I am currently working through Brian Rosner’s helpful book Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God. For any Christian who has thought seriously about the relationship between the testaments, you know that the relationship between the Law and the Christian is among the most difficult to grasp. There are many reason for this difficulty. But chief among them is Paul’s seemingly contradictory statements about the Law and and its relationship to the Christian.
For example, in Ephesians 2:15 Paul says that Christ abolished the law. But then in Ephesians 6:1-2 he exhorts children to obey their parents and then quotes the law – the fifth commandment to be precise! Hopefully in a future post I’ll interact with some of Rosner’s attempted solutions to these Pauline difficulties.
But for now I want to share from his book 5 things Paul didn’t say about the Christian’s relationship to the Law. Things that we would expect Paul to say if he believed that Christians were under the law.
- Paul does not say that believers in Christ walk according to the law.
- Paul does not say, as he does of Jews, that Christians ‘rely on’ the law, ‘boast’ in the law, know God’s will through the law, are educated in the law, have light, knowledge and truth because of the law, are to ‘do’, ‘observe’ and ‘keep’ the law, on occasions ‘transgress’ the law, or possess the law as a ‘written code.’
- Paul does not say that believers learn the law, follow the way of the law, are fruitful from obedience to the law or do good works by observing the commandments.
- When quoting Deuteronomy, Paul does not quote parts of the texts that urge obedience to the law.
- Paul does not call the law ‘letter’, ‘book’, ‘decrees’ or ‘commandments’ when referring to it as a positive possession of Christians, but keeps these labels for the law when Jews possess it.