Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I AM the Law.

If you were a comic book person or even a cheesy movie fan, the title of this posting you may recognize.  It is a quote from the comic books/ movie Judge Dredd.  I can't help but read it and hear the line spoken in full on Sly Stallone voice.

I am a BIG fan of the law.  I have been involved in law enforcement for nearly 20 years in one manner or another and have spent several years teaching various types of law in my component's academy (a job I hope to be returning to soon).  Biblically, I an a fan of the Old Testament for its rich history and the law.  Make no mistake, I do not "keep kosher" nor do I believe that the law can save anyone.  I just think that the law points people to their own failings and highlights the need for salvation.

In the Torah (the first five books of the Christian Bible) from a Jewish perspective, there are 613 mitzvot (commandments) given to Israel.  Many are a reiteration of natural law (basic right and wrong), some delineate temple law (and rules of worship), yet others cover relationships between master and slave, family, and a general mish mash of other topics.  Having recently read through this list of mitzvot, I came to the comclusion that there is no way on earth ANYONE could ever stay 100% compliant with this requirement.  And that doesn't even address the legalistic Pharisaical teachings which developed in Judaism (some additional 3,000 laws and "traditions" added dealing with things as minute as proper hand washing).

When we shift gears to the New Testament, we find several verses which still support the Law (just not as a means to salvation), such as the entirety of Galatians 3.  However, a fine point to make is that of James 2:10 "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it."   Just a little side note to remind us if we strive for "perfection" under the law, we need to be faithful to it all and not just the easy parts, though in the end we will still lack the essential saving grace of Christ.

But what does Jesus say about the Law?

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 {ESV}
  So everything that was commanded boils down to these two.  Love God and Love others.  And remember, this is coming from the One who came to save us.  His stated purpose was:
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. Matthew 5:17 {ESV}
When you try to compare the Old Testament and the New Testament  the greatest difference is Jesus.  The availability of GRACE and the justification under FAITH in lieu of blood sacrifice.  The two greatest commandments instead of the 3,600 laws and traditions.  The Law was not abolished, but fulfilled (definition of fulfill: to bring to completion or reality; achieve or realize (something desired, promised, or predicted)).
So, in other words, Jesus could easily have quoted Judge Dredd and said "I AM the Law," since He IS the completion, reality, achievement, and realization of ALL the Law promised.

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