Romans 10:1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites is for their salvation. 10:2 For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth. 10:3 For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes.…
5:21 “You have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ 5:22 But I say to you…”
William Barclay thinks that Jesus ‘Jesus quotes the Law, only to contradict it, and to substitute a teaching of his own. He claimed the right to point out the inadequacies of the most sacred writings in the world, and to correct them out of his own wisdom.’…
According to the Calvin’s classic formulation, God’s law has a threefold use (Institutes, II.vii.6-12).
These are helpfully summarised in the Reformation Study Bible:
Scripture shows that God intends His law to function in three ways, which Calvin crystallized in classic form for the church’s benefit as the law’s threefold use.
Its first function is to be a mirror reflecting to us both the perfect righteousness of God and our own sinfulness and shortcomings.…
‘With God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26). ‘Nothing is impossible with God’ (Luke 1:37)
So why doesn’t God simply forgive sinners, without need of any atonement? Why can’t he just let bygones be bygones?
After all, he can do anything, can’t he?
Well, setting aside the obviously absurd (God cannot create a two-sided triangle), we note with Puritan Thomas Brooks that there are three things that God cannot do:- he cannot die; he cannot lie; and he cannot deny himself.…
The Talmud records the saying of one of the rabbis that ‘Moses gave Israel 613 commandments, David reduced them to 10 Psa 15, Micah to three, (Mic 6:8) Isaiah to 2, (Isa 56:1) but Habakkuk 2:4 to one: the righteous shall live by his faith.’…
Many members of the Galatian church, and many professing Christians since, have supposed that sinners are saved by their own best efforts, by keeping the law of Moses as promulgated in the Sinai covenant.
As Paul insists in Galatians 3 and 4, this is a fatal error, because it undermines the gospel of God’s free grace.
David Murray shows how the Sinai covenant is, in face, ‘a revelation of Jesus and his gracious salvation.’ Like this:-
- ‘The Sinai covenant painted pictures of grace.
Legalism is a distortion of obedience. It is guilty of:-
- a skewed purpose, seeing good works as ways of earning God’s favour;
- an arrogant attitude, leading to contempt for those who do not make the same effort to gain God’s favour;
- a loveless focus on self, squeezing kindness and compassion out of the heart.
In the New Testament, legalism is found in two main forms:-
- Jesus confronted legalism in the Pharisees, who boasted of their privileged status as children of Abraham and their law-keeping.
What is law?
- some laws describe – like the law of gravity
- some laws prescribe – like the Ten Commandments
The Old Testament laws
- Political laws – relating to Israel as a state
- Ceremonial laws – guiding worship up to the time of Christ
- Moral laws – permanent
Christ and the law
- He loved the law! – Jn 4:34; cf. 1 Jn 5:3
- He fulfilled the ceremonial law, Heb 10:9-14
- He confirmed and deepened the moral law, Mt 5:17
The scope of the moral law
- if affects all of our duty both to God and one another
- it reaches to the heart, Deut 6:5; Mt 23:23
- more is intended than is stated, Mt 5:22
- a negative command implies a positive duty, and vice versa
The value of the moral law
- it restrains wickedness in the world
- it brings people under conviction of sin
- it serves as a rule of life for believers
But it cannot save us – only the gospel can do that
It is often assumed that because love is the greatest thing, it is the only thing.
A married man falls for a woman who is not his wife. “I love her,” he pleads. “And she loves me. I’ve never felt the same way about anyone else before. We were made for each other.”
The same appeal may be used by a homosexual couple: “We love one another. Why would anyone wish to deny us full expression of that love?”…
Paul describes, in vv15-24, a high level of emotional turmoil. But who is the “I” of this passage? Is it Paul himself, or someone else? And is the state he describe that of a believer, or an unbeliever; a regenerate, or an unregenerate person?
It is true, as Moo says, that what Paul says about the law still amounts to much the same thing, whatever conclusion one arrives at: ‘One can preach this paragraph, in its basic intention, without even making a definite identification of the ‘ego’.’ …