The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Made for man

with 2 comments

Jesus did not come to change the law, but he came to explain it, and that very fact shows that it remains, for there is no need to explain that which is abrogated. Upon one particular point in which there happened to be a little ceremonialism involved, namely, the keeping of the Sabbath, our Lord enlarged, and showed that the Jewish idea was not the true one. The Pharisees forbade even the doing of works of necessity and mercy, such as rubbing ears of corn to satisfy hunger, and healing the sick. Our Lord Jesus showed that it was not at all according to the mind of God to forbid these things. In straining over the letter, and carrying an outward observance to excess, they had missed the spirit of the Sabbath law, which suggested works of piety such as truly hallow the day. He showed that Sabbatic rest was not mere inaction, and he said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” He pointed to the priests who laboured hard at offering sacrifices, and said of them, “the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless.” They were doing divine service, and were within the law. To meet the popular error he took care to do some of his grandest miracles upon the Sabbath-day; and though this excited great wrath against him, as though he were a law-breaker, yet he did it on purpose that they might see that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, and that it is meant to be a day for doing that which honours God and blesses men. O that men knew how to keep the spiritual Sabbath by a easing from all servile work, and from all work done for self! The rest of faith is the true Sabbath, and the service of God is the most acceptable hallowing of the day. Oh that the day were wholly spent in serving God and doing good! The sum of our Lord’s teaching was that works of necessity, works of mercy, and works of piety are lawful on the Sabbath. He did explain the law in that point and in others, yet that explanation did not alter the command, but only removed the rust of tradition which had settled upon it. By thus explaining the law he confirmed it; he could not have meant to abolish it or he would not have needed to expound it.

from The perpetuity of the law of God by Charles Spurgeon

May you enjoy tomorrow, on the first Lord’s day of the new year, a day free from the rust of unholy traditions and full of the joy of honouring God and blessing men.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 1 January 2011 at 16:14

2 Responses

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  1. […] Made for man ( […]

  2. “Jesus did not come to change the law” but Paul says:
    “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
    14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.”

    As much as I admire Spurgeon, on this subject what he says is at variance with what scripture says. If we make matthew 5:17 ““Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law…; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” the definitive text on the question of whether or not the mosaic law (in any part) continues, then we will have a one sided view of what the bible has to say on the matter.
    For certain Matthew 5:17-19’s “not one jot or tittle” as the AV puts it “will by any means pass from the law” will not allow for a abrogation of 2 parts of the Mosaic law and the retention of 1 part. A convenient solution is to adopt the view that Matthew 5:17-19 is only referring to the moral part of the mosaic law, but the phrase “…the Law or the Prophets” (“the prophets” is conveniently forgotten about in many discussions concerning this text) would contradict that notion. What is clearly in view here is the whole of the Mosaic economy (the old covenant).

    Since neither Matthew 5:17-19 or Ephesians 2:15 can be false, we must have a view which fits both texts without ignoring either. New Covenant Theology is such a view. It enables the reader to understand that Jesus came under the old economy and with his death inaugrated a new one. Thus when he says “not one word will pass from the Law or the Prophets…until everything has been accomplished” NCT understands that Ephesians 2:15 won’t allow that accomplishment to be anything other than the cross work of Jesus. And his statement is true, not one jot or tittle did fall from the old covenant until Jesus had fulfilled all that the OC was pointing to, i.e. his work on the cross. When he had accomplished his cross work then he had abolished the law and the prophets in the sense that they had been filled up and had served their purpose completely.
    NCT allows the bible to be true in respect of both Matthew 5:17-19 and Ephesians 2:15. From the point of view of the old economy (from which stand point Jesus was speaking at the time) the law stood and would stand until he accomplished his cross work. From the point of view of Paul standing the other side of the cross, the law had been abolished because it had fully served its purpose, as a result he is able to say that it is now redundant.

    Spurgeon failed to recognise the fact that Jesus came to live a perfect life of obedience to the law which he was born under (a Jew under the Mosaic law)thus qualifying him to be a lamb without blemish and consequently a perect sacrifice, and that when he died he put to death the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14 – the law) which stood opposed to a new people of God made of Jew and Gentile. Simply put, the law had to be abolished because if it hadn’t been most of us would not have been able to have been saved because we are Gentiles and simply would not have qualified for people of God status, that is what Ephesians 2:14-16 is saying. If Spurgeon had had a NCT view of things he would never have thought that the 10 commandments, and therefore the 7th commandment, remain obligatory to the Christian, because he would have clearly understood that Jesus came to fulfill the law and in so doing he abolished it, completely. Not one jot or tittle remains.


    Friday 7 January 2011 at 22:26

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