RB, I refer to the Law that was given to the Israelites through Moses. All that was given to them.
May I ask, in your understanding, what does scriptures say, is/are the purpose/s of the Law, that it was given? And to whom does scriptures say it was given?
Michael, I know that it is taught by some whom we respect, that the law was only given to Israel, but we are obliged to differ, that the Law was given to the nation of Israel and to none else, and therefore, that neither Gentiles nor Christians are under any obligation to keep it. That the Law was formally given to Israel at Sinai is freely granted
by us. But does that prove it was meant for none other than the descendants of Jacob? The scriptures will not support that teaching. When writing to the saints at Rome (many of whom were Gentiles, see 1:13; 11:13; 15:15, 16, etc
.) Paul said,
Romans 7:6~"But now we are delivered from the Law"
Again... Paul declares,
Romans 8:7~"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be"
Mark, it is not "the Jewish mind"
, but the "carnal mind" in Jew and Gentile alike
. Now, there would be no point to this statement if the mind of man, as man, is not obligated to be in subjection to the Law of God. Man’s mind is not subject, and because of its innate depravity "cannot be"; nevertheless, it ought to be. Once more: note how in Ephesians 2:2
the wicked are said to be "children of disobedience": this is meaningless if they are not under obligation to obey the commandments of God. These scriptures, then, are sufficient to establish the fact that Gentiles, as well as Jews, are "under the Law". Remember I said above that when God created Adam and Eve he put his laws in their hearts and wrote them there spiritually speaking.
Returning now to Romans 2:12, 13. The simple meaning of these verses is that, the Gentiles never had given to them the two tables of stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed, nor were they in possession of the Scriptures, wherein those Commandments were recorded. But it should be carefully noted that Romans 2:5 goes on to state these very Gentiles "show the work of the Law written on their hearts"
. On these scriptures, it is plain that Gentiles have what is tantamount to the moral Law. The fact that the Gentiles are "a law unto themselves" shows that God gave them the equivalent of what He gave the Jews
, namely, a standard of right and wrong. In the case of the former, it was "written in their hearts", in the case of the latter, it was written on tables of stone, and afterwards in the Scriptures
. From this it is clear that the moral Law given to Israel by Moses was but a transcript, or compendium, of the Law which God, in the creation, had stamped upon the moral nature of man. . . . The moral Law, therefore, was not altogether new in the time of the exodus; nor
was it something exclusively for Israel, but was a gift for the whole race, and therefore, must be of perpetual validity.
Romans 6:14"For ye are not under the Law, but under grace"
This is the favorite verse with those who take the position that the Law has no relation to believers of this dispensation. "Not under the Law" is explicit, and seems final. What, then, have we to say concerning it? This: that like every other verse in the Bible, it must not be divorced from its context, but is to be studied and faithfully interpreted in the light of its context. What, then, is the context about? First, what is the remote context concerned with? Second, what is the theme of the immediate context? By the remote context we mean, the Epistle as a whole. This is always the first thing to be weighed in connection with the exposition of any passage. Failure here is responsible for the great majority of misinterpretations and erroneous applications of Scripture. It should be carefully noted that the words "Ye are not under the Law" but "under grace" are found not in Hebrews, but in Romans.
This, of itself, should warn us that "not under Law" needs to be understood in a modified sense. If it were true that the Law has been abrogated, then the Epistle to the Hebrews would be the one place of all others where we should expect to find this taught. The theme of Hebrews is, The superiority of Christianity over Judaism (This theme is developed by showing the superiority of Christ~the Center and Life of Christian it~over angels, Adam, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, and the whole Levitical economy). In the expansion of this theme the apostle, again and again, shows how the prominent things in Judaism are not obsolete~see chapter 7 for the changing of the priesthood, from the Aaronic to the Melchizedek order; chapters 8 and 9 for the substitution of the new covenant for the old, etc. And yet, not a word is said in it that the Law is now supplanted by grace.
"Not under the Law, but under grace" is found in Romans, the great theme of which is, the gospel reveals the righteousness of God: how this righteous is imparted and the system under which we come to have a knowledge of God's righteousness AND the effect it should have on our conduct. The prominent feature of the first eight chapters of Romans is that they treat of the judicial side of Gospel-truth, rather than with the experimental and practical. Romans 3 through 5, especially, treat of justification and its consequences. In the light of this fact
it is not difficult to discover the meaning of 6:14. "Ye are not under Law, but under grace" signifies, Ye are under a system of gratuitous justification
. "The whole previous argument explains this sentence. He refers to our acceptance. He goes back to the justification of the guilty, ‘without the deeds of the Law’, the act of free grace
; and briefly restates it thus, that he may take up afresh the position that this glorious liberation means not a license to live as one desires to live, but that we must yields our members a servants of righteousness...for whoever one yeilds their members to, that is to whom they belong to.
"Ye are not under the Law but under grace". The contrast is not between the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ, as two economies or dispensations
, rather is it a contrast between Law and grace as the principles of two methods of justification
, the one false, the other true; the one of human devising, the other of Divine provision. "Law" and "grace" here are parallel with "the Law of works" and "the Law of faith" in 3:27! Romans 6:14 was just as true of the Old Testament saints as of New Testament believers
. Caleb, Joshua, David, Elijah, Daniel were no more "under Law" in the sense that these words are used in Romans 6:14, than Christians are today. Instead, they were "under grace" in the matter of their justification, just as truly as we are.
"‘Not under the Law’ does not mean, Not under obligation to obey the precepts of the moral Law; but signifies, Not keeping the Law in order to be free from condemantion
. The apostle asserts in this verse that Christians are not under the Law, as an actual, effectual adequate means of justification, and if they are so, their case is utterly hopeless
and Christ died in vain; based on Galatinas 2:20, and other scriptures. That this is all that he means is apparent from the sequel of his remarks (6:15—8:39
). What can be plainer, than that the moral Law as ‘precept’ is altogether approved and recognized by him. See chapter 7:12-14
. Nay, so far is the apostle from pleading for oblivion or repeal of moral precepts, that he asserts directly (8:3, 4) that the Gospel is designed to secure obedience to these moral precepts; which the Law was unable to do. It is, then, from the Law viewed in this sense, and this only, namely, as inadequate to effect the justification and secure the obedience of sinners, that the apostle declares us to be free.
The force of Rom. 6:14 becomes more apparent if we observe what follows it. In the very next verse we read, "What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid". This anticipates an objection: If we are not under the Law as the ground of our justification, then are we to be lawless? The inspired answer is, God forbid. Nothing is more self-evidently certain then, that if the moral Law is not a rule of life to believers, they are at liberty to disregard its precepts. But the apostle rejects this error with the utmost abhorrence. We quote here a part of Calvin’s comments on Rom. 6:15: "But we are much deceived if we think, that the righteousness which God approves of in His Law is abolished, when the Law is abrogated; for the abrogation is by no means to be applied to the precepts which teach the right way of living, as Christ confirms and sanctions these, and does not abrogate them; but the right view is, that nothing is taken away but the curse
, to which men without grace are subject". (Red highlight is mine.) Did you noticed what Calvin added:
to which men without grace are subject
All men outside of Jesus Christ are under the law in a sense in which believers are not under the law, and we should add, the ONLY means that they have of entering into life is BY THE LAW, which as we know is impossible!
In what follows, to the end of this chapter and chapter seven, the apostle shows that though the believer is "not under Law" as the ground of his justification
, nevertheless, he is under the Law as a rule of his Christian life
, that is, he is under obligations to obey its moral precepts. In v. 18 (which contains the positive answer to the question asked in v. 15) the apostle declares, "being then made free from sin, ye became the servants (bond-slaves) of righteousness". Again in v. 22 he says, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness". Observe carefully, it is not here said "servants of Christ", nor "servants of the Father", which would bring in quite another thought, but "servants of God", which enforces the believer’s responsibility to the Law-giver. That this is the meaning of Rom. 6:18 and 22 is clear from 7:25, where the apostle says, "So then with the mind I myself serve THE LAW OF GOD".
Much more to come....RB