Dispensational Law

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by NetChaplain, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    Much confusion has come about by a failure to distinguish the principle of law and the dispensation of the law. Paul makes a number of statements about the passing away of the law, such as, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Rom 10:4).

    And in 2 Corinthians 3:7, 11, 13 he speaks of the law which was written and engraved in stones as having been done away and abolished. What does Paul mean by these statements? In what sense has the law been done away? The law forbade murder, theft and adultery. Does Paul mean that under grace the law against such behavior has been rescinded?

    Assuredly not, since Paul speaks out very strongly against such practices. Neither is he saying that the elemental law of human nature has come to an end, for Christians above all others have become sensitized to sin. He must, then, be speaking about the dispensation or administration of law, which was introduced by Moses, as having come to an end.

    Earlier it was pointed out that Paul always associates the law with the flesh and that he contends that the law is not of faith (Gal 3:12). When the law was dispensed at Mt. Sinai it was given to a people who, while under the promise of God and in that sense the people of God, were as yet in actual experience in the flesh. The dispensation of the Spirit had not yet come. They were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. They had not experienced personal regeneration. The writer to the Hebrews describes these per-Christian saints: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (11:13).

    Before fulfilling these promises to His people, God purposed to place them under the dispensation of law in order to manifest fully and completely the true character of sin, and the total inability of the fleshly nature of man to please God. Paul states very clearly God’s purpose in giving the law: “Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:19, 20).

    Paul likewise shows the inability of the law to produce that which it demanded from Adamic man. It could produce neither righteousness nor life. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh” … (Rom 8:3). “For if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law” (Gal 3:21).

    Now the principle upon which the law operates is not one of faith, as Paul plainly declares in Galatians 3:12, but “the man that doeth then shall live by them.” Law demands doing, or works. This is why Paul constantly speaks of the works or deeds of the law. God as a righteous Judge must justify any person who perfectly fulfills His holy law (Rom 2:13).

    The law was placed over sinful flesh, and no flesh was ever able to fulfill the demands of the law. Therefore God has proven through the dispensation of law the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the absolute inability of the natural man to please God (Rom 8:7, 8). “But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good—that sin by the commandment might become exceedingly sinful” (Rom 7:13).

    -Unknown

    http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
     
  2. BobRyan

    BobRyan
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    Clearly the point here is regarding the sinless character and righteousness of Christ. Paul makes the same point in Romans 3 and in Galatians 3 – the Law was never intended as a means for the lost to become saved or to become righteous -- as if one could “honor parents enough to make up for having sinned”. Rather the Law points to Christ - and points to our need of Christ for it is FROM Christ. The Law does not direct us to itself but it directs us to our need of Christ as the means of righteousness. It is only as we have true understanding of sin (And the Law of God defines what sin is 1John 3:4, Romans 7) and of our coming short of the requirements of God (for the Law is the WORD of God according to Christ pre-cross Mark 7:13).


    Commentaries - http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/
    Rom 10:4
    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
    Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown and published in 1871.
    Jamieson, Fausset and Brown –
    4. For Christ is the end--the object or aim.
    of the law for--justifying
    righteousness to every one that believeth--that is, contains within Himself all that the law demands for the justification of such as embrace Him, whether Jew or Gentil


    John Calvin – Geneva Study Bible
    10:4 3 For Christ [is] the c end of the law for righteousness to d every one that believeth.
    (3) The proof: the law itself points to Christ, that those who believe in him should be saved. Therefore the calling to salvation by the works of the law, is vain and foolish: but Christ is offered for salvation to every believer.


    Matthew Henry (concise)
    Verses 1-4 The Jews built on a false foundation, and refused to come to Christ for free salvation by faith, and numbers in every age do the same in various ways. The strictness of the law showed men their need of salvation by grace, through faith. And the ceremonies shadowed forth Christ as fulfilling the righteousness, and bearing the curse of the law. So that even under the law, all who were justified before God, obtained that blessing by faith, whereby they were made partakers of the perfect righteousness of the promised Redeemer. The law is not destroyed, nor the intention of the Lawgiver disappointed; but full satisfaction being made by the death of Christ for our breach of the law, the end is gained. That is, Christ has fulfilled the whole law, therefore whoever believeth in him, is counted just before God, as much as though he had fulfilled the whole law himself. Sinners never could go on in vain fancies of their own righteousness, if they knew the justice of God as a Governor, or his righteousness as a Saviour.

    A.T. Robertson, a renowned scholar of the Greek New Testament
    Robertson – Word Pictures – NT
    The end of the law (telo nomou). Christ put a stop to the law as a means of salvation ( James 6:14 ; James 9:31 ; Ephesians 2:15 ; Colossians 2:14 ) as in Luke 16:16 . Christ is the goal or aim of the law ( Galatians 3:24 ). Christ is the fulfilment of the law ( Matthew 5:17 ; Romans 13:10 ; 1 Timothy 1:5 ). But here (Denney) Paul's main idea is that Christ ended the law as a method of salvation for "every one that believeth" whether Jew or Gentile. Christ wrote finis on law as a means of grace.



    This explains how that discussion in Acts 21 could even take place. The post-pentecost New Testament apostolic church in Jerusalem was the church urging Paul to partake in the ceremonial "in order to prove" that the accusations against him were false.


    in Christ,

    Bob
     
    #2 BobRyan, Jan 31, 2014
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  3. BobRyan

    BobRyan
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    2 Cor 3
    2 you are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
    3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.


    Paul makes the point of telling us in 2Cor3 that the subject is the contrast between the use of the law in the Old Covenant and the new - notice that both the old and New Covenant are the subjects of 2Cor3.

    2Cor 3
    vs 6 "who also made us adequate as servants of a New Covenant"

    vs 14 "until this very day at the reading of the Old Covenant the same veil remains unlifted because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart. But whenever a man turns to the Lord the veil is taken away"

    (notice it does not say whenever they stop reading Moses the veil is taken way - rather when they turn to the Lord (the one true God) they can read Moses with the veil taken away.)

    This contrast of outward focus in the Old Covenant and inward in the New Covenant is amplified in these words regarding the law

    "you are a letter of Christ cared for by us written not with ink, but wih the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone (the law of the Old Covenant - 10 Commandments) but on tablets of the human heart" 2Cor 3:3

    that which is written outwardly on "tablets of stone" in the Old Covenant (God's law) is written inwardly "on tablets of the human heart" under the New Covenant.

    God further makes the same New Covenant point in Hebrews 8 "I will write my laws upon their hearts" Heb 8:10 --- which is a repeat of Jeremiah 31:33 where the term law in it's highest purest form is the law for Jeremiah written on tablets of stone (as Paul tells us).

    So when God speaks these words to his prophet about writing inwardly that which the infinite unchanging creator God calls "law" (inwardly on the heart) - the context demands that we consider the 10 Commandments as the primary reference. James 2 is in full agreement with this giving us examples of the "law" of God - as "the law of liberty" - and the examples are simply excerpts from the law written on tablets of stone. (do not murder, and do not commit adultery).

    Romans 2 makes it clear that real Christians "show that the work of the law is written on their hearts"


    Romans 2:15. Regarding pagans who have no scripture but "do instinctively the things of the law" ..."for when gentiles who do not have the law - do instinctively the things of the law..."
    clearly it is the same law
    of the infinite unchanging creator God which they do not have outwardly, but do have it written on their heart inwardly. That same law is expanded and shown to be the same outward law of the Jews in this same chapter "if therefore the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And will not he who is physically uncircumcised if he keeps the law will he not judge you though having the letter of the law and physically circumcised - as a transgressor of the law"

    "for he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that which is of the heart - by the spirit -- not by the letter
    ". Rom 2:26-29


     
  4. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    Hi Bob - The phrase "law of God" is often used in today's Christendom and I believe when used, it should be defined, i.e. Law of God (Ten Commandments/Leviticus Ordinances), or law of God (desire of God--Rom 7:25)?

    This for me quickly resolves attempting to clearly understand one's meaning, because the desire (law--lower case) of God is for the believer in the present dispensation; the Law of God (TC/Leviticus Ordinances) was for Israel in the prior dispensation.

    As Scripture reveals, their were men before and during the Law dispensation who were believers in Him and desired His will, apart from the Law.
     
    #4 NetChaplain, Feb 1, 2014
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