I often refer to the phrase “the law of God was nailed to the cross” when comparing the words of the Creator to the modern philosophy of Christianity. Some may not be familiar with with this phrase and theology; therefore, we will attempt to address this deception and show how it has been woven into the fabric of Christianity through many different avenues.
Jeremiah 7:3–16 (LEB): 3 Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, “Make your ways and your deeds good and let me dwell with you in this place. 4 Do not trust in the deceitful words, saying, ‘The temple of Yahweh, the temple of Yahweh, they are the temple of Yahweh.’ 5 For if you truly make your ways and your deeds good, if you truly do justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, you do not shed innocent blood in this place, and you do not go after other gods to your harm, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your ancestors forever and ever. 8 Look, you are relying for yourselves on deceitful words without benefiting. 9 Will you steal? Will you murder? And will you commit adultery? And will you swear falsely? And will you make a smoke offering to the Baal? And will you go after other gods whom you have not known? 10 And then you come and you stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and you say, ‘we are safe to go on doing all of these detestable things.’ 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a cave of robbers in your eyes? Look, I, even I, have seen it,” declares Yahweh. 12 “For go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I caused my name to dwell in the beginning, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 And now, because of your doing all these things,” declares Yahweh, “and I have spoken to you over and over again, and you have not listened, and I called you, and you have not answered, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you are trusting, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors what I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight just as I cast out all of your blood relatives, all of the offspring of Ephraim.” ’ 16 “And you, you must not pray for this people, and you must not lift up for them a cry of entreaty or a prayer, and you must not plead with me, for I will not hear you.
There is so much confusion when it comes to Paul and the law of God. One problem is that many people want to believe that they do not have to be obedient to God’s instructions and will not entertain any other possibilities. They are content with following this doctrine because it justifies their actions. Some really want to know, but it is very confusing because so many of Paul’s letters appear to speak against the law of God. So much so, there is a doctrine that states Paul is the only instruction that the church must adhere to which is prevalent in many evangelical denominations. The verses I most often hear to justify lawlessness come from the letter to the Colossians.
Colossians 2:13–14 (LEB): 13 And although you were dead in the trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 having destroyed the certificate of indebtedness in ordinances against us, which was hostile to us, and removed it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.
People will use these verses to prove God’s law is nailed to the cross. However, if we read these verses in context, we see that Paul is talking about man made rules that were added to the law of God.
Colossians 2:8–15 (LEB): 8 Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world and not according to Christ, 9 because in him all the fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you are filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority, 11 in whom also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made by hands, by the removal of the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which also you were raised together with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And although you were dead in the trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 having destroyed the certificate of indebtedness in ordinances against us, which was hostile to us, and removed it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. 15 When he had disarmed the rulers and the authorities, he made a display of them in public, triumphing over them by it.
“Certificate of indebtedness in ordinances against us” is talking about dogma. The word “ordinances” here is the Greek word “dogma”, which is generally thought of as man-made rules.
dogma, n.c., public decree; ordinance.
The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Septuagint (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012).
If Paul was talking about the law of God, or Torah, he would have used the Greek word “Nomos”. I realize that this will not convince anyone who doesn’t want to have to follow the instructions of God, but dogma is not referring to Torah. One of the confusing parts concerning the law of God and what condemns us, is the high handed sins and the collective sin of humanity that there was no permanent solution for other than the offering of the high priest, Yeshua, in the heavenly tabernacle. The earthly high priest used to go into the holy of holy’s on the day of atonement in the temple to make the yearly sacrifice for God’s people. This system was not complete because the priest was just a man and the blood was only from animals. The blood Yeshua sprinkled was his own and it was an acceptable sacrifice forever for the sins and there were no other sacrifices that would suffice. This does not negate the law of God, it upholds it.
Hebrews 10:26–31 (LEB): 26 For if we keep on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that is about to consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think the person will be considered worthy of who treats with disdain the Son of God and who considers ordinary the blood of the covenant by which he was made holy and who insults the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
If one believes the whole Bible is true and one continuous flow of thought, then the only way to justify claiming Paul thinks the law of God is nailed to the cross is to say the law was for someone else. This is exactly what has been done. Why did Paul claim to keep the law then? Why did he call it good, holy and spiritual? Some would say because Paul was a Jew and the “gentiles” do not have to keep the law of God. Yet Paul tells us one is a Jew who is one inwardly.
Romans 2:28–29 (LEB): 28 For the Jew is not one outwardly, nor is circumcision outwardly, in the flesh. 29 But the Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter, whose praise is not from people but from God.
The Creator does not want anyone to be held against their will, and only wants believers who will follow him with their whole heart and mind. God is “gracious” enough to give people who are not interested in His ways a path to do whatever they want and still think they are “following God”. Through the centuries people have done this with the writings of Paul. These religious leaders can ignore the entirety of scripture and teach that God’s instructions, called Torah, can be completely disregarded now based on terms Paul used such as “nailed to the cross”. The Creator tests us to see if we are interested enough to search these matters out.
Deuteronomy 13:3–4 (LEB): 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer, for Yahweh your God is testing you to know whether you love Yahweh your God with all of your heart and with all of your inner self. 4 You shall go after Yahweh your God, and him you shall revere, and his commandment you shall keep, and to his voice you shall listen, and him you shall serve, and to him you shall hold fast.
Someone who believes the law of God is “nailed to the cross” will be angry reading this and experience cognitive dissonance, especially if this has been a belief system that has been held for one’s entire life. The choice then becomes to explore if what I am saying is true, or if God really did change His mind and decide to permit people to do anything they choose regarding His instructions. The one who really desires the answer is the one who loves God with all of their heart and inner self. Someone who is satisfied with picking the best canned doctrine from thousands of voices to align themselves with, may be disappointed at the final outcome.
Featured photo was provided by Emma Vail Photography.
Please check out my first book on Amazon titled, Finding God in Organized Religion. It is the story of my life focusing on my involvement with three major denominations, from my childhood to present, describing the good and bad, and what I learned during the process.
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