There is a sense where it is necessary to teach law in order to know when it gets broken. But the overwhelming thrust of the Christian message is that it is law which holds man in death, and it is death from law that man must be released, even if that means providing a death by which that law system can be ended.

We are more familiar with plain old “sinning” in the sense of it being commonly recognised that the wrong thing was done, rather than perhaps some specific “law” was broken. The original sin was departing from God’s life of truth and entering into the land of the lie, from which all manner of corruption ensued.

Paul makes it quite plain that being under law is why men are kept captive to a life of sin.

I just read another wrong article claiming that Romans 7 refers to a believer. Recently I have been talking with a Christadelphian group who are trying to defend their group against accusations of being a sect. I was attempting to challenge them on the atonement view they hold, as I believe it is here that all wayward groups go wrong.

They have come up with the line that keeping the commandments is necessary, and all scripture associated with this should be studied and followed. I thought it was plain that we were not under law but grace, and were to be led by the Spirit, not to be obeying laws, that in following the Spirit, all the reasons for keeping those laws would be met, because of the operation of love. (There was also a recent long article by someone who was claiming that love was not enough to perform Christian service??). The law itself was why it was necessary for Jesus to die. (Man could never gain life through law, rather, he gained death.)

The problem with the Christadelphian position is multiple and inter connected. (1) It hinges on them not accepting that Jesus dealt with all sin for all time so we are released from its power to condemn, which then enables them to  provide their own conditions by which man is acceptable to God (apparently Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t good enough). (2) They deny the Spirit as being the comforter and personal presence of Christ, instead seeing it just as the power of God. (They have to explain the miracles somehow). And at Pentecost, rather than this being the promised gift by which believers are led, it is again confined to the spiritual gifts themselves (which they say are no longer available, so they might as well say that the Spirit is no longer available in any form at all).

But in fact they do say it is available, and it is the written word that they claim to be spirit, once it is inside them. Hence all the study and so called spiritual knowledge. And they have to do all this study and learning to try and get the written word inside them, because they deny the existence of the Spirit as teacher, the Spirit of truth.

(3) When it comes to Romans 7, (with this particular group), because they have to defend the law and their continued submission to it, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will see the wrong view of it, so that their position of climbing the righteousness ladder will be supported. They are prevented from seeing that righteousness is a free gift, rather than something you have to wrangle into existence. Therefore it will be Paul struggling with sin but in a better position now to keep the law because Jesus offered forgiveness, which translates as being cleansed at baptism, but increasingly running foul of sin and then wearing the personal responsibility for both re-acquiring it and constantly removing it.

Paul had the will to do the law, but found he did not have the resources. They would claim that it would now be the acquiring of knowledge that leads them into sufficient righteousness to be able to perform the law. Unless it is recognised that it is the law that man is freed from by the mercy of God, then Christ died “in vain”. They cannot hang onto the law that condemns them and expect to be released by a non existent Spirit, which is non existent because they cannot receive the Spirit of life until they have been released from the spirit of death, but which cannot happen anyway because they do not believe in Him.

So it is necessary for them to promote the wrong views because otherwise they would have to admit the Spirit as a personal influence in their lives, connected with the same Spirit as the one at Pentecost, and by which Paul gained power over his flesh. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law”. “Thanks be to God through Christ”. God’s forgiveness as presented by the cross is absolute, it is not open to negotiation. We have been set free. Disbelieving this is to deny Christ, and to refuse his sacrifice which apparently is acceptable to God, but not to them.

[1 John 2-26,27.]

Cchristadelphian Claw


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