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Jesus in Luke is Still Law Adherent.

 

The following is an excerpt of our article Luke is a Non-Pauline Gospel. Some claim Jesus abrogated the Law. They do a hand-waive on Matthew 5:17-19 where Jesus denies He would ever suggest that, but the anti-law crowd must deal with a more astonishing proof Jesus did not abrogate the Law. This comes from Luke - who was sometimes a companion of Paul - which portrays Jesus as equally Law-adherent as does Matthew.

Here is the excerpt that reviews the proof.

 


EXCERPT FROM LUKE IS A NON-PAULINE GOSPEL.

 

The most non-Pauline aspect of the Gospels is Jesus' view of the Law's continuity. Luke here makes a key contribution in favor of Jesus's non-Pauline Gospel. For Luke's Gospel contains another time than just Matt 5:17-19 where Jesus says not one jot or title of the Law will expire until heaven and earth pass away. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus says this another time in an another setting. See Luke 16:17. And in the next few verses, Jesus applies a passage of the Mosaic law. Thus, clearly Luke tells of a distinctly different event but with a message similar to Matt 5:17-19 where Jesus again teaches on the continuity of the Law in the New Covenant. Luke 16:16-17 reads in pertinent part:

 

16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it.17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. (Luke 16:16-17 NIV.)

Matthew's similar quotation in chapter five is within the Sermon on the Mount. By contrast, Luke 16 is clearly at a different time when Jesus' disciples alone gather around Jesus. This is ten chapters after Luke's version of the Sermon on the Mount in Luke 6:20-49.

As a result, the fact Luke 16:16-17 -- not part of Luke's Sermon on the Mount -- is different than Matthew's account at 5:17-19 within the Sermon on the Mount proves Luke has preserved a second time where our Lord emphasizes the continuity of the Law. Jesus says in Luke 16:17 not the least stroke will disappear out of the Law, and then explains a passage from the Law in the next verse. Jesus illustrates verse 17 by explaining a Mosaic law on divorce that has a continuing validity.

Thus, clearly Jesus in Luke affirms the Law's continuity. Hence, no one can misconstrue verse 16 (i.e., the Law and Prophets were proclaimed until John) to imply the Law is defunct once the Gospel of the new covenant comes into play. Rather, the Gospel is built on the Law -- it will proclaim the good news that those who were disobedient to the Law can receive forgiveness and atonement through a blood sacrifice of Jesus - when such atonement principle itself can only be found in the Law.

 

This passage therefore of Luke 16:17 is very harmful to the validity of Paul. It thereby destroys the argument of those who assert Luke is Pauline, and skewed to help Paul. The truth is quite the opposite.

 

What further underscores that Luke supports a law-endorsing Jesus is found in Luke 18. It duplicates most of Jesus' words found in Matthew 19:16-26 on the answer to the young rich man on how to have eternal life. The answer Jesus gives in both is that salvation comes by obedience to the Law combined with repentance from sin. This rich ruler suffered evidently from greediness which had harmed the poor, and Jesus told him, in effect, to make amends, i.e., perform a work 'worthy of repentance.' The passage reads in Luke:

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]

21 All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:18-29 NIV.)

And this passage promises eternal life in verse 29 not for faith, but to those who have sacrificed in this life. Again, this is a doctrine that does not fit the faith-alone verses in Paul's epistles. Luke is clearly contrary to the teachings of Paul revealed in Paul's epistles.

 

Luke quotes Jesus shortly thereafter similarly saying that those who resurrect were found "worthy to obtain the resurrection from the dead." (Luke 20:35.) Yet, this contradicts Paul's epistles that salvation is by grace through faith, not works (Eph 2:8-9). Jesus says in this passage that God's favor ("charis" = "grace") comes upon you by you being worthy -- just as Jesus four times uses the word "grace" / favor to mean merited grace / favor. See Luke 6:32-34  & Luke 17:8-9 (English Bibles mistranslating "charis" as either "thanks" or "credit" to obscure Jesus' view on grace opposes that of Paul's Epistles.) See our article on Grace in the Bible.

 

Most startling of all, Luke -- in one more incident than Matthew had -- identifies where Jesus again teaches to obey commands in the Law for eternal life.

 

First in Luke 10:25-28 KJV we read:

 

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

 

Luke likewise has unique criticisms of the Pharisees by Jesus that do not appear in Matthew or Mark. And thus, the claim that Luke treats Pharisees well is certainly false. For example, in Luke 16, we read:

 

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. (Luke 16:13-14 NIV.)

 

Hence, it is incorrect to claim [as referencd in the opening of this article] that Luke portrays the Pharisees as law-abiding, and good teachers.


Jesus Contradicts Faith Alone

 

Another example of a non-Pauline text is Luke's distinct version of the Parable of the Sower in Luke chapter 8. We discuss this parable in depth in chapter 18 of Jesus' Words on Salvation.

 

Let's now review a specific portion of the Parable of the Sower in Luke that is odds with Paul's "faith alone" passages.

 

In Luke 8:13, Jesus portrays the second type of lost person as one who "believes for a while," but then falls into temptation. It has the same fate as the seed that fell on rocky ground that never took root at all. Hence, the second seed represents a believer who falls later into sin. Luke portrays this person in context as becoming not saved at all, but lost

 

Incidentally, in Luke 8:13, "believing" -- pisteuo -- is the Greek root verb, and thus shares the same root word as the word for believe in John 3:16. In this standard translation as "believing," this temporary believing did not save the second seed. Only the "noble and good heart," which existed prior to hearing the gospel, is saved, and endured. (But Paul, as you may recall, said none is righteous who have not yet accepted his Gospel. Jesus sees things differently than Paul on this second and related issue.)