The Scriptures present Satan in various ways: he is the Serpent, the Devil, and the Dragon to name but three. However, there is one guise in which he appears that is little appreciated by many Christians, and yet it is most deadly: “And [it is] not wonderful, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11: 14). An angel, a messenger, of light! As such Satan does not oppose the Scriptures, but uses them to falsify the truth. “When he speaks falsehood, he speaks of what is his own; for he is a liar and its father” (John 8: 44). Furthermore, not only does he employ the Bible for this purpose but his servants are those who claim the authority of the Lord: “transforming themselves into apostles of Christ” (2 Cor. 11: 13). The passage shows that their claims, like their teaching, is false. Now the most deadly of Satan’s doctrines are those that are closest to the truth because these are the hardest to detect. Not only that, but such false doctrines are even more difficult to deal with when those who teach them clearly belong to Christ and are not false ministers. Satan is not beyond indirectly using genuine servants of Christ as his unsuspecting tools to promulgate erroneous interpretations of Scripture. This gives added weight to such teachings in the eyes of those who are its recipients. For what better agent could Satan have for the propagation of his lies than one who is known and possibly revered as a lover of the Lord!?
One Deadly Doctrine
At the Reformation, believers were recovered to the grand truth that “a man is not justified on the principle of works of law [nor] but by the faith of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 2: 16). This was a singular defeat for Satan. However, as a superb military strategist, Satan ever seeks to turn such setbacks into victory. This is seen when many Christians, while realising that they have finished with the law for justification, are still told to look to the Ten Commandments as a rule of life. They fail to realise that they have finished with the principle of law, not just in regard to justification, but in its entirety. This is a prime example of one the Devil’s deadly doctrines.
I recently saw a sample of such dangerous teaching in the introductory booklet to a series of Bible studies on the Ten Commandments. While acknowledging that justification is by faith and independent of law, the writer stated that the Ten Commandments “are still relevant today if we are to live Godly lives”. Again, he says, regarding the Commandments, “we may apply them in our daily lives as we strive to live Christ–like lives”. What is expressed in this last sentence, the reader will not find anywhere in the Bible. Although both advocates and recipients may not realise it, this teaching is deadly. Why? Because it mingles law with grace, even though law and grace are like oil and water—they do not mix. Taken to its logical conclusion, it is nothing but a return to the Judaism against which the Epistle to the Galatians was written.
Many who insist on the retention of the law as a rule of life, distinguish between what they call the ‘moral law’ (the Ten Commandments and similar injunctions) and the ‘ceremonial law’ (circumcision, feasts, sacrifices etc.). They maintain that while the believer has no relationship to the latter, the former still applies. Although men may make a distinction between what is moral and what is ceremonial in the law, Scripture never does. The terms moral law and ceremonial law are unknown in the Book.
Now no one speaks more of the law in the NT than Paul. When Paul speaks of the law as given to Israel, he always views it as a single entity, a specific example of law as an abstract principle. What men class as ceremonial in the law is always bound to what is moral in the law. Hence in Gal. 5: 3 Paul says “And I witness again to every man [who is] circumcised, that he is debtor to do the whole law” (my emphasis). There is no distinction between what is ceremonial and what is moral. Such distinctions and divisions are false. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19: 6) is a principle that must never be overturned.
There were Judaisers in Paul’s day who wanted to return to the law—the law–teachers of his first epistle to Timothy. With them in mind, Paul says “Now we know that the law [is] good if any one uses it lawfully, knowing this, that law has not its application to a righteous person, but to [the] lawless and insubordinate, to [the] impious and sinful … and if any other thing is opposed to sound teaching, according to the glad tidings of the glory of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted” (1 Tim. 1: 8–11). Many Bible commentators are all confused here. The law should be used for the purpose for which it was designed. Those who would use the law as a rule of life are seeking to use it unlawfully, applying it to those to whom it does not apply. Christians are not unrighteous, lawless and insubordinate. Again, to say that only the ceremonial law is in view here is nonsense. What has the ceremonial side of the law got to do with “smiters of fathers and smiters of mothers” (v9)? What causes the confusion is the failure to see that Paul never divides up the law into its parts, ceremonial and moral, but always views law as a single entity, as a principle or system of dealing with men in the flesh by God. For Christians “the grace of God … has appeared, teaching us that, having denied impiety and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and justly, and piously in the present course of things, awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all lawlessness, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous for good works” (Tit. 2: 11–14).
Law or Grace
In Rom. 6: 14 we have these words: “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under law but under grace”. The emphatic “you” shows that Paul is addressing Christians, as Christians, distinct from other men. Any argument that this verse is limited to the Gospel is totally wrong, for the subject of the Gospel is not in Romans 6. Again, limiting the concept of law in this verse by saying that it only means that you are not under law for justification will not stand. We have the subject of justification in chapters three, four and five, but not in chapter six. The subject in chapter six is the power of sin in a believer’s life, not justification by faith in the Gospel. There is no thought here of not being under the law in one way (for justification) but under it in another (for rule of life). The words “ye are not under law but under grace” form an absolute statement with no exceptions. Law and grace are presented as two opposing principles. The verse shows that throughout his teaching Paul uses law to express a principle, a manner or means of dealing on the part of God, contrasted with grace. If you put yourself under law as a rule of life, you have effectively “fallen from grace” (Gal. 5: 4).
One final thought from Rom. 6: 14: it may be justly inferred from the Apostle’s argument that if sin does not have dominion over one who is under grace, then it does have dominion over one who is under law. This inference is born out from Paul’s teaching in the next chapter of the experience of one under law.
The Argument of Romans Seven
The apostle’s first point is universal and fundamental: “law rules over a man as long as he lives” (Rom. 7: 1). Law has nothing to say to a dead man. When a man is alive, it may exert its claims, but when he is dead it has no further rights. (If a man receives a prison sentence, but dies before he is taken to prison, then the claims of law over that man are ended—he will never go to prison.)
In chapter six, Paul used the figure of the master and the slave to illustrate his argument. The believer was once the bondman (Greek doulos: slave) of sin, but having got his freedom from sin, he is now the bondman of righteousness. There has been a change of master.
In chapter seven a different figure is employed, that of marriage. Only death breaks the bond of the law of marriage (divorce is not contemplated). If a woman’s husband is still alive and she marries another, then she becomes an adulteress; but if the husband dies, she is free to marry another. Paul now applies this figure to the believer’s relationship to the law. (If the example of marriage were applied rigidly, then the law would be the one who would die—but the law is not dead.) These are his words: “So that, my brethren, ye also have been made dead to the law by the body of the Christ, to be to another, who has been raised up from among [the] dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God” (v4). These words are fatal to the delusion of the law as a rule of life. Let us consider them with great care.
The old husband was the law, and the wife, the believer, rightly desired to meet her obligations in the bond—“how she shall please her husband” (1 Cor. 7: 34)—for “the law indeed [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7: 12). Now just as death alone can rightly break the marriage bond, so the bond between the believer and the law has also been broken by death—“ye also have been made dead to the law by the body of the Christ” (v4). The action was not ours. We have been put in that state whether we realise it or not. What placed us in that position? The answer is “the body of the Christ”. It is not the blood of Christ as in previous chapters, for justification, forgiveness or redemption are not the subjects here. It is not the sacrifice of Christ of which the blood is the evidence. It is the body of the Christ. The word body expresses the visible public evidence of a dead Christ. It is His death, not in its sacrificial character, but the solemn fact of it. When Christ hung dead on the cross, the law had nothing further to say to him. The bond with the law was broken. But His death broke the bond for us as well. Our marriage bond to the law has been broken so that we can “be to another, who has been raised up from among [the] dead” (v4). Our bond is now to a risen Christ. We had no link with Him when He was alive on earth (see John 12: 24). Our link with Him is as risen from the dead. So why was all this done? It was done “in order that we might bear fruit to God”. This is God’s way and the only way for us to bear fruit to God. There is no fruit to God from obedience to the law. You will not bring forth fruit to God if you apply the law as a rule of life. The teaching of Scripture is that a believer is dead to sin (see Rom. 6) and dead to the law (see Rom. 7). A dead man having the law as a rule of life is just one of the Devil’s delusions!
In Rom. 7: 7–25 we have the practical experience, personified by Paul, of one who has not realised the truth of the teaching of Rom. 7: 1–6. It is not Christian experience, although it may be the experience of many Christians. It is the experience of one who is using the principle of law for a rule of life. Hence when someone says of the Ten Commandments of the law “we may apply them in our daily lives as we strive to live Christ–like lives”, his striving is that of the man in Romans 7. Yes, our lives should be Christ–like but such legalistic striving is not the way.
Christ or Law
Those who seek to present the law in the Ten Commandments as a rule of life should consider well the Scriptures: “For Christ is [the] end of law for righteousness to every one that believes” (Rom. 10: 4) and “for if righteousness [is] by law, then Christ has died for nothing” (Gal 2: 21). Notice the absence of the definite article before the word law. It is not just the ten words of Sinai but the whole principle of law as a system—not just the end of law for this or for that, but the end of that principle in its entirety. Again, it is not just a question of justification for it does not say ‘if justification come by law’—it is wider than that—it is the whole question of righteousness.
But what is practically wrong with the law as a rule of life? Surely no believer should steal, lie, etc.? Of course not! Again, did not Christ keep the law? Certainly! Then surely, if a person keeps the law, he will be like Christ and exhibit His life. Will he? Did not Christ show compassion in His life? Find me a particle of compassion in the Ten Commandments! Did not Christ forgive men? Those same laws know nothing of forgiveness! The legal injunction was “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22: 39). Was that the limit of Christ’s love? Thus the law was never the measure of Christ!
If I put myself under law as a rule of life, then law and hence self become the vision before me. Law makes demands on me: “Thou shalt …”. It gives me to become occupied with myself: Am I meeting its standards? Have I failed in this or that today? It is all I, I, and I. Read the experience outlined in Rom. 7: 7–25 where you will find the words I, me, my, and myself occur about fifty times in total. By contrast, how many times do you read of the Lord in that passage? You can have the law before you without Christ but you cannot have Christ before you without meeting all the moral obligations of the law. Law turns me in on myself and what do I find when I look there? Continual failure! Under law, I expect something of myself. In grace God expects nothing of me for He has found everything expected of man in Christ. God’s way is Christ.
We are to be like Christ and we are to walk “even as he walked” (1 John 2: 6) but how is this done? We find the desired result in 2 Cor. 4: 11: “for we who live are always delivered unto death on account of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4: 11). How is this effected? To get the answer we must go back to the previous chapter.
Paul contrasts his ministry, which was new covenant in character, with that of the old covenant, the law. But the contrast is drawn, not with Ex. 20 which was law, pure and simple, but with Ex. 34—law brought in after grace has been experienced—the very teaching of those who would bring in the law as a rule of life. For Moses had gone up the mount a second time to plead mediatorally for the people in grace (see Ex. 32: 30–35; 33: 17–23). See how Paul contrasts the two ministries! Even though the law was introduced with glory, referring to Moses’ face, it was still a “ministry of death” (2 Cor. 3: 7) and a “ministry of condemnation” (v9) in contrast to the “ministry of the Spirit” (v8) and the “ministry of righteousness” (v9). All this culminates with v18 “But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by [the] Lord [the] Spirit”.
This is how persons are changed—by looking on Christ as He is, not as He was. It is not occupation with the Lord as He was in suffering here, but occupation with Him in glory there. This is what transforms and forms the likeness or image of Christ in the believer. To be like Him where He was, I must contemplate Him as He is. Men study Christ’s life here and seek to copy it. It is just the legalistic effort of the flesh—the “striving to be like Christ” of the author of the booklet I referred to earlier.
Our predestination is “[to be] conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8: 29) and 2 Cor. 3: 18 is God’s way. When Moses came down from the mountain having been in the presence of God, his face shone. He did not know it but the people saw it, and such was its radiancy that Moses had to cover his face. How much more for us “with unveiled face”! There is no thought of effort or of trying here. If we spend time in the presence of God and look on the Lord’s glory we shall be changed without knowing it. Like Moses, we may not notice any change, but others will. Stephen is the great example of this. He began his final address by speaking of “the God of glory … “ (Acts 7: 2) and men “saw his face as [the] face of an angel” (Acts 6: 15). After its close he saw “[the] glory of God, and Jesus” (Acts 7: 55). What was the result? The display of “the life also of Jesus” (2 Cor. 4: 10). For his last words “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7: 60) are but an echo of the dying words of his Master “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23: 34).
A Final Word from Paul
“For if the things I have thrown down, these I build again, I constitute myself a transgressor. For I, through law, have died to law, that I may live to God” (Gal 2: 18, 19).
From Law to Liberty
Whereas Paul’s first epistle to Timothy presents the Assembly in its order, by the time the second was written things are in disarray. The second epistle is thus particularly applicable for the day in which you and I find ourselves, for the outward position is one of ruin and scattering. “Disputes of words, profitable for nothing” (2 Tim. 2: 14) are common among the saints, and sadly, even “profane, vain babblings” (v16). It is in this context that Paul urges Timothy to “Strive diligently to present thyself approved to God, a workman that has not to be ashamed, cutting in a straight line the word of truth” (v15). It takes a skilled carpenter to cut a really straight line in a piece of wood and in the same way it takes spiritual skill to divide up the Word of God, for divided it must be. Certainly “every scripture [is] … profitable” (2 Tim. 3: 16) and “written for our instruction” (Rom. 15: 4), but it may not necessarily be directly about me or my day! When the Scriptures are rightly handled, light and edification is the result, but when they are cut crookedly, confusion is introduced to the subversion of the hearers. Who, for example, can estimate the loss that has been suffered by believers in sitting under teaching which has mixed up things Jewish and things Christian, and confused law and grace? Christendom has no excuse for this, as it has the complete Scriptures, but this was not the case for the early Christians.
Those of us who are Gentiles (to whom the law was never given) should not underestimate the very real difficulties faced by the first Jewish converts. Had not Moses charged them to “Set your hearts unto all the words that I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to take heed to do, all the words of this law” (Deut. 32: 46)? Almost the last sentence of the OT is a reiteration of this: “Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, the statutes and ordinances” Mal. 4: 4). One can understand therefore, the reluctance of the Jewish converts to accept that the law was only “a shadow of the coming good things” (Heb. 10: 1) and that it had been superseded by something better. Thus there was no sudden change from Judaism to outright Christianity. Despite this, there has been an assumption on the part of many that if Christianity commenced on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, then what we have there is what we have now. Such an assumption will not stand the test of Scripture. Any careful reader of the book of Acts will see at once that there is progression in the Assembly—it develops. The most obvious proof of this is that initially the Assembly was entirely Jewish, and that the introduction of the Gentiles occurred only after a significant time gap had intervened (see Acts 10) and not without opposition. The truth of Ephesians 2, “For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of enclosure, having annulled the enmity in his flesh, the law of commandments in ordinances, that he might form the two in himself into one new man, making peace” (vs 14–15), was a truth unknown (or unappreciated) by the early Jewish converts. Acts is thus a history of change, a record not only of events, but of the development of the truth among the saints. This fact is no less true with respect to the relationship of the early converts with the law. This is why, initially, believers on the Nazarene were only regarded as members of a Jewish sect (see Acts 24: 5), frequented the temple (see Acts 5: 42), and conformed to the Jewish dietary regulations (see Acts 10: 14). Even Paul, whose grasp of the radical nature of the new faith excelled any of his compatriots, was persuaded by James and the Jerusalem elders to submit again to Jewish ordinances (see Acts 21: 18–26).
It is also clear that some of the early converts were more exact in their conformity to the law than others, and it is probable that these were those referred to as “they of the circumcision” (Acts 11: 2) who opposed Peter’s action in using the keys of the kingdom with Cornelius. Later on these believing Pharisees agitated the Assembly as to whether the Gentile Christians should be circumcised and enjoined to “keep the law of Moses” (Acts 15: 5). Again, in Galatians, Paul recalls how “when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to [the] face, because he was to be condemned: for before that certain came from James, he ate with [those of] the nations; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those of [the] circumcision” (Gal. 2: 11, 12). What all this reveals is that Jewish customs and practices were not abandoned overnight (particularly in Jerusalem), and that there was a vigorous campaign by a section within the Assembly to cling on to them. It is a mixed picture, in which some were advancing into the true Christian position where “if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under law” (Gal. 5: 18), but where others, though believers, continued to be “zealous of the law” (Acts 21: 20). These latter were slow in entering into the true character of the faith they had embraced.
The Law of Moses was appropriate for the time and nation for which it was given, but it had now been superseded: “In that he says New, he has made the first old; but that which grows old and aged [is] near disappearing” (Heb. 8: 13). The law “has been our tutor up to Christ” (Gal. 3: 24), but “faith having come, we are no longer under a tutor; for ye are all God’s sons by faith in Christ Jesus ” (vs 25–26). Indeed, Paul goes further and declares that we have finished with law as a principle: “for ye are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6: 14). The absence of the definite article before the word law proves this. Some care, however is needed here. This does not mean that we are free to do what we like (a charge Paul anticipated in the following verse). Just as the heart is once for all brought into obedience to the Gospel, so our other members are to be yielded once for all to righteousness and holiness (see vs 16–23). Again, not being under law does not mean that we have finished with all laws, else what shall we do with the “law of faith” (Rom. 3: 28) or obedience to the laws of the land (see Rom. 13: 1–5)? This would be an ignorant playing with words. Law in Scripture often means just an unvarying principle (as in “law of sin”—Rom. 7: 23). It is quite clear from the context of Galatians 5 that Paul is speaking about law as a system of rules and regulations by which we may earn or continue in favour with God. It is in that sense that we have finished, not only with the Mosaic Law (if we were ever under it) but law itself.
It is a great mistake to assume that these things were universally understood by the early Christians (just as they are often not grasped by their modern counterparts). Some converts do not see clearly straightaway, but, as it were, “see men as trees, walking” (Mark 8: 24, AV). While the Assembly leadership eventually acknowledged that the Gentiles ought not to be brought under law (see Acts 15), there remained a persistent uncertainty around the relationship of the Jew and the law. Peter actually went back to law because he feared those who “came from James” (Gal. 2: 12), which suggests that James was identified in some way with a more conservative position. In Acts 21 Paul arrived in Jerusalem and was informed by James and the elders of the myriads of “Jews who have believed, and all are zealous of the law” (v20). Paul had his justifiable doubts about the reality of some (see Gal. 2: 4), but many were clearly honest men and women who had not been wholly freed from their legalistic past. It is very significant that when James comes to writes his epistle, the same mixed position is in view for he addresses both unbelievers and believers (see James 4: 4; 2: 1), the common thread being that they were of “the twelve tribes which [are] in the dispersion” (James 1: 1)—that is, Jews brought up under law.
If Acts 15: 13–21 is James’ counsel for the Gentile converts, his epistle is his message to his fellow–countrymen who professed Christ. It was probably written around the same time, that is, early in the history of the Assembly, and is reflective of conditions then existing. Thus in James 2: 2 we read of “your synagogue”—clearly these Jewish professors still met in common with others of Israel. A synagogue is a gathering together, not an assembly, a gathering out—for so is the meaning of the Greek words. The truth of a later epistle to Jews to “go forth to him without the camp” (Heb. 13: 13) is not brought out in James at all. It is thus no surprise when the writer assumes his readership are still governed by the terms of the Mosaic law (see James 2: 9–11). However, his intention is to get them to work on better principles, for he contrasts it with a “royal law” (v8)—a principle for living of which there can be no higher. The question naturally then arises as to what James means by this royal law, or “law of liberty” as he calls it in verse 12.
For an answer we need to go back to chapter one where the latter term is first used. There James tells his readers to “accept with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (v21). He then warns “if any man be a hearer of [the] word and not a doer, he is like to a man considering his natural face in a mirror: for he has considered himself and is gone away, and straightway he has forgotten what he was like” (vs 22–24). James then contrasts this man who considers these things only momentarily, with one who “fixes his view on [the] perfect law, that of liberty, and abides in [it], being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of [the] work” (v25, my emphasis). Hence this law of liberty is the implanted word by which we have been born again (see James 1: 18) bearing fruit in the soul of the believer. Indeed it is possible that the only reason James uses the word law is because the concept was so ingrained in the minds of his readers. The law of liberty is a principle working within me. It is perfect because it is superior to a mere regulation from without. It is of liberty because it is not irksome to me—rather than being restrictive, I find it delightful. As Paul later taught “I delight in the law of God according to the inward man” (Rom. 7: 22). James does not, however, develop the doctrine as Paul does, for he leaves out the question of “another law in my members, warring in opposition to the law of my mind” (v23), and the lack of power to carry out that which the new nature desires.
If we are to cut “in a straight line the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2: 15) we need to understand that James wrote for a particular group of people at a particular stage in the Assembly’s history. We do not impugn the inspiration of his epistle if we say that what James taught does not take us into the fullness of the Christian position—indeed we cannot even be sure that he himself ever broke completely with the Mosaic law. The idea of being dead to law and free from law come later, and appear to be peculiarly Pauline doctrines: “law rules over a man as long as he lives” but we “have been made dead to the law by the body of the Christ, to be to another … in order that we might bear fruit to God … but now we are clear from the law, having died in that in which we were held, so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not oldness of letter” (Rom. 7: 1, 4, 6). These were revolutionary truths that the Assembly only gradually assimilated. Indeed, not only was the Jewish element slow in following the Spirit’s guidance, they also remained susceptible to regressing back to law, and worse, carrying Gentiles converts with them. This was what lay behind Paul’s rebuke to the Galatian saints: “how do ye turn again to the weak and beggarly principles to which ye desire to be again anew in bondage?” (Gal. 4: 9). Now it is certainly true that the commandments of the law are “holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7: 12), but compared to the liberty of Christianity, they are nothing but “weak and beggarly”! If “Christ has set us free in freedom” there is thus a great need to “stand fast therefore, and be not held again in a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5: 1). And yet, as we peruse the pages of Church history, it is evident that law–keeping has had an almost magnetic attraction. This fact is made all the more remarkable when we consider that the Assembly (unlike at its beginning) is now overwhelmingly Gentile in composition—and yet nowhere in the NT are Gentiles exhorted to be brought under law! The reason for this ready declension is not difficult to find. “If ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under law” (Gal. 5: 18) is an immensely practical Scripture, and the moment we cease to be led by the Spirit, the appearance of holiness (for that is all it is) can only be maintained in a legal way. Of how many can it be said “Ye ran well” (v7), and yet how very quickly spiritual revivals deteriorate into systems of ecclesiastical rules and culture! Too often orthodoxy has been the prize, forgetting that “If we live by the Spirit, let us walk also by the Spirit” (v25).
Legality delights to put burdens on others, imposing codes of behaviour in order to bring about something that is satisfying to the flesh. What is the answer of true spirituality to this? “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfil the law of the Christ” (Gal. 6: 2). Does this contradict Paul’s earlier statement that “ye are not under law”? No. The law there is a legal code, but the law of the Christ is simply the principle by which He lived—love to others. Although born “under law” (Gal. 4: 4), He did not love men and women because a legal demand was placed upon him to do so—it flowed from what He was in Himself. Having been given a new nature (and a power commensurate with it) we should live the same way. Law–keeping is of no force with such, for “love therefore [is the] whole law” (Rom. 13: 10). Indeed, as those who “Walk in [the] Spirit” we “shall no way fulfil flesh’s lust” (Gal. 5: 16).
As Christians, we “have been called to liberty” (Gal. 5: 13). We will never find ourselves in the good of this calling unless we cut “in a straight line the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2: 15). Scripture needs to be read intelligently, not through “human wisdom” but as “taught by the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2: 13). Certainly the Lord’s words “Until the heaven and the earth pass away, one iota or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law” (Matt. 5: 18) hold true, but we must remember that it was never said to Christians but Jews! Satan may fail to bring about a fall from salvation in Christ—but if he can get a person to live in the previous dispensation of law, then he will have won a significant victory!