Tattoos, Bacon, Beer | Christianity & the Law Pt. 2
Continuing the conversation on the Law, Brody sits down with Rob Conti and Spencer Davis. Rob and Spencer are two of the pastors from Red Oak Church who also serve and teach at Snowbird. In this episode they discuss further the Believers relationship to the Law from the Old Testament and the book of Hebrews.
We should be striving to have more intimacy with Christ. We’re called to live differently, not legalistically, but different in character. Let’s think through how the laws in the Old Testament reflect the character of God and how we reflect the Lord by obeying God.
- Previous Episode
- Exodus 21:28
- Romans 7
- 1 Corinthians 6
- Romans 10
Brody Holloway: We really do pay attention to the feedback that we get from our listeners here on NSR. And we got a lot of really good feedback from the last episode. So I’m hitting pause on the follow-up episode that I had already recorded that was gonna go out today. We’re gonna push that till next week. And I’m excited about that episode. We’re gonna be looking at how Jesus was tried so illegally. So moving beyond was his death, was his trial, was his, the accusations made against him, the conspiracy to kill him? Was it morally wrong? Well, yes, of course it’s always morally wrong to kill an innocent person, but let’s consider from the legal judicial perspective of both the Roman law and trial and courts, trial system, judicial system, as well as the Jewish legal system that was appointed and operated under God’s original covenant, with Israel under the law that he gave Moses.
How many laws were actually broken to bring Jesus to trial and then to try and execute him? We’re gonna look at that. One of the reasons I wanna do that, it’s just good to to know. I think that it’s to just realize what all went into that, to see the level of conspiracy, but also we’re living in a day and age where people feel like everything is a conspiracy, and people have become very suspicious and even overly suspicious towards anything the government’s doing or media’s doing. Or I think we all can agree that, that it’s hard to trust [laughter] politicians and it’s hard to trust media, but it’s always been that way. People in power tend to abuse that power that’s not a hundred percent true, but it is very common. So we’re gonna look at that through the lens of, the crucifixion of Jesus.
But we’re gonna push that off till next week. We sat down, I sat down with Spencer Davis and Rob Conti. Both of these men hold master’s degrees in theology in the Bible. And, both of them are undergraduate program here at Snowbird in the institute. Both these guys are professors, they’re teachers in that program. Rob teaches Biblical exposition. He also teaches the book of Hebrews. Spencer teaches Old Testament and Old Testament theology, old Testament survey, old Testament theology. So we sat down, we’re having a follow up conversation this past week, on last week’s episode where we talked about the law and the application of law and the life of the believer thought it’d be real good to bring these guys in.
Looking at it from a theological perspective, being a student of the Old Testament and the law, how did it apply to people in Old Testament life? And how does it apply to us? How did Jesus fulfill all of that, complete all of that? It was a wonderful conversation. I learned a lot. Asked these guys to come in and sit down. They were gracious to do so. They have super busy schedules, especially this time of year. I know you’re gonna get a lot out of this episode. So thanks for being here. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks for listening. Welcome to No Sanity Required.
BH: So I’m welcoming to this show today. We’re gonna… I don’t do a formal introduction with them or a formal welcome. We’ll just jump right into the conversation because we recorded for several hours, couple hours, and we, we edited that down into what we thought would be, really Maddie did a great job of condensing it into the, the length of one episode. And, so we’re just gonna get right into that conversation that I had with Spencer Davis and Rob Conti this past week, and hope that it’s helpful for you.
Rob Conti: This is one of my favorite quotes when I’m, especially if I’m teaching somebody about the gospel. But yeah, he said, “I do not believe you can preach the gospel until you first preach the law for the law is the needle.” And you cannot draw the silken thread of the gospel through a man’s heart until you first send the law to make way for it. Yeah, just one, it’s a vivid picture, but yeah, just that idea that one of the purposes of the law is preparing people to receive the gospel. It shows the need. And that piercing part of that, your picturing the needle going in is like, yeah. The law, speaks to our conscience that that has become perverted and hard, through sin and through other means of trying to appease it. It just makes it harder and more distant from the God’s intention for it. But yes, so the law leaves us at a point of either just total rejection, staying hateful towards God, or realizing, okay, I’m a sinner and I need salvation. And that’s the point.
BH: I wanna define that quote is so Yeah. Is so good. Like when you were preachings, Sunday night, this past Sunday night, and you gave that quote, I’d forgotten that quote. You’ve used it a lot and it’s just, it is so vivid. It’s so, I you can picture it almost is painful. Oh, a needle through my heart. Because I just, I imagine a picture of that. Let’s, when we talk about, when we’re say, because we’re gonna say over the next 45 minutes, we’re gonna say the law. [laughter] a lot. So let’s, what are we talking about? Because I think there’s layers to that. What, the word on the list of top 50 words being used in 2023 is nuanced. I like to not use words that everybody’s using. So let’s say layers.
BH: So there is the law, and when we say the law, I think we defined that last week at, at Mount Sinai, God gives Moses the, the 10 Commandments then begins to expound on that and give more categories and more layers and more, definition to how do you, but if an ancient Israelite got those 10, right then he was gonna be basically adhering to the law. But then we got into those categories of compassion laws and civil laws and criminal laws and moral laws. And so we’re, when we’re referring to the law today, we’re talking about what, when you’re talking to a teenager or a person at Red Oak, how would you.
RC: I think typically, and like in that quote… The law is more narrow. It’s 10 Commandments, the moral law and if I’m talking to a teenager. I may not even say 10 Commandments but I’m gonna more base it on it’s the nature and character of God. These things are true, and we’re held to them because of who God is, and we’ve been made in his image. So a lot of times I’m talking about law like, yeah, it’s that. And so I think that’s what that quote’s talking about is the moral law that we have to be confronted by. But yeah, a lot of times when it’s used in scripture it’s a much more broad sense that.
BH: The Torah.
RC: The Torah, yeah, and it can be the ceremonial aspects of the law and that’s where the new covenant when it comes in, it does change. It really is new because, yeah the old covenant for the Jew, it was all tied together. There was no distinction. When you said the law, it really was the total package. There’s different aspects of it but for us, it’s more layered.
Spencer Davis: Yeah, so I was trying to think about it. I was prepping for that sermon on Hebrews 8 which talks about the law a ton two weeks ago and I was trying to think about it like the layer we see most right now is we see kind of the law shows us what God is like and it shows us our inability to keep it our inability to live up to it but then thinking in a context of the Old Testament, we’re also thinking about he’s also building the layer of a lot of these laws are copy and shadow We’re talking about the feasts. We’re talking about the tabernacle. We’re talking about the priests. These are setups or contexts so we can understand Christ and the sacrifice later on but that’s a whole nother layer of laws like build it like this. We want the most precious materials towards the inside ’cause every one of those things are teaching what God is like on a different layer than the moral, this is what to do.
SD: But too, I think, in conversation the part that’s hardest to explain to a nonbeliever are those things that because we’re thinking about moral law but we’re also thinking about civil law for a nation. This is governing an actual nation and so some of those laws they’re straight up civil laws on how to act, when your property is damaged and things like that but even those things are layered in. So the example that I’ve given before is even a law for leprosy or for blood there are some aspects where he gives these laws and they are, they’re medical. They’re helping the people out.
SD: They’re governing how they ought to live but they’re also symbol at the same time. We don’t touch blood, and that’s helpful for the nation. We don’t want folks to get sick. There’s an aspect that’s taking care of germs and things like that but also, it speaks to the holiness of the blood. So I think, as we’re thinking through we gotta show some respect, almost for a culture we don’t understand. We come to a law like don’t boil a goat in its mother’s milk, and we’re like but we don’t even know what role goats played in this culture, what I’m saying? And so, he’s governing an actual nation giving them actual laws for the time that may or may not be layered with these theological truths that are worked in there, even for things like outreach.
SD: ‘Cause a lot of the like, when you talked in the podcast the other day about the tattoos, right? And I’ve had folks ask me about. I’ve got tattoos, and I’ve had folks ask me about tattoos a bunch, and everybody has. And so, that Leviticus verse is talking about don’t make tattoo marks on yourself for the dead. And it’s because there was an ancient Canaanite practice that they’d look at these tattoos and it was worship of their ancestors and it’s one of those be separate laws like the blended cloths like the mixed seed that you were talking about a lot of these laws that would set them apart because the whole purpose was live differently. So the other nations will come see it’s part of the outreach. We don’t do outreach like that anymore. So, that’s where some of the Christ fulfilling the law keeping steps in, and some of these things are obsolete ’cause that’s not even how it works anymore.
SD: That’s not how our outreach works is live so different than other nations that they come over and say, why you dress like that? Why don’t you tattoo yourselves like that anymore? I think the whole thing’s a lot more layered.
BH: And part two to that, or the follow-up comment I’ll make to when I said, for most of us when we think of the law, we think of well, if you follow the Ten Commandments you’re doing well. That did not compute with an Israelite person. They understood, like, you could, I think, culturally you could grab a 10-year-old in ancient Israel and they knew all 600 laws. I think, not every 10-year-old but I think it was so woven into the fabric of their even their “public education” system was that up until age 11 or 12 that’s what they’re learning.
BH: They’re learning history through the Torah. They’re learning law through the Torah. They’re learning worship practices through the Torah, or Torah. And I think, when we think of the law and we go like, an unbeliever who hasn’t read all that stuff it does spin people out when they go and they start reading it ’cause they’re like, wait. I thought it was the Ten Commandments. I’m down with that. I’m on board with most of the Ten Commandments. Like, don’t murder, don’t sleep with someone’s wife don’t, wait a minute, what is this? What is this thing about stoning a person for this, here’s a capital offense.
BH: How’s that a capital offense? And people start to trip up over things but in Israelite culture, it was so woven together that a kid understood things that we probably can’t understand even after years of study.
BH: That’s where I think spent the point you’re making about, we are not critiquing, but we’re studying, studying more than just a systematic list of laws that God gave people we’re studying the DNA of how they operated as a society. Yeah.
BH: At every level.
RC: And where it fits into the overarching story of redemption from Genesis to the end of time, [chuckle] And yeah. And how the transition period works, and then Yeah. What’s new about the new covenant. And Yeah.
SD: And I think in thinking of the larger story, you got to look at each individual law and pull it apart and say, what’s the purpose of this one? What would an Israelite understand here? Is this showing us God’s character? Is this showing us how to act in this society? Is it some of both. Yeah. I think pulling apart the purpose of the laws, that helps to understand how it fits in the whole.
RC: And I think how it still relates to what you had mentioned David saying, man, it’s like, honey, it’s sweet. It’s good. Where even the tattoo law, the easy thing to say is, oh yeah, we’re not, you don’t have to worry about that. Get a tattoo. But I think the, where it’s like, where the whole of God’s word is still impacting all of our life is to say, okay, well, what was the point of that law? And then what in that point is still valid, like. Think about this. How will this honor the Lord? Does this distract from what God is doing? It may not be this specific of this tattoo means, I’m somehow worshiping an ancestor, but does it honor the Lord? Think through the process, make it part of your devotion to the Lord.
RC: Like, okay, yeah. Anything that I do in my body, it does matter. It’s not unimportant to the Lord what I do with my body. Where for them, it was all woven into every aspect of their life. Like that 10 year old you’re talking about where Yeah. It matters for everything I do. For us, it should matter with everything that we do. And so, yeah. What’s the principle behind that law that I’m not held to in the same way they were, but yeah, I wanna honor the Lord with my body, with my mind, with my words. And so how does it all fit together? And that should drive me into greater intimacy with Christ. And that’s the point anyway. And then Yeah. Whether I get the tattoo or not. I’m honoring Christ.
SD: Unless it’s so intact. ‘Cause the, you’re still honoring Christ. You’re, you got to think through, am I honoring Christ with my body? And what does it mean to be different than non-believers? Yeah. Like, is it as superficial as this or, it causes you to think deeper on those laws so you don’t just toss them out and be like, invalid.
RC: And ’cause you know what you’re saying a minute ago with there, come see religion and we’re a go tell religion, and they’re a nation and we’re spread out amongst all the nations and should be doing that intentionally. And there is a way that we’re called to live differently, but it’s not the superficial way anymore. It is more character and primarily how we keep the law by loving God and loving people. And so in that context, what is it gonna look like to love people? I want to the Jerusalem Council is such an ax, where gentiles are getting saved and some guys are going, man, you got to circumcise these kid. They basically, they need to, okay, they’ve got Christ now they need all the old covenant so they can really be one of us.
RC: And they’re having this debate and it’s between believers and, Peter’s like, Hey man, they got it. They got the Holy Spirit, and let’s not test God by putting the same burdens on them that we couldn’t bear. Like that was never the point. And they come away with like, yeah, well, let’s just tell them, no sexual immorality, don’t eat meat offered idols. Stay away from blood. And you’re going, oh gosh, okay. So these, the laws, but what it really seems to be saying is, some of that is moral. Like, so follow that. But the part about the blood, what’s interesting is he attaches this, qualifier to it. He says, there’s synagogues everywhere. There’s Jews everywhere. What they’re concerned about is that whole idea of Christian freedom. Like it should flow out of love and it wouldn’t be loving to just go in there, share the gospel and do things that are gonna offend them. That it becomes a stumbling block to those Jews. So it wasn’t a law, like it wasn’t saying, we still can’t eat, meat with the blood in it, he’s saying, and don’t offend them by that that’s not a big deal. Give that up. And so that becomes like, the point of the law for us is yeah. Loving God, loving people and that we’re showing them the gospel as we spread out in the nations.
BH: Yeah. I think, even at, in the previous episode, I was talking about the hat in church and I was like, oh, I’m gonna take my hat off. It’s not big deal. I don’t agree with it. I think it’s a stretch.
RC: As a bald man, it’s helpful.
BH: It’s helpful. Keep head warm.
BH: Keep your head warm, and keeps the glare off of the people behind you. People don’t understand, red oak is like a dimly lit worship environment, and those lights just glare off the, and I’m not gonna grow the cul-de-sac out just for church on Sunday, so.
BH: But it’s.
RC: It’s tempting
RC: One day.
BH: I don’t know how many times I’ve said to a younger person or to a, just to another believer, man, just give that, give that up. Like if it’s gonna, why do you have to have an IPA. Why are you obsessed with drinking beer as a young Christian, as a 25 year old Christian or whatever. Why are you obsessed with swearing? Because it sounds cool to be the cussing Christian, like the tension that they lived with in Israel. To some degree, we need to live with a different tension, but with a tension nonetheless. And the tension is between law and liberty. It’s not, we leave and abandon the law to express liberty. No. We live in the tension where what the liberty has done is it’s created the tension. This is where people miss it. They go, well, we’re out from under the law, so we just have freedom. No, you’re out from the law. So you now live in a tension that suspends your life between the grace of God and the law of God in adherence to that law. You have a different perspective and understanding of what it is to live, to live and walk by faith And according to God’s grace and I think I get really frustrated. I used to always get frustrated with legalism and people that just imposed a bunch of laws and rules. Don’t get a tattooed, don’t, You gotta dress a certain way. You gotta blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. And it’s like well now I’m just as equally annoyed, with people that just flex their “Christian liberty.” What is loving? What is…
RC: That’s right. That’s the key…
BH: And humble.
SD: Yeah. What’s loving. ‘Cause if love is the keeping of the law like what you’re doing might be selfish. Not loving to other people.
RC: Yeah. And both those extremes so quickly lead to self-righteousness. And an attitude that isn’t attractive to lost people.
BH: Humility is attractive to everybody. Gentleness is not devoid of strength. But a strong and gentle spirit. A person that is strong of character, strong of conviction, motivated by love. We had… We all know very close relationships in this circle with Katie Cousins. And when she was going through all this stuff we’ve had her on here several times and she was going off through all that stuff in LA last year. She never knelt or capitulated to her… She was driven by conviction but she was nothing but loving and gentle. And there’s a point now, I know you guys are communicating with her some she’s starting to see some fruit from that. People are responding to that. And I’ve I’ve talked to people before that where they’ll say that because they’ve taken a stand but have done so lovingly that people become protective of them. Like no don’t talk like that in front of him. Or don’t tempt him that way. Or and I think that if we can live with how do I love people and live in humility, humility and gentleness but with strength of conviction that’s attractive to people.
RC: And I think it’s speaking to their conscience like…
BH: Yeah that’s a good point.
RC: In love and humility she’s pointing out that something’s not right. And that’s initially offensive but yeah we do have even though it’s perverted and twisted we have this conscience that’s constantly speaking to us. And yeah. That’s what all that is meant to approach. And then Lord willing Yeah. That they see that need and they’re drawn to Christ who can cleanse our conscience in a way that the whole old system never could and wasn’t designed to. It was all pointing to it being filled up in Christ. Yeah. It’s good.
BH: I walked through last in that previous episode I walked through, there’s moral laws, there’s compassion laws, there’s criminal law, there’s civil law, there’s ceremonial law. But sliding into a… Let’s talk briefly about that. There’s these two, the vernacular of how laws are laid out in scripture. In terms of imperatives and verbiage. There’s two categories that I’ll like for you to touch on.
SD: So when I’m teaching that class I talk about like there’s… When it comes to the actual laws themselves, not talking about the law as a whole but when it comes down to each individual law we talked about how it’s helpful to pull out each individual law and look at their purpose but even their setup will help you to categorize them. And so you can understand how to treat those laws. So they come to us in two forms for the most part. Some of them overlap but it’s Apodictic and Casuistic so Apodictic and Casuistic. And so it’s just fancy words basically, but the Apodictic laws are laws like, they’re unconditional and they’re imperative. You must do this. There’s no condition where you can… There’s an exception to this. There’s no exception. They’re usually no qualification. They’re usually in the negative don’t do.
BH: The 10 commandments primarily.
RC: Right. And they’re usually in second person you don’t do this. So Yeah. If we look at Exodus 20:3 you shall have no other gods before me. Period. So it’s second person it’s imperative. And there’s no qualifications. All right. So and you can see everybody can think of a thousand examples of that. But then the other side of it is the Casuistic. And I’m gonna look up an example of that but these are kind of conditional. They’re usually declarative kind of if then statements. And they’re usually third person. They’re very specific based on an actual situation that you might run into in this day. And they usually have exceptions and they’re usually in positive form. That’s a lot of little clauses. But I’ll give you an example. So Exodus 21:28 is an example. When an ox gores a man or a woman to death the ox shall be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten but the owner of the ox shall not be liable.
RC: But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past and da da da da and it kind of goes on. So that kind of gives us their third person, and so it’s usually like if this situation happens then you should do this. And so looking at the forms that the laws are in help us to kind of categorize them into those f9ve categories that you talked about, whether it’s criminal, civil, family, the ceremonial some people call them cultic and the compassion laws. And so once you can target one law and you can say all right what type of law is this? Is it a absolute Apodictic you must do this or you must not do this. Or is it a conditional, if this situation arises that kind of helps us categorize it into a lot of these apodictic laws are kind of moral, you know, they’re teaching a moral truth, you know, they’re multi-layered in their purpose. Whereas a lot of the, not all, the casuistic are more the civil laws, you know, or like laws based, you know, on assault, you know, falsehood as a witness, if this happens, then this. And so that kind of helps you to understand, like, what do we do with them now, which you can kind of pinpoint what type of law it is. Does that make sense?
BH: Yeah, and I think, yes, I really appreciate you walking through that, ’cause for me that’s helpful because it’s not the, it’s not just, well, we got to figure out which, when we go back to what we’ve been talking about as far as like what you were saying a while ago, Rob, we need to, what is the condition of my heart? I’m seeking the Lord. How do I respond to this? What is that law? You know, if I’m reading through the law or I’m reading through New Testament teaching on the law in Romans 7 in the book of Galatians or 1 Corinthians 6 when Paul says, my conscience is clear. That doesn’t, that doesn’t exonerate me. It doesn’t set me loose to do, you know, it’s like, I’m going to make sure I’m living by conviction. What that does is that gets us, that gets us through the door to then begin to ask those harder questions. Because when I read, okay, the ox goring, you know, when I read that, I go, okay, probably if we do a deep dive, it’s probably going to be tied more to as Christians in Romans chapter 13, we’re called to obey the laws of our land. You know, that’s a law of the land that had a specific, you know, maybe I go down a path like that.
BH: Now I’m not expounding on the, on the ox goring thing, but that might be a path that I end up on. Whereas if it’s, oh no, this is a very clear prohibition that would be intensified. And we talked about what does Jesus do with each of these laws? Well, he intensifies the teaching on adultery. It’s clearly a prohibition. And even pagan agnostic or atheist people are not down with adultery. You’ve got warped consciences where you’ve got an open marriage and people are swinging and they don’t care, whatever. But which I need to tell you all a story one time about me and little ending up at a like a bingo parlor nightclub place. We thought some people recommended like, oh, they got really good sandwiches. We were on vacation. We go to this place. It was in Ohio. We’re up there hunting. We go to this like country club and it’s like, this is a really awkward place. And we’re asking around and somebody is like, well, that’s because these people, these people tonight is bingo night. They’re going to be playing bingo later and they’re going to have karaoke. It’s every caricature you can imagine. But then they’re like, but don’t come on Thursday night. That’s swing night. There’s like an actual culture of. So even when we say, okay, there’s, there’s a moral conscience, there’s a moral law written on people’s heart where when I say everybody knows adultery is wrong.
BH: Okay. There’s a caveat because some people are, their, their conscience is seared to the point that they’re like, no, it’s good. Do whatever you want to do. But, like as people who are imprinted with the moral code of conduct as image bearers, CS Lewis, he talks about how if I won’t share, I think he uses the example of a slice of orange. I’m eating an orange and you’re like, Hey, can I have a piece? No. He’s like, you’re offended by that. Why? There’s something in you that says we should share and share alike or somebody steals something from you. You feel offended. Even if you’re a pagan, there’s certain aspects of the law that are written on our hearts. And so what, when we figure out what category we’re, we’re at the launching point of, okay, what is God saying about adultery when he says do this or don’t do that when there’s a prohibition? And we go, then we can then start to go into that, those layers or those categories.
Because you’re looking at not only is what is he saying about adultery, you’re looking at what’s he saying about himself too. How does this law reflect God’s character and how am I to reflect God in the obeying of this law? Or how did Christ’s coming transform that law? ’cause, you know, we talk about, was that Romans 10 that talks about that Christ is the end of the law? Well, you know, another way to translate is that he’s the goal of the law. You know, like, it’s not like an end, an automatic, you know, all rules are gone, but he’s the goal of the law. And so like, he’s the goal to which this law points. So we got to look at in what way, like, what’s the purpose of this specific law? So that’s where I think it’s so helpful to take one law and break it down. Last week you talked about, and if anybody’s listened, you didn’t listen last week, go listen to the last podcast on the law. You know, how Christ’s coming, it fulfills the law. And when he’s fulfilling it, he kind of does it in different ways.
RC: So some of the laws he talked about, Brody talked about last time, like some of these laws we see get intensified, like turned up a notch. Some of the laws we see get transformed, the intensifies are ones like, you’ve heard that it was said don’t murder, but I say to you that anyone that hates is committing murder. So he took that law and intensified it. Some laws he transforms, I think about the Sabbath laws there, where, you know, you got all these, you can’t walk more than, you know, some Jewish schools say a sixth of a mile on the Sabbath, like no work, no work on the Sabbath.
Well, now he’s transformed it into not just thinking you have a day of rest, but one day there is a Sabbath rest that we’ll enter into one day. So he took that law and transformed it a bit. Laws that he just straight up extends, like don’t lie, don’t lie, you know, and then some laws that he annuls. Well, to understand, well, which one is it on this one? You got to look at the purpose of the original law, you know, so if it is one of those ceremonial laws or for the purpose of sharing the gospel in that context, he says don’t tattoo yourselves. Well, that context is closed, but the application is still there. What we do with our body matters. How do we live separately from the world in a way that’s not superficial? And so that’s where I like, you know, when I was doing this Old Testament class, I had these guys kind of go through and like a just one law and you talked about it last last time but like the you shall not commit adultery and we just pull that one out and just look at it and we could say what form of law is it?
RC: Is it apodictic or is it casuistic? Alright that one’s apodictic, right? You shall not commit adultery. And then what type of law is it? Well that’s where you kind of, you know, you’re thinking about criminal, civil, family, you know, ceremonial or compassion. Well one can be several types ’cause in this culture it could be a criminal thing because there’s actual punishment for adultery in this but it could be a family law too. It could be a law of compassion. And so it could fulfill multiple types, multiple layers, but some of them are pretty straight up. And then what’s, I think it’s important to think about what’s the original purpose of this. Like what sort of society was this law trying to create? What picture of God was this trying to portray? Like what aspect of Christ was this law setting up? You know, you’re thinking about all the layers here. What’s the theological significance? What do we get out of this? And then for us today, we’re thinking about what did Christ do with this law? Well, we know he didn’t annul it. He didn’t just extend it. It didn’t get transformed into only spiritual realities, but he ratcheted it up and said, adultery is not just something you do with your hands, it’s something you do with your heart. And so he’s ratcheting it up. And so then I think for us, we’re looking at, so what is love, if we’re talking about love being the fulfillment of the law, what does love look like in relation to this law?
RC: What is being loving, reflecting God, outreaching in our community, what is purity, holiness, what does that look like in relation to this law? And then I think a great exercise is just taking that through a bunch of different laws and you learn a lot about God and his character, his original intent for these folks, and what’s he teaching us about Christ and Christ’s goal here, how does his law keeping inform how we live today?
BH: That’s good. And one thing that I hadn’t thought about this until you were just walking through that, a lot of times, like you mentioned, the sixth of a mile was how far they’d kind of said you could walk. And a lot of times, laws are pulled, so you had the laws that God specifically and expressly gave when we say the Torah or the Torah, that’s what we’re, that encapsulates in whole, that’s God’s word. It’s the Old Testament canon, the Torah or the law of God in scripture and primarily in the class that you teach, I think y’all walk through all five books of the Pentateuch and you look at aspects of the law and the way God gave the law. But what the Jewish extra-biblical writings did was they accumulated more laws and that was the Talmud.
BH: And in the Talmud, there’s a bunch more laws. And in Jesus’s day, Jesus is ministering to a people. A lot of them I think go back to the earlier example of you talked to a 10-year-old kid he can maybe rattle off laws but I wonder this is just, I’m just thinking out loud how much confusion was there surrounding the Talmud? Like wait the Bible… God never said that.
BH: This is not in the Talmud. It’s like when we’ve all heard… I literally, literally heard a guy last week. He was and it was a media personality and he was one of these conservative it was two guys debating a sociopolitical something and the guy said, “You know it is in the Bible that God helps those that help themselves.” And we know that that’s not in the Bible.
BH: Or cleanliness is next to godliness or whatever the little sayings are. But in Jewish, I wonder how much in Jewish thought and culture that’s like wait…
RC: Lead over. Yeah.
BH: Yeah. But that wasn’t in the Torah. That was in the Talmud.
RC: Yeah. ’cause that same I think it goes even back to the hat issue. We have that same tendency… Of the law itself isn’t enough or what the scripture gives us is not enough. We add to it. That goes all the way back to the garden I think. So it’s like the traditions get blended in to the actual word of God. Things that like at a point in time could have been a tradition for a good reason for the way people actually live is they’ll give more adherence to the tradition of man than the word of God and not see the difference.
BH: That’s true.
RC: And that can be hard to rewire in somebody.
BH: That’s really good.
SD: Yeah. That some of those discussions on those the explanations of the law are funny because I forget how it goes Bible nerd Judden can correct this later. But you got the Talmud which is kind of that oral law and then you got the Mishnah which is the commentary about that. And then you got two schools of thought that disagree on the various interpretations of the law. So the funny one is like they’re getting down to the minutiae of each law and thinking, “Alright thou shalt not lie. Thou shalt not lie.” Okay but when is it okay to lie? Is it ever okay to lie? One school says yes it’s okay to lie and the other one school says no, but well the one says but it’s not loving sometimes to tell the truth. And so they split hairs on one issue which is should you tell an ugly bride that she’s pretty on her wedding day.
SD: And the one school says no you can never lie. You gotta tell her straight up you are ugly or don’t say anything but you can’t lie and say she’s pretty. And what’d you say?
RC: You are breathtaking. Breath…
SD: See that’s splitting the difference.
SD: And the other school would say well it’s not loving to tell someone the truth that hurts. And so even down to… Well, here’s how many steps this is the OCD of the Old Testament where like here’s how many steps is honoring to the Lord on the Sabbath. We think it’s this many well then who says and that’s the whole mindset that Jesus is blasting. You’re adding these weights that people can’t… You already can’t carry the law. But now you’re making it just impossible and profiting on it. And that’s why he’s blasting all these whitewashed tombs.
0:39:00.9 BH: Yeah. It’s no longer… There’s no… There was no encouraging aspect to it at that point. It only frustrated and beat people down. And people do… You mentioned the people that want to go nerd out on this. People love to drill into things and go, some people are gonna really enjoy going deep in a study of this, but a lot of people are gonna go, just tell me what do I need to do? It’s like, I just love Jesus. Jesus did… He set this up for us. He said, here’s what it all comes down to. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul mind and strength and love your neighbors yourself.
RC: Period. Yeah.
BH: If you do that, you’re gonna be fine. You’re gonna be fine. And that’s what I try to tell my kids. And we all do. Man, just prefer the other person, love the other person well. It’s like, you can always get way wordy, way philosophical. I love when we, the three of us here, we deal with a lot of the staff that will come through here over the next few weeks and months are gonna be wrestling with their own theological framework, and particularly what they do with election and predestination and the doctrines of Christ.
BH: And when a kid says, oh, are you a Calvinist? Do you believe in the predestination? I like to say, I like to ask them, are you asking me am I Infralapsarian or Supralapsarian? And then they go, huh? Yeah. Well, how far do you wanna drill into this? Just, or do you just wanna go? I don’t know, man. I just know God loves me and I know I was blind and now I see. I was dead and now, I’m alive. And so anything in scripture, any nugget of truth in scripture, there’s a depth to it that in a lifetime you’ll never mind hell.
RC: Yeah, that’s right.
BH: Just keep digging and loving and worshiping and serving.
RC: Yeah. With that motivation, the love of Christ more love people better, then I think the deep dive is enjoyable and it’s devotional. It’s not just information or to be right in a conversation or argument, or to have a side that always ends in disunity and people disgruntled. But yeah, if you can peel back the layers and just see more of the beauty of God’s nature and character, it’s gonna humble you.
SD: Yeah. ‘Cause the people that Jesus blast the most in scripture know the most, but love the least. But he praises these that love and obey, and love is the keeping of the law.
BH: All right. So let’s… In our last little bit here, let’s pivot towards Jesus really as the fulfillment, ’cause there’s so much terminology, particularly in the book of Hebrews. So we’ve talked about how in Romans, the law is addressed. What the relationship of the law to the believer. Galatians, the relationship of the New Testament Christian to the law. We’ve mentioned the Acts council and James and Peter and those guys figuring it all out. The greatest conversation for us surrounding the law is probably to drill into… Spencer, at one point, you mentioned Romans 10:4 just a while ago. Jesus is the end, the Telos, he’s the completion, the fulfillment, the goal, the culmination and perfection of the law. So let’s drill into that a little bit. Let’s pivot and just look at Jesus in relationship to the law, probably most specifically through the lens of Hebrews, because we’re in Hebrews as a church right now. All of us have been preaching sermons out of that. The last two weeks, you guys have both preached really, really helpful sermons. So let’s talk a little bit about that.
RC: So yeah, and so primarily there, we talked… It’s the ceremonial law, which we said a lot or Spencer said some people call the cultic law, but it’s the whole, like, when you’re reading, and a lot of it is in Leviticus, and it’s the function of the priesthood in the tabernacle and then you get into all the washings, the very specific types of clothing that they would wear. And that whole system, which it was like I said earlier, like all for the ancient Jew, the law was a whole, it affected every part of their life. And this was a big part of it is the giving of gifts and sacrifices to the Lord in worship, but to atone for sin, to cover their sin, so that there could be forgiveness, that there could be fellowship with God.
RC: So God makes provision to meet with man, and it’s through the tabernacle. And then through the priesthood, these mediators that go before God on behalf of the people, and offer… We mostly think of the blood sacrifices being put on the altar every day. They’re constantly doing this for the people in the nation and especially in the wilderness, wondering when you head the tabernacle or the center and all the tribes are just surrounding it. It’s where they live. And so they’re constantly offering animals for sacrifice to make atonement covering for sin. And then there’s the most holy day, the day of atonement, where the high priest could go in before the Ark of the covenant, which is where God said, that’s where I’ll be, I’ll dwell in your midst there, like above the Cherubim, above the mercy seat on the ark.
RC: And he could go in that one day a year and make atonement and offer blood for himself for his family and then for the nation. And so that was so woven into every day for him. And the high point of the year being that day of atonement. And so Jesus fulfills that and that all of that was pointing to him in the famous verse that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin, but without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. It was all pointing to Christ and what he would fulfill, what he’d accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection. And it’s cool, because what the book of Hebrews does that’s unique is it sees the atoning work of Christ through the lens of ancient Israel’s cultic practices. So we typically think just he suffers, he’s beaten, he’s mocked, he’s whipped, and he goes to the cross, tortured to death. He yells out, it’s finished, dies, buried, and then he rises where the writer of Hebrews pictures what that was accomplishing through the work of the Levitical system.
RC: Which is another beautiful angle to appreciate the Gospel that Jesus’s blood does atone for us. And it actually propitiates God’s wrath. It satisfies God’s wrath towards us so that, yeah our sin is paid for. God’s wrath is removed, but we’re also with all that cleansing in the Old Testament, the body washing and the perfect linens and all that. What that was typifying was that yeah, because we’ve… Christ is perfect, he kept the law. It’s one way he fulfilled it is he kept all of the law, the moral law that we talked about. He was a good Jew. He didn’t break the law. He kept it. But then he also dies for the consequences of not keeping it. And by so doing, he’s able to share with us his goodness, his righteousness, but also at the same time cleanse us. Not physically, not washings and dietary issues, but he cleanses our conscience. Which that’s really what was separating us from God was an impure, defiled conscience. Not the curtains and all these other things. Not ethnicity. It wasn’t so much that we were Gentiles, so we’re separated from God. No it’s, yeah, we’re sinners. And he cleanses all that through his death. And so the writer of Hebrews is picturing him being the perfect high priest, but also being the perfect sacrifice. But he’s also the tabernacle itself. He is where we meet with God. Yeah. I went on for a long time.
SD: No, all that gives context too. ‘Cause I think when I was younger, a lot of times I’d struggle with, why in the world did he do this whole first system? If he’s just going to do away with it on Jesus, why don’t we just cut to the chase and go straight for Jesus? ‘Cause on the one hand, it almost seemed cruel when I was younger to be like, why would he have him doing this impossible system? And I think part of what he’s doing is, we would have never understood Jesus. If there wasn’t the high priest and the sacrifice and the blood and the impossible law to keep, and it wasn’t cruel, it was merciful ’cause it was setting up. Here’s what Jesus looks like. Here’s what the law looks like. Here’s what love looks like. Here’s how you can’t live up to God’s standards. And even in the Old Testament, there’s still forgiveness. There’s still grace. It wasn’t cruel in that sense. But we just wouldn’t have had context at all to understand our need or what Jesus did without the Old Testament. And especially for us Gentiles who, we didn’t grow up at this tabernacle, at the temple, even at the synagogue. So I think we don’t understand how Jesus is better than Moses, better than a high priest, better than without Moses and the high priest and the sacrificial system.
BH: Rob, you mentioned a verse from Hebrews 9, which you just preached the first half of that. And then later in that, I think it’s verse 22 where he says, without the shedding of blood, there’s no remission of sin. He also, in that second half of that chapter, is where he talks about, because the law, we use the word covenant, the law was the covenant of God, which is the, do you pronounce that in the Greek, D-S-A-K or Dasak?
RC: No idea.
BH: So, the same word.
RC: Yes, great. [chuckle]
BH: But that word is also, they only used one word for covenant or will.
BH: So the Will of a person is only activated upon death. So a Will, imagine a scenario where a person sitting on a gold mine just like a billionaire, but they’ve put all of that into a will that is only activated upon their death. So no one’s going to… So if that person lives to be 95 years old and their son is 20 years younger and he’s 75 before he gets it, he maybe gets a few years to enjoy that. And so Hebrews 9 uses the terminology that, so when you’re talking about a Will, there’s two people that work to make a Will active. One is the person who dies. That person’s called, I think that is called a testator. A testator is a person who, a deceased person who activates their own Will. The legal term for that person is a testator, which is a funny… [laughter]
RC: Which is a funny word.
BH: Funny word.
RC: We did great.
SD: I was doing the…
RC: We did so well.
BH: Y’all did, ya’ll did well.
BH: But we’re good with that. We’re good with that. I’m good not editing that out. Okay, so a testator. Okay. But the other person that’s necessary for a Will to be activated is the mediator. That’s the person that in an estate settlement, the executor of the estate plays a role. A mediator would be an attorney or a legal representation. Especially if there’s any, if you’ve got conflict between siblings, there’s rivalry, there’s debate over who gets what, the mediator’s, the person who brings legal representation to the discussion. Jesus is both of those things in terms of the covenant that he makes with us.
BH: And we’re in, if a person’s Will is activated, that person has to die, Jesus died. Then He came back to life to mediate His own Will, His own covenant. And that’s what the law couldn’t do.
BH: That’s what the law couldn’t do.
RC: That’s good.
BH: It’s like he’s both, when Paul writes in Romans 3, “He’s both the justifier.”
RC: “Just and the justifier.” Yeah.
BH: Of the one who justifies us, but he’s just.
BH: He’s the legal representation, but he’s also the one who activates the covenant promises. Where did those covenant promises come from? They came from the law. This is Paul writes. Okay, so we’ve quoted now several times in this conversation, we’ve quoted “Romans 10”. Where he says that Christ is the end of the law. In that same passage, he says, but you guys received the law, the prophets. And he walks down this, he walks down this succession of things that the Israelite people had received. And then he basically says, Christ is the culmination or the activation of all of those things. He’s the one who fulfills the prophecies. He’s the one who establishes the promises that he made through his own death. And then we receive the benefit or the gifts of those promises through his resurrection, his death and resurrection.
S21: And that’s where the crazy part happens, where all these laws go internal. Where it’s like there’s written…
RC: Written on your hearts and Won’t have to each one teach your brother saying, know the Lord. Everybody’s gonna know the Lord and then I’ll be merciful towards your sins and remember them. No more like all these promises of the new covenant that are true in Christ that those Old Testament saints didn’t get to touch.
SD: Yeah. Yeah. It’s because Christ has tabernacle with us. He’s the God man where, and he mediates that relationship perfectly for us. He brings us to God as our great high priest. And we now are, we identify with him in such a way that we have that relationship with God where we’re referred to as the temple or the tabernacle. Like we meet with God always. We live in His presence. And that that’s not something that they had a context for. Now there’s separation, there’s a court and there’s sets of curtains and there’s washings and sacrifices and special days. And it’s like we all woke up this morning in the presence of Yahweh.
BH: Talk to Jesus.
BH: Do you think that’s really interesting. And I really appreciate the way you just laid that out. You think that they, if you’re an Israelite, you had to constantly feel the separation more than… I mean I just wonder more than you felt the nearness.
SD: Yeah. Well, even I think the how temporary the sacrificial system is, ’cause you’re like you got the day of atonement. Great. We also got burnt offerings and sin offerings and drink offerings and grain offerings. And you got the sins on the God inside and the sins on the goat outside and the sins on that bull. And it’s just like, dude, when is it stop. I just offered this sacrifice and then I need another one before I even get back to my house. I think just that temporariness the separation. God just eat on those guys.
BH: Yeah. And nobody was free from it. But then God also made a way where, so it’s like oh, you can’t afford a lamb. You’re too poor turtle doves or 2 turtle doves.
BH: We can’t afford that. Okay. Bring some cereal.
RC: There’s so much grace in the Old Testament ’cause everybody’s like, man, there’s so, there’s no grace in the Old Testament. It’s like the sacrificial system. And then even within that, okay, you can’t do that. Bring this, and then this.
BH: We’ll make, get where everybody can do it. You can grab a handful of grain, a handful of cereal, bring in that.
RC: And then Romans 3, right where he says he is both just and the justifier. ‘Cause it’s like, okay, well could they even be, do they have a relationship with God? Were they saved themselves? Oh no, no. Yeah. Is by faith. That’s where we’ll get to. And Hebrews 11 still by faith and it, but it was, it’s a faith that Jesus both authors and perfects. And what Paul’s saying in Romans 3 is, Hey, God, in his divine four bands was passing over sin like the blood of that bull and goat didn’t actually do anything to cleanse or purify somebody, but God was looking at their faith, lived out in their obedience to the system and looking at what the system was pointing to in Christ and crediting the work that Christ would for them do in the future to them. Not in the exact same way.
RC: As for us as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and what comes in the new, like when the law is written on our hearts. But it was enough to what if we simplify it just with the term save, like it saved them. It was enough to save them. They did have a relationship with the Lord, but they didn’t have the clean conscience and they didn’t have the assurance that we do and they didn’t have the same level of intimacy that we do in the access. But it was all still grace. And God was saving them. And that divine forbearance is nothing but grace. [chuckle]
BH: And even in Hebrews 9, the second part of Hebrews 9, he alludes to that like the, and you preached on this 2 weeks ago as we’re recording, this would’ve been a month ago now, probably by the time this drops, but the on this shadow, they, their faith was in a shadow system. Something I’ve learned in this Hebrew study is that it really sinks up nicely with Romans 3 that he in his forbearance, He was passing over those sins and they are, Hebrews brings more dexterity and clarity to this. Yet by faith they’re doing this thing believing in the Lord’s provision for forgiveness and reconciliation to God. And that’s where while it did make him feel probably very separated from God, for the person whose heart was bent towards obedience and worship, they felt the nearness that was provided by the sacrificial system, I think.
BH: You see that with certain Old Testament believers. They felt near to God.
BH: They walked with God, they walked with Yahweh.
SD: And they delighted in the law.
BH: They delighted in the law.
BH: They did. And his nearness and his presence was something that they were very appreciative of. The same way that we can be with the presence of the Lord in our lives. Like you said, Rob, we woke up this morning and we’re in the presence of the Lord. And so there Jesus, his sacrifice provided for them, for the million lambs that were slaughtered over 1000 year period. Jesus’s sacrifice was what ultimately provided the reconciliation to God and forgiveness for those people’s sin.
BH: Yeah. Well we are, this is the most exciting time of the year at Snowbird, at SWO and a lot of our listeners have never been. And if you’ve never been, there’s a lot of opportunities to come experience SWO. There are a lot of adult conferences and retreats, men’s events, women’s events, marriage events, leadership events. But what we’re gearing up for right now is our summer camp. And I know everybody, here at this table right now is super excited about this.
RC: Yes. A week and a half ’till staff training. It’s crazy as we record this right now, it might even be in it by the time it drops.
BH: Yeah. By the time it drops. We could be in staff training. It’s crazy.
RC: It’s wild.
BH: It’s kinda like when you’re a kid and you look all… You look forward all year to Christmas and then it comes and goes so quickly in that 24 hour window. For us, it’s so cool because there’s about a three month you feel the ramp up happening, like Christmas, you start feeling it at Thanksgiving. You kind of get through Thanksgiving, there’s like a month of excitement and then a 24 hour window and then it’s over. For us, it’s like there’s a three month ramp up and then for three months we, half of our year is really tied in this, the summer.
RC: Oh yeah, for sure.
SD: Summer thing.
RC: Yeah. And it’s so exciting, being the one that teaches, it’s so exciting ’cause you spend these days watching projects go on, on campus. Like right now we got the, the slide this finishing up on campus, which can be awesome. But then also you’re just kind of crafting these messages and praying over them and just seeing them come together, talking about the life of Joseph all summer. I love this time of year where you’re bringing it together and everybody’s about to come, is so exciting.
BH: The crew we got here right now, man, they’re hard workers. Like this spring every year. I’m impressed with how hard everybody works, but this group. Like that bunch in on that slide.
RC: Yeah. They’ve done so much.
BH: They’ve done so much. We had, we ran a septic line through camp, a main trunk line that runs through the middle of camp. A lot of people, a lot of our listeners followed the progress and growth and development of SWO. And but we, one of our big infrastructure pieces was running a main septic line through camp. It’s not fun, it’s not glamorous. Nobody, gets excited about it, but it’s growth and development hinges on that stuff. And those guys ran, it was an estimated three week project and our team did it in three and a half days. It was, it was… We called it four days and then Butch, it was a board member that’s a commercial plumber. He sent a crew to work with our guys and he sent a two man crew. He’s got 40 plumbers, but he sent two of them up here. He said, man, your guy’s doing that in four… He said it wasn’t even four. It’s three and a half. ‘Cause the first half of the first day they were waiting on an excavator to get here because we rented an excavator that bunch. It was everybody out there, but just, it was like bees in a beehive.
RC: It was wild ’cause that last day, I forget if it was iron on iron or what retreat was leading up, but there was a shoulder deep hole trench going around the entire circle and by the end of the day it’s closed up. Graveled.
RC: No one would ever know. I mean, so much work.
BH: Yeah, it was crazy. I think it was iron on iron. And it was rainy. They had good weather that week and then it rained. The day that we closed the ditch. Yeah. So anyway, lots going on here. We’re excited about summer. If you’re coming here this summer, we’re excited. And, just know that we, this time of year, there’s so much energy that goes into what we’re doing and the way we’re planning and the meetings we’re having and we’re constantly trying to be creative and innovative and, yeah, it’s gonna be an awesome, awesome season.
BH: Well, that was super insightful for me. I learned a lot. I hope you did too. Next week again, we’ll be considering the trial of Jesus. All of the suspicion, the superstition, the conspiracy that went into having him brought to trial. It was, it’s just mind blowing. It’s mind… If you are a fan of true crime, podcasts or documentaries you like to study legal, the judicial system and trials and things like that, I think you’ll get a lot outta next week’s episode. Excited to bring that to you. But thanks for listening this week. We appreciate you more than you know. Come see us, SWO ’23 Summer Camp is Kicking Off staff comes in next Monday and, we’re gonna be hitting the ground running, but we’ll keep bringing these episodes every Monday, Lord willing and, hope that you’ll keep listening. Thanks again.
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