Thursday, June 4, 2009

Teaching the Law without Understanding.

1 Tim. 1:6-7 (ESV)
Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, [7] desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now Paul returns to these certain unnamed persons. They are causing trouble in the church. They are wandering away into vain discussions. No longer forgiving sin and pointing to the cross, they want to be teachers of the law, yet they don’t understand what they are saying! Now “law” here can be interpreted in atleast two ways. They want to be teachers of the law. Law in this context often means the Old Testament, or the Torah. This falls in line with all the "genealogies and myths" Paul was warning about earlier. Nothing has changed today. Men who have no understanding, and haven’t studied the Bible seriously churn out book after book using the Old Testament to bolster mythological bull: “The Bible Code” “The Prayer of Jabez”. Those are just a couple titles to see how this goes. I marvel at people who spend time trying to figure out if the Nephilim are giants or not. Who cares? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Seriously! Or they look in Ezekiel for evidence of aliens. Really?!!! I mean come on people learn how to think. But then there is another error that is closely related.
And that is to teach nothing but law, teaching people how to love without giving them the love of Christ with which Christians love. What I mean by law here, is that every sermon is gives practical advice for your marriage or family, or it is a hellfire and brimstone style warning against some sin real or imagined, and here mostly imagined. Many would rather give a sermon on the evils of smoking or drinking even the occasional beer then actually addressing the sins God talks about. Maybe we could start with the Ten Commandments? These preachers understand nothing of what they say, or things about which they make confident assertions. They feed law. The law tells you how to love. It never gives you the ability to love. But when you preach the Gospel, preferably after law, properly distinguishing between repentance and forgiveness of sins (Luke 24) or Law and Gospel as us Lutherans call it in short hand, then you create pure hearts, and clean good consciences. The Holy Spirit uses the Gospel to clean. When we preach Christ Crucified, and apply that to the people showing them what Christ has done for us there on the cross, then we have given the love of God, and they can take that love of God and love others with it. It seems like it shouldn’t work. But it has a better track record than the law. No one ever loses their guilt or their fear of death that drives them to sin when they hear nothing but what they are supposed to be doing.

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

Nice one, Bror.

I'm going to put a link to this post on the Nakedpastor's site in the comments of his current post.

I tried to explain Law/Gospel over there, but your post may help them more than my explanation.