Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Inspiration and Endurance of the Old Testament

(Chris has a blog called Bible Thoughts that you can find by clicking on the link in his name, below. He calls himself an Arminian, but he doesn't believe one can lose their salvation. I have found a lot of things on his blog to be very helpful. He has a lot of great verse studies in his sidebar. Thanks for letting me post this brief thought, Chris.)

Guest Post
The Inspiration and Endurance of the Old Testament by Chris Skinner

The words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20:
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
This verse is often used by many to prove that the Mosaic Law is still in effect. Understood this way, it poses a problem for all believers. Covenant theologians maintain that the civil and ceremonial law has passed away and argue that the Lord was referring here exclusively to “the moral law”. This view is untenable because, as discussed earlier, there is no basis for this distinction. Furthermore, if this was the case, Jesus would have explained this clearly to his audience as it would have been a foreign concept to them. Jesus was a Rabbi and first century Judaism never made these distinctions.

Jesus lived under the dispensation of the Mosaic law which did not end until his death. What did he mean when he stated that no jot or tittle shall pass from the law? A jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew language. He is referring to the Law in it's broader usage, the entire Old Testament. Jesus is not saying that Law of Moses is operational for all time, but affirming the inspiration, infallibility, inerrancy and preservation of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The word “fulfil” according to Strong's Dictionary means “to make replete...satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: - accomplish, X after, (be)complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply”1.

All things in the Old Testament will be fulfilled. This is in contrast to “destroying the Law” which would meaning failing to fulfil the Scripture. Yeshua was saying that all the things in the Tanakh shall be fulfilled and his words in the Tanakh shall be preserved until eternity.

1 Strong's Hebrew-Greek Dictionary, emphasis added.
-Chris Skinner


  • Good afternoon Rose/Chris:

    Chris! Can you clarify your position re: the moral law for us?

    Upon whom were/are (two issues in there)the 10 Commandments binding?

    This is not a trap, but there will be (DV) a follow up question depending on your reply. I just don't want to assume anything at this stage.


    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/19/2009 3:39 PM  

  • Just to get the email notification!

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/19/2009 3:43 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Chris.

    I am a reformed antinomian; that is, I believe that I am no longer under law, but under grace - even as the scriptures teach.

    I do not consider myself to be under the old covenant - the one written on tablets of stone, but under a new and better covenant - the one written on tablets of flesh (Christ's flesh btw, and not my own).

    Scripture speaks of the Mosaic law as something which cannot be divided - you either keep it all, or not - you cannot keep, say, a moral component, and dispense with the ceremonial, etc.

    Which is to say that the New Covenant does away with the old, and is not merely sewn into the fabric of it as one might sew a new patch into an old cloth. It is new wine, if you will, poured into a new wineskin.

    Notwithstanding - what some think of as the "moral component" of the law - often typified as the at least nine of the ten commandments - has always been God's standard of righteousness.

    Did not Cain slay Abel before there was a law saying not to murder? How then was it wrong? It was wrong, not because a law exists that says not to, but rather because God does not will us to murder and rape one another.

    Included in the commandments given for the governance of national Israel were commandments that reflected the moral expectations of God that had been in place since Adam was created. Codified, but not new - binding, not because they were codified, but because they were God's will.

    The new covenant has not caused God to change morally, and therefore his moral expectations remain unchanged.

    I find it inconsistent and untenable to fabricate from scripture the notion that Jesus did away with those parts of the law that aren't moral, but expects us to keep the moral parts of the law, because this is a form of Judaizing that at once understands that we are still morally obligated, but fails in that it finds the law (and therefore the keeping of it) as the source of our obligation, rather than the Lord for whom the law was only a placeholder with regards to our obligation.

    Outwardly there isn't much difference between [1] one who tosses out most of the law but remains obligated to the moral components of the law, and [2] one who is no longer under any of the law (even the moral components), but is now under Christ and as such is obliged to live morally in Christ. But inwardly the former and the latter are quite different.

    As a solid, Five Solas, Five Point Calvinist, I can say with some conviction, and no shame, that I am not under the law, but under grace.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 3/20/2009 8:55 AM  

  • Hi, Rose; thanks for these guest posts...a "shot in the arm"

    Good to meet you, Chris...I looked at your home page; did I see some "dispensational" overtones?

    I find I agree with your basic thesis here. It does, however, lead to the larger question of how the Mosaic covenant is related to Abraham's covenant and the New Covenant. So, with regard to your comments on "...destroy the law," we need to explain the language of "obsolescence" in Hebrews:

    ...He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah---not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Heb 8:6-13 NKJV)

    My take on Matt 5 is that Jesus---the "Mediator" himself---explains how Moses' Law becomes "obsolete": It is "filled out" or "taken to the highest level" in his own person when he reveals the righteousness of God in man; hence, Abraham's "seed" fulfills the still-valid promises to Abraham in the New Covenant, as the (temporary) Mosaic covenant was only subsumed under Abraham's and then made obsolete when brought to completion in the New.

    Hence, only in union with him do we have any hope of truly revealing God's righteousness in our own words or deeds.

    Could that fit with your view?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/20/2009 12:28 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Chris

    I will just make some quick observations. As you I believe the law will not pass away UNTIL all is fulfilled and Rev 21:1 tells us about the first heaven and the first earth passing away. I believe when the Church is caught up to be with the Lord then there will be a rebuilt temple on this earth that Jesus calls the “holy place” Matt 24:15. That is the tribulation when God will be dealing with the nation Israel again, and they will reestablish the practice of the law (Matt 24:15-20). Also during the Millinnum Jesus will rule with a rod of iron ( Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).
    The believer’s rule of life at this time is grace, anyone found in Christ is a new creation.

    Systems such as Catholicism, Mormonism, Calvinism are a law unto themselves. There systems connect to a law of works. That is one MUST have faith which produces WORKS to be TRUE faith to get to heaven. There system has disqualified them from the way of grace.

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/20/2009 7:31 PM  

  • Hi Jim, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what you said. And those words I couldn't even find in my Webeters New World Dictionary... whats up with that? I went on line to deeper knowledge...heeheeee
    Anyways I see where the law is still going to have a place in the future, not only in the Tribulation but also during the Millennium. I believe to show that even in a perfect environment with Jesus ruling man will still act like a low down varmint!
    Why the first covenant did not work is because it was weak in the flesh, and could not bring life (Rom 8:3; Gal 3:21).

    I see in the Millennium we will still have man in the flesh so the law will be needed, many will rebel and follow Satan in one last rebellion.

    In your quote of Hebrews I see a break when it stops talking about the house of Judah and the house of Israel which were divided at the time, and then in verse 10 He speaks to the house of Israel which will be the Israel of God. All Israel will be saved (delivered from the Tribulation) (Rom 11:26). Key! “after those days” and all shall “know the Lord.” That is in the Millennium when the New Covenant which is the Nation Israel’s is fulfilled. The Church is but a partaker. But the law will again be in effect till the end.
    Please tell me where I’m going wrong?

    Ugly :~}
    P/s or maybe I'm suppose to be quiet now . . . i need guidance? Maybe a straight jacket :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 12:42 AM  

  • Hello, Rose, Ugly...

    I find I have to "measure" five or six times before I "cut" (thanks for that, Rose, you're a genius)...and I think I needed to "measure" one more time before my last post on this thread.

    Alvin, have you ever considered seminary? Your view of the Hebrews passage and Rom 11 is entirely plausible under a classical dispensational view; I just find the "progressive" view explains the New Covenant and "the people of God" with less "discontinuity" between the Church age and the millennial Kingdom. I think that both Matt 5 and Heb 8 have in view the people of God as a whole in fulfilling the Law after the Spirit has been given. That would "see" those who walk according to the Spirit in the present age and those of "saved Israel" in the Millennium as both comprising the "Israel of God."

    I believe you are right when you say that the Church is "but a partaker," but remember that Rom 11 is not talking about Israel per se...Paul sees the olive tree as rooted in the promises to Abraham and the patriarchs before Moses, so that both Israel (natural branches) and the Church (wild branches) are ultimately grafted back together into the same promises to Abraham in the form of the New Covenant for the people of God. It is this new combined "Israel of God" that has the "law" written on their hearts; hence, those now in Christ can fulfill the new requisites of the law (Matt 5) in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Rom 8:4), and saved Israel will fulfill these same requisites in the Millennium under the new dispensation.

    This is kind of what Gary was talking about when he mentioned Kaiser's Promise Plan of God which I'm reading now and am finding quite compatible with the progressive view.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 7:53 AM  

  • Hi guys,

    I'm very busy right now (had to go out of town yesterday) but I'm trying to follow along as I have time. I'm enjoying this discussion very much! Jim, Alvin sounds like he has ALREADY been to seminary doesn't he?! I'm excited that you (Jim) are already reading the book! I really learn a lot from both of you guys! I hope to be back soon. God bless all who are participating in this discussion.

    By Blogger goe, at 3/21/2009 10:35 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose/Chris/Jim/Bad

    No boys, I'm way out in the lake where it's way over my head . . . .i just hope one of you boys when you see my head go under you'll come save me . . . .heehee

    Ugly :~}

    I got enogh her to chew on all day an then some :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 11:48 AM  

  • I think we need to keep in mine...just like them thar Jewish boy's progress just kinda came to a big screechin holt:) So things don't always go like we be thinkin they should? The clock just kinda all of a sudden stopped when they rejected their Messiah . . . . and here we be . . . the Church age . . . i just be thinkin the clock is about to start clickin again!

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 12:07 PM  

  • Jim, I see during the Millennium the nation Israel that generation who receives their Messiah who say’s “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” going into the Millennium Kingdom in there physical bodies….those who endure to the end will be saved (delivered from the Great Tribulation). That is where them wippersnappers come from who rebel with Satan at the end. So I still see a separation between the “Israel of God” and the Church during the Millennium. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom Of God. The Church will be ruling with Christ over all the nations who come up too Jerusalem to keep the feast.

    Ugly :~}
    . . . . . got too go for my run~

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 12:40 PM  

  • OMG!!!

    Is that you in the pic, Ugly??

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 1:09 PM  

  • That be me…. Hid’en behind that big beard . . . heehee I figures that will scare the daylight’s out of Bad . . . . . .he won’t be calling me out in the street again . . . . heeheee . . . . .not if he know’n whats good for um .

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 1:49 PM  

  • Rose, did you see that!??

    He looks like Sheikh Muhammed Omar or something!

    Ugly (and I do mean... ugly), how much r u packin' there when u go running or roller-blading?

    (My apologies to Chris for using this thread to engage such trivial and inconsequential dialogue.)

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 2:09 PM  

  • Well Jim . . .that's between me and the Lord! You just can't let everything out in the public forum, lets just say I'm lean and mean . . . . an Ugly! (Yah hear that Bad, i betcha he's shaken in his boots . . . heeheee

    Jim, just between you and me....i'm like a chik'n when you feather it thar ain't much left . . . don't tell Bad that though!

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 2:28 PM  

  • That's right Alvin, that pic DID scare me!! It scared the livin daylights outa me!! That 's why I'm no longer calling you UGLY! Better watch it Jim! This guy is DANGEROUS!!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/21/2009 2:31 PM  

  • Ok Chris, step on out here soo's we can see yah! We can't hit anything we can't see . . . . except for old Bad he can hit a jaybird in the dark . . . cuz all he got over at his house is the moon to shoot under :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/23/2009 9:10 PM  

  • Just kidd'in we wouldn't do yah no harm :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/23/2009 9:46 PM  

  • Yea Alvin, but you know that moon gives enough light for me to get a good bead on that jaybird....or a pitbull!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/24/2009 1:33 AM  

  • Hi All,

    Sorry for slow responses, I've been away over the last few days.

    Rose - thanks for posting this on your blog. It is encouragement to know that it is benefitting readers.

    Colin - my position on the moral law is simply this: 2 Corinthians 3 talks about the 10 commandments (ministry engraven on stones, ministry of condemnation) being done away. However 9 of the 10 are repeated in the New Testament so they are binding upon us under the Law of Messiah. The exception is the Sabbath law, which finds it's fulfilment in the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4, and see also Colossians 2:16).

    Daniel - thanks for your comments. I agree with you, that it is a fabrication to try to retain the moral parts of the law and disregard the other parts.

    Agent4him - excellent quote "Hence, only in union with him do we have any hope of truly revealing God's righteousness in our own words or deeds."

    By Blogger Chris, at 3/24/2009 6:00 PM  

  • Agent4him - forgot to answer, yes you probably did see some dispensational overtones. That is my view :-)

    By Blogger Chris, at 3/24/2009 6:04 PM  

  • Yah I know :) I already shot myself in the foot :~}

    bye :~)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/24/2009 9:25 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Chris:

    Chris: Thank you for your answer. Do you see the 10 Commandments being binding upon the whole human race? For example, if a heathen man currently living in some Stone Age culture in deepest South America bows to a god of wood and stone, does he break the 1st and 2nd Commandment as given in Exodus 20?


    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/25/2009 4:51 AM  

  • Chris,
    Thanks for letting me post it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/25/2009 10:12 AM  

  • Colin,

    The ten commandments were given only to Israel.

    However the righteousness revealed in the entire law reflected the righteousness of God. Where there is no law, there is no transgression (as it says in Romans).

    The Gentile nations have sinned, not against the law, but against creation and conscience (as it says in Romans 1).

    So Jew and Gentile alike have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3).

    By Blogger Chris, at 3/26/2009 1:12 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Chris:

    Chris: When you write: The Gentile nations have sinned, not against the law... surely sin can only be defined as being the transgression of the law? (1 John 3:4) When Paul spoke about the law being the Schoolmaster to bring us to Christ – he was writing originally to a Gentile congregation. Although the law was given in written form (ala the 10 Commandments) to the COI, yet this same law written in hearts of the heathen and forms the basis on which they are judged sinners. The conscience will only cry out as instructed to do so by what constitutes right and wrong – and this instruction is the law of God.

    The Commandments therefore have been given to the human race and not just one section thereof.


    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/27/2009 4:17 AM  

  • Colin,

    The Law of Moses, the 613 Commandments, were given only to Israel. However it was an expression of the righteousness of God, to which we are all obligated.

    In one of Psalms it does say that no other nation has the law that Israel does, the actual code was given exclusively to Israel and revealed in creation and conscience. The moral requirements embodied in that go beyond the Law of Moses. The book of Romans clearly shows this distinction.

    By Blogger Chris, at 3/27/2009 2:02 PM  

  • Colin:

    "The Commandments therefore have been given to the human race and not just one section thereof. "

    Do you believe that all 613 commandments are binding upon all people in all times and at all places?

    By Blogger Chris, at 3/27/2009 2:34 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Chris

    Chris writes: Colin: Do you believe that all 613 commandments are binding upon all people in all times and at all places?

    Short answer: No
    Longer answer: Still No :o)

    Many of these 613 commandments were clearly of a typical nature and have fulfilled their function. Best example being the various laws of the sacrifices which prepared the way for the one great sacrifice i.e. Christ on the Cross. However, the fact that 9/10 Commandments are repeated almost verbatim in the NT (as you acknowledge) show that they are still in force today and still binding upon the child of God. I would hold that the 4th commandment (certainly in spirit) is observed when we meet together on the first day of the week i.e. the Lord’s Day.

    You still have not explained how the law is said to be a schoolmaster to lead the Gentiles to Christ (as in Galatians 3:24) when (according to you) they had the perfect excuse to skip lessons. I cannot be failed for an exam which I never sat and never sat because I had no requirement to sit it in the first place. The whole argument of Galatians 3 makes it clear that it is the law of Moses that is under discussion.
    How could Christ redeem me from the curse of a law which (according to you) I (as a 20th Century born Gentile)was never under?

    Again, it is the transgression of the law that constitutes sin (1 John 3:4) How can I transgress a law that I am not under?

    I think we would need to sort that bit out before we take the argument even further.

    Thanks for your time and thoughts.


    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/28/2009 7:30 AM  

  • Hello Colin

    Sorry for not answering your question earlier. Galatians 3 needs more careful attention. Verse 3 it says:

    3 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    Notice the two groups in this passage. There is "us" and there is "the Gentiles", clearly two different groups. Here it is again:

    "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

    He uses "us" again in verse 23, but switches back to "you" again in verse 26. Paul is talking about his own group, the Jewish people who were in under the tutor, in contrast to "you".

    In chapter 4 this contrast continues:

    " Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."

    In verse 5 it says "them that were under the law", not "you who were under the law".

    And verse 21 Paul says "21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law...". What does that imply?

    As for 1 John 3:4, I will refer to Young's Literal Translation: "Every one who is doing the sin, the lawlessness also he doth do, and the sin is the lawlessness". This is different from "transgression of the law". It is meaning that everyone who sins is operating without law.

    Colin, please can you tell me how you interpret the following verses and how it reconciles with your view that the Mosaic Law was given to the entire human race:

    What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Deut 4:8

    He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 147:19).

    By Blogger Chris, at 3/28/2009 11:33 AM  

  • Hi Rose/Chris

    Just so you boys don't get everyone looking at their feet...HeeHeeeee

    The law is not binding on a believer :)
    Because the law is not for a righteous person :)

    But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,
    Knowing this: That the law is not made for a righteous person,
    But for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners,
    For the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murders of
    Mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers,
    For liars, for perjures, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to
    Sound doctrine. 1 Tim 1:8-10

    The believer has passed out of the sphere in which the law operates :)

    The law is for the flesh but the believer is no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit.

    The believer has become dead to the law in the death of Christ and made alive to live unto God.

    Romans 7:4 Therefore my brethern, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another – to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

    The only way a believer can put themselves under the law is by not walking in the way of grace thus saying they are alive again in the flesh.
    Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.

    The law was binding under the Old Covenant, the New Covenant is what is binding on the Believer the law of Christ, His will.
    1 Cor 9:20,21 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews, to those who are under the law (hupo), as under the law (hupo), that I might win those who are under the law (hupo); to those who are without law (hupo), as without law (hupo) (not being without law (hupo)to God, but under (ennomos,lawful) the law (ennomos) toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law (hupo).
    Paul could say concerning food and keeping days: 1 Cor 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Cor 6:12)

    The law was made for to condemn sin in the flesh, and the power of sin is the law (1 Cor 15:56). Other words the law was meant to make you more sinful (Rom 5:20 cf.4:15) that you might see your need and bring you to Christ. But once you have come to Christ your no longer under the law but under grace. So your not dancing with the law anymore but following Christ by the Spirit so when you slip He doesn’t condemn you, because that is all the law could do, it couldn’t make you righteous. The believer has passed out of the sphere of law and lives by the law of the Spirit which is a superior law because it’s not for the flesh, the flesh is dead in the death of Christ were to live by faith and not by keeping the law (Gal 2:20).
    For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal 5:14
    For he who has died has been freed from sin. Rom 6:7
    reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to Christ Jesus our Lord Rom 6:11

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/28/2009 12:50 PM  

  • Correction: in all these places “under” in the Greek is (hupo), but where Paul used under for himself he used the Greek word (ennomos) meaning he was lawful but he was not under the law but under grace.

    1 Cor 9:20,21 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews, to those who are under (hupo), the law as under (hupo), the law that I might win those who are under (hupo) the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law to God, but under (ennomos,lawful) the law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law.

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/28/2009 7:12 PM  

  • Good afternoon Rose/Chris:


    You ask And in Galatians 4:21 Paul says "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law...". What does that imply? The problem in the Galatian church was that they wanted to be justified by the law of God i.e. legalism. (Galatians 3:11) Such would bring them under the curse (Galatians 3:10) because cursed is the man that continues not to do everything what is required. It is not that they were not under the law as far as their code of conduct was concerned. They were under the whole Bible for this code and therefore under the commandments. Again (emphasising it to avoid any misunderstanding) it is not legalism to seek to live out your life according to the commandments of God. It only becomes legalism when we think that such either makes us Christians in the first place or when we think it increases our standing with God. The fact is that our standing with God is purely and 100% on the basis of His grace alone.

    I think that you are making the “we” and the “you” bear a greater weight than they were originally meant to bear. I notice that neither JV Magee or HA Ironside or even JN Darby (all Dispensational authors) make mention of this fine distinction in their comments in Galatians, but apply the verses mentioned universally (including themselves) and not merely to the Jews.

    As for Deuteronomy 4:8 and Psalm 147:19 (both of which teach the same thing) – Israel had the laws of God given to them formally, brought to them by revelation through the inspired utterances of holy men of old and taught and explained to them and applied. The heathen did not enjoy such privileges, but according to Romans 2 had them written in their hearts and will be judged accordingly. We should not conclude, however, that because the Gentile did not have access to the tabernacle where the words (say) “Thou shalt not steal” were laid up and revered that he could freely steal etc., The same law condemned both and the same law saved neither, but served as a school master to bring both to Christ.

    Now we know that what things soever 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 (Romans 3:19). Here the condemnation of the law is applied to the whole world, Jew and Gentile alike as Paul rightly applies but a few verses later: “There is no difference (i.e. between Jew and Gentile) for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (v22-23)


    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/29/2009 11:30 AM  

  • Colin,

    Thanks for replying. I never said that we were free to steal. Please do not misunderstand or misrepresent my position.

    Your point about the law being on the heart of Gentiles is really what I have already said. Creation and conscience affirm that it is morally wrong to do certain things, like stealing, even before the Law of Moses was given. The Law was given not to make stealing wrong but because it was already wrong. However the Law of Moses as a code, with the "civil" and "ceremonial" aspects of it was given exclusively to Israel.

    As for Darby and Ironside, they were great authors and I value their writings. However I don't have to agree with them on everything. William MacDonald does make these distinctions. I don't think I'm putting too much weight on the distinctions, just paying careful attention to detail.

    I think ultimately we arrive at the same place in terms of moral requirements, except maybe on the Sabbath Law.

    By Blogger Chris, at 3/29/2009 12:32 PM  

  • Hi Chris,

    My comments on “Thou shalt not steal” neither misunderstand nor misrepresent you. The command was given as an example of what was forbidden and to the Jew and Gentile alike. As you say, we probably ultimately arrive at the same place in terms of moral requirements.

    What do I use to seek to bring a Gentile to the place of conviction of sin? On what basis do I tell him that his (say) adulterous ways will ultimately take him to hell because it is sin? As we are both aware, public opinion ain’t what it used to be and good old fashioned decency is fighting for its life. It would seem, from what you are saying, that quoting the 7th Commandment would be poor exegesis on my part.

    I would appreciate your comments on the passage from Romans 3:19 where the condemnation of the law of God is universal upon Jew and Gentile alike.


    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/29/2009 1:07 PM  

  • Colin,

    Sorry - I did think you thought I was saying it was OK to steal and was horrified by it. Please accept my apologies.

    The law can be used to lead Gentiles to Christ, and it is a great tool for bringing Jewish people to trust in their Messiah. This is the purpose it was given: to demonstrate sin and lead us to the one who can save us.

    Romans 3:19 says that the law demonstrates that we have all fallen short of the righteousness God demands.

    I would personally make a distinction between "The eternal moral law" and "The Law of Moses". The latter began with Moses and ended at the Cross, and incorporates the moral law with Israel's theocratic law. The Law of Messiah likewise incorporates the moral law.

    It would not be poor exegesis to use the 7th commandment in the way you prospose. It is actually the right way to use it.

    The original post on this blog was actually from a 14 page article I wrote on this. I hope this extract may answer your question:

    Because the law of Moses is part of the Bible, it is there for our instruction and teaching. This includes the civil, ceremonial and moral parts of the law, and it applies universally to Jewish and Gentile believers alike.

    One of the purposes of the law was to teach us about the holiness and righteousness of God and to provide a rule of life for believers under the previous dispensation. Employing the rabbinic principle of PaRDeS helps us here, as the law can teach us spiritual truth that goes deeper than it's literal meaning. Paul's drash (application) on a commandment provides an example:

    Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.1

    The literal commandment not to muzzle an ox is irrelevant to most of us today. This law demonstrates that God is concerned with cattle but the application is that how much more is he concerned with people.

    [The full article is available athttp://www.scribd.com/doc/7391953/Law-and-Grace].

    By Blogger Chris, at 3/29/2009 1:34 PM  

  • Hi Chris:

    It seems to me though that you have reduced the law of Moses to being a mere teaching device only – or at least as far as the non Jews are concerned. While this may well “do the trick” (as they say) and cause a thief or an adulterer to be convicted of sin and hopefully seek salvation, yet I still feel that you come short. Romans 3:19 links the breaking of law of God to the condemnation of the world – therefore it goes away beyond being a mere teaching device but obviously carries legal force. This legal force could not be without the sinner being subject to it. Suppose I got a letter from some Muslim government telling me that my efforts to evangelise Muslims to Christ was illegal in their country. I might choose either to ignore it (perhaps the most prudent) or I could write back a good lusty reply that says that I do not live under the force of their wretched law, but live instead under the dictates of Irish law which still gives me the right to evangelise whoever I desire.

    However, just a thought from my side of the fence. In many ways here, we are arriving at the same destination both in regards to the saved and unsaved alike. Our difficulties/differences arise when we start explaining why.

    Thanks for your time,



    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/29/2009 4:27 PM  

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