The Purpose of the Law

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Lesson

After answering a series of questions, House deals with the basic purposes of the Law and the relationship between faith and the Law

Transcription

Course: Old Testament Theology

Lecture: The Purpose of the Law


It is worthwhile for you to continue on with this creation theme. For instance, in Amos, where there are three passages that make overt reference to God being the creator: 4:13, 5, 8 and 9; and 9, 5 and 6. The emphasis in these passages is on the fact that Israel and the nations have sinned against the creator and the creator is also the judge.

So that we would say as a whole biblical theology, the very one who looked at creation and said it is good. This very one who said to Adam and Eve, basically, you have sinned. Is the same one who will look Israel and the surrounding nations and declare them guilty and judge them. So he says, you need to expect a day of the Lord, which is the prophetic term for the Day of Judgment. And we want you to know that this Day of Judgment will be brought to you by the very one who made everything.

So the logic seems to go something like this: The same God who made the heavens and the earth, brought it into being, can take it out. It's like the old Bill Cosby joke, "I brought you into this world," he said to his son, "I can take you out." But it is a serious warning, these texts punctuate God's wrath against sin.

They also punctuate God's use of nature to warn. For instance, God says, "Look, I brought you famine, yet you did not return to me. I brought you cleanliness of teeth," in other words you didn't have enough to eat, "and yet you did not turn to me. I let it rain some places but not others, yet you did not return to me." In other words, I had nature at my disposal and used it to warn you, and yet you did not return to me.

So it punctuates his use of nature in 4:13, and then in 5, 8, and 9 it punctuates God's wrath about injustice. In a book in which God's is the poor have been sold for a pair of sandals, sold into slavery for a debt that small. You have trampled ahead of the poor as if it were nothing but dust. You are sinning against the creator. And in 9, 5 through 6 it punctuates the end of God's patience with sin. Though his use of nature to warn them, his wrath and injustice, and finally to announce that his patience is over, these three creation text warn people that you should not sin against the creator by sinning against the creatures, the creatures being other human beings.

Now in one, in some text it, perhaps, we could stop and analysis, if you wish. They are a whole set of Psalms that are rightfully called "creation Psalms" in which God's role as creator is primary to why you should praise him as in Psalms 8. You remember Psalms 8? "Oh, Lord how majestic is your name?" And the Psalms is marvels, saying what is man that you are mindful of him. That you've made human beings just a little lower than the angels and giving them stewardship of the earth, remember Genesis 1:26 to 31? The marveling and the praise of God is based on the fact of the living out of Genesis 1:26 and following. But it is God is creator.

In Psalms 90, the people are praying that their difficult days would end, and begins with "before the earth was made or the mountains were brought forth, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God." But it prays. Remember that we are but dust. And so a prayer for renewal and forgiveness is based on creation theology. And then 93 to 99 are, um, famous passages, particularly prominent, in my experience, in the Book of Common Prayer.

I'm not sure how much of it is made, say in Kenyan celebration, but let us bow down and worship the Lord as our maker. Let's bow down and worship. We are the sheep of his pasture, phrases like that. That he is our maker and not we, ourselves, phrases like that that are probably also in, in other call to worship, sort of, phraseology and others.

But, again, we worship the one who has made us; we do not worship what we have made ourselves. And this is a useful distinction in calling people to worship. Because so often whether we like it or not we are in worship calling ourselves away from that which we are too prone to worship, whether it's our money or Job or family or whatever and reminded that the Lord is our maker. We are the sheep of his pasture. He has made us, and not we, ourselves.

And also along the way in this text says there is no other God. It says the Gods of the nations are but idols. So some of the same themes from Isaiah brought from a setting of comfort to a setting of worship. So that if Joseph 1 and 2 deals with God as the personal God and Isaiah 40 to 48 deals with God and the people of God, deals with creation and God. Then here in Amos it's creation and the coming judgment. And in Psalms it's creation and God's majesty.

So we have creation and God's person in Genesis 1 and 2. We have creation in God's people in Isaiah 40 to 48. We have creation to God's judgment in Amos. We have creation in God's majesty, his uniqueness in the Psalms, as far as I'm concerned, the message of the Psalms is come worship the God who merits worship. And worship of this God in the Psalms does not just consist of praise, but also of lament. And I know many churches that have a praise band. I know none that have a lament band. I know some who have a lamentable praise band.

But none, of course, I say that as somebody who, you know, that's about like me being up. That's a terrible insult. But laments are as legitimate a worship expression in the bible as praise, and as needful, probably. And, certainly, there are traditions in which lament, either from the bible or written as spiritual, they're absolutely essential.

But, this is the God who has created, and it's interesting in Psalms 104 to 106 then, these three Psalms go together. It starts with God creating the heavens and the earth, and it ends with God judging Israel. So it is really the whole sweep from Genesis through 2nd Kings in Psalmic fashion here. So you really need to read those three together. Begins with creation, ends with judgment, and a call to the Lord to bring them out of judgment and Psalms 107, does what? Praises the Lord for bringing them out of judgment. The Psalms are much more connected whole than maybe been given credit for.

So here you have the creator that's praised for making Genesis 126 the rule. Here you have a God who is from everlasting to everlasting that you pray for his compassion. Here you have the God who is the maker, our shepherd. We are the sheep of his pasture. He is our king. He has made us and not we, ourselves. Let us worship him. And here is the God of history from the creation on, worthy of our praise. These Psalms give substance and specifics to praise.

There is something that lifts spirits to say Lord we have come to praise you, multiple times, if the music's good. However, there's no reason why a praise or lament chorus cannot have the specific reasons why we praise that are already in the Psalms. Just like the hymn traditions run in cycles and grow and develop and move forward and fall back.

I expect that's what's going to happen with the praise choruses. Some of them will be good; some of them will be poor. Some of them will be substantive; some of them will be not. Some of them will be well-written; some of them will be not. So of them will be well-played; some of them will be not. So the jury will probably still be out. I try, when I hear praise music, to not like it or dislike it simply on my taste for music, which runs somewhat more shallow than that coffee cup.

But on the substance of what we are saying about God, and that should also be the judgment hint. Every now and then, I just love this whole hymn; but it either has zero theology or I love this, this whole song, we have a story to tell to the nations. It's a real tub thumper. You know, the darkness shall turn to dawning and dawning to the noonday, you know, and then you realize that's post-millennialism. Now, I don't believe that things are going fall out that way, but I just love to sing it.

So every, so it's, what you could say about a praise chorus is also true of a whole lot of hymns. But there are hymns and others that have substance, and I happen to think are going to be a lot of songs written in the future. There always have been, and there always, there will be, because it's not hard to publish a song anymore. You could, if you have an overhead projector, you can do it. And so what I would encourage people is to have substantive music.

And also I don't know, I know in the Anglican tradition, it is typical for Psalms to be read or done responsibly; is that true in, ok, in Kenya? A Methodist worship, or you, do you, you do the Psalms? Presbyterian? Anybody's? But do they also just read a Psalms and recite at, or... That's not necessarily part of Presbyterian worship, is it, to read a Psalms?

Right. PCUSA does, may or may not, it depends. I mean, they will have set readings, but does your...

Unknown: [audience member speaks - inaudible]

All right. Vineyard Baptist, Southern Baptist, American Baptist, National Baptist, any other Baptists?

See, it was one of the big shocks to my Anglican friends when, or Episcopal friends, when they found out, they said, so where do Baptist read the Psalms in their service? Well, quietly, if the sermon goes bad. 

That's when you read the Psalms. But, it's just not a part, and, and so it's, you know, God bless my father. He, he was reading all the way through my Old Testament of theology, and he said, after he got out of the first chapter he enjoyed it more, but when he got to the section on Psalms, he said, "I had to do admit, I don't know enough about the Psalms to assess the chapter.

We have a few favorites that we know from funerals and that, he's Baptist, and that sort of thing, but I don't know anything about the Psalms per se. And didn't really have very many of them that he said, you know, it's a great big book that I could, I'm only fairly familiar with just, just a few of them. Which would not be true of virtually the rest of the bible for him.

So there's another sense in which we might want to recapture just the, which Psalms we would read and actually read them, if it's not a part of your worship. But in your preaching and your theology, remember, if you want to put it this way, the negative parts of the creation theology, that is the judgment side, and positive and the negative are in the Psalms for calling God's judgment a negative. Couple of other passages Job 38:1 to 42:6, God, as the creator, as I've already said today so I won't spend a lot of time with that.

God's answer to Job, the first time you read it seems surpassingly strange, doesn't it? Job's been asking all these questions, suffering. So God comes along and says, "Well, Job, do you know how to take care of a hippo? You know how to feed the sparrows? Do you know how to call the dawn every day? Do you know how to make the sun come and go? Do you know, he was saying, what, this doesn't seem to be a pack of relevant question. But it keeps satisfying Job.

And what seems to satisfy Job is two things: One, that God did respond. And second, that when he saw that the Lord didn't know what was going on in creation, he seems to come to the conclusion that he spoke too much, that is, he spoke as if God didn't know what he was doing in his life.

So Job takes God's evidence that he does know what's going on in creation and that he is an able ruler, to accept that God knows what's going on in his life. Again, it's an argument from the greater to the lessor. But, again, Job seems, this emphasis on the creation, seems to indicate that God is a capable, decent creator.

And then in Proverbs, there's one particular passage, it's pretty fascinating, really, 8:22 to 31. In the first nine chapters of Proverbs, there are personifications of wisdom. On the one hand, wisdom, foolishness is a woman crying out, "come in here and I'll ruin your life." Wisdom is a woman calling out "come in here and I'll make your life good." See how there personifications of wisdom.

And in Proverbs 8:22 to 31, verse 22 says that God either possessed, acquired, or created, depending on how you translate the Hebrew word kanah, at the very beginning it reads like the first thing God made was wisdom and then he used wisdom to make everything else. And by versus 30 and 31, wisdom is like a child whose always beside God, frolicking and playing through creation, just having a ball with creation.

Now, what I think this text indicates is that, that God is wise as the creator and as the creator he uses wisdom throughout. That explains the intelligence in the design etc., of creation. It also indicates that God has joy in creation. He actually enjoys what he has made. He doesn't just frown over it all the time. Hum, three more dead squirrels. But he actually enjoys the whole of it.

And it is this passage that some early church writers, perhaps, but I don't think so, the Apostle Paul in a couple of passages to say that Christ is the wisdom of God and that this passage shows that Christ was with God from creation. The problem with arguing that from this text is verse 22. If God acquired or created what is with him there, that's hardly a typical Trinitarian statement. God, the father, the first thing he did was create God, the son, and then he went on. I think it's much likely to give a biblical theology than it is wisdom itself. It's a personification of wisdom itself. He used wisdom. Wisdom was always with him. Wisdom was his constant companion. Everything was made, was made with wisdom. We have a wise creator. I believe that's probably biblically better answer.

But, again, Proverbs is using creation theology to say the Lord is the source of wisdom. If you want wisdom, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and God reveals wisdom to you. You must come to him for it. And, as you know, the book of James has a lot of wisdom characteristics. At one point, says if anyone is lacking wisdom, ask the Lord. Well, that would be very much in line with Proverbs and Job.

Now these are texts, again, that develop creation theology in specific ways for specific audiences. I don't know, I mean, Amos, his audience is 760 to 750 BC trying to bring a people who are worshipping money and sex and power back to the creator. Psalms, Job, and Proverbs, however, it's a whole lot harder to pin those audiences down exactly. They're good efforts made by good scholars, but it's difficult, as you know, and they admit from the very beginning.

But still the truths are universal to, to who we are, as far as our worship, our comfort, and our need for wisdom. The creator has wisdom. The creator can be trusted. The creator merits worship, and it's for specific reasons. Someday, I'm going to tie all this together. I'm writing an article on creation in Old Testament theology, and I'd hope that I could have the time and the pages to write in biblical theology so that you could deal with easy text like John 1:1 and following, and Colossians 1:15 to 20. Both of these are text about Jesus being the creator. In biblical theology, you have one simple task, that is if you're going to worship Jesus, he must be the creator, right? But he has to be God. These text tie him to the creation and it's quite complicated, but I think worthwhile.

And then one last one in the New Testament, Revelation 21, which is absolutely parallel to a text that I didn't have time to go over, and that's Isaiah 65:17 to 25. In Isaiah 65 it says God's creating a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21 picks up on that imagery. Isaiah says There're not going to be old people there. There's not going to be sickness there. Revelation said there will be no more sorrow, suffering or death.

But in Isaiah 65 and at the, in Revelation 21, at the end of the New Testament can an, the issue is a new creation. So that William Dumbrell writes a biblical theology, a short readable one entitled "From Creation to New Creation." That's biblical theology. In Genesis 1, Revelation 21, from creation to new creation. But Isaiah's already said there's going to be a new creation. Revelation re-preaches that truth for people who need to hear it, who are under pressure in a similar way that the people of Isaiah's day were.

So remember that there are some specific important New Testament passages and that they're connecting back. They don't always simply cite an Old Testament passage, but quite often they do as in the case of Revelation 21 and Isaiah 65. So the issue of God being the creator does not stop at the Old Testament writings. The New Testament writers absolutely aware that if Jesus is to be worships as God, it is vital that Jesus be connected to creation. Now, of course, this is divine revelation, divine, by divine inspiration it is done, but I'd say even if you were just going to create a religion, you'd want, that was going to worship Jesus, you would need to connect him to creation.

The New Testament writers, John and Paul, and then again the Apostle John again, in the gospels, Paulines and general epistles, which I put Revelation really, so in other words, throughout the New Testament Canaan creation theology remains relevant. So you would have a good bit to do if you just said we're going to talk about creation and God's incarnation and John and creation in Christ's work in Colossians and creation in the future in Revelation; you'd have enough to do. The reason you don't want my notes, Valerie, is so you could flush out all this in an effective way for the people you know.

But when you get right down to it, I think God, the creator, has been a neglected topic at least in the circles I have moved in. You may have run in some circles where that was all they talked about, or they talked about it regularly, or they talked about it in certain ways. But the full theological implication of God the creator, I think is one that could stand emphasis for reasons of comfort, wisdom, discipleship, etc., some of the things we've talked about.

I will go on to law. After, are there are any questions or comments? As I understand the question, Genesis 1:26 to 31, do you mean at that point or in the rest of the scriptures, how does he evaluate their success?

Unknown: [audience member speaks - inaudible]

I think that's a great bridge question into the next topic, actually. If we had nothing but Genesis the 50 chapters, we would certainly, in my view, be left with no idea of how God did that, other than that he has standards of his own, right? He must have some standard, but we wouldn't know what is.

But, to my way of thinking the standards God gives in Exodus 19 and following, which is our next subject, helps us answer that question. And it's an important question, the way you put it, because if we're not careful and we don't follow along canonically, we could think that Exodus 19 and following has only to do with Israel at a specific point in time. But in my view, since Exodus follows Genesis, it is more than what Israel should do; it is the way God judges how successful they are. Because much of the laws, many of the laws that are in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy relate to the issue of stewardship of the land and of relationship, etc. I think it's important to see that.

So, for instance, there are lots of laws connected to how you treat the land. How you care for animals. How you set up social structures. How a community is to be carried out. And so I think we'll see some of those things. I hope. But I think it's right to say that the law is not just a response of Israel of Sinai, but it is they're working out of Genesis 1:26 to 31, and ours.

Other questions, formative or pursuing something in the future pulling us back? Well, what about the law, then. If you're wondering, well, what happened to Abraham and all that, we will pick that up with the Messianic thrust. We will pick up the Abraham thread later. But the law that is given at Sinai is and, and really you have to say also restated, reinterpreted in Deuteronomy when they're not at Sinai at all but in the plains of Moab. If it is nothing else, it's a covenant, right?

God made covenants earlier than Sinai, as you know, the first time the word is actually used is in God's covenant with Noah, which is a covenant with the human race, that the whole world will not be destroyed by water again. He makes a covenant with Abraham, that all nation's will be blessed through Abraham, that covenant is sealed through the ritual of circumcision. So covenant is not an absolutely new term when you get to Exodus. So that's one thing.

Another thing we need to note is that currently there is no evidence that any other nation in the ancient new near eastern world claim to make a covenant with God, or with their God. We have no evidence that anybody else conceived of their relationship to their deity in this manner.

It's a unique thing. Partly because, I think, God entering into a covenant with human beings would give human beings way too much standing in the eyes of deity, in the ancient near Eastern mind set. Because if you enter into a covenant with somebody, that you obligate yourself to them in some way, right? At least the way the covenants unfold in the Old Testament.

So God is willing to make firm commitments to Noah, Abraham, and now, to Israel as a whole with Moses as the covenant mediator.

What is a covenant? It is a binding agreement between parties that has stipulations that keeping of which would result in blessing. It's a binding agreement between parties in which there are stipulations, the keeping of which would result in blessing. And we could also say, the not keeping of which results in punishment. Covenant is almost made between a greater and a lessor, that is, if it's a national covenant, a greater nation and a smaller one. And in the case of God and Israel, of course, the God whose made all the nations is making a covenant with only one nation, a greater and a lesser.

In this covenant God commits himself to blessing Israel as they're faithful to him. He promises judgment if they are not covenant keepers. The expectation in this covenant, as it unfolds, is that it will be broken. How do we know this? Because there are, is a sacrificial system, right? We just want to be simplistic. You have a covenant, and what's in the covenant?

Well, laws, commands, you should have no other gods before me, you shall not covet, etc. Case laws, if you do such-in-such or such-in-such happens, then do this. So, you know, some, pick out your favorite. If somebody digs a pit, doesn't cover it up and somebody's animal falls in it, this is the payments to be made. Lot of these are agricultural. It makes good sense to me, at least coming out of my past.

So you have commands; you have case laws. Now, I heard it said, you know, that the only way Israel could ever be right with God was be to keep those commands and case laws straight out. Perfection was the expectation. The fact that there is a, simple in the ancient world, but seemingly complicated to us in ours, sacrificial system, indicates that that's not the case. The fact that there is a built in sacrificial system indicates that the expectation that the commandments will be broken and forgiveness will need to be offered and the relationship restored.

So if you will, there's a fallback plan in this covenant that there is the expectation of sin and the constant offer of forgiveness. So we should also keep in mind where this law comes; it comes after Genesis, after God has said, as we discussed in class the other day or at least mentioned in passing, we'll get back to it, that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. That before there was ever a law the text is clear that it is faith that is required for relationship with God.

So we have a list of questions that we should ask, what's this law for, then? It is to show how one may fulfill Genesis 1:26 to 31. What is the law for? And then we have to ask, as was also asked, in what way does the law remain relevant? In our, back to our survey of opinions at the beginning, the liberal rationalist would say there are some universal principles, moral principles, still abiding.

Unknown:[audience member speaks - inaudible]

Yes, what is it for? Genesis 1:26 to 31. Samuel had asked the question, well, how would we know whether we were a success or a failure in being the stewards and ruling over the earth? One answer is it the law gives us standards, whereby, we would know that. That would be one response. There would be others that we'll come up with. So we should say, then, what is it doing and how is it relevant today?

Some of the people surveyed earlier said, well, they're universal principle. Others would have said, right, in our whole survey, there's Messianic theology in it remains relevant because there's Messianic theology in it, particularly through the sacrifice in Christ being everything in the Old Testament, or in the New Testament, from the Passover lamb.

You read somebody, like Bauer and Gabler, they're going to say, universal principles; that's why the law's important. If you read Hengstenberg, von Hofmann, they'll say because of Messianic theology within salvation history. Those or possible answers. And if you look for other possible answers as to what the relevancy is, West Minister Confession of Faith, gives an answer. Thirty-nine articles of the Anglican Communion, offer an answer.

Very similar, by the way, in many respects to the West Minister Confession, which is that it's not the ceremonies of the law that are followed, but the moral truths, the moral laws that are there. That hardly solves all your problems, but at least a start. I don't remember what the Baptist faith in message says about this. But I think the average, probably, the average Baptist pastor at least would say, well, you know, the Old Testament would, laws would tell us that we are sinners and how we have sinned and would give us moral standards similar to what the Anglicans and Presbyterians would say were necessary for Godly living.

I mean, maybe I'm way off on that. There have been a variety of options offered. Now, I've stated this positively so far. Some people would give the answer, it is absolutely set aside, and if you say, well, what about, you know, gee, even Gabler and Bauer liked the 10 Commandments. They would say 'that's already stated in the New Testament. So you don't need the duplication. It's been set aside. Christ in the fulfillment of it all. And he's restated his own laws, so you wouldn't need that.

Unknown: [audience member speaks - inaudible]

There are those that would argue that, yes. And the positive ones would say because Christ restates what we need to know. The negatives ones would be because it really is not near back to Hardock now, it's not Christian scripture. It's, there's a different spirit to the Old Testament than to the New.

Whereas, one you have a spirit of wrath and judgment; the New Testament you have a spirit of love in Christ. Now what's interesting to me is I could disagree with someone that doesn't have a high view of scripture at that point, and we could discuss it. What's interesting to me is that sometimes people with a high view of scripture that basically says what I just said. The same people who would say, well, you know, the Old Testament God, I mean, they always start, you always know you're in trouble when they start with a, a phrase, well, you know, the Old Testament God.

Then the New Testament God and then these same people say, yeah, it's true, God's the same yesterday, today and forever. So you have work to do to try to bring some order to the mind of the person. So the question of relevance there is even a more severe one for folks who would say, well, you know it's set aside and Christ has explained all we need to know.

Now then this leads to some interesting problems that, I think, a bible believing Christian hadn't anticipated when they made that statement about the Old Testament being set aside. It is a hermeneutical problem and a discussion in the denomination where I was a teacher in one of their denominational colleges the last two years: The Episcopal Church, United States of America; and in the church where I was attending and teaching Sunday school, the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., last two years.

The issue of homosexual lifestyle, and or ordination, this has been an issue in both churches. I've now heard both of those, the institution I taught and did not, and the church I attend, did not condone homosexual lifestyle or ordination while seeking love and work with people. But in different places, I heard the same hermeneutical move made; here's how it goes. In a sermon, topic of the sermon, "homosexuality." And a Peace U.S.A. pastor heard preach the following sermon. I suppose a Methodist could do the same. Vineyard, probably not. At Southern Baptist, maybe, but it would be tough.

But here's how it went. The title of the sermon was "God Doesn't Care." I find it to be an interesting topic. I wasn't sure, given our discussion, what it is God doesn't care about. But anyway, and if I were gay I would want God to care that I was. But anyway, here's how the sermon went, most of the passages about homosexuality are in the Old Testament, particularly in Leviticus. We know that's been set aside. In the New Testament, that didn't take long, did it?

But that was point one. Point two, in the New Testament it may or may not be that Paul is talking say in Romans 1 about actual homosexual activity. Even if he is, he's talking about a type of homosexual activity that good homosexual people would not approve of. In other words, there are those who would say, yes, I think a gay marriage ought to be monogamous. I think it ought to be committed. I think it ought to be these things. It should not be the kind of activity Paul's talking about in Roman 1. It doesn't say anything at all about the subject at hand. And then the clincher is, so, OK, we're not sure what's going on there.

Third point, Jesus says nothing about it. Therefore, the title God Doesn't Care. So this left the pastor with certain conclusion. But you see, a couple of friends of mine, including one who was sitting there, it was, well, it was one of those interesting times where my daughter and another guy from the community's daughter were guests in this church to do music, so we're there.

And, see, at least I had heard this argumentation before. The plumber's daughter, I mean, my plumber friend who was, who came as a guest of the church to hear his daughter play music and heard this sermon. His eyes were getting bigger for a while, then they'd narrow for a while, and then his arm developed this twitch, you know, because...he was fit to be tied. But you see what was very interesting is, he had the same permanuity [sounds like] at least in the first part as the preacher did. He was going to work a lot harder on Romans than that person was doing at the pulpit. But, you see, he believed those passages had been set aside. See you really couldn't use them in an argument. Leviticus doesn't count, and some of these others.

So that's all been set aside, and Jesus has told us all we need to know about the law. If that's your hermanuity, Jesus doesn't say anything specifically, does he? About homosexuality? He's all the time talking about things that matter more, like money and your relationship. So you begin to see a whole bible theology does matter in a variety of issues.

Here is the problem, if then you're going to stand on the morals of the Old Testament, you're going to ask which ones, how and what's my Hermeneuity, right? I would start by saying let's talk about the God who gives a law and let's see what it's about. Now you started by reading Exodus, if I just look at the class syllabus, I'm going to say that you have Exodus. In Jerimiah 7, you find Jerimiah preaching the 10 Commandments to his people, don't ya? There are other things he's saying, but he's saying will you kill and steal and do these things and come to this house like it's some sanctuary for robbers and thugs and thieves.

A really poplar sermon, he preaches the same one in chapter 26, in the overrated killing [sounds like], but he's preaching the 10 Commandments, really, in this situation. We already talked yesterday a bit about Psalms 19 and 119 where the law is held up as Godly and pure. We are already talked about Matthew 5:17 to 20, and what Jesus says "not a dot or a tiddle going to pathways to all be fulfilled. Roman's 7, Paul talks about the law being good.

In a passage I think bears a lot more examination, 1st Timothy 1:8. Paul says there are a lot of crazy teachers out there wanting to be teachers of the law. You know, he says they're disputed about laws and genealogies and things. And he says we know that the law is good if used lawfully and it's for the lists, 'give us advice' list.

So Paul says the law remains relevant, at least to identify and inhibit sin, doesn't he? So the biblical record is that the law remains relevant in the profits, the writings, the gospels, the Pauline Epistles and it's hard to read James without thinking, he thinks the laws somehow relevant. By the time James is through with me, usually I'm ready for a break.

I either know I'm in rebellion, or I'm ready to get right with God, usually. So we see that it remains relevant when the issue is how old is it. Let's start with Exodus and make some principle decision. In Exodus 19:5 and 6 as a prelude to the law, God gives us a first principle. The purpose of the law is to create a wholly people and a kingdom of priests.

Now the law is not the only way God's going to do that. We know that from prior text, but Exodus 19:5 and 6, now, then, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you'll be my own possession among all the people for the earth is mine. We know that 'cuz he's a creator. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests in a wholly nation.

My judgment is if you're going to have a kingdom of priests you have to ask a simple question: Who are they ministering to? Well, certainly, somewhat to one another, but the indication seems to be to the world. All the earth is mine. A kingdom of priests would then be a nation of God's own possession that would help fulfill God's promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him.

And throughout the Old Testament you find Israelites ministering to non-Israelites. It's a muted mission, but it's a mission nonetheless. A king or priest said, "What's the purpose of the law?" One of the purposes of the law is to create a kingdom of priests, a wholly nation. And is it 1 Peter 2:5 where that's repeated? I'm depending on a faulty memory, and the help of a source reference, Peter preaching to, in the general epistles, he says, "You are coming to him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men but as choice and precious in the site of God. You also as living stones are being built up at the spiritual house for a wholly priesthood. To offer up spiritual sacrifices accepted to God through Christ."

Verse 9, “but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a wholly nation of people for God's own possession.” So what is God trying to do with the law? Create a kingdom of priests, a wholly nation, a ministering body. Peter says that's what God's trying to do with the church. We're eventually going to see that, basically, well, we already see it, if we were a wholly nation, whollyness means in the Old Testament, as you know, set apart, but it also depicts a moral quality. Never forget it. It means we are set apart for a different purpose, but it also depicts a moral quality.

And in the, by the way, the New Testament, what does that word, the 'Saints' literally mean? The whole Hagios, the wholly ones. So the purpose for the law remains the same. And, see, I would argue keeping the law is never given as a means of salvation in either testament. It is given as a document to people who are supposed to already be in covenant faith-based relationship with God. It's a discipleship document, not a salvation document.

In other words, it's not a charter of how you become a believer. It's a charter for how believers act. The apostle Paul does not teach, nor does Jesus teach that you are saved by keeping the law, because they would have said the bible doesn't teach that. It's a fundamental, our whole attitude toward the law’s going to change if we understand that its purpose at the beginning is a discipleship documented to help us walk with God. Not as a salvation document.

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

Well, I think it goes perfectly for the following reason: First, Romans 1 precedes Romans 2. How does Romans 1 say "we come in a relationship with God? The just shall live by faith." But Romans 2, I think he's about, and you'd have to read the literature on this, and there excellent commentaries, whether you're talking about James Dunn and the Word Biblical Commentary or Doug Moo, got to get my colleague Moo, out there, I mean, the international commentary of the New Testament. Still going to argue that the reason the people that talks about them keeping the law in Romans 2, cuz they already have a faith-based relationship from Romans 1. That would be my answer to it.

So that if we just picked up Romans 2 and we don't take Romans 1 into account, with James Dunn's has convinced me that that's often what happens to people and that it's, it's a mistake. I made in the past. I'd just pick up and ask a question about the law in Romans 2 and forget that Paul's already given the basis in Romans 1. And that I think Paul teaches, even in Romans, well, there is an interesting dispute going on these days; James certainly teaches it. That you will work because you have faith. You will keep the law because you have faith.

See, I happen to believe that Christians keep the law because they're saved by grace, by faith, and God changes you into a new creation. Read Johns, if we don't believe that when you are born again, you are a new creature, and that God enables you then to keep the law. He doesn't mean perfect, but keeping the law is not a phrase that means sinless obedience in the bible. A covenant keeper, a law keeper, would be one, who had to appropriate sacrifices. That means they're sinners, right?

So if you don't believe that, that could be a problem text. But, boy, read 1 John; you got worse problems there. You don't practice sin if you're a Christian. What it says, you're not a slave to sin. You don't practice it. A Christian's not in the habit of making sin the way you do business. How can that be so? God has changed you.

But Romans 1:16 through 17, I think is the charter for everything else in Paul so, and he's admonishing people who say, well, I could be saved by keeping the law. What he says in Romans 2 I think to Jewish believers is, we got people who never heard of the 10 Commandments who are as moral as you are. You either keep the law by first being saved by faith, or frankly it's, there's no qualitative difference between you and a whole bunch of other people who have never heard of Moses.

So it must be faith when leading to, or, or really you don't have anything. That, that would be my response. I don't know how accurate it is.

Unknown:[audience member speaks — inaudible]

PNP. [sounds like]It's imputed back to them, yeah.

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

Yeah, see that's, an ongoing discussion, it is ongoing, it seems new amongst evangelicals right now, but it isn't new. It's as old as how Paul and James express it, or, like, forget Paul now, let's stick with James. He's got people who were saying, works have nothing to do with Christianity. So he's, he's dialoguing with that.

And when you're saved, what exactly happens to you? Are you changed? Or is there a moment at which it's sheer Christ imputation? Now, it's an ongoing and complicated discussion, but my opinion is, that as long as we understand there is no merit, no saving merit in any work we do, that's where the discussion ought to be.

Right now we're having an ongoing discussion, and it's included amongst some folks who do point back to what you just said, that's it's, it's all on Christ at that point. That's not the point of disagreement. Right now people are disagreeing with how the inevitable keeping of God's standards occurs.

See, here's how I put it, I have friends who are saying right now, look, God judges you, read 1 John, read other passages. God will judge you by whether you practice sin or not. Therefore, that when you are saved, God empowers you to keep the law. But that don't have anything to do with your salvation. The fact that God saves you and then empowers you do keep the law, the part of you keeping the law has nothing to do with your salvation. That has no merit. You weren't able to do it. God did it in you. So that would be one side.

But there are people who are saying if you say that someone who is born again will indeed, even by the power of Christ, keep the law; you're adding works. My argument would be not unless you put merit on them. There's no merit to them. Saving merit, Christ, Christ made it so that you would be able to do it, changed your nature, made you a new creation, put the wholly spirit within you, so I'm not sure what merit I've got that I walk in the good works of God prepared beforehand for me to do if I use Ephesians 2 imagery.

The other danger, though, is, see, again it's one of these things where you happen to decide how we're going to deal with the danger. So some people say yeah, that's all fine and good, but you're in danger of people thinking their works have something to do with their salvation. What's the other danger? If you say works have not-, there will not necessarily be any works following Salvation, what's the other danger?

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

That's right. Then you get questions like I used to hear, you know, when I was a kid the Methodist and Baptist were often doing battle over security, the believer, perseverance, whatever you want to call it, so you would hear preachers go to this extreme, why you could be saved tonight and truly saved and trust in Jesus and then from this moment forward, live like the devil almost. And you would still be saved. Yeah, that's dangerous too.

So in my view, the issue is not so much imputation, but it's the reformers, whether they were the radical reformation who said, look, if you're not radically saved, then you're living radically for Jesus, you're not saved. Go back, again. There's a battle which reformer you want to talk about.

Or Luther who had sa-, misunderstood the law for so long, I don't know any way to put it, that he thought that the law, you had to keep, so if you'd go overboard on grace, I think he did. I don't know if that's possible, but, I know, it's, or the Methodist, Wesley was fairly concerned with personal whollyness, was he not? Or Calvin or whoever else.

What they all agreed on was, whatever works you do have no saving merit. God gets all the glory all the credit. See that's where I think the discussion ought to be. But, I, you know, I do know that this debate is going on.

And then there are some days I am saying without giving up I would say well, I want to know how it is tell me how it is that you believe that the law, 'cuz that's what Peters talking about, what else can he be talking about, it is Peter and James. And Paul has a very strong ethical concern.

Explain to me how it is that the law helps us be a wholly people; that's all I'm concerned about. But I don't believe the law ever had any saving merit. Jesus kept the law perfectly, but if from Genesis 15 on, human beings are saved by faith, and that Paul's commitment, handed from Exodus on clear through 1 Peter and says that we are to be wholly before God and that the law has a part in that.

Again, I'm, I'm to where we need to discuss how that's so, not if it's so, both parts. Without going to the extreme to saying that you could live like the devil and still be saved, or without saying well, we've been noticing lately, and this is dangerous, some people will get involved in church discipline.

We've been noticing lately that the, we were concerned about your works here. You know, the evidence of you being a believer? Ah, uh, uh, uh, uh. Man. And it could be anything from card playing to multiple murder. So if you're not careful you could go either way. But as long, what I want to talk about how it, you know, how you hold that in balance. It's, I've been with the Anglicans too long. I just want to find a middle... middle ground. I got to get us out of here. As long as we understand that the salvation is by grace through faith and that of yourself, Thesians 2:8 to 10, but that then you are going to do the good works that you are created in Christ to do. To put right there together in that text, and I think that the Old Testament reflects that. Genesis 15 precedes Exodus 19 and Exodus 19 is to have a kingdom of priests.

I've often thought about writing a book that would be, wouldn't sell, but it would be something along the lines the bible discusses more topics than salvation. How we get there? But I think there's a covenant made with people who are supposed to already have a commitment. Now all of them did, that's clear.

But it's pretty clear that not all of our people in our churches who are supposed and say they do, do either. But there's no saving merit in keeping these, in these law, not in the law, I mean, there's no discussion about whatsoever. So as far as we're concerned, I don't think it, it is a saving factor. But it is to create whollyness.

One thing very quickly that we should chew on and go, 'cuz I got to give you your test, Exodus 20 in verse 1 and 2, how do the 10 Commandments start? I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt. The laws purpose is not only to create a wholly people king of priests; it's based on a prior relationship, right? They already knew what God had done for them. They could already seen who God was.

So, again, there's a prior relationship assumed. And any time they sinned or we sin, we sin against a God who has proven himself to us. See that's what hurts so much when you think about it, right? If you had good parents growing up or good grandparents, somebody good to raise you, and at some point in your life, it finally hit you; you had sinned against somebody that you had a prior, strong relationship to and that you should have obeyed them.

That's a watershed moment in somebody's life. I swear some people never have it. And that's what when I'm at my best. I realize that I'm a miserable offender because I have sinned against a God who has loved me and done all the things that we saw in Isaiah. That's why I'm a miserable offender.

But, so there's a prior relationship. So let's understand that the law is relational, it is personal, and it is to create a wholly people. That, from the start, so, however that helps us; we'll get started. And tomorrow you'll read about a God who is wholly, and I think, except for the Leviticus reading, which I think you will diligently skim. . .

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

Read it all the way through; that's good.

We'll see God is wholly, but we'll be dealing with the law and God whollyness. Questions or comments?

Unknown:[audience member speaks — inaudible]

An old pharaohcy [sic], the Apostle Paul said, in Romans 9:30 to 32, it's an important, important passage. He says, how is it that the Jews stumbled he said they acted as if salvation came by works. That's how they stumbled. And what he's saying is they misinterpreted the bible, 'cuz he's already, he's gone to great lengths already to say the Old Testament doesn't teach that.

Well, I know Valerie has work assignment. On this exam, very quickly, you have four questions. You must do either number one or number two. They're both methods questions from our survey. The last two are creation theology in Genesis 1 through 2 or in Isaiah 40 to 48. You pick one. I will only grade two. And you must pick one of the first two and one of the second two.

You may use your textbooks, the bible, other books; however, see, cuz here's by point, this is going to be a typed document. I'm going to grade it and that sort of thing. Read it, okay. But it should be a document you would want to keep filed somehow to where it would be your starting point, not the methodology so much, I know as time goes on that'll be for me, but the creation ought to be in your file as to here's what I came up with.

So you make that as thorough as you want to, and I'll grade it. I won't read the eighth page, but, you know, really think about this as your document. I gave you ground rules and this sort of thing, but it's just not to please me, but it's for you to have something to keep and that's what I hope the next two will be as well. And by the second and third exam, I'm going to ask you to pick a topic that's relevant, and develop it from the way we've been doing it.

So, again, it's going to become even more personal. I'm not as concerned about the grades in this class as I am about you getting some work done and using the materials we've been studying to get some good work done. That's what I'm trying to do.

So I have one for everybody. Just pass around fast and then we'll, I'll get mine back. So in your textbook, you know, you could use it, you could use the scholars there, if you cite other people, I mean, if you use other people's ideas, do cite them, parenthetically's enough: House, page 66; Bray, page 13; Isaiah 40 verse 5, that'd be helpful. But you certainly have a big enough question to deal with, so you'll have to select what you want to include.

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

I want no fewer than four, no, and, and I'm, I'm looking for four to six pages, not 46, 4 to 6, and this means you will have to choose how you're going to do it. There won't be a lot of flabbily prose, probably. If you said, boy, I just barely got started. Well, I hope it's substantive, how you vary it, yeah, you could write lots.

But, again, I want you to select and be thorough in what you select, not just for my purpose but for yours. The first one or two, first one can be very, kind of, general because you have eight or ten or twelve people. So you say, well, I don't know much I'm going, I'm going to cover those. I'm going to put them into categories, the rationalists, the liberal rationalist, the conservative rationalist, the whatever, and we'll pick a category and we'll write like that.

I gave you three people you could deal with in the second question. So that just means, you know, that would give you more structure, if you wanted it. But you'd have to say more about those people. The other one is pretty obvious. You're going to have to include major text, concepts and themes. You're going to have to decide what those are. We suggest, you could use the ones in class, you can synthesize those.

You could say, Hall said this but I found this to be more important. Hey, I can live with that. So I'm giving you enough lee way, I hope, to salute me as you go by, but not be required to say everything I said. If you reproduce that, I will, I'm, I'm not, again, not worried about, I'm not worried about how many A's and B's and F's are in here. I'm willing to give you a low grade if you earn it. I have nothing in mind that says there can't be a lot of high grades.

Again, my goal is for you to have a method to learn and to have something to keep more than it is to play stump the band with the exam.

Unknown:[audience member speaks — inaudible]

Yes.

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

Yep.

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

No, I do not.

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

Nope. Because the sufficient grace, the next sufficient grace question would be, well, I don't know, I might be able to do something for you. When will you have them graded? That will be the next sufficient grace, so that we can, so that we can see how you graded them so we can do the next one.

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

Oh, I don't know.

Unknown:[audience member speaks — inaudible]

I can have sufficient grace, sure. That if you all come to class, that's always one, you know, gee, I would have come to class, but I was doing the exam. Insufficient grace. Yes, I have sufficient grace to make them due at 4:30 tomorrow. I want to take them home and start grading them. I have sufficient grace to have them due at 4:30 tomorrow, if you have sufficient law to come to class and to turn them in at 4:30; is that the OK? Or better?

Unknown: [audience member speaks — inaudible]

All right. I'm happy with that because I will not grade them tomorrow afternoon anyway, but I will start grading them tomorrow night. I'm happy. Good questions.

Assessment

Name Description
1 Old Testament Theology - Quiz 6

Old Testament Theology - Quiz 6

Duration

1 hour 8 min

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