"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me" John 5:39
    God did not create man to start a religion.  He created man to start a relationship!  The entire Bible is about God's desire to have a relationship with man.  In the Old Testament, God instructed the Israelites to build a place where He could be with them. "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." Exodus 25:8.  In the New Testament, God Himself came to live as a man among us.  "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14.  All those that come to know Jesus Christ are drawn to Him by our Heavenly Father.  "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him"  John 6:44.  We are called to have fellowship with Jesus.  "God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful." 1 Corinthians 1:9.  In fact, Jesus is the ONLY way to have fellowship with the Father!  "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him." John 14:6-7.  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
     JESUS IS GOD!  He said, "I and the Father are one." John 10:30.  He has always been.  He will always be.  It was through Him that all things were made.  "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created:  things in heaven and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:15-17.  In fact, man's salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was God's plan before He had even created the Earth.   "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will" Ephesians 1:4-5.  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
    Jesus is the reason for everything given to the people of God in the Old Testament!  The entire Old Testament, with all its laws and traditions, is the story of God's preparation of His people for the coming of His Son Jesus Christ.  "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:24.  The purpose of all the Old Testament Scriptures was to prepare God's people for salvation through Jesus Christ!  As we read and study the Old Testament, we too are made wise for salvation through faith in Jesus, by all the accounts of faith displayed by the great men and women of the Old Testament.  We also gain a better understanding of God the Father and the reason He sent His Son to die in our place.  "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."          2 Timothy 3:14-15.  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
    The apostle Paul writes, "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." Galatians 3:25.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we are justified (justification being God's declaration that we are innocent of our sins and treating us as if we had never sinned) by our faith in Him, not by following the law.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:23-24.  God gave us the law so we could recognize the sin in our lives and our need for salvation.  "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." Romans 3:20.  Our faith in Jesus Christ is all that we need to become righteous in the eyes of God.  "Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.  So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." Galatians 2:16.  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
    The apostle Paul also wrote, "We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." Romans 7:6.   When Paul says that we are no longer bound to the law of the Old Testament, he is not saying that all the Old Testament laws are of no use to us.  "All Scripture is God - breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16.  He is saying certain types of laws do not apply to us because of what Jesus did on the cross.  "God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:13-14.  How we express our faith to our Heavenly Father is no longer determined by our adherence to any law but by our faith in His Son Jesus Christ!  Because we are free from the law, this does not mean that once we are saved we are free to sin.  "You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13.  Everything about our Christian walk is about our love for our Heavenly Father and our love for each other.  In fact, Jesus said, "A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35.  Christ's love for us enables us to love others!  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
     In the Old Testament there were three categories of laws:  ceremonial laws, civil laws, and moral laws.  Ceremonial laws relate specifically to the Israelites worship.  Their primary purpose was to point God's people forward to Jesus Christ.  Therefore, these laws and traditions were no longer necessary after Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.  "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24.  While we are no longer bound by ceremonial laws and traditions, the principles behind them, to worship and love our Holy Heavenly Father, still apply.  In New Testament times, the Jewish Christians often accused the Gentile Christians of violating ceremonial laws.  Many Jewish Christians believed that a number of the ceremonial practices of the Old Testament (circumcision for example) were still binding on the New Testament church.  The apostle Paul spoke strongly against such beliefs.  "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.  The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6.  Paul taught that introducing any additional requirements for justification was a perversion of the gospel and would bring converts to Christianity into the bondage of legalism.  "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all.  Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again:  If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" Galatians 1:6-9.  It is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone that we are justified, and it is by faith alone that we are to live out our new life in the freedom of the Spirit.  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS! 
     Civil laws dictated Israel's daily living.  Because modern society and culture are so radically different, some of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically but the principles behind the commands should guide our conduct.  Moral laws are the direct command of God, for example the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:1-17.  Christians strive to maintain strict obedience to these laws.  They reveal the nature and the will of God and still apply to us today.  The adherence to both the moral laws of God and the teachings of Jesus and His disciples are not for God's benefit but for our own.  "Great peace have they who love your law" Psalms 119:165.  "But blessed is he who keeps the law." Proverbs 29:18.  They show us how to live in a manner pleasing to God and in a way that fulfills and strengthens our lives and brings peace and joy to our hearts.  We follow God's commandments as an expression of love, gratitude and obedience towards Him.  Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15.  We follow God's commandments because we are saved for all eternity by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not to become saved or to  keep our salvation.  Our desire to live a holy life is a natural result of our relationship with Christ!   IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
     The ministry of John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah, was the dividing line between the Old Covenant of the Law and the New Covenant of Grace.  Jesus said, "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John.  Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached" Luke 16:16Jesus came to fulfill the purpose of the law so the New Covenant of Grace could be ushered in.  He said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17.  If something is fulfilled or completed, its purpose has been served.  Jesus fulfills the purpose of the law by making possible the change in our hearts that occurs when we are born again and make Him the Lord of our lives. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17.  We fulfill all the requirements of the law by our faith in Jesus Christ.  We receive His grace which cleanses us from all unrighteousness and makes us right with God!  "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." Romans 5:1-2.  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
    As a result of our relationship with Christ, "We have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16 and the Holy Spirit is in us, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" 1 Corinthians 6:19.  We will allow Christ to live in us and through us.  We will surrender our will for our lives and actively seek out His.  We will cultivate our relationship with Him by reading and studying the Bible and speaking with Him through prayer.  He will speak to us through His Holy Word and by the power of His Holy Spirit.  We will fellowship together, in the presence of our Heavenly Father, to bring Him praise, honor and glory.  All of these things strengthen our relationship with Him and allow us to grow closer to Him.  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
     As Christians, we celebrate Jesus Christ in everything we do!  "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17.  Everything about our lives becomes an act of worship!  "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1.  That's why when Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest; His answer spoke completely of love!  "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"  Jesus replied:  " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  Matthew 22:36-40.  Jesus summed up the purpose of the entire Bible in these two commandments of love.  It's all about LOVE!  It's all about a RELATIONSHIP!  IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love:  not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him.  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command:  Whoever loves God must also love his brother." 
1 John 4:7-21.

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