Thursday: Fulfilling the Whole Law
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(Gal. 5:13-15)

How do you reconcile Paul’s negative comments about “do[ing] the whole law” (Gal. 5:3with his positive statement about “fulfill[ing] all the law” (Gal. 5:14)? Compare Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10, Gal. 3:12; Gal. 5:3 with Rom. 8:4; Rom. 13:8; Gal. 5:14.

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

Many have seen the contrast between Paul’s negative comments about “doing the whole law” and his positive assertions about “fulfilling the whole law” as paradoxical. They really aren’t. The solution lies in the fact that Paul intentionally uses each phrase to make an important distinction between two different ways of defining Christian behavior in relation to the law. For example, it is significant that when Paul refers positively to Christian observance of the law he never describes it as “doing the law.” He reserves that phrase to refer solely to the misguided behavior of those who are living under the law and are trying to earn God’s approval by “doing” what the law commands.

This is not to imply that those who have found salvation in Christ do not obey. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul says they “fulfill” the law. He means that true Christian behavior is much more than the outward obedience of just “doing” the law; it “fulfills” the law. Paul uses the word fulfill because it goes far beyond just “doing.” This type of obedience is rooted in Jesus (see Matt. 5:17). It is not an abandonment of the law, nor a reduction of the law only to love, but it is the way through which the believer could experience the true intent and meaning of the whole law!

Where, according to Paul, is the full meaning of the law found? Lev. 19:18Mark 12:31Mark 12:33Matt. 19:19Rom. 13:9James 2:8.

Although it is a quotation from Leviticus, Paul’s statement in Galatians is ultimately rooted in Jesus’ use of Leviticus 19:18. Jesus, however, was not the only Jewish teacher to refer to Leviticus 19:18 as a summary of the whole law. Rabbi Hillel, who lived about a generation before Jesus, said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor; that is the whole law.” But Jesus’ perspective radically was different (Matt. 7:12). Not only is it more positive, but it also demonstrates that law and love are not incompatible. Without love, the law is empty and cold; without law, love has no direction.

What’s easier, and why: to love others, or simply to obey the Ten Commandments? Bring your answer to class.
Amen!(30)

Comments

Thursday: Fulfilling the Whole Law — 27 Comments

  1. Dear brothers and sisters,

    I have a question. In layman's terms, is it enough to say that Paul and Jesus use the term "fulfil" to make sure that keeping the law is done with love?

    God bless

    Amen!(2)
  2. To love my neighbor AS myself... That's required... No more or less! Thus, if I have the wrong idea about loving myself, if my concept of love is mistaken, how would I be able to rightly love others? It is not such an easy task! It takes deep self perception! How do we work on that? How can I acquire this self analisys? Besides doing this consciously, there is also a need of balance between getting closer to Jesus and learning to love myself and others equally! Am I able to respect others and also the person JC Zielak? May God work on my perception of real love! Walking with Jesus is an oustanding exercise of it.

    Amen!(3)
    • I have really appreciated your comments on this blog, but it seems to me that this comment reveals that you are beig deceived by a tenet of modern psychology that has crept into the church and been embraced as biblical - that we must love ourselves.

      Please think: Can you think of any passage in the Bible that tells us to love ourselves? I know I cannot. In the OT statement that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, it is assumed that every person loves self. It starts from babyhood when the baby sees herself as the center of the world. Most people grow out of this to a greater or lesser extent. Some don't. It used to be popular (maybe still is) that much crime is committee because of "low self-esteem." However, some surveys found that the worst criminals had the highest self-esteem. It makes logical sense. For criminal actions, one must be very self-focused to ignore the needs and lives of others.

      The other side of the coin of "self-esteem" is self-hatred, and it is not uncommon. But these are but faces of the very same coin of self-focus. Satan doesn't care whether we think we are full of selfish pride or self-loathing. Either way we are focused on self and headed for destruction.

      What Christ modeled was self-renouncing love. It is self-forgetful love - in other words, no focus on self at all because He was so focused on doing His Father's will and saving the lost. He is our model. He gave us a new commandment - to love others as He loved us. John 13:34. He does not call us to love ourselves!

      And, by the way, Christ demonstrated that we are of inestimable value in the sight of heaven because He died for us. We don't need to "love ourselves." Instead we need to accept His sacrifice in our behalf.

      Amen!(19)
      • Jesus is simply the ultimate definition of God's love! He came to save what He Himself had created!

        Communication is more about how others perceive/understand what is said, not really about what one says!

        Love you!

        Amen!(1)
      • As a Psychologist, I work with depressed people most every day. I do not believe that anyone ever outgrows preoccupation with self. It starts the day we are born and it ends only when we take our last breath. As we get older, we just get better and camouflaging our real motives which, absent a rebirth (John 3:3), are always self-centered. In truth, my only problem is me and my only solution is Jesus.

        It is our nature to think of ourselves first. Without surrender to Christ, we will go to our grave that way. That is why we need a new heart (Ezekiel 11:19) and mind (1 Corinthians 2:16). That is why we need a Saviour (Luke 2:11; Titus 2:13).

        Before the end of the very first therapy session, I often give my depressed clients practical ideas to cope with their depression, all of which are designed to change WHO they focus on (e.g., help someone else, take a walk in nature, practice thankfulness, hold a baby, pray).

        Then I might gently point them to the present and eternal benefits of changing Who their minds are fixed on (Isaiah 26:3).

        Amen!(4)
        • Thanks much for this, Sieg. It is good to hear from someone with professional experience in the matter. What you share underlines the fact that self-love is a given. We don't need to focus on ourselves to love ourselves.

          Although I'm not a professional psychologist or even counselor, I've had reason to informally counsel depressed persons, and, by the grace of God, my counsel always involved focusing on something outside of themselves - generally a way to serve. And it worked wonders. It sounds paradoxical to many, but the answer to depression and/or self-hatred is to focus on serving others. As I understand it, God has designed us in such a way that serving actually releases endorphins in our bodies that make us feel good. 🙂 Christ's way is the answer to so many problems!

          Amen!(3)
        • "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12. That's God's ways of balancing things!

          Amen!(1)
  3. I find this very fulfilling. Gods blessings never cease. It is our perspective and how we love one another that counts. If we could only be "sinless" we could fulfill the promises. But as Paul said it is impossible to live this existence unscathed by sin. " for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"
    So as our examples teach us from old testament Torah...Abraham as well as his nephew Lot awaited in his tent and at the gates of the city to aid thier fellowman. And I believe that is what God meant by loving your neighbor and how you would show your love for Him...the Creator of all things. This I believe is fulfillment.😊

    Amen!(6)
  4. "Not only is it more positive, but it also demonstrates that law and love are not incompatible." and: Romans 13:8 tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law. Lawlessness is LOVELESSNESS! The law and love are congruent!

    Amen!(9)
  5. I do not think I understand the author’s statement that “Paul uses the word fulfill because it goes far beyond just “doing.” This type of obedience is rooted in Jesus ... It is not an abandonment of the law, nor a reduction of the law only to love, but it is the way through which the believer could experience the true intent and meaning of the whole law!”

    “Fulfill” IS “an abandonment of the law” as being the force that drives Christian living and the life hidden in Christ and led by the Spirit.

    Our acts of “doing” and “obeying the law” are grounded in the concept of “our works.” This was the experience of the children of Israel, who “being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Rom 10:3,4

    Rom 9:31,32 expands on the teaching – “but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.”

    If we have that Agape Love – then all the requirements of the law have been met. No need to go down a list, ALL of its conditions have been met. Rom 13:8, 10, Gal 5:14, Jam 2:8.

    Amen!(6)
    • I think the miscommunication is the result of using "the law" two different ways. (I believe this happens rather often.) Yes, the law as "motivation" seems to reveal the lack of an experience with Jesus.

      But, on another level, the Law of God is the foundation of the government of God and the transcript of His character. The Ten Principles pronounced from Sinai are but a dim reflection of that Law. It is most clearly seen in the life of Christ who lived out (fulfilled) the Law in His own life. (See the messianic Psalm 40:8)

      I agree, though, that the author's explanation is awkward at best.

      Love, is, indeed, the fulfilling of the Law, as you state:

      If we have that Agape Love – then all the requirements of the law have been met. No need to go down a list, ALL of its conditions have been met. Rom 13:8, 10, Gal 5:14, Jam 2:8.

      Amen!(4)
  6. Living the law without submitting our lives is just that......living our lives with the our own hope of obeying the law without the help of the Holy Spirit.We known that we cannot live to fulfill the law with our own strength because we know that we keep stumbling all the way....Our only strength comes from submitting self to the Holy Spirit and then we can can live the Law of God.....out of love.

    Amen!(5)
  7. Here Paul exhorts God's children love one another and reminds them (v. 13) that they'd been called unto liberty that was gained in love (John 3: 16). He persuades them/us that the law can only be accomplished if they/we serve one another in love. The lesson here is that as children of God our responsibilty is to comfort the afflicted in love; forgive one another; encourage the fallen to rise up; teach one another in love; endure hardship with one another; when we have to discipline one another, it must be done in love etc. Paul sets the standard for all of us: "Let every person do his duty in the station of life into which God has called him. No person is to vaunt himself above others or find fault with the efforts of others while lauding his own. Let everybody serve in love.

    Amen!(4)
  8. There have been many comments in the various topics on this blog saying essentially the following:

    “The Holy Spirit helps us to keep the law.”
    “We cannot keep the law without the help of the Holy Spirit.”
    “We have been saved, to keep the law.”

    The concern I have with these statements is that they are saying that we are being taken back to the law as the guide and requirement for living.

    What we have been studying in Galatians this quarter, is that there is a standard of Christian living that is greater than law-based living; that the power to live a righteous life is not in the law, but in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    The law is great, good and holy. It was a pedagogos given to bring us to Christ. It served its purpose of showing us our condition, and our need for Jesus’ saving grace. After coming to Christ, our relationship with Him takes on a new dimension. The law is no longer in control nor is it the guiding light for our lives. We now have the Holy Spirit leading us in the path of righteousness. We now have a more intimate relationship with our Father and the ever-present powerhouse called the Holy Spirit who speaks to us, makes intercession for us, translates our thoughts and prayers to the Father for us - the Parakletos, the Comforter, the Advocate, the fullness of God right with us! What more can we ask? It’s like sitting for an exam and having the professor right next to us, looking over our shoulder and giving us all the right answers. How can we fail?

    The Holy Spirit is God in His fullness. He is the best gift we can ever have. That’s why Jesus told the disciples that it is good for Him to go, or else the Helper cannot come. John 16:7. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. We can be assured that the Holy Spirit will never lead us to do anything that does not please the Father. We have that assurance. Then what is our cause for fear or concern?

    We short-change ourselves by desiring to takes several steps back and not move forward in the grace God has so richly and freely given us.

    That was Paul’s concern in Galatians – the desire of the Galatians to return to the law. When he said in Gal 2:19 that he died to the law that he may live to Christ, he was saying that the law as his guide, had to die so that he can live in the power of the risen Christ.

    If we understand the role and work of the Holy Spirit the way God wants us to, we would realize that the ministry of the Spirit is much more glorious than the ministry of the law – so says 2 Cor 3:6-18.

    When we turn to the Lord, the veil of the law is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

    "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:13.

    Amen!(7)
    • Fred, I 100% endorse and encourage you and everyone else to understand and proclaim that it is in Christ fallen human minds are restored to our Creator's original specifications by Him GIVING to us Heaven's best gift--the Holy Spirit (Col 1:18-19; 2:9-10; Act 1:4-5; Lk 24:49)--really, maybe even 110%! But you ask, "Then what is our cause for fear or concern?". My concern is for balance in our communications among ourselves and others outside our community. Our community at any given point in time is never a homogeneous one, persons within are at different stages of their walk with (or understanding of) Christ. It makes me skittish that you omit or fail to make clear that the "abandonment of the law" (from the earlier of your two Sept 7 posts) is an experience of the MATURE child in Christ.

      Jesus taught that fruit-bearing is a necessary part of the believer's life (Jn 15:4,8) and He also taught that the Holy Spirit is an integral part of that BEGINNING process (Jn 3:5; 6:63). James indicates that fruit-bearing occurs in two phases he refers to as the "early" and "latter rain" (Jam 5:7), which Paul references using a different allegory (Gal 4:1-5), to which he adds, "And BECAUSE you ARE sons, God has SENT forth the Spirit of His Son into your HEARTS..." (Gal 4:6 my emphasis). A sinner who is translated from death to life (Col 1:12-13) becomes as it were a "slave child" (Gal 4:1 or "early rain") and later an "heir child" (Gal 4:6 or "latter rain"). Note that a "child" in each state has different privileges, although without doubt a bona fide child in each state (Gal 3:23-25). Do the preceding verses depict a one time transaction that only occurred at Christ's first coming marking the transition from Old to New Testament era? I believe that answer is yes, and no. "Yes", there was a fulfillment and subsequent shift from law "salvation" to Spirit salvation, made possible by Christ's sacrifice (Lk 16:16; Eph 4:7-8). However, the answer is also a "no", because all sinners, before and after Christ's sacrifice, could only be saved by faith, as the restoration of our broken minds has never been accomplished by performing acts of "law".

      Salvation is not an issue of "eras" and masses of people, rather it is the intimate working of the Creator within the minds of His individual creatures. That real work involves the Father's release of sinners from very dark places (Col 1:13; Jn 6:65 or "early rain") into the care of His Son. The Son's ministry over His household of "slave children" (Heb 3:5-6; Gal 4:1-2) is a work of individual judgment (Jn 5:21-22; Eph 5:26-27) and sealing of "heir children" (Mt 3:11-12; Eph 1:13-14). Note that "the BLESSING of Abraham" is to "RECEIVE THE PROMISE of THE SPIRIT THROUGH FAITH" (Gal 3:14)--a promise made good only to those judged to be "heir children" (Gal 4:6) or "latter rain" recipients--"law" remains in effect for all other individual sinner in every era for God's intended purpose (Gal 3:22,24).

      Amen!(1)
    • Fred, you write,

      When we turn to the Lord, the veil of the law is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

      I would like to submit that when we allow the Holy Spirit to live in us, our attitude towards God's Law changes. It becomes a "law of liberty." (James 1:25; James 2:12) That's because the Spirit-controlled heart does not yearn to do anything contrary to the Law of God. See Gal 5:22-23.

      Thus it is true that submission to Christ results in Law-keeping, for, rightly understood, the Law of God is the transcript of His character, and God is Love. Christ demonstrated the self-renouncing love of God in His own life, and Paul wrote that Christ is the "telos" (i.e. goal, end result) of the Law. (Romans 10:4)

      The reconciliation between Paul's negative and positive statements about the Law is a matter of recognizing that Paul is writing about attitudes towards the Law. The Law is powerless as a means of salvation. Only Christ saves.

      But the Law IS the standard of judgment, it IS a statement of the will of God and the foundation of His government, if we understand it truly as a statement of what living by love looks like. Too often we fail to see the intent of the Law which deals with motives, not just outward actions, and thus may be tempted to see it as being negative.

      Christ Himself declared prophetically, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." (Ps 40:8) Thus, followers of Christ will have the same attitude towards the Law, while they trust in Christ for salvation and the power to live in harmony with the Law of God.

      I recommend a review of Psalm 119, remembering that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Tim 3:16

      Amen!(2)
  9. Of the many comments that deal with keeping the law and loving yourself, is one more important? Do we as Paul said, look for methods of justification Galatians 5:4? The question that I have, of all the texts that we quote, what is our biggest concern? Many will undoubtedly list our eternal salvation. Salvation by works or faith?

    Amen!(1)
  10. Galatians 5:3 and 5:14 are reconciled by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22,23. There he says that against the Honorable Characteristics of THE HOLY SPIRIT BEING: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, GENTLENESS, MEEKNESS, GOODNESS, TEMPERANCE, and FAITH, there was NO LAW. And in my going over these NINE VIRTUES of THE HOLY SPIRIT, I found that there are even MORE THAN THESE NINE: There is also, HONESTY, LOYALTY, PURITY, INTEGRITY, DEPENDABILITY, AND HOPEFULNESS. And there may be more too. And when one gauges one's CHARACTER with these attributes in an HONEST WAY, we find that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE demonstrates these on a MOMENT BY MOMENT 8/24/365 BASIS and that is why WE ALL NEED GOD'S "ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS," to cover us ALL THE TIME.

    Amen!(1)
  11. Inge

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    As has been pointed put before, the "Law of God" is interpreted in different ways in different contexts.

    As Adventists, when we hear the "Law of God" we invariably think of the Ten Commandments. To David and the patriarchs, it was the Pentateuch and more specifically the writings stretching from the Ten Commandments all through Deuteronomy. No bible writer throughout Scripture divided the Law into the "Law of God" and the "Law of Moses." Those terms were used interchangeably and referred to the same entire body of material. Numerous references can be given to show that the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and Jesus Himself saw those two man-made divisions as one contiguous and indivisible Law. That is indisputable based on the extensive biblical evidence.

    Are there some civil aspects in the law? Absolutely! Are there some ceremonial requirements in the Law? Sure! What about moral aspects? Most definitely! But all of it was given and spoken by God (not originally by Moses) and have the full weight of God's commandments; the full weight of Law.

    Prior to the giving of the Law on Sinai, there was Law. The concept of "Law" is the foundation of God's government. Every word spoken or written by God, every instruction, is law. Any and all Law emanating from a Holy God has to reflect His holy character. So in that sense the Law - not just the Ten Commandments, but every word spoken by God from eternity past, to the time of Lucifer in heaven, to the time of Adam in the garden, to Noah, Abraham and Moses, to the prophets and patriarchs IS a reflection of His character - not just the Ten Commandments. The Law that Adam received, the Law that Abraham received, every pronouncement of law was holy, just and good.

    Allow me then to make your comments more specific as I think you may be intending, and if I may take journalistic license, change your use of the word "Law" to "Ten Commandments." If I am interpreting incorrectly, please let me know.
    "When we allow the Holy Spirit to live in us, our attitude towards [THE TEN COMMANDMENTS] changes."
    "The [TEN COMMANDMENTS] became a law of liberty."
    Thus it is true that submission to Christ results in [KEEPING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS] for, rightly understood, the [TEN COMMANDMENTS are] the transcript of His character.
    "But the [TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE] the standard of judgment."
    "Too often we fail to see the intent of the [TEN COMMANDMENTS] which deals with motives, not just outward actions, and thus may be tempted to see [THE TEN COMMANDMENTS] as being negative."

    Here are just a handful of passages from the Word of God on the subject at hand. These, as all other scripture, were given by inspiration of God, and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
    1. I do not dispute the value of the Law given on Sinai. It was described as a Covenant. Ex 34:27,28; Ex 31:18; Deut 4:13; Deut 5:2; Deut 9:9.11.

    2. It was given for a specific purpose and to a specific people. Deut 5:2-21.

    3. The Covenant included regulations for worship, ordinances and ceremonies. Heb 9:1.

    4. Moses was the mediator of that covenant, not Christ. Ex 19:7,8; Ex 20:19,20; Deut 5:23-27; Deut 5:4,5.

    5. It was designed to lead the people to Christ, until Christ the seed should come. Gal 3:19.

    6. It served a tutorial/pedagogos role. It had a beginning and it had an end. Gal 3:24,25; Matt 27:51; Matt 5:18; John 19:28.

    7. It was holy and good, because it pointed out sin, then pointed us to Christ. Rom 7:7-12.

    8. Paul did not void the law, but pointed out its limitations. Rom 3:31,21.

    9. It is specifically called a ministry of death written and engraved on stones. 2 Cor 3:7.

    10. It cannot give life. Gal 3:21.

    11. It is called the law of sin and death. Rom 8:2.

    12. It is weak. Rom 8:3.

    13. It does not provide salvation or justification. Acts 13:39; Rom 3:20,28; Gal 2:16; Gal 5:4.

    14. The law made nothing perfect. Heb 7:19.

    15. Righteousness does not come from it. Gal 2:21; Rom 3:21,22.

    16. It is not of faith. Phil 3:9; Gal 3:12.

    17. It held us back. Gal 2:19-21.

    18. Paul had to become dead to the Law in order to be married to Christ. Gal 2:19; Rom 7:4,6.

    19. Even though God gave the law, there was a change in law. Heb 7:11,12,18.

    20. Its glory is contrasted to the superior ministry of the Spirit and deemed to be less glorious. 2 Cor 3:7,8.

    21. Having been saved, we are never taught to go back to the law, but to the new power inside of us, the Holy Spirit. Gal 3:2,3; Rom 8:1,4; Gal 5:16,25; Rom 7:6.

    22. There are many other "sins" that are not covered by The Ten Commandments. 1 Tim 1:8-10; 1 Cor 6:9,10; Prov 6:16,19; Rom 1:29-32.

    23. The Ten Commandments are not a law of liberty. Gal 4:24 tells us that the Ten Commandments, which is the covenant from Sinai, gave birth to bondage, and we are admonished to cast it out. Gal 4:30.

    24. There is no scripture in the New Testament that states that the Ten Commandments will be the standard of judgment. On the contrary, John 5:24 teaches that he who hears Jesus' word and believes in the Father has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

    25. If the Ten Commandments has no power to save us, why would we think it has power to keep us. Jude 24.

    Paul is NOT writing about "attitudes" to the Law, but about the Law itself. One reason there is so much written in the Epistles encouraging believers to look to the Holy Spirit for sustenance in the Christian walk is that the Ten Commandments had become a checklist, such that actions were compared to see if those actions were permissible or not, based on the Checklist. So the Priest and the Levite in the Good Samaritan story could mentally go down that checklist and conclude that they were not breaking the Ten Commandments. Whereas, if the Holy Spirit is our guide, then if we place every thought, deed and action before the Holy Spirit, He will be a certain guide to what is pleasing to God and in harmony with His holy will. In other words the Holy Spirit becomes a much better determinant and guide to righteousness than the Ten Commandments.

    David in Psa 119 and everywhere else in his writings, was under the Old Covenant and the Ten Commandments, because he was a part of the Covenant people, and because Christ had not come and completed His sacrifice. David still had to sacrifice lambs, show himself to the priest, keep the Passover and feast days, undergo circumcision, etc. Therefore, we cannot look at his experience as a parallel guide for us today. We can admire his devotion to the law, and we can learn much from his inspired writings, but we now have Jesus who lived, died, rose again, and has completed everything needed for our salvation. We now look unto Jesus. Heb 12:2; Heb 1:1-4.

    Christ also lived under the Old Covenant and the Ten Commandments. He came at the fullness of the time, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Gal 4:4,5. He instructed the people in accordance with the Old Covenant, but He gradually sought to expand their thinking to move them away from prescriptive law to motives and to the work of the Holy Spirit from within, and to New Covenant thinking. He even told his disciples that He had many things to tell and teach them, but they could not handle them as yet. John 16:12. One of the first things Jesus did when He met with the disciples after His resurrection and His declaration of the New Covenant, was to give them the Holy Spirit, John 10:22, then He taught them many things, and gave them Commandments. Acts 1:2,3. Paul was taught the "full gospel" (Gal 1:12) directly from revelation of Jesus.

    We have been taught to translate any reference to "commandments" in the New Testament as the Ten Commandments. However the word that is used for the Law is "nomos" whereas the word "entoles" is used to mean instructions in general.

    In Matt 22:36-40 the lawyer asked Jesus about the greatest "entole" in the "Nomos." In the New Testament "entoles" and "Nomos" are not used interchangeably. Paul gave commandments from the Lord. 1 Cor 14:37; 1 Thes 4:2; 1 Tim 6:14.

    References such as John 13:34; John 14:15; John 14:31; John 15:10,12; Acts 1:2; Rom 16:25,26; 1 John 3:23; 2 John 1:6; Rev 1417; Rev 14:12 are just a few examples of derivatives of "entoles" and its broad usage.

    In summary, I do not seek to remove, abrogate, destroy, or minimize the Ten Commandments. I see its value and divine stamp. However, I see the greater influence of the Holy Spirit, because it represents God with us in His fullness. What more can we ask for? How closer can we get than Christ IN us, the hope of all glory!

    I have prayed as I have prepared and written this, and I pray that you receive it in love.

    I look forward to your response.

    In Christ

    Fred

    Amen!(1)
  12. Lynrol

    I read your post, and did not see anything with which I disagree even in the smallest sense, so I am not sure the reason for the disconnect.

    You said "my concern is for balance in our communications among ourselves and others outside our community."

    You also said "it makes me skittish that you omit or fail to make clear that the "abandonment of the law" is an experience of the MATURE child in Christ."

    I do not believe in the "abandonment of law" at any stage of the Christian experience. If that is what came over in earlier posts, please forgive me. Law has always existed with God. Any government without law will yield chaos. God's law has existed from eternity past and will continue into the eternity future. There are many concepts of law that float around: There is "law" as a general concept; the "Ten Commandments"; the Nomos law - the Pentateuch, etc. So I would need to be careful in specifying which concept I am speaking about.

    Paul said that the law is holy, and the commandment holy just and good. Rom 7:12. He also said "do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law." Rom 3:31. I concur with both of those statements.

    What I believe I have consistently said is that the law - the Ten Commandments and/or the Nomos had its primary purpose to bring us to Christ Gal 3:24 so that FAITH can justify us, not the law.

    Having come to Christ, Christ introduces us to the real power to KEEP us in that new walk of faith, His indwelling Holy Spirit. Both the mature Christian and newborn child of Christ need the same process of trusting in and having the Holy Spirit continue the work of growth unto final redemption. The focus is not to be on law - ANY law - but on the power that helps us live in harmony with ALL law.

    Amen!(1)
    • Fred, thanks for your response containing your clarification.

      I believe it's a very good thing when believers convene, whether physically or virtually, for the purpose of discovering and sharing their thoughts on the truths from God contained in Scripture (Mal 3:16-17; Col 3:15-16). This good thing though inherently poses a challenge--our fallen minds have a dull response to truth (Jn 8:42-43)--truth being a primary characteristic of the Creator (Dt 32:4). Unfortunately, the mind--and everything that proceeds from it--is not just a problem of enemies, but of friends of the Teacher as well (Lk 24:6-7,11,25; Mt 16:23). Their problem is ours, but providentially we've not been left comfortless orphans (Jn 14:17-18). My point being that whenever or however "Christ's household" convenes, His Spirit MUST necessarily be in control that none be purposely (God forbid!) or accidentally (if this is even possible under Spirit guidance) uprooted from the Household (Mt 13:28-29; 18:6-7).

      Generally I don't like to belabor a point, but the reason for my original post was that I understood the lesson's author as attempting to clarify Paul's use of "doing" vs "fulfilling" about which you expressed "concern". The author essentially stated that when Paul uses "doing" it indicates an improper use of "law" or salvation by works/seeking God's favor by law performance, as different from "fulfilling" which indicates proper use of "law" and quotes Mt 5:17 (see 2nd para). You then commented in your first (9/7/17 10:11 am) post that, ["fulfill" IS "abandonment of the law"...led by the Spirit"]. This statement I was in agreement with. However, in your second (3:28 pm) post you expressed "concern" that others are expressing themselves in ways that take us "back to the law as the guide and requirement for living." That's when I submitted my post seeking to emphasize the truth of Scripture and clarify the ongoing divide between the "law" and "faith" factions--a long-standing phenomenon that still exists within and without the SDA church--some even invoking tensions between Paul and James, forgetting Christ's (Jn 17:20-21) (and Paul's 1 Cor 1:10) focus.

      Most will agree that division isn't a good thing within Christ's household. However, Paul correctly and truthfully identifies division as a product of the fallen mind (1 Cor 3:3). Our failure to unite, be it around "law" or even Scripture, isn't an indictment of those "good" things rather they are a blessed revelation from God of humanity's deep-rooted potential for dysfunction towards our own Creator and each other! Do we need more "laws" or tougher church boards (or courts, for that matter)? We might, in the short term and it will be temporary, but the PERMANENT fix IS in Christ (Phil 2:5; 2 Cor 3:14)!

      Agreed, "law" as you correctly state, has different meanings and is used throughout Scripture in different ways. I believe that of the three or so different ways that the word "law" is used by Paul in Rom 7 for example, I've found one to be of particular interest (Rom 7:21,23,25; 8:2). In v.21 he "FINDS then a LAW that EVIL IS PRESENT WITH ME"; v.23 "LAW of SIN which IS IN MY MEMBERS"; v.25 where he contrasts the "LAW OF GOD" which yields service to God, as opposed to the flesh's "LAW OF SIN" (Gal 5:17-18). Is the "LAW OF GOD" the same as "the LAW OF THE SPIRIT of LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS" which makes us "FREE from the LAW OF SIN AND DEATH" (Rm 8:2) which he says is IN him? Would Christ have had the LAW OF GOD and/or the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE (Ps 40:7-8; Act 2:32-33)? Would this LAW OF GOD/LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE being present in Jesus have made him dull of understanding with respect to the Scriptures (Isaiah 50:4-5; Jn 7:14-15,46)? Would this LAW OF GOD/LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE in Jesus have predisposed Him to thoughts of fornication, deceit, blasphemy, pride, foolishness etc (Mk 7:21,23; Isaiah 50:7)? Well, if anyone sees ANY positive virtues in Jesus Christ then we ALL should seek to have and encourage each other to get a mind like His (Php 2:5)!

      While, based on your clarification, I understand the premise of your posts I'd encourage you to use general statements with care (you said, "I do not believe in the "abandonment of law" at any stage of the Christian experience" and also "The focus is not to be on law - ANY law - but on the power that helps us live in harmony with ALL law."). However, Christ's household IS called to abandon the LAW of SIN AND DEATH we are born in possession of (Mt 16:23-24). We ARE to abandon our birth status in exchange for the Holy Spirit's RULE (Jn 3:5-6) in out individual lives which IS the FULFILMENT of the LAW OF GOD that was present in Christ and is expected in every SON OF GOD (Gal 4:6-7; Gal 5:24-25).

      Amen!(1)
  13. Here is a simple examples of Christ “fulfilling Law”.
    7:37-39 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him COME to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture said, ‘From out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
    The Feast of Booths required *drink offerings* with each sacrifice Num 29:35-38; Lev 23:33-36. Not even the disciples understood what Christ was saying at the time. The Spirit of Truth revealed it to John and us.

    Amen!(0)

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