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Mercy Over Law

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment (vv. 10-13).

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Categories: james, law

Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth

Leviticus 24:20 is notorious. People complain that, followed through to its logical conclusion, “the whole world will go blind.”

But nobody denies the necessity of a criminal justice system, and this law was intended to limit punishment, not perpetuate it.

If you allow one comparable punishment for a crime, then the felt need for justice is fulfilled. It is appropriate to suffer through a proportional human consequence for sin.

Categories: law, sin, suffering

Recap of Galatians 4

An analogy, quadrupled.

Law:Slave:Hagar:Mt. Sinai::Grace:Free:Sarah:Jerusalam

Live By the Spirit

In verses 16-18, Paul explains that people who are “led by the Spirit” are “not under law.”

  1. Paul tells his readers to live by the Spirit
  2. Living by the Spirit is important
  3. As a result, we will leave some desires unsatisfied
  4. Having desires is natural
  5. Some desires are inherently wrong
  6. The sinful nature opposes the Spirit
  7. The Spirit opposes the sinful nature
  8. Logically, this creates a biconditional
  9. The sinful nature and Spirit are mutually exclusive
  10. What desires fall outside these two opposing forces?
  11. Even when we want to follow the Spirit, we sometimes do what the sinful nature desires
  12. There is an internal battle, kind of like those cartoons with the angel and devil characters on each shoulder
  13. I used to think the concept illustrated by this kind of cartoon was entirely unbiblical
  14. But it’s very similar to what Paul describes in these verses
  15. If you are led by the Spirit, then you are not under law
  16. I wonder what this means.
  17. The contrapositive of this statement is: If you are under law, then you are not led by the Spirit.
  18. This means that asking people to follow the Spirit is logically equivalent to telling people that they’re under law
  19. This seems to be a stumbling block
  20. If you don’t see yourself as shackled by the law, then it’s hard to see the need for living by the Spirit
Categories: bible, Galatians, law, new testament, paul, Spirit Tags:

Freedom Is Not a Carte Blanche

Paul reminds the Galatians that just because Jesus’ sacrifice freed us from the Law, that doesn’t mean that we have permission to do anything.

We must “Love your neighbor as yourself” (v. 14b, quoting Leviticus 19:8).

Outline of Galatians 5

  1. Don’t rely upon following the Law
  2. Avoid sin
  3. Live out the fruit of the Spirit
Categories: bible, Galatians, law, outline, paul Tags: ,

You Want the Law?

Paul follows through the logical and spiritual implications of attempting to achieve righteousness through following the rules in the Bible.

In several different ways, he explains in verses 21-31 that this is moving away from God’s blessing, not toward it.

Categories: bible, law, new testament, paul Tags:
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