Bible Review 13:2, April 1997

Taking Law Seriously

Contrary to later Christian polemics, the New Testament does not speak of legalism or of law as decadent.

By Anthony J. Saldarini

Bible Review

Christians learn early that love, not law, distinguishes a true follower of Jesus Christ. They eagerly embrace the liberating gospel message of salvation from sin to escape from rules too easily broken in the first place. They rejoice in the merciful gift of God’s grace, in contrast to fear of God’s justice and punishment for sin. But facile contrasts of justice and mercy, law and gospel, commandment and love obscure the real message of the Bible in a way that serves the selfish interests of an age obsessed with freedom and rights. Too often stereotypes of law join with stereotypes of Jews to produce anti-Semitism.

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