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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Law and Grace # 23

Objections, Questions and Problems

In conclusion, I wish to answer some common objections, questions and problems.

1. The charge has been made that in affirming the believers is not under the law we are rejecting a part of Scripture. This slanderous charge has been answered already by the Biblical evidence presented earlier, but I wish to deal with it more specifically.

First, we deny categorically any rejection of the law. On the contrary, we accept the law of God in Scripture in its totality, including all its elements - moral, ceremonial and civil - not merely a small part of the law is stripped of its penalties, as our opponents are accustomed to do. They, not we, are the real rejectors of the law!

Second, we accept this total divine law as a part of the inspired Word of God. Therefore it is "profitable' for all Christian believers, to be used under the guidance of the Holy Spirit for "doctrine .. reproof ... correction ... instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy # 16). No part of the Word of God - not even the ceremonial law - can be neglected in our teaching and preaching without spiritual loss.

Third, we accept this law of God as something "good, if
a man use it lawfully" (1 Timothy 1:8). For the meaning of the term "lawfully" (nomimos) see 2 Timothy 2:5, where it must unquestionably carry the idea "according to law." Therefore, to use the law "according to law" must mean that it should be used "as law", not emasculated of any of its elements or penalties.

This proper use of the law is further elaborated in 1 Timothy. If used lawfully, that is, strictly as law, "the law is not made for a righteous man" (1 Timothy 1:9). And since the Christian believer is "righteous" in relation to the law as law (because through the work of Christ the law was completely fulfilled and satisfied for us in all its demands and penalties), it is a wrong use of the law to put the Christian under it. To apply the law as law to the Christian is to deny the eternal efficacy of the work of Christ. On the other hand, argues the apostle, the law as law was made "for the lawless and disobedient , for the ungodly and for sinners" (1 Timothy 1:9). And he is careful to point out that in the long category of human wickedness which renders men subject to the divine law of external restraint all this is "contrary to [the] sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God" (1 Timothy 1:9-11).

In this same context the apostle is careful to state the simple standard of life for Christian believers: It is "charity [love] out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned" (1 Timothy 1:5).

But even in Paul's day there were some who were not satisfied with this simple rule of life. These had "turned aside unto vain janglings; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (vv. 6-7).

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 24)

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