The Law and the Believer -- By: Justin Hime

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 21:3 (Summer 2004)
Article: The Law and the Believer
Author: Justin Hime


The Law and the Believer

Justin Hime

Master of Divinity Student in Advanced Biblical Studies
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Introduction

Of all the passages which speak to the authority of the Bible and its applicability to the church, there is perhaps none more clear and meaningful than 2 Tim. 3:16–17, which states, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work”(NASB, emphasis added). While most evangelicals would willingly acknowledge the inspiration of all Scripture, many would in the same breath speak of a disparity and perplexity that exist between the two testaments. This sense of disparity typically generates such questions as, what is the relationship of the Christian to the Mosaic Law? As well, what is the obligation and purpose of the Law for which the New Testament believer is to be held ethically responsible?

This perplexity has throughout church history proved to be a defining and divisive issue, as entire theological frameworks have been formulated in an effort to clarify an existing continuity or discontinuity that defines the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. The following statement by C. F. Walther raises the vitality of the discussion and the fruits of its study, “The true knowledge of the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is not only a glorious light, affording the correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, but without the knowledge Scripture is and remains a sealed book.”1 Thus, the purpose of this paper is to speak to the above relationship by identifying and framing the debate as raised within Scriptures, presenting a vital hermeneutical distinction between the text of Scripture and the events described therein, show that the theme of the Pentateuch and its requirements are satisfied by a life of faith, and finally, to present a working conclusion concerning the Law as it was given and as it relates to the New Testament Christian.

Analysis

In order to establish the parameters for the discussion, one must consider any existing “disparities” as they are presented not only inter-testamentally (OT

to NT) within the whole Bible, but also £n7ier-testamentally (OT to OT, and NT to NT). One should consider first the New Testament, as it is the starting point for much of the current debate. Passages such as Rom. 6:14<...

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