By Jack Eberle
The word “ordinances” in our current world has vastly different connotations as it did in the days of Paul. ENTELOWN EN DOGMASIN is the expression found in Ephesians 2:15 translated “commandments in decrees”. DOGMASIN is the word translated “ordinances” in our English versions. We hear of ordinances today as elements of civil law, often in respect to pesky zoning regulations.
In Ephesians 2:15 these “ordinances” are in reference to the Jewish religious “slavery”. Galatians 5:1 states, “Stand fast therefore in the freedom wherewith Christ made us free and not again be held in a yoke of bondage.” Truly Paul was not soft-coating these DOGMASIN.
Galatians 4:9 speaks of TA ASTHENAY KAI PTOKA STOICHEIA, “the weak and poor elements” which will put you in bondage again. How aptly this describes those who hankered back to their “leeks and onions” days. The ordinances have been abolished by the work of Christ on the cross and resurrection. Those body members in Christ were not only urged to forsake the “works of the law”, but STAND in the freedom of the work of Christ. Galatians inspired Luther. Hebrews, a companion volume, was written to inspire Hebrew believers to aspire to something beyond Jewish law and rituals. Read prayerfully Col. 2:17-19 which is written DIRECTLY TO THE BODY. This passage squarely shows us the all-sufficiency of Christ our Lord and Head. GOSPELS: Once the meaning of the word “gospel” is truly understood, it is difficult to assume the mindset of the past. How many people would say that they have only received good news once in their lifetimes? Yet “The Gospel” is spoken of as though God has only endorsed one message of good news in all The Scriptures. Galatians 2:7 gives clear instruction as to the error of that presumption. Defenders will say that there are not two, and the “circumcision and uncircumcision” only denote to whom they are preached. Yet God says clearly, “the gospel of the uncircumcision” and “the gospel of the circumcision”. He even designates the two preachers sent to these. How could God state His truth more clearly? It is difficult to break away to truth for today. But “God is not slack concerning His promises…” “Right division” of His Word is enjoined (II Tim. 2:15). This is not to be taken casually. Other gospels mentioned in The Scriptures are “…of the grace of God”’; “…of the glory of God”; “…of the Blessed God”. There are many like considerations to be discerned by the one who will “…prove things that differ” (Phil. 1:10). Be a workman! Diligently study His precious Word.