On the Law

Originally posted at http://gephartr.blogspot.com

Earlier I discussed how my earliest (misguided) belief thought that the Old Testament was “old” and useless and that the Law was abolished. I discussed how I thought that the New Testament was the only thing with meaning. I did not understand that the New Testament could not be fully comprehended without the Old Testament. Now that I have truly begun to read the Old Testament for understanding, I again am reading the New Testament with a new “pair of glasses.”

So, to continue the walk thru Romans. First was the definition of the Good News. Then there was the affirmal of the Creator. Next, Paul speaks about the Law of the Creator in the Old Testament. The Law is even today a point of debate and discussion. We continue to focus on parts of the truth to argue different view points of the Law. Typically the argument goes “the Law was abolished by Jesus” and on the other side “we are called to do good deeds and therefore must follow the Law.” And in our arguments, we feel that only one side can be right.

So, what does Paul say in the book of Romans?

1. If we rely on following the Law for our salvation, we are lost. No one, save Jesus, is capable of fulfilling the letter of the Law. The purpose of the Law is not to gain salvation; it cannot acquit us of our sins. (Ro 2:29, 3:20, 3:27 – 28)
2. The purpose of the Law is to show sin; to show us that we are all sinners; to show us that we cannot earn our own salvation; to show us the righteous way of life (Ro 2:18, 3:19-20)
3. That the Law does not teach the entirety of the truth and all knowledge (Ro 2:20)
4. That the Law is still valid and has not been removed. (Ro 2:25-27, Ro 3:31 = “Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.”, Ro 5:20 = “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.”)
5. That salvation (acquital from just punishment) is by faith alone (Ro 3-4)
6. Even as Abraham was a “friend of God”, so to are we thru Jesus (Ro 5:11 = “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”)
7. When we accept Jesus as Lord, then the power of the Law to “create” sin is removed (Ro 7:4-5 = “You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ… the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds”)
8. Now that Jesus is our Lord, we can fulfill the Spirit of the Law and produce spiritual fruit (Ro 7:6 = “Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.”)
9. The Law of God is holy and right (Ro 7:12 = “But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.”, Ro 7:14 = “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good.”, Ro 7:16 = “But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.”)
10. Sin causes the breaking of the Law of God (7:13 = “Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.”)

So, here we end for this post. Paul has clearly stated that the Law of God is pure, right, and good. The Law is still valid, and as Christians the Spirit of God within us gives us the ability to overcome our sin nature and actually follow the Law of God. But on the other hand of the argument, the Law cannot now or ever before grant salvation. Salvation has always been thru belief in Jesus – in the OT and the NT (Ro 3:25-26).