Biblical Law ALWAYS has the SAME Purpose

When we compare the Old and New Covenants we are also comparing two different versions of God’s law. The law of the Old Covenant is the Mosaic law and the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:27-28, Nehemiah 8:1). The law of the New Covenant is the law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19-21). Even though both versions of the law of God are different from each other they both do the same things. For both the believer and the unbeliever law shows us our sin (1 John 3:4). For the unbeliever the law is condemning  (Romans 6:23, Deuteronomy 28:15-45). For the believer the law tells him how he is to show his love for God (1 John 5:3). In the Old Covenant era God was emphasizing law as it relates to unbelievers, since Israel was a temporary, unbelieving picture of the people of God (Romans 9:30-10:4, Hebrews 8:7-13). In the New Covenant era God was emphasizing law as it relates to believers (1 John 2:3-6). But, in both the Old and New Covenant eras law functioned identically. In the Old Covenant era David tells us that for him, a believer, his keeping of the Mosaic law was out of love for his God (Psalm 119:97ˆ). In the New Covenant era the law of Christ was condemning for those who were not believers (Romans 6:23).

So… in both eras law does the same thing. The only difference is that our God is primarily focusing on unbelievers in the Old Covenant era and believers in the New Covenant era. It could be said that each Covenant era has a different flavor of law.

14 thoughts on “Biblical Law ALWAYS has the SAME Purpose

  1. Geoff: It was good to have the opportunity to be together again last week!

    Here is a suggestion for an editorial correction to what you have posted above.
    In the following sentence I think you need to replace the word “law” with “love” in the second occurrence, “In the Old Covenant era David tells us that for him, a believer, his keeping of the Mosaic law was out of law for his God (Psalm 119:97ˆ).”

    Also, by way of comment or reaction, this post appears to express a degree of continuity between the covenantal “laws” that I don’t remember picking up in your writings previously. Discontinuity seems to be quite minimized. Are you consciously moving in this direction, or is this just my perception, and not a shift in how you have expressed this relationship in the past?

  2. John, I too enjoyed our time together at the Bunyan Conference. My views on law have never changed. It just depends what questions you are asking. There is no emphasis on law in the New Covenant era since the basis of change is the new heart. But, once you have a new heart you still need to know how to show your love for God. The answer is that you must keep his commandments (1 John 5:3). So, the law of Christ, which is loving as Christ loved (John 13:34-35), eventually turns into specific laws that we are required to keep (1 John 3:4). I think that you must make a distinction between the discontinuity of the two covenants and the function of law in general. Bye the way, thanks for pointing out the correction. Geoff

  3. Sorry guys, the law of Moses is condemning, but not convicting. The law condemns everyone, and is therefore not a work of the gospel at all. The elect are saved by the power of the gospel, not by the power of the law in any way.

  4. Gary, thanks for your comments. I think that you missed my point. The Mosaic law is convicting if the Spirit is using it to show someone in the Old Covenant era that they are a terrible sinner. No version of law has any power over us if the Holy Spirit is not using it.

  5. No, the only real conviction comes when the gospel shows someone they are not believing in Christ. You do remember Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 right?

    Everyone feels guilt. The law has nothing to do with salvation and does not make the heart ready for anything. If you think so you are protestant in NCT clothing. So was Reisinger, so is Geof Volker.

    Sorry, the scripture does not reflect that position.

  6. Remember, if I may add, that the listeners of Peter were cut to the heart by the gospel. It is said that the gospel is a two edged sword. No need for guilt of law to save because it can’t because the law was not meant to save, ever.

  7. Gary,
    Romans 7:7-12 describes how the law shows us our sin. Paul is describing how he thought that he was fine until the law was used to show him that he was in real trouble. Please be careful to be kind in your responses. We may disagree on this issue but we are not talking about the gospel.

  8. Yes, but that happens to everyone, even those who have a conscience not guided by the OT law. Their conscience accuses them. So, that has nothing to do with the gospel, just explains the function of law and conscience for everyone on the earth.

  9. Let me add a sobering thought. If a man counts guilt of law as conviction of faith, he is NOT SAVED. That is scripture, as the gospel is the sword that cuts both to salvation and condemnation. Peter’s people were CUT TO THE HEART, not by law, but by the gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ.

  10. Gary,
    I never said that conviction of law is conviction of faith. You cannot come to Christ unless you first see your need of him. Conviction of sin is a necessary prerequisite for believing the gospel message.

  11. Also, Geoff, the new law of Christ is fulfilled by the elect. The old law of Moses was most certainly not fulfilled by anyone but Christ. The new law of Christ is fulfilled by faith to the end. The old law of Moses was not fulfilled, although David delighted in the commandments. Had he fulfilled that law perfectly, there would have been no need for Christ.

  12. There is no such thing as conviction by law. There is only condemnation by law. Conviction by law is a myth. It is a make believe doctrine that is bankrupt and not of Christ. The only conviction is by gospel.

    All men feel guilt. That is irrelevant to the elect being convicted by the gospel. If anyone counts guilt of law, preparation by law, as being something that is necessary to salvation, they are deceived. All men have guilt. Children have guilt.

    It is therefore, not a preparatory work for salvation and everyone who teaches it is is lost.

  13. Gary, No one fulfills the law of Christ perfectly (Galatians 5:17). It is only the cross that perfectly pays for our sins and give us a standing with God as though we have obeyed perfectly when in reality we have only had all our sins forgiven.

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