Fulfilling the Law of Christ


Applying NCT in church life

Over the past sev­eral years, I’ve seen, read, and par­tic­i­pated in a lot of dis­cus­sions about what laws or com­mand­ments we need to fol­low in the New Covenant, what a Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy of the New Covenant should be, or what the escha­tol­ogy of NCT adher­ents should be. (That last one is a par­tic­u­larly volatile one at the moment, with some amills want­ing to kick out the premills.)
In other words, there’s a lot of con­ver­sa­tion about NCT orthodoxy.
But what about NCT orthopraxy?
What should a church that teaches New Covenant The­ol­ogy look like? What are its hallmarks?
I’d first point us to Gala­tians 6:2 (ESV): “Bear one another’s bur­dens, and so ful­fill the law of Christ.”
That’s an appli­ca­tion of what Jesus Him­self told His disciples.
We can look to our Lord and Sav­ior Jesus Christ in John’s Gospel for the source of that: “A new com­mand­ment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all peo­ple will know that you are my dis­ci­ples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35 ESV)
As Charles Leiter writes in his excep­tional work from 2012, The Law of Christ:

The Christian’s stan­dard is thus not just any sort of “love,” but Christ­like love — love of the same qual­ity and mag­ni­tude as Christ Him­self demon­strated in His incar­na­tion and death on the cross! By ris­ing to pray and com­mune with His Father, by walk­ing through jostling crowds in per­fect peace and tran­quil­ity of heart, by open­ing His mouth in wis­dom and com­pas­sion, by wash­ing His dis­ci­ples’ feet, by for­giv­ing His ene­mies — by every­thing He ever said and did, the Lord Jesus gave us the pat­tern for our con­duct. As we indi­cated ear­lier, it is the high­est, clear­est, and bright­est rev­e­la­tion of man’s duty that could ever be given to the human race. There can be noth­ing more exact­ing, or more demand­ing, or more won­der­ful than this — to love God and to love oth­ers in the same way and to the same degree that Christ did! No one has ever fath­omed the full import of these words, nor has any­one ever begun to fully live up to them.
(Leiter, Charles. The Law of Christ. Han­ni­bal, Mo.: Granted Min­istries, 2012. Print. p. 160)

Christ­like love should be the hall­mark of a Chris­t­ian; it should be the hall­mark of an NCT church.
And I’d add this reminder: “Go (or as you are going) there­fore and make dis­ci­ples of all nations, bap­tiz­ing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all that I have com­manded you.” (Matthew 28:19–20a ESV)
What do these point to? Car­ing for one another sac­ri­fi­cially. Lov­ing one another abun­dantly. Dis­ci­pling one another con­stantly. All while on mis­sion for Jesus.
A true New Covenant Theology-subscribing church must be one of love, dis­ci­ple­ship and mis­sion, grow­ing in the image of Christ.
About Our Author: Ed Tre­fzger, serves as pastor/elder at Evangelical Church of Fairport, near Rochester, N.Y. Ed is the publisher of “This Mystery” blog.

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