I don’t think the early communities came to do away with rules (or even law for that matter) – we as humans need that type of direction (teaching).
I think faith is about developing a finer committment with those around you and I and with our faith in God (it becoming something meaningful). The teachings seem to safeguard against making mistakes that will only hurt you in the long-run – reaching out to our common sense – asking us to weigh in on our personal actions and responsibility in society.
One needs to remember this all started as a ‘law’ (Torah) for a nation of people – to set them apart from the surrounding ideas in societies. Now law functions to help people fit their behavior into what is acceptable for society. In one sense, one can see the law as helping people to become more humane. At least that’s how I think about it.
The gospel is just a furtherance of that idea for all people – about kingdom ethics. It’s basically the teachings redacted from Jesus own words or one of the disciples. They seem contrary to law but they aren’t…they still seek a personal accountability of the person to ethics – or the spirit of the law (which was good).
The way I see it all is the way some of the Psalms (or Deuteronomy) kind of look at it –
“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.” (Deut 30:15-16)
Leviticus 18:5 “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD” (also in Nehemiah 9:29)
I see them as speaking about life and living that life to the fullest potential…people may want to focus on the bad aspects of that ‘law’ – but it is what it is – rules to help one focus their lives in a positive direction.
***Comment originally aired on Deacon Blue’s ‘Random Babble’