Monday, 7 August 2017

"I See Another Law"

I think Paul had this concept that it was possible for a person to be compliant with Divine 'law', without the person necessarily having to go the route of Moses' Law - i.e., without needing to become a proselyte to Judaism.

For example, Paul mentioned that the law was written on the Gentiles' hearts even though they didn't have Moses' Law. It wasn't a law which included all the outward requirements of Moses' Law - but it was Divine law nonetheless.

And he said that if Gentiles who didn't have Moses' Law, nevertheless by nature kept the law - then they were actually better than a Jew who had the written Law but didn't keep it. 

Paul had this concept that a Gentile, without necessarily carrying-out all of the Jewish cultural markers of Moses' Law, could in some very real and valid sense be 'keeping the law'. 

He mentioned "the uncircumcision" keeping the law. Wait a minute! - circumcision was a requirement of the law - so how could 'uncircumcision' be thought of as 'keeping the law'! Paul was seeing something here. 

But before we get to that, Paul went on to say that even Jews who were blameless in their Law still struggled with sin in the flesh, in the mind of their flesh. He used his own experience as an illustration of that. The Law wasn't able to make him fully, deeply compliant with the Divine nature like he knew he ought to be. 

So now He brings us to the point. We all needed Jesus. The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death! But get this: he called it 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus'. The law? I thought he just said we're free from the Law! Yes we are free from the Law, but not altogether without 'law'.

He said that if we walk in the Spirit, we won't fulfil the lusts of the flesh; and the fruit of the spirit is a lifestyle against which there is no law. Walking in love 'fulfils the law' he said. He is 'under the law to Christ'. 

So Paul saw that in Christ Jesus, and through the Spirit, the Gentiles became compliant with Divine law - without needing to go the route of becoming Jewish proselytes and adopting all the Jewish cultural markers; and also, Jews who had the Law but realised their inner deficiency despite having the Law, were able to truly be made partakers of the Divine nature, not through the Law, but by being born of the Spirit. Through an inner circumcision which was by faith in Jesus Christ, both Gentiles and Jews were made truly compliant with Divine 'law' - and were empowered to truly walk in compliance with it.

What that looks like is universally understood by all true believers in Jesus to mean the fruit of the Spirit, love. There are really only two points which some have a different conscience about: diet and days. And those two things are the very two things which Paul singled out for discussion, and basically concluded "live and let live". It wasn't to become divisive.

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