Thursday, April 30, 2009

The curse of the Law

This is a comment I left here, in argument with Rhology, which I wanted to preserve.

Is 'the curse of the Law' just about the Mosaic Law, or is it about all possible Laws anywhere? In other words, when God promises that in the New Covenant people will no longer tell each other 'follow the Law' because they will have the law written in their own hearts, is this describing a potentially universal spiritual truth (we won't need to rely on external Laws to guide us because we will have awakened consciences) or is it simply that the Law of Moses will have been 'programmed in' to all members of the Covenant?

I'm quite certain it is the former - in other words, Jesus awakens our consciences and gives us room to grow into the fullness of truth (I have some things to tell you that you cannot bear to hear now). This awakening comes from being set free from the fear of having to conform to this external code - because we all fall short of the glory of God and therefore any written code can end up (through the workings of guilt) depriving us of the freedom which is God's intention for us. More than this, Jesus several times gives the disciples authority to make their own decisions about sin - in other words we have the authority to decide what is a sin and what is not a sin.

It seems to me that, through being literalistic about what St Paul says, you miss the crucial spiritual teaching he is putting across. In other words, you have made "The Bible" into a new Law - Old Testament theology in New Testament clothes - and if St Paul were alive today I'm sure he would be talking about 'the curse of the Bible', were it not for the fact that most people don't use the Bible in this way. Because of this, you can't help but keep exposing your underlying fear of human sinfulness, including your own. The whole point of Christ's dying and rising again is to set us free from this process. We don't have to be afraid of our own sin any more, and consequently, we don't have to worry about whether our interpretations of Scripture are corrupted by our own sinfulness - of course they will be, and it doesn't matter. We're either going to be relying on our own judgements (and our own judgements INCLUDE deciding that Scripture is 'inerrant' in whatever denominational way you want to understand that) or else we are going to be relying on the Spirit to guide us and the wounds of Christ to hide us.

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