(From the Vault)
After you say to an Adventist, “Jesus was a Jew, that’s why He kept the Sabbath,” nine times out of ten they’ll reply, “Jesus is our example.” They say that to prove that we’re supposed to keep the law…but not the whole law, just the 10 commandments, emphasis on the 4th (“as was His custom”).
I did a search and the only verse in the Bible that talks about Jesus being our example is 1 Peter 2:21-25.
It begins, “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow his steps.”
“He never sinned,
nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep
who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
the Guardian of your souls.”
This says nothing about keeping the law. There’s no hint of the law in this passage.
But I did take something valuable out of studying this. Even though I may “suffer” (through insults, personal attacks and strained relationships) for the things I say here and elsewhere as I push back against mis-characterizations of what the Bible says, I will continue to do good and allow Jesus to be my example by not retaliating when I’m insulted or threatening revenge.
The truth is, because He is God, He kept the law perfectly. He is perfect.
The truth is, His perfection is the reason why He was a worthy sacrifice (the spotless lamb that the law required) to atone for our sins and redeem us. He could not have sinned. He could not have broken the law. He was God — the Spirit of God, wrapped in a human body. If, through His Spirit, we are empowered to keep the law perfectly, why not just send the Spirit and skip the bloody Cross?!
In Deuteronomy it says: “For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the Lord our God has given us,” and Romans 10:5 says “For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands.”
But no one ever got it right, it just made them realize their need for a Savior!
Christ died to make us right with God.
Galatians 2:16-21 says:
Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”
17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
I was going to write something about the notion that the Holy Spirit is given to empower us to keep the law. If anyone has a text to back that up, please share. In the meantime, I think the above text addresses that as well. The contrast is living under the law vs. living by the Spirit (See 2 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews and Romans and Galatians and Ephesians).
If you think that the Spirit motivates you to keep the Mosaic law, please comment below and tell me when was the last time the Spirit asked you to attach gold bells to the hem of your clothing (Exodus 28:33).
If you think that the law is separated into moral and ceremonial (the 10C being moral), please explain to me how the the texts below (not found in the 10C) are ceremonial.
Exodus 22:21 – “You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way.”
Leviticus 19:16 – “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.”
Deuteronomy 24:14 – “Never take advantage of poor or destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns.”
“But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses,” Galatians 5:18.
If you think that living by the Spirit and doing away with the law, saying that it’s obsolete, gone away, done away with and nailed to the Cross means that it’s okay for born-again believers to steal, kill and commit adultery, then you need to check your definition of Spirit. Clearly, we’re talking about two different spirits. Keep reading in Galatians 5 if you want to see what it looks like to walk in the Spirit.
When you see Jesus as merely your example, you reduce Him down to be the self-help guru. Emphasis on this overshadows His purpose and His plan to be our sacrificial Lamb, our sinless, spotless sacrifice, whose sacrifice on the Cross saved those who believe and cleansed our sins (past, present AND future), once and for all. (That’s the Gospel, by the way.)
You’ve got to sit down, study this stuff, recognize the assumptions you’re making and weigh those assumptions with the TRUTH found in the Word.
What does the Bible mean when it calls Jesus our example?