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Learning the Lessons of the Past

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2 John 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (ESV)

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Learning the Lessons of the Past

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One of the things that truly drives me crazy is that the things my parents used to tell me back when I was a teenager, the things I rolled my eyes at, yep, you guessed it. They turned out to be right.

Don’t you hate that? I remember as a teenager thinking, “What do they know?! They’re living in the past!” How about you? And then as you get older and experience the rough and tumble of life, all those things that mum and dad tried to teach you, come home to roost.

Many people today claim to be Christians. Though they claim the Christ-name for themselves, they live their lives as spiritually and emotionally rebellious teenagers. They read their Bibles and exclaim, “What does God know? All that stuff’s old-fashioned.” And so, much of what He says about how we should live, how we should love, how we should follow Jesus, goes out the window! So today, a word of warning:

2 John 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (ESV)

You may disagree with what God says on a whole range of issues, but the Bible isn’t Facebook, where you click the like (or dislike) button and post your outrageous opinions. It’s not like that at all.

You either abide in the teaching of Christ, dwell in it, trust in it, feed on it, or not. And if I’m honest, as I look back on my past, the only time things have gone awry in my life, are when, like an immature teenager, I decided that I knew better than God.

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.

That’s His Word. Fresh … for you … today.


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Ethan Crawshaw

Dear Stephen,

Thanks very much for the question you have posed regarding the relevance of the many
rules for living we find embedded in the Bible. Mercifully, Christians are living under grace
as expressed in the New Covenant rather than having to follow the sheaf of requirements
expressed in the Old Testament. Prior to the ministry of Jesus Christ, the only way to seek
peace with God was to attempt to follow the many rules laid out in the first five books known
as the Pentateuch. Needless to say, this proved to be an impossible task. In contrast,
Christ ushered in the New Covenant, as prophesied below:

Jeremiah 31:31,32
“Behold the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the
house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant I made with their fathers on the
day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant they broke,
though I was their husband,” declares the Lord.

Through his death on the cross, Christ has provided a once-for-all, perfect sacrifice for the
sins of those whom God has chosen to follow him. Thus, forgiveness is not based on our
merit but entirely on our trust in Jesus. This is brought out in the passage below:

Hebrews 8: 12,13
“For I will be merciful toward their inequities, and I will remember their sins no more.” In
speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming
obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish.

Does this mean that the entire code of conduct of the Old Testament is now to be
discarded? Absolutely not – consider own Christ’s words:

Matthew 5:17
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I have not come to
abolish them but to fulfil them.”

This passage is from the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus shines a bright light on the
true meaning of the Ten Commandments. This is the moral code handed down to Moses
which binds Christians together today. What is being abolished is the raft of ceremonial or
judicious rules the Jews were attempting to follow prior to Christ’s advent. These included
the restrictions imposed by the keeping of the Sabbath but also cutting of the beard,
trimming of the hair etc, etc.

The Thirty Nine Articles of faith brought in at the time of the Reformation and adopted by the
Church of England touches on this subject in Article 7;

‘Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching on ceremonies and rites, do not
bind Christian men, not the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any
commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the
obedience of the commandments which are called moral.’

Yes, Christians follow all the teachings of the New Testament because they emanate from
Jesus himself. He emphasizes love for God and love for our neighbours, which summarize
the requirements of the Ten Commandments:
Matthew 22:37-40

"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is
the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: &#39You shall love your neighbour
as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

My best wishes,
Your brother in Christ,

John 5:24,25


Just a question, no criticism. If we’re to follow everything in the bible to the letter, why is it considered OK to cut hair and shave? Or, are you saying that some of what is taught in the old testament is not relevant in today’s society, but all in the new testament is?

Thank you.

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