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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Law and Grace # 25

Objections, Questions and Problems (continued)

5. You will also be told that, in refusing to put Christians under law, you are lowering the standards of the good life. Actually, however, we are not lowering the moral standards, but raising them. The standard of law was 'Love thy neighbor as thyself," but the rule of grace as laid down by our Lord Jesus is "That ye love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12). The difference is almost infinite. It is not the law, but Christ dying under the law for us and in our stead, who sets the standard of the good life in the gospel of grace. Let all who may have any doubts about this matter turn again to the great passage in Philippians 2:5-11, reading it carefully and prayerfully. Here we have something that no mere moralist ever imagined - not only an infinitely high rule of goodness, but also an infinitely powerful incentive which ever lifts the sinner toward the goal of perfection.

6. But, some will say: "Does not the Bible command us to fulfill the "law of Christ""? The sole basis for this idea is found in the king James Version of Galatians 6:2. The Greek verb here is almost certainly a future indicative, not an imperative. Those interested in the textual argument will find it discussed in Ellicott's Commentary on the passage. Meyer accepts the indicative reading without discussion. In the influence of early legalistic tendencies, we can account for the scribal change from the indicative to an imperative. Thus we have in Galatians 6:2 a simple statement of fact - in bearing one another's burdens, we shall fulfill the law of Christ.

But more important still is the question: What is this "law of Christ"? In seeking an answer it should be noted that nearly all the commentators who deal with the question at all find a reference to our Lord's words: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34), and "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12). John undoubtedly refers to this same thing when he writes: "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment" (1 John 3:23).

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 26)

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