Monday, 17 July 2017

What Paul Said About the Law

Paul's discussions about grace v law were really about grace v being or becoming Jewish. He wasn't setting grace off against the importance of the Gentiles learning to live morally upright lives. Of course the Gentiles learned to live godly in Christ Jesus - but they didn't need to become Observant (of the Law) - that is, they didn't need to also become Jews (proselytes to Judaism). Being in Christ was sufficient. 

That became less of an issue after the destruction of the Temple circa AD70 -
because it was literally impossible to carry-out the requirements of Moses' Law after then. But it was still a pertinent issue in Paul's day - so he had to address it. 

But no-one who seeks to keep the Law today thinks the whole Law can be kept today precisely as it was written. Everyone adjusts the way he 'keeps' it, in one way or another, and to one extent or another. 

And after it's all said and done, it really comes down to only two main differences among all true believers in Jesus: days, and diets. And interestingly those are the very two things which Paul singled out and said that we need not make an issue out of. Live, and let live. 

As for what Jesus said: He did not say that there would not be changes in what would be required. He spoke of a major change of program.

And Paul mentioned the disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. Nothing Jesus said meant that what Paul said contradicts what Jesus said.

Paul even included the Ten Commandments ("that which was written and engraven on stones") as that which had been done away with! 

And yet Paul also sometimes cited ethics in the Law to back-up his procedural advice for the churches. The law was still "good" if someone used it "lawfully". 

A lot of people seem to side with only one of Paul's statements: some side only with him saying the Law has passed away; others side only with him saying we fulfil the Law. But Paul said both - and to not understand how Paul could say both that the Law has been done away with, and that we fulfil the Law, is to not really understand Paul. 

Paul's main heart though, was for unity. Gentile believers ought not to set at nought Jewish believers who still felt obligated; and ex-Pharisees who had become believers in Jesus ought not to say that Gentile believers were any less acceptable to God just because they had not become Jewish-proselytes.

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