If New Priest = New Law; What is the New Law?
Only just now caught up with your comments on Heb 7:12, re a change in the law, which I fully concur with but seemingly not many do!
For some time I have been wrestling with the classical reformed view of the ‘third use of the law’ namely using the Decalogue as the guide for life.
My concern has been the great propensity we have for sliding into legalism and self-justification, just as the Jews did. I keep coming back to the two laws Paul mentions, ‘the Law of sin and death’ and ‘the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’, and that living in the latter, is the natural state of the regenerate. Sanctification should be of the new creation life just as much as regeneration is its beginning.
Have you become aware of and what are your thoughts on Brian Rosner’s take on how Paul not only viewed the Law, but applied it in Christian living, namely by repudiation, replacement and reappropriation.
Your comments would be appreciated
Good morning Allan,
Thanks for the email, it is so interesting. I have been feeling the need to write a series on what God's Law is now that we have a new and better covenant, because I really feel this is something not taught or known.
First I am not familiar with Brian Rosner's teachings, I'll have to look him up—sounds interesting. But for the classical reformed view of the third use of the law, or using it as a guide for life or Christian living, I think it is an incorrect application of the law. And I too encounter and hear this all the time, which is why we have this hybrid of grace and law that permeates the Church.
As you mentioned, there is a law of sin and death and a law of the Spirit of Life (Rom. 8:2)—clearly two separate things. Paul says that the one sets us free from the other. So what are these laws?
The law of sin and death (in a nutshell) is the ten commandments. Paul, referring specifically to letters engraved in stone, in 2 Corinthians 3 calls them the administration of death (vs. 7). Here is their purpose:
- to show us what sin is (Rom 3:20, 7:7)
- to arouse sin within us (Rom 7:8-9, Gal 3:19)
- to condemn us (Rom 7:10, Gal 3:10, 24)
- to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24)
- to crucify the sin nature so we can live for God (Gal 2:19-20)
(I’m sure there is more, but this is off the top of my head)
The correct application of this law according to Paul is to use it for lawbreakers, rebels, ungodly, etc…. never for a righteous person (1 Tim 1:8-9a). The law of sin and death should not be taught to believers, who are imputed with Christ’s very own righteousness… period!
And why are we taught that the 10 commandments (and the rest of the Law) is what is God now implanted into our hearts and minds (Heb. 8:10). I mean why would God write on our hearts something that is meant to kill us?
So the real questions is what is the Law of the Spirit of Life?
Here’s what I think. Psalm 40, which is a prophetic passage about Jesus, shows the behind the scenes realization of what God’s Law is. There is an awakening to the fact that it is not about sacrifices and offerings, but then Jesus recognizes that all of that was written about him, He’s the lamb, he’s the sacrifice, he’s the offering.... It’s not about what we can do, it is about what God will do!
“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you;
where I to speak and tell of them they would be too many to declare.
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:5-8).
The Law of God was written in Jesus’ heart, but it wasn’t about sacrifices and offerings, that was the other one given by Moses about Jesus. So the next verses declare what Jesus discovered about God’s law (or we could say the law of the Spirit of life).
“I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O Lord.
I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”
God’s law is a declaration that what we are powerless to do, God did. He will always be faithful to us. He will alway love us. He will/has provided the way of salvation. He will give us the necessary righteousness based on HIS ability to do it, not ours.
Righteousness is God’s Law—the law of the Spirit of Life. A perfect record, a sinless state, the finished work of the cross. This is what God now writes on the believer's heart, which is why there is now NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus living according to this Law. (i.e. Read Romans 8:1-4, powerful scripture!)
- Which is why there was a need for another priest (Heb 7:11)
- Why the change in priesthood required a change in the Law (Heb 7:12)
- Why this Priest (Jesus) was completely disconnected from the Levitical line of high priests (Heb. 7:13-14)
There was nothing to connect them because God wanted to keep them completely separate! And so we have NO business trying to marrying them again.
God’s imputed righteousness to the believer is what we should be teaching as the basis for the Christian life… not the law, never the law!
Here’s a series I wrote on righteousness that might be helpful: Righteousenss 101
The result is Sanctification as you mentioned… God’s Spirit has the power to change us from the inside out by the realization and application of the righteousness God has given us in Christ Jesus. It is all interconnected.
Wow, this is a lot for this early in the morning :) But, this is something God has been showing me lately and I hope to really spell it out more clearly in the next couple of months via some blog posts.
Thanks for contacting me, I hope this is helpful (and not more confusing, ha!),
In Christ, Juli