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February 15, 2011 / Daniel

The Law and the Christian

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

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The Role of the OT Law in the Life of a Christian

Four Approaches
Does the OT Law apply to the Christian?

1. Yes. All of the Law is for the Christian. It applies to the church in the same way that it applied to Israel.

Problem: This approach does not explain the negative statements in the NT about the Law (Rom 5:20; 6:14; 7:11; Gal 3:10, 12; 19, 21; 24-25; 5:3; Eph 2:15; Col 2:14; 1 Tim 1:8; Heb 8:13). This was the approach of the Judaizers.

2. No. None of the Law is for the Christian. It is only for Israel and/or the unbeliever.

Problem: This approach does not explain the positive statements in the NT about the Law (Matt 5:17-20; Rom 3:27, 31; 7:12, 14; 8:2; 13:9-10; 1 Cor 7:19; 9:21; Gal 5:14; 6:2; Eph 6:1-3; 2 Tim 3:16-17; James 1:25; 2:8).

3. Yes and no. Certain parts of the Law apply to the Christian. The moral laws apply to the Christian, but the civil and ceremonial laws do not apply to us.

Problem: This threefold division in the Law is never found in Scripture. Moreover, all the laws were moral for Israel, because God commanded Israel to obey them.

4. Yes. All of the Law is for the Christian. However, it applies to the church in a different way than how it applied to Israel under the Old Covenant. Now the Law must be understood in light of the dramatic changes that have taken place in redemptive history.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and its perfect interpreter. Before applying any OT law to us as Christians, we must first read the Law in light of Jesus and His role in redemptive history.

Problem: ?????

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One Comment

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  1. Bruce / Feb 18 2011 4:32 am

    Hello Daniel.
    The law says “Don’t muzzle the ox while it treads the grain.” Paul somehow uses this text as a proof text to say that churches should pay their pastors. If Paul did not use this passage to say that we should pay our pastors it would not be a natural conclusion from that OT text. Thererfore, in light of the far reaching implications of this example it is impossible for us to go back and figure all of the implications correctly. God cannot possibly expect us to do so. Example: Don’t eat fish without scales. What are the NT implications? If you say, “Well, this law only applies to Israel because it’s for the purpose of making them distinct,” I say “God is telling us to avoid people and situations that can be slimy” and there a debate begins with no authoritative voice. Therefore, we cannot, in any sense, figure out the individual laws and how they each are to be applied through Christ. If you disagree please give me 10 examples. 🙂 (and not the easy ones)

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