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What is the role of the law in Christianity?

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09/30/2008

Jesus said "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me"(Matthew Ch 28). He often spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven and just before He was crucified He claimed to be a King when Pilate asked Him "'are you the King of the Jews? … Jesus answered, 'my kingdom is not of this world; …. Pilate said to him, 'So you are a king?' Jesus answered, 'You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.' (John Ch 18) The Old Law is not abolished by Jesus "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew Ch 5) Jesus summed up the law and the prophets as follows: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets." (Matthew Ch 22) Note 1: While the law is clearly and comprehensively set out in Scripture it does not spoon-feed us by going into every detail of how the law should be applied. In this regard we are expected to draw reasonable and logical conclusions e.g. when God said "'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?" We are expected to come to the simple and logical conclusion that "He is not God of the dead, but of the living." (Matthew Ch 22) Also when Jesus claims to be a king and ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven it follows that His law must come from and relate only to His jurisdiction as is the practice in worldly jurisdictions. Note 2: There is a common belief that Scripture, being at least 2000 years old, could not possibly meet the demands of today's society and therefore we have to fill in the gaps. The problem with this is that any interpretation of the law that is not fully compatible with Scripture is a man-made law and Jesus does not mince words when it comes to man-made law. "....... So, for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'" (Matthew Ch 15)