Guest Post by Oyin Oludipe
Out of passion for truth and clarity, and with the aim of prospering them, the following points are written to be a potential subject of public discussion, offline or online, by the invitation of Mr. Oludipe Samuel Oyin. He appeals that whoever cannot avail himself or herself personally to ‘debate’ the matter orally should do so in absence in writing on his Facebook wall (Oyin S. Oludipe), or Twitter handle (@oyinoludipe), or Instagram (@oyinstein), or to firstname.lastname@example.org, or as comments after this post:
1. When the lawyer and apostle, Paul wrote “We’re no longer under the law,” he was referring to the Law of Moses and not the Law of Christ.
2. The sentence cannot be properly construed as the sentencing of Divine Instruction to death.
3. Yet its meaning points to a distinct array of ceremonial ordinances and ritual obligations tied to Israel’s Old Covenant.
4. These alone were rules for altars, purifications, civility, food, and drink, which Moses sealed with the blood of bulls.
5. These alone formed the content of the Book of the Law, whose sacrifices could not take away sin.
6. These alone are what our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ nailed to the cross, as they were merely, till then, pointers to His first coming as Almighty and True High Priest.
7. For it is only Christ’s blood that takes away sin, and it is this grace of true forgiveness that operates at the heart of His New Covenant.
8. Thus, the Old was a curse, for with it condemnation was sure; and the New is a gift, for with it restitution is attainable.
9. Accordingly, the persisting notion of restitution directly signifies that some unchanging spiritual standards must exist.
10. For the grace of Christ, here on earth, redeems by repentance from sin, but does not erase the reality or possibility of sin.
11. Indeed, the grace of forgiveness through Christ would be nullified if there were to be, fundamentally, no possible need to be forgiven.
12. The need to be forgiven is possible and existent because Christ’s commandments are existent and unchanging.
13. Christ’s commandments are as existent and unchanging as that primordial fact that all relationships, in nature and in culture, in space and in time, are governed and nurtured by laws.
14. It must therefore be the case that the major part of Christendom is deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding notion of freedom from obedience.
15. That notion distorts the truth of God’s grace, which is for the sake that men should be free from condemnation as a result of sin; but not from salvation as a result of faithful obedience.
16. It is a foul act, due to ignorance or delusion, when Christians declare love for Christ but do not do or undo as Christ commands.
17. Surely, such a contradiction is like a husband who declares love for his wife and yet pays no heed to her word and wish.
18. The word and wish of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ are revealed in Scriptures when, in Hebrews 10:16, He unravels His covenant: “I will write my laws on their hearts.”
19. This statement is sufficient in itself, whatever else might be said, to illustrate God’s aversion for lawlessness.
20. This statement is also sufficient, whatever else might be unsaid, to bare God’s desire for a closer, more organic, and better intimate relationship with every human being with a heart.
21. This divine desire is also a desire for a relationship bereft of a curtain of man-made tradition and rituals.
22. Christ’s commandments are neither man-made tradition nor rituals, but are, as He reveals in Scriptures, in Matthew 19:17, the moral instructions of love to God and man.
23. The moral instructions of love to God and man do not, by the virtue or the vice of inattention, contravene one another, as revealed in Scriptures, in James 2:10.
24. Of a truth, we are saved by grace through faith in Christ; but faith in Christ must be love for Christ.
25. Love for Christ is love for His commands, as He Himself declares in Scriptures, in John 14:21.
26. Christians should be taught that one who fulfils obedience is more divinely acknowledged than one who fulfils rituals.
27. Christians should be taught that one who obeys by faith is more honourable than one who obeys by fear.
28. Christians should be taught that Christ’s commands are moral, unchanging, unchangeable, and of utmost benefit to the heart, mind, and spirit.
29. Christians should be taught that Christ’s commands stem from His holy love and grace, that men should be free from the compulsion of sin.
30. Christians should be taught that, in granting due recognition to Christ’s commands, they gain an intimate understanding of the everlasting atmosphere of the Kingdom of God.
31. Christians should be taught that they pursue righteousness not merely by hearing the Word, but by doing what has been heard.
32. It is foolish to postulate that salvation can be gained by faith that does not lead to active obedience.
33. To believe otherwise is akin to believing that a man, falling from an aeroplane, can be saved simply by faith in his parachute, when he has not yet acted to activate the device.
34. Without an exception, whether institutionalised or mythicized, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
35. Yet, in Christian living, falling is a curse only when it becomes a permanent course.
36. Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly saved by faith, finds delight in obedience to the Law of Christ, just as David writes of himself in the ancient Psalms.
37. Any true Christian whatsoever, old or young, partakes in the genuine power of God, which is infinite and free, through faith in Christ alone.
38. Solitary faith in apostles or pastors or prophets or priests or parents cannot invoke the genuine power of God, which is infinite and free, through faith in Christ alone.
39. This is incontestable because the blood of apostles or pastors or prophets or priests or parents cannot take away sin.
40. For the same reason, no non-living thing can take the place of faith in Christ as a catalyst to invoke the genuine power of God, which is infinite and free.
41. We may assert the contrary, and say that a non-living thing is able to be an external symbol for internal faith, but it is no more than a symbol, a mere metaphor without its own power.
42. Obedient faith in Christ is the ultimate talisman of the Christian – for he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
43. Let him be scorned who seeks the genuine power of God from a non-living thing.
44. For the genuine power of God is too infinite and free to be encapsulated in a keg of water or a piece of handkerchief; yards of robe or a slice of wood.
45. Water may spill; handkerchiefs may crease; robes may rip; and wood may burn; but the genuine power of God remains, infinite and free, through faith in Christ alone.
46. Again, a non-living thing, if it motivates faith in Christ, is not, in itself, vile; but it becomes perilous if it engenders promiscuous reverence or enacts a superficial understanding of God’s infinite power.
47. It would be right to regard this as that, for it makes an unconscious idolater out of a conscious believer.
48. On the other hand, there is a great freedom in simply trusting in the omnipotence of God and His sure promise of refuge, without feeling that such surety must be hinged on external and perishable elements.
49. There is no divine authority for preaching that saving faith has to be materially represented.
50. Although there is divine authority to preach that faith, not practiced in daily living, cannot be “saving”.
51. Christians who bask in habits of indiscipline, intemperance or iniquity, and yet call the name of Christ are Christians who wear a form of godliness, yet deny its power.
52. If anyone, in defence, asserts that Christians like these also have a faith, such a faith is merely statutory.
53. To have faith statutorily is to be Christian and to not be Christlike. Such a status bears no fruit; no more than a label that reads ‘white’ can transform a charcoal upon which it is placed.
54. No decision can be more converting than the decision to seek Christ’s grace to obey His Word, as this is the conclusive imperative of His Great Commission.
55. By faith in Christ we are saved; and by faithfulness to Christ’s commands, we remain saved.
Fundamental Biblical sources: Exodus 20:18, 22; 24:3, 8. Hebrews 9:15; 10:4, 7. Matthew 28:20. 1 John 5:2, 18. Revelations 14:12.
Friend, what are your thoughts? Kindly leave a comment below.
Oyin Oludipe was awarded the Christopher Okigbo Prize for Poetry in 2016. He is a copywriter, editor, dramatist, reviewer, essayist, and poet. A one-time Best of the Net Nominee, his creative and critical writings have featured in over 80 national and international art journals, anthologies, and literary magazines; such as Afridiaspora, The Bombay Review, The Luxembourg Review, Sentinel Literary Quarterly: The Magazine of World Literature, and others.