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Messianic Jews & Philippians 3

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  • Messianic Jews & Philippians 3

    I am interested in how Messianic Jews view Paul's autobiographical sketch in Philippians 3:1-11:

    Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
    Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

    But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.


    I eagerly anticipate your interpretations. Please pay extra special attention to the bolded.

  • #2
    Only Messianic Jews are to answer?

    Comment


    • #3
      The first thing to note is that Paul was blameless, not sinless. There are a number of people in the Bible described as blameless, but Jesus was the only one who was sinless. Blameless is referring to the fact that they had sinned, but that their sins had been covered. God is holy and His righteous standard is perfection, so the only way to be declared righteous by practicing righteousness is by keeping the law perfectly. Like the rest of us, Paul had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so he couldn't meet God's standard and be declared righteous in his own efforts, which meant that all of his efforts spent toward trying to obtain something that was untainable to him through that means were essentially worthless. That doesn't mean the actions that he was taking in obedience to God's commands were bad, but that they were done for the wrong reasons.

      Paul makes the point in Romans 4:1-8 that Abraham and David were justified by faith. So if all have fallen short, then all of us who have ever been justified have been justified by faith, along with Abraham, including Moses and Israelites. This means that they were already justified before Jesus gave them the law, so the law was never given to them as a means to become justification in the first place. It was given, among other reasons, so that those God had declared righteous would know how to practice righteousness, to point out our unrighteousness, to provide a temporary remedy for our unrighteousness, and to point to our need for the one who can provide a permanent remedy. The law was always meant to be kept by faith in a manner that would build a relationship between God and His people, which means that keeping the law legalistically in an attempt to become justified by it is a perversion of the law and misses the point for why the law was given in the first place.

      So while Paul was zealous for the law, he had missed the point of it, and his efforts practice righteousness could not cause him to be declared righteous, so it was all worthless to him once he had discovered that gaining the Messiah was the goal of the law. Now he was free to keep the law in the way that it was meant to be kept.

      Paul's warning against the circumcision was in regard to those were teaching that you had to become a Jew and keep all of the law, including the oral law in order to be justified. Like Paul had done, they were erroneously putting their confidence in the flesh. Paul had them all beat in that regard, but he counted it nothing because they were missing the point of the law and had faith in themselves rather than in God.
      "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Soyeong View Post
        The first thing to note is that Paul was blameless, not sinless. There are a number of people in the Bible described as blameless, but Jesus was the only one who was sinless. Blameless is referring to the fact that they had sinned, but that their sins had been covered. God is holy and His righteous standard is perfection, so the only way to be declared righteous by practicing righteousness is by keeping the law perfectly. Like the rest of us, Paul had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so he couldn't meet God's standard and be declared righteous in his own efforts, which meant that all of his efforts spent toward trying to obtain something that was untainable to him through that means were essentially worthless. That doesn't mean the actions that he was taking in obedience to God's commands were bad, but that they were done for the wrong reasons.

        Paul makes the point in Romans 4:1-8 that Abraham and David were justified by faith. So if all have fallen short, then all of us who have ever been justified have been justified by faith, along with Abraham, including Moses and Israelites. This means that they were already justified before Jesus gave them the law, so the law was never given to them as a means to become justification in the first place. It was given, among other reasons, so that those God had declared righteous would know how to practice righteousness, to point out our unrighteousness, to provide a temporary remedy for our unrighteousness, and to point to our need for the one who can provide a permanent remedy. The law was always meant to be kept by faith in a manner that would build a relationship between God and His people, which means that keeping the law legalistically in an attempt to become justified by it is a perversion of the law and misses the point for why the law was given in the first place.

        So while Paul was zealous for the law, he had missed the point of it, and his efforts practice righteousness could not cause him to be declared righteous, so it was all worthless to him once he had discovered that gaining the Messiah was the goal of the law. Now he was free to keep the law in the way that it was meant to be kept.

        Paul's warning against the circumcision was in regard to those were teaching that you had to become a Jew and keep all of the law, including the oral law in order to be justified. Like Paul had done, they were erroneously putting their confidence in the flesh. Paul had them all beat in that regard, but he counted it nothing because they were missing the point of the law and had faith in themselves rather than in God.
        Can you please explain what it means to "keep the law by faith"?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by footwasher View Post
          Only Messianic Jews are to answer?
          Yes, please.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
            Can you please explain what it means to "keep the law by faith"?
            Hebrews 11 is full of examples where it says essentially "By faith, so and so obeyed God".

            Deuteronomy 6:25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’

            Jesus gave the Torah to Moses so that he would know how to do what is right, and this verse is essentially saying that they will live rightly if they are careful to do all that God commanded. Since Adam, God has always desired to have a relationship with us and all relationships are built on faith. God wanted Moses and the Israelites to pursue and obey Him out of love and because they trusted Him. The problem was that Jews lost track of the fact that the law was given for that purpose and it became more about outwardly following the commands than inwardly following God. The purpose of commanding sacrifices was not because God desired for them to slaughter animals, but because God wanted them to realize the seriousness of their sin, to repent of it, and draw close to Him. However, they honored God with their lips while their hearts were far from Him, so by keeping the law legalistically instead of by faith, they perverted it:

            Isaiah 1:12-17
            “When you come to appear before me,
            who has required of you
            this trampling of my courts?
            13 Bring no more vain offerings;
            incense is an abomination to me.
            New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
            I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
            14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
            my soul hates;
            they have become a burden to me;
            I am weary of bearing them.
            15 When you spread out your hands,
            I will hide my eyes from you;
            even though you make many prayers,
            I will not listen;
            your hands are full of blood.
            16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
            remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
            cease to do evil,
            17 learn to do good;
            seek justice,
            correct oppression;
            bring justice to the fatherless,
            plead the widow's cause.

            God was not saying that keeping the Sabbath and the feasts which He instituted were bad or that prayer was bad, but rather He was denouncing their perversion of them. Their inward corruption made their outward observances a destable mockery. Jesus had the same problem with the Pharisees:

            Mark 7:6-9 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

            “‘This people honors me with their lips,
            but their heart is far from me;
            7 in vain do they worship me,
            teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
            8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

            It's important to understand that by the time of Jesus the Pharisees had gotten caught up in outwardly following their own traditions while inwardly being far from God, so they had perverted the law from the way that it was supposed to be kept. To fulfill the law means to interpret it in a way that adds meaning, fills it up with meaning, or brings forth the correct understanding of it, which is what Jesus spent the rest of Matthew 5 doing. Jesus gave the law to Moses and the Israelites, so it doesn't make any sense that he would criticize the Pharisees for keeping their traditions instead of the law, and then turn around and criticize them for putting a heavy burden on the people by having them keep the law. No, the heavy burden was the perversion of the law, with all of their traditions, which would eventually become 26 volumes of the Talmud for how to keep a law a small fraction of the size.

            Romans 9:30-32 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness[d] did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works.

            Here, Paul makes the same point I'm making that the problem is not with the law, but with the way that Israel pursued it. They should have kept it by faith like the Gentiles were doing.
            "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Soyeong View Post
              Hebrews 11 is full of examples where it says essentially "By faith, so and so obeyed God".

              Deuteronomy 6:25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’

              Jesus gave the Torah to Moses so that he would know how to do what is right, and this verse is essentially saying that they will live rightly if they are careful to do all that God commanded. Since Adam, God has always desired to have a relationship with us and all relationships are built on faith. God wanted Moses and the Israelites to pursue and obey Him out of love and because they trusted Him. The problem was that Jews lost track of the fact that the law was given for that purpose and it became more about outwardly following the commands than inwardly following God. The purpose of commanding sacrifices was not because God desired for them to slaughter animals, but because God wanted them to realize the seriousness of their sin, to repent of it, and draw close to Him. However, they honored God with their lips while their hearts were far from Him, so by keeping the law legalistically instead of by faith, they perverted it:

              Isaiah 1:12-17
              “When you come to appear before me,
              who has required of you
              this trampling of my courts?
              13 Bring no more vain offerings;
              incense is an abomination to me.
              New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
              I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
              14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
              my soul hates;
              they have become a burden to me;
              I am weary of bearing them.
              15 When you spread out your hands,
              I will hide my eyes from you;
              even though you make many prayers,
              I will not listen;
              your hands are full of blood.
              16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
              remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
              cease to do evil,
              17 learn to do good;
              seek justice,
              correct oppression;
              bring justice to the fatherless,
              plead the widow's cause.

              God was not saying that keeping the Sabbath and the feasts which He instituted were bad or that prayer was bad, but rather He was denouncing their perversion of them. Their inward corruption made their outward observances a destable mockery. Jesus had the same problem with the Pharisees:

              Mark 7:6-9 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

              “‘This people honors me with their lips,
              but their heart is far from me;
              7 in vain do they worship me,
              teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
              8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

              It's important to understand that by the time of Jesus the Pharisees had gotten caught up in outwardly following their own traditions while inwardly being far from God, so they had perverted the law from the way that it was supposed to be kept. To fulfill the law means to interpret it in a way that adds meaning, fills it up with meaning, or brings forth the correct understanding of it, which is what Jesus spent the rest of Matthew 5 doing. Jesus gave the law to Moses and the Israelites, so it doesn't make any sense that he would criticize the Pharisees for keeping their traditions instead of the law, and then turn around and criticize them for putting a heavy burden on the people by having them keep the law. No, the heavy burden was the perversion of the law, with all of their traditions, which would eventually become 26 volumes of the Talmud for how to keep a law a small fraction of the size.

              Romans 9:30-32 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness[d] did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works.

              Here, Paul makes the same point I'm making that the problem is not with the law, but with the way that Israel pursued it. They should have kept it by faith like the Gentiles were doing.
              1) Gill comments on Deuteronomy 6:25:

              "And it shall be our righteousness,.... Or a mercy, benefit, and blessing to us; or this shall be reckoned our righteousness, and that by which we shall be justified:

              if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us; in order to have such a justifying righteousness, a man must keep all the commandments of God, not one excepted; and that perfectly, without the least breach of them in thought, word, or deed; and that before the Lord, in his sight, not as it may appear to a man himself, or to others, but as it appears to God, who sees the heart, and weighs all actions; and a man must keep them in the manner the Lord has commanded, even with all his heart, soul, and strength, as in Deuteronomy 6:5 and this is not possible for a sinful man to do; and therefore righteousness cannot be by the law. Only Christ could thus keep all the commandments of God, and his obedience is our righteousness; and he only is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes, and to him we must seek for it."

              Source: http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/6-25.htm

              2) Indeed, I am in agreement that right standing with God is only available by faith; unfortunately, the people of Israel have, generally, not found right standing with God because they viewed the law of Moses, and the works it demands, as a way of right standing and in the process rejected the righteousness that comes from God - they stumbled over the stumbling stone - Yeshua the Messiah - the goal, completion, and end of righteousness for everyone who places their faith in Him.

              3) The Intent of the Law:

              Galatians 3:15-29:

              15Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

              19Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

              23But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

              4) Christ did not come to abolish the law!

              Amen and amen:

              "It is frequently argued that if Jesus did not “abolish” the law, then it must still be binding. Accordingly, such components as the Sabbath-day requirement must be operative still, along with perhaps numerous other elements of the Mosaic Law. This assumption is grounded in a misunderstanding of the words and intent of this passage. Christ did not suggest here that the binding nature of the law of Moses would remain forever in effect. Such a view would contradict everything we learn from the balance of the New Testament (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15).

              Of special significance in this study is the word rendered “abolish.” It translates the Greek term kataluo, literally meaning “to loosen down.” The word is found seventeen times in the New Testament. It is used, for example, of the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans (Matthew 26:61; 27:40; Acts 6:14), and of the dissolving of the human body at death (2 Corinthians 5:1). The term can carry the extended meaning of “to overthrow,” i.e., “to render vain, deprive of success.” In classical Greek, it was used in connection with institutions, laws, etc., to convey the idea of “to invalidate.”

              It is especially important to note how the word is used in Matthew 5:17. In this context, “abolish” is set in opposition to “fulfill.” Christ came “...not to abolish, but to fulfill.” Jesus did not come to this earth for the purpose of acting as an opponent of the law. His goal was not to prevent its fulfillment. Rather, He revered it, loved it, obeyed it, and brought it to fruition. He fulfilled the law’s prophetic utterances regarding Himself (Luke 24:44). Christ fulfilled the demands of the Mosaic law, which called for perfect obedience under threat of a “curse” (see Galatians 3:10, 13). In this sense, the law’s divine design will ever have an abiding effect. It will always accomplish the purpose for which it was given.

              If, however, the law of Moses bears the same relationship to men today, in terms of its binding status, then it was not fulfilled, and Jesus failed at what He came to do. On the other hand, if the Lord did accomplish His goal, then the law was fulfilled, and it is not a binding legal institution today. Further, if the law of Moses was not fulfilled by Christ—and thus remains as a binding legal system for today—then it is not just partially binding. Rather, it is a totally compelling system. Jesus plainly said that not one “jot or tittle” (representative of the smallest markings of the Hebrew script) would pass away until all was fulfilled. Consequently, nothing of the law was to fail until it had completely accomplished its purpose. Jesus fulfilled the law. Jesus fulfilled all of the law. We cannot say that Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial system, but did not fulfill the other aspects of the law. Jesus either fulfilled all of the law, or none of it. What Jesus' death means for the sacrificial system, it also means for the other aspects of the law."

              Source: http://www.gotquestions.org/abolish-...#ixzz3WDJvDUFM

              Comment


              • #8
                "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ." (2Cor. 11:3).

                Comment


                • #9
                  "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." (Gal. 2:21).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." (Gal. 2:21).
                    Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)

                    In Galatians 2:21, Paul is not contradicting Deuteronomy 26:5, so the key thing to understand is that there are two types of righteousness: one that is based on the law and one that is based on faith. Both are good, but they are for different purposes that shouldn't be crossed. As I mentioned previously in this thread, Moses was already declared righteous by before he was given the law, so the law was given to him, among other reasons, so that he would know how to practice righteousness. So Gill's comments on Deuteronomy 6:25 completely misunderstand what is being said because Moses was not saying this is how you become justified to those who already have been justified, but rather he was saying this is how you live rightly. All have sinned and fallen short of God's righteous standard of perfection, so we can not be justified by living rightly, but that doesn't mean that living rightly is unimportant. Galatians 2:21 is saying that if we could become justified by the law, then Christ died needlessly because Christ died so that we could be justified by faith.

                    Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

                    To paraphrase, you could say we are save by grace through faith, not by living rightly, but for the purpose of living rightly. Or not by practicing righteousness, but for the purpose of practicing righteousness. We're not justified by living rightly, but living right is an essential part to being in Christ because that what we were created in Christ to do.

                    2) Indeed, I am in agreement that right standing with God is only available by faith; unfortunately, the people of Israel have, generally, not found right standing with God because they viewed the law of Moses, and the works it demands, as a way of right standing and in the process rejected the righteousness that comes from God - they stumbled over the stumbling stone - Yeshua the Messiah - the goal, completion, and end of righteousness for everyone who places their faith in Him.
                    Indeed, we can only be justified by faith, but after we have been justified, God still has instructions for how we should live out the rest of our lives. Justification is just the beginning of the Christian walk, not the end.

                    But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
                    "If your father were king and you were a young child destined to rule one day, he would get a tutor to train you and teach you what you would need to know to rule the kingdom when your time came. He would give the tutor authority to teach, discipline, and punish you.

                    When your time came, would you immediately shoot your tutor, reject everything he had ever taught you, and then have the audacity to proclaim your actions to be in accordance with the wishes, desires, and intentions of your father the king? The tutor is not the king. He is given by the king to train those who will one day rule. They must be trained so that they can properly make decisions and act in the liberty, freedom, responsibility, and position they will one day have.

                    The tutor is there so that you might take his lessons to heart, so that they might become a natural part of your thought processes. You are to rule according to what you have learned, even though the tutor no longer has authority to control or punish you. You will not need to be controlled from then outside, because you will have accepted what you have been taught. You will be controlled from within your heart. It will be your second nature."

                    "It is frequently argued that if Jesus did not “abolish” the law, then it must still be binding. Accordingly, such components as the Sabbath-day requirement must be operative still, along with perhaps numerous other elements of the Mosaic Law. This assumption is grounded in a misunderstanding of the words and intent of this passage. Christ did not suggest here that the binding nature of the law of Moses would remain forever in effect. Such a view would contradict everything we learn from the balance of the New Testament (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15).
                    Matthew 5:18-19 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

                    Jesus said the law would not pass away until heaven and earth did and warned against those who would teach against keeping it, so if Paul taught contrary to Jesus' words, then rip Paul out of the Bible. Paul does not trump Jesus, and they realized that Jesus words contradict their interpretation of Paul, but instead of pausing to consider whether they've misinterpreted Paul, they tried to twist the words of Jesus to conform to their theology. You need to let the Bible inform your theology, not the other way around.

                    I've already posted an article that deal with their misinterpretation of Romans 10:4. And before you complain about anything else that on that site, anything else that's written by the author, and perform a background check, I don't care. They made a persuasive argument for the correct interpretation for Romans 10:4, and that's all that's relevant to this conversation.

                    http://www.oocities.org/heartland/pi...55/endlaw.html

                    I've also already addressed their misinterpretation of Galatians 3:23-25 earlier. Ephesians 2:15 is talking about the mad-made dividing wall at the Temple that prevent Jews and Gentiles from worshipping together and about man-made rules like in Acts 10:28 that prevented Jews and Gentiles from associating with each other. Furthermore, it doesn't make any sense to talk just a few verses earlier in verse 10 about being created in Christ to do good works, and then talk about Christ removing his instructions for how to do good works. Plus this contradicts Jesus words in Matthew 5:17-19 and his own words in Romans 3:31. It's time to pause to reconsider your interpretation of Paul.

                    It is especially important to note how the word is used in Matthew 5:17. In this context, “abolish” is set in opposition to “fulfill.” Christ came “...not to abolish, but to fulfill.” Jesus did not come to this earth for the purpose of acting as an opponent of the law. His goal was not to prevent its fulfillment. Rather, He revered it, loved it, obeyed it, and brought it to fruition. He fulfilled the law’s prophetic utterances regarding Himself (Luke 24:44). Christ fulfilled the demands of the Mosaic law, which called for perfect obedience under threat of a “curse” (see Galatians 3:10, 13). In this sense, the law’s divine design will ever have an abiding effect. It will always accomplish the purpose for which it was given.

                    If, however, the law of Moses bears the same relationship to men today, in terms of its binding status, then it was not fulfilled, and Jesus failed at what He came to do. On the other hand, if the Lord did accomplish His goal, then the law was fulfilled, and it is not a binding legal institution today. Further, if the law of Moses was not fulfilled by Christ—and thus remains as a binding legal system for today—then it is not just partially binding. Rather, it is a totally compelling system. Jesus plainly said that not one “jot or tittle” (representative of the smallest markings of the Hebrew script) would pass away until all was fulfilled. Consequently, nothing of the law was to fail until it had completely accomplished its purpose. Jesus fulfilled the law. Jesus fulfilled all of the law. We cannot say that Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial system, but did not fulfill the other aspects of the law. Jesus either fulfilled all of the law, or none of it. What Jesus' death means for the sacrificial system, it also means for the other aspects of the law."
                    Huh? They just noted that Jesus used "fulfill" in contrast with "abolish", but then they turned around and interpreted "fulfill" to mean the same thing as "abolish" as if to fulfill the law means to make it no longer legally binding. Does it make any sense if I change out the wording?

                    "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to [make them no longer legally binding]. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

                    He'd be contradicting himself twice in verses 18 and 19. Furthermore "fulfill" means "abolish", then Jesus would have also done away with the Prophets, including all of the prophecies in regard to his second coming. Rather, to fulfill the law means to interpret it in a way that adds meaning to it, fill it up with meaning, or makes the correct understanding known. That's precisely what Jesus did in the rest of Matthew 5.

                    "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ." (2Cor. 11:3).
                    Satan has convinced most Christians that it is unimportant to follow God's instructions to His people for how to live rightly, and worse, that it would be bad for them to do so. It's ridiculous how much he has the Church snowed, even so far as they can't recognize the truth when they see it.
                    Last edited by Soyeong; 04-03-2015, 01:52 AM.
                    "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Soyeong View Post
                      Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)

                      In Galatians 2:21, Paul is not contradicting Deuteronomy 26:5, so the key thing to understand is that there are two types of righteousness: one that is based on the law and one that is based on faith. Both are good, but they are for different purposes that shouldn't be crossed. As I mentioned previously in this thread, Moses was already declared righteous by before he was given the law, so the law was given to him, among other reasons, so that he would know how to practice righteousness. So Gill's comments on Deuteronomy 6:25 completely misunderstand what is being said because Moses was not saying this is how you become justified to those who already have been justified, but rather he was saying this is how you live rightly. All have sinned and fallen short of God's righteous standard of perfection, so we can not be justified by living rightly, but that doesn't mean that living rightly is unimportant. Galatians 2:21 is saying that if we could become justified by the law, then Christ died needlessly because Christ died so that we could be justified by faith.
                      Much of what you are saying here is agreeable. Yet it seems that we are in disagreement over what it means to live rightly/practice righteousness. No one is arguing that right living is unimportant. Those who have been born again by the Spirit possess genuine, saving faith and inevitably engage in good deeds/works. We walk in the power of the Spirit, and this produces "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Gal. 5:22-23). The love of Christ compels us to do good unto all men (Gal. 6:10), thereby fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

                      Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

                      To paraphrase, you could say we are save by grace through faith, not by living rightly, but for the purpose of living rightly. Or not by practicing righteousness, but for the purpose of practicing righteousness. We're not justified by living rightly, but living right is an essential part to being in Christ because that what we were created in Christ to do.
                      Amen! And I would once again highlight that it is by faith alone, in Christ alone that this accomplished. We are justified by faith in Christ and sanctified by faith in Christ. This faith is a living faith (not a dead, demonic faith that James speaks against) that produces right living through continuous reliance on a pure and sincere devotion to Christ.

                      Indeed, we can only be justified by faith, but after we have been justified, God still has instructions for how we should live out the rest of our lives. Justification is just the beginning of the Christian walk, not the end.
                      I would say that justification is the end of our striving to get right with God - "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness" (Rom. 4:5). Now, I absolutely agree that it doesn't end with mere belief; rather, those who have been justified have lives that are characterised by good deeds, that are born from a position of gratitude for all that God has done for us in Christ.

                      "If your father were king and you were a young child destined to rule one day, he would get a tutor to train you and teach you what you would need to know to rule the kingdom when your time came. He would give the tutor authority to teach, discipline, and punish you.

                      When your time came, would you immediately shoot your tutor, reject everything he had ever taught you, and then have the audacity to proclaim your actions to be in accordance with the wishes, desires, and intentions of your father the king? The tutor is not the king. He is given by the king to train those who will one day rule. They must be trained so that they can properly make decisions and act in the liberty, freedom, responsibility, and position they will one day have.

                      The tutor is there so that you might take his lessons to heart, so that they might become a natural part of your thought processes. You are to rule according to what you have learned, even though the tutor no longer has authority to control or punish you. You will not need to be controlled from then outside, because you will have accepted what you have been taught. You will be controlled from within your heart. It will be your second nature."
                      I know of no theologically literate Christian's who would ever denigrate the law in the manner you describe here. We see the law as a wonderful guide and God's good gift that was intended to lead us to His righteousness through faith in His Son - "Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe." (Gal. 3:22). Now that the goal of the law has been accomplished - the revealing of God's righteousness in Christ - we take our eyes off of the Mosaic law and place it on the finished work of Christ and step into the fullness of the New Covenant and joyfully grow in grace through an inward obedience to the commands of Christ, the fulfiller of the law, by the Spirit of Christ, indwelling the elect.

                      Matthew 5:18-19 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

                      Jesus said the law would not pass away until heaven and earth did and warned against those who would teach against keeping it.
                      The words "until all is accomplished" is significant in light of John 19:28: "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfil the Scripture..". In Matthew, Jesus was still operating under the Old Covenant, as one born under the law, and demonstrating how He was the fulfilment of the law. He was dealing with those reared in the Old Covenant and was exercising caution in the transition from the Old Covenant to the New and rightfully so because He was and is the fulfiller of the law and all righteousness. He was taking their eyes off of the shadows and placing them upon himself and his words - "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock." Indeed, ""Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Mat. 24:35). Now under the institution of the New Covenant we obey the commands of Christ (Mat. 5: 19) by walking in the power of the Spirit. I would never advocate the dismissal of the law in the hands of the Lord Jesus.

                      if Paul taught contrary to Jesus' words, then rip Paul out of the Bible.
                      Unfortunately, many in the more aberrant forms of the Messianic movement have done just that, and regarded the Lord's apostle as a false apostle.

                      Paul does not trump Jesus
                      Amen.

                      and they realized that Jesus words contradict their interpretation of Paul, but instead of pausing to consider whether they've misinterpreted Paul, they tried to twist the words of Jesus to conform to their theology. You need to let the Bible inform your theology, not the other way around.
                      The fact that you seem to believe such a caricature indicates to me that you are unfamiliar with evangelical scholars such as Don Carson, Douglas Moo, James White, and a multitude of other competent scholars who utterly reject such a characterization. In other words, you are arguing against a strawman and perhaps projecting your former beliefs as a Baptist onto the scholarly evangelical church at large. Jim Stanley (from 'Truth or Tradition'), whom you previously recommended, and who has zero scholarly credentials, seems to believe as you do, and yet the reality is that you have both been guilty of that which you charge others; however, you merely twist the Pauline letters to fit into your erroneous theology - so we have two opposite sides of error and you went from one to the other, it seems. Perhaps you should avail yourself to material that will give you a proper, informed perspective to analyse and interact with:

                      Justification and Variegated Nomism: The Paradoxes of Paul Carson, O'Brian, Seifrid

                      1) http://www.amazon.com/dp/0801027411/?tag=thegospcoal-20

                      Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God Brian S. Rosner

                      2) http://www.amazon.com/dp/0830826327/?tag=thegospcoal-20

                      Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Thomas R. Schreiner

                      3)http://www.amazon.com/Galatians-Zond...HC67XTNFTZ8CZT

                      Or maybe you have read much of this materail already? If so, please do tell.


                      http://www.oocities.org/heartland/pi...55/endlaw.html

                      I've also already addressed their misinterpretation of Galatians 3:23-25 earlier. Ephesians 2:15 is talking about the mad-made dividing wall at the Temple that prevent Jews and Gentiles from worshipping together and about man-made rules like in Acts 10:28 that prevented Jews and Gentiles from associating with each other. Furthermore, it doesn't make any sense to talk just a few verses earlier in verse 10 about being created in Christ to do good works, and then talk about Christ removing his instructions for how to do good works. Plus this contradicts Jesus words in Matthew 5:17-19 and his own words in Romans 3:31. It's time to pause to reconsider your interpretation of Paul.
                      Interesting article written by Dr. Doug Ward - professor of mathematics at Miami University - now, just because he doesn't have any formal theological training (I don't either by the way) doesn't necessitate that his findings are false, however, I am certainly interested why you would choose to read material written by such men and neglect(?) evangelical theological scholars?

                      Satan has convinced..
                      Perhaps this is another instance of charging others what is in actuality true of you?
                      Last edited by Scrawly; 04-03-2015, 07:05 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here is Don Carson, briefly, on Matthew 5:17:

                        Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). These lines have called forth some popular but doubtful interpretations. (a) Some think that the verb “fulfill” must mean the opposite of “abolish,” since the last clause demands an obvious opposition (“not … to abolish … but to fulfill”). So they take Jesus to mean, “I have not come to abolish the Law but to maintain it or preserve or keep it.” But does Jesus really see his mission in such terms, especially if the maintaining or keeping of the Law is understood simply in terms of its demands and prescriptions? Even in some of the antitheses that follow (Matt. 5:21-48), does it not sound as if Jesus is introducing at least some modifications? Does not Jesus introduce some changes to the food laws in Matthew 15:1-20 (cf. Mark 7:1-23)? (b) Some therefore argue that Jesus has only the moral law in mind. But it is far from clear that first-century Christians distinguished moral from civil and ceremonial law as readily as we do. In any case, Matthew 5:18 (“not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen”) sounds too comprehensive to allow such a restriction. (c) Still others want “to fulfill” to mean something like “to intensify” or even “to show the true meaning of.” But the verb never carries that meaning.

                        The most common meaning of the verb “to fulfill” in the New Testament has to do with eschatology. In the past God predicted something; now he “fulfills” his word; he brings to pass what he promised. That is always what Matthew means by the verb (which he uses frequently). So here Jesus says, in effect, that he has not come to abolish the Law, but to do something quite different: to bring to pass all that the Law predicted. Such fulfillment will go on until everything predicted by the Law is accomplished, to the very end of the age (Matt. 5:18). All of this presupposes (a) that the Law has a predictive function (a commonplace in the New Testament); (b) that Jesus does show the true meaning of the Law and Prophets, not in some abstract sense, but in their prophetic fulfillment, the true direction in which they point; and (c) that Jesus interprets his own mission as prophetic fulfillment of the promises inherent in the Law and the Prophets. He thinks of himself neither as someone who destroys all that has come before and starts over, nor as someone who simply maintains the antecedent tradition. Rather, all previous revelation points to him, and he brings its expectations to pass.

                        Source: http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Sermon-M...carson+matthew
                        Last edited by Scrawly; 04-03-2015, 08:02 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I must say, once again, I was typing this from work and I apologize for any Scrawly-ness. Perhaps - based upon your response - I shall reply with more substance when I get time off. I really need to exercise more self-control and wait, however, I do not have the internet at home so it's far too tempting to respond here at work.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Much of what you are saying here is agreeable. Yet it seems that we are in disagreement over what it means to live rightly/practice righteousness. No one is arguing that right living is unimportant. Those who have been born again by the Spirit possess genuine, saving faith and inevitably engage in good deeds/works. We walk in the power of the Spirit, and this produces "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Gal. 5:22-23). The love of Christ compels us to do good unto all men (Gal. 6:10), thereby fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).
                            Why should we think that practicing righteousness is any different from how God instructed it in the law? Or that the good that Christ compels us to do is any different?

                            Deuteronomy 6:25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’

                            Why should we think that the Spirit is at odds with the Father and would lead us to do other than what He has commanded? The law is spiritual and a role of the Spirit is to lead us in obedience to the law:

                            Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

                            Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

                            Furthermore, where else do you think that Paul God the attributes that he listed in Galatians 5:19-23 but the law? How could we be free from the law if Paul says in Galatians 6:1 that we should correct those who are caught in sin?

                            Amen! And I would once again highlight that it is by faith alone, in Christ alone that this accomplished. We are justified by faith in Christ and sanctified by faith in Christ. This faith is a living faith (not a dead, demonic faith that James speaks against) that produces right living through continuous reliance on a pure and sincere devotion to Christ.
                            I'm glad we're in agreement on this, but again, Christ kept the law perfectly and taught to keep the law both by word and example, so why should we think that faith that produces right living through continuous reliance on a pure and sincere devotion to Christ would be anything different from the law that Christ obeyed? The goal of a disciple was to learn to become a copy of their rabbi in both thought and in how they obeyed the Torah, so why should we think Jesus' disciples were any different? If we seek to be disciples of Christ, why should be consider his obedience to God's law unimportant to imitate?

                            1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

                            I would say that justification is the end of our striving to get right with God - "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness" (Rom. 4:5). Now, I absolutely agree that it doesn't end with mere belief; rather, those who have been justified have lives that are characterised by good deeds, that are born from a position of gratitude for all that God has done for us in Christ.
                            Romans 4:5 is in the context of doing works apart from faith in order to earn justification versus trusting in God's provision and living according to His will in the Torah.

                            The fact that you seem to believe such a caricature indicates to me that you are unfamiliar with evangelical scholars such as Don Carson, Douglas Moo, James White, and a multitude of other competent scholars who utterly reject such a characterization. In other words, you are arguing against a strawman and perhaps projecting your former beliefs as a Baptist onto the scholarly evangelical church at large. Jim Stanley (from 'Truth or Tradition'), whom you previously recommended, and who has zero scholarly credentials, seems to believe as you do, and yet the reality is that you have both been guilty of that which you charge others; however, you merely twist the Pauline letters to fit into your erroneous theology - so we have two opposite sides of error and you went from one to the other, it seems. Perhaps you should avail yourself to material that will give you a proper, informed perspective to analyse and interact with:
                            I was not making a general statement about you or the people who argue against my position, but specifically about the author of the article you linked:

                            http://www.gotquestions.org/abolish-...#ixzz3WDJvDUFM

                            "Such a view would contradict everything we learn from the balance of the New Testament (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15)."

                            Basically, they understood that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but then they turned around an interpreted it "to fulfill the law" as meaning the same thing as abolishing it because otherwise it would contradict their theology. I'm sure there are many scholars over the centuries who have written much better articles and I would have agreed with them not that long ago, but I became convinced my position was wrong. I don't recall ever recommending Jim Staley. I've only seen two videos of his, both of which I disagreed with a number of the things he said. In fact, part of the statement of faith that I signed repudiates his position in one of the videos. However, arguments are not settled by who is waving around the most credentials, but by who is speaking the truth. I have no motivation to twist Paul letters, but rather I changed my position because I saw that it was not the truth.

                            Or maybe you have read much of this materail already? If so, please do tell.
                            I'm a slow reader and I have a reading list that's a mile long, so for the time being you'll have to present their arguments.

                            Interesting article written by Dr. Doug Ward - professor of mathematics at Miami University - now, just because he doesn't have any formal theological training (I don't either by the way) doesn't necessitate that his findings are false, however, I am certainly interested why you would choose to read material written by such men and neglect(?) evangelical theological scholars?
                            There is more than one person with that name and at least one that has theological training. Clearly the author of the article has theological training, so I'm assuming they are the author of the article. I linked the article because the author had a PhD, but because they made a solid argument for how Romans 10:4 should be translated. Cut with the credential snobbery and just read it. If you think they are wrong about anything, then make the case for it.

                            Perhaps this is another instance of charging others what is in actuality true of you?
                            Sure, I'm not immune to being deceived and I'm pretty sure that at least some of things I hold to be true are actually false. Nevertheless, if you think that it is unimportant to follow God's instructions to His chosen people for how to live rightly, and worse, that it would be bad for them to do so, then you really should pause to reconsider your theology. Obedience was a important to God in the OT and it's no less important in the NT.
                            "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). These lines have called forth some popular but doubtful interpretations. (a) Some think that the verb “fulfill” must mean the opposite of “abolish,” since the last clause demands an obvious opposition (“not … to abolish … but to fulfill”). So they take Jesus to mean, “I have not come to abolish the Law but to maintain it or preserve or keep it.” But does Jesus really see his mission in such terms, especially if the maintaining or keeping of the Law is understood simply in terms of its demands and prescriptions?
                              Absolutely. Jesus used "fulfill" in contrast with "abolish", so I see no good reasons to treat them as anything other than opposites, especially in light of how the rabbis traditionally used the term. The main reason to doubt is that it doesn't fit nicely with prevailing theology, which should give us reason to pause to consider whether prevailing theology is indeed correct.

                              Even in some of the antitheses that follow (Matt. 5:21-48), does it not sound as if Jesus is introducing at least some modifications? Does not Jesus introduce some changes to the food laws in Matthew 15:1-20 (cf. Mark 7:1-23)?
                              No, Matthew 15:1 and Matthew 15:20 make it clear that what is being discussed is not dietary laws, but ritual purity laws. It was the traditions of the elders that make normally kosher food ritually unclean were the man-made laws that were being changed.

                              (b) Some therefore argue that Jesus has only the moral law in mind. But it is far from clear that first-century Christians distinguished moral from civil and ceremonial law as readily as we do. In any case, Matthew 5:18 (“not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen”) sounds too comprehensive to allow such a restriction. (c) Still others want “to fulfill” to mean something like “to intensify” or even “to show the true meaning of.” But the verb never carries that meaning.
                              Good objection with (b), but I'd disagree with (c) that it never carries that meaning:

                              G4137 Πληρόω Plēroō
                              Thayer definition:
                              1) to make full, to fill up, i.e. To fill to the full
                              1a) to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally
                              1a1) I abound, I am liberally supplied
                              2) to render full, i.e. To complete
                              2a) to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim
                              2b1) to make complete in every particular, to render perfect

                              It can mean to fill up, to cause to abound, or to render perfect, so it is within that meaning to say that Jesus came to fill up the Law and the Prophets with meaning or to make perfect the understanding of the Law and the Prophets.

                              The most common meaning of the verb “to fulfill” in the New Testament has to do with eschatology. In the past God predicted something; now he “fulfills” his word; he brings to pass what he promised. That is always what Matthew means by the verb (which he uses frequently). So here Jesus says, in effect, that he has not come to abolish the Law, but to do something quite different: to bring to pass all that the Law predicted. Such fulfillment will go on until everything predicted by the Law is accomplished, to the very end of the age (Matt. 5:18). All of this presupposes (a) that the Law has a predictive function (a commonplace in the New Testament); (b) that Jesus does show the true meaning of the Law and Prophets, not in some abstract sense, but in their prophetic fulfillment, the true direction in which they point; and (c) that Jesus interprets his own mission as prophetic fulfillment of the promises inherent in the Law and the Prophets. He thinks of himself neither as someone who destroys all that has come before and starts over, nor as someone who simply maintains the antecedent tradition. Rather, all previous revelation points to him, and he brings its expectations to pass.
                              Leviticus 23:14 And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

                              So then what's to eschatological meaning of "abolishing the Law and the Prophets"? The law frequently says things similar to the above verse about statutes that will last forever, so there is no sense of it predicting that it would cease to be binding. Furthermore, Jesus said that not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished and warned against those who would relax the least commandment, so it does not seem to fit with an eschatological interpretation. Nothing else in that chapter is speaking eschatologically either.
                              "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

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