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The Use of Law in the New Testament




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Overview of "Law" in the New Testament

by Paul R. Schmidtbleicher, Th.B., Th.M.

2003 National Teaching Pastors Conference

San Juan Capistrano, California


The relationship of the New Testament to the Law of the Old Testament is an important issue discussed and disputed by the church since the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.


Acts 15:1-2 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.1


The interpretation of the use of the word law in the New Testament is foundational. This is a question on which learned scholars differ. The present work is an overview of the various uses of the word law and in particular the phrase law of as found in the New Testament. It is an introduction to the subject although every use of the word and every use of the phrase "law of" is included.


Foundational Definition

The word law in the New Testament is the translation of the Greek word nomos which means "law." Law is generally any working principle that regulates conduct in life. Such principles can originate from God directly or indirectly by the nature of the operation of His creation. They also can be devised by mankind to promote order. Law as found in the New Testament can be used with and without the definite article. The use of or absence of the article has an effect on the definition for a particular use. Some attention to this has been given in defining the law of phrases, but not in the areas where the meanings are clear or are not disputed.


A Reference to the Law of Moses or the Entire Old Testament

The word nomos occurs in the New Testament 165 times in 162 different verses of Scripture. By far the greatest use is a reference to either the Law of Moses by itself or to the Law of Moses inclusive of the entire Old Testament.2 In each of these instances, the context generally presents clear indication of this usage and interpretation.

There are 17 law of phrases that need to be defined. These comprise the body of this work. Some simply refer to the Law of Moses while others have unique definitions.


The Law of Phrases

Law of the Lord

In defining the unique uses of the "law of" phrases the "Law of the Lord," its three occurrences in the New Testament define it:


Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord"),

Luke 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."

Luke 2:39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.


In quoting from "the Law of the Lord" the Scriptures themselves define it as one in the same with the Law of Moses. Mary and Joseph fulfilled the requirements of the Mosaic Law pertaining to the birth of the Christ child.


Law of the Fathers

This phrase occurs one time in Acts 22:3 when the Apostle Paul was taken into protective captivity by a Roman garrison in Jerusalem. He was permitted to speak to the people introducing himself and using this phrase as he would give his testimony.


Acts 22:3 "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of "our fathers' law," and was zealous toward God as you all are today.


The phrase is tou patrwou nomou translated as "our fathers' law" or "law of the fathers" (KJV). The Apostle Paul is introducing himself as a highly educated Jew brought up at the feet of Gamaliel in the strict Judaism of that day. Therefore the "Law of the Fathers" would not only have reference to the Law of Moses in this context, but also to the traditions of the Pharisees. A.T. Robertson says of Paul's training:


The rabbis usually sat on a raised seat with the pupils in a circle around either on lower seats or on the ground. Paul was thus nourished in Pharisaic Judaism as interpreted by Gamaliel, one of the lights of Judaism.3


Don N. Howell, Jr. in his article on "Pauline Thought in the History of Interpretation" has a section on, "The Jewish Paul." Howell says,


The Apostle Paul called himself a "Hebrew of Hebrews" and before his conversion a strict Pharisee committed to a Law-based righteousness (Phil 3:5-6; Acts 23:6; 26:5-6 ). Though a citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, he claimed to have been "brought up" in Jerusalem and trained in the Law under Gamaliel, the famous rabbi of the Hillel school (Acts 22:3). Whether this expression means Paul was raised in Jerusalem from childhood or came there when he was old enough to begin his training under Gamaliel is uncertain. Either way he received the formal education of a rabbi, excelled in zealousness for the ancestral traditions, and later pursued an aggressive campaign to destroy the young Christian movement.4


Paul's reference to the "Law of the Fathers" probably encompasses more than just the Mosaic Law. Knowledge from the early days of Saul of Tarsus shows that the "law of the fathers" also encompasses the Jewish ancestral and Pharisaic traditions taught him by Gamaliel.


The Law of the Jews

This phrase comes out of the Apostle Paul's defense before governor Festus in Acts 25. As he stood before Festus, the Religious Jews from Jerusalem testified to a variety of serious charges against Paul. However, they could not prove any of them. The Apostle Paul would answer using this reference to the law.


Acts 25:8 while he answered for himself, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all."


The Apostle Paul's defense was threefold: (1) He had not offended the "law of the Jews"; (2) He had not offended the temple that probably included the temple ordinances, traditions, and Pharisaic laws; and (3) He had not offended any of the laws of the Roman empire against Caesar.

By dividing his response into the two divisions directed toward the Jews, Paul's use of "the law of the Jews" clearly refers to the Law of Moses. However, there is inscription evidence on both sides, namely, that the phrase may refer to the Mosaic Law alone or to the whole corpus of Jewish laws. F.F. Bruce used some inscription evidence in his W.H. Griffith Thomas lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1983 when he spoke of the conclusions of William Ramsey:


Ramsay thought that evidence for a specific provision safeguarding Jewish privileges at Apamea was to be found in a tomb inscription of the third century A.D. directing that no one was to be buried in the tomb except its owner and his wife. "If any one acts [contrary to this direction]," the inscription concludes, "he knows the law of the Jews." Ramsay inferred at one time that "the law of the Jews" here invoked could not be the Mosaic Law but was a local regulation registered with the city authorities, protecting the burial privileges of the Jewish community. This is possible; but two Jewish tomb inscriptions of the mid-third century, from Blaundos and Akmonia, in west-central Phrygia, threaten the violator with "the curses written in Deuteronomy" (presumably in Deut 28:15-68), so "the law of the Jews" in the Apamea inscription could very well be the Mosaic Law.5


The context defining the way the phrase should be taken is Paul's defense at Rome when he called the Jews together and proclaimed "Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers . . ." Acts 28:27 (NKJ). The use of the word ethos clearly broadens what was in the mind of Paul during his defense before the Jews. He is using the phrase "law of the Jews" to be all inclusive of the Law of Moses and the rest of the traditions of the Jews.


"Law of" Phrases Not Associated with the Law of Moses

From here on the "law of" phrases move away from the Law of Moses to define other aspects of law.


The Work of the Law

Romans 2:14-15 uses this phrase together with two other uses of the word "law."


Rom 2:14-15 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)


Law in the first of three mentions in Romans 2:14 is clearly a reference to the Law of Moses. The "work of the Law" written in the heart is not the same as the spiritual blessing of the new covenant where God's Eternal Laws are to be written on the heart, nor is it the moral code of the Mosaic law6. It is not "the law," but "the work of the Law." Sumner Osborne explains:


Some have thought that Romans 2:15 proves that Gentiles were under what they call "the moral law" after all, for it speaks of "the work of the law written in their hearts." But we must carefully note that it is not the law that they have written in their hearts, which would be the same as our blessing under the new covenant (Heb 10:16), but the work of the law written there. If a Gentile gathered somehow that he ought to honor his parents, even though he had never heard of the law, this particular work enjoined by the law would be a law to him and accuse him if he did not.7


Dr. John F. Walvoord adds that the "work of the law" is a natural innate understanding of right and wrong that has come from God.


The passage refers to the Gentiles as the context clearly shows. It is not the Mosaic law, but the law "written in their hearts." Paul could hardly be arguing that all Gentiles had the Mosaic law written in their hearts. It is the revelation which God has given them concerning right and wrong. Even Gentiles who do not have the Scriptures have some knowledge of right and wrong. This knowledge is their law, and on it they judge themselves. The article is used here in the regular use of the article when the noun has modifiers. In this case law is modified by "written in their hearts." It is clear then that the word does not refer to the law of Moses.8


The Gentiles do not possess the Law of Moses. Therefore, "the work of the law written in their hearts" is the basic natural and innate knowledge of right and wrong given by God and learned by observing the creation. Some of the "works" produced by the Gentiles are similar to the observable results of those practicing God's revealed Laws. These become "law" to the Gentiles and subject to their consciences.


Law of Works

Law of Faith

Romans 3:27 uses both "Law of Works" and "Law of Faith" as a part of the conclusion to Paul's argument on salvation by faith alone without works.


Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.


This use is first a general reference to any law. Added to that is the modification of it being a law that emphasizes either works or faith. Again, Walvoord speaks to the use of law here:


Nomos is used in the sense of any recognized principle in operation whether moral, civil, or natural-law in its broadest sense. It is a comparatively rare use in Romans, but is found a few times. A good illustration may be found in the two instances in 3:27, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith." In asking the question, "By what law?" Paul uses nomos in its most general sense.9


The "law of works" would be then a recognized principle of operation that functions by a system of works. An illustration would be employment. One receives compensation for productive work. Without any productive work there is no compensation. If the spiritual realm functioned by this principle, supposedly working would be rewarded by compensation or salvation. However, when it comes to salvation, human works cannot produce the required perfect righteousness. The works are not acceptable. Salvation cannot be gained as a result of works.

The "law of faith" on the other hand is a recognized principle of operation that functions by trust, belief, or faith. An illustration would be the paper currency of the United States. It is the United States medium of exchange. Its value is based on the full faith of the U.S. government. Because we trust and believe that a U.S. dollar will buy a dollar's worth of goods, we use this paper currency under the law of faith. In salvation, we receive God's gift of eternal life by faith or belief in Jesus Christ, God's Son and Savior.


Law of the Husband

The "law of the husband," found in Romans 7:2, is a narrow use of the Law of Moses pertaining to marriage.


Rom 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

Rom 7:2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.


The context of this phrase in Romans 7:1 is related "to those who know the law." The understood meaning of "law" here is the Law of Moses. Those knowing the Law of Moses would understand know that the "law of the husband" comes from portions like Genesis 2:24 and Exodus 20:14.


Gen 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Exod 20:14 You shall not commit adultery.


On the one hand, husband and wife at marriage and consummation become one. On the other, that oneness is not to be violated. If the husband dies, the wife is free from the "law of the husband." The "law of the husband" is the marriage bond in which the wife chooses to become the helpmeet and accept the headship of her husband denying all others.


Law of God

The phrase, "Law of God" comes out of three references in the book of Romans.


Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

Rom 7:25 I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.


It would be easy to classify "the law of God" as limited to the Law of Moses in these passages. The phrase as translated in the Old Testament is clearly a reference to the Law of Moses in the following passages:

Joshua 24:26 Joshua is writing in the Book of the Law of God

Nehemiah 8:8, 18 They read from the Book of the Law of God

Nehemiah 10:28 People separated themselves unto the Law of God

However, in Romans 7:22, 25 and 8:7 there is a more comprehensive meaning. The meaning includes more than the written letter of the law. The "law of God" here is a reference to the Eternal Law of God that is in the mind of the Apostle Paul. Dr. Louis Sperry Chafer sees the phrase "law of God" as all inclusive of (a) The Law of Moses, (b) The "whole law," and (c) The will of God. In context, Chafer is explaining of the battle of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7 that is taking place between the regenerate human will and the sin nature.


Before quoting this Scripture which reports the Apostle's struggle, it should be noted that there is no erroneous supposition more universal and misleading than that a Christian can, in his own strength, command and control the old nature. The Apostle's experience and failure along this line is given in this Scripture as a warning to all Christians. No mention of the Spirit appears in this passage. The conflict is not between the indwelling Spirit and the flesh; it is rather a conflict between the new "I" and the old "I." The new "I" is the regenerated man who, for the moment, is hypothetically isolated from the normal relationship to, and dependence on, the Spirit, and is seen in unaided human strength to be confronting the whole law, or will, of God (vs. 16), the vitiated flesh (vs. 18), and the impossible demands for a holy life which are properly expected of every regenerate person (vss. 22, 23, 25). The Apostle s experience answers the vital question, namely, Can the regenerate man, apart from dependence on the Spirit, do the will of God, even though he delight in the will of God (vs. 22)?10


Dr. Chafer's use of the "law of God" is as the whole of the will of God toward man. I would call this use "The eternal Law of God."11 God's laws were in existence prior to the Law of Moses (Gen. 26:5) and continue after the Law of Moses. The legal foundation for Christ to "rule with a rod of iron" (Rev. 19:15) in His millennial reign proceeds from the Eternal Law of God.

The tenor of the Apostle Paul's usage of the "law of God" in Romans 7 appears as Dr. Chafer has inferred: the "law of God" is all that is in Paul's mind and in the new regenerate nature attuned to God, His Ways, and Will. It is any right and moral law of God. On the other hand, the law of sin is all that rages from the sin nature within as it opposes the law of God.

Dr. John Walvoord is in total agreement with this definition of "law of God" in Romans 7 when he says:

As a result of this principle of the working of the sinful nature in spite of the new nature, Paul has a struggle going on within himself. He first of all takes delight in the law of God, as stated in 7:22. In this verse, law is without the article and refers to any moral law of God. . . .

In vs. 25, in the two instances in the verse, neither have the article. The former is used in the sense of any moral law of God. The latter is the sphere of domination of sin. The new nature turns naturally to God s moral standards. The old nature is under the domination of sin.12


Roy Aldrich, founder of Detroit Bible College calls it "the eternal moral law of God" and says:


Moral law applies in every dispensation. Both the friends and opponents of Dispensationalism could agree that the eternal moral law of God applies to every dispensation. By "the eternal moral law of God" we do not mean the Mosaic law or the Ten Commandments, but the eternal principles of righteousness which are a reflection of the character of God. God's standard of holiness has always been nothing less than His own character or glory (Rom 3:23). Moses did not originate this moral law and it did not cease at the end of the age of Mosaic law.13


The Law of My Mind

Romans 7:23 presents another phrase used by the Apostle Paul called the "law of my mind."


Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.


The phrase Paul uses, "Another Law," will be defined by him more succinctly as the "law of sin (and death)" in Romans 7:25 and Romans 8:2. This use of law will be covered later.

The "law of my mind" is the "law of God" transferred to the mind of the Apostle Paul. Involved is the whole of God's eternal law and will as shown earlier. The Apostle Paul has had portions of the "law of God" transferred to his mind as he has grown spiritually and experienced the "renewing of his mind" (Rom. 12:2). Also Paul has benefited from sharing the spiritual blessings of the new covenant when the Lord promised, "I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts" (Jer. 31:33).

David S. Dockery, writing for the Grace Theological Journal, notes that the "law of the mind" and the "law of God" are one in the same, the latter incorporated into the former. Speaking of Romans 7:22-23 Dockery says,

"Another law" is obviously a law different from the law of God in v 22 . The other law is waging war with the law of his mind. It also seems quite normal to understand "law of mind" to be the same as the "law of God." . . .

It is quite natural to understand "my mind" to mean "that which my mind acknowledges" and to identify "the law of my mind" with "the law of God" (v 22 ). When understood in this manner, vv 22 and 23 depict two laws in opposition to each other.14


Walvoord takes the "law of the mind" in the same way as he emphasizes the "law of God" in a "sphere of rule or domination," namely, in the mind of the Apostle Paul.


. . . in vs. 23, he says "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into the captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." The first instance of law has no article. It is law in the sense of a principle of operation as in 7:21. This is the activity of the old nature. It wars against the law of his, mind.

The second instance is with the article. The article is used to call particular attention to the modifying phrase "of my mind." It is law in the sense of a sphere of rule or domination. The third instance in this verse is similar, being also with the article. Sin also has a sphere of domination which Paul calls the "law of sin." Paul's mind wanted to do good. He refers to the will of the new nature. The old nature insists also on domination. It wants to rule.15


The Law of Sin

The Law of the Spirit

The phrase, "law of sin" and the "law of the Spirit are in the same Romans context of the several other phrases already covered. The "law of sin" in two verses: Romans 7:25 and Romans 8:2 and the "law of the Spirit of Life in Romans 8:2. Because the usage of "law" is similar, they are treated together.


Rom 7:25 I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.


Both the "law of sin" and the "law of the Spirit" are to be understood as Dr. John Walvoord's sixth use of nomos in Romans. He accurately defines them to be a rule or a sphere of domination.16 The "law of sin" is the rulership of the sin nature in the life of the unbeliever and the believer. In the life of the unbeliever sin has the dominion. In the life of the believer, sin takes dominion as we yield to it and fail to use the provisions of the Lord. The norm for the believer is to be ruled by the Spirit of Life.

Walvoord defines these laws as the "rule of sin" and "rule of the Spirit" when he says,

A sixth use of nomos may be found in its reference to a sphere of domination or rule. An illustration of this is found in 8:2. Regardless which view of interpretation is followed in this verse, it is evident here that it is used in the sense of rule or sphere of domination. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." It could be translated just as accurately, "For the rule of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the rule of sin and death." Other illustrations of this use may be found in 7:23b, c; and in 7:25b.17


Walvoord, in the second part of his article on law in Romans comes to the same conclusion about the phrase, "law of the Spirit of Life" when he says:


The Spirit is evidently the Holy Spirit. nomos in both instances in this verse is a sphere of domination, the article with both calling attention to the particular sphere of domination indicated by the modifiers. One law or sphere of domination is that of the Holy Spirit. This rule of the Spirit liberates from the rule of sin and death. What moral law could not do, the Holy Spirit accomplishes.18


John MacArthur also agrees that the "law of the Spirit" here is a "principle of operation" as he states in his commentary on Romans.


Paul does not here use the term law in reference to the Mosaic law or to other divine commandments or requirements. He uses it rather in the sense of a principle of operation, as he has done earlier in the letter, where he speaks of, a "law of faith" (3:27) and as he does in Galatians, where he speaks of the "law of Christ" (6:2).19


MacArthur assigns the same "principle of operation" to "the law of Christ" as he does to the "law of the Spirit." However, the context of the "law of the Spirit" phrase is a principle of operation whereas the context of the "law of Christ" points to a different definition to be presented later.

The other commonly held view on the "law of the Spirit" also connects it together with the "law of Christ." This view defines the "law of the Spirit" as a new and special code of law for the New Testament. One example presented by Dr. Charles Ryrie is in an article on "The End of the Law."


The New Testament speaks of the "law of Christ" (Gal 6:2) and the "law of the Spirit of life" (Rom 8:2). In the law of Christ are the hundreds of commandments of the New Testament epistles, and together these form a new and distinct code of ethics.20


Ryrie also states this in his book on The Grace of God when he again combines the two under one definition.


The New Testament speaks of the "law of the Spirit" (Rom 8:2), the "law of Christ" (Gal 6:2), and the "royal law" (James 2:8). This "law" includes numerous commands, both positive and negative, which form a distinct code of ethics for today.21


The two views on "Law of the Spirit," are law as a principle of operation versus law as a new code of ethics. In evaluating, the view of Walvoord and MacArthur that "law of sin" and "law of the Spirit of life" are a rule or principle of operation best explains the contexts in which they are found.

Once established that both phrases are a rule of operation or sphere of domination, the nature of that rule can be defined. In the spiritual life the "law of sin" and the "law of the Spirit" stand in opposition to one another.

Simply stated, the "law of sin" is the rule of the sinful nature which encompasses three areas of influence. First, sin exercises its dominion by the flesh, the fallen nature that every human being inherits (Rom. 5:12). Jesus spoke of the evils that come from within (Matt. 15:19) and, if allowed, will exercise dominion over the believer. Second, sin many times yields to the influence of Satan and his leaders of "spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12). The law of sin speaks of the rule or dominion of the sin nature influenced by Satan (1 Cor. 7:5 example) and such things as "doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1). Finally, the world system influences the sinful nature to exercise its rule along the paths of the world (1 Jn. 2:15) and the thinking of those in the fallen world. In all three, the rule of the sin nature brings death (Rom. 8:6-8).

In stark contrast to the "law of sin" God has provided the "law or rule of the Spirit of life. The first contrast is in the very title as the dominion or rule of the Spirit brings life in contrast to death (Rom. 8:6) from the rule of the flesh. The Spirit exercises His dominion by first freeing the believer from bondage to the sin nature ("the law of sin") as Paul states in Romans 8:2. The laws, principles, and commandments of God from "all Scripture" (2 Tim. 3:16) are used to transform and renew the mind (Rom. 12:2) as the believer walks in the Spirit. The dominion of the Spirit then enables the believer to fulfill them and produce the righteousness that a perfect keeping of the Mosaic Law could have produced. This righteousness could not be produced prior to the "law/dominion of the Spirit" due to the weakness of our flesh upon which the Mosaic Law depended (Rom. 8:3). The external nature of the Mosaic Law was the problem. Now, the internal nature of God's laws being written in the heart, enabled by the "law of the Spirit," allow for the production of righteousness (Rom. 8:4).

God's Laws internalized are a part of the spiritual blessings received under the new covenant (2 Cor. 3:6). As the Gentile church was the recipient of the spiritual blessings of Pentecost (Acts 2 compared with Acts 10:44ff) the church is also recipient of some spiritual blessings of the new covenant/testament for Israel (2 Cor 3:6).22 Under several of these spiritual blessings the rule or dominion of the Spirit can conform us and transform us to God's Laws, principles, and standards (by writing them within) and thereby produce the righteous fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) of the Spirit, the righteousness of the Mosaic Law (Rom. 8:4) and the Life it brings to the believer.


Law of Righteousness

In Romans 9:31 the phrase "law of righteousness," found one time, explains how Israel sought, but failed, to attain righteousness.


Rom 9:31-32 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.

32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.


"Law of righteousness" occurs in the original Greek only once at the beginning of Romans 9:31 and is the understood subject of the second part of the verse. "Law" or nomos used without the definite article shows that it is not a direct reference to the Law of Moses. It is being used again in the sense of a "principle of operation." Grammatically "of righteousness" is then an objective genitive meaning righteousness that proceeds from law and law keeping. Israel understood the necessity of possessing righteousness. They had wrongly adopted as their "principle of operation" the attaining of righteousness through keeping the Mosaic Law. They were wrong. Therefore they failed to attain the righteousness required. As the rest of Romans 9 teaches, the believer gains the required righteousness by faith.

Walvoord speaks to this usage of law when he says:


Chapter nine of the Epistle to the Romans deals primarily with the fact and significance of Israel s failure as a nation to embrace the true Messiah. One reason for this failure was their lack of comprehension of the purpose and limitations of law. In 9:31, 32, we have definite reference to this, "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone." The two references to nomos in vs. 31 are without the article. The reference in vs. 32 is omitted in some manuscripts, but if genuine is also without the article. A further textual problem is found in the omission of the second "of righteousness" in vs. 31. With these textual criticisms in mind, with a more literal translation, as found in the American Standard Version, we find Paul s statement to be as follows: "But Israel, following after a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works." If this is what Paul actually wrote, it would seem that the two instances that are left are both references to law in the sense of a principle of operation, as in 3:27. Israel strove to arrive at a method of obtaining righteousness. They thought this method was to attain perfection by observing the Mosaic law.23


Henry C. Thiessen also agrees that the use of "law" in the phrase "law of righteousness" is a "principle of operation." He explains what Paul did not say as well as what he and others believe Paul is saying.


He [Paul] does not say that they sought for a "righteousness of the law," but, as Godet says, Israel had law for its real object and expected righteousness to flow from it.24


In summary, the "law of righteousness" is Israel's belief that in "principle of operation," righteousness flowed from the Mosaic Law and the keeping of the letter of the Law.


Law of Christ

The phrase "Law of Christ" is found specifically in Galatians 6:2 and referenced indirectly in 1 Corinthians 9:21.


Gal 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Cor 9:21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law;


Definitions of the "Law of Christ" widely differ. Some, like John MacArthur, seek to define it together with the "law of the Spirit" as simply a principle of operation25

Representing a branch of Lutheran Theology, David C. Scaer sees the "Law of Christ" as a synonym for the "gospel."


Torah, the written law or Scripture, is what we would call gospel, the promise of salvation, in the phrase the law and the gospel. In the New Testament law, nomos, can also be a synonym for the gospel, as in the phrase the law of Christ.26


Homer Kent, Jr., in an article upholding righteousness in the Christian life and standing against sin, represents another view of the "Law of Christ." He sees it as a general undefined system of laws and standards that are viewed to be binding on the Christian.


When it is suggested that there are modes of conduct that Christians are obligated to follow, some will protest such ideas as nonsense, or old fashioned, or legalism, and proudly call themselves liberated. How easy it is to forget that the same apostle who said that "Christ has set us free" (Gal 5:1) also commanded us to "fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2).27


More to the point is the view set forth by Dr. Charles Ryrie succinctly stated in the notes of the Ryrie Study Bible under Galatians 6:2:


. . . the Law of Christ. I.e., the commands of Christ, especially the new commandment to love one another (John 13:34). Living under grace is not license; it is a life of love and service ([Gal] 5:6, 13).28


In other writings Ryrie adds to his view of the "Law of Christ" as different from the Mosaic Law yet incorporating some of its details and binding law on the believer today.


The Mosaic law has been done away in its entirety as a code. God is no longer guiding the life of man by this particular code. In its place He has introduced the law of Christ. Many of the individual commands within that law are new, but some are not. Some of the ones which are old were also found in the Mosaic law and they are now incorporated completely and [are] forever done away. As part of the law of Christ they are binding on the believer today.29


The "Law of Christ" is not just a new system of law for the believer simply confined to the New Testament statements of Christ and the Apostles. It is part of what I have called The Eternal Law of God that supersedes all administrations (dispensations) of the Plan of God. The Mosaic Law was drawn from the Eternal Law of God as are the laws stated prior to Sinai and those to exist in the Millennium. The "great commandment" summarizes the Mosaic Law (i.e. to love the Lord God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself). The "great commandment" (love) is Biblically defined as the keeping of God's commandments (1 John 5;3; 2 John 1:6). Throughout the Scriptures in both Old and New Testaments, before and after the Law of Moses God set forth commandments. This speaks to an Eternal Law of God from which all laws proceed. The "Law of Christ" includes all that Jesus and the New Testament commanded. It also includes laws from the Old Testament not abrogated, nor superseded by the New Testament. These laws were part of an external system under Moses, but are now being internalized under the "all Scripture is profitable" statement of 2 Timothy 3:16. They supply the principles and the wisdom as to how we love our God and our neighbor.

For example: Paul taught that congregations love their pastor by realizing the Old Testament legal principles on just compensation. Scripture said that we "not muzzle the ox that treads the corn and the laborer is worthy of his hire" (1 Tim 5:18 from Deut 24:5 and Lev 19:13).30

The concept of an Eternal Law of God as the basis of both the Mosaic Law and the all inclusive Law of Christ is set forth in an article by Wayne Strickland as he seeks to provide a possible solution to the Law of Moses and Law of Christ connection.


The key to the resolution of the law-gospel tension is to understand a parallel between the law of Moses and the law of Christ. The eternal moral law of God is the expression of God's will for His rational and free creatures (Rom 2:14-15). The basis for the concrete Mosaic code was the eternal moral law of God. The Mosaic Law differed in that it was concrete and specific, outlining statutes that governed almost every aspect of life. This Mosaic Law naturally ended when God suspended His program with Israel (Rom 9:11; 10:4 ; 2 Cor 3:6).

Paul, however, regarded himself as faithful to the eternal law of God even though he was not bound by the law ('upo nomon) of Moses (1 Cor 9:20). The law of Christ appears to be the New Covenant counterpart to the Mosaic Law. Just as the Mosaic Law was binding on Old Testament saints, the law of Christ is binding on church saints. Both are based on the eternal moral law of God and both are particular applications of that law to different groups at different times.31


H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice in their book on Dominion Theology also reference the fact that the "Law of Christ" includes more that simply the commands of Jesus and the New Testament writers.


Christians are not under the expression of the law as it was given to Israel . . . Christians are, however, to obey the will of God as it is expressed in the New Testament - the law of Christ - and the law revealed in the Adamic and Noahic covenants


Sumner Osborne also sees other parts of the Bible included in the "Law of Christ" as he comments on Galatians 6:2 he says:


Paul most assuredly was not putting them under the law. As to the fact that so many of the commandments in the decalogue are repeated here and there in the New Testament, they are to be understood as part of that "instruction in righteousness" which the whole inspired Word is to the believer in his walk (2 Tim 3:16).32


As House, Ice and Osborne set forth, parts of the Old Testament are also included under the "Law of Christ." The fulfilling of Law of Christ is therefore the ability under the filling of the Spirit to live in the "spirit" of all laws God has given that are neither modified nor abrogated by the New Testament. The believer then produces the righteousness of not just the Mosaic Law (Rom 8:4), but of the whole of God's Eternal Law.

In summary, the "Law of Christ" is the law of the Church Age that includes all of God's Eternal Law summarized as the "Great Commandment" of Matthew 22:37-40 and defined in detail by the specific laws in each administration or dispensation as to the principles and wisdom behind how we love God and how we love our neighbor. The "Law of Christ" is being internalized as we come under the hearing of God's Word (Rom. 10:17) ("all Scripture" (2 Tim. 3:16)) and enabled as we walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25).


Law of Commandments

In Ephesians 2:15 the phrase "law of commandments" reveals details of the bringing together of both Jew and Gentile into the one new assembly called the "Church."


Eph 2:14-15 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,


The definition of the "law of commandments" must proceed from the context of Ephesians 2. Here, the Lord revealing in the Plan of God some specific details on how He has united together both Jew and Gentile into one new organism, the Church. One main fence or barrier was the "law of commandments contained in ordinances." The Lord called it a partition. The Jews had this system of external law with numerous ordinances and details. It had the primary purpose, as Scripture states, to keep or protect them as the race bearing Messiah and act as a "schoolmaster" to point them to Messiah when he would come.


Gal 3:23-24 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.


However, the Jews saw the Law as something that separated them and made them exclusive before God. On the other hand, Jews thought the Gentiles to be inferior without Law and without a relationship to God. The truth of the matter was that relationship to God was always a matter of faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3) and never a matter of law. Thus, the "law of commandments contained in ordinances" was a barrier of enmity between Gentiles and Jews. Christ abolished this barrier of enmity, by the removal of the external system.

Robert A. Pyne speaks to the context of Ephesians 2 when he says:


In Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul described the formation of the church as the creation of a new humanity or the construction of a new building, the most distinctive feature of which is the presence alongside one another of both Jews and Gentiles. . . . the context here is "thoroughly social and racial in nature" as Jew and Gentile are reconciled into one new body, the church. The "new man" is created through the common reconciliation of both groups to God in Christ. For this reason the church has been described as a tertium genus, a "third race," that is neither Jew nor Gentile.33


To summarize, the "law of commandments" is the external binding law system placed upon the Jews "in (written and enforced) ordinances separating them from the Gentiles. The external system is now abolished.

This does not mean that the Old Testament and the Law it contains is of no value any longer to be tossed aside. At the least it is part of the "all Scripture" that is profitable (2 Tim 3:16). At best it is part of the whole counsel of Scripture that teaches us the details, examples, and wisdom involved in implementing the "Great Commandment" to love.34


Law of a Carnal/Fleshly Commandment

Hebrews 7:16 uses the phrase "law of a fleshly commandment" to speak to the details of the superior priesthood of Jesus Christ.


Heb 7:15-16 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.


Here, as in several other places, law is a principle of operation or power of operation. The parallelism between "law," nomos, and "power" dunamis makes this use of "law" evident. Contrasted is the specific principle of operation that our High Priest in His Priesthood is supernatural rather than natural. His ministry toward us is not like that of the Levitical priesthood dealing with fleshly or carnal commandments and sacrifices, but with the power of an "endless life."

Along this line Everett F. Harrison has said,


This approach to the living Christ is the great characteristic which distinguishes Christianity from all other faiths as heaven is high above earth. There is nothing anywhere in the religions of mankind even remotely approximating this, for no other faith can claim a living founder who has passed through death and has risen to a triumphant station at God s right hand, there to be continually available to the immediate fellowship of each one who trusts Him. The adjective zonta is not exhausted by recognizing in it the truth that the risen Lord is "made after the power of an indissoluble life" (Heb 7:16) . . .35


Thus, to summarize, Jesus Christ, our High Priest does not serve under the power and principle of fleshly commands, but under the supernatural power and operation of an endless life.


Law of Liberty

The Epistle of James describes the "Law of liberty" as the connection between the laws of God and the liberty of life they produce.


James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

James 2:12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.


John MacArthur presents the simplest and most straightforward definition of the "law of liberty" when he defines it as, "'The perfect law of liberty' is the law written on the heart, the implanted Word [James 1] (v. 21)."36 There are two factors to consider. The first is that the "law of liberty" is law operating from within the believer. The second is the content of the "law of liberty."


Law Functioning from Within

God's Word regularly heard and believed becomes the "implanted Word" written on the heart as a part of the spiritual blessing that the church shares from Israel's New Covenant. Arnold Fruchtenbaum speaks to this when he says,


Like the Abrahamic, the one New Covenant is made with Israel. Like the Abrahamic, the one New Covenant contains both physical and spiritual blessings. As with the Abrahamic, the physical promises are limited to Jews only but the spiritual blessings were to extend to the Gentiles. What the Church is now enjoying are the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic and New Covenants.37


The "law of liberty" is law, but a new form of law that is now transferred from without under the hearing and believing of the Scriptures to function from within the believer. George M. Cowan formerly of Dallas Theological Seminary's department of hermeneutics and apologetics more succinctly defines it when he says:


The law of liberty does not involve freedom from restraint. But it shifts the source of restraint, so that it is no longer applied forcibly from without, but flows freely from within. The Holy Spirit indwelling every believer "takes possession of a man, and transforms him in the very springs of his affections, so that the longer he lives with Christ the more spontaneously he does what is right, because he wants to do it."38


Thus the "law of liberty" is God's principles and standards internalized to be carried out externally from an inner motivation. The inner motivation is the Holy Spirit working together with the "implanted Word." Cowan gives further explanation:


Granted that the law of liberty works from within us as the Holy Spirit persuades and moves the will of the believer, the question still remains what form the actual outworking of the law of liberty takes. Paul writes "If ye are led by the Spirit ye are not under the authority of precept" (Maegregor's translation of Gal 5:18; Lightfoot renders the last clause, "you have escaped from the dominion of law"). The believer, led by the Holy Spirit, moves not according to rule or legal enactment but according to the principles of grace.39


The "law of liberty" is a "perfect law" and yet is not in any way antagonistic to the principles of grace. Law in every administration or dispensation is fact. When the desires of the believer coincide with those of the Lord, the believer serves the Lord in liberty. Cowan explains this connection between law and grace when he says:


The believer's obedience and liberty is governed and evaluated by the "perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25; 2:12 ), "the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2), and the "commandments" of Christ (John 13:34; 14:15, 21 ; 15:10, 12). Do these terms seem contrary to all the previous statements concerning the antagonism between law and grace? "The fact is there is no sphere of life or activity in time or in eternity that is not dominated by certain laws peculiar to its own conditions." No creature is ever free from the eternal principle of righteousness inherent in the very character of God and the universe of His creation. James puts "law" and "liberty" together because they belong together, and ends up by making the phrase "the perfect law of liberty," a designation which could not be true if it destroyed liberty in any way. Alexander Maclaren has said: "Liberty is not exemption from commandment, but harmony with commandment. Whoever finds that what is his duty is his delight is enfranchised. We are at liberty when we walk within the limits of the gospel; and they who delight to do the law are free in obedience; free from the tyranny of their own lust, passions, and inclinations; free from domination of men and opinion and common customs and personal habits."40

The Content of the Law of Liberty

If the "law of liberty" is God's principles and standards internalized, then what is the extent of His principles and standards. In the words of James, it is God's "implanted Word" (James 1:21). I see the content as the whole of Scripture that God has said to be "profitable" (2 Tim 3:16). D.W. Burdick in his commentary on James agrees:

It is not merely the OT law, nor is it the Mosaic law perverted to become a legalistic system for earning salvation by good works. When James calls it the "perfect law," he has in mind the sum total of God s revealed truth - not merely the preliminary portion found in the OT, but also the final revelation made through Christ and his Apostles that was soon to be inscripturated in the NT. Thus it is complete, in contrast to that which is preliminary and preparatory. Furthermore, it is the "law of liberty" (Gr.), by which James means that it does not enslave. It is not forced by external compulsion. Instead, it is freely accepted and fulfilled with glad devotion under the enablements of the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:22-23).41


Sumner Osborne also sees the content of the "law of liberty" to be all inclusive of the eternal laws, principles, and wisdom of the entire Scriptures inclusive of both Old and New Testaments.


The term "law of liberty" in James 1:25 and 2:12 simply means that the will or commandments of God revealed in His Word (or even in the law itself), since we are partakers of His nature which delights in His will, are not a burden but rather a pleasure. The doing of them is the fruit of this new nature. It is both law and liberty. But this in no way implies that the believer is under the law in the Scriptural meaning of that phrase.42


In summary, the "law of liberty" is the very mind of the Lord from the whole of the Bible internalized in the believer. It persuades and moves the will of the believer to be the same as God's Will under the filling of the Spirit. Because the Will of God and the will of the believer is the same, the believer serves and obeys the Will of God in perfect liberty.


Law of Love

The "law of love" is the idea of fulfilling law by love as found in Romans 13:8, 10. The actual phrase comes out of this context.

Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Rom 13:10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.


As Jesus issued what He called the "Great Commandment" in Matthew 22:37-40, He also emphasized that it embodied the totality of the "law and the prophets." He said, "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 22:40). The fuller definition of the "law of love" comes directly from the statement of Jesus. It is the fulfillment of the "spirit" of the details of the "law and the prophets."

As Jesus summed up all the Law and the Prophets going from the many to the two commandments, John, the apostle of love, reverses the summation to go from the two great "love" commandments to define them practically by the many commands of "God's Eternal Law."


I Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. (NKJ)

I Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.


The basic way in which the believer loves God and his neighbors is under the high standards of the "law of love."



On Romans 13: 8, 10 Walvoord writes that the law of love is the fulfillment of the commandments of the Lord toward God Himself as well as toward our neighbor.


In vs. 8, Paul writes, "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." In vs. 9 he points out that the ten commandments which relate to man s relation to man are fulfilled in the law of love. He explains this in vs. 10, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." In both verses, nomos occurs without the article and refers to all moral law. Paul evidently had the Mosaic law foremost in his mind, however, and quotes from that. Love fulfills all moral law, not only the law of Moses.43


In summary, the "law of love' is the fulfilling of God's commands and principles toward Himself and toward our neighbor.


Conclusion:

The use of "law" and "law of" in the New Testament is diverse. However with the help of the context and others who have labored before it is possible to "rightly divide the Word of Truth. This introductory study should prove to be helpful in developing and guiding toward clear definitions.

Appendix


The appendix is a kind of worksheet for the times and places where the word law and the phrase law of are found in the New Testament together with the classification given. It is supplied to aid in further study.


NOMOS - 165 Times, 162 Verses + 3 different times in same verse

Law of Moses References: (125)

Matt. 5:17; Matt. 5:18; Matt. 12:5; Matt. 22:36; Matt. 23:23; Lk. 2:22; Lk. 2:27; Lk. 5:17; Lk. 10:26; Lk. 16:17; Lk. 24:44; Jn. 1:17; Jn. 7:19; Jn. 7:23; Jn. 7:49; Jn. 7:51; Jn. 8:5; Jn. 8:17; Jn. 18:31; Jn. 19:7; Acts 5:34; Acts 6:13; Acts 7:53; Acts 13:39; Acts 15:5; Acts 18:13; Acts 18:15; Acts 21:20; Acts 21:24; Acts 21:28; Acts 22:12; Acts 23:3; Acts 23:29; Acts 28:23; Rom. 2:12; Rom. 2:13; Rom. 2:14; Rom. 2:15; Rom. 2:17; Rom. 2:18; Rom. 2:20; Rom. 2:23; Rom. 2:25; Rom. 2:26; Rom. 2:27; Rom. 3:19; Rom. 3:20; Rom. 3:28; Rom. 3:31; Rom. 4:13; Rom. 4:14; Rom. 4:15; Rom. 4:16; Rom. 5:13; Rom. 5:20; Rom. 6:14; Rom. 6:15; Rom. 7:1; Rom. 7:4; Rom. 7:5; Rom. 7:6; Rom. 7:7; Rom. 7:8; Rom. 7:9; Rom. 7:12; Rom. 7:14; Rom. 7:16; Rom. 8:3; Rom. 8:4; Rom. 9:4; Rom. 10:4; Rom. 10:5; Rom. 13:8; Rom. 13:10; 1 Co. 7:39; 1 Co. 9:8; 1 Co. 9:9; 1 Co. 9:20; 1 Co. 9:21; 1 Co. 14:34; 1 Co. 15:56; Gal. 2:16; Gal. 2:19; Gal. 2:21; Gal. 3:2; Gal. 3:5; Gal. 3:10; Gal. 3:11; Gal. 3:12; Gal. 3:13; Gal. 3:17; Gal. 3:18; Gal. 3:19; Gal. 3:21; Gal. 3:23; Gal. 3:24; Gal. 4:5; Gal. 4:21; Gal. 5:3; Gal. 5:4; Gal. 5:14; Gal. 5:18; Gal. 6:13; Phil. 3:5; Phil. 3:6; Phil. 3:9; 1 Tim. 1:7; 1 Tim. 1:8; 1 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 7:5; Heb. 7:11; Heb. 7:12; Heb. 7:19; Heb. 7:28; Heb. 8:4; Heb. 9:19; Heb. 9:22; Heb. 10:1; Heb. 10:8; Heb. 10:28; Jas. 2:9; Jas. 2:10; Jas. 2:11; Jas. 4:11; 1 Jn. 3:4


Law use as the whole Old Testament (Law and Prophets) (8)

Matt. 7:12; Matt. 11:13; Matt. 22:40; Lk. 16:16; Jn. 1:45; Acts 13:15; Acts 24:14; Rom. 3:21


Law of Moses phrase used to refer to Old Testament (5)

Jn. 10:34; Jn. 12:34; Jn. 15:25; 1 Co. 14:21; Gal. 4:4;


Law Applied (1)

Rom. 7:3


A General/Natural law (2)

Rom. 7:21; Gal. 5:23;


Law, the Sum of "The Law" the "Great" or "Royal" commandment (1)

Jas. 2:8;


Seventeen Different Law of Phrases


1. Law of Moses Lu 2:22; 24:44; Jn 7:23; Acts 13:39; 15:5; 28:23; 1C 9:9

2. Law of the Lord Lu 2:23; Lu 2:24; Lu 2:39

3. Law of the Fathers Acts 22:3

4. Law of the Jews Acts 25:8

5. Law of Works Rom 3:27

6. Law of Faith Rom 3:27

7. Law of the Husband Rom 7:2

8. Law of God Rom 7:22; 7:25; 8:7

9. Law of My Mind Rom 7:23

10. Law of Sin Rom 7:25; 8:2

11. Law of the Spirit of Life Rom 8:2

12. Law of Righteousness Rom 9:31

13. Law of Christ Gal 6:2 (1 Cor 9:21)

14. Law of Commandments Eph 2:15

15. Law of a Carnal Commandment Heb 7:16

16. Law of Liberty Jas 1:25; 2:12

17. Law of Love Rom 13:8, 10


A Selected Bibliography



Aldrich, Roy L., "A New Look at Dispensationalism." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 477, January-March, 1963.


Bruce, F.F., "Jews and Christians in the Lycus Valley." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 561, January-March, 1983.


Burdick, D.W., "James" in The Expositors Bible Commentary. Edited by F.E. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1981.


Chafer, Louis Sperry, "Doctrine of Sin, Part 5" Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 369, January-March, 1936.


Cowan, George M., "The Prohibitions of Grace" Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 410, April-June, 1946.


Dockery, David S., "Romans 7:14-25: Pauline Tension in the Christian Life." Grace Theological Journal Vol. 2, Num. 2. Fall, 1981.


Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G., Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. Tustin: Ariel Ministries, 1989.


Harrison, Everett F., "Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter: Part 6." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 391, July-September, 1941.


Howell, Don N., "Pauline Thought in the History of Interpretation." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 317, July-September, 1993.


Kent, Homer A., Jr., "A fresh Look at 1 Corinthian 15:34: An Appeal for Evangelism or a Call to Purity." Grace Theological Journal. Vol. 4. Num.1, Spring, 1983.


MacArthur, John F.,Jr., "Faith According to the Apostle James" Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Num. 31:1. March, 1990.


MacArthur, John F.,Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press, 1991.


Osborne, Sumner, "The Christian and the Law." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 109, July-September, 1952.


Pyne, Robert A., "The New Man and Immoral Society." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 615, July-September, 1997.


Robertson, A.T., Word Pictures in the New Testament. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman, 1930.


Ryrie, Charles C., "The End of the Law." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 495, July-September, 1967.


Ryrie, Charles C., The Grace of God. Chicago: Moody Press, 1963.


Ryrie Study Bible. Notes by Charles C. Ryrie. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.


Scaer, David P. "The Law and the Gospel in Lutheran Theology." Grace Theological Journal. Vol. 12. Num. 2, Fall 1991.


Schmidtbleicher, Paul R., "Balancing the Use of the Old Testament." Chafer Theological Seminary Journal. Num. 8, July-September, 2002.


Strickland, Wayne, G., "Preunderstanding and Daniel Fuller's Law-Gospel Continuum." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 574, April-June, 1987.


Thiessen, Henry C., "The Place of Israel in the Scheme of Redemption: As Set Forth in Romans 9-11, Part I." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 389, January-March, 1941.


Walvoord, John F., "Law in the Epistle of Romans, Part 1." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 373, January-March, 1937.


Walvoord, John F., "Law in the Book of Romans, Part 2." Bibliotheca Sacra. Num. 375, July-September, 1937.


1 Unless otherwise noted, biblical quotations are from the New King James Version (Nashville: Nelson, 1982).

2 For a complete listing of passages believed to be specifically referring ro the "Law of Moses" see the list in the Appendix.


3A.T. Robertson, Word pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman, 1930), Vol.3, 387.

4 Don N. Howell, "Pauline Thought in the History of Interpretation," BSac 599 (July-September 1993; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 317.

5F.F. Bruce, "Jews and Christians in the Lycus Valley," BSac 561(January-March 1983; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 6.


6See Paul R. Schmidtbleicher, "Balancing the Use of the Old Testament," CTS Journal 8, (July-September, 2002): 41-45.

7Sumner Osborne, "The Christian and the Law," BSac 109 (July-September 1952; elcetronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 241

8 John F. Walvoord, "Law in the Epistle of Romans, Part 1" BSac 373 (January 1937; electronic edition., Galaxie, 1999): 21.


9 Ibid.,20.

10 Louis Sperry Chafer, "Doctrine of Sin, Part 5" BSac 369 (January 1936; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 23-24.

11Schmidtbleicher, op. cit., 45-51.

12 John F. Walvoord, "Law in the Book of Romans, Part 2" BSac 375 (July 1937; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 291.

13 Roy L. Aldrich, "A New Look at Dispensationalism" BSac 477 (January 1963; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 48.


14 David S. Dockery, "Romans 7:14-25: Pauline Tension in the Christian Life" Grace Theological Journal Vol. 2, #2 (Fall 1981; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 251.

15 Walvoord, "Law in the Book of Romans, Part 2" op. cit. 291-292.

16 John F. Walvoord, "Law in the Epistle of Romans, Part 1," op. cit., 20-23.Walvoord defines six uses of nomos in Romans which are briefly stated as follows (1) Any recognized principle in operation whether moral, civil, or natural-law in its broadest sense. (2) The whole revealed will of God as known in any case, whether Jew or Gentile, whether written or unwritten, in the sense of any moral law. (3) A reference not so much to the Mosaic law in its substance as to its quality as law. (4) Reference specifically to the Mosaic Law. (5) Reference to include not only the Pentateuch but the entire Old Testament specifically. (6) Reference to a sphere of domination or rule.

17 Ibid., 23.

18 Walvoord, "Law in the Book of Romans, Part 2," op. cit., 292-293.

19 John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Romans 1-8 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 403.

20 Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, "The End of the Law" BSac 495 (July 1967; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 246.

21 Charles C. Ryrie, The Grace of God (Chicago: Moody Press, 1963), 105-113.

22 Schmidtbleicher, op. cit., 54-59. Further discussion of the implications of the New Covenant for Israel and Paul calling himself minister of a new covenant for the Church (2 Cor. 3:6) shows that some of the same spiritual blessings that will be fulfilled to Israel have been given to the church. I believe these include (1) Sins forgiven; (2) Personal relationship with God; (3) The indwelling of God's Holy Spirit; and (4) the internalization of the Word and Laws of God.

23 Walvoord, "Law in the Book of Romans, Part 2," ^Yop. cit.^Y, 284-285.

24 Henry C. Thiessen, "The Place of Israel in the Scheme of Redemption: As Set Forth in Romans 9-11, Part I" BSac 389 (January 1941; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 87.

25 See the quote from John MacArthur under the "Law of the Spirit" section. He sees the "Law of Christ' in the same way as "the law of sin." It is not seen as a division of Divine Law.

26 David P. Scaer, "The Law and the Gospel in Lutheran Theology" Grace Theological Journal Vol.12 No.2 (Fall 1991; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 164.

27 Homer A. Kent, Jr., "A fresh Look at 1 Corinthian 15:34: An Appeal for evangelism or a Call to Purity" Grace Theological Journal Vol.4 No.1 (Spring 1983; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 9.

28 Ryrie Study Bible, Notes by Charles C. Ryrie (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986): Note for Galatians 6:2, pg. 1780.

29 Charles C. Ryrie, "The End of the Law" BSac 124 (July-September 1967; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 246.

30 For a complete discussion of this see Schmidtbleicher, op.cit.,53-63.

31 Wayne G. Strickland, "Preunderstanding and Daniel Fuller's Law-Gospel Continuum" BSac 574 (April 1987; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 190.

32 Sumner Osborne, "The Christian and the Law" BSac 435 (July 1952; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 247.


33 Robert A. Pyne, "The New Man and Immoral Society" BSac 615 (July-September 1997; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 268-269.

34 See Schmidtbleicher, op.cit., 53-63.

35 Everett F. Harrison, "Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter: Part 6" BSac 391 (July-September 1941; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 312-313.

36 John F. MacArthur, Jr., "Faith According to the Apostle James" JETS 31:1 (March 1990; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 20.

37 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1989), 355.

38 George M. Cowan, "The Prohibitions of Grace" BSac 410 (April-June 1946; electronic ed., Galaxie, 1999): 233.

39 Ibid.., 233-234.

40 Ibid., 232.

41 D.W. Burdick, "James" in The Expositors Bible Commentary (ed. F.E. Gaebelein; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981): Vol 11, 175.

42 Osborne, op.cit., 246-247.

43 Walvoord, "Law in the Book of Romans, Part 2," op. cit., 293.

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