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Showing posts from March, 2015

The Christian and the Law: Matthew 5:17-20

How does the Christian relate to the law of God?This was a question that first grabbed my attention when as a new Christian I began to study Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.In that letter, Paul made what to me were some rather strange statements that I could not understand.For on the one hand, he seems to say that the Christian is redeemed from the law (Gal. 4:5) and that the Mosaic covenant no longer applies to the NT believer (Gal. 3:19-29).On the other hand, however, he backs up his own teaching by the authority of this very law!See, for example, Paul’s statement in Gal. 5:14.How could this be?The apostle seems to give with one hand what he takes away with the other.It was to me a genuine paradox, and I didn’t know how to solve it.And yet this paradox is not just unique to Galatians.It extends across the New Testament. Galatians is not the only place where Paul celebrates the believer’s freedom from law.He tells us in Romans 6:14 that we are no longer under law but under grace.In th…

Salt and Light - Matthew 5:13-16

John Stott is correct, I think, when he points out that whereas the Beatitudes teach us about Christian character, these verses teach us about a Christian’s influence in the world.[1]The lesson is straightforward: those who have the character described in the Beatitudes become as an inevitable consequence salt and light in this world.First of all, he tells us that they are salt.Though today we use salt mainly as a flavoring agent, in Jesus’ time salt was also used as a preservative against decay.In an age before refrigeration, if you wanted meat to last, you salted it.If meat is properly cured, it can evidently last a long time.In a similar fashion, the disciples are to act as a moral preservative in a corrupt and godless age.As R. V. G. Tasker put it, they are “called to be a moral disinfectant in a world where moral standards are low, constantly changing, or non-existent . . . they can discharge this function only if they themselves retain their virtue.”[2]
But this is not all Jesus …