Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Kindness and the Law

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25 NIV)

All of these fruits are characteristics of God. The call is to attempt to stay in step with the characteristics of God…a goal for certain and a goal we often fail to achieve. But God does not fail to achieve these characteristics. That leads me to something I heard in a song and frankly something I have heard all my life. The line is something like “we are condemned by the law of God”, I am not going to link to any of those statements as a goggle search gave me a result of over 4 million hits. But let’s think about that for a moment.

If God is defined by these characteristics, let’s specifically use the term “kindness”. Would a person who was characterized by kindness create a law with the intention of it being to condemn people? It is hard to imagine someone saying that it is a kindness to create a law to condemn. What good does that do? It would seem that with kindness as the reason any law would seek to benefit people rather than to condemn them.

Paul addressed this issue when he said: “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. “(Gal 3:24 NIV) Paul who actually never says that the law condemns us fights against the idea of being held prisoner to the law which was powerless (Rom 8:3) because of our sinful nature, faith in Christ could do...the law then leading us to Christ and Faith. The law as intended was a kindness, a good thing offering guidelines for a people new to self governing. The kindness of the old Testament law however was not meant to condemn people it was the misuse of the law that caused people to think it was meant to condemn us. What do they think of God if His law is meant to condemn?

If our fundamental assumption about God is based upon the idea that God’s law condemns us we have set up the presupposition that God is against us. A direct contradiction of the New Testaments declaration: “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? “(Rom 8:31 NIV) This presupposition becomes the root of so much misunderstanding about God which culminates in the idea that God had to pour out His wrath on Christ so that God could forgive us. An idea which flies in the face of the characteristics of God : “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

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