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Crazy Notions: “Paul hated the law”

I received an email recently that included this line:

If you would study Galatians and Hebrews and Romans you would understand what God is saying to the NT church in relation to the law and sin. Paul hates the law and sin.”

It’s certainly true that Paul hated sin. But he certainly did not ‘hate the law’.

I can understand how some people could get this notion. Paul seems to rail against the law on many occasions. For example:

Rom 10:4 ESV For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

2Co 3:6 CEV He makes us worthy to be the servants of his new agreement that comes from the Holy Spirit and not from a written Law. After all, the Law brings death, but the Spirit brings life.

Gal 3:24 ESV So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Gal 2:19 ESV For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

Gal 3:13 ESV Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”–

He even called the law a “ministry of death”!

2Co 3:7 ESV Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end,

However Paul also had great regard for the law:

1Ti 1:8 ESV Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,

Rom 7:12-14 ESV So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (13) Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. (14) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

Rom 7:22 ESV For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,

Gal 3:21 ESV Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

Paul also used the Old Testament law extensively when counselling the churches.  Here are just two examples:

1Co 9:9 ESV For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?

Eph 6:2 ESV “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),

Even when he called the law the ‘ministry of death’ he maintained that the law was ‘glorious”

2Co 3:9 ESV For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.

So clearly Paul did not have a general hatred for the law of God as revealed in the Old Testament. His understanding of the law was much more nuanced than that.

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