This Mystery

reflections on theology and life

The law of Christ is not a set of laws

law-books-291676_1280The fol­low­ing is adapted and expanded from a por­tion of my July 28, 2009 pre­sen­ta­tion, “I Did Not Come To Abol­ish” given at the New Covenant The­ol­ogy Think Tank in Evans, N.Y.

Despite its brief men­tion and a lack of a far-reaching or biblically-explicit con­text to sup­port the notion, there have been whole the­olo­gies and there have been whole NCT doc­trines built around a sys­tem­atic, rather than an exeget­i­cal and bib­li­cal the­ol­ogy approach to “the Law of Christ.”

Covenant The­olo­gians would typ­i­cally refer to it as iden­ti­cal to the moral law or Ten Com­mand­ments, and would con­sider as the impri­matur, “I have not come to abol­ish the Law,” full stop. Con­tinue reading


17 “Do not think that I have come to abol­ish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abol­ish them but to ful­fill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accom­plished. (ESV)

Schreiner on the law of Christ

There are some on the edges of New Covenant The­ol­ogy who wish to make the law of Christ into a new cod­i­fied law, which may make log­i­cal sense from a sys­tem­atic approach, but which goes beyond the con­text of the phrase in .

Thomas Schreiner points to lov­ing one another as the iden­tity of the law of Christ:

It seems most promis­ing to iden­tify the law of Christ with the admo­ni­tion to love one another (), for there is a clear link between and 6:2. The Old Tes­ta­ment law “is ful­filled” (peplērō­tai) in the injunc­tion to love one’s neigh­bor as one­self ( in ). And the law of Christ “is ful­filled” (anaplērōsete) when believ­ers ful­fill one another’s bur­dens (). If we carry the bur­dens of other believ­ers, we show our love for them. Sac­ri­fi­cial love for fel­low believ­ers, then, ful­fills the Old Tes­ta­ment law and the law of Christ. Such a read­ing fits with –10, where the Old Tes­ta­ment law is cap­sulized in the admo­ni­tion to love one another. We also could say that Christ’s life, and the sac­ri­fice of his life in his death, exem­pli­fies to the utter­most the law of Christ. That is, Christ’s life and death are the par­a­digm, exem­pli­fi­ca­tion, and expla­na­tion of love. How­ever, –10 guards us from over­sim­pli­fy­ing the nature of Christ’s law, for love is expressed when believ­ers ful­fill moral norms. The law of Christ is exem­pli­fied by a life of love, but such love is expressed in a life of virtue.

Schreiner, Thomas R. 40 Ques­tions About Chris­tians and Bib­li­cal Law (40 Ques­tions & Answers Series). Ed. Ben­jamin L. Merkle. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Aca­d­e­mic & Pro­fes­sional, 2010. Print. 40 Ques­tions Series.

 


Bear one another’s bur­dens, and so ful­fill the law of Christ. (ESV)


14 For the whole law is ful­filled in one word: “You shall love your neigh­bor as your­self.” (ESV)


18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own peo­ple, but you shall love your neigh­bor as your­self: I am the Lord. (ESV)


Bear one another’s bur­dens, and so ful­fill the law of Christ. (ESV)


Owe no one any­thing, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has ful­filled the law. (ESV)


Owe no one any­thing, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has ful­filled the law. (ESV)

How to disagree agreeably

This video from The Gospel Coali­tion with Tim Keller, Matt Chan­dler and Michael Hor­ton was pub­lished in 2011, but reposted by TGC on Sep­tem­ber 18, 2015 on Facebook.

I wish I had found it ear­lier. It sums up the issue I have with a newly-published book. I’ve been debat­ing whether or not to review it.

This sums up what the author did not do: “Be able to describe the other person’s posi­tion in a way that they would under­stand it before you earn the right to cri­tique it.”

Per­haps that’s enough of a review.

A picture of a New Covenant church

About a year and a half ago, I wrote about what an NCT church should look like in prac­tice. A friend has just writ­ten a beau­ti­ful post on what a New Covenant church should be like at his blog Incur­able God Loverhttp://incurablegodlover.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/church-new-covenant-style/

All_In_the_Family_CastChurch New Covenant style is a lov­ing, learn­ing, and ordered mess; just like any fam­ily. Your fam­ily is a mess, but there is (or should be) some sem­blance of nat­ural sym­me­try and order evi­dent in your daily lives. Fam­ily mem­bers don’t quit on each other, at least they shouldn’t. When some­one gets upset, they aren’t look­ing to leave and go down the street and become part of another fam­ily. Such an idea is ludi­crous. No, they learn how to work through their prob­lems and in that problem-solving they learn how to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter and know and under­stand each other bet­ter. Doing church New Covenant style is like that.

Amen, brother.

Why just one day in seven?

sign-44353_640I came across this blog post recently: Seven Good Rea­sons to Stop Break­ing the Sab­bath Right Now

The author writes: “If you are con­sumed with sec­u­lar activ­i­ties and unwill­ing to devote merely one day a week to God, you have every rea­son to be con­cerned with the state of your soul.”

I’d reply: If you are will­ing merely to devote one day a week to God, you have every rea­son to be con­cerned with the state of your soul.

The sab­bath rest of the New Covenant is Christ Him­self, “for who­ever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” ( ESV)


10 for who­ever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. (ESV)

They got it right the first time

From the First Lon­don Bap­tist Con­fes­sion, 1646:

CoFThe preach­ing of the gospel to the con­ver­sion of sin­ners, is absolutely free; no way requir­ing as absolutely nec­es­sary, any qual­i­fi­ca­tions, prepa­ra­tions, or ter­rors of the law, or pre­ced­ing min­istry of the law, but only and alone the naked soul, a sin­ner and ungodly, to receive Christ cru­ci­fied, dead and buried, and risen again; who is made a prince and a Sav­ior for such sin­ners as through the gospel shall be brought to believe on Him.

Prepa­ra­tionism, the notion — among some Puri­tans, but exist­ing to this day — that an unre­pen­tant sin­ner needs to be beaten down by the law before hear­ing and receiv­ing the gospel, is destruc­tive. It can breed a lack of assur­ance by those who believe they were not chas­tened enough by the law or a false assur­ance in those who were made to feel guilty but who did not hear and believe.

The New Tes­ta­ment doesn’t preach the law. It preaches Christ and Him crucified.

A new blog: Unveiled

I highly com­mend a new blog by my friend Todd Braye, a pas­tor who dis­cov­ered the beauty and new­ness of the New Covenant while preach­ing faith­fully through Galatians.

His blog is Unveiled: Resources for the New Covenant Church (http://tbraye.wordpress.com). I par­tic­u­larly appre­ci­ate his series “Towards Evan­gel­i­cal Revival.” Todd’s first two in the series are on “the dead ortho­doxy of smug con­tent­ment” in which he quotes Dr. D. Mar­tyn Lloyd-Jones extensively.

The New Covenant commission of Psalm 67

WorldAt the begin­ning, when God cre­ated the heav­ens and the earth, it was so that He could demon­strate His glory. Indeed, begins, “The heav­ens declare the glory of God, and the sky above pro­claims his handiwork.”

reminds us that all of this cre­ation was by Christ — by Him, through Him and for Him — and declares that Jesus “upholds the uni­verse by the word of his power.”

As Abra­ham Kuyper wrote, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a sin­gle square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sov­er­eign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!’”

All cre­ation is here out of God’s great joy in His glory and His desire to make it known through His Son. Con­tinue reading


19:1 The heav­ens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above pro­claims his hand­i­work.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowl­edge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bride­groom leav­ing his cham­ber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its ris­ing is from the end of the heav­ens,
and its cir­cuit to the end of them,
and there is noth­ing hid­den from its heat.

The law of the Lord is per­fect,
reviv­ing the soul;
the tes­ti­mony of the Lord is sure,
mak­ing wise the sim­ple;
the pre­cepts of the Lord are right,
rejoic­ing the heart;
the com­mand­ment of the Lord is pure,
enlight­en­ing the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
endur­ing for­ever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and right­eous alto­gether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drip­pings of the hon­ey­comb.
11 More­over, by them is your ser­vant warned;
in keep­ing them there is great reward.

12 Who can dis­cern his errors?
Declare me inno­cent from hid­den faults.
13 Keep back your ser­vant also from pre­sump­tu­ous sins;
let them not have domin­ion over me!
Then I shall be blame­less,
and inno­cent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the med­i­ta­tion of my heart
be accept­able in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (ESV)


16 For by him all things were cre­ated, in heaven and on earth, vis­i­ble and invis­i­ble, whether thrones or domin­ions or rulers or authorities—all things were cre­ated through him and for him. (ESV)


He is the radi­ance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the uni­verse by the word of his power. After mak­ing purifi­ca­tion for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (ESV)

Making disciples of those in plain sight

I love this video from Rebuild Net­work.

Mak­ing dis­ci­ples of all nations includes the nation — the peo­ple group — where you live.

Fulfilling the Law of Christ: Applying NCT in church life

burdenOver the past sev­eral years, I’ve seen, read, and par­tic­i­pated in a lot of dis­cus­sions about what laws or com­mand­ments we need to fol­low in the New Covenant, what a Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy of the New Covenant should be, or what the escha­tol­ogy of NCT adher­ents should be. (That last one is a par­tic­u­larly volatile one at the moment, with some amills want­ing to kick out the premills.)

In other words, there’s a lot of con­ver­sa­tion about NCT orthodoxy.

But what about NCT orthopraxy?

What should a church that teaches New Covenant The­ol­ogy look like? What are its hall­marks? Con­tinue reading

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