Friday, December 14, 2012

Seven reasons Christians must read the bible in a solely redemptive way; eliminating the legal constitutional reading of scripture



Several times I have suggested that Christians stop the legal constitutional reading of scripture. In this blog post I will present seven sound biblical reasons. In fact, in this post I beseech evangelicals to cease and desist from using a legal constitutional reading of scripture and replace it with a solely redemptive view. This would in no way diminish the value of the scripture, and it would completely eliminate the schizophrenic Christianity that presents an illogical and impossible mixture of law and grace

First, Jesus and his immediate followers changed the focus to a solely redemptive hermeneutic. Jesus stated in John 5:39-40 that the Jews were improperly using the scripture. They erroneously thought that they could find eternal life in the scriptures and the fact was that eternal life was only found in Jesus. So then, to use the scriptures for another purpose then finding Jesus and life is an incorrect use.

Second, Jesus and his immediate followers redefined the phrases word of God and word of truth from Torah to the gospel, and Jesus the living gospel. First of all, Jesus always referred to the scriptures as the scripture (writings) or the Law and Prophets and never referred to them as the word of God. He did use the word scripture often, you will find it forty-six times in the gospels and Acts. Finally, I challenge you to go to an exhaustive concordance and look up the phrase “the word of God.” Then insert the words scripture/s in place of it, and it will not make sense in context, however, if you insert the word gospel or Jesus depending on the immediate passage-context it will make perfect sense each and every time.

Third, Christ Jesus was the end or goal or purpose of the Law. Paul is especially clear on this point with statements like “if righteousness comes from the Law then Christ died for nothing,” or “by the works of the law no person will be justified.” It is clearly summed up in passages like Romans 10:1-4:  “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.  (2)  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  (3)  For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.  (4)  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” It could not possibly be made more clear than that.

Fourth, God made Jesus enemies his footstool when he destroyed the temple and Jerusalem. Who were Jesus enemies? Of course the answer is the unbelieving Jews. They were the ones who enticed the Romans to crucify him. They were the ones that persecuted the church. So then, the first step in making Jesus’ enemies his footstool was the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. It did not stop there because ultimately Rome was made his footstool also. Ultimately however, death was put under his feet with the destruction of the temple because the Old Covenant, Paul called it the ministry of death, was rendered completely irrelevant with the destruction of the temple.

Fifth, Jesus was the lamb that opened the scroll and brought proper understanding of the scripture. Revelation 5:5 says it all: “ And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals." Prior to Jesus and his resurrection the scripture was hidden and the mystery of the gospel was not revealed. Jesus did that Luke 24:27, 43-45.

Sixth, The new covenant demands it. Jer 31:31-34  "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,  (32)  not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.  (33)  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (34)  And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." The underline portion of the above passage completely eliminates the legal constitutional reading of scripture.

Seventh, A legal constitutional way of reading the scripture renders the redemptive decrees as not true. Last but certainly not least the new testament is full of what I call redemptive decrees. Here is an example of what I am writing about: Rom 10:9-11  “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  (10)  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  (11)  For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." If one can be unsaved by not doing something then this statement by Paul is simply a lie. Therefore, the Christian walk admonitions, (I like to call them reasonable service requests), cannot negate the declared promise for then, the scripture is absolutely of no value at all. There are many others throughout the pages of the scripture. The most famous one that Jesus stated is John 3:16, almost everyone is familiar with that declaration.

The evidence I have presented is overwhelming… what are you going to do with it?

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