Christians and the Law: Answering the Objections, part 14

Statement 20: This is just as ridiculous as the discussion about time dilation with “Outlaw X” in Blind faith in science. Some people are just unable to understand how things work, no matter how much evidence is presented to them.

Einstein’s theory of relativity rests on two principles:
1. The equivalence of intertial frames of reference, and
2. The speed of light is constant in all inertial frames of reference.

That’s it.

The relationship of Christians to the Law likewise rests on two principles:
1. Death ends the jurisdiction of the Law.
2. A Christian was crucified with Christ and thereby died with Him.

The conclusion is obvious. Such explanations such as “the ceremonial law ended in 70 AD” and so on are neither true nor necessary.

-wrf3

I like the way wrf3 puts this. Very simple and clean. Also very wrong. Actually, he’s right about the ceremonial law invention, but not about whether the Law applies to Christians. That’s more-or-less the problem with everything he said: it’s half truth. I don’t mean that he is lying. He probably just doesn’t fully understand his own premises. To illustrate what I mean, I’ll apply the same reasoning to a very similar, but more contemporary situation:

1. Release from prison and probation ends the jurisdiction of the corrections department.
2. A man who has served his time was released from prison without probation.
Therefore, that man is no longer under any obligation to obey the law.

That sounds great if you don’t know what the corrections department or prison or the law is, but if you know what those things are, it all sounds a little silly. Just because we who have put our trust in Yeshua are not under the custody of the Law doesn’t mean the Law no longer applies to us. The New Testament writers sometimes used the term “under the Law” to denote being under the jurisdiction or condemnation of the Law. Yeshua’s death and resurrection changes one important thing for us in relation to the Law: We are no longer obey God’s Law out of fear of condemnation, but out of love for our God and Savior.

See the previous installments in this series for more details.

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Statement 21: I think many here would agree that any ‘rules’ that Christians need to follow are based on Christ’s two ‘greatest commandments’. i.e. “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” -Northern Observer

N.O. was completely right. I think thateveryone involved in the discussion at Vox’s blog would agree with these two quotes. Here is the original source for those two commandments:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (5) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Leviticus 19:17-18 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. (18) You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

And here is one of the passages from which we know them as “Christ’s two ‘greatest commandments’.”

Matthew 22:36-40 ”Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (37) 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. (38) This is the great and first commandment. (39) And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (40) On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

These were not new commandments. Yeshua was quoting the Torah, and the Jews of that day knew them very well. But what does it mean for the law to depend on these two commandments? It means two things. First, it means that all of the rest of the Law is meaningless if we don’t keep these two. We know this from the lawyer’s response to Yeshua:

Mark 12:32-33 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. (33) And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Second, it means that all other commandments can be summed up in these two. Unfortunately, we do not understand love the way we should. If we did, God could have simply given us those two commandments and left it at that. He gave us all the rest to teach us what it means to love. Yeshua, Paul, and James told us this:

Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” [Yeshua]

Romans 13:8-10 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (9) For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (10) Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [Paul]

James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. [James]

If you love the Father, if you love the Messiah, if you love your neighbor, you will keep the commandments (John 14:15, 1 John 5:3).

part 12,part 13, part 14,part 15, part 16

Vox’s original article:Christians and the Law.

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