Monday, 29 March 2010

We're not nomophobes (part 2)

This afternoon, a few of us at work we were pondering what verse would best function as a motto text for someone who worked as a debt collector. The verse that came to mind was Romans 13:8

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another

What I'd not noticed before was how the verse ends

for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

Has it ever occurred to you how the NT is really concerned about the Law? I mean just take a look again at the verse above... Paul is basically saying that to heed the 2nd highest commandment (loving your neighbour as yourself) = fulfilling the law. In other words, the Christian's ambition - at one level - is to fulfill the law (a point that the Apostle Paul spells out in the rest of the chapter)

I don't know why, but this talk of fulfilling the law fills me with some unease and yet it is also intriguing. I think I'm filled with unease because I've been taught to treat "nomos" as something of the past - a thing that was put into retirement with the coming of Christ. But recently I've found myself more and more perplexed as I've sought to comprehend how this view fits with verses such as Romans 13:8 mentioned above. Even more haunting, are Jesus' sobering words in Matthew 5:17-20.

As I've tried to grapple with my quiet unease and growing intrigue, the following three questions have offered some glimmering light on the seemingly dark path before me

1. Who gave the Law and what was His intent in doing so?

2. Has the Law been repealed and if it has then when, and by whom?

3. If the Law truly has been repealed, and now functions in a manner similar to a museum exhibit, what exactly is the curator's (the Church's) role and what should we say to the inquiring world as it goes round admiring the display?

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