Friday, June 14, 2013

The Law of Moses - Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy

       It  remarkable how Paul deals with different problems about the law in different letters.
Here the obvious reference is Chapter 2.14." the debt that stood against us...... nailing it to the cross"  The legal demands of debt incurred being paid by  His becoming a curse for us on the cross.
        Then he deals with the traditions and Pharaseeical demands that may give satisfaction to the flesh, but give little glory to God. Included is new moon festivals, Sabbaths, which he describes as shadows of things to come. Could that imply that Sabbath keeping is ceremonial and limited to a particular time frame? Could verse 17 mean that the Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ?  Maybe that is the teaching of Hebrews 4 - I think so.

         This is quite significant - for if we plan to keep the 10 commandments, we cannot avoid the call to Sabbath day keeping!   I think Paul shows a more excellent way in Chapter 3. The heavenly mind changing earthly behaviour so as to carry the image of the creator (v10).  How?? 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly'(v16)

      Thessalonians does not directly mention the law, but the sanctification of the believers is distinctly presented as being ' in Christ' along with the effect of anticipating the future glory of the Lord's return.  But hold on  - I have just read a verse that says it all  2 Thessalonians 2:13,14  " God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved, through the sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our Gospel, so that you may obtain theglory of our Lord Jesus Christ"
        Sounds like God at work, by the Holy Spirit,via belief in the truth via the Gospel to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!

       Timothy.  This book has been described as the handbook for the pastor. Well it sure does mention the law relative to the Gospel. It appears that some of those 'superior teachers' from Judaism had sought to impose law keeping on the Gentile believers. Paul bluntly puts them in place and describes the law as a means to expose and condemn sin. Although Saul could say ' before the law he was blameless' (Phillipians 3), yet he takes the place here as the 'chief of sinners'. At this point of humility, grace steps in, as the grace of Christ seeking sinners is exemplified.  
      Perhaps Christ presented as the' one mediator ' ,(Chapter 2), is in contrast with Moses the mediator.
     When Paul tackles the role of women in the church, he goes back to the writings of Moses to bring in the principle unchanged of male and female order.  Again the law is quoted (5.17) to support remuneration for teaching elders.
     It would appear that the imposition of law is wrong, but drawing upon it's unchanging principles is right.

Summary - It is not the law at fault, rather it's use. - it reveals our deserving of judgement and revels our need of Christ.
Now faith in Christ Jesus the Son of God by the Spirit, puts the same principles into effect by a new power and  excels in glory.
 Principles of holiness (the holiness of God implanted as an inward spring Hebrews 8.10)
 Principles of order ( relationships in creation Matthew 19.4)
 Principles of redemption ( foreshadows in the sacrifices etc 1 Corinthians 5.7 )
 Principles of purpose ( Reconciliation and glory Acts 15,17)

Moses law took the principles and applied them culturally to Israel.

The Gospel of Christ takes the principles and applies them to believers all the world. This is indeed 'new wine'
     The objective of the Gospel teaching, is to produce 'love' as God loves, a ' conscience' in accord with the character of God, and 'faith' that is focused, full and functional.  1 Timothy 1.5

May God in His grace lead you to search His word and be satisfied.
John Mckee

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