Previous | | Next | | E-Mail | | Contents | | V&FT
"'. . . that He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.'
For from Zion will go forth the Law
Even the Word of God from Jerusalem."
The word "Christian" is often used by those who have seldom, if ever, read a single book of the Bible. The wearing of a cross says more about one's tastes in jewelry than in one's commitments to Scripture. But the term "Christian" should mean "one who follows Christ." A true Christian, one who claims Jesus Christ as his Lord and therefore as Savior, is united with Him in obedient faith. In obedience, we grow in likeness to Christ, "to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ," and no one will deny that Christ's life was characterized by perfect obedience to the Law of God.
Consequently, the life of a Christian is not characterized by flight from the Law of God, or renunciation of its obligations, but rather by progressive conformity to the character of the Savior, Who delighted in obeying His Father's Law. In the same way that Christ submitted perfectly to the will of His Father, showing us that there is no conflict between the Law of God the Father and the Law of God the Son, the true member of the Kingdom of Christ is a willing subject of the King, not a lobbyist or legislator in a theological participatory democracy.
Union with Christ, which underlies the Christian's salvation, entails the requirement of sharing His righteous character; of identifying with His delight in obedience.
Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who . . . humbled Himself by becoming obedient.
Christ, Who was completely submissive to the Law, has left us an example that we should follow His steps, by following the Law. Those who have been saved by Christ's obedience must strive to imitate the same obedient Spirit.
Hereby we know that we are in Him; he that saith he abideth in Him ought to walk even as He walked.
I John 2:5ff.
Some in our day suggest that in the Old Covenant people were bound by a code of law, whereas in the New Covenant commandments are replaced by love. But we are taught throughout Scripture, no less in the New Testament, that love is identical with obedience to the Law. Christian Love, as Biblically defined, is so far from being opposed to God's Law that this Law is actually the pattern and content of Love. The Christian's duty to God is not "to love Him" if "love" is defined as something less than obedience to His Word.
God's Law is the pattern of life which heals us and makes us truly human, which is God's great wish for us, an expression of love to us. Obedience to God's Law is the test of genuine Love for Christ. Our Lord clearly states that if we love Him we are to keep His commandments; obedience to His commandments evidences our love for Him. The wise man and the brother of Christ is the one who does His Word.
Abiding in Christ's Love is dependent upon keeping His commandments. The one who does not do whatsoever Christ commands is not the friend of Christ, and if he claims to know Christ he is a liar.
Owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.
Here is one of the strongest affirmations of the abiding relevance and validity of God's Law. It is summarized in Love, and Love is the Christian's perpetual duty. Certainly a summary does not nullify the content of that which it summarizes! The Law of God is the standard of Christian Love, so that one who does not follow the Law really does not love.
What is true of our Love for Christ is true of our Love for the brethren; Love is the observance of God's commandments:
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the Love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not grievous.
I John 5:2-3)
In Romans 13:8, Paul teaches that Love does not replace, dispense with, or disparage the Law; on the contrary, love allows the Law complete sway; Paul sees no incompatibility between Love and Law. In fact, the commandments of both the Old and New Covenants are the norm for Love's activity; the Law shows one how to love one's neighbor. Love is the summation or recapitulation of the Law. This is parallel to what Christ taught in Matthew 22:37-40; on the commands of radical love to God and neighbor hang all the Law and the Prophets. Love enforces the full details of God's Law.
The Law is the perfect expression of true Love. Love does not provide direction for life when taken by itself. Men live by altogether different standards when allegedly under the sole guidance of "love." "Love" without Law is situation ethics. The Word of God tells us that genuine Love is the keeping of God's Law:
This is Love, that we should walk according to His commandments.
2 John 6
Thus, those who teach that the only commandment men need to obey is "to believe" are on very thin ice. Those who teach that the Law is replaced by Love are also in error. Christ commanded us to "love one another as I have Loved you," and Christ's Love was manifested in perfectly obeying God's Law.
Shouldn't the Christian be obeying God's Law?
Previous | | Next | | E-Mail | | Contents | | V&FT
(136)Ephesians 4:13,15; cf. Galatians 4:19.
(137) Hebrews 10:4-10; Hebrews 4:15; John 8:46; 15:10.
(138) John 4:34; 5:30-31; 6:38; 7:16; 8:28; 12:48-50; 14:10-24.
(139) Luke 17:10.
(140) 1 Peter 2:21.
(141) John 14:15,21,23.
(142) Matthew 7:21ff.; Luke 8:21.
(143) John 15:9f.
(144) John 15:14; 1 John 2:4.
(145) John 13:34.
Vine & Fig Tree
12314 Palm Dr. #107
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
[e-mail to V&FT]
[V&FT Home Page]