Is the Christian under the law? Paul asserts that Christians “are not under the law, but under grace,” but also that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Given such seemingly contradictory statements, how can Christians answer the question?
Your view of the law colors your overall perspective of the Christian life and shapes your approach to the entire Old Testament. If you focus too much on the law, you will miss the blessings of living under the New Covenant. Yet a failure to appreciate God’s law encourages reckless self-indulgence.
Ken Casillas proposes that the biblical answer is both yes and no. No, the law has no covenantal authority over Christians. But God’s laws are all based on timeless truths about Himself, and Christians must apply those truths if they are to imitate Him. Casillas incorporates the strengths of each viewpoint and summarizes the best of conservative scholarship in an understandable format. But his ultimate goal is to clarify the proper—and improper—roles of God’s law in the Christian’s quest for holiness.
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“We need to emphasize, however, that neither torah nor nomos inherently communicates the attitude with which the commandments are given, the motives for which they should be obeyed, or the nature of the relationship between the Lawgiver and the law-keeper. We must determine these matters by studying the covenants in which the commandments are given and the contexts in which they are discussed.” (Page 5)
“What is critical is the distinction between the period of the Mosaic law and the period of grace—more specifically, the distinction between Israel and the church as different bodies with different purposes and different administrative arrangements.” (Page 16)
“Through disobedience, individual generations of Israelites could forfeit their personal enjoyment of and participation in God’s program for the nation as a whole. It was quite possible to be an Israelite but not be in covenant with Yahweh.” (Pages 30–31)
“Obedience to the Torah was intended to be a response of gratitude for the privilege of being Yahweh’s people and experiencing His loving intervention on their behalf.” (Pages 29–30)
“Despite its graciousness, the Mosaic covenant was conditional in nature.” (Page 30)