Thomas Schreiner explains the interplay between Christianity and biblical law in this excellent addition to the 40 Questions & Answers series. Schreiner not only coherently answers the tough questions that flow from a discussion about Levitical law but also engages students in a clear style.
Questions include . . .
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“The giving of the law followed the salvation of Israel, and hence such obedience signified Israel’s grateful response to the redemption accomplished by the Lord. There is no basis in the text for the idea that Israel’s obedience established a relationship with the Lord. The Lord took the initiative in rescuing his people, and they were called upon to respond with faithful obedience.” (Page 26)
“The pattern established in the Mosaic covenant, which is redemption followed by obedience, functions as a type or pattern for New Testament believers. Believers have been redeemed through the work of Christ, and they respond to his saving mercy with grateful obedience. Such grateful obedience, under both the Mosaic covenant and the new covenant established by Jesus Christ, is not legalistic, for there is no idea that such obedience earns or merits salvation under either the old covenant or the new. The obedience of believers flows from faith and is a thankful response to God’s saving work in Christ.” (Pages 26–27)
“Nevertheless, in the New Testament, as we saw in the Old Testament, the term law most often refers to what is commanded in the Mosaic law.” (Page 21)
“First, one’s understanding of the law determines how one puts the whole Bible together.” (Page 13)
“Fourth is the view that ‘works of law’ refers to the entire law and the actions that are required by the law.5” (Page 42)
Thomas R. Schreiner (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He also taught at both Bethel Theological Seminary and Azusa Pacific University.
Dr. Schreiner is a Pauline scholar and the author or editor of numerous books, including New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ; Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology; and the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament volume on Romans.