Weak law, powerful love

The first sixteen of forty citations from the Bible on how to treat  aliens are from the first five books of the Bible. These five books are commonly  attributed to Moses, the person who gave God’s law to Israel. If the five books are truly God’s law for Israel in perpetuity,  then the nation of Israel has a problem.

Pondering these verses has started a chain of thoughts which merit  the exposure of a blog, I think. To agree on God’s law is often problematic.  This seems to me to be true especially during a time of gospel transition from  law to grace as in the first century, and for new believers of any era.

The rite of circumcision has a long history.  Abraham was first  justified by faith and later directed to be circumcised.  Moses as lawgiver required that all male Jewish babies were to be circumcised.  Some already Christians in the first-century thought  that gentiles should be circumcised and keep the law of Moses if they were to be  admitted to the church.

Not so, argued Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, it doesn’t matter  that much. He wished circumcision to be a freely-made choice by each individual,  never to be imposed as a matter of the law through Moses. If this one small  piece of the law should be required of gentile believers, then all other small  bits of the law should likewise be required of them.  For every bit of the  law was given by God through Moses, not, and should be similarly  respected.

Links in the chain of my thought goes to the gay sexual orientation  and behavior issue with which the church and the nation struggles today. One  side in that conversation relies in part on a small bit of the law of Moses  which prohibits homosexual behavior.  Doesn’t Paul’s logic still  apply?  If one small bit of law is binding today, should not all other  small bits be binding as well?

Now the links of the chain circle back to the treatment of aliens, a  legitimate concern of today’s nation and church. Verses from the law of Moses  that concern just treatment of aliens are no more binding than other bits of  law. Their chief value is to show that the power of love always treats aliens kindly,  fairly and justly.


About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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