The World Tomorrow

Law and Grace

by Herbert W Armstrong


Do people today believe what Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount? If you’d read that again, you would be shocked and surprised to find how few people believe it. And how many people seem to think that Jesus was all wrong, at least that’s the way they live, that’s the way they talk. Do they do what He said? He said; "Let your light [so] shine..." (Matthew 5:16)

And what is light? It is the truth of the Bible of the Word of God. He was the light of the world, the light of men, and light shining in the darkness. But He said even then that;

"...this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world [He brought that light, His word that He spoke was that light. He said that light has come into the world, but], loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

Do you think human nature has changed? Are people any different today? Do they like light today? Now, He said, in other words, we’re to learn the truth. The truth that Jesus spoke, the truth that’s in the Bible. And that is light and; "Let your light [so] shine [how? By arguing? By talking? No. He said] ...that [men] may see your good works..." (Matthew 5:16)

In other words, by living it so that others can see, because that light is the right way to live. It is the way to do, to think, and to act, and to live. And He said to live that way, that other men will see your good works.

Now, today people don’t practice what they preach, they don’t want to live according to any good works. But they do go around trying to talk other people into their brand of religion, and argue people into it. You can’t find any place in the Bible where we are told to go around trying to argue other people into our particular ideas of religion. Jesus had the truth. It wasn’t just His 'idea' of religion, it was the truth of God. But nowhere did He ever try to talk anyone into it. Nowhere did He use any pressure one way or another to try to get anyone converted.

Today, people use just as high pressure methods trying to get people converted, as salesmen do trying to sell you a bill of goods. I wonder if you ever stopped to think about it? In the evangelistic meetings they work up an emotional pitch. They start out with a sentimental appeal, and they work it up to a high emotional pitch. And then the workers come down the aisles, and they see anyone looking a little hesitant they stop and begin to work on them with an emotional line. Trying to get them up to the altar, and trying to talk them into it. Jesus didn’t do that, my friends. That’s the way people do today. It is not the way that Jesus did. It is not the way that Peter, James and John and the other apostles did. It’s not the way the apostle Paul did. It is not the way you find in the Bible. It is the way of paganism that the churches have adopted and that many of them are doing today.

Now, He said; "Let your light...shine...that [men] may see your good works..." (Matthew 5:16) They don’t do that today, they do the opposite. He said that He did not come to destroy the law of God, but to fulfill it, and that those who do the commandments of God, and teach men so, will be great in the Kingdom of God. But those who do not are going to be called the least - but they won’t be there. And that not a dotting of an 'i' or the crossing of 't' is going to be altered from God’s Law until all is in force and all are fulfilling the law. (Matthew 5:16-19 paraphrased)

And as I’ve pointed out in these past several broadcasts, that the book of James says, that we are to follow His steps and we too must fulfill the law even as Jesus did. And love is the fulfilling of the law. And if we do not fulfill it then we are committing sin and the penalty is death, death for all eternity — eternal punishment.

God's Law In Action Today (PLAY from 03:56)

Now, we hear people constantly trying to tell us that the law of God is bad, that it isn’t good, it’s contrary to our best interest. And that Jesus was smarter than His Father, and He knew the mistake His Father had made in that terrible, awful law. And Jesus did away with it.

Listen, I read in the program yesterday from the writings of Paul where He said that we establish the law, and it's only the doers of the law that shall be justified (Romans 2:13). Now, someone else that wants to do away with the Law of God, will turn to other places where you’re under a curse if you are trying to keep the works of the law.

Well, my friends, I’m going to come to the answer to that pretty soon. There is no contradiction in the Bible. But why do they want to take one set of passages and overlook the other. Now, we’re coming to the other set, and we’re going to explain the whole thing. And the thing is this, here is where they are way off the track and this is the place that they stumble, the thing that they do not seem to understand.

The other night I was trying to explain something to a little granddaughter of mine. She had a high fever and I was going to ask God to heal her. And I wanted her to understand because she’s getting old enough to begin to believe too. And so I held a book in my hands and I asked her if she could see anything between that book and the floor and she couldn’t. I passed my hand along between the book and the floor, there was nothing there, she couldn’t see a thing. I said "But if I take my hands off the book and quit holding it up here, something’s going to draw it down to the floor." And so I let loose of it and something did, sure enough, just pull that book right down to the floor.

Well, I said, “Now, what made that book come down to the floor? What pulled it down? Could you see anything?”


I gave her a few other examples of things she couldn’t see. I blew a little on her and blew her hair over to one side. I said, “You didn’t see that wind come your way did you?”

She said, “No.”

But I said, “You felt it, and it blew your hair, but you couldn’t see it.”

Then I explained how you can’t see God, and you can’t see the invisible things of God, and the powers and forces that God set in motion, but God is there. God set the force, the power, the law of gravity in motion. God controls it, He sustains it, He preserves it, He keeps it living, He keeps it active and He guides and directs it. God guides and directs all the laws of the forces of nature. Because these forces, these powers, these energies, are all the creation of God. He created them. He set them in motion. He guides them. He runs them.

Now, God also created invisible spiritual laws to regulate, and to guide man’s conduct, man’s relationship with his God, and man’s relationship with his neighbor. God, my friends, is the author of all real laws. Now, men make what we call laws, and the laws of men on the statute books of your city, your county, your state, your government, those are merely ideas of men. That men have decided would be alright, or something that look good to a man. That they wrote down on a piece of paper, and they are only laws if a policeman, or some law enforcing agent, can catch you breaking them, and can enforce it by men. Those are laws of men that must be enforced by men.

The laws of God, my friends, are different. The laws of God are inexorably in motion. And the spiritual Laws of God are just as invisible. But they regulate your happiness, and you can’t be happy unless you’re observing those laws, because God created those laws. He designed them. He worked them out. He set them in motion for one purpose only and that was to give you happiness. But when you break them you rob yourself of happiness just as if the laws didn’t exist. And humanity has been breaking the spiritual Law of God all these years and becoming unhappy.

God's Old Testament Church (PLAY from 07:48)

Now, listen. When God set up a church to be His own church, it was called the congregation of Israel. And the word 'congregation' is a synonym for the word 'church,' it means the same thing. And when God set up this church, this congregation, in Israel. And if you think I’m wrong about calling it a church, let me see, turn over here to, isn’t it in Acts the seventh chapter? It’s the seventh chapter and I think it’s the Book of Acts, and you will find in the thirty-eighth verse of Acts the seventh chapter;

"This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall you hear. This is he [that’s Christ. This is he], that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake unto him in the Mount Sina, ...with our fathers: who received the lively [that is living, eternally living] oracles to give unto us:" (Acts 7:37-38)

And that’s in the New Testament and that was spoken to the Christians of the New Testament. That those oracles were to give unto us. And yet today you hear the preaching that they are done away. Now why? Let me tell you something, when God called that church in the wilderness, He also gave them certain ritualistic practices, and laws of ordinances of meat and drink offerings, of ceremonies, of rituals to be performed in their Church and religious services and activities.

Now, let me just explain one word now, and I’m going to explain this in great detail later in future broadcasts, some little time later - perhaps two or three weeks or a month or so. But let me explain this much now, that, ancient Israel was not given salvation. There was no promise of salvation given to ancient Israel. You cannot find any place in the Bible in the Old Testament, or in the New, where God ever gave them a promise of His Holy Spirit, where the Holy Spirit was available to just anyone who would come and receive it. You cannot find it.

Now, it’s true that the prophets of God were empowered with the Holy Spirit. As Peter says; for the purpose of receiving these messages from God and writing them down that we might have God’s Word; "...holy men of [old] spake as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit]." (II Peter 1:21)

And not as they were moved by their own self will. It would not be the Word of God if God had not moved them by God’s Spirit and God’s mind, for the writing of the words of Holy Scripture for us today. But God took care of that for His own purpose, but the people could not have salvation and just receive the Holy Spirit - that is, anyone who wanted to. The prophets of the Old Testament had nothing to say about it themselves. It was all of God’s electing, of God’s choosing and deciding.

For instance, when God called Jeremiah, Jeremiah tried to talk God out of it, he didn’t want to be a prophet. He said, "Why, I’m just a young man. I’m not old enough to do anything." And as near as we can learn, not from the Bible but from other sources, Jeremiah was only about seventeen years old at the time, he was a young man. But God said, "Don’t say to me you’re just a young man. You’re going to do what I told you, young man." And Jeremiah did because God forced him to do it. So it was not of Jeremiah’s choosing.

Well, the same is true of all of those prophets, God called them. But the other people could not come to God, and receive His Spirit and salvation. Now, they were then just a material, carnal-minded group of people called a church.

Reasons For The ritual Law (PLAY from 11:31)

Now, they didn’t have a living Saviour who had actually died for them and been resurrected like you and I do today. Instead, they had a substitute which could not forgive sins at all — the animal sacrifices for sin. They were merely a substitute to last until Christ should come.

And those rituals, those meat and drink offerings, those carnal ordinances of church service, and ceremony that were given to ancient Israel, formed a law that is called the Law of Moses. Now, I want you to get this: Moses, my friends, was a mortal human fleshly man. Moses was flesh. Moses was made of the dust of the ground just like Adam, just like you, just like me. And the Law of Moses then, is the law that Moses wrote. It’s a material law. It was written in a book made of matter, out of paper. It was written in perishable paper. Paper is not going to last forever. It was a temporary law and that law included the typical sacrifices of animals, lambs and goats and one thing and another, that were a type, a substitute for Christ until He should come, that would take away our sins.

Now, the animal sacrifices did not remit their sins. It didn’t really reconcile them to God, and they’d been cut off from God by their sins, and the penalty that hung over them. That didn’t remove the penalty, because you will read in Hebrews, I believe it is, that; " is impossible for the blood of bulls or goats [or of calves or of lambs] to take away human sin." (Hebrews 10:4 paraphrased)

It takes a human to pay the penalty of human sin....and Jesus came. God transferred, or changed into humanity. Until God had changed Jesus Christ into a human being. He was God in the human flesh. And He was able to take our sins because He gave His human life. And He was made human for the purpose of death, that He could die, and pay the penalty of your sins and mine, which was death.

And not an eternal tormenting in hell fire. Because if that was the penalty you and I have incurred, that my friends, would be the penalty Jesus would have had to pay. And He’d be being tormented and tortured even yet today in a hell fire, if that was the penalty of sin, because He paid the penalty in your stead and mine. Now, He died once and for all. But God raised Him from the dead and He now is our living Savior.

Now, the Law of Moses then included the animal sacrifices for sin. It didn’t really forgive sin, as Hebrews says. It only was a reminder of sin to make them very conscious of it. Now, they were given rituals, things to do morning, noon and night, physical activities, work, hard physical labor or work. Now, the Ten Commandments are a law of spiritual principles, that regulate your spiritual relationship with God, and also with your neighbor. But these works of the Law coming from the Greek word 'ergon' of the law, means a physical law, that had to do with physical action and physical motion.

Now, it also included the ceremonies and the meat and drink offerings, and the carnal ordinances, and all of those things they did in order to have them doing a constant round of duties, to instill the habit of obedience. To get the people of Israel of old in the habit of obeying God. Now, it really didn’t work. It was a schoolmaster to teach them obedience, and bring them to Christ (Galatians 3:24). That He could finally remit their sins, and that then they could have the power of the Holy Spirit of God, that then they could keep the Law of God. I mean now the spiritual law, according to its Spirit and not its letter.

God's Law To Be Kept In Spirit (PLAY from 15:33)

Now, in this Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had said that the Law of God was binding. He had said that; "You have heard it said of old time [that], Thou shalt not kill..." (Matthew 5:21)

Now then, they did not break that law literally, according to the letter, until a man was dead, until he stopped breathing, until his heart stopped beating, until he was dead. But Jesus went on to show us how we with the power of the Holy Spirit now must keep that law according to its spirit, its principle; "...I say unto you, That [everyone that] is angry with his brother...shall be in danger of the judgment..." (Matthew 5:21)

He went on to show that just anger, and hatred, and malice, and even envy, and resentment, and bitterness, and those things are breaking the law of murder - but in principle. Now, my friends, there is not a one of you that of your own power and strength, you are a mortal human being, you are a flesh being of the dust of the ground and there is not a one of you, you listening to me now, you cannot keep that Law, according to its Spirit of your account, and of your own power.

Now, you’ll hear ministers that don’t like the Law of God. And they’re trying to do away with it, who are themselves enmity against God and against God’s law because they’re carnal-minded, and their minds are not subject to the Law of God and neither indeed can be. And they will use the argument on you that you can’t keep the Law of God. My friends, you alone by yourself cannot. That’s true, you can’t.

But let me tell you something; the power of God in you can. Jesus Christ, your Saviour, your living Savior, that can come into you, Jesus living in you, can keep the Law of God. If you’ll open up your heart, your stubborn mind, and rebellion against God, and let the blessed Saviour in. He can keep that law in you. He did keep that law 1900 years ago perfectly. And He, the living Saviour, can come within you, and He can keep it in you now. The purpose of the Holy Spirit, my friends, is to give you the power of God, and the mind of God that you can keep that law according to its spirit.

Now, ancient Israel couldn’t have done it. And God knew it, and that’s why God gave them a substitute for the Holy Spirit. God gave them these material actions to perform, to just instill a habit of obedience, and God only required that they keep the law according to its letter. In other words, so they wouldn’t actually commit murder. Now, they did go around with resentment, and with bitterness, and with jealousies, and envies, and all that sort of thing. God knew that it was impossible for them to avoid all of that sort of thing. And to have perfect love toward their neighbors.

Now, Jesus tells us we are to love our enemies. My friends you, of your own accord, are utterly helpless to do that. You cannot do it. You cannot love men that are, just well, abusing you, and purposely plotting against you, and purposely, deliberately, maliciously trying to cause you every trouble that they can. I don’t believe a carnal mind can do it. But I’ll tell you the mind of God in you, and the power of God in you, through the Holy Spirit can, and can love even people like that.

Oh, my friends, look, let me show you something of the love of God. I want to show you what these ministers that hate God’s Law are trying to do away with — this kind of love. This is the love that fulfills the law.

Jesus was nailed up to the cross and there He was, nailed up. And there they came along when He was thirsty, and they gave Him vinegar and gall to drink. They sneered at Him. They ridiculed Him. They called Him yipping at Him in ridicule, 'King of the Jews.' They said, "Why don’t you rule over them? Why don’t you come down and do something? You healed others. Now, let’s see you heal yourself." They had put a mock crown of thorns on Him. They had spit right in His face. And finally they took a spear, and they stabbed it in His side, until He screamed with pain. How would you feel, my friends? Do you know how Jesus did? Do you know the love of God that was in Him and how it acted? He looked down on those people and pitied them. He looked up to His Father in Heaven and He said; "...Father, forgive them; ...they know not what they do..." (Luke 23:34)

Now, listen to me. Do you think you have that kind of love in you? Do you think you were born with any love like that? That my friends is the kind of love that fulfills this Law of God that so many ministers and preachers try to malign and tell you, you ought not to keep and that you’d be under a bondage if you did and that God was all wrong. It’s about time my friends we begin to get some of these things straightened out.

Paul Condemns Penance (PLAY from 20:30)

Now, it’s true that Paul says a few things about a law of rituals. And they tried to justify their past guilt by that law of rituals. And even then, my friends, you don’t understand the teaching. God never said that that would forgive sins. But rather the Word of God says; " is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats [and lambs and sheep] to forgive your sins." (Hebrews 10:4 paraphrased)

But, listen. Now, I want you to get this. Judaism is not the religion of Moses. Or the religion that God gave to ancient Israel. And this is the thing that a lot of modern preachers, that set themselves up as theological authorities, don’t know anything about. They need to go back and study a little history. They need to get some of the facts, my friends. They need to wake up and quit teaching you so many of these fables, and so many of these things that are not true.

Now, remember this, that justification has only to do with squaring up your guilty past. That’s all it has to do with. Now, the pagans tried to get justification by penance. For instance, they would take a long board. They would drive a lot of nails through the board so they’d stick up on one side. And then they would lay that long board down with the nails sticking up. And they’d have to walk barefooted over it, right over all those nails, torturing themselves, such things as that.

Now, the Jews had begun to change the laws that God had given them. They began to add things to it. On the Sabbath day they had added 65 regulations of stringent do's and don’ts to make the Sabbath something that they served. And they made it their god, until man was made for the Sabbath. And Jesus just swept away all those rules and regulations of men, and put the Sabbath back where God had made it in the first place. As a great blessing to man and said that; "...The sabbath was made for man..." (Mark 2:27) For man’s happiness and enjoyment. Why do men hate it so then today? That which God meant to be a great joy, and a great spiritual blessing to us, if we would only learn the truth. It’s all in your New Testament if you’d study it.

Now then, let me tell you what the Jews did. The Jews saw how these pagans did penance and things that were unpleasant to do and how that squared up their guilty past. Now, instead of adopting the literal means of the pagans, like walking over a board with a lot of nails sticking up, or something of that sort, they turned the rituals of the Law of Moses into something that was arduous and something that was contrary to them and hard work. Because there was hard work in the rituals of the Law of Moses. There was the morning and evening sacrifice. There were special sacrifices on every special day throughout the year. There were a number of things they had to do.

And so they turned that now into a penance, and considered - now they began to twist it around - where they considered that the keeping of that Law of Moses, which was a material law, written by a material man, in material pages, and kept outside of the ark, in a separate place, where that law would forgive their sins and justify them.

And Paul is talking against that false teaching. Which is not the teaching of the Old Testament. But was the teaching of a lot of Jews, that had mixed paganism with it, in the days of Christ. And Paul is knocking that down. You cannot be justified by the keeping of rituals. And he’s talking about rituals and not the spiritual Law of God at all. That’s why Paul condemns the trying to justify yourself by those physical laws in one place, and in another place the same Apostle Paul turns around and says that; " the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

And that the Law is spiritual, and holy, and just, and good. And it is the doers of the Law that shall be justified. That’s what Paul said (Romans 2:13).

Now, I wonder if that begins to make it a little bit clear and straight to some of you. And if you’ll begin to learn who the false prophets are, and who is standing alone to tell you the truth of God in these days, when it isn’t popular. Oh, the truth I’m giving you, my friends, it’s the truth of God, I know it isn’t popular. I know that many don’t like it. I don’t beg for money on the air because the truth we speak is not anything that induces people to send their money. No, they want to pay their money for something that’ll flatter them. They want to pay their money over to someone that’ll say,"Now, you’re just alright and I’m going to make you better satisfied with yourself with the way you’re going." You know, I don’t tell you that on this program. I’m trying to make you so dissatisfied with yourself, the way you’ve been living, you’ll change the way you are living. You’ll let your whole life be changed by God and the power of God. And that you’ll turn to Him. And you’ll let Him lift you up, and change you.

But listen, His inexorable eternal spiritual Law is the way of life. It is the way of happiness and Jesus Christ never nailed that to the cross. Now, here we are. I just really got to letting you have it on that one. Because I just get a little bit incensed, and maybe I get a little righteous indignation. You know, Jesus had that, that’s a lot different from having resentment and bitterness and I hope I have none of that.

Lessons From the Sermon On The Mount (PLAY from 25:37)

Now, Jesus said we’re not to be angry. You can’t do that except by the Holy Spirit. He said don’t swear, but just affirm. People don’t do it today. He said to love your enemies. No, people don’t do that. He said turn the other cheek. They don’t think that’s very practical today. He said to pray in private. He never taught us to pray in public, but He did set the example for it, and it’s not wrong to pray in public on occasion. I don’t say that it is, but the teaching is to pray in private. And so, let’s have more private prayer. We don’t have it today. He said not to accumulate big fortunes, or treasures on earth, but to lay up treasures in heaven by your good work, your good service and so on. That doesn’t mean that we’re not to lay up in the summer, for a winter, or a little for a rainy day either. Now, to not have anxious worry and concern about the tomorrow, God will take care of you. He said it’s the narrow gate that leads to eternal life and few that find it today, they believe just the opposite. Now, finally He said everyone that heareth these words of mine and doeth them is going to be saved and stand on the solid rock and those that hear them and do them not are going to be condemned. (Portions paraphased from Matthew 5-7)

And that’s the way He ended this Sermon on the Mount. Well, God help you, my friends, to understand. We can be justified only by the blood of Christ, in order that we may keep the Law of God, the Spiritual Law of God — the Ten Commandments.