Old Doxoblogy

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What's Wrong With The Law? Part One

The Problem With Me
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Rom 7:7-12)
The problem with the law is this...there is a problem with me. In these verses Paul tells us that "the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good." Similarly in his letter to Timothy he says,
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1Ti 1:8-11)
So the law is good, holy, and righteous. It was given by God, after all. It is not a hindrance invented by Satan, although he may pervert it's use through wrong applications, as he has done in the past and continues to do now in many churches. Let's look at these two passages as an introduction to a Biblical perspective on the law as given from the Apostle.

First, the law is not sin. It does reveal sin, however. And where the law is, there sin will be magnified. This reality lies not in the essence of the law, but in the heart of man. With the fall of Adam, all humanity became fallen creatures. We are born with a sin nature. This sin nature is so twisted and perverted that it looks for ways to violate the commands that are given to it. Paul uses the example of covetousness. He says that he would not have known covetousness if it were not for the law. But what he does not say is, "I would never have coveted if there had been no commandment against it." Instead, Paul shows how the law revealed sin in him, and how that his sin, taking opportunity by the law strengthened its resolve to be sin in him.
It is as if we are walking down the sidewalk in the park and we see a sign that says, "Do not step on the grass." Our natural inclination is to look around to see who's watching, and then, when the coast is clear, touch our toe to the grass.
As a father of two boys, I can observe this reality with them. "Don't stick your finger in the light socket!" Zzzaaap! "Don't touch the stove!" Ssssss! Thankfully, they only have to learn those lessons once. But the reason they don't go back time after time after time and touch the stove or stick their fingers in the light socket is not that they don't want to. It's that they know the pain that comes when the stove is on. It's hot. They don't like that.
I would submit that it is the same with us. Let's just imagine that there is someone out there who has not physically broken any of the commands of the Decalogue. They have never stolen, never murdered, never committed adultery, and never lied. But there is always this one command that has been broken by every single one of us. It is not a command against a specific action, but a command against the attitude of the heart. Covetousness. And by this one command we have broken all the commandments. We have not committed adultery, but we have looked with lust. We have not stolen, but we have coveted. We have not murdered, but we have wished our enemies were dead. And the only reason we have not acted upon those desires is that we know the penalty. We know that adulterers lose their families, murderers lose their lives, thieves lose their freedom.

Second, Paul says that the law produced sin in him. Sin was made more abundant because of the presence of the law. The good, holy, and righteous commandments served only to remind him that he was a sinner, and then his sins began to multiply. I could repeat a lot of what I wrote in the last point about how we are so perverted that hearing a prohibition actually gives us the desire to break that prohibition. The point is, the law awakens my sin that had lain dormant, not because the law is evil, but because my response to the law is twisted.

Third, Paul tells Timothy that the law is good if it is used lawfully. There are two main uses of the law. First, the law shows us our sin. Second, the law is a deterrent of evil.
The first point is fairly obvious. The law shows us our own sin. When we read that we are to love God, and we see that we don't love God, the law has shown that we are sinners in that point.
The second point seems to fly in the face of what we have already said, that the law increases sin. It multiplies sin in us. But really the two go hand in hand. Just as our evil desires are awakened in us by the commandments, the commandments also deter us from acting upon those desires by imposing a penalty. So sin multiplies within us, and we are guilty of those sins, yet we refrain from acting upon those sinful impulses, because of the penalty they will bring. When the pleasure of sin outweighs the pleasure of no penalty, we will act on those desires. But the law, used lawfully, should keep mankind from extinguishing itself through our sinful actions.

Finally, Paul says that the law is not for the just, or the righteous, man. The law has been ordained by God for sinners. This is a fairly simple point, but a very important point for understanding the role of the law in the life of those who have been born again. I'm going to stop before I get to far ahead of myself, but let me conclude with this. The law is written upon the hearts of believers. The Spirit indwells believers. Paul says that those who walk by the Spirit do not gratify the desires of the flesh and that if you are led by the Spirit, then you are not under the law, which is a good place not to be. (Gal 5:16-18)

3 comments:

Digital Diet 365 said...

Nothing is wrong with the law.

Psalm 19:7:

7The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 111 says the commandments are forever and ever.

Paul tells us we are not under the law and he is a false apostle:

1. He wasn’t ordained an apostle by Christ (Mat 10)

2. He didn’t qualify to be an apostle (Acts 1:16-26)

3. Paul’s doctrine is proven false:

After Christ died and rose he appeared to his apostles. The gospels record him as appearing to the “eleven” (remember, Judas had died), but Paul’s doctrine is in clear error as he tells us that Christ appeared to the “twelve”:

Paul said twelve:

1 Corinthians 15:4-64And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve


Mark said eleven:

Mark 16:14: Afterward he (Christ) appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat

Matthew said eleven:

Matt 28:16-18:

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.


Luke’s mentions the “eleven”:

2And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8And they remembered his words, 9And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.


Acts mentions eleven:Acts 1:26:

26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Paul is a liar, and a proven false witness.

Christ, in Revelation 2:2 commends the church of Epheus for figuring out false aposles. He said, “…thou hast tried them which say they are apsostles, and are not, and hast found them liars. Remember, Paul preached at Epheus.

Fact 4:
The apostles did not believe Paul was a disciple:

Acts 9:26:

26And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.After Barnabas told the apostles that Paul had “seen the Lord” and that he preached boldy in the name of Jesus, the Apostles didn’t tell him to join them, but they sent him home to Tarsus. Remember, Jesus told us (Mat 13:57) that a prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house . The apostles sent Paul to a place that no one would believe him.


Paul's caught in a lie about his conversion:

There are 2 different stories. In one version he said that Christ told him to go to Damascus and that it would be there that Christ would reveal more to him. In the other version, Christ did the opposite. Compare Acts 22 with Acts 26

Jesus tells apostles to "heal", Paul blinded a man:

Acts 13:11, Paul said:

"11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand."

Jesus, confirms twelve apostles, not 13:Revelation 21:14:
14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

To the Church of Ephesus, Revelation 2:2:

2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Paul told Ephesus he was an apostle:

Ephesians 1:11:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus

Paul admits his doctrine had troubles being accepted in Ephesus:

Acts 19:8,9:
8And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

I have much, much more on my website going into faith works and law too. If you want to see more, just go to my site: www.returntorighteousness.blogspot.com

BugBlaster said...

r2r:
Apparently you don't believe that Matthias was an apostle either. Acts tells us that he was named as the twelfth to replace Judas. And it tells us that Matthias was with them from the beginning, right up to that date (ie. throughout the period between the resurrection and pentecost).

You have no reason to assume that Paul was lying when he says that Matthias the twelfth apostle was one of the many people that resurrected Jesus appeared to.

The name of Matthias would have been known to Paul as the twelfth apostle.

You need to read the Bible a bit more carefully.

I didn't read the rest of your points, because this one sort of skewered your credibility.

bluecollar said...

I whole heartedly agree with Bugblaster here!