The Shadow of the Law
Heb.10:1 - For the law having a shadow of good things to come…
There is a movement afoot that is an attractive and clandestine path back to the Church of Rome and ultimately back to Leviticus and the law itself. It is completely out of God’s will for His New Testament bride to adorn herself with the grave clothes of that which is dead and gone. Paul clearly teaches that the main purpose of the law was to expose our sin and bring us to Christ. All the symbols, all the observances, all the priestly clothing, all the candles, all the incense, and all the shed blood of animals were symbols, precursors, and object lessons that were a weak rehearsal that would one day be fulfilled in Christ Jesus. When the New Testament was cut and fulfilled through the blood of God’s Son the Old Covenant and all the beggarly elements were to be done away with to give way to the exceeding glory that was in the Lord Jesus.
So now the bride was to worship her Bridegroom in Spirit and truth and not bound by the visual furniture of the Tabernacle, and in truth, WE are the tabernacle. If the purpose of all these Old Testament accoutrements were to bring us to Christ, why would present day believers who have found Christ set up their worship as if they were still looking? And if Christ is found today in the Spirit why would we let visual representations that came from the law compete for the invisible worship of the Spirit? It is an unhealthy and unbiblical mixture that keeps alive that which was created by God with the inherent ingredient of death. To be done away with was its glorious destiny. In a metaphor it was John the Baptist whose ministry was to point to Christ and then decrease and eventually die. The law is dead, leave it alone.
If you go to a church where the minister wears a robe have you ever wondered why? Well it comes from the Roman Catholic Church who not only wanted to visually exalt the clergy, but they shaped themselves after the Old Testament law. But today there is no order of priests, we are all priests and Christ is our High Priest so why the robe? It is evident that it comes from the law not the New Testament. Does your church light candles? Same principle, a shadow of the law that supposedly now represents Christ’s presence. An altar? That is also a modern representation of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat which is actually sacrilege because it attempts to steal the invisible glory which is in Christ Jesus. Today's holy altar is not made with hands, it abides in the sanctified heart of a true believer of the Lord Jesus.
When the minister turns to the altar and prays he is in his posture representing the intercessory ministry of the Old Testament priesthood but Paul tells us we no longer need a mediator between us and our Lord, Jesus is our one and only mediator. By the way, when you see the television preachers ask you to send in your prayer requests and they will bring them before God they are also digging out the Old Testament usually for filthy lucre. And when you see churches baptizing babies they are again attempting to portray the Old Testament circumcision in an observance of the Old Testament covenant ceremony which is no longer valid in the New Covenant. Today’s covenant is purely by grace through faith which the infant cannot exhibit. And the parents are to train their children in the gospel, so baptism is again the Roman way of salvation which some protestants have mistakenly adopted.
And today there are teachings that now include things like Advent wreaths and observances of Lent and other man made holy seasons. These too are reaching back into the graveyard of Old Testament commandments and attempting to sanctify them in the New Covenant which is the Covenant of the Spirit, not the commandment. And when we do these things we not only dilute the glory of Christ in the midst of His bride, we resemble the Roman Catholic Church which was actually the originator of many of these fleshly rituals. Paul again is clear in Colossians not to blend our worship and obedience to Christ with any observances of holy days, and moons, and sabbaths, and all the other things that had their place in God’s redemptive plan but now are obsolete and not worthy of the glory of His blood washed bride. We are not only free from the law we are to discard it. Of course that doesn’t give us license to sin but our obedience is to Christ not the Old Testament. We are not of the carnal commandment, we are born of the Spirit and God’s law is now written on the fleshy tables of our hearts not the tablets of stone.
So when you see and hear some modern Christian movements begin to incorporate more visual and Roman Catholic things into their services, beware, they just might be heading down a path that again leads into bondage and the shadow of the law. I was raised in the Lutheran church which had many of the things I’ve mentioned because Luther retained many of the Catholic traditions he had been taught. Have we not had sufficient years from the Reformation to completely shake off the Roman influence? And what ritual do Lutherans observe as the sacrament of becoming a member of the church? That’s right, your first communion. Why? Because the Roman Catholic church believes that the actual blood and body of Christ is eaten in communion and with that you receive more and more grace that will one day help you to get to heaven. So the Lutherans have compromised saying that it isn’t the real body and blood but it is more than just a representation. More grave clothes.
Why would a person who was let out of jail set up his new freedom with visual reminders of his former incarceration? He wouldn’t, and neither should we. That doesn’t mean we can never have a candlelight service or a cross or other symbols, but they must not ever be the conduit for worship to our Lord and Savior. And the movements that advocate incorporating these things in the gatherings as worship enhancers are going the wrong direction. Thirty years ago if you had told me that evangelicals would again return to the Roman Catholic Church I would have said you were delusional. It turns out much of the evangelical world is delusional.
Christ is the end of the law for everyone that believes. Even orthodox preachers get so afraid that believers will stray in their freedom they teach that although the law doesn’t save you it still has a place in today’s evangelical world. No, it is dead and gone for everyone who believes, Jew or Gentile. Do not be afraid, the Spirit is well able to translate the Word of God into living deeds of obedient love in this New and final Covenant. Jesus is all in all, He needs no Old Testament help and all the shadows only obscure the glory that is rightfully His. And all the New Testament commandments come from our Lord through the Spirit, not from the law through Moses.
So today we can enter His throne room by grace and commune with Him directly. We have access into His redeeming blood, there is no need of a bronze wash bowl. Christ in us is our hope of glory so there is no need of the ark made with hands. But we are free to sing His praises, free to bow our heads, free to lift up holy hands, free to kneel in His presence, and free to lift up our worship in the Spirit before His holy presence among His people. Thank you Father for the Old Testament and what it teaches us about many things, but we praise your Holy Name that we have been born of the Spirit, washed in the redeeming blood of the Lamb, sealed with Your Spirit, and we are standing fast in the liberty wherein Christ has made us free.
Whom the Son has set free, is free indeed.
And in case you want more I recommend reading this post about The Scarlet Woman at Possessing the Treasure.