SPECIAL TOPIC: PAUL'S VIEWS OF THE MOSAIC LAW

It is good and is from God (cf. Rom. 7:12,16).

A. It is not the way to righteousness and acceptance by God (it can even be a curse, cf. Galatians. 3).

B. It is still God's will for believers because it is God's self-revelation (Paul often quotes the OT to convict and/or encourage believers).

C. Believers are informed by the OT (cf. Rom. 4:23-24; 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:6,11), but not saved by the OT (cf. Acts 15; Romans 4; Galatians 3; Hebrews).  It functions in sanctification but not justification.

D. It functions in the new covenant to:

1. show sinfulness (cf. Gal. 3:15-29)

2. guide redeemed mankind in society

3. inform Christian ethical decisions

It is this theological spectrum related to the Law, from cursing (cf. Gal. 3:10-13) and passing away to blessing and permanency that causes the problem in trying to understand Paul's view of the Mosaic Law.  In A Man in Christ, James Stewart shows Paul's paradoxical thinking and writing:

"You would normally expect a man who was setting himself to construct a system of thought and doctrine to fix as rigidly as possible the meanings of the terms he employed. You would expect him to aim at precision in the phraseology of his leading ideas. You would demand that a word, once used by your writer in a particular sense, should bear that sense throughout.  But to look for this from Paul is to be disappointed.  Much of his phraseology is fluid, not rigid. . . 'The law is holy' he writes, 'I delight in the law of God after the inward man' (cf. Rom. 7:12,22) but it is clearly another aspect of nomos that makes him say elsewhere, 'Christ had redeemed us from the curse of the law (cf. Gal. 3:13)'" (p. 26).

 

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