The Ancient Faith

hourglass

In pursuit of a biblical theology I was led back to the Early Church Fathers (Ante-Nicene). Men like Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement, Ignatius, Theophilus, etc. In these men I didn’t find a systematic theology, but I did find something better. I found something completely other than modern theology (anything after Constantine). These men didn’t try to find something in Scripture that had been “lost” or had never been “discovered” in the first place. Instead they sought to faithfully pass on what had been handed down from the Apostles, the Faith that was once and for all delivered to the Church. Most of their writings is either an explanation of this complete faith or a defense of it. They didn’t want to “develop” an intricate and comprehensive theology, they wanted to “maintain” what they called the rule of faith.

Basically, they taught several basic beliefs, and spent the rest of the time teaching how Christians should live. And they taught these things with authority as something that had been handed down from the Apostles. They didn’t simply appeal to Scripture, but they also had the living witness of what all the churches had always taught. It is this practice that the Roman Catholic Church later perverted by teaching that the Church has authority in and of itself. But the early church leaders (100 A.D. – 300 A.D.) maintained that the Church only had authority because they could prove they were still teaching the same doctrines and practices the Apostles had handed over to “faithful men who then taught other faithful men” (2 Tim. 2:2). Because of this confidence the early church did not often quibble over differences. They had very few differences, and on these basic points they didn’t have any. Since they only considered the doctrines and practices handed down by the Apostles as the Christian Faith, they spoke with one voice and that one voice had authority.

Our Goals

They goal of this post, and the ones that follow, is not to convince you of the importance of the Early Church Fathers. Each reader will have to decide that for themselves. I have chosen to submit my perspectives and opinions not only to the Scriptures but also to the overall consensus of the Early Church Leaders. The Bible is my ultimate rule of faith. But reading the Bible in a historical vacuum has lead to the multitude of groups we have nowadays claiming to believe “the Bible only.” The world is not impressed by every believer explaining why their group is the group that is the most faithful to the Bible. The secret is out; the unbelieving world has already noticed that every group makes the same claim. The goal of this series of posts is merely to give an introduction to what the Early Church believed the Christian Faith to be.

It has been argued by some, that Origen in his book “On First Principles” (230 A.D.) gave the Church the first systematic theology. I don’t know if that is true or not. But I have found something very useful in the preface of that book. He explains that there are some things that all Christians had agreed upon for the first 200 years of the Church. These points he said were not disputed by anybody in the Apostolic Church, but all had always agreed these things were clearly handed down by the Apostles. He then gives us a list of these indisputable tenets of the Apostolic Faith. I have read from most of the authors before Origen, and I can testify that Origen’s summary of the teaching of the Early Church Fathers is accurate. It should be noted that we have only about 3,000-4,000 pages of writings before Origen, but there were surely much more writings available in his day. From his summary we get a great testimony that the Early Church experienced a wonderful consensus on what the Apostles taught.

So in this post and the ones that follow I will quote from his summary and they give some comments on his thoughts. Because the translation I have of his book is rather out of date, some of the biblical names are spelled differently. And some of his way of thinking will need to be explained. None of the Early Church leaders were white Europeans living in the 21st century.
One final note before we jump in. Origen eventually came to believe some strange things. For example he believed that everyone, including Satan, would eventually be saved at some point in the course of eternity. As far as I know, he might teach that very thing in the book I will be quoting from. But before he begins on his theological journey in the main body of his book, he first clarifies what ALL Christians knew and believed up until his day. His theological innovations are what they are, but we are not here concerned with those issues. We are just using his summary of the Early Church teachings as a springboard to understanding the Apostolic Faith. So let’s jump in!

Origen’s Comments

In his preface he writes, “The particular points clearly delivered in the teaching of the apostles are as follows: Firstly, That there is one God, who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into being- God from the first creation and foundation of the world- the God of all just men, of Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Enoch, Noah, Sere, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets; and that this God in the last days, as He had announced beforehand by his prophets, sent our Lord Jesus Christ to call in the first place Israel to Himself, and in the second place the Gentiles, after the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel. This just and good God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself gave the law and the prophets, and the Gospels, being also the God of the apostles and of the Old and New Testaments.”

Not much needs to be said here. Christians nowadays agree that there is one God. And that he created out of nothing. That is that matter was not eternally existent, but was created by the Word of God. And we all agree that the God of the Old Testament and the New is the same God. But we agree on these points because of the battles the early church fought for these truths. The Gnostic sect(s) taught that the god who created the physical world made a mess of things. They believed that matter was inherently evil and that another greater god sent Jesus to give us knowledge of this higher god. This heresy still influences how we look down on our physical bodies as “unspiritual.” It is one reason we talk more about “going to heaven” instead of being “resurrected from the dead.” Another sect called Marcionism taught that the Old Testament God was purely just and vengeful. But the New Testament God was only loving and forgiving. Recently I have heard of some preachers preaching what has been termed “hyper-grace.” This is just Marcionism resurrected from the dead. The easy-believism that that teaches that if you say a prayer and invite Jesus into your heart then you are saved no matter what happens afterwards because “you are God’s child and he loves you,” is another form of modern day Marcionsim.

The only other thing I feel is worth noting in Origen’s comments is what he says about God calling the Jews first. This is mentioned often in passages like Romans 9-11. The Jewish/Gentile controversy of the early church was core to understanding the Gospel. Ignorance of these issues has led Calvinism to misunderstand the context of passages like Romans chapter 9 and Ephesians chapter 1. The Calvinist interpretation of these passages never entered the mind of the early church because they were aware of the Jewish/Gentile context of the Gospel.

To Be Continued…

16 thoughts on “The Ancient Faith

  1. Elkhanan,

    I am not sure what you think, I am thinking about you. I do not have all the vocabulary you have, and I am sure you are more educated than I, but I will attempt to answer you.

    I assumed the original point of the post was making faith to complicated and missing the simplicity of it.

    As I read your comments scripture popped into my mind as you made your points. So if I understand what I think you are saying. It sounds like you and I are on the same page.

    My original point on commenting on this post was that Paul’s gospel was the Law of Moses and the Prophets, not some special revelation that some say he got in Sinai. Those who believe this justify strange doctrine. I believe scripture is full of evidence that Paul and the others had only one source for their gospel. The Law of Moses and the Prophets.

    Which by the way makes us look at Romans a little differently.

    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    Paul’s gospel is spelled out in the next verse.

    Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    And expounded on further.

    Rom 3:21-23 KJV But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

    Many think that Paul is speaking of his special revelation he received at Mt. Sinai when we read Rom 1:16. He simply is not. The NT is an explanation of the gospel testified to in the OT. This is why some much is spoken of Abraham and what God did for Abraham and how we gentiles are now included in what God did for Abraham through Christ becoming a curse on the tree.

    Gal 3:13-14 KJV Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    I too could go on and on concerning this, with scripture upon scripture to show the truth of what I am hinting at. So back to my point. Christians can over complicate the message because they are looking for new revelation that is not found in the Law of Moses and the Prophets.

    For example, I do not see once saved always saved in the OT and I can show NT scripture that teaches exactly what was taught in the prophets concerning this. Yet there are those who say the OT has nothing to do with our gospel and rely on Paul’s so called new revelation which they have to imply.

    My thoughts and I am sure my opinion.

    glasseyedave
    thegospelaccordingtothegospel.com

  2. Dave,
    So do you believe the Law of Moses was a type of the Law of Christ, or that they are one and the same?
    Example: Do you believe Christians should practice passover?
    Trying to get ur point;)

    Christopher,

    Is the Law or Moses a type of Christ? Scripture tells us that it was a shadow of the things to come in Christ. As we know God told Moses to be very careful to write everything down correctly and with detail concerning this shadow of heavenly things.

    Heb 8:5-6 KJV Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. (6) But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

    And again…

    Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

    But is more than just a type and shadow for us. Paul’s own testimony is that in this Law (which I think we all can agree means the books of Moses) and the prophets testify to a righteousness from God apart from observing the Law.

    Rom 3:20-22 KJV Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

    How can I be so confident that the Law means the books of Moses and not just what was received on Mt. Sinai? Paul’s own writings speak of Abraham both in Romans and Galatians. For Paul, gentiles were included in the promises given to Abraham, so Paul’s comments about the Law are more than just the code.

    Gal 3:13-14 KJV Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    So the Law of Moses is the gospel, and apart from observing the Law the righteousness of God is testified to in the Law and the Prophets. Hence Paul is still teaching from these when he finally makes it to Rome. He is not teaching from a rough draft of the NT, nor is he preaching from some new revelation that some think he got from Jesus in Mt. Sinai.

    So strong is this idea of the Law of Moses being the testimony of the Gospel, the righteousness of God revealed (apart from observing the Law) that the writer of Hebrews said those at Mt. Sinai had the same gospel preached to them as we did to us. Speaking of those in the desert…

    Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

    I know it is a long winded way of saying things but it seems that what I am saying is not taught. I certainly could throw a whole bunch more verses into this but we haven’t the space. And I like to quote scripture and not just state ideas.

    Concerning observing the Law such as Passover, here are a couple more verses:

    Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

    Col 2:13-14 KJV And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

    Gal 5:2-5 KJV Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (5) For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

    In Gal 5:5 is exactly what Paul is saying in Romans 3:22.

    So no, Christians are not to serve or observe the Law, but by living in the Spirit they fulfill the righteousness of the Law, that is if they live in the Spirit.

    Should I go on?

    glasseyedave
    thegospelaccordingtothegospel.com

    1. Dave,
      Im glad for your last sentence otherwise i wud have misunderstood u still;) i agree Christians must obey the Law of God, righteous requirements of God. But not the Law of Moses that was a shodow & schoolmaster.

      Thx
      Gbu

      1. Christopher,

        I would say it, teach it and put my faith in it, differently. I truly believe that the Law has no hold on the believer whatsoever, so it is not a matter that the believer must obey the Law of God.

        Instead I see something different presented in the gospel.

        We are to be born again of the Spirit if we want eternal life.

        Joh 3:3-8 KJV Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (8) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

        I think Paul does a wonderful job explaining how this happens in a persons life in Romans chapter 6.

        Rom 6:3-7 KJV Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.

        Paul teaches that our old man was crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and like Christ believers are to be raised to newness of life in Christ Jesus. The result being, we are dead to sin. All of this by the grace of God, for we could do none of this for ourselves. (I believe God’s grace is not conclusively comprised of only having our sins forgiven, I believe it is what Paul describes here.)

        I like to say Salvation is not what God does for the believer, Salvation is what God does in the believer.

        For brevity I will not quote scripture but give the teaching of scriptures.

        If we are born of the Spirit we have the fruit of the Spirit, having such fruit there is no way we can violate the Law. As scripture says, those who live in the Spirit fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law. Not that we must, but because what we have become through Christ making us new creatures in creation.

        This is how Paul can say those who live according to the Spirit will not satisfy the flesh. This is how John can say those who abide in Christ do not sin. This is how Paul can say in two different letters, those who live righteously will inherit eternal life, those who live in unrighteousness only wrath.

        This is how John can say, only those who do righteousness is righteous as Christ is righteous. (Which completely goes against the teaching of the church that reduces grace down to forgiveness only.)

        This is how Paul can say there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who live according the Spirit and not the flesh.

        This is how Jesus can judge the churches in Revelation as lukewarm and loosing their first love, because they left the Spirit.

        This is how Paul can tell the Galatian church, (believers mind you) if they choose to be circumcised Christ is no value to them they will die in their sins.

        This is how John the Baptist can say to those who repent, produce fruit in keeping with your repentance. If you do not you will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

        I could go on and on. But the point is this. Christ died for the sins of the world. Hebrews says he tasted death for every man. So salvation is something God has done for everyone. But only those who live in faith are those who will be saved. Exactly what Hebrews teaches us.

        Summarize:

        Grace is more than just our sins forgiven, it is given us the power to live in the Spirit because we are born of the Spirit, by which the believer can fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law without observing the Law. Scripture says the Law was made for the lawbreaker. In the Spirit we are not the lawbreakers. Paul says over and over again we are dead to the Law. In Galatians he says if we live according to the Law we are like Hagar who is not of the promise. Remember the Law did not nullify the promise given to Abraham 430 years earlier, according to Paul.

        I will stop, but I could go on and on. This is the lens by which I read scripture. It really helps get past the debate between John and James.

        If the believer is not having the fruit of the Spirit which is supposed to be in them, are they really believers? Or are they who believe for a while and fall away somewhere on the path, but never produce fruit?

        glasseyedave
        thegospelaccordingtothegospel.com

  3. I see how, like me, you are trying to find the whole truth of the gospel, where your not left with some parts contridicting other parts. “I just could never square any such modern theologies with all of scripture.”

    Boy do I understand that!

    Here is a portion of my purpose page and at the heart, where I am struggling with the same thing you are.

    Over and over again Paul defends his gospel based on two sources. They are the Law of Moses and the Prophets. He never once makes any reference to any rough draft of a New Testament in his writings. More importantly, he never ever makes mention of any special revelation that he supposedly received at Mt. Sinai. Even in the last chapter of the book of Acts Paul’s gospel is still exclusively preached from the Law of Moses and the Prophets.

    Christianity has a tendency to justify its doctrine based upon the theologians, thinking they are understanding Paul’s revelation from Mt. Sinai. The fruit of this creates such huge divisions as Armenian thought verses Calvinism or Reform Theology, which boils down to such issues of once saved always saved, or did Jesus die for everyone, or does man have free will.

    The Gospel According to the Gospel comes from the perspective that the revelation that Paul received was not as some envision it. Paul did not sit at Jesus’ feet in Arabia and get a whole new gospel. What Paul got was a new look at the same old “boring” text of the Law of Moses and the Prophets.

    There is a huge difference between the frame work of these two understandings. One leads to look for so called “new and original” thoughts never expressed before in scripture through the writings of the New Testament. Secondly, it tends to consider obsolete existing ideas found in the Law of Moses and the Prophets which was the only text of Paul’s gospel.

    For me this is at the heart of what is wrong with modern doctrine. I don’t think Christians should look for something new, like you said, because they assume Paul got something new, but in a completely different form than what theologians think.

    glasseyedave
    thegospelaccordingtothegospel.com

    1. Dave,
      Well i believe, along with the whole early church, the mystery of the Gospel was given to the apostles. Jesus “opened their minds to understand the law & the prophets.” This eternal mystery that was “hidden to previous generations” was revealed to the Apostles. The NT bears out that they did not interpret the OT in the same old Jeudaistic way. Everything was a type & a shodow that revealed the mystery of Christ.
      If you are referring to the Hebraic Roots movement, then i have to disagree. The Apostles & the early church spoke with a unified & clear voice that the Torah is fulfilled & ends in Christ.
      Origen will touch on this in later posts. The Law is to be interpreted “spiritually”. This was the teaching of the early church, including Paul. Those that say that Paul taught people to obey the Torah are teaching what Paul calls “another gospel.” Though they have many ways to twist Paul to say the very oppisite of what he said, the early church continued his battle against Judaizing, & they were as clear about it as Paul himself, sometimes more so. Christians are NOT to obey the Torah, but the Law of Christ. The Torah was a mere shadow. Paul learned this from Jesus Christ himself (Gal1-2) as did yhe other Apostles (Luke24:44-49)
      Maybe i misunderstood your point because recently i have been dealing with the Hebraic Roots heresy in my ministry, if so please ignore me;)
      Gbu
      Chris

      1. You are reading too much into my comment. Your post is about simpler faith, and you complilcated my comment because of your learning.

        I understand the Law is was until Christ, that the Law which came 430 years later did not nullify the promise. I also understand that in the Spirit we can fulfill all righteousness of the Law.

        Salvation is not what God does for the believer, Salvation is what God does in the believer.

        glasseyedave
        thegospelaccordingtothegospel,com

      2. Dave,
        Haha, thanks for putting it so kindly;) but i dont think it is my “great learning that has driven me mad”;), but that i seem to face that Hebraic Roots thing everywhere i turn nowaday. So basically i am seeing ghosts;) lol
        Anyways, very sorry for misunderstanding you. Actually i have read some things by you in the past & didnt ever get the impression you were of that persuasion so i thought i might be misunderstanding you. Sorry again about that!
        Gbu
        Chris

      3. Dear Chris,

        I too have come across the “Hebraic Roots” heresy (a strong word but I believe correctly applied) and it takes on multiple forms. There is ‘Heggism’ One Law (Compulsory Torah observance for both Jews and Gentiles), the leading proponent of which is Tim Hegg. There is the Messianic Judaism Torah Observance (Torah Oberservance mandatory for all believing Jews), and there is even an Orthodox Messianic Jewish Torah observance wing (characterised by such as Gene Shlomovitch) who advocate Torah plus Rabbinic tradition as mandatory for Jewish believers.

        Then there is Bivinism which effectively writes off most of the NT as a bad translation of a Hebrew original, effectively subverting the authority of the Scriptures to Rabbinic tradition by another route.

        It has not escaped my notice that most people involved in the Hebrew Roots/Heggite phenomena are mostly Gentiles.

        What all of these reflect is a feeling of rootlessness amongst both Jewish and Gentile believers. A desire to connect their faith to something more than 500 years old, or even 180 years old for that matter. This leaves a lot of believers vulnerable to spiritual deception because most of them do not have the exegetical or language skills or historical knowledge to avoid being taken in. People such as Hegg and Bivin are learned, verbally adroit and can present what at first seems to be a convincing case for their position. Contemporary Dispensational Christianity has so many holes and inconsistencies in it and does not harmonise well with the Scriptures on a number of issues, this makes it easy for false teachers to undermine and subvert their doctrinal basis in a number of areas.

        I have a number of friends in the UK who are still caught up in these deceptions, sadly. Though these things are much less of a problem here in the Land.

      4. Hi Chris
        As with all good heresies, the errors within the HR movement are concealed beneath a veneer of truth. Namely that the Scriptures we hold in our hand is essentially a book that originated in a Jewish cultural context, it’s thought forms and idioms are essentially Hebraic, and it is always corrrect to seek to understand the Word of God in its original and cultural context, before we can think of applying it to ours, because if we get this bit wrong, we can misunderstand and misapply (hence Calvinism etc). So far so good. BUT…

        From what I have seen the most dangerous of these to Gentile believers actually is the Heggism/One Law movement. Because of an inbuilt resistance to Tradition over Scripture, most evangelicals that I have come across who get ensnared by this are rightfully chairy about mixing Rabbinism with Scripture, but Heggism is more like a kind of modern day Karaism. Hegg tries to base his One Law teachings on Scripture alone, and he is a clever and articulate individual. Refuting his arguments takes time, study and thought. Hegg like Darby to a great extent rejects historic orthodoxy, claiming to be sola scriptura though interestingly enough he is essentially Calvinist.

        For Hegg, the New Covenant is essentially a re-newed covenant, not something essentially new. Thus it is Mosaic Law plus, release from slavery to sin, plus the Holy Spirit to enable us to keep it, and an effective means of atonement when we fail. I am probably over-simplifying for the sake of brevity, but that is essentially it.

        I am no expert on this movement but my personal thoughts are that Heggism fails on at least four things:

        Underestimating the nature of the New Covenant and its far reaching implications and misunderstanding what Jesus meant when He said he had not come to abolish the Law but fulfil it.

        A failure to take into account the temporary nature of the Old Covenant.

        A failure to comprehend what has actually happened to us, who are now in Christ.

        From what I have observed Heggism produces a kind of self-isolating cult group mentality, coupled with a kind of judgmentalism that looks down on others who are not “Torah Observant”. We have had problems with people who have got into this and would not eat with others and/or even accused them of serving non-kosher (not kosher slaughtered) food. When the couple in question responded that in fact (for the sake of peace) they actually HAD served them kosher meat, they were accused of lying. It was a most unpleasant situation.

        I could relate a number of other incidents, but I am sure that you will have some of your own by now, by the sound of it.

      5. Well, I am certainly none of the above.

        I contend, like Paul said, that by observing the Law no one is counted righteous, but at the same time the Law and the prophets testify to a righteousness from God through faith in Jesus Christ.

        Rom 3:20-22 KJV Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

        This is why we still see Paul teaching from the Law of Moses and the Prophets in the last chapter of Acts, instead of some new revelation that some think he got in Saudi Arabia. Which along with this kind of thinking, allows so called teachers to justify all kinds of teaching in the name of Paul’s new revelation.

        What Paul taught was directly related to the Law of Moses and the Prophets. This is why we see so much about Abraham in his writings. What was promised to Abraham was not nullified by the coming of the Law.

        Gal 3:17-18 KJV And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. (18) For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

        And now, according to Paul, this promise is what we gentiles get to participate in by which we receive the Holy Spirit.

        Gal 3:13-14 KJV Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

        So when Paul says in Romans…

        Rom 1:16-17 KJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

        … he is speaking of the Law of Moses and the Prophets, the same stuff he is preaching from when he finally makes it to Rome, many years after he wrote his letter to the Romans.

        Even Jesus said the Law of Moses testified of Him. The disciples said they found the one of whom Moses wrote. Hebrews said those at Mt. Sinai had the same gospel preached to them that we did to us, but they did not combine it with faith. The same thing we have to do today.

        Bottom line, we gain nothing by observing the Law. But if we live in the Spirit we do not violate the Law with the fruits of the Spirit. In fact, scripture testifies, we fulfill the righteousness of the Law in the life of the Spirit. All of this by being born again.

        The Law and the prophets for Paul and those whose letters we read (NT) was the gospel.

        glasseyedave
        thegospelaccordingtothegospel.com

      6. Dave,
        So do you believe the Law of Moses was a type of the Law of Christ, or that they are one and the same?
        Example: Do you believe Christians should practice passover?
        Trying to get ur point;)

      7. Dave I am not sure what point you are actually making. I am assuming that perhaps you think I am antinomian or something? The way I understand it is that the Torah had a number of functions:

        It was a national legal code for jurisprudence.
        It was a regulatory code for divine worship.
        It laid out ethical teaching and regulated interpersonal behaviour.
        It laid clearly what God demanded of Man.
        It pointed to the One who was to come.
        It served to separate Israel from the nations and protect the testimony of God.
        I contained the covenant details and God’s promises to man.
        etc…

        I would say that the Mosaic covenant has been superseded by the New Covenant. So in that sense it has lost its legal force for the believer.

        Not only so but our relationship to the Torah has changed -we have died to it -so we do not approach that on a legal basis.

        People often equate the Law with the Mosaic Covenant, but actually that is a misunderstanding. Law (Greek Nomos) was not intended to be (and could not be) an adequate translation of the Hebrew word Torah (teaching). The Greek word must be understand merely as a kind of semantic marker representing the Hebrew word and not in the literal strict sense of merely a legal code which is the meaning of the Greek word.

        Torah might include the Mosaic Covenant, but it is much more than legal codes. it is still teaching and informing, still pointing to the Messiah, still showing Man his sin and revealing the holiness of God. I don’t believe the principles taught within the Torah are temporal, or will ever pass away and this is what I think Jesus was referring to in Matt 5:17-20. For the unbeliever whether Jew or Greek his deeds will be judged by the principles in it. Paul says this most specifically, (see Romans.2).

        For the believer the Holy Spirit takes the principles within the Torah and illuminates them -using them to teach us His will and ways and conforming us to the image of Christ as we obey them.

        I know as I write this, that I am not doing the subject justice -this topic has its complexities and I have omitted huge swathes of stuff and of course I could be responding to a point that you were not making, because I am not sure what point you were actually making. 😉

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