Tackling the Theological Controversies, Including the Place of the Law in the Life of the Believer

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Dr. Brown answers your toughest theological questions and also discusses the place of the Law in the life of the believer. He’ll also be taking your calls and answering your emails on a wide range of biblical and theological topics. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: When it comes to the Sabbath, let us always remember that the Sabbath is the shadow and the substance is found in the Messiah.

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Let us honor one another in the midst of nonessential differences. Let us hold to our convictions before God, and honor those who differ over the nonessentials.


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  1. When the law is out of place in the life of a believer, will he not go out to make shipwreck of the faith?

  2. Bo,
    The Gentiles in question [Ro 2:13-15] “do the Law” “by nature”.

    What significance does the phrase “by nature” hold for you?
    Can you think of something which humans do which is “natural”–which takes no “special training”?
    How about “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life”? None of that takes “training”; it all comes “naturally”.
    In fact, even when you try to “train” someone–with, let’s say, a Law–what is “natural” will always win out.
    Can you think of an example of this?
    Let me help you: Paul said even though the Law told him not to covet, and he conceptually agreed with the Law with his inward man, the “natural” course of things took over: sin, overpowering Paul’s “training” and will, forced Paul to do what he hated (disqualifying him from being a “doer of the Law”).
    Following the same line of reasoning, when someone is born of God, they are “naturally” “doers of the Law” and don’t need “training” in it because it is a natural inclination.

    Now, on the other hand, what is true of unbelievers is that they are “by nature sons of wrath” and “sons of disobedience” so that “not one does good” [Ro 3:9-18; Ep 2:1-3].
    Why should anyone be convinced that these Gentiles [Ro 2:13-15] were unbelievers who were “by nature… doers of the Law… justified”?
    Unbelievers are not “by nature” “doers of the law”; to hold to such a belief, one must *purposefully* ignore so large a base of doctrine.
    Again, what is “natural” for unbelievers is to sin–they don’t need “training”, and even if you try to train them, they cannot stop sinning: it isn’t even them sinning but a spiritual power at work in them.
    What is “natural” for believers is to be righteous, because it isn’t even them doing what is right but a spiritual power at work in them (God)–which is, again, why the Gospel is called a revelation if GOD’s righteousness: it is no longer us living but Christ living, and Christ’s Name is “YHVH our righteousness”.

  3. 1 Thessalonians 4:9
    “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been *taught by God* to love one another…”

    Titus 2:11
    “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, *instructing us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age*…”

    1 John 2:27
    “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as *his anointing teaches you about everything*, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him”

    Who taught the believers? God.

  4. I wonder about those Gentiles Paul writes of in Romans 2:14 as concerning Sabbath keeping. Several questions I have about this:

    1. Did they feel a conviction of God to keep the Sabbath exactly as the Jews kept it?

    2. Did they live among the Jews and refrain from working on Sabbath days, as a matter of not being a stumbling block to their neighbors the Jews, or so as not to ruin their day of rest by all their noise?

    3. Or is there a “keeping of the law” that is without reference to Sabbath keeping?

  5. Ray,
    Why would they have a conviction to commemorate the day of rest of an old creation when they are already in a new creation wherein there must be a new day commemorating God’s rest (assuming, that is, there will be a “day of rest” concerning this new creation)?

  6. Bo,
    I said:
    “What is ‘natural’ for believers is to be righteous, because it isn’t even them doing what is right but a spiritual power at work in them (God/Grace)–which is, again, why the Gospel is called a ‘revelation if GOD’s righteousness’: it is no longer us living, but Christ, and Christ’s Name is ‘YHVH our righteousness’.”

    That is why it says…

    1 John 5:12
    Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

    …instead of “whoever does the works of the Law will be called righteous and has/will have eternal life”: saying “he who has the Son” is the equivalent of/takes the place of saying “he who is righteous” (because, again, “Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness”–He is “YHVH our Righteousness” [Jr 23:5,6], a spiritual power at work in our daily lives).

  7. And no, I’m not a “hyper-gracer”.
    If I don’t have righteousness, I will not claim to be in grace, because that would be a dangerous lie. Those who have grace establish the Law.
    Unrighteousness IS deadly dangerous–but the answer is fighting the fight of faith to enter grace wherein we stand.

    Where do I get my views?
    I don’t listen to almost any teacher at all, because they either just don’t care about me/my questions OR can’t answer my questions Scripture legitimately leads me to ask–much less any “hyper-grace” teacher, some of whom I’ve found to be *irreverent*, and who have produced *magnificent* destruction of some friends of mine I’ve had to cut off from my life. Another objection is that they cannot but read Scripture skewed–to see some of their students live or to hear some of their students read Scripture is to watch a disgusting bug with all its many feet crawling everywhere. Some at least.

    I just read the Bible and God tells me the answers because He is smart and all.

  8. Bo,

    I’ll be glad to gather them together and re-post them.

    I’ve answered you on many, many occasions and concerning many posts on this thread. Before I can get a word in edgewise you’ve gone and posted 2-3 more times and I can’t keep up anymore. You’ll have to slow it down if you want to dialog.

    Meanwhile, I’ll get those ready for sometime tomorrow.


  9. So it seems the Gentiles the apostle refers to in Romans 2:14, entered into another rest, something other than a Sabbath keeping, something it seems likely they were not doing as the Jews were doing.

    Could this be about the Lord being found of them that sought him not? (Isaiah 65:1) Perhaps they looked for the wisdom that comes from God and found the Lord who gives rest to the soul.

  10. So it seems they sought out wisdom, good sense, truth, justice, righteousness, mercy, and such things, and God made himself known to them.

  11. Ray,
    That is wrong.
    We do not merit God because of “seeking wisdom, good sense, truth, justice, righteousness, mercy, and such things”.
    We do not merit to be in God’s presence; the knowledge of God is a gift purely of His own goodness–not of our own goodness, since we have none. We have nothing to offer God He will respect.

  12. Daniel, many people by the grace of God have sought the good things of God and have been found by him. Through no work of their own, they were found by him, through faith,(which was his gift to them through no work of their own) and God’s grace.

    It seems to me that one thing they did was hunger and thirst for righteousness.

  13. Bo,

    In order to properly determine the unity of Scripture as a whole, we have to synthesize seemingly incongruent verses before we can arrive at the correct interpretation. Scripture must be a cohesive whole or the entire story breaks down. If the grand design of man’s redemption, woven between the pages of Scripture, isn’t consistently interpreted, then the message becomes one of confusion and ambiguity. It certainly isn’t the fault of Scripture if we fail to determine the revelation that’s been delivered to us.

    I just don’t see where your interpretation is consistent with the Gospel message of the New Testament. If we were only dealing with the First Testament, you’d be right in your interpretation but as soon as you move into the NT it begins to break down. (Of course, though, there are many hints as to the ultimate displacement of the law with the righteousness of God.) There’s entirely too much evidence to the contrary in order for you to maintain your position on the place of the law in the Christian’s life within the framework of the Gospel. The Gospel confirms the Righteousness of God in opposition to the unrighteousness of men.

    I don’t see where you can deny the plain meaning of a multitude of verses and themes as outlined in the Epistles.

    Here are some things that I’d like to hear your interpretation of:

    The 3rd chapter of the book of Romans.

    Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

    Without—(apart from):

    without any
    apart from
    being absent or wanting
    without connection with
    destitute of
    without association with

    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    What of Bo’s boasting of keeping the law, then? “It is excluded and is now replaced by the law of faith.” But I thought salvation by faith went hand in hand with the deeds of the law? “No, salvation is complete in Messiah, without the deeds of the law”

    27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.

    Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.




    business, employment, that which any one is occupied

    that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking

    any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind

    an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work

    the course of action demanded by the law

    You want to have it say, “and with” the deeds of the law…when it couldn’t more clearly say the exact opposite. The law of righteousness is now fulfilled because the Righteousness of God has been revealed apart from the law. The propitiation has been made and our justification and santification has been established whereby righteousness has been imputed to us as soon as we believe. We then go on to work the works of the Spirit in us. Those are “not” the works of the law but of Christ in us.

    Concerning holiness. The righteousness imputed to us is not so we can keep the law of Moses. Our holiness is defined by the works we work as representative of Messiah. We don’t work His works by dressing a certain way or eating certain foods. We work His works by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, providing for the orphans and keeping ourselves from the pollutions of our souls as found in the world. We love one another, we bless our enemies, we love our neighbors, and we do not concern ourselves with the outward show of religion as “pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” You seem to think that only the law can make someone holy, when if I kept the law but my heart was full of cursing, would I be holy? God looks on the heart and that’s what confirms that we are the children of God. The works we work in Jesus’ name has nothing to do with Moses. It has nothing to do with food and it has nothing to do with clothes. It has everything to do with the condition of the heart.

    I’d like your exposition of Romans 3 without bringing your other verses into the discussion, please. Just exegete the chapter as you understand it.

    I’ll give you the other verses and chapters in a bit.

  14. Ray,
    We’re off-topic, so I won’t be continuing.

    Romans 3:9-18 is clear that no one seeks God.

    It is only God’s mercy qualifies us–not anything of ourselves qualifies us.
    God did not see merit in mankind.
    He had to reach out to us in Mercy on our works, because our works were worthy of a penalty not of God. He has to give us Grace because we DO NOT merit anything good.

    The closest thing to “merit” we have is glorifying God by telling the Truth of God:
    i. Joshua 7:19
    ii. LUKE 18
    9He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13BUT THE TAX COLLECTOR, STANDING FAR OFF, WOULD NOT EVEN LIFT UP HIS EYES TO HEAVEN, BUT BEAT HIS BREAST, SAYING, ‘GOD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME, A SINNER!’ 14I tell you, THIS MAN WENT DOWN TO HIS HOUSE JUSTIFIED, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
    iiia. John 4
    17The woman answered him, “I HAVE NO HUSBAND.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. WHAT YOU HAVE SAID IS TRUE.”
    iiib. John 5
    38and YOU DO NOT HAVE HIS WORD ABIDING IN YOU, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
    45Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. THERE IS ONE WHO ACCUSES YOU: MOSES, ON WHOM YOU HAVE SET YOUR HOPE.
    iva. Romans 3
    7But if THROUGH MY LIE GOD’s TRUTH ABOUNDS TO HIS GLORY, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
    iiib. Romans 7
    24WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
    iiic. Romans 10
    3For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not SUBMIT TO GOD’s RIGHTEOUSNESS.
    iv. 1 John 1

    For the unsaved, “glorifying God” meant confessing the Truth of their condition. That is the closest thing a human could have had to “merit”; but it wasn’t anything “good”, just an honest report about their sinful condition that would accept mercy from God.

  15. Ray,
    the iiib and iiic following iva ought to have been ivb and ivc.

    Come to think of it, perhaps using numbers would have been better than roman numerals.

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