Thursday, July 6, 2006

Obeying the Laws are Their Own Reward,
But a Top-of-the-Line Toaster Oven is Nice, Too!


So here we are, in the midst of a grand disagreement over biblical interpretation. I was a little disappointed with the last round, as no fundies could really explain Paul's great conundrum, sort of a "Where's Waldo" of the biblical world. But alas, biblical interpretation waits for no man, so onward to winning that great prize in the sky: A brand-new toaster oven from the great G-man himself. Or, at least, eternal life. Personally, I'd rather have the toaster oven, but that might be just me. I heard through the grape-vine that's it's available in stainless steel and metallic blue, which would go perfectly with my dream kitchen that I also have yet to acquire. But I digress.
Our problem:

Paul says:
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified.

versus

Jesus says:
Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill 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.
Do we understand the issue? So are Christians to obey the law or not? This becomes quite an issue, especially in regards to our last post, Homosexuality & the Bible: The Truth, Part 2: Levitical Law. The issue arises over the fact that while fundies like to use levitical passages to "justify" their moral code in regards to the "homosexual lifestyle" (which, if I ever do get the memo defining what that really entails, I'll let you know; as a card carrying member of the Gay Agenda, I expect an updated memo in regards to the evil lifestyle I should be living any day now). They like to say they have been "redeemed" by the blood of Christ, but what if they've been deluded by Paul, the usurper of the Christian religion? Jesus himself says in plain old English (because of course he spoke the King James into existence between making wine while crashing weddings and rising from the dead; something David Blain has yet to figure out how to do), that "not one iota, not one dot" of the law shall pass until all is "fulfilled." Yeah, kind of cryptic. He was funny like that, this Jesus dude. He told stories, parables if you will, instead of just saying, "Yo! Be nice to each other! Jeez!" While speaking these words to his disciples, he goes on to say in verse 20 that "except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Whoa, stop the press! You have to be better than the teachers of the day? Granted, they were a bunch of hypocritical bastards (Hmm, reminds you of our religious leaders today, doesn't it?), but nonetheless, a tall order. Jesus sums up this little pep talk with "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Damn! Perfect? Is he kidding? It is important to note that, in some translations of this chapter, all prophecy and biblical law is implied when it comes to the law not passing away until "all is fulfilled." Which would mean that Christians are expected to live according to Levitical law!

Then we have Paul. Mr. "I saw the light after I fell off my ass on my ass" self-proclaimed Apostle of Christ. And he states under no uncertain terms that "Christ abolished the law." Gone. Totally. This is actually quite a recurring theme through all of Paul's letters, despite his maybe/maybe-not three-year's-of-my-life-are-in-limbo issue. Just love God and your neighbor. It's not by works. It is through grace and mercy alone. Now Paul could very well be assuming that once Jesus did that nifty trick of disappearing while decaying, that meant "all was fulfilled," but that would be disregarding supposed prophecy of the millennial kingdom and final judgment, of which we know Paul was also a big pusher of. His real beef (no pun intended; you'll find out in a minute why that this disclaimer was called for...) comes from the fact that he doesn't like how the Jews are still following the law when the supposed messiah has come and gone (without the benefit of a farewell tour!!!; I think it may come down to Paul's hankering for a double-quarter-pounder with cheese...). So we have an enormous conundrum here.

Which is it to be? Love me, love me, Say that you'll love me, or I Shot the Sheriff? I mean, Jesus goes into the whole love thing to, but it's really in reference to the fact that if you do love your neighbor, you'll be keeping the letter of the law. Paul's just fuzzy-warms it up. And James, well, he's more in line with Jesus line of thinking and is kind of like a slap in Paul's face, really. And James didn't have to fall off an ass, either.

Perhaps fundies will find out in the great beyond that they should have dumped Paul in favor of Leviticus. Or perhaps they'll have nothing to worry about. But if it turns out they were wrong about the whole thing and have really just been filling the shoes of a modern-day Pharisee, I don't think they'll be happy with the consolation prize of Toaster Oven, no matter what stylish colors it may be presented in...

13 comments:

DaBich said...

Does it come in black too? I like black appliances...
great post!

Cori said...

I don't have a lot of time online to read this as carefully as I'd like or respond as thoroughly as I like, but isn't it that Jesus says that all the law and the prophets can be summed up in this one thing: To love the Lord your God and to love your neighbour as yourself. Francis Schaeffer writes a book on this where he says the law is embodied in this law of love, and that if we are entrenched in love (God's love) and acting out love, the law is fulfilled in that.

My own belief is that when love informs our actions they're not legalistic but as 'right' (within the law) as our actions ever could be. Even if this means traveling into the grey areas a lot instead of seeing everything as black and white. In fact, the more I explore love the more I wonder if it isn't completely grey and hardly ever black and white.

Bill said...

Here is a different approach. I am not claiming it is right, because I believe neither in the inerrancy of Dogma or scripture.


“the end of the law.” The Greek word translated “end” is telos , meaning “the point aimed at; result.” it does not mean that the law stopped with Christ.

However, should we all be following the law? nope, Jesus' life highlight the law and he noted that the law did not come to an end but was accomplished.

Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill 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.

For example since Christs sacrifice was to be for all humans sins why would sacrifices be needed in the future.

here are two verses that help to explain this.

Heb. 7:12
“For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.”

Heb. 7:18-19
18* For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19* (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Jason Hughes said...

Dabich: When I receive my full-color catalog with descriptions of colors and styles that can be chosen from, I'll let you know, although it would seem to me that basic black would be included in the selection, you never know... :D

Cori and Bill: You both make very valid points, bringing it down to a level of interpretation of what the "fullfillment" that Christ referenced, and that "Loving God and your neighbor" actually is a fullfillment of the law, therefore negating the words of the law itself while keeping the purpose of said laws. To follow up on Bill's "end of the law," Paul is assuming that when Christ spoke of all being fulfilled, he simply meant his death and resurrection, not including any post-millennial kingdom's or rapture in this instance. Butwhen Jesus is talking to the 'ciples, the word "all" is very all-encompassing. And while Christ goes on to explain differing commandments and his take on the whole deal, he doesn't offer up any clue as to whether he simply means his prophecied death, or whether he means the whole shebang. I'll look into this a little further, maybe dedicate another post to it in the near-future. And while the Hebrews (of uknown authorship as far as I remember) suggests that Christ again forever changed law interpretation and use, it is not Christ himself who is making that claim, but a man who may have never known or met Jesus, and therefre might have only second- or third-hand knowledge at best of what Jesus' words may have meant...

But then again, that's just my two cents... :D

Ergo said...

"Yo, be nice to each other! Jeez!"

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!

Damn, Jason, your posts are HILARIOUS! Long though your posts may be, they are such a pleasure to read! :)

Jason Hughes said...

Ergo, you are too damn kind! Thanks for your praise, but I still say you have the best thoughts and ideas posted on your blog...

I am merely a comedian... you are a philosopher, and a great one at that.

The_Gay_Dude said...

I generally run and hide when I see scripture....but I want to put my dibs in for a stainless steel appliance LOL

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I am a musician who has been impacted by Keith Green and I would be honored if you would check out my music, all music is free to download. I just wanted to share my music with People who love Jesus. www.SeanDietrich.com

I don't want to be a pest, so if this really annoys you, please delete it and accept my humble apology.

Thanks so much,
-Sean
____________________
www.SeanDietrich.com
"All my music is free."

Jason Hughes said...

Sean, dude, you are in sooo the wrong place...

Although there are those who love Jesus here, so, of course, your comment will stay...

But you should really read these things before you comment...

Thanks for stopping by,
Jason

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi,
I am a musician who has been impacted by Keith Green and I would be honored if you would check out my music, all music is free to download. I just wanted to share my music with People who love Jesus. www.SeanDietrich.com

I don't want to be a pest, so if this really annoys you, please delete it and accept my humble apology.

Thanks so much,
-Sean
____________________
www.SeanDietrich.com
"All my music is free."

Bill said...

Here is a different approach. I am not claiming it is right, because I believe neither in the inerrancy of Dogma or scripture.


“the end of the law.” The Greek word translated “end” is telos , meaning “the point aimed at; result.” it does not mean that the law stopped with Christ.

However, should we all be following the law? nope, Jesus' life highlight the law and he noted that the law did not come to an end but was accomplished.

Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill 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.

For example since Christs sacrifice was to be for all humans sins why would sacrifices be needed in the future.

here are two verses that help to explain this.

Heb. 7:12
“For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.”

Heb. 7:18-19
18* For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19* (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Jason Hughes said...

Dabich: When I receive my full-color catalog with descriptions of colors and styles that can be chosen from, I'll let you know, although it would seem to me that basic black would be included in the selection, you never know... :D

Cori and Bill: You both make very valid points, bringing it down to a level of interpretation of what the "fullfillment" that Christ referenced, and that "Loving God and your neighbor" actually is a fullfillment of the law, therefore negating the words of the law itself while keeping the purpose of said laws. To follow up on Bill's "end of the law," Paul is assuming that when Christ spoke of all being fulfilled, he simply meant his death and resurrection, not including any post-millennial kingdom's or rapture in this instance. Butwhen Jesus is talking to the 'ciples, the word "all" is very all-encompassing. And while Christ goes on to explain differing commandments and his take on the whole deal, he doesn't offer up any clue as to whether he simply means his prophecied death, or whether he means the whole shebang. I'll look into this a little further, maybe dedicate another post to it in the near-future. And while the Hebrews (of uknown authorship as far as I remember) suggests that Christ again forever changed law interpretation and use, it is not Christ himself who is making that claim, but a man who may have never known or met Jesus, and therefre might have only second- or third-hand knowledge at best of what Jesus' words may have meant...

But then again, that's just my two cents... :D