At its core, sin stems from failing to worship (or love) God exclusively and failing to love our neighbors as ourselves. The patriarch Jacob and his family are guilty of both. After God calls on him to fulfill his vow at Bethel (Gen. 35:1), Jacob wisely commands his entire entourage to “put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments” (v. 2). Removing any and all hindrances from the exclusive worship and allegiance to the one, true God of Israel is absolutely essential to keeping the covenant, even though it wasn’t until much later that this actual command was codified for the people (see Ex. 20:3–5 and Deut. 6:4–5). Jesus, too, thought it important, so much so that He considered it to be the greatest commandment of all, along with, of course, the “royal law” (James 2:8) of Leviticus 19:18: “. . . you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
After about three years (finally!), my essay on John Milton's view of the relationship between Christians and the (Mosaic) law has been published in Harvard Theological Review. You can find (and read) it here. I haven't been to the local seminary library in a while, so I'm not sure this is on the shelf yet.
Also, I didn't get to do this anywhere in the footnotes, so I'd like to thank Professors Frank James and John Frame, both of whom critiqued early versions of this essay about eight years ago.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . peace Of Conscience, which the Law by Ceremonies Cannot appease, nor Man the moral part Perform, and not performing cannot live. So Law appears imperfect, and but giv’n With purpose to resign them in full time Up to a better Cov’nant, disciplin’d From shadowie Types to Truth, from Flesh to Spirit, From imposition of strict Laws, to free Acceptance of large Grace, from servil fear To filial, works of Law to works of Faith. — Paradise Lost, XII.296–306
If you're like me at all, with a family of little ones and a full-time job, your creative output often comes in fits and starts. I began making this video a few years ago and it's still waiting to get done (what's more, I couldn't figure out how to remove the WMV watermark in the videos I ripped off of youtube, so I kind of gave up). It's pretty self-explanatory.
On top of the occasional book review, photography series, and other theological / literary ramblings, Growing Grace-full will serve as an archive of several short articles that have been published over the years.