Old Testament Law is the Focus of the Book of
controversial book of the Bible concerning the wisdom of God is the letter from
Paul to the Romans. This book has been used by men for ages to "prove" the law
is not observed by Christians.
First, some background on this letter.
The apostle Paul wrote it to a church comprised of Jews and Gentiles. He used
56 quotes from the Old Testament. The overall theme was judging others in the
church, and that term was used 23 times. Why go to Romans to look at the Old
Testament laws? The law is mentioned far more in Romans than any other book -
an amazing 76 times.
Paul's writings, as informative as they
are, do come with a warning. We read in 2 Peter 3:16 how some of Paul's
writings are hard to understand, and the untaught and unstable twist them to
their own destruction. Verse 17 adds we should not be led away in this
wickedness (anomalous/lawlessness). So we see that even in the beginning of
Christianity, unscrupulous men were railing against God's holy law.
We should be aware that the majority of
those 76 references to the law are in a positive sense. Look at these thoughts:
"The hearers of the law are not justified but the doers are ... Do we void the
law by faith? Certainly not ...The law has dominion over a man as long as he
lives... The carnal mind is against God and not subject to the law ... , The
law is holy, just and good..." (Romans 2:13, 3:31, 7:1, 7:12, 8:7).
The oft-quoted Romans 6:14, "For sin
shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under
grace," seems to reinforce the idea that you need not keep the law, but few
will quote the very next verse, "What then? Shall we sin because we are not
under the law but under grace? Certainly not."
So why the fuss over the law? Some,
possibly the Jewish believers, were troubling others that they must keep the
law to somehow earn salvation. Enter Paul in this most difficult situation to
be the peacemaker. He had the delicate task to show everyone that the law is
what identified sin and they should avoid sinning, not to earn salvation, but
to avoid coming under the penalty of breaking the law - which was eternal death
(Romans 3:20, 4:15, 7:7).
In Chapter 14, Paul tries to instill
peace in the church at Rome. Several topics were being discussed and none were
actually settled. The object was to get the brethren to be tolerant of others
and stop judging one another. As he said in verse 4, "Who are you to judge
The subject of understanding the law
and how God views it is of utmost importance today. There is much talk of
revival and reforms, individually and collectively as a nation. The first step
in reconciliation to God is to repent of our sins.
We must identify sin so we may repent
and stop transgressing His law. To not know what sin is makes repentance
worthless. That is a shocking statement, but true.
"Great peace have those who love Your
law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Lord, I hope for Your salvation and I
do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies and I love them
exceedingly. I keep Your precepts, for all my ways are before You." (Psalm
(Written by Wayne Schatzle,
director, Freedom Biblical Information
P.O. Box 1806, West Chester OH
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