THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCTRINE THAT THE LAW OF MOSES IS WRITTEN ON THE HEART

For a work that is fond of blood both human and animal and spews hateful aspiration after hateful aspiration the Law of Moses is greatly esteemed in the New Testament.  Jesus in Matthew 5 said that we must not water it down and let it into our hearts so that our following it beats the scribes and the Pharisees.

If the Law of Moses depends on a rational morality that cannot be done away then it would be true to say that it is written on the heart of every person on earth. They might refuse to see the truth of the Law but it is still written on their hearts.

In Romans 2, the apostle Paul wrote that even those who do not have the written Law have its principles written on their hearts. This is a response to the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezekiel which speak of God writing the Law of Moses on the hearts of his chosen people in the future. In their time, they were just written in books but not in hearts for nobody was interested in sincerely keeping them.

He means they know it by thinking for God can’t make them believe in the Law if the Law is beyond reason.

Commentators prefer to believe that Paul means that some of the principles of the Law are engraved on their hearts and not all. They are happy to say that all people know stealing and adultery are wrong. But they deny that the laws about cleanness and about the Jewish God ordering the people to put people to death for certain crimes could be written on the heart.

But the lines before give a different interpretation. All the way up to this verse the word Law means the full Jewish Law. In verse 9, 10 he says that the Jew will be punished for not keeping all the Law. When the same word keeps turning up like that we can only take it to mean the same thing: the full Law. Paul already said in Romans 1 that the pagans knew by reason or deep down about God’s existence and that God was opposed to homosexuality and a lot of other things many pagan codes found acceptable. He denied that the pagans just knew the commonsense stuff in the Law and nothing more. They knew the whole Law by the power of God. He says they knew too that homosexuals deserved death. That says it all. The New Testament sees the Law of Moses as eminently reasonable so it could not be done away. To abolish it would be to abolish morality.

The text saying that the written law kills and the spirit of the law lives in us is only saying God makes us live the law so it does not have to be a matter of forcing us.  Cranks have used that text to argue that we can break the law in the name of living its spirit.  That is totally absurd.

WORKS CONSULTED

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