“No Ordinances in the Church!”
We usually call this present dispensation for ‘The Dispensation of the Free Grace Gospel”.
As we take a brief look around – sifting through Christianity today, we seem to find nothing other than ordinances!
Lutherans as well as the Catholic Church are known by their formal services, having a priesthood dressed in fine colorful robes, in some occasions baptizing little infants in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, stanching water on the little ones’ foreheads. In other kind of services one will hear the vicar leading the assembly in the confession of sins, or the Lord’s Prayer; and not to forget the Holy Communion with its bread oblates and the sharing of ‘wine’. Having a priestly hierarchy, make this arrangement in Christendom look and feel like as if they are placed between God and man, as intermediators. God will listen to the vicar’s prayers as he represents the congregation. Or so it may seem. And in these classic church buildings we find an altar placed in the fore, to which the vicar turns when saying prayers.
Other denominations have their sort of ordinances, such as water baptism of adults (not infants) by full immersion, - and the Baptist Movements are known for this ordinance. It is their public ‘spiritual logo’ if you like.
And in Pentecostal assemblies you find the laying on of hands and prayers for sick believers to get healed by God, or to receive the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’ and so on, and so forth. They also perform water baptism rites, like the Baptists.
And through the centuries gone, classic denominations have influenced the politicians in their nations to have certain calendar days set up as Holy Feast days, such as Christmas, Passover/Easter Holiday, and Pentecost. Jewish assemblies (synagogues) have their certain feast days according to their tradition. Seventh-day Adventist movement keeps Sabbath and certain food ordinances and other rules of details connected to these.
Ordinances, all of which was called by Paul for ‘..only shadows of that which was to come’, but since now Christ has come these things are now dismissed and out.
Ordinances which our apostle Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, wanted us to have none of!
Christianity has done the very opposite of what Paul taught us in Ephesians and Colossians.
THE LAW OF MOSES ENTIRELY ABOLISHED FOREVER
It is time to quote Paul’s teachings in this regard.
Before I do, let me remind you that Paul was the one who propagated water baptism out in the dispersion, Acts 19:1-7, AMP Bible net version,
«1It happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the upper [inland] districts and came down to Ephesus, and found some disciples.
2He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed [in Jesus as the Christ]?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3And he asked, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4Paul said, “John performed a baptism of repentance, continually telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, [to confidently accept and joyfully believe] in Jesus [the Messiah and Savior].”
5After hearing this, they were baptized [again, this time] in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and prophesying.
7There were about twelve men in all.”
Not only did Paul baptize these disciples in Ephesus, but as he laid hands on them they all were baptized (or filled) with the Holy Spirit, just as in the incident with Peter and John in Samaria in Acts 8:14-17, a follow-up of Philip’s work there,
«14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that [the people of] Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
15They came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
16for He had not yet fallen on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [as His possession].
17Then Peter and John laid their hands on them [one by one], and they received the Holy Spirit.”
Paul kept and he taught certain New Testament Jewish ordinances in the assemblies.
And he promoted the keeping of a commandment given to them by Jesus, of having Holy Communion and practicing the memorial of the Lord’s death and His promise to return, 1 Cor. 11:23-26, - also called ‘The Lord’s Supper’ -
«23For I received from the Lord Himself that [instruction] which I passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is (represents) My body, which is [offered as a sacrifice] for you. Do this in [affectionate] remembrance of Me.”
25In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in [affectionate] remembrance of Me.”
26For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are [symbolically] proclaiming [the fact of] the Lord’s death until He comes [again].”
And let us not forget the extreme powers shown by the Holy Spirit when He guided Paul to perform the most marvelous miracles, signs and wonders among the Ephesians. Paul stirred up the entire big city of Ephesus, which held 200 000 inhabitants at that time, and (verse 17) all who lived there got to know what had taken place, both Jews and Greeks. He kept the ordinance and spiritual gift of miracles as we can learn from Acts 19:11-20
“11God was doing extraordinary and unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,
12so that even handkerchiefs or face-towels or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out [of them].
13Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists also attempted to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I implore you and solemnly command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!”
14Seven sons of one [named] Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15But the evil spirit retorted, “I know and recognize and acknowledge Jesus, and I know about Paul, but as for you, who are you?”
16Then the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they ran out of that house [in terror, stripped] naked and wounded.
17This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified and exalted.
18Many of those who had become believers were coming, confessing and disclosing their [former sinful] practices.
19And many of those who had practiced magical arts collected their books and [throwing book after book on the pile] began burning them in front of everyone. They calculated their value and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver.
20So the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] was growing greatly and prevailing.”
These miracles as well as the casting out of demons among the crowd, by sending forth his handkerchiefs and aprons, was part of Paul’s apostolic signs which followed the ministry everywhere he went. Such were ordinances only given for special God-chosen ministers, like Peter, Paul, John and others, namely the apostles. Philip also had this, and even Stephen – one of the seven to be helpers in the Jerusalem assembly.
No person today has any such gifts or powers. It disappeared within the first century, and hasn’t been seen since.
Quoting Paul regarding the ceasing of ordinances – which was a consequence of God and Christ having abolished the Law of Moses first:
Eph. 2:14, 15, AMP Bible net version still,
«14For He Himself is our peace and our bond of unity. He who made both groups—[Jews and Gentiles]—into one body and broke down the barrier, the dividing wall [of spiritual antagonism between us],
15by abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the hostility caused by the Law with its commandments contained in ordinances [which He satisfied]; so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thereby establishing peace.”
Due to the ending of the Law of Moses – which was a spiritual Atom Bomb when he published this revelation – ALL sorts of known Jewish ordinances stopped, including also New Covenant related ones such as baptism and Holy communion etcetera. So Paul wrote in Eph. 4, 5 that from then on, there was just ONE BAPTISM. Which certainly do mean that the other ones were gone with the Law and were abolished. Water baptism stopped. Baptism in the Holy Spirit stopped.
That one baptism is what Paul held forth as a ‘Baptism into Christ’s death’ – likened with a circumcision done without (human) hands, but performed by God in the Spirit, Col. 2:11, 12,
“In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but by the [spiritual] circumcision of Christ in the stripping off of the body of the flesh [the sinful carnal nature],
12having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God, [as displayed] when He raised Christ from the dead.”
The assembly in Acts period, for the Kingdom in Israel, they had same baptism into Christ’s death as we have, but had additionally the water rite as well. With us, there is no more water baptisms. We are such ones who got to be baptized by God in the same instance we came to faith in Christ, a baptism into Christ’s death – it happened without any human hands involved…just God did this as His power and intent is a free salvation, without any covenant involved. It is the gift of God.
Col. 2:13, 14 confirms what Paul wrote in Eph. 2:14, 15 – of the casting away of the entire Law of Moses,
«13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (worldliness, manner of life), God made you alive together with Christ, having [freely] forgiven us all our sins,
14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of legal demands [which were in force] against us and which were hostile to us. And this certificate He has set aside and completely removed by nailing it to the cross.”
Here Paul let us learn that this casting/littering of the Law actually happened way back there, as Jesus was crucified in 28 CE, but was kept as a secret until God found it convenient to reveal this to His bond servant Paul as he sat in jail in Rome 63-64 CE writing his two church epistles. The Law was nailed and KILLED as Christ took it with Him on the cross! Can it be told much clearer than this?
All ordinances went down with it. Nothing was left to be kept in future times.
Paul therefore made sure that his followers understood this, and wrote Col. 2:16-19 concerning Sabbath, Holy Feast days, New Moon days, food and drink ordinances – and all of these things now cancelled and abolished, destroyed and littered forever,
«16Therefore let no one judge you in regard to food and drink or in regard to [the observance of] a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.
17Such things are only a shadow of what is to come and they have only symbolic value; but the substance [the reality of what is foreshadowed] belongs to Christ.
18Let no one defraud you of your prize [your freedom in Christ and your salvation] by insisting on mock humility and the worship of angels, going into detail about visions [he claims] he has seen [to justify his authority], puffed up [in conceit] by his unspiritual mind,
19and not holding fast to the head [of the body, Jesus Christ], from whom the entire body, supplied and knit together by its joints and ligaments, grows with the growth [that can come only] from God.”
Almost the entire Christianity is in full opposition to Paul’s exhortations in Ephesians and Colossians. They simply will not submit to Paul’s teachings, but have come up with their own opinion based doctrine. Thus it goes sideways – as we can see. Creating numerous sects and cults and what not.
The quotation of Col. 2:16-19 kills the false doctrine of faith found with Baptists, Adventists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Catholics, - the lot. They have all failed to submit to our headmaster regarding Bible doctrine, Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.
Thus it is tempting to view Christianity as a twisted, scornful and disobedient flock of spiritual rebels, making out their own ways, not God’s.
It gives us certain ‘vibrations’ reminding of that of the infamous Pharisees which Jesus chastised and reproved during His ministry on earth. They had changed the Tora so much as to add to it almost 600 new commandments (ordinances!), laying heavy burdens upon the Jewish people in their time. They were characterized by the Lord as lovers of money and of power. They wanted to be chiefs and not servants.