As one begins their study of the New Covenant of Grace, remembrance of what “time” it is in the History of God’s work among men. Remember Christ came during the Old Covenant days, and much of what HE spoke had to do with correcting wrong teachings concerning the Law, along with many other teachings concerning WHO HE was and future events along with Living a perfect keeping law life, not to speak of how much HE spoke concerning His coming substitutionary death for His people on the cross!
I. FROM THE CROSS THROUGH THE BOOK OF ACTS IS A TRANSITION PERIOD!
Moving out from the Cross, the Resurrection, and Ascension, Christ Jesus begins to show Himself to His disciples and open up more of the Scriptures to them concerning the fact He is the Lord from glory and that He would be sending back the Holy Spirit to be with them – taking His place in their own hearts and life, as He is seated at the Throne of God the Father in heaven making intercession for His people.
Acts can be considered the “Acts of the Holy Spirit”! The Apostles whom God would use in a powerful manner preaching the Gospel to all, were given special miracle gifts to authenticate that they truly were giving out the Living God’s truth and message. These men were 12 men who had walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry and they ministered mainly to the Jews. Paul the Apostle was a special called Apostle to the Gentiles, even though he was a Jew also. The office or role of these men were Apostles, an office that did not continue after the last one passed away. Also, their special gifts were no longer operable in others lives after this transition time period, for those were only given to REAL Apostles which meant they had been with Jesus, walked with Him during His days on earth. Paul was only exception although HE did SEE the RISEN CHRIST Who revealed Himself to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus, and then taught Him over his early years all he needed to know about the God etc., which is revealed in all of his epistles.
Acts is not a writing developing Doctrinal issue like Romans, Ephesians, or the Pastoral Epistles. It is a running account of God’s work through the Holy Spirit in the Apostles and even in men like Phillip and Stephen, special gifted men whom God worked miracles through also.
By the way, none of what I stated about the miracles, etc., means that God doesn’t or will not do such things again among men on earth. He has, He will and we know so for Revelation reflects many types of miracles performed by Christ through His people! Also, down through history there have been miracles performed by gifts given to certain individuals from time to time, but it is not as prolific as it was during the ACTS days!
We do have some doctrine taught in Acts, but that is not its primary purpose. So, to use certain things that the Apostles did and make them Apostolic is not correct. There are NO demands we can make about gifts anyway, God gives a gift to someone as HE chooses to do and when He wants them to function. We don’t make them take place just because we want a gift. We can ask and pray for a gift but God is the ONE who makes that Choice, Apparently He isn’t making it to much because I don’t know of any person who really Speaks for instance in a foreign language immediately without studying such language from a normal human standpoint. It may have happened over the past history occasionally, and somewhere for a moment of time, but I know of none that have it. The gibberish done today is NOT what was given as a gift in that day. It was KNOWN languages that existed on earth. It is anti Biblical to say one has to have this gift today if they have the Holy Spirit. That is not taught in the word of God!
2. ACTS SHOWS US THAT THE LAW (ALL LAWS IN THE O.T.) HAVE CEASED BEING OUR TUTOR!
God is taking away from the Saved Jewish believers as well as the pagan lost Jews, a security blanket! They devoted their lives to the Law but with NO faith by a lot of the Jews. They were legalistic to the core. The Pharisee’s were like the orthodox or fundamental Christians of this day in terms of devotion to the Law scriptures.
Christian maturity comes as God weans the saints off of their security blanket, the Law. I am sure they felt insecure during these times and you can see a lot of this by the reaction of the Judaizers, and the Jerusalem Church leaders also. Even Peter and Barnabas were deceived on this issues and Paul had to call Peter out about that matter as he had separated himself from the Gentiles during a meeting when they had a meal together.
Paul preached freedom from the Law. He also stated we DIED to the law. It was fading away and being removed from the local congregations especially the dominated Jewish groups who had tendencies to use it incorrectly.
THE LAW AND ITS PLACE NOW!
The law was never intended to serve as a foundation for the Christian life. I read an article today where a prominent popular denominational writer wrote about how important the Law and the Sabbath was to the Christians today! Totally wrong and was a Lie! People buy into it because they just do not study the word properly and believe anything they hear from the pulpits they are affiliated with without questioning such!
We have NO right or Scriptural basis by which to select portions of the Mosaic Law and claim that these should supervise believers conduct. When I was first saved, I became affiliated with congregations which were filled with ministers of that denomination who preached the law and even used it to place fear in the people. For instance, they used the verses in Malachi, to teach tithing. They would tell us that if we didn’t tithe God will kill us or put us in the hospital for sure. That HE would collect that tithe one way are another, we either give it, or He causes us to pay physically and monetarily Doctors or Hospitals or Funeral homes the tithe! That was awful. I had to go a long time cleansing my heart by the grace of God and the word of God to get out of this brainwashed status I had been placed in. I though they were speaking the truth for surely they were Gospel preaches and looked up to in such a position in that day!
The Law brings condemnation! Period! It was designed to show sinners that they were sinners and needed to be saved and redeemed from sin! But, that is not for the bride of Christ, for we LIVE and Breath GRACE and it produces Holy Living in us, and we are under the LAW of Christ, which is LOVE!
The law will actually cause saints to sin more and more and more! SIN takes advantage of the law and uses it to entice us into sin, and also to bring to us shame, disgrace, lack of faith, lack of assurance, and guilt! One can expect MORE struggle and MORE sinning if they adopt the law as their guide for Living. Don’t do it! Look to Jesus and walk in the Spirit and you will NOT fulfill the Lusts of the flesh! Grace moves us into POWER over the flesh and sin! The Law is good, but to use it unlawfully as it is being done even today is sin also! Christ stated we are DEAD TO THE LAW! GALATIANS IS A BOOK TOTALLY DEVOTED TO THE FACT WE DO NOT USE THE LAW! That means no more Sabbath for Christ is our 24/7 REST! No more law tithing with threats, we give freely and even more than a tithe! Legalism is heresy and it is rampant in many local churches today even though they may believe a lot of the Gospel and Doctrines of Grace but in the end, pervert both!
WE ARE TO TAKE NOTE OF THE ALLEGORY USED IN GALATIANS 4!
God used a allegory about Hagar and Sarah portraying Hagar and her son as representing the LAW and Sarah and her son representing Grace. God said, Hagar and son had to leave and not be included anymore in the family. For all practical purposes she and the son were ‘dead’ to the family of Abraham now! No more part of Abraham’s family.
This coincides with the many verses of scripture letting us know now we do not use the Law, which consists of ceremonial, pictorial, and specific laws such as the 10 Commandments and the 613 other ones. Not to be used for salvation or sanctification. In fact, as I stated before, using the law only makes MORE sin take place rather than stopping sin! We are under GRACE alone now! So go live in it! Be FREE!!!! In doing so you will see a life more in line with the total morality and character of God than ever before!