Moses and Yeshua
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Moses and Yeshua
Copyright © May 31, 2015 Douglas W Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.
"The law, through Moses, leaves complainers in the wilderness, but Grace, through Joshua, brings people into the Promised Land". -Tim Winter, my former pastor, from his Facebook page, viewed on May 30, 2015.
Yes. The point is well made in the above quote that the law, divorced from regeneration of the heart, is mere Pharaseeism. It cannot save. The law only brings condemnation to those who are not walking in covenant with God. The law can only be a blessing to those who are in covenant. Covenant is a concept that can only be understood by a study of the Older Testament. Boiled down to its essence, it means that we choose to obey God's Word from a loving, willing heart.
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul..." Psalm 19:7. The problem is not the law. It is man's rebellious heart against God's law. "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day." Psalm 119:97. The law is our guide for life, and a study of it enables us to know God's will in any particular situation.
God's law is not the problem, so much as disobedience to the law. The complainers in the wilderness were those who despised the law, and therefore despised the covenant, and the God Who gave them that covenant. They were unrepentant, despite God's offer of grace.
What grace? Where is there grace in the law? Was not the law a ministry of condemnation? Of judgment?
Yes on both questions.
First, law administers condemnation to the disobedient. It cannot be any other way. That is the nature of law. This is where most of American fundamentalist Christianity fails, because it fails to recognize that forgiveness is based on repentance and restitution. Grace is always related to our condemnation as sinners. We are forgiven because God's wrath against us is satisfied in the judicial substitution of His Son.
"American" "Baptist" "Fundamentalist" theology nearly always bases forgiveness on a humanistic sentimentalism that separates repentance from a change of life-style, hoping that the life-style will eventually change as well. Biblical Law anticipates the change of life-style upon regeneration. It gives no countenance to a person who says they are converted without proving they are by obedience to the Word of God.
Regeneration (getting "saved") immediately implies a change from what you were before Christ to what you are now IN CHRIST. En Christo means that you are dead to your former failed life of sin and are now living in obedience to God. There are no "saved" homosexuals, or "Christian" adulterers in the Kingdom of God. There are likewise no believing thieves or god-fearing agnostics. All such are contradictions of the highest sort. Why? Those are all ethical and philosophical contra-punctuations. They are, in a word, nonsense because they are disobedient to the Word of God, His Covenant and His Law.
Second, judgment always implies law. We are all judged, first by God, and also by all men. Judgment is always a matter of moral equivalency, another thing that most American Christians fail to understand. The law of the Old Testament was always about judgment, and what ever side of the covenant you chose to be on, you were still judged; first by God and second by the people of God.
Why does this point matter as far as it relates to Tim Winter's post? As much as I respect him and love him, I must challenge him at this point. I will not labor the point, but judgment is clearly given to God's people as a part of their inheritance in Christ.
That is the whole point of Joshua's judgment of Achan (and his whole family with him) after they violated God's commandment regarding the destruction of Ai. We do not see a whole lot of grace being administered in Joshua chapter seven. We do see the law strictly administered. While Achan clearly repented before God and man, he still was under civil judgment, and committed to death. Because his family was party to his crime, however repentant they may have been to God, they still were, along with Achan, under the penalty of death.
Achan repented, as I am sure did his family. But that did not absolve them of the civil penalty for their crime. Grace was in effect for his family, in that we see repentance. I expect to meet Achan in heaven some day, because he confessed his sin. But he still suffered the consequences, and so did all his family.
There is little grace that I can see displayed in Joshua's dealings with Achan, unless you interject grace into Joshua's calling him "My son" before he executes him. What ever grace was displayed by Joshua was the same grace already offered by Moses, the giver of the law. Joshua does nothing less than carry out the law already established by his predecessor. The grace offered to Achan was one of repentance. That meant for Achan a restoration of the stolen goods and a confession of fealty to the covenant which he had broken.
The law of God does not change however much we may want to equate Joshua with Yeshua (Jesus). Joshua offered grace to Achan by calling him out, and allowing him a period of time for repentance before administering the death penalty requisite for his transgression. Joshua was as much a minister of the law as Moses. Modern sentimentalist Christianity opposes such an administration of death, but they do so based on humanist philosophy and not the Word of God. Capital punishment, while it may seem cruel and unusual to us, calls the criminal to repentance first, and second, relieves society of his further social disambiguity.
Excommunication from the church, (the New Testament equivalent of the death penalty ["turn such a one over to Satan"]) serves the same purpose. The only difference is the governing body. Under Biblical law only the State (civil government) has the authority to execute. Family law and Church law do not have such jurisdiction. Joshua executed the family of Achan as a matter of civil law, because he was a traitor against the law set forth by the civil leader Moses and against the new nation of Israel.
So was there greater grace under Joshua (who was the typological precursor of Jesus) than under Moses?
No. Not at all. No less or more grace. And no less or more law.
We see no more grace under Joshua than under Moses. We see no less grace under Moses than under Jesus (of whom Joshua was a type). The law is the same under both testaments, old or new. It is our guide, not our divide. Jesus (Joshua, Yeshua) did not abolish the law. He fulfilled it, and through the work of His Spirit regenerating us, He enables us (those who are "saved") to fulfill it as well.
In Christ Jesus alone we fulfill the law.
“O how I love thy Law.”
That IS what redemption is all about.
Doug Jerving is the publisher of the NewEdisonGazette.com. You may contact him at
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