The Law of God

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Pastor David, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. Pastor David

    Pastor David
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    I'm sure this topic has been raised before, but I'm interested in reading what others here think the Christian's relationship is to the Old Testament Law of God?
     
    #1 Pastor David, Feb 11, 2009
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  2. MB

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    I believe we should keep the Law because we Love God and realize the Law is His will for our lives and for our own good. Our righteousness comes from Christ but because it does, this does not mean we can ignore the Law and sin all we want with out consequence.
    MB
     
  3. Pastor David

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    Hi MB,

    Thanks for the reply. Do you mean to say that Christians should keep every OT law? I'm not disagreeing with you, just asking for clarification.
     
  4. swaimj

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    Here are some of my thoughts, not in any particular order.

    There are cultural commands or ceremonial commands which do not apply to the Christian (food laws, festivals and feasts)

    Paul speaks of the law in Romans as stirring up sin in the human heart. However, Christ's commands are not grevious and his "yoke is easy and his burden light". This is one of the senses in which we are free from the law. In fact, through walking in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christians can actually live a life that pleases God.

    The law could not save a person. It could only condemn. However, believers are saved through Christ. In this sense, the law has no power over us. "There is therefore now NO condemnation..."

    On the other hand, Paul says that the law is holy, righteous, and good. It does reveal to us God's character. Nine of the 10 commandments are repeated in the NT for believers to obey. The "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" sets us free from the penalty of the law and enables us to fulfill it, if imperfectly, because Jesus fulfilled it perfectly.
     
  5. Pastor David

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    Thanks for the reply. I'd be curious to know how you distinguish which laws are no longer binding and which still are? You mention that only 9 of the 10 commandments are repeated in the NT. But didn't Jesus teach us that all 10 of the commandments are summed up in loving God and loving our neighbor? If so, what precedent do we have for setting aside even the one?
     
  6. J.D.

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    I pretty much agree with this except that I think 10 of 10 commandments are repeated in the NT. It's very common to miss the 4th commandment in the NT. Here it is: "there remains therefore a rest to the people of God" (Heb 4). People say, "Jesus IS the sabbath", and, "Jesus kept the sabbath FOR ME", but fact is that if Jesus IS our sabbath rest, then we are still commanded to keep the sabbath through faith in Him.
     
  7. MB

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    I was speaking of the Law written on every man's heart, the ten commandments. Most of the other Laws have there roots in the ten commandments. When Christ came, He gave us a better Law IMHO. That of course is to love our neighbors as our selves. If we do love our neighbors we won't sin against them.


    MB
     
  8. Pastor David

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    I believe you're right to say the other laws found in the OT all originate from one of the Moral Laws given in the stone tablets at Sinai. Would you be willing to explain what you mean "When Christ came, He gave us a better Law"? Rather than giving us a better law, couldn't we say He simply put God's Moral Law back into a right perspective (which the Pharisees had, by that time, twisted to their own ends)?
     
  9. swaimj

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    Pastor David, in seminary there was an entire course on Paul and the Law dedicated to your question. I didn't take the course, but knew some guys who did. Surely, this is one of the great topics of debate in theological circles today. So, I answer knowing that I may be answering the unanswerable (at worst) or the unanswered (at least).

    I think that Jesus said that "all the law" is summed up in the two great commands. I would understand "all the law" to include more than just the 10 commandments. Nevertheless, some parts of the law are not operational today. We know this from direct statements in Mark and in the writings of Paul (at least). I take the aspects that are said not to be operational as not in effect for the believer today. I take the ones that are repeated in the NT to be in effect. That leaves many that are not commented on directly. However, most of those fall into a category that would be more relevant to the ones that are not in effect, as I understand it.

    As for the Sabbath, God rested on the seventh day. This is a pattern that was set prior to the giving of the law, so I see it as a principle that reaches beyond the law. As a practical matter, it is a good pattern to take a day of rest during the week. Does this have to be on Saturday? Paul indicates that we are free from observing ritual days, so I think not. Plus, the church in the book of Acts seems to have moved the day of rest/worship to Sunday to remember the resurrection. As a spiritual matter, Christ is our Sabbath rest as someone has already stated on this thread. There is a sense in which every day is a day of rest for the Christian because Jesus has won the victory for us. There is another sense in which our Sabbath rest will come when we experience the resurrection ourselves and enter into heaven. I think to observe a strict day as a practical matter, while fine, probably misses the greater reality of our spiritual rest in Christ.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    If we talk about the ten commandments (so-called) I see the law complete in Christ and we are to obey Christ. Those laws have not been rescinded, but amplified through Christ.

    If one is to include all the laws established in the Old Covenant, under Moses' time and other leaders, Jesus virtually nullified those laws. More than half of those laws are not of God, but of man.

    Some of those "laws" include stoning your son for continued disobedience. If that is of God, then we have different Gods in the Old Testament, in my opinion. There are other such laws.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. MB

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    He did put it in the right perspective. The pharisee's were always trying to trip Him up on the Law in there conversations they had with Him. Though He knew the Law far better than they did. Loving our neighbors and love it self is what the whole Law is all about. Many talk about Love but few ever do. I think that the whole reason that Christ said to love our neighbors as our selves was to show everyone what the law is really about.

    Many think love is just when they care but it's much deeper than just caring. It's caring more for those you love, more than you care about yourself. When you care that much. You'd lay your own life down for them.
    MB
     
  12. Pastor David

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    By saying that the greater majority of God's Law is no longer in effect, are you suggesting it is irrelevant? How do you handle teaching from the OT law if you believe it carries very little if any significance for the Christian? Is there any practical application we can make from God's law for us today? What do you make of Jesus' statement that He did not come to abolish the law? And finally, if God's law is rooted in His character, and we say His character does not change, is there any real justification for saying the law does either?

    (These questions are for everyone, I'm thankful for the all the responses thus far)
     
  13. swaimj

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    With 9 of the 10 commandments restated in the NT and with the two greatest commands, which are in effect, being the summary of the law, I don't see how you conclude that I think the majority of God's law is no longer in effect. However, if you make a list of laws from the OT and count them, yes, the majority are not in effect. I would say the big "L" Law is relevant to us because it shows God's character and it instructs us in the character we should have. However, many "little "l"" laws are not in effect today. Mark and Paul both teach that food laws from the OT are not in effect. When we come to an OT passage that details what one can and cannot eat, this is irrelevant to the NT believer.

    By observing the distinction I made in my previous two posts. If I did a 7-week series on OT food laws in my church and instructed my fellow congregants that they must eat this way, I would be teaching them falsely. Paul says "every creature is good and is to be received with Thanksgiving". I would teach my congregants this and tell them to rejoice that in God's sovereignty, he has allowed them to participate in the new covenant which supercedes the old commands. I guess I would have to return the question to you, "Do you teach your congregants that they must observe OT food laws?"

    Based upon the distinctions I have voiced, I think there is. Obviously, there are some law instructions that are not demanded of the believer under the new covenant.

    I have to reconcile it with other NT teachings such as those in II Corinthians "the old is passing away" and the warnings of Hebrews (do not give up your confidence in Christ to go back under the law) and Galations (Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and do not become entangled again with a yoke of bondage). There is definitely tension between these two and not every issue is clear to me, but I cannot recieve one statement and ignore the other.

    God does not change, but His revelation of Himself to man has been progressive in human history. God is more fully revealed to the believer today than he was to anyone or any nation in the OT. And, in the future when we see Christ, our understanding of God will be infinitely greater than it can possibly be now. I think it would be very irresponsible to teach the law to NT believers and not inform them that some things in the law are superceded because of the greater revelation in Jesus Christ.
     
  14. Pastor David

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    I follow a basic premise that in OT Israel there are many physical realities that point to spiritual truth. For example, as to the dietary laws, I believe they taught God's OT people holiness - to be aware of that which they consumed - some things are good for you some are not. While I'm not willing to debate the overall (un)healthiness of the foods forbidden in the dietary laws, I believe the "spiritual truth" conveyed through them is that of a unique holiness among other nations. This is why they were lifted when Christ came and our holiness now comes through imitating Him.

    I feel this method accomplishes a couple of things.

    1. It makes all of Scripture relevent and applicable to us today. We can make good use our of God's OT laws in seeing in them something of greater spiritual value. I think this is what Jesus was trying to teach those at the Mt. of Olives in His discourse there. That the laws of God carried an outward significance - but their true meaning is of a much more spiritual and abiding nature. "You have heard it said...but I say unto you..." He doesn't deny the former use, but expands it and applies it much more deeply - making it a heart issue, if you will.

    2. It also helps us understand and relate to the OT more easily - it makes it more accessable to the reader. Often I feel people don't really understand what's going on in the OT with all it's regulations and laws. But if we understand that God really did expect His OT people to follow these laws, but He was using the law to point them (and us) towards a deeper meaning, I believe we can find much more use and application in the OT text. Another example is in the whole ceremonial/sacrifical system. While we know the blood of bulls and goats did not take away sin, God still required His OT people to practice them. Why? Because they pointed to the need of a perfect offering, and the ultimate fulfillment of that sacrifice in Jesus Christ. So that in that sense, we find Christ in both the Old and the New Testaments.

    What do you think?
     
    #14 Pastor David, Feb 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2009
  15. swaimj

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    I do not see a difference in what I have said and what you are saying.
     
  16. Pastor David

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    Good! :thumbs:
     
  17. Jarthur001

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    Make that 10 of the 10. :)
     
  18. swaimj

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    I am aware of the statements in Hebrews. The concept there is greatly expanded from keeping a single day of the week. For the believer in Christ, every day is the Sabbath, in a sense, because we rest in his finished work every day. There is also a sense in which the final rest for the believer comes in the future.

    The Sabbath is rooted in God's rest after his work of creation. It is a principle of life for all men. However, the specific regulations governing it that are given in the law are not applicable to those who are in Christ. We are not required to observe special days, though observing special days is allowable if it is done to honor God.

    IMHO, the expanded view of the Sabbath that is presented in Hebrews and in Jesus' teaching is why there is no NT repetition of the command to remember the seventh day of the week to keep it holy.
     
  19. Pastor David

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    I would only qualify what's been said here by saying that "Lord's Day keeping" does seem to be part of the Christian's mandate. At the least, they are not to forsake the assembling of themselves together for worship. Apart from that there may be some liberties, but some sort of observance of this day seems apparent in the apostles' and disciple's teaching and practice.
     
  20. Jarthur001

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    But there is. :)

    It's Jesus very words. It's kind of a "via negativa" commandment, if you will, but its there. :)
     
    #20 Jarthur001, Feb 13, 2009
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