For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God (Gal 2:19).
I took my kids to see a life-sized replica of the Tabernacle that a traveling ministry takes around the country. They gave presentations about the typology of the outer court, the holy place, and the holiest of holies, showing how each point to Christ. The kids and I learned some good information, but there was also much that sounded like conjecture that I had to take with a grain of salt.
I’m not sure what denomination that ministry is associated with (if any), but one of the volunteers came up to me for a chat. She was a Seventh-Day Adventist who passionately, but cheerfully, wanted to convince me that the law should be a central part of the Christian life. If I was someone off the street, she might have sounded convincing. So we went back and forth on the role of law and grace, and it was hard to pin her down, but at least I got to share the message that the law can only accuse us, and our only hope is for salvation to be by grace, through faith in Jesus, totally apart from the works of the law.
Coincidentally, I’m preparing to blog through Galatians, and as you probably know, that letter was written because of a controversy over the role of the law in salvation and discipleship. Some persuasive teachers came from Jerusalem to tell the Galatian believers that they needed more law in their life, and Paul was having none of it!
The central issue is, what is at the heart of the Christian message? Is it the law?
“Apparently the teachers Paul was opposing placed the keeping of the law revealed in Scripture as at the heart of the Christian way, whereas Paul saw the gospel as emphasizing the reception of God’s free gift. The gospel is about the faith that means trusting God and not relying on our own efforts” (Leon Morris, Galatians, pp. 26-27).
Send your questions or comments to Shawn.