Monday, 29 May 2017

Paul's Issue

A lot of Paul's discussions about the Law dealt with an issue which doesn't really exist for us today.
In Paul's day, if a Gentile believer in Jesus wished to become Observant of Moses' Law, he could literally do so - because the infrastructure required for carrying-out the Law still existed (the altar, the Levitical priesthood, etc).
Since it was possible - and since some were asserting that believers were obliged to become Observant - Paul had to deal with it.
And deal with it he did. Paul insisted that it was not necessary for believers in Jesus to become Observant. In fact he said it would be detrimental if they did.
" are not under the Law..." Paul said.
"...if you are circumcised, Christ shall be made of no effect to you..."
But since no-one can carry-out Moses' Law today - not even if he wants to (because the required infrastructure no longer exists), the question itself (to become Observant or not) is nullified.
So we don't face quite the same issue.
What Paul took issue against was the idea that believers should become literally Observant of Moses' Law (as the composite unit that it was) - Paul's issue was never with ethics and morals. Of course he believed in ethics and morals, because he said:
"...yet not without law, but under the law to Christ..."
That meant that although believers weren't obligated to become Observant, they weren't utterly 'lawless' - believers did fulfil the law - Divine law - believers were made partakers of the Divine nature - they did live-out all of the ethics, morals and spiritual principles and realities which the Law could only illustrate and foreshadow and predict. Believers fulfilled divine ethics - but without being required to literally carry-out Moses' Law (as the composite unit that it was).
We have been "...justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ without the deeds of the Law..." - yet the "grace of Christ teaches" us to "deny ungodliness and worldly lust" and to "live holily and righteously".
And having been 'justified' freely by His grace, believers were not then 'sanctified' by becoming Observant, because the Scripture also says:
"By one offering He has perfected forever those who are 'sanctified' ".
"Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption".
So sanctification also - and not only justification - is by Christ, it wasn't by becoming Observant. Therefore sanctification today certainly doesn't involve adopting 'Messianic' versions of modern Judaism.
"And you are complete [justified, and sanctified] in Him, which is the Head..."
"Christ is all [justification, and sanctification]..."
That's good news - and it's for all nations to hear!

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