The Apostle Paul must be turning in his grave! He never said that Christians could ignore God’s commandments.
Yet, when defending the doctrine that “faith alone saves,” theologians and members of the clergy will often quote the Apostle Paul as biblical support for such a disastrous idea of throwing the Decalogue into the trash heap.
The reason for this false belief, according to Emanuel Swedenborg, is from a misinterpretation of a single saying by Paul in Romans 3:28, that “man is justified by faith alone without the works of the law.”
In his work, Apocalypse Revealed, Swedenborg points out that what was misunderstood was that Paul was referring to the Mosaic law, which were statues specifically incorporated for Jewish life at that time. These “works of law” included:
The law of the meal-offering.
The law of the sacrifice.
The law of the sacrifice of the peace-offering.
The law of the burnt-offering
The law of the beast and of the bird.
The Law of leprosy.
The law of him that hath an issue.
The law of jealousy.
The law of the Nazarite.
The law of cleansing.
The law concerning the red heifer.
The law for the King.
It is these specific Jewish laws that Paul is referring to that are unnecessary for Christians to uphold in order to obtain salvation. Swedenborg points out that Paul clearly states the importance of fulfilling the commandments (Romans 8:8-10) through good works or charity:
For he that loveth another, hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit whoredom, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is comprehended in this word, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; therefore charity is the fulfilling of the law.
The importance of love, is also confirmed by the Lord’s own word’s, in a response to a trick question by one of the Pharisees as to which is the great commandment in the law. The Lord responds by saying:
Thou shalt love the Lord God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mathew 22:37-40)
Who is unable to grasp that loving God and neighbor is the very life of Christian faith, and that to remove these activities from faith is a dead faith.
So, if anyone tells you that faith alone saves, then simply respond by saying that they are full of red heifer chips.