The Decalogue The Law of Moses

The Spirit and the Letter: A New Covenant Contrast

photo by Ferdinand Feng Does the indwelling of the Holy Spirit bring to the believer in this age of salvation history something prior ages did not have? It is hard to answer otherwise, for the new covenant is a better covenant than the old, and whole the Spirt came upon God’s saints to do certain things, the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit puts us in a different realm from what came before. No…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

Antinomianism Is A Word Not Found In Scripture

Freedom from the law is not something to look at warily. The words “antinomian” and “antinomianism” are polemical terms, and as is often the case, they carry connotations. But does a look at what’s claimed with these words stand up to scrutiny? A dictionary definition says an antinomian is “one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.”[i]…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

What Did the Jerusalem Council Decide?

Putting Christians under the law was wrong then, as it is now. Acts 15 contains the account of the first council of the church, in Jerusalem. The topic was the law, and whether Gentile converts to faith in Jesus need to adhere to the Mosaic law. Despite the clear verdict of the council, there are still those who say that the Christian must keep the law. But just as it was wrong then, so is…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

A Gospel Contrary: The Danger of Grace Plus Law

If we say we are not saved by keeping the law, but once saved, we must obey it, we have fallen from grace. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is one of his most polemical, perhaps the most forceful of any. One of the prime things Paul aims to do is dispel the idea that Christians retain any obligation to the law of Moses. In the first chapter, Paul expresses his astonishment at the desertion of…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

Salvation History and the Christian’s Understanding of the Law

Salvation history is the unfolding of God’s plan. It is an unfolding not because God is somehow making it up as he goes, but because in his divine counsel, he chooses to reveal aspects of it in time. As one example, Paul is explicit about such an unfolding regarding the church, when he says to the Ephesians, “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made…

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Life in Christ The Decalogue The Law of Moses

The Opposite of Lawlessness is not Lawfulness, but Righteousness

The question of the law of Moses and what place it has in the Christian life is a perennial one. There is often as much to unlearn around such questions as there is to learn. When words such as lawlessness are in view, this is especially true. I leave aside the more specific uses of the word, such as “the man of lawlessness” and “the mystery of lawlessness.” These are more eschatological in scope. I…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

The Law as “Wisdom” or the “Third Use”—What’s the Difference?

When one reads the New Testament, and in particular Paul’s epistles, one can’t help see how the law of Moses is a prominent theme in the apostle’s thought. How he treats it is of great importance to how Christians should regard it. First, one has to say that for Paul, “the Law” is specifically those commandments given at Sinai, and following. The holiness code of Leviticus 18-22 is also part of the law, and an…

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Life in Christ The Law of Moses

All Commandments Are Not Equal: Salvation History has Consequences

I have engaged people in discussions about the Mosaic law in the Christian life on many occasions. One direction the discussion can go is that someone quotes back the writings of John, the beloved disciple. Jesus told the disciples “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). God has given his people commandments, and if we love him, if we follow him, we will keep these commandments. John’s first epistle is also…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

10 Things About the Law of Moses (and 5 Answers to Objections)

1. The Law was given to Jews, and not to Gentiles. The law was given at Sinai, after the people were redeemed from Egypt. The Ten Commandments form the “treaty document” between God and Israel. (Gentry/Wellum, Kingdom through Covenant, 327-28.) The psalmist wrote “He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules.” (Psalm 147:19-20) Following the giving…

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Culture The Decalogue The Law of Moses

What Does it Mean to Keep the Sabbath?

Among the Ten Commandments, none has been treated with more flexibility than the Fourth.   One encounters a whole range of views on the Sabbath command, and what people believe their obligation is toward it.  Since it is one of the Ten Commandments, it makes a good test case whether those who insist Christians must keep the Ten are actually doing so. The first question is, what is the Sabbath Day? Many point to the…

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