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#1 John Buckle

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 10:18 AM

File Name: Paul, the Law, and Dispensationalism
File Submitter: John Buckle
File Submitted: 22 Sep 2017
File Updated: 22 Sep 2017
File Category: Books
Author: Dr. William W. Combs
theWord Version: 3.x - 4.x
Suggest New Tag:: Paul, Law, & Dispensationalism

In this essay I propose to explore how Paul understands the role of the Mosaic Law in the life of the New Testament believer. When I speak of the Mosaic Law or use the term Law capitalized, I am referring to the 613 commands, as the rabbis counted them (365 positive commands and 248 prohibitions), with sanctions, given through Moses at Sinai to Israel, what is also called the Mosaic legal system. This Law has been preserved for us in the Pentateuch.

I believe Paul’s view of the Law’s applicability to believers today fits within the discontinuity of a dispensational framework.[ii] This discontinuity is clearly seen in a text like 1 Corinthians 7:19, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.”[iii] Can you imagine Paul saying that to Moses? After all, “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying…when a woman gives birth and bears a male child…on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Leviticus 12:1-3).What could be a more clear command of God than circumcision? Yet in the New Testament age, Paul makes it clear that circumcision is no longer to be listed as one of God’s commandments to his people. This raises a couple of obvious questions: what are these “commandments of God” that Paul says believers must “keep,” and where do we find them?

David A. Dorsey, “The Law of Moses and the Christian: A Compromise,” [i]Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 34 (September 1991): 321.

[ii] See especially John S. Feinberg, “Systems of Discontinuity,” in [i]Continuity and Discontinuity: Essays in Honor of S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.,
ed. John S. Feinberg (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1988), 63–86. Hawthorne (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans), 22-23.

[iii] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NASB, 1995 edition.

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