Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What Is Our Relationship to the Law (Pt 1)?

Probably my single biggest disappointment about Phil Johnson's old blog was that he was never able to get around to answering the question "What is the relationship between New Testment Christians and the Old Testament Law?" I know he had some thoughts about it, and he started to talk about them, but then he got sidetracked and never returned.

At my church, we are going through Hebrews right now, so this topic is of much interest to me.

In any case, my buddy Sojourner wrote a whole series of articles last week about whether we as Christians are responsible for keeping the Sabbath. I made a couple of comments there, but I decided to hold back on that until he had finished his series.

His series is now finished, and he's off to TFTG, but I've been busy and haven't had time to put my thoughts together.

Now I don't have to, because Daniel has tackled the subject with much greater gusto and depth than I could probably muster right after downing a 6 pack of Coke Classic.

His premise is simple: what was once written as a defense of orthodoxy (WCF & LBCF) is now being used as a law unto itself.

To be continued...


BugBlaster said...

Okay Matt, seriously now: In a few years you'll be in your forties, and you'll find that downing six-packs of Coke Classic will have only one possible outcome: more Matt Gumm. I'm speaking from experience here, friend.

btw, I am very interested in this series.

Daniel said...

As a child, I held my parents political views to be correct and I freely adopted them as my own - right up until I began to live on my own. It was only then that I really examined politics - up until then I was satisfied to hold an inherited opinion.

In this same way, I believe many in the church hold doctrinal positions - they inherited them from their parents if they were saved as children, or from their denomination if they came into the church as adults - and until they actually scrutinize these opinions biblically - they tend to assume they are correct even if they don't really know why they are correct.

Now I was saved as an adult - and didn't attend a church for the first dozen years of my faith (my bad) - yet the moment the Holy Spirit came to indwell me, I wanted to live a life that pleased God. I think this desire to be pleasing to God is common to every genuine faith.

The moment I began to truly repent, I suddenly found myself wanting to know the truth - that is, wanting to read scripture for the purpose of knowing God, and knowing "how" to be a Christian. I joined myself to a Baptist church with a godly preacher - and feeling totally ignorant of God, I set about to remedy my ignorance by reading as much scripture as possible. I devoured the bible (cover to cover) over and over again - and in the course of only a few years, I became quite knowledgeable in all the scriptures - but for all that head knowledge, I wasn't really all that much closer to answering the "how to be a Christian" question.

The church I had joined didn't really articulate how much of the law we were supposed to keep - or anything like that - but it did highlight what we didn't have to keep. The reasons were never given however, yet the status quo seemed fine enough for most (all) of the congregation. In fact, looking back on it now, I would say that most of the congregation was not unlike my political example above - that is, they had inherited some opinions, and without ever examining them closely, swallowed them hook, line, and sinker.

I worry that most believers today haven't the first idea where they stand with the law - they sort of throw everything, old and new testament in a blender - such that they aren't really sure of anything - but are convinced that the "flow they are going with" is correct.

I found Brad's (Sojourner) post very useful in identifying this problem. I don't think I did a very thorough (or even a good) job in explaining the place of the law in the life of the believer - but hopefully the Lord will use it to generate questions and challenges that cause His children to seek the answers in both prayer and scripture.

Thanks Matt.

jthomas899 said...

Hey Matt, Sorry for writing off topic, but I couldn't find your email address.

Can you email me @ pastorjeffthomas@gmail.com?

I need to give you my new blog address.

Jeff Thomas