and the law would not be the law of Moses (Heb. 7:12)” (Alan E. Highers, “Characteristics of New Testament Churches,” The Spiritual Sword, Volume 50, No. 4, July 2019, p. 40).
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing [handling aright, ASV] the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15, NKJV).
Hugh Fulford, August 13, 2019
- August 18-22: Polishing the Pulpit, Sevierville, TN