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June 18, 2011 / Daniel

Andrew Farley says “The Law breeds only two things”

Cover of "The Naked Gospel: The Truth You...

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Andrew Farley writes in The Naked Gospel,

It appears that the only people who angered Jesus were the religious rulers of his day. Why? Because the law teachers were not being honest with themselves or others.

First, after watering down the potency of the law so as to concoct a palatable mixture, they painted the illusion of spiritual success under law. Second, they added in their own regulations and beat their chests as they touted themselves as the spiritually elite. Jesus hated hypocrisy, and the law only breeds two things: defeat if you’re honest and hypocrisy if you’re not.

HT: Daniel Haynes

The Torah is an ethical standard.  Just because you have ethical standards, it doesn’t mean that you’re a legalist.  The NT is full of rules.  There are lists of them (Romans 12:1-21; Eph 4:17-6:9;  Col 3:1-4:6).  Getting rid of the ethical standard might ease your guilt, but the problem is not the ethical standard.   It’s the violation of the standard. Farley lashes out the standard.  It would be better to lash out at sin.

Farley’s approach to the OT Law is misguided because he misunderstands the nature of Paul’s critique of the Law.  Paul is not against ethical standards.  He’s against the idea that Abraham’s family is comprised of Jews and only Jews.  The Judaizers, Paul’s opponents in Romans and Galatians, argued that Gentiles had to take up the marks of Jewish identity in order to be part of God’s chosen people.

The Judaizers are not proto-Pelagians, attempting to earn their salvation.  They think that they are in by God’s grace.  Their primary concern is racial issues and ethnic boundary markers.  While Paul would certainly be against earning your salvation, it is a misunderstanding of Paul’s argument to throw out the OT Law, since “it only breeds failure and hypocrisy.”

Trust in the blood of Jesus to forgive sin.  By God’s grace, pursue God’s holy standards.   The ethic of both OT and NT is this–be like your God.  “Be holy as I am holy”  (Lev. 19:1; 1 Pet 1:16).

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