Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reply to Les Puryear on the Law

The Place of the OT Law in the Life of a Christian

1. We know what is sin by law.

Ans: The word "is" in Rom 3:20 is not in the Greek. Since 3:21 begins with "But now," 3:20 could be interpreted "by the law WAS the knowledge of sin." The "law" from Romans 3:1-18 is Psalms and Isaiah. Hebrews 1:1-2.

2. What place has the OT in the life of the Christian?

Reply: What place has English Law for Americans? The Old Covenant Law was given only to national Israel as Ex 19:5-6; Lev 27:34; Neh 10:29 and Mal 4:4. It was never commanded to the Gentiles or the Church as a covenant and was confirmed in Acts 15 and Acts 21. First Corinthians 10 makes it clear that we are to learn from their mistakes but it does not command us to obey its covenant.

3. Should we remove the OT from our bibles?

Reply: It has many valuable moral teachings, examples and prophecies which are beyond the letter of the Mosaic Law.

4. Should we ignore the teachings of the OT?

Reply: We should not kill disobedient children (Ex 21:15,17), Saturday Sabbath breakers and adulterers. We should see comparable teachings after Calvary.

5. Are you saying that now that we are saved, it doesn't matter that we know what is sin?

Reply: The entire Law was a shadow of God's righteous requirements for national Israel. According to John 16:8-9 the Holy Spirit now judges sin as defined by the righteousness seen in Jesus Christ.

6. Has Christ removed the Ten Commandments as guideline for how to live?

Reply: They never were commanded to the Gentiles as "Thou Shalt Nots." God did not command the Gentiles in the OT to keep His law. He commanded Israel NOT to share its covenant with others. Because Christians are "new creations" indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the "Thou Shalt Nots" for Israel are now "you will" results of obedience for yielded believers. In Romans 8:2 the Christian law is "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."

7. Is the moral law in the OT no longer valid for a Christian?

Ans: Define "moral law." The moral law underlies much of the OT law but is not identical with it. It reflects the eternal character of God. Even the TC have non-moral cultic elements such as the Sabbath and "living long in the land (eretz). According to Romans 2:14-16 the moral law is known in nature and conscience which is not true of much of the literal law which requires special revelation.8. Personally, I think that the OT sacrificial system was replaced by the cross.

Ans: The OT Law was an indivisible whole. It is either all or none per Matthew 5:19 as illustrated in 5:20-48 which quotes all three portions. There are over 40 texts which equates the "law" to "commandments, statutes and judgments."

9. I also believe that OT dietary laws were abolished as communicated in Peter's vision in Acts 10.

Ans: Again, according to Mt 5:19 it is either all of the law or none of it as a covenant. That part of the OT law which applies to the Church after Calvary has been repeated in terms of grace and faith in terms of what believers WILL do instead of what they SHALT NOT do.

11. However, I see nothing in the NT that negates the moral law of the OT in the life of a NT Christian.

Ans: Define "law." Define "moral law." If you are going to use these terms, then you need to define them and use them consistently as you have defined them.

12. The OT moral law tells us what is pleasing to God and what is meant by living a holy life, which all Christians are called to do.

Ans: This means one thing to you and it means an entirely different thing to me. The moral law is know-able without special revelation and is seen in nature and conscience. The moral law says to rest; the OT Law says rest on Saturday. The moral law says to give; the OT Law said give 10%.13. I keep the commands of Christ, not because I have to but because of my love for Him, I want to.

Ans: You selectively obey the commands of Christ. Christ commanded obedience to the entire law in Mt 5:19. He commanded Temple worship because He lived under the full jurisdiction of the Law.

14. Nowhere in the NT is the OT moral law abrogated.

Ans: Romans 2:14-16; 1:19-20

15. I believe we need to continue this discussion because it appears that there is great misunderstanding about the place of OT Law in the life of a Christian.

Ans: Amen.


Paul Burleson said...

Dr. Kelly,

First time reader of your blog.

One question. Where have you been and how hae I missed you? Great stuff.

Paul Burleson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russell Earl Kelly said...


Are you Wade? Keep up the great work. I am praying for you and David Croteau. My web site has been up for about 8 years and my book was published in 2001. I do not use the blog often. See the Tithing-Study Yahoo Group- and my site at Puryear and Guthrie have been censoring my posts. Please email me directly at

Paul Burleson said...

Sorry for the delay in answering. No, I'm Wade's father. As I said, good stuff you are putting up.