What Is The Purpose Of The Law In The Bible?

What Is The Purpose Of The Law In The Bible
Though times and customs changed, God’s law served as a bedrock of guiding ideals to help the people of God (both then and now) live in such a way as to love God and love neighbor.

What is the purpose of the law in Old Testament?

The Law was given as the means of binding Israel to her God in an agreement. Obedience to the Law did not constitute Israel God’s people; rather, it provided.

What did Jesus say about the law?

In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus says, ‘ Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Why did God give the Israelites the law?

Alma 25:16 ; Revelation 19:10 – The law of Moses is understood through the “spirit of prophecy” or “a testimony of Jesus.” In summary, when you study the law of Moses you can expect to find (1) a witness of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice and (2) gospel principles illustrated in the laws given.

Many of the laws may no longer be required of the Saints, but the principles taught are eternal and will never be set aside. For example, the practice of blood sacrifice was fulfilled when Jesus came and the tokens of the sacrament were given in place of the old law. But the principle was as true when the tokens were animals offered on the altar as it is now when the tokens are bread and water blessed by the priesthood.

The eternal principle is that only in the partaking of the Lamb’s atoning sacrifice are we able to overcome and receive a forgiveness for our sins. Two other characteristics of the Mosaic law are important for your understanding before you begin to study the actual laws.

First, much of the Mosaic code is case law. One scholar explained that the law does two things: “In order to understand Biblical law, it is necessary to understand also certain basic characteristics of that law. First, certain broad premises or principles are declared. These are declarations of basic law.

The Ten Commandments give us such declarations. The Ten Commandments are not therefore laws among laws, but are the basic laws, of which the various laws are specific examples. An example of such a basic law is Exodus 20:15 ( Deut.5:19 ), ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ “With this in mind, that the law, first, lays down broad and basic principles, let us examine a second characteristic of Biblical law, namely, that the major portion of the law is case law, i.e., the illustration of the basic principle in terms of specific cases.

  • These specific cases are often illustrations of the extent of the application of the law; that is, by citing a minimal type of case, the necessary jurisdictions of the law are revealed.
  • The law, then, first asserts principles, second, it cites cases to develop the implications of those principles, and, third, the law has as its purpose and direction the restitution of God’s order.” (Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, pp.10–12.) We shall see numerous examples of case law as we study the Mosaic code.

Second, the law is primarily negative. Eight of the Ten Commandments and many of the other laws deal with what ought not to be done rather than with what should be done. Many today view negative laws with distaste. They feel they are very restrictive, and they often prefer positive laws which, by assuring our rights, appear to grant freedom.

The appearance, however, is false. God gave the laws to Israel not to shackle them but to guarantee the greatest individual freedom. Explaining how this is so, one scholar stated: “A negative concept of law confers a double benefit: first, it is practical, in that a negative concept of law deals realistically with a particular evil.

It states, ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ or, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness.’ A negative statement thus deals with a particular evil directly and plainly: it prohibits it, makes it illegal. The law thus has a modest function; the law is limited, and therefore the state is limited.

The state, as the enforcing agency, is limited to dealing with evil, not controlling all men. ” Second, and directly related to this first point, a negative concept of law insures liberty: except for the prohibited areas, all of man’s life is beyond the law, and the law is of necessity indifferent to it.

If the commandment says, ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ it means that the law can only govern theft: it cannot govern or control honestly acquired property. When the law prohibits blasphemy and false witness, it guarantees that all other forms of speech have their liberty.

The negativity of the law is the preservation of the positive life and freedom of man.” (Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, pp.101–2.) Remember that in God’s preface to the Ten Commandments He said, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” ( Exodus 20:2 ; emphasis added).

In saying this, Jehovah reminded Israel that the very purpose of the law was to make them free and keep them free.

Why do we need the law?

LAW – L aws are rules that bind all people living in a community. protect our general safety, and ensure our rights as citizens against abuses by other people, by organizations, and by the government itself. We have laws to help provide for our general safety. These exist at the local, state and national levels, and include things like:

Laws about food safety. At the state and local level, health departments have guidelines that restaurants follow for how to store and prepare food in a healthy manner, so that diners won’t get sick. At the national level, the Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies inspect food production plants to be sure that the food that shows up in your supermarket is safe to eat. Speed limits and traffic laws exist so that we drive in a safe manner. Licensing for doctors and nurses ensures proper training of the people who look after us, and who often have our lives in their hands.

We also have laws that protect our rights as citizens, and which include things like:

Laws that come from the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, that guarantee our basic freedoms like freedom of speech, religion, and the press. Laws that protect us from discrimination because of our race, gender, age, or because of a disability.

How did Jesus fulfill the law in the Bible?

‘For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.’

What is the greatest law according to Jesus?

The Most Important Commandment | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson Earlier this month the Associated Press put out a somewhat disturbing story about a nationwide secondary school demonstration called Day of Silence—designed to raise awareness of the difficulties gay students face—and its evangelical Christian corollary, the Day of Truth.

  1. During the Day of Silence, participating students go through the school day without speaking, as a way of representing the loneliness faced by gay students in a society admittedly hostile to their existence.
  2. During the Day of Truth—the day after the Day of Silence—other students prove the need for a Day of Silence.

These students wear t-shirts with the slogan “The Truth Cannot Be Silenced,” and they pass out pamphlets about the inherent evils and sinfulness of the homosexual lifestyle. “If the other side is going to advance their point of view,” said attorney Mike Johnson of the Alliance Defense Fund, the Christian group behind the Day of Truth, “it’s only fair for the Christian perspective to present their view, too.” Let’s talk about the Alliance Defense Fund’s “Christian perspective.” There has been a lot of discussion lately about the “Christian perspective” and “people of faith”—a phrase meaning, in no uncertain terms by those who utter it, Christians—and yet it seems to me that Christianity is something of a big tent.

There are a lot of different Christians, with different beliefs, even within their own respective sects. Where I believe that one does not choose to be gay, in my assessment being gay should no more be a sin than having brown eyes, being left-handed, or being six feet tall. Yet I respect that not all Christians think like me, and that the groups in question—the Alliance Defense Fund, Focus on the Family, and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, all behind the Day of Truth—are essentially fundamentalist or Biblical literalist groups.

And there are really no two ways about it: there are a myriad of literal references to the sinfulness of homosexuality in the Bible. I’m no literalist, but I went to church just about every Sunday growing up, I was confirmed, and I have studied the Bible in school.

I feel as though I know it just as well as the next guy, and yet I seem to get a very different impression from the text than the groups in question regarding Christianity. For the sake of argument, let’s all be literalists for a moment. We can start by flipping to Leviticus 18:22, which contains the most oft-cited reference to the sinfulness of homosexuality: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Indeed, there’s little to argue about there in terms of exegesis—the implication is quite clear.

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Clear, too, are the commandments a few verses later that prohibit the wearing of clothing of mixed fibers (19:19, no more cotton-poly blend), the commandment forbidding haircuts and beard-trimming (19:27), or the commandment a few pages further that requires trumpets to be sounded on the first day of the seventh month for Sabbath (23:24).

  • Yet these, among many, many others, seem to be selectively ignored.
  • Perhaps, you might say, because they are contained in the Old Testament.
  • There, too, is much in the New Testament that literally prohibits the acts used as proxy for homosexuality, like “fornication.” Yet there is much that points out the fact that we are all sinners—from St.

Paul in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no, not one”—and that judgment of our sins belongs to God, literally. Most famously there are Jesus’ words in John 8:7: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.” That commandment too, however literal, seems to be selectively ignored.

  • But according to the Alliance Defense Fund, the Bible is the “infallible, authoritative Word of God.” Hypothetically, nothing should be ranked above or below anything else, for everything is, literally, gospel.
  • So I suppose that unless these high-schoolers are wearing 100 percent cotton anti-gay t-shirts with their uncut locks and beards flowing behind them—from the literalist perspective—they might consider being more tolerant.

I suppose, too, that I’m tired of radical fundamentalist Christians believing they have a monopoly on what’s Christian in the same way that the kid in section who never shuts up seems to think he has a monopoly on every topic, if only because he’s the only one talkingso loudly.

From the literalist perspective, Jesus himself makes things pretty clear. When asked which commandment is greatest, he responds (in Matthew 22:37): “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mindthe second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Peter C.D. Mulcahy, a Crimson editorial associate chair, is a government concentrator in Cabot House. : The Most Important Commandment | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson

What is the biggest law in the Bible?

Matt.22 Verses 34 to 40 –

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

What law is given by God?

As I address this vast audience in this historic Tabernacle on Temple Square this beautiful Sabbath morning and visualize the great numbers listening in elsewhere, I humbly pray that the Spirit and blessings of the Lord will attend us. As we observe the bicentennial of this great United States of America, I am reminded of two significant statements made by the Lord through his prophets: “Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” ( Ether 2:12,) He also said, “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” ( D&C 101:80,) I wish to join wholeheartedly with the millions of people who appreciate this country in which we live and are determined to do what they can to maintain and strengthen the principles of democracy established by our Founding Fathers.

  • To do this, it is most important that we be loyal and law-abiding citizens.
  • Some time ago a young man said to me, “Why do we have so many laws and rules and regulations? Why can’t we just be free to do what we want to do? The Church teaches that man is that he might have joy, and that the greatest gift of God to man is free agency.” I tried to explain to him that everything in the universe, and the universe itself as organized by a divine Creator, is governed by laws, known as the laws of nature; and that we must have laws of the land, or of man, so that we might have order and protect the rights of mankind and punish those who infringe on the rights of others.

I gave him several examples of what I was referring to. Then we talked at some length about the laws of God and how important it is that we keep his commandments. Without going further into the details of our conversation, I should like today to deal with the majesty of law as it affects mankind.

  1. For the sake of this discussion let us divide it into three subheadings: First, the laws of nature; second, the laws of man, or the laws of the land; third, the laws of God as they pertain to our salvation and exaltation.
  2. Speaking first of the laws of nature, have you ever stopped to think what would happen if we could not depend on the sun rising at a certain time each morning? Or if the earth failed to rotate on its axis for only one day, or for just a few minutes? Or if the law of gravity were suspended? In a very short time, the earth and all mankind would be destroyed.

All bodies of the universe are controlled in space and move according to law. If iron, when heated, were to expand one day and contract the next, it would be impossible for anyone in the world to operate a machine shop or produce implements of any kind.

These laws are immutable and must be such that we can depend upon them at all times and under all circumstances. It would be interesting to review in our minds all the things we do every day and see how totally we depend on the laws of nature and how they must be followed to the very letter in order to accomplish our purposes.

We have seen men walk on the moon, and we have marveled that man and spacecraft from different countries could have a rendezvous in space. We have watched the Viking leave on a mission to Mars in search for evidence of life. If any of the natural laws had been ignored or had failed to operate, the space missions would have been complete failures and lives would have been lost.

We are awed when we read of the predictions of astronomers who can foretell so accurately the appearance of comets and eclipses. All of this is possible only because through the laws of nature, the Creator keeps creation in its course. Law is simply the application of truth. Let me draw your attention to some statements taken from the writings of great thinkers: Frank Crane: “Truth is the logic of the universe.

It is the reasoning of destiny; it is the mind of God. And nothing that man can devise or discover can take its place.” (Quoted by Leo J. Muir, Flashes from the Eternal Semaphore, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1928, p.100.) W. Radcliffe said, “There is no progress in fundamental truth.

We may grow in knowledge of its meaning, and in the modes of its application, but its great principles will forever be the same.” (Ibid., p.101.) In a revelation to Joseph Smith the Lord declared: “And again, very I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons; “And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.

“And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years. “The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.

  1. Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.” ( D&C 88:42–45, 47,) So, regardless of whether or not we know or understand the laws of nature, they always operate the same.
  2. A child, though ignorant of the law, will get burned if he touches a hot stove.

If we disregard the law of gravity, we may get seriously hurt. If we know and understand the laws of nature and live by them, we benefit thereby and can be free of the hazards facing those who ignore these laws or go contrary to them. Now, regarding the laws of the land, or the laws of man, it is necessary that we be governed by laws, which are made not alone to curb the evildoer, but to protect the rights of all.

Let me quote from the Doctrine and Covenants: “We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. “We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

“We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.” ( D&C 134:1–3,) Our Twelfth Article of Faith states: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” It is most important that all citizens be informed in matters of government; that they know and understand the laws of the land; and that they take an active part wherever possible in choosing and electing honest and wise men to administer the affairs of government.

  • There are many who question the constitutionality of certain acts passed by their respective governments, even though such laws have been established by the highest courts in the land as being constitutional, and they feel to defy and disobey the law.
  • Abraham Lincoln once observed: “Bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible; still, while they continue in force, they should be religiously observed.” This is the attitude of the Church in regard to law observance.
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We agree with the author of the following statement: “In reality the man who defies or flouts the law is like the proverbial fool who saws away the plank on which he sits, and a disrespect or disregard for law is always the first sign of a disintegrating society.

Respect for law is the most fundamental of all social virtues, for the alternative to the rule of law is that of violence and anarchy.” ( Case and Comment, March/April issue, 1965, p.20.) There is no reason or justification for men to disregard or break the law or try to take it into their own hands.

Christ gave us the great example of a law-abiding citizen when the Pharisees, trying to entangle him, as the scriptures say, asked him if it were lawful to give tribute money unto Caesar. After asking whose inscription was on the tribute money, and their acknowledgment that it was Caesar’s, he said: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” ( Matt.22:21,) It is the duty of citizens of any country to remember that they have individual responsibilities, and that they must operate within the law of the country in which they have chosen to live.

I quote further from the Doctrine and Covenants: “We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.” ( D&C 134:5,) Now regarding the laws of God.

They are as clear and as binding and as irrevocable as those of nature, and our success or failure, our happiness or unhappiness, depend on our knowledge and application of these laws in our lives. We are told: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— “And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” ( D&C 130:20–21,) We believe that the gospel contains the laws of life, pertaining to our human relations, to moral and spiritual living—laws that are just as valid in their field of operation as are the laws of nature in the world of natural phenomena.

  • The Prophet Joseph Smith recognized the importance of gaining knowledge and being obedient to the law.
  • He instructed the Saints: “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
  • And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” ( D&C 130:18–19, italics added.) The word of the Lord is so clear to us, and his laws so plainly designed for our happiness, that it is difficult to understand why some people feel their own judgment is superior, and disregard God’s laws and bring upon themselves misery and unhappiness by so doing.

The prophet Jacob counseled: “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.” ( Jacob 4:10,) And from the depth of his great wisdom, Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

  • In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ( Prov.3:5–6,) The road signs are clear in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • We have the Ten Commandments, examples of which are: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  • Thou shalt not kill, steal, commit adultery, bear false witness.
  • Thou shalt keep the Sabbath Day holy,” etc.

(See Ex.20,) We have the Sermon on the Mount, with which you should all be familiar. We have been told by Jesus which is the great commandment in the law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

  • This is the first and great commandment.
  • And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ( Matt.22:37–39,) It is impossible to estimate or overemphasize the great effect the keeping of these two commandments would have on the whole world.
  • Peace and righteousness would reign.

We also have as a guide other scriptures which contain the word of the Lord as it has been given by revelation direct from God through his chosen prophets, including our own President and Prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, through whom the Lord speaks today; and it is by accepting and living these teachings that we can gain eternal life.

Let us all have the courage to feel and say, with Paul: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” ( Rom.1:16,) The Lord said, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” ( Moses 1:39,) This was so important to him that he gave his life, and through his atoning sacrifice made it possible for us to be resurrected, and to enjoy immortality and exaltation.

How fortunate we are to have the great privilege, blessing, and opportunity as missionaries to help him achieve his great purpose. We have this binding contract: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” ( D&C 82:10,) And we also have this warning: “He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you.” ( D&C 41:5,) So it should be clear to all that there is no conflict, as my young friend seemed to feel, between the teachings of the Church that “man is that he might have joy,” and that “the greatest gift of God to man is his free agency,” and the fact that we must have laws.

  1. We have the freedom to choose to obey the laws upon which blessings are predicated, and enjoy those blessings; or we can choose to disobey the law, with the result that we will never enjoy the fulness of joy which was intended for us.
  2. I conclude with this glorious promise of the Lord: “Behold, blessed, saith the Lord, are they who have come up unto this land with an eye single to my glory, according to my commandments.

“For those that live shall inherit the earth, and those that die shall rest from all their labors, and their works shall follow them; and they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father, which I have prepared for them. “Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel; for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength.

  1. And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time—they that are faithful and diligent before me.
  2. Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.” ( D&C 59:1–5,) I testify that these things are true, in the name of Jesus Christ.
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Amen.

What are the three uses of the law of God?

Reformed view – The distinction between law and gospel is a standard formulation in Reformed theology, though in recent years some have characterized it as distinctively Lutheran. Zacharias Ursinus sharply distinguished the law and gospel as “the chief and general divisions of the holy scriptures” in his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism,

  1. “hile it shows God’s righteousness,,, it warns, informs, convicts, and lastly condemns, every man of his own unrighteousness” (2.7.6).
  2. It functions “by fear of punishment to restrain certain men who are untouched by any care for what is just and right unless compelled by hearing the dire threats in the law” (2.7.10).
  3. “It admonishes believers and urges them on in well-doing” (2.7.12-13).

This scheme is the same as the Formula of Concord, with the exception that the first and second uses are switched. In later Reformed scholasticism the order is the same as for Lutherans. The three uses are called:

  1. The usus politicus sive civilis, the political or civil use, is a restraint on sin and stands apart from the work of salvation. It is part of God’s general revelation or common grace for unbelievers as well as believers.
  2. The usus elenchticus sive paedagogicus, the elenctical or pedagogical use which confronts sin and points us to Christ.
  3. The usus didacticus sive normativus, the didactic use, which is solely for believers, teaching the way of righteousness.

The Heidelberg Catechism, in explaining the third use of the Law, teaches that the moral law as contained in the Ten Commandments is binding for Christians and that it instructs Christians how to live in service to God in gratitude for His grace shown in redeeming mankind. John Calvin deemed this third use of the Law as its primary use.

Who was the law made for in the Bible?

What does 1 Timothy 1:9 mean? | BibleRef.com 1 Timothy 1:9, : We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,

1 Timothy 1:9, : understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,1 Timothy 1:9, : Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,1 Timothy 1:9, : realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and worldly, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,

1 Timothy 1:9, : For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders.1 Timothy 1:9, : We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers,

What did Paul say about the law?

Paul’s central convictions made it difficult for him to explain the proper role of Jewish law in the life of his converts. Paul believed that the God of Israel was the one true God, who had redeemed the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, given the Israelites the law, and sent his Son to save the entire world.

Although Paul accepted Jewish behaviour as correct, he thought that Gentiles did not have to become Jewish in order to participate in salvation, These views are not easily reconciled, If the one true God is the God of Israel, should not one obey all the commandments in the Bible, such as those regarding the Sabbath, circumcision, and diet? If “love your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18, quoted in Galatians 5:14 and Romans 13:9) is valid, why not the rest of the commandments in Leviticus 19? Paul reconciles Jewish law with Christian faith by using Jesus’ words “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another” (John 13:34).

He states that this single commandment is a fulfillment of the entire Jewish law (Galatians 5:14). He was sure that his Gentile converts were not obliged to accept circumcision and many other parts of the law. In his surviving letters, however, he does not work out a principle that would require his converts to observe some but not all of the Jewish law.

It is noteworthy that he did not regard Sabbath observance—which is one of the Ten Commandments —as obligatory (Romans 14:5; Galatians 4:10–11). One point is especially difficult. Paul maintained that the law is part of the world of sin and the flesh, to which the Christian dies. But how could the law, which was given by the good God, be allied with sin and the flesh? Paul, having nearly reached the point of equating the law with the powers of evil (Romans 7:1–6), promptly retracts the equation (Romans 7:7–25).

What led him to make it in the first place was probably his absolutism. For Paul, everything not immediately useful for salvation is worthless; what is worthless is not on the side of the good; therefore, it is allied with the bad. However, he does maintain that the Jewish law is sacred and that the commandments are righteous and good (Romans 7:12).

What is the perfect law in the Bible?

In today’s ever-expanding secular society people eagerly embrace liberty, defining it as “absolute freedom,” and insisting that they have the right to live as they please. There are no constraints because their “self-defined” right to freedom justifies whatever they choose to do.

Such twisted thinking produces a world without boundaries, where adults, as well as children, have difficulty discerning right from wrong. What we often forget is that liberty is unequivocally tied to responsibility. More liberty demands more accountability. Jesus confirmed that premise in the parable of the wise steward in Luke 12 when He said “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:” (v.48).

Believers must be very careful to define Christian Liberty properly, and to exercise it cautiously. Galatians 5 provides crucial guidance for that pursuit. Principle # 1: Christian Liberty is granted by the Savior. Galatians 5:1 declares our possession of liberty: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” We are free from “the yoke of bondage,” which is, according to Romans 8:2, the “law of sin and death.” We likewise understand that believers are no longer bound by the requirements of the Levitical law because Christ has set us free (Rom.7:6).

No believer has a right to Christian liberty. It is a precious gift, offered freely to those who are willing to accept it. It is only available because Jesus was gracious enough to take our place on the cross.

Principle # 2: Christian Liberty is governed by the Scripture. Galatians 5:13 defines the limitations of our liberty: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” There were some believers in Galatia (just as there are today) who were abusing their liberty, using it as justification for engaging in fleshly pursuits, which scripture clearly condemns.

No believer has a right to use his liberty for selfish pursuits. Liberty frees us from the bondage of sinful, selfish desires and allows us to embrace the “mind of Christ” (Php.2:5-8). Loving our neighbor will motivate us to serve our neighbor.

Principle #3: Christian Liberty is guided by the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 describe the characteristics of our liberty: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Such “fruit” is only available to those who are willing to “live in the Spirit,” and “walk in the Spirit” (Gal.5:25).

No believer has a right to exercise his liberty according to his personal philosophy. The moment our desire becomes a priority we lose our liberty.

Our society has become a much more dangerous place because people have determined that they have a right to live as they please, insisting that no individual or authority is entitled to restrict their desires or activities. They have embraced the faulty notion that requiring accountability somehow violates their rights.

Children, who are being taught at a very young age to defy anyone who “violates their rights” grow up believing they are accountable to no one. Sadly, many believers have embraced a similar philosophy. Christian liberty allows us to live, move, and serve the Lord with purpose. Its characteristics are dictated by scripture and managed by the indwelling Spirit of God.

It does not permit a believer to self-determine priorities and choices in his life. Liberty without accountability leads to anarchy. Our nation is well on its way. Believers shouldn’t be contributing to the problem. Read more at terryhyman.net