430 years of lawlessness
16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
“Legal scheme” theologies (see Stephen Paulson) attempt to understand the relationship between God and man in terms of contracts or covenants. There’s a part that God does, and then there’s a part that man does. Man needs to hold up his end of the bargain.
As I have been reading through Lamentations, one can easily see the effects of not following God on the nation of Israel. They truly suffered horrors. The pride of being God’s chosen people translated to being haughty and ultimately, rejecting God. God’s punishment for them was a consequence of their rejection of Him.
Since the Old Testament makes up a majority of the Bible, it is easy to see why so many Christian denominations hold to theologies that are really anthropologies. That is, they are not founded on Christ alone, but on Christ and me. They are, in a word, synergistic. Even theologies which claim a reformation history and claim to be monergistic become synergistic in “practical Christian living”.
Theologians from these camps passionately defend adherence to the rules of Scripture as the means of “sanctification” given by God. It’s a subtle shift from the cross to the gratitude we are supposed to show, but it’s a deadly one for Christians.
Moses is not the forefather of our faith, Abraham is:
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness (Romans chapter 4, NIV)
His faith was in the promise of God. The promise of an offspring. Christians today know who this promise is. In fact, we are named for this promise; Jesus Christ.
We can rest from our works of the law and have confidence that God has fulfilled the law for us in Christ. In fact, ‘Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent”'(John 6:29). It is not man’s work, but it is God’s work in you to create belief in Christ that makes you righteous before Him. And there is no law which can overrule His mighty work accomplished for you at the cross.