“This is your discrepancy? If you mean, by “keeping the law”, that we can hold it in high regard, then you miss Paul’s point. If you mean, by “keeping the law”, that we can live without breaking any of those laws, then you are perfect…or delusional.” (Jim)
“I’d also take exception to the notion that the law is easy to follow. If it’s so damn easy, why does just about everyone break it. Please don’t try to convince me that anything more than a tiny fraction of Jews actually keeps the law in it entirety or anywhere close to it. Coveting alone is something that most of us humans do out of damn-near jealous reflex.” (Deacon Blue)
“I pointed out that Deuteronomy teaches the law CAN be kept. So, either God lied in Deuteronomy when God said we could keep it, that it isn’t even hard to keep, or Paul lied when he said people could not keep the law. Either God lied when God said we don’t need to look to heaven for help in keeping the law, or Paul lied when he said we needed Jesus to help us. They can’t both be true.” (Yael)
I find all this talk about the law and what it means to keep it very interesting – I see a contrast of viewpoints that can be addressed from the comments above.
(a) What does it mean to ‘keep’ the law? Are we talking about ‘living by the intents of the law’ or a strict literal ‘keeping’ of every law? Can keeping mean merely continuing to use the Law for guidance? The disconnect seems to be the Christian view of ‘literalism’ towards the law and the Jewish viewpoint of living by it…both of which try to address the idea of ‘keeping the law’.
(b) Does keeping the law have to do with not breaking the laws (ever) or living by the intents of the laws as provided to the Jewish community? There is a belief within Christianity that if we break one law we break em’ all – and we need someone perfect to fulfill that for us. Judaism doesn’t see it this way – and never really has – the law was there to be a ‘law’ for the people – to guide and direct them (similar to how we use our countries laws to guide and direct us – or better yet – the constitution to develop the guidelines for law).
I think the problem with addressing the Law is that we need a well rounded view concerning the subject – and for me some problems within the Christian viewpoint are kind of strange (all things being considered).
(1) Law is not bad – law is good for a nation/society – this is not something any of us would ever try to debate in basic thinking about it. The laws of a society provide the justice for the society and help those within the law live good lives – those outside the law will not enjoy such comforts (ie: jail). Law is meant to protect us – provide the limits for good societal behavior…this is how I view Jewish law.
The Jewish law is like the American constitution in a weird way. Both provide the basis for their societies – the beginning of law and rights – even where faith fits in. From there we develop interpretation of the said documents – law in both cases – and how society will function.
Christianity view Jewish laws very different. Christianity has evolved to view the law as something that Jesus fulfilled – completed and did this for us – he was perfect in it’s upkeep. This is in turn did away with the law for us – vicariously we get it’s righteousness. I am not sure Paul or Jesus actually held this view – it barely seems biblical to me.
(2) How can one fulfill the law? By living it! If anything, Christianity has little to do with the law at all – we have all but left that behind some 2000 years ago. I think Jesus lived according to the law – in that sense fulfilled it – but one cannot fulfill the law so as to do away with it…this is not really a possibility…not when you think about how law functions.
How can one fulfill ‘do not covet’ except by not acting upon urges to steal another’s property? In the sense of obeying the law the reason for the law is fulfilled – to protect your neighbor and create a sense of property in the listener (respect for the other’s stuff).
Now we can all do that – and should do that. Not to say we will not break laws in certain scenario’s – we all do. But the law functions as a standard by which we realize what is good for society and what is detrimental to society. How can you fulfill that except by trying to live according to law – which is asking basic human decency. Fulfilling the law is ‘keeping it’ – living by it – which we all expect from our neighbors.
I guess I don’t get it – how can someone fulfill the law on your behalf? Isn’t that contrary to the intent of the law – whether Jewish law or a constitution comparison? Can someone fulfill the constitution? Yes, but only in the sense of living according to it – which means ‘fulfillment’ is interpreted as ‘keeping in line with’…not in the sense it can be fulfilled – like prophecies.