Laying Down the Law

Is the Christian is required to keep the Law, more specifically the ten commandments?  It is my position that, no, Christians are under no obligation to keep the Law of the old testament.  On its face this is  a controversial notion, but hopefully upon closer examination it should be clear and will make sense, and I believe it is in fact the biblical position.

When discussing the Law I will limit the scope to the ten commandments since it was God who commanded the ten as well as the other 600+ laws, which were established to set Israel apart as a peculiar people, and unless a specific distinction must be made the Law refers to the ten.

God chose Abram from among the people of the earth to bless, and from his descendants God would make a great nation (Gen. 12:2).  Through Jacob, Abram’s (now Abraham) son who is now called Israel (Gen. 32:28) God made what was to come to be known as the Nation of Israel.  Israel as a nation was a people chosen by God to be His people.  They were a people set apart from the surrounding peoples and nations, which were notoriously depraved, committing regularly heinous acts upon themselves and others (Gen. 6:5).  God had a specific purpose for the nation of Israel, the Messiah was to be an Israelite.  To keep Israel apart from the other surrounding nations God gave certain commandments to the nation of Israel (Exo. 20:2) in order to keep them morally sound and to keep them from falling into the same treachery as their neighbors.  The reason this is pertinent to this discussion is that the Law was given to Israel, specifically Israel.  The reason this is important is that there are promises and consequences related to obedience and disobedience to the Law. 

The Law is basically a contract with the nation of Israel.  This contract like any other contract is valid and applicable only to the parties to whom the contract is given.  I think Christians have a tendency to view new testament Christians as a continuation of or a replacement to old testament Israelites, and are therefore entitled to the promises offered to the Jews.   Unless otherwise stated, promises and Laws to the Jews apply only to the Jews.  Even Paul makes the point of making the distinction that the Gentiles, did not have the Law but did the things of the Law since it was written on their hearts (Rom. 2:12-14).

Is the Christian church a continuation of or replacement to the Jews? I’m not so certain this is the case, and even if it were would not be relevant or make the argument for required obedience to the Law.  First there is an explicit separation of Israel and Christians. In Matthew chapter 16, Jesus and Peter are discussing who Jesus is.  Jesus asks “who do the people say I am?” (Matt. 16:13), and then “who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15).  Peter of course gives the correct answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).  Jesus then responds by saying that God has revealed that truth and on that truth He, Jesus, will build His church.  I think this is an important way of wording the answer, namely in the future tense.  Jesus had not yet been crucified and resurrected which would be the event which ushers in the new covenant.  The church Jesus is speaking of is not yet in place, however Judaism and the Law were currently in place.  There is no mention by Jesus that the church is the same as the set aside nation Israel, though the first Christians were converted Jews.  There is a distinction between the church which is to come, and the “church” which is present.

God’s plan was to bring about a new covenant which would be different from the original (Heb. 8:9), or old covenant, (Jer. 31:31, 32) which was broken by Israel.  It would function in a new way.  The old covenant was a written law, the new would be written on the hearts of believers (Heb 8:10).  I take this to mean one’s conscience.  I firmly believe a believer’s conscience does more to convict of sin then any written set of rules ever could.  I take this notion of the Law being written on the heart to mean that before the new covenant was in place, the conscience was either non-existent, or radically different from what we experience today.  I think most believers can attest to this, before becoming a believer you were a pretty good person, me too, but after you believed you are more sensitive to the little things you used to do with out a second thought.  Even the unbeliever’s conscience informs them when they do wrong, and while everyone has an innate knowledge of God, it is suppressed and the source for their conscience informing them of wrong is purposely unknown (Rom. 1:21-23, Heb. 8:11).  But the unbeliever’s conscience is not informative to the extent of the believer who has the benefit of the Holy Spirit who makes the believer more sensitive to sin.  History can also attest to this. Before Christ came, life was very cheap and debauchery was rampant. People were slaughtered whole sale for any number of reasons including entertainment. Since the Advent, it has tapered off, people are looked upon with more value and debauchery was increasingly frowned upon as Christianity spread through out the world. There are of course exceptions to every rule, but reading through the old testament we see how depraved the peoples were that surrounded the Jews. So bad so that it showed no signs of stopping and as a result God ordered their extermination (Gen. 6:5).

Jesus, God Himself, would be the one to usher in the new covenant (Isa. 53:11-12; Psa. 22:25-29; Zech. 12:10; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25).  Once the new is in place, the old is done away with and obsolete (Heb. 8:13, 2 Cor. 3:6).  This means is it done with, there is no more obligation to fulfill the Law (Rom. 7:6).  There was even some debate in the early church, that some new believers had claimed it was necessary to keep the Law of Moses (Acts 15:5), and a letter was written in response claiming they, the Apostles, gave no such instruction (Acts 15:24), and advising they not be burdened beyond the essentials of abstaining from “things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell” (Acts 15:29).  In fact, the Apostles questioned speaking of the Law of Moses, “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10).  Certainly if obliged obedience to the Law was intended for the Christian church it would have been upheld here. Now that the new covenant is in place, not even the Jews, with whom God made the original covenant, are under the obligation to fulfil the Law.  Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectly by not once violating the Law (Heb. 7:27), and made the required sacrifice once and for all.

Now some might take exception with this line of reasoning thinking I am advocating or defending the idea of “carnal Christianity”, not being obliged to the law means free reign to live a life of sin.  Once a person has truly been regenerated becoming a believer, there is a desire to refrain from the life of sin to which he was once accustomed.  By this I do not mean Christians do not sin, but the Christian is inwardly convicted of the sin he once abounded.  The sensitivity to sin increases with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and though the Christian may sin, he does not want to, feels remorse when he does, and has a desire to repent (Rom. 7:15-21).  The Law then is kept accidentally.  It is kept out of love and thankfulness to God for His redemption.  Keeping the Law begins to come naturally, though not perfectly, after being born again.  Jesus himself says “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).  Jesus here is saying, if you are someone who loves Him, you will keep the commandments.  This is a descriptive verse not prescriptive.  Jesus is not saying that those who claim to love Him must keep His commandments, but rather that the people who do in fact love Him will keep them.

What about Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.“?  In this passage is Jesus teaching the Law is in effect and will never pass away?  It is true He did not come to destroy the law, which He did not, the Law was not abolished, it was completed.  Before the crucifixion/resurrection the Law was still in effect and required to be obeyed by the Jews.  Jesus was under the obligation to obey the law Himself (Gal. 4:4), which He did to perfection. Jesus’ perfect keeping of the Law, His being crucified for the sins of man, and His resurrection from the dead conquering the effects of sin is the “until all is accomplished” to which He is referring, remember His words on the Cross “it is finished” (John 19:30).  The Greek word used in the passage, “tetelestai” is a word used in the first century to indicate that a contractual obligation has been fulfilled.  It was a release of the debtee to the debtor, the old covenant is now finished and the new is in effect.

I believe it is widely overlooked by Christians that many of Jesus’ teachings, generally speaking, were to Jews.  Jesus was not sent to the whole world, but only to the lost sheep of Israel (Matt. 15:24), therefore His message and His audience consisted mainly of Jews who were under the Law.  Before Jesus death and resurrection the old covenant, which was the required obedience of the Law, was still in place.  It is not until after His resurrection that the obligation is removed and abolished and the new covenant is under effect.  It is for this reason that a passage like Matthew 22:35-40, And of them, lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” is why it appears that Jesus is endorsing adherence to the Law.  Now there are a few ways of looking at this. First, Jesus is answering a question posed to Him by an individual. I would answer that question the same way Jesus did.  Just because Jesus answered the question that way, in that time, under that circumstance, does not mean it applies to us today. It was a Jewish man asking a Jewish teacher about the Jewish Law. One could ask me what the greatest traffic law is and I could give a similar answer. But traffic laws apply only to people who are driving. If I don’t drive, traffic laws don’t apply to me. Context is everything. Again pre-crucifixion/resurrection the Law was still in effect. The man inquiring of Jesus called Him “Teacher”, which implies the man was a Jew, I do not think a gentile would seek Jesus for religious or theological teaching of the Jewish Law, and thus Jesus’ answer makes perfect sense when the context is taken into consideration.  See the parallel passage in Mark 12:28-33 where the man inquiring of Jesus references Deut. 6:4-5, further indicating it was in part a Jewish theological discussion.

The Christian is not obliged to keep the Law, but will out of love and conviction from the Holy Spirit.  In the same way I am not obligated to rub my wife’s feet after a long day but will out of love for her; and she is not obligated to bake my favorite blue berry muffins for me, but out of love will.  Likewise the believer keeps the Law out of love for God not obligation.  The believer by being born again is given a new nature and is no longer a slave to sin.  Having this new nature, he does the things of the Law because it is written on his heart and out of the love for God.  It is not obedience to the Law I take umbrage with, after all not murdering and stealing are good things.  It is the imposed obligation on the part of some believers.  The Mosaic Law was a covenant made to a specific group of people, the descendants of Abraham, for a specific purpose.  Now that a new covenant is in place, the old is obsolete and done away with, and even the Jews are under no obligation to it.  Context is the key to understanding the promises of the bible, carefully reading the surrounding passages of a given text will help you to understand the theology of the bible.

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Related Article: Eeny Meeny Miny Moe

Comments

  1. Sin is breaking the Law, practicing sin, continual sin, is lawlessness. The Law exists to show us where we fall short. Merely not being bound by the Law does not mean it is not violated when we sin. The Law was not made for the righteous, but the unrighteous.

  2. Are we not bound to "not sin"? Does not a righteous God demand that we not sin? So how are we not bound to the law and yes be bound to be righteous? And what law again are you referring to when you say it wasn't made for the righteous. Or when you say it shows us where we fall short. What law?

  3. It almost sounds like you think that I believe the Law went *Poof*, that it is to be ignored, which is not the case. I refered in the article, that when I refer to the Law it is the "Ten Commandments" in general, since when Christians discuss the Law, it is the Ten to which they are usually refering even though the Ten is part of the whole, but broadly speaking the Law is the Mosaic law. God demands perfection, yes, but no one can attain perfect obedience, which under the Old covenant was the requirement. Now the New Covenant is not like the Old.(Jer 31:32) The old has passed away and obselete in it's status as the "ruling covenant", it has been replaced (Heb 8:13), in it's effective capacity, now that the New in in place. The Old Covenant still shows us what sin is, and what perfection looks like. However as believers under the New Covenant, the requirement, the obligation, the necessary obedience is not there. The obedience comes from the believer's love and gratitute to God for salvation, it is obedience imposed on the believer by the believer himself, and the ability to obey from the aid of the Holy Spirit.

  4. Our inability to obey does not relieve our obligation to obey. One of the motivations to obey is our love for the Lord, but another motivation is that he demands it. The 10 commandments are God's Moral Law, not ceremonial or civil, so they do not pass away with the old covenant. Let me ask another question, would Adam have sinned had he killed Eve?

  5. If you would kindly include Scripture references it would help me give a proper response. Since context determines a true interpretation of any text.I try not to make speculations from silence. Adam did not kill Eve, and we also do not have complete transcription of all conversations between God and Adam, so we do not know everything God instructed Adam to do and not do.

  6. Ok, why was it wrong for Cain to kill able?

  7. I will be happy to use Scripture verses, but before I do, we need to ask, how we know what is right and what is wrong. You say the law shows us what is right or wrong, but we don't have an obligation to be right? I don't follow that logic.

  8. Since you seem to insist on dealing with hypotheticals I will attempt to address Adam murdering Cain.First lets look at what Paul says in (Rom 5:13) "for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law". So Paul is acknowledging that even though there was not yet Law (refering to the time of Adam) there was still sin, so scripture tells us the Law need not exist in order to sin. Additionally, even though sin did or could exist where there is no Law, without the Law sin is not imputed to the one sinning if the Law is not yet given.What that means, and still supports my thesis in the above post, now that the Law was given, sin was imputed to man, but under the new covenant, sin is not imputed to the believer, it is reckoned to Christ, further showing the believer is not bound by the Law.Finally to address your hypothetical scenario, while we do not know the ramifications of Adam murdering Eve, we do know the ramification of Cain murdering Abel. We see God cursed the ground to not yield it's potential, since Cain was a farmer this is relevant to his survival. Since the ground would not yield it's potential if forced Cain to persue a life of being a nomad in search of better producing land. There is no mention of the sin of Cain being reckoned to him.

  9. Please don't misunderstand me. My desire is not to chase hypothetical answers, it is to demonstrate the existence of the 10 commandments prior to God writing them. (I should point out, that the 10 commandments are the only portion of the Law written by God himself (Gen. 6)).Cain killing Able was murder. Murder was sin, prior to God delivering that message to Israel. 1 John 3 clearly says Cain belonged to the Evil One. His actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. How is there a right and wrong without a standard for what is right and wrong. John even goes so far to command us not to be like Cain…So why the strong directive not to follow in his footsteps if there is not an obligation to obey, only an obedience that comes from love for our God?Also – in Eze 28 and Isaiah 14 we see glimpses of the fall of Satan. He coveted the throne. He put other gods before God…that was all before the fall of Adam. So even before the fall, there was a law (even thought it didn't look like it did after moses), because sin caused angels to fall. There cannot be an existence of sin without a law, because John defines sin as lawlessness.My argument is that the 10 Commandments stand apart from the other civil and ceremonial laws (those which have fallen away in the New Covenant) as the Moral Law of God. This Moral Law of God is a representation of his righteousness, which has not changed, and cannot change. The standard to what is right and wrong has always been the same. Sure each government creates its own laws for their own people, but when we speak about morality, it transcends all nations and governments. Jesus in Gospels, when asked what the greatest commandment was – responded with a summary of the 10 commandments.Also you still have not answered my question. You say the law did not go poof – but you haven't told me what it is? What should I obey out of love for God? Lets say you are right, that we don't have an obligation like the Jews did – Lets say we obey to show our love – what do we obey? what is the standard?

  10. Please don't misunderstand me. My desire is not to chase hypothetical answers, it is to demonstrate the existence of the 10 commandments prior to God writing them. (I should point out, that the 10 commandments are the only portion of the Law written by God himself (Gen. 6)).Cain killing Able was murder. Murder was sin, prior to God delivering that message to Israel. 1 John 3 clearly says Cain belonged to the Evil One. His actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. How is there a right and wrong without a standard for what is right and wrong. John even goes so far to command us not to be like Cain…So why the strong directive not to follow in his footsteps if there is not an obligation to obey, only an obedience that comes from love for our God?In my last response we see that Paul reports that even without the Law there was sin, but without the Law there is no imputation of sin. So in the example of Cain and Abel, did Cain know he had done wrong, probably. It did not seem as though he was repentive, just eventually distraught over the result.There cannot be an existence of sin without a law, because John defines sin as lawlessnessPaul seems to say otherwise in Rom(5:13). But keep in mind that at the time of John's writing, the Law had already been given, so breaking the Law results sin that is imputed unlike the instance of Cain. Continual breaking the Law is lawlessness, which is evidence you are not saved, since Jesus said "if you love Me you will keep My commands" but again notice He does not say "must".Also you still have not answered my question. You say the law did not go poof – but you haven't told me what it is? What should I obey out of love for God? Lets say you are right, that we don't have an obligation like the Jews did – Lets say we obey to show our love – what do we obey? what is the standard?I'm pretty sure I had answered the question, but I'm not sure you are satisfied with the answer, or I may not have been clear. As I stated in the article, the "what" that is obeyed is the Law, it is the "why" you and I are having trouble agreeing on. I believe your position is required obedience, my position is out of love and gratitude, without the burden of requirement.

  11. Excellent, the law then is defined by us both as the 10 commandments, and sin is lawlessness, so any breaking of those 10 is sin.Also, please know I do believe we should obey out of love and gratitude for all that God has done. I also believe God requires us to be holy as he is holy. Hence the command, be holy as I am holy…Please help me understand then, what does God require of us, if anything?

  12. Would you please explain to me how you conclude the ten commandments are not part of the Mosaic Law?

  13. Sure – after you answer my question. What does the Bible say God requires of the followers of Christ. I am only asking you the question you asked me.

  14. I'd like to stay away from a 'tit-for-tat' interaction. It seems that you engaged me on my article because you believe I have misinterpreted the verses I cited to make my case. I would like to continue to interact on the merits of my arguments, so if you would kindly, make your case, why and where my argument breaks down. Where has my reasoning gone awry in my article?

  15. Ok, then I will ask the question (to which I do not believe you have an answer) while addressing your article. You say that the Christian obeys accidentally, and that some people might misunderstand your position to endorse carnal Christianity. If the believer is not allowed to live a carnal life, (which you tacitly say they cannot do) then you are subscribing to a law. You are not endorsing sin, nor would you say the Bible does, but you are saying the Bible does not forbid it. Because to forbid sin, the Bible must have a law, or a requirement to not sin. You see I don't believe you can admit that God requires nothing of man, because to do so, would be unbiblical, and you know it. You know the many verses that command men to obey, I have pointed out the most obvious " be holy as I am holy." there are myriads of other verses that command Christians not to be involved with sin.So, your article isn't only flawed in it's foundation, the point you make about having no obligation to God is wholly and fully untrue.The reason I have not gone point by point is because I either need to hear you say God requires nothing of man, or that you are flawed, and can be open to hearing how.Finally I hope you would also understand that your position flies in the face of many great, well-respected theologians, many of whom you might even read, who would in the least admit that God has some requirements for man.Now please tell me how "be holy…" is not a command.

  16. If the believer is not allowed to live a carnal life, (which you tacitly say they cannot do) then you are subscribing to a law. You are not endorsing sin, nor would you say the Bible does, but you are saying the Bible does not forbid it. Because to forbid sin, the Bible must have a law, or a requirement to not sinHere is the first problem I would like to address, you rewording or interpretation of my position. I have never said the bible does not forbid sin, of course it does, but Paul did address where there is no law, there is sin, it is just not imputed. Second, anyone can live however they want, the believer will live a life of consistent with being a believer. It is not that a believer cannot live a life of carnality, a believer will not do so, and if a "believer" did live a life of carnality, I would venture to say he is not a believer.You see I don't believe you can admit that God requires nothing of man, because to do so, would be unbiblical, and you know it. You know the many verses that command men to obey, I have pointed out the most obvious " be holy as I am holy." there are myriads of other verses that command Christians not to be involved with sinGod demands faith and trust in Him, it is found throughout the New Testament, it is by grace we are saved, not works [of the law]. Romans 4 delves into this. I agree the the NT teaches Christians to not be involved with sin, but is that because we are still under the law, or because it leads to sanctification?So, your article isn't only flawed in it's foundation, the point you make about having no obligation to God is wholly and fully untrue.This is still an assertion, you have not cited and Scripture to this affect, you have only stated I am wrong. You have not addressed any of the verses I have cited in the article to show my understanding of them is wrong. You may not simply make the claim, you must make a case for your position. Demanding that I admit defeat without providing me a reason is an unreasonable request.Additionally, Paul's understanding flew in the face of the thousands of years the Pharisees understanding. The Reformer's understanding flew in the face of the Catholic church. Merely dissenting from commonly held beliefs is not a reason to abandon them.I am going to have to ask you to make your case now. Interpret the verses I cite, explain why my understanding of them is wrong, and explain why Christians are still under the law.

  17. Post 1 of 2John,In Romans 13: 8-12 Paul (the special apostle to Gentile Christians) commands the church to love their neighbors. He further explains that love is a fulfillment of the law. The Law (10 Commandments which he quotes) are fulfilled by our doing no harm to our neighbors. The 7th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 10th commandments are listed (in that order) and summarized by “love your neighbor as yourself.” Then he defines love by saying, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” The context to here shows he is not speaking to the Jews. He give us the responsibility to love (do no harm) to one another. This is also not a suggestion, he is commanding his church to act this way.In Ephesians 6:1 Paul tells children in the Gentile church to obey the 5th commandment because it is right. In Matthew 22: 37 Jesus also says the greatest commandment is Deut 6:5 and the second is like it Lev 19:18. He was quoting OT Scriptures as he corrected the Sadducees and Pharisees (he had been corrected them for several chapters in Matthew.) Yet, no one in the Gentile churches that Paul and the apostles established would say we are not obligated to love God because Jesus didn’t say that to us, he said it to Jewish leaders? Again, Paul in Romans 13 requires the early church, and all of us to love our neighbors (which is in turn loving God as evidenced by Matthew 22)Furthermore, in Matthew 5:17, Jesus was not giving Jewish answers to Jewish people. He was discussing the Kingdom of Heaven which he came to institute by his teachings and saving acts. He prefaces his Sermon by saying, “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fufill them….(v19) Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” His kingdom is the topic, and you’ll notice that he says, “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments…” What commandments? Well, Murder (5:21-26), Adultery (5:27-32) and taking God’s name in vain (5:33-37). All of his sermon is concluded in 7:21-27 saying that those who have heard my sermon and obeys by putting them into practice is like a wise man, but if you do not, you are like a foolish man. Are not Scriptures rife with examples and commands not be foolish but to be wise? Commands to be righteous and not wicked? Ephesians 5:1ff “Be imitators of God…v 15 Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs…Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord….Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…6:1, Children obey your parents…1 Peter 1:13ff – “…be self-controlled…v14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.” Chapter 2:1 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind…”

  18. I could continue with many many more verses. Many of which command us to repent and be baptized (All of the Gospels). Do not love the world of anything in it…1 John 2:18. All of these are requirements of the Christian.There is a book, you can purchase it here (http://www.amazon.com/Defense-Decalogue-Critique-Covenant-Theology/dp/0965495590/ref=sr_1_1?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1284927746&sr=8-1), that will help you understand the error of the New Covenant thought that if it isn’t repeated in the NT it is not required. Much of the OT is useful as 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 states. In the book Richard Barcellos has an excellent exegesis on Romans 2:12-16 that will answer what I think in response to your explanation. I cannot speak for you and your training, but I am not qualified to exegete passages as well as those who have formal professional training in Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, Greek or Hebrew…I can read men who are qualified to explain these things, and do my best to pray for a solid understanding, but I cannot rely on my own understanding. This is not a scapegoat, but I believe my response is already long enough.I also don’t believe this needs to be said, but I should be sure. The obligation we have to obey is not an obligation for salvation. Clearly the Scriptures don’t teach works based salvation, and I believe you are correct that we have a desire to obey that flows from gratitude of the riches of grace. We also, have a standard, to which we will all be held accountable, and that standard is God’s moral Law…The Ten Commandments.

  19. John,On September 8, 2010 8:33 AM, you said:—However as believers under the New Covenant, the requirement, the obligation, the necessary obedience is not there. The obedience comes from the believer's love and gratitude toGod for salvation, it is obedience imposed on the believer by the believer himself, and the ability to obey from the aid of the Holy Spirit.—You say that obedience to God's commands under the New Covenant is self-imposed. If there is no requirement or obligation, how is God righteous in disciplining us (Heb. 12)? For what would He be disciplining us? TransgressingHis commands? Not having enough love and gratitude to Him?To borrow your concept from an offline discussion of ours, is God's discipline of His non-obligated children a violation of their libertarian free will, or have they given up their free will as bond-servants of Christ, or…?

  20. John,On September 9, 2010 6:36 PM, you said:—First lets look at what Paul says in (Rom 5:13) "for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law". So Paul is acknowledging that even though there was not yet Law (referring to the time of Adam) there was still sin, so scripture tells us the Law need not exist in order to sin. Additionally, even though sin did or could exist where there is no Law, without the Law sin is not imputed to the one sinning if the Law is not yet given.—On September 10, 2010 5:10 PM, you said:—In my last response we see that Paul reports that even without the Law there was sin, but without the Law there is no imputation of sin.—Your conclusion is that Cain's sin was not reckoned to him. I believe that this is a misinterpretation, and I also believe that you are conflating "law" with "the Law."To slightly paraphrase Paul's other writings, there is no death without sin, and there is no sin without law (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:56, Rom. 7:7-8). Whether that is "law" with a little 'l' or the Law, they are both established by God as standards and obligations of conduct. Rom. 5:12-14 is saying that Adam's original sin was imputed to all men because before the Law was given to Moses, there was law that existed for all men. Because of original sin, death reigned from Adam until Moses.To put it another way, it's not saying that before the Law, sin was not imputed. Rather, because there was sin before the Law, it necessarily follows that there must also have been law (to impute sin) before the Law. Verse 14 says that death reigned from Adam until Moses, so there was sin from Adam until Moses, which requires law from Adam until Moses.When you say "without the Law sin is not imputed to the one sinning if the Law is not yet given", you have conflated "the Law" with "law", which existed from Adam until Moses.

  21. But don’t you see that this only serves to prove my case. Paul, in talking to gentiles, had the opportunity in this situation, to instruct them to obey the law. Instead he instructs them to love their neighbor, which fulfills the law. This is exactly my point. We, as believers, fulfill the letter of the law by our actions out of love, rather than the obligation the letter of the law bringsHere again, to obey the commandment because it is the right thing to do, not under obligation. If the intent was obedience for required behaviors sake, he just as easily have said, not to mention more naturally said since he was a Pharisee, obey the 5th commandment because it is the law and God requires it of you. This didn’t happen, and serves to show it is not an obligation, but rather the right thing to do. I realize Jesus was quoting OT scriptures, but I address why He would be, and why there is no conflict to my position by doing so.Do you really think Jesus was not addressing Jews? Did the gentiles consider the “law and the prophets” to hold any weight? I addressed the passage where Jesus says He did not come to abolish the law or the prophets”, so there is nothing more needed to be said except to re-read that section of the article. Remember obedience to the law is not the issue of the article; it is the required obedience which is no longer required. The entire piece supports the idea that the law is still followed, what has changed is the reason it is followed.These are all the characteristics of a believer. Paul is outlining what a true believer should be acting like. Not one time does Paul ever say, in any passage here or anywhere you cite that we should be acting a certain way because the law requires it of us. I realize these passages can look like Paul is putting obligations on us, but I see no emphasis on required obedience because the law demands it. Remember Jesus said “If you love me you will keep My commandments”, He never said must. The New covenant is not like the old.

  22. Tom…That observation – the difference between "l"aw and "L"aw doe not undermine my conclusion. I agree there is "l"aw, the breaking of it brings death. The "l"aw is derived from God's nature and perfect character and all men violate it. Anyone outside the covenantal promise in the OT was out of luck for lack of a better term, the benefits gained from obeying the written law to the Jews was not available to them because the covenant was not made with them, only the Jews.the difference today is now the New covenant is made with the world, rather than the chosen people of Israel. Obedience has not changed, only the reason for it. It was required of by the Jews, it is no longer, just like my children must obey my law, but other children are under no obligation to it.

  23. Tom…Unfortunately these comments do not post in order that I allow them to be published, but instead the order that you write them. My above comment was in response to your comment refering to Romans 5:13 and Cain, this is to the offline discussion.Im not sure quite how to explain myself based on the way you put your questions, so I will do my best. God's discipline for wayward believers gets them back on the right path. Think back to our study on proverbs, there are right ways to live life and wrong ways. The law exists to show us where we fall short. But what is the effect of breaking the law to you, personally? Are you condemned? No. weren't you justified the moment you believed? What is justification? Can your justification be removed by sin? If sin can cancel the cross how in the world can the cross cancel sin to begin with?If the law now comes with required obedience, what is the penalty to you for breaking it? dont you break it? I do, you do, but what is the consequence? We as believers no longer have the consequence os sin which is death. Sure our bodies die, but is that a punishment? I dont think so, it will be a blessing!

  24. Did you get a chance to look at the book I posted in my last post? I think it would be a very interesting and informative read for you.

    I also look forward to your exegesis of Be Holy as I am Holy and how it is not a requirement…

    Thank you,

  25. I also agree – the New Covenant is not like the old, but that does not mean it does not have the same moral standard.

  26. I assure you the book is on my “to get” list, though is not high on the priority list, but I will read it. I think we might be at an impasse on this issue and will have to agree to disagree. There are multiple passages where the phrase “be holy as I am holy” in the OT, and to do the subject justice will take some time. I am certainly willing to do the research of it, although I am not confident the single Peter passage will upend the article given the enormity of clear explicit NT passages which state we are not under the law.

    I greatly appreciate your interest in my article and hope to hear from you on future topics.

    Thanks,
    John

  27. While we may not agree, we cannot both be right. I would encourage you to look into Peter’s command, and see how it fits your belief. I know you disagree, but I believe you are misguided in your understanding of the Old and New covenants. By no means am I saying I have it all figured out, but a solid Biblical understanding isn’t always logically clear. As you know faith is required. But to think that God held the Old Covenant people to a different moral standard than his New Covenant people is misguided. Nowhere in any if the verses you or I have discussed does the standard of right and wrong change. Sure, the manner in which God interacted with his people changed, perhaps the place the law was written changed, and how people understand grace versus sacrifice is different. None of those OC and NC differences changes God’s biblical standard for moral righteousness, nor do they nullify our obligation to be holy.

    • I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see another Christian understand that truth is not relative, yes, one of us is wrong. I’m not sure if I am just picking at your words, but I have never said, nor believe we are under a different moral “standard”, but rather a different moral system. Sin is still sin, disobedience of the moral law is sin and worthy of condemnation. However as believers, having our sins atoned for, past, present-and by implication-future, our obliged obedience is no longer necessary. In my case the law would never have applied to me being a gentile. If I had lived before Christ, I would simply be lost, having no hope read:

      Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

      Gentiles were outside the covenant promise to begin with, didnt even have a chance, unless they converted to Judaism. Now that Christ has come and abolished the law of commandments, yes, right from Paul’s mouth, Jesus abolished the law of commandments that we may be reconciled to God. Now are you suggesting that it is only the cerimonial and priestly laws that seperated us from God? Or is it violations of the moral law? It is vividly clear passages like this, and all the others which say we are not under the law which make be believe we are no longer under the law. It also leads me to believe that your interpretation of 1 Peter is probably not correct.

  28. How would you then reconcile that Christ himself said he came not to abolish the law, but Paul says he did? Perhaps they don’t speak of the same law.

    Also, the language of the Bible does not say we will be judged for not loving God enough. We will be judged for not obeying. The moral law of God is fully compatible with the covenant of grace. And yes Gentiles are required to obey God…the fact that they don’t is the very reason they are judged as wicked men.

    You cannot be judged for your sin if you are not obligated to obey.

    That’s like our government saying we are not required to keep the speed limit, out of love for the USA you should not speed. You are not obligated to obey, but if you are caught you will get a ticket.

    • I think perhaps the reconciliation is in the usage of the term abolish. Jesus did not come to abolish (elimate the meaning, rightness and wrongness of) the law, Paul tells us that He did abolish (eliminated the binding of) it. And c’mon, no one made the argument about judgement being for lack of love. The law serves to show us our sin.

      You are very insistant that the law was given to everyone, I would like to see a citation for that since the bible is explicit that the law was given to Jews. Multiple times we see in the NT where Paul says the Gentiles do not, and did not have the law. You are arguing against very explicit passages in order to keep a long held, deeply ingrained idea. I’m not saying my position is easy to accept, but when you actually look at what the scripture actually says, it is so very clear. We are not under the law now. Gentiles were never given the law. Not even the Jews are under the law any longer. I don’t know what else to say.

      There again, Romans 2:12, and Paul’s other references which I cite in the article explain that even without the law, you will still be judged for sin.

      Additionally, your analogy is incomplete. Yes, I realize all analogies break down somewhere but let me explain. First, we are obligated by the government to obey traffic laws, because they have the authority to oblige us. This is like God giving the law to the Jews. However a citizen living in Iowa is not obligated to obey the traffic laws of Maine while driving in Iowa. Second, the government has never implimented a new system of governing replacing the old system of laws. So you do not have a true comparison.

      I am going to let you have the last word since either I am not being clear, or you do not understand the position I am taking. Either way, as I said earlier, we are at an impasse.

  29. I don’t want the last word, I’d like to continue the discussion only cause I have a few questions. I’m not looking to drag on, but I’m not following, and you probably have an answer.

    You said nobody was making an argument that judgement from God was not based on not loving him enough. But your argument is we are not required to obey the law, we obey out of love. Logic would conclude that if I disobey, I don’t love him as much as if I did obey. So how does then God hold us to a standard in judgement but nit hold us to a standard in life.

    Let me please adjust my analogy for you. Suppose leaders from a far away land take control of the USA. And they make a new law, and do away with the old. Suppose the new law does not say anywhere that we must obey it. There is absolutely no obligation to obey any of the laws. How then Could I be judged as a “speeder” and get a ticket. If they posted speed limits that were merely suggestions or standards of behavior but were meaningless because I don’t have to obey, then how could I be judged.

    You may not be intending to say that, but you are.

    • Your question is akin to religious systems objections to “faith alone” justification. The view that true saving faith is evidenced by good works, and by contrast if there is no good works, ie “fruit of the spirit”, then that is reason to doubt the salvation of a person who professes that saving faith. The objection is “you believe in faith + works then”, since “no good works = no true faith, and good works = true faith, therefore works are required to make the faith of the believer a saving faith.” This is the mistake I believe you are making with my argument. “Sin is breaking the law, but you say we have no obligation to the law, therefore how can we be punished if we need not obey the law”.

      This analogy I believe also does not serve the situation. God did not make a new law, it is an entirely different system, not like the old. If God had just made a new set of laws you’d have a point. The government instituting new laws which have no penalty is different from God retaining the standard of the law while providing a different method of reconciliation.

      Let me ask you this, your position is that we must obey the law. For sake of argument I will grant all laws were given to all people and are applicable today to all people. I will also assume (not doubting just being clear) you are a Christian believer with a saving faith. What happens to you as a result when you break the law? What is the actual consequence to you, to breaking the law? Please be as specific as you can.

  30. Yes, I am a believer saved by grace alone in Christ alone through faith alone…and here is my answer to your question.

    What are the consequences to me for breaking the law. Aside from grieving the Holy Spirit, and other practical consequences that can come from sin…here is some of what happens. I am excluding things that may not be pertinent to our discussion.

    On this earth I am subject to the discipline of God when I sin. How and when it is manifested, and exactly what my lessons are, can be difficult to know at times. One lesson that is always true is that I should not sin. Ultimately I will answer to God for every sin, every evil deed, and every idle word, and then Christ will intercede and I will be ushered into heaven upon his merits. However, let me follow up by saying (since for this argument you are granting the law applies to all) those who die outside of Christ’s blood will answer for all of the same things I did, but will have no intercessor, and will be ushered into hell.

    That is where my analogy comes from. Why would anyone be judged for something they are not under or not obligated to keep?

    • Well, lets assume for sake of argument I am correct, that we are not under the law, and have no obligation to obey the law. We still are imputed with the sin of Adam, and as children of wrath, will by that alone be condemned.

      However, Romans still says that even though the gentiles do not have the law, they still do the things of the law. Additionally, Romans 2:12 people without the law will be condemned without it, and those with the law will be judged by it. The law is written on mans heart ie his conscience. We went over this already. Those who have never heard will still be condemned because deep down everyone will still do what they know is wrong.

  31. While I do not disagree with the fact that everyone is without excuse. I understand that there are people in the world who have never heard the law, never read or even seen a Bible, yet they will be judged. But I do not find any language in the Bible (when speaking about God’s judgement) that indicates they are not judged by their actions. Matthew 12 is clear that we will be judged by even idle words – that is everyone (assuming you are right) not just people under the law.

    I am not going to go over your understanding of Romans 2:12ff because I think it is flawed as we have discussed, but how do you answer the previous verses. I copied them below.

    1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
    5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

    Verse 9 is clear that anyone who does evil, or sins, or breaks the law, will be judged – first for the Jew then the Gentile. Nobody is escaping his judgment – and the judgment is based on what they have done…not only what was imputed to them?
    Verse 6 clearly says that God will give each person according to what they have done.

    How can this “trouble and distress” be the same for Jew and Gentile if they have offended differently? God says he doesn’t show favortism?

    • Well, I have not ever said people are not judged by their actions. The text you cited says nothing of “or who breaks the law”. Where do you get the impression that God is offended differently? Because it is to the jew first then to the gentile? Paul is addressing a very important distinction. Under the old system salvation was to the Jews. Now that it is not exclusively jewish and is now open to gentiles, Paul is stressing that distinction, that the jews are still Gods chosen people, that they are getting no special treatment.

      I have to admit my frustration is getting the better of me. As I said other times, either I am not being clear, which is entirely possible, or you do not get my position. We cannot really go further if you cannot address the texts I use to make my case. If I lay out a case for my view using scripture, we dont get anywhere if you dont address my case. All you have done thus far is say you dont agree with my interpretations. We will need to start discussing them to procede. We are talking in circles, and without actually addressing the issues I brought up we are still at an impasse.

  32. I get the impression that God is offended differently from you. You say one is under the law, and one is not…one is judged based on their original sin, and the other is judged by the law. You cannot have different judgments and not have different offenses.

    As for not answering each other – I think each other’s answers are not satisfactory, so I agree with you. I would encourage you, however, to look at men who have studied this issue much more deeply than we have.

    As I mentioned before – I cannot speak for your training (perhaps you could tell me what it is) but my training does not qualify me to look at these Scriptures and exegete passages. Am I saying you have to have that training to fully understand the Bible – no, but when we come to passages that are more difficult, we need to turn to men who have diligently studied Sytematic Theology and Biblical Theology.

    Perhaps your local pastor would have some help for both of us if you brought the discussion to him.

    • First I never said any of those things.

      Second, where would you get the idea that some formal education is required to understand and interpret the bible? Just read the verses, read the surrounding verses and determine the meaning, its not rocket science. I refuse to accept that you cannot make an interpretation of the verses I cited, and until you address the passages I cite for my argument this discussion really cannot procede.

  33. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe you need a formal education to interpret the Scriptures…but like anything else in the world, a correct interpretation, a sound theological interpretation, and a responsible interpretation do require study…that study must include what the rest of the Scriptures say, and what those who have formal educations say about those verses. Would you just read a book about anything of substance and not ask a professional?

    I am not suggesting that you (John) need a formal education, but there has to be some willingness from your part (or even curiosity) to know what professionals think about these verses. The book I recommended is one from a pastor who has training in exegesis, Hebrew and Greek. Surely an understanding of those things can help – no?

    Now – as for what you said – sorry I misunderstood. In order to clear things up – here is a quote:

    “We still are imputed with the sin of Adam, and as children of wrath, will by that alone be condemned.”

    How is this statement true when God says we will be judged by our actions? I misunderstood this to mean that those not under law are not condemned by breaking the law – can you help me clarify what you meant?

  34. I have spent considerable time in the study of the bible, commentaries, and books with specified biblical subjects, from multiple sides of an issue. While reading commentaries and specified subject matter, letters following a name, name recognition, and an hour slot on TV on Sunday certainly make someone seem credible, but that is not always so. John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus seminar along with his fellow colleagues, Bart Ehrman, and others are all highly credentialed, but I do not believe their conclusions are correct. In that respect, I read all sides of an issue, read the bible, and make a conclusion based on the entire scope of information.

  35. Fair enough (we can discuss that more)…what about what you said. How did I misunderstand.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Can you respond to my question about your statement?

  37. I don’t understand the question.

  38. Anonymous says:

    The end of post 39

  39. I would prefer to discuss the article and its claims and references, this discussion has been off the subject specifically for some time. When you wish to discuss the merits of the article, the arguments made from Scripture, I will gladly continue with the discussion.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I believe that is because you cannot answer the question. I’m not trying to be mean, but the article claims we are under no oblligation to obey the law, but we are somehow held accountable for our actions. And then during the course of the discussion you said we are judged alone by our original sin. These matters are right on point, they are not off topic. I am nit sure how you can reconcile this Biblically.

    • Well, just not understanding my position does not mean it is not true. After all the idea that we have a “libertarian-esque” freedom is implied as well as God being in a soveriegn control as well is in the Scripture. Sometimes not everything is immediately obvious. Additionally, I never said we are judged alone by our original sin, but rather under a hypothetical situation if by chance someone went their entire life in absolute obedience, original sin is enough to be condemned under the federal headship of Adam.

      So while I will take the burden of probably not explaining my view in a manner you were able to understand, that by no means undermines its truth. I read Paul using very explicit language saying we are not under the law. Also saying the Gentiles did not have the law in the first place, Hebrews saying now that the new covenant is in place the old is obselete and done away with, Jerimiah saying that the new will be different from the current (from his perspective) the old being a system of obedience.

      I believe in light of the very clear explicit passages it is for you to show they really mean the opposite of what they actually say. I’m sorry you think I cannot answer your objections, but I am confident that not only were your objections answered, but they were answered using the Scriptures. Unfortunately you expressed a concern that you were not qualified to interpret the passages in question, I however expressed no concern for myself and stand by my understanding.

  41. Take a look at post 34…you in fact did say we are condemned by original sin alone…perhaps you meant that it is enough to condemn, as you explained, but you can see my confusion.
    Please also understand, I wasn’t saying I am not able to read and understand Scripture, but to exegetes passages requires training. I have not found one solid author, Puritan, reformer, or well respected pastor who agrees with your position. I have looked, and am not sure why you feel qualified to interpret the Scriptures this way, and have no other supports, only your own understanding.

    My view is consistent with reformed covenant theology. I have recommended one (of many) book that explains my view, and I admit, I am not trained enough to put together the argument that he does. If you want my position, it is we are required to obey, and the explanation of the verses you use, can be found in the book. It is very short, and easy to read.

    • I know this is not your point, but just because you have not come across an author, or respected pastor who agrees does not mean I am wrong on the issue. Perhaps you could direct someone you feel is qualified, to critique the article. I am not above changing my opinion.

    • Yes, that is my mistake, I did not mean we are condemned by original sin alone, but that it would be enough to condemn alone.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I may do that, I may ask someone who is qualified to post some comments and try to explain my position better.

    Out of curiosity…based on the articles I read here, what is your view on creation? (literal 7 days or figurative) I’m just curious.

    • Well, just by using the words “literal” and “figurative” you have already made some assumptions and loaded the question. The assumption being that anything other than 7-24hr days is a non-literal understanding. In fact the hebrew word for “day” yom has several literal meanings. I do not believe the universe was created in 7-24hr days, but rather over the course of time, the universe being billions of years old, and the earth millions. I believe the young earth creation model has many fatal flaws and forces one to hold the bible in contradiction of itself.

      There is good biblical evidence as well as scientific evidence to believe the universe is old and the days of Genesis are not 24hr days. And no compelling reason to believe the author of Genesis intended his readers to understand a 24hr day.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Ok, I will unload the question in regard to the literal vs figurative comment. I will use your own words to ask you to explain yourself on this.

    Earlier you said to me:

    I believe in light of the very clear explicit passages it is for you to show they really mean the opposite of what they actually say.

    Morning and evening the first day and so on, seem clear. Yet you will now endeavor to show me why they don’t mean what they actually say. So it breaks down your argument that the words are so clear about the law that I have to prove they don’t actually mean what you interpret.

    • Just very briefly since this is entirely off the topic of the law, day/morning and evening is a phenomenon created by what process? The earth revolving around the sun which stationary, creating a period of light and a period of darkness throughout the “day” creating what we call day time and night time. If the sun, stars and moon weren’t created until the 4th “day”. How then do we explain morning and evening for the three “days” until the sun, stars and moon were created. The context should also focus on the different hebrew words for “create’ and “made”, which are all different with different meanings. There is also an absence of “morning&evening” for the 7th day, which Hebrews says we are still in, which is how many years after the creation event?

      Like I said, this is a very crude explanation, and the full detailed position is far more explanitory with far more detail.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Well, I originally asked the question about creation to prove my point about the Scriptures not being as clear as you make them. I will not discuss silliness about how God did not create the universe in 7 days.

    • Silliness? Well, at that I must regretfully end the discussion. There is no need for mockery, especially since the response exposes you to be biased beyond reasonablility. Not because you hold to 24hr days, but refering to a differing view as silliness which has a wealth of support. As the saying goes, when the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. When neither are on your side, pound the podium. You have just pounded the podium. Thank you for your interest in my article, and feel free to comment on other posts.

      • The most troubling thing about your comment is that you are essentially saying “theres no way I can be wrong about this, and no amount of evidence will ever change my mind”. It is a very intellectually dishonest position to take.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Please know, I didn’t intend to call you names or incite anger. And the last I checked having a belief is exactly saying that no differing views are right. Saying I firmly believe God exists does not leave any room for an Atheist to be right. So please allow me to say, I believe you are wrong. You, also believe I am wrong. That is ok, we will find out in glory.

    Also, I do not argue from a position lacking facts or law, I’m not pounding the podium. The Scriptures do not give us any indication that God said days but didn’t intend them to be 24 hours. I have seen the “proof” that people want to invent, and then argue to satisfy what their itching ears want to hear. It lacks Scripture, and that is the only standard we can use when asking what things are
    absolutely true.

    I call it silliness as the Proverbs would call it foolishness, there is no point in arguing things so foolish. That does not mean I hate you or want to call you names, but your logic seems inconsistent. Other articles that you have written fly in the face of hundreds of years of sound theological exegesis, and you say…if people would just look closer…if people would just could read plainly they would see that my position is right. Yet you will not apply this same thought process to this.

    Well I say that to you. Read Genesis closely and tell me you see room for anything other than seven days.

    • I’m not angry at all. I also understand the nature of truth. But when you ask for a reason as to why I do not think the author intended “day” to mean solar 24hr days, you responded that you will not entertain silliness.

      You can say you do not believe the Scriptures give us an indication 24hr days are not intended, I believe there are many reasons, both from Scripture and from discoveries. Holding to a 24hr day produces inconsistancies in the Scriptures and from what we know through discoveries.

      This post is about OT law and whether it applies to 21st century Christians, not about the Genesis cosmogeny account. I have tried multiple times to keep this discussion on that topic to no avail. Keep in mind I will no longer publish off topic commentary on this article. Feel free discuss the merits of the article for further interaction. I would be more than willing to engage the topic of the article.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Ok – In your article, you say that your view is clearly seen if people look hard enough. My point with the interactions in Genesis are to say that the language there is clear (regardless of discoveries)yet you will not submit to clear simple language. Yet you ask me to just look that Paul says we aren’t under the law so there…how could there be a law…it isn’t that simple, and your interpretation is not consistant with sound exegesis. The book I recommended will best serve a proper exegisis of these passages you use…to do it all here would take quite a bit of time.

    We don’t need to be off topic, I’m not discussing whether you are right or wrong on this anymore either…I’m saying you are not reading the right explainations of the verses you site. I highly suggest you get some good books on this subject and continue to study. I don’t have time to comment on a lot of your other articles…some I see what you mean…others are equally off as this one.

    • For starters, the hebrew word translated “day” has more than one “literal” translation. 24hrs, all the daylight hours, a long undetermined but finite period, to name a few. Just because the english word “day” is used is not an automatic 24hr understanding. You also continue to misrepresent what I say, I do not believe I ever said “if you look hard enough”, what I do say is when paul says we are not under the law, that we are not under the law. I also see a problem when you claim that you cannot address the interpretations I give because you are not qualified, but here you seem to have no problem making a determination. All you have been able to say thus far is you disagree. Not once have you made an argument as to why I am wrong, but merely asserted that I am wrong, that just does not cut it.

      Thanks for checking in. I look forward to discussion on other srticles.

  47. Anonymous says:

    What I cannot believe is that you think you are qualified to take on Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther, Bonar, Baxter, Watson, newton, and many others on your own. I am not qualified to do it on my own. I am certainly qualified to read the Bible And form opinions, but I need these men and pastors to help guide me in correct interpretations. If I could copy and paste the book I have recommended to you 3 times now, I would. That book is my position. Please read it. When I have time I will do my best to put together another response (you did not like the answers I gave you) that will answer you point by point.

    • Why would you say I am not qualified, what makes you qualified to make such an assessment? Who are they that their views and theology is untouchable? What made them qualified to take on Rome? Much can be learned from theologians from the past, but to put them, or anyone else upon a pedestal too tall to be knocked off, you have shut down your own thinking.

      I also find your comment “you did not like the answers I gave you” to be revisionist of what has actually taken place. The fact is, you have offered no answers. All you have done is claim I am wrong, claim I am in disagreement with traditional understanding, and bring discussion away from the article itself. So no, it is not that I do not like your answers, you have not provided any. Just saying: “well what about this verse…, well I think you’re wrong” is not providing an answer.

      Read the book again, offer arguments for your case, offer arguments which refute my case, and pick up the discussion.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Ok, perhaps I was wrong. How are you qualified to exegete passages? The reason I thought I was qualified to make that statement is I thought I remembered you saying you didn’t go to seminary or have formal training, but I could have misunderstood our back and forth. If you did, and I am wrong, please forgive me.

    Also I have not shut down my own thinking. But when I know I am sick, or something is wrong with my body…I’m exactly right as to what the pain is, or problem…I may even know the cause, but I go to a doctor to make sure I am getting the right medicine. The same is true with the Bible. We may know exactly what it means, and even how it should be applied, but going to men who have devoted their lives to proper study, hermeneutics, greek and hebrew to see if any of my views require more study or maturing. I am very sorry if you have studied and been trained and I assumed wrong…that is wrong of me. I don’t think any man is qualified to make statements in and of themselves as we should not lean on our own understanding. That verse does not mean we can’t read things and take things on our own, but to be so sure you are correct cause you plainly read the Bible and to say ” …hopefully upon closer examination it should be clear and will make sense…” without anyone supporting your views seems unwise.

    I will do my best to put together a response that staisfy’s your request. Again I will need time as I am busy with some other things, but I will do what I can.

    • You are under no obligation to me. Don’t feel as though you have to satisfy my request. You initiated a discussion, made claims about my understanding, I merely asked that you substantiate your claims, simply dismissing me does not suffice as a rebuttal. Just keep in mind that concensus does not equal truth. Until the reformation, the concensus was one view, after another view, and now scan the Osteen-esque churches where sin is just a failing ones own expectations.

      The scholars of the Jesus Seminar, and Bart Ehrman for example have been studying their whole lives, formally. But I do not believe their conclusions are correct.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I do not believe every trained person is correct. I am not arguing that training means people are not wrong. I’ll go back to the doctor, just because someone passes medical school does not make them a good doctor. We use our best judgement, and maybe ask friends or people we trust who the good doctors are. So too, if we read a book from someone who is trained in the Scriptures, we need to test it with the Scriptures, and also see what other people have written. As I continue to prepare remarks, point by point, I would still like to find a well respected “doctor” who agrees with your positions.

    • One reason you might not find someone who agrees with me is that you do not seem to understand my position. We regularly have to circle back and cover previously explained aspects because your representation of my argument is not what I argued for. I also find that when you paraphrase a quotation from me, or paraphrase my position you do not get it correct, one of the more recent examples is you cited me as saying something to the effect of “if only you look hard enough” a concept I would not employ.

      Spend some time trying to understand my position to the point where you can restate it in your own words accurately. It would not, however, surprise me to not find a big name theologian who holds my position, or if they do, to word it as I have. Remember, I took a page and a half to explain myself, most theologians write entire books.

      I also do not need “confirmation” from a theologian of my views for me to believe I am correct. I might be wrong, but lack of theologian support is not evidence of my view being wrong. You seem to place great weight on theologian support to determine the truth of an argument.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Ok, I will not paraphrase…”…but hopefully upon closer examination it should be clear and will make sense, and I believe it is in fact the biblical position.”. You admit that your view is controversial, and then say, ” but hopefully upon closer examination it should be clear and will make sense, and I believe it is in fact the biblical position.” forgive me if that sounds an awful lot like…hey I know this view goes against the grain, but if you examine this more closely, then you will see I am wright. Perhaps I misinterpret your quote, but that’s what I see. I am also clear on your position. You believe we keep the law accidentally as Christians.(that is a quote as well). We are so filled with love to God that we do things that please him, and oh in passing, we kept a law we aren’t obligated to keep. Yet none of the verses that suggest we must be holy, we must refrain from sin, or even your own recent article that says Christians must not marry unbelievers, explains how those are not commands. I know you think there is no difference between the ten commandments and the other 600 plus laws, and that the law was given to only Israel. I am saying to you, that the position you hold is not supported by anything other than your own understanding. Does a theologian’s approval mean you are definitely right or wrong…of course not. But perhaps it’s worth a second opinion. Perhaps you could take this article and email it to a few people you respect. Ask them what they think. I noticed a Michael Horton quote on your blog…do you like him? He would be a great person to ask. I have heard him speak multiple times, and think his approval or denial of your essay would be good for both of us. It would at least make us think more right? That is all I am saying. The approval of a theologian will only help you, not be the defining truth.

    • Yes, “upon closer examination…” is what I said, and what I mean by it is far too many Christians lift bible verses out of context, actually using verses when in context are not addressing the issue they apply it to, Jer 29:11 for example. Closer examination means read the verses, in context and see what they mean. The verses I addressed are all relevant to the topic and representative to the issue.

      Second, keeping the law accidentally refers to keeping it as a by-product of a believer’s love for God. Not that you didn’t mean to and it just so happened that way.

      Third, Paul’s admonition was to Christians in general, not to a specific group, like the Mosaic covenant, so yes we are to obey where the command applies.

      Lastly, I do like Horton, I think he and the White Horse Inn are spot on with regards to most things theological. However, I find that reformed Christians tend to be legalistic (generally speaking), so his opinion, while it holds weight, I think he would be mistaken, if he were to take the stand you do. On the plus side of that matter, Horton would be capable-where you have claimed you are not-of offering counter arguments, offering insights rather than assertions that I am mistaken.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for clarifying what you meant. I’ll do the same. I am not capable of exegesis because I have not been trained how to exegete passages. I may read something, and make arguments, but then easily corrected by someone who may provide insight from the Greek or Hebrew, that I was unable to see. Much of our learning comes from the hearing of the word…that is preaching. It is not from our own study without guidance. I am reminded of the eunuch in Acts who replied to Philip when asked if he understood what he was reading…”how can I unless someone explains it to me.” he was a very intelligent man, but needed help understanding the true meaning. He could read, he could write, he was in charge of large sums of money for the queen of Ethiopia, so he understood the words, but not their meaning. So too, are we all eunuchs. Even someone like M. Horton needed to be taught, he needed guidance, and has grown into a teacher…even now he would tell you he has not forsaken guidance just because he is able to teach. I said I was not able to exegete passages ON MY OWN. I need to read and prepare statements that would be properly interpreted, and that requires some study, and guidance from those who have gone before me. The fact that you need no support is what I challenge.

  52. Just dropping by to let you know I will be reading the post and dicussion and sharing any reflections later on today. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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