Law and Faith Together 01

God is merciful.

Let’s clarify some things regarding covenants. Some of you understand that law covenants are not the same as faith covenants. Faith is the goal; law is designed to make faith easier to find. The whole point of a revealed law covenant is to portray the character of God in a particular context. If you take this revelation seriously, you’ll begin to see God’s moral character in that context, and you’ll be much closer to a faith covenant with Him.

Whatever Moses meant to Jews, Noah means pretty much the same thing to the rest of the world. However, Moses was much more thoroughly detailed and more tightly contextual, whereas Noah was meant to apply far more broadly. And in biblical terms, Moses is a specific application of Noah. Moses is a subset of Noah. Moses had an end point at the Cross, whereas Noah still applies to the human race.

This is because a law covenant can work without faith. God expects faith to be a minority trait among humans. He’s not restricting it just to be difficult; faith is demanding because that’s what faith is. The restriction is in fallen human nature. We fallen humans don’t come to faith easily because everything in us would rather not. So God in His mercy works through the faith of a few to raise the level of shalom for everyone else.

The focus is on shalom. As always, it becomes necessary to point out that none of this has anything to do with your eternal status before God. It’s connected in ways that defy words, but for sure we cannot reduce that to what is commonly taught among Western evangelical Christians. The whole business of revelation never promised to offer a formula for Heaven, except as a figure of speech. Those closest to the Garden of Eden had a cultural intellectual bias that said there’s really nothing you can do to leverage God to give you place in His eternal kingdom. And He most certainly didn’t reveal anything that could be taken as a shortcut. So it’s an insult to Him to pretend Jesus somehow created a shortcut to that goal.

No, the goal has always been peace with God in the here and now. If you can obtain that, you are supposed to understand that what happens after this life will take care of itself. Stop pretending you can do anything about the afterlife. That’s entirely in the hands of God and He does not reveal much about it. The ancients knew better than to discuss it except in the most obscure and symbolic terms. In their minds, it was rightly connected with extending the results of seeking His favor here and now, but it was impossible to explain. Stop asking about how to go to Heaven, because such asking fails to grasp what’s involved. You can’t get there from here.

Law covenants are aimed at representing how to seek that divine favor. It’s not about chasing Heaven, but about chasing His favor today. Do what you can with what God puts in your hands. Your mission is to seek His favor by understanding His character. The only way you can hope to understand Him is through the contextual law covenant that applies to you. Moses is gone; Noah still stands. We study Moses to understand the implications of Noah; you are supposed to abstract Moses via an ancient Hebrew mystical approach.

That task has been made much easier by the revelation of Christ. Indeed, Jesus restores the whole point of law covenant revelation by becoming the personification of law, all law covenants combined. All you need to know about Noah is bound up in knowing Christ. Part of getting to know Christ is getting to know the Law of Moses under which He was born. If you don’t understand the context of His life, you cannot hope to know Him. You still have to understand Moses, even though Moses no longer applies.

Now, prior to the coming of the Son, you had to wade through the applicable law covenant to know the Father. The law fit your mind for taking up it’s proper task of serving the convictions in your heart. The law didn’t require faith to deliver the blessings God offered to those under the covenant law, but it most assuredly depicted what faith looked like. You could embrace the faith covenant of Abraham, but you still needed law to help you gain the perspective necessary to walk in Abraham’s faith. So the nation of Israel was under Moses, and Moses pointed back to Abraham. Galatians makes it painfully clear that those whose seeking stopped with the law were not children of Abraham, never mind the DNA connection, in the sense of heirs to his covenant with God. They were like his children by Hagar, not full heirs like the son born of Sarah. Isaac was a child of faith, not of law.

But the benefits of being a child of law aren’t too bad for someone who simply does not have what it takes to reach for faith. The organization of a covenant nation is aimed at extending the blessings of faith to those with no faith. Of course, we understand that this is part of the task of revelation. In order to help those who, for whatever reason, are morally incapable of faith, law indicates how to reach for faith. Faith means commitment to a person; it’s a feudal term. You are wired to seek a feudal master. If you pay attention to that impulse, faith is in reach. If you seek only the minimum obedience because you are too wrapped up in your fleshly existence, you can still benefit from the faith of those few who share your covenant life.

Nobody is going to estimate for you what proportion of faith people are necessary to carry a nation through time and space in God’s favor. It applies the same down on the micro level of the church. We should expect a church to have a higher concentration of true faith believers, but by no means will everyone have full faith in Christ. That’s just how it goes. So we organize our churches under a certain measure of law covenant, because it makes faith easier for those who have it, and more accessible to those who don’t yet see what it’s all about.

But a faith covenant is entirely individual in nature. It’s effects ripple outward across a whole world of unfaithful folks, but it is by nature you and God in a personal communion as Father and child. Christ’s plan was that we who share that personal communion with each other should do so under a law covenant that organizes how we interact together in that faith. If your church is not organized as a feudal covenant micro-nation, it is not a church.

As part of Radix Fidem, we teach a broad and flexible Biblical Law, a very loose standard that is readily adapted and more precisely defined in practice in the local body. You are supposed to fill in a lot of blanks in your local church body. You don’t have to look and act like me or anyone else who actively participates in our online discussions. You will still benefit from our faith by embracing our loosely defined covenant parameters as the frame of reference for your own uniquely local law covenant.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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