Teachings of Jesus
Teachings of Jesus – The Purpose of the Old Testament Law
The teachings of Jesus include an examination of the Old Testament Law. Specifically, Jesus taught His contemporaries that God created the Law for their benefit. Human beings were not designed to be self-sufficient and live in a state of anarchy. If you prefer, human beings did not evolve31 to be autonomous. The Law intended to reflect the holiness of God and to strongly impress upon humanity the sort of behavior He deemed moral. As an omniscient God, He knew it wouldn’t take long for leniency to ensue. Yet it remained for Him to show mankind that a failure in even one small area of the law equaled a failure in all areas. If all of us today adhered completely to the moral law, as prescribed by God, we could all attain the greatest possible level of personal happiness. Of course, this will never happen on earth as we know it.
Theologians sometimes use Latin terms to express ideas, as do scientists. Theologians would define the state of mankind after Adam’s fall as non posse non peccare (i.e. not able not to sin). The sinfulness passed down through the gene pool of all mankind affects us all. However, in heaven we will become non posse peccare (i.e. not able to sin). Will this occur by a divine restructuring of our genetic material? Perhaps. It is reasonable to consider that, if God exists, He could omnipotently adapt individual components of His creation. However, the most visible means by which he changes individuals and adapts them for heaven, theologians call the process of sanctification. Marked by a consistent upward climb, like a graph of the growth in stock prices of a growing company, the believer has an increasing passion to live in obedience to God. Failure will occur as part of the growth process, like the occasional dips on a growing stock chart, but repentance will follow, along with the strength to carry on.
Teachings of Jesus – Law and Sin
The teachings of Jesus left no doubt that under the Law the penalty for sin is death. Paul spelled out the relationship between the Law and sin in his letter to the Romans.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. - Romans 5:12-13
But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. - Romans 5:20-21
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? - Romans 6:16
Read Page 1 of Letter To A Christian Nation: A Response.
31 My argument here is not with evolution, but I reserve the right to address the issue in the future.
32 Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 252.
33 You may think, in light of the failures of prominent men who have laid claim to the Christian faith that this doesn’t ring true. Yet for every one fallen Christian leader there are dozens who are continuing to seek righteousness daily. We are not promised complete freedom from sin in this life, only God’s help in the struggle. See Romans 7.
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