Friday, May 17, 2013

The law in Romans

Romans opens with  humanity lost in the quagmire of sin, because of  a creator rejected. Chapters 2 and 3 identifies a people, the Jews, who are privileged to have the scriptures of the Old Testament, but they fail to fulfil its demands. They were good at teaching the law, but not good at keeping it so they too stand guilty before God. At this crisis point  Paul the apostle makes a significant declaration : " The righteousness of God is revealed apart from the law, yet the law stands as  witness to it." Romans 3.21. It is an important study to  find out what is the "Righteousness of God" - keep reading in Romans to discover "God at work".
           He  introduces several surpassing laws  -  the law of faith 3:27,      the law of God  7:22,  the law of my mind  7:23,   then negatively, the law of sin and death 8:2

            Chapters 3,4,5,6,7, demonstrate the failure of man in himself, and under law, both as to justification before God  and the sanctification of the person.
             Chapter 8 gives blessed relief    -  that the righteousness of the law was /is fulfilled in us ! how?  by the spirit of the living God enabling us to live in the spiritual relationship of sons of God, whereby we cry "Abba Father" 8:15

  The link of law is replaced by the lock of love  -notice the last verse of chapter 8

We could write many words about new words introduced in this Gospel treatise - words that the law knew little about eg  justification, reconciliation, reigning in life, eternal life etc etc.
                 Chapter 7 is a landmark statement of our relationship to law. The Christian is dead to the law ! The law has no power over someone dead with Christ. Now faith in Christ sets the believer free  to live in newness of life. Detail of this sanctified life is given in chapters 12 to 15. The renewed mind leads to new character, where we put on Christ (13.10). This is seen as the fulfilling of the law (not the fruit of, nor the result of the law).

                  Chapter 14 - the keeping of days and food laws was not wrong,  but the imposition of it on others was wrong.   The execution of judgement , which was so crucial in Moses law, has now been committed to the only one qualified  -  the  living Lord Jesus himself.  This new covenant is not so much based upon the promises of the past, but rather linked to the hope of power and authority vested in the resurrected  living and exalted Lord Jesus!

      In his writings Paul occasionally refers to the law of Moses as a point of reference eg 1 Corinthians
9.8 "as also saith the law"    also 1  Corinthians 14.34     This confirms the point  that the law has a place of instruction for us, but is not in control of us.

More next time
Good night

John Mckee

No comments: