Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Quo Vadis

If you are a Christian, the Mosaic Law ought to be abolished in your life. The Law was used, according to Galatians, as a custodian for the unregenerate, as the world, filled with the unregenerate, awaited the advent of Christ. The world's history can be a metaphor for the progress of your own soul.
You began in...
1. A state of innocence
2. The Law came
3. Sin came to life
4. You died.
5. Because you are dead, more and more Law is added in order to keep you in custody.
6. "Who shall deliver you from this body of death?"
7. You were set free from the Law and Sin and called to Righteousness by Jesus Christ
8. You, perhaps, insulted the work of Christ by turning back to the Law.
9. "What shall deliver you from this second death?"
10. Oh, I dunno, maybe it is in the Book of Galatians.

The claim for the need of Law in a Christian's life carries with it two errors.

Correction #1: First, a factual mistake of identity. If someone is in Christ and in His grace they don't need it. "Sin shall have no dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace."

Correction #2: The second error is more of an "oops", rhetorical/PR blunder. The persistent claim that Christians do need the Law, far from defining the deeper walk club, defines the user as "slaves" not "sons", living in "shadows" not "substance". The more Old Covenant you apply, the less valid your claim on the New Covenant. This error is based in the logic sprung from the definitions of the two covenants. The Old is external law under which a person dies and the New is internal law by which a person lives. This, folks, is their difference and their place of contention. One cannot be a "strong" Christian and be under the Law. Such a Christian has "nullified" the grace of God. If under the Law, you are either claiming you are a Christian that is morally retarded, internally prepared for the impious, and needing to be led around by a keeper or... you are not a Christian at all. The presence of Law claims one thing, that the person cannot be trusted to naturally live in accordance with Holiness. It says, "Hey Jesus, thanks for nothing!"

What place is there for those under the Law? They can fit in with the Mormons nicely and they'll always look better than the profligate. They get all those heady benefits of making their own religion and the gratification of insisting on it for others. Luckily "Jesus" and "Christian" are not copyright which will make what they design look more like the real thing for the other "spiritually challenged". They'll get a lot of help out of church history because their kind of spiritual retardation has been prevelent in many of the more famous chuckleheads. They'll feel like they are part of something big and lasting, you know, like "falling away from grace"(very popular over the last two millenia). It would be nice to have the help of Jesus and His Spirit but "This persuasion is not from Him who calls you." So, tragically, they will still look worse than those for whom "born from above"and "fruit of the Spirit" meant something.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

The oracle is this: The less restrained a person is internally, the more restrained they will need to be externally. Go figure.

2 comments:

Scott said...

Follow up to the Oracle's proclamation:

“Not under law but under grace” primarily means Christian’s are new creations such that they are internally motivated (naturally inclined) to comply with either the internally inscribed or externally known moral law of God. As Jim Wilson has wisely said the Gospel is about obedience (i.e., motivation) and not commands (i.e., the substance of God’s divine commands). It is amazing how the religious right, in its political activities, has failed to acknowledge this distinction. The religious right puts man under its fallible interpretation of the external law of God thus nullifying the Grace of God. Christian's need to keep their partially unsanctified hearts out of external ethics (in the public realm) and focus their secular-world interaction on the internal ethics of Christian moral motivation. Otherwise the world will reject the gospel because they lack the capacity to understand the finer points of the external law as they have not yet been transformed through the renewing of their minds.

Scott

Mark said...

Al Gore must have invented the internet just for this post. Very good, Evan.