Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 25 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 25 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
We love, because He first loved us.
We love God and others because He first loved us. The two great OT commandments that summed up the whole Law - to love God and to love one's neighbor.
Gal 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Agape is a love whose chief essence is self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one who is loved. Such a love means death to self, and that means defeat for sin, since the essence of sin is self-will and self-gratification.
Gal 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
We are not to fulfill the Mosaic Law, but it is fulfilled in love. If we were under the Law still then it would be fulfilled in love, but we are not any longer and so Paul is moving from the Law of statutes that we are no longer under to a law that is the spiritual and ethical life of the believer in this age, and that is fulfilled in agape love, for God and for mankind. God has a law for us, but it does not consist of the things of the Mosaic Law but the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
Thus, the individual is released from one law consisting of a set of ethical principles to which was attached blessing for obedience and punishment in the case of disobedience. Now there are Christian ethics.
The Mosaic Law gave Israel neither the desire nor the power to obey its commands. The only power to follow the Law was to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength. This is why the whole Law depended on these commandments. This provided the motivation.
Love for God was wrought out of all that God did for Israel. He repeats to them over and over how He freed them from Egypt and graciously gave them the Promised Land.
This was a responsive love to a gracious and loving God. With that love the OT believer found new meaning to the Law and the second command to love one's neighbor as himself.
Fast forwarding to the NT, we are no longer under the yoke of the Mosaic Law. Yet this does not mean that we are not under "a" law. We are under the rule of Christian ethics. Nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the NT. Love for God and love for one's neighbor are repeated in the NT. The deeds of the flesh are repeated in the NT. Sins of lust, greed, sensuality, laziness, apathy, sensuality, sins of the tongue, a host of mental attitude sins are repeated in the NT. And, in the NT there are new commands.
In fact, the system of ethics for the church is on a much higher plane than that of the OT.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love [agape].
What is not repeated in the NT are the Levitical offerings, the rituals, the feasts, festivals, Sabbath, and everything else that was given to Israel as a shadow of the things to come in Christ, as well as the curses of the Law.
Since we are now in Christ, we are freed from these things. Christ fulfilled the Law and Himself redeemed us from the curse of the Law, since we all broke the Law.
The blessings were read from Mt. Gerizim and the curses from Mt. Ebal:
Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law.
Let's take an example.
Deu 27:17 'Cursed is he who moves his neighbor's boundary mark.' And all the people shall say,' Amen.'
This is one of the curses that was read from Mt. Ebal to which the people were to say Amen - so be it God's will. So what was to restrict the greed of one man who was tempted to secretly steal some of his neighbor's land?
Deu 28:15 "But it shall come about, if you will not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.
Deu 28:16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.
Deu 28:17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
Deu 28:18 Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
And on and on it goes. A man was motivated not to break the law because some of these things would come upon him. Yet if he became a believer that Jehovah would redeem Israel through the blood sacrifice of His own making and then come to love the Lord for all that He had done for Israel then he was further motivated to obey the Law as being given by a God who first loved them.
The blessings of the Law are all barren to us since they all applied to earthly blessings, which God certainly has for us, but the true blessings of the CA are spiritual. We do not read of the blessings of God's very love and peace being given in the heart.
The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you
And because of this, the OT believer would love God's other creatures, his neighbor, because of his love for Jehovah.
The last curse listed, that was spoken from Mt. Ebal was the command to keep the whole Law. This removed any notion that any Israelite could be made righteous through the law.
Deu 27:26 'Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.' And all the people shall say,' Amen.'
Under the Law there is no escape. The Law shut them out of all forms of escape other than faith in the prophetic Messiah's blood sacrifice.
The law was a jailer who held in custody those who were subjected to sin, in order that they should not escape the consciousness of their sins and their liability to punishment in the form of the curses that God stated.
We find Paul in the NT expounding on this very thing as some of his flock were fooled into returning to the Mosaic Law as a means of worshipping God.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came ["the faith" - faith in a historic cross as opposed to prophetic], we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.
But before "the" faith came: The definite article identifies the faith in a historic Jesus while the faith of OT was in a prophetic Messiah who would someday atone for them.
Sinners were kept guarded under the law with a view to their exercising faith in Christ. The law shut them up to one avenue of escape, namely, faith in Christ, for during the 1500 years in which the law was in force, it was the means of convicting sinners of their sins and of causing them to look ahead in faith to the atonement God would someday offer which would pay for their sins.
Gal 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.
"tutor" - paidagogo,j[paidagogos] = a slave who had general charge over a boy 6-16 years old. He was entrusted with the moral supervision of the child.
The law was therefore the guardian of Israel, keeping watch over those committed to its care, accompanying them with its commands and prohibitions, keeping them in a condition of dependence and restraint, and continually revealing to them sin as a positive transgression. The arrogance of the unbelieving Jew turned it into a system of righteousness by deceiving himself that he could actually keep all the commands of the Law.
By describing the law as a paidagogos, Paul emphasizes both the inferiority of the Law of grace, and its temporary character.
Gal 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Gal 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
By switching from the first person "we" to the second person "you" Paul is now changing from referencing the Jews to a reference to his readers. The wall between Jew and Gentile has been destroyed and all believers become children of God in Christ Jesus.
sons - ui`o,j[huios] = a son of full age. In context, no longer under the paidagogos. In grace we have outgrown the surveillance of the former guardian - the Law.