Tuesday, September 12, 2017

No Law! Yes, Really

David Gay has issued, and very quickly published, in pdf and audio-sermon form, a critique of my comment in the New Covenant Grace group. Sadly, every single one of his criticisms is flawed and invalid. He quotes me:

No Law!

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such things there is no law (Galatians 5 vs23 ESV). This verse is indisputable. It cannot be implied that Paul only intends to say that the law of Moses alone is not in play – he plainly says ‘NO LAW OF ANY KIND And this indicates that when he says, so many times, elsewhere, that the believer is not ‘under law , he also means ‘ not under any law Not merely ‘ not no longer under the law of Moses , as some would like to have it, although the Gentile never was anyway.


Comments on DG’s pdf. His words in bold:
1. I freely admit that the phrase ‘the law of Christ is not used in any of those passages, but what else can they be referring to? (Quoting various passages)
Note: So this is a presupposed conclusion, from elsewhere, which has been imposed on these texts. I, and others, have commented on the passages he mentions elsewhere, and shown how they do not indicate or imply that they belong in a collated 'law of Christ'.


2. 1. If these two believers are right, this can only mean that believers, not being under any law, are not under the law of the land in which they live, and they do not have to obey it.
Note: This is quite evidently not what the original statement is about. The ‘no law’ statement in Galatians 5 is concerned with God’s law, not man’s law. This is a rather spurious observation.


3. 2. If these two believers are right, why do the Scriptures stress that believers are bondservants of Christ?
Note: This is a logical fallacy. It reasons:
a. Believers are under the ‘yoke’ of Christ
b. The Jews were under the ‘yoke’ of the Law Moses
c. Therefore the Law of Moses was a ‘yoke’
d. Therefore, all ‘yokes’ are laws
e. Therefore believers are under the law of Christ


This is a logical fallacy of the kind
a) All dogs have four legs
b) Cats have four legs
c) Therefore, all cats are dogs


A ‘yoke’ was the coupling device used to tether animals together to pull, for example, a plough. The plain, analogous meaning is a picture, not a definition. There is no reason to equate it with ‘law’. This is imposed upon it, and it stretches the analogy to suit DGs purpose. Are ploughing oxen ‘yoked’ with law? Does ‘unequally yoked with unbelievers’ mean ‘unequally lawed’?


4. 3. If these two believers are right, why do the Scriptures stress that believers are married to Christ?
Note: Again, this is a picture -an illustration. And its point is that believers have ‘died to the law’. Nowhere does it state that subsequently they are ‘married to another law’. Paul says they are now 'married to Christ', not to 'the law of Christ'. DG reads that into the illustration.


5. 4. If these two believers are right, this can only mean that believers never sin.
Note: Again, a ludicrous accusation. It is patently obvious that I made the statement and yet I do not hold that believers never sin. Our display of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is a ‘work in progress’ – we are not always consistent. Paul is saying that ‘against this fruit-manifesting display of the Spirit’ there is ‘no law’, as I have explained in my comment. Not that against any aspect of the believers life, there is no aspect of discipline ever required. Sadly this typifies DG’s extremising (see my book “Love – not Law”) – of pushing someone’s statement to an unwarranted extreme, then criticising them as if they said it!


Second, DG ignores Paul’s argument in Romans 2 and 5, which plainly states that there are two ‘kinds’ of sin – sin where there is a definitive command, and sin where there is not. Paul never says that the ‘law of conscience’ (a confused representation of what Paul actually says) was given ‘as law’ by God. Pagans are said to be 'without excuse' because their inward, moral sense points them in the same direction as 'what the Law requires'. Their conscience bears witness to this by either accusing OR EXCUSING them. This is no action of a God-given law - it is self-law. Pagans sin because of wickedness. Not because they break law. This is why the world was destroyed by God in the Flood. Genesis 6 refers.


6. 5. If these two believers are right, why did the apostle say what he did in 1 Corinthians 9:21?
Note: This has been addressed in my book “Love -not Law”. The use of anomos (without law) – and ennomos (in-lawed) need to be studied carefully, and they most certainly do not lead to the conclusions DG reaches. There are also articles on these two studies on my blog.


DG closes his ‘Stop Press’ alert with this:
“Finally, as I said, what might be the consequences if believers pick up the assertions on that Facebook thread, and run with them? Is there any danger that the idea of being law-less might morph into being lawless? How serious that would be!”


My answer –
DG is arguing with Paul himself, and with Scripture. Read Galatians 5 again!
And wait! DG has total ignored the rest of what I wrote. Here is the whole post:
*****
No Law!
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 ESV‬)


This verse is indisputable. It cannot be implied that Paul only intends to say that the Law of Moses alone is not in play - he plainly says 'NO LAW OF ANY KIND'. And this indicates that when he says, so many times, elsewhere, that the believer is not 'under law', he also means 'not under any law'. Not merely 'no longer under the Law of Moses', as some would like to have it, although the Gentile never was anyway.


The truth consistently taught throughout is that the believer in Christ lives by the operation of the Spirit in his/her heart and not by the 'dynamic' of obedience to God-given law of any description. That when this is so, and the child of God is keeping 'in step' with Him, the fruit He brings forth will be evident in their life, to the great glory of God, and the fleshly desires will be put to death, even as the flesh has been already crucified with Christ. That when this singular, nine-fold fruit is the abundant harvest of the saint, the appearance of obedience will also be there as a matter of course, for fruitfulness such as this shines Christ-likeness which far exceeds mere outward conformity. For love alone fulfills all of the old law, and even fulfills what Paul calls 'the law of Christ'.


Thus such a Godly, Christ-exalting lifestyle satisfies, fills out to overflowing, and exceeds anything any paltry law could ever be seen to require. Better try to bottle the bright shining of the sun than to attempt to define such Spirit-rich exuberance in terms of obedience to laws! And God's word does not do so.The truth consistently taught throughout is that the believer in Christ lives by the operation of the Spirit in his/her heart and not by the 'dynamic' of obedience to God-given law of any description. That when this is so, and the child of God is keeping 'in step' with Him, the fruit He brings forth will be evident in their life, to the great glory of God, and the fleshly desires will be put to death, even as the flesh has been already crucified with Christ. That when this singular, nine-fold fruit is the abundant harvest of the saint, the appearance of obedience will also be there as a matter of course, for fruitfulness such as this shines Christ-likeness which far exceeds mere outward conformity. For love alone fulfills all of the old law, and even fulfills what Paul calls 'the law of Christ'.

*****


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