Saturday, March 29, 2008

Justice and Torah (3)

My reader's third question is interesting.

What do you think Jesus and Paul and James meant when they said Loving God and loving neighbors as ourselves fulfills the whole law? Just curious.
With regard to the various statements about “love fulfilling the law”, I believe that if we love, we will not break the law. If I love people, I cannot steal from them or assault them. If everyone was to love, we would not need any laws; but we are not there yet. In the interim, we need laws to restrain the worst of evil, (that is all that laws can do, they cannot change hearts). Paul explains this in 1 Tim 1:8-9.
We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels.
The law is for restraining rebels and lawbreakers.

The other side of these statements is that law and love are consistent with each other. This means that the Torah (correctly understood) is consistent with love. If our understanding of the law is harsh and cruel, that is not consistent with love, so our understanding must be wrong.

I believe that we have misunderstood the Torah, because it has been translated and interpreted by people who hate the law, and have presented it in a way that highlights the contrast with the gospel. This causes them to misunderstand it. I note that in translation, they often seem to take the harshest of the several possible meanings, when those who believe it is consistent with love would seek the meaning that is consistent with love.

I am seeking to understand the Torah in a way that is consistent with love. Lev 19:18 seems to confirm this approach.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
An interpretation of the law that justifies revenge is wrong.

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