Showing posts with the label Gentiles

Heirs in Jesus

Returning to the custodianship of the Law means rebuilding the wall between Jew and Gentile - but “you are all one in Christ, heirs of Abraham.”   Paul compares the Mosaic Law to a “ custodian ” or “ pedagogue ” assigned to supervise Israel “ until  the seed comes ,” and that “ seed ” is Jesus. In Greco-Roman society, the “ pedagogue ” was a slave with custodial and disciplinary authority over an underage child until he reached maturity, even though the custodian was a slave.

Promise of the Spirit

The promise of the Spirit is part of the blessing of Abraham for the nations and the children of Abraham .  Paul refers to the “ promise of the Spirit ” which he identifies as the “ blessing of Abraham .” Jesus came under the Law’s “ curse ” to redeem believers so that the “ blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. ”

Doing the Whole Law

Anyone who is under the Law of Moses is obligated to keep all its required deeds and rituals, and therefore, risks coming under its curse .  In  Galatians , Paul responds to teachings from certain “ men from Jerusalem ” who are disrupting the churches by claiming that male Gentiles must be circumcised to “ complete ” their faith.  This group may also be promoting calendrical observances and the Levitical dietary regulations.

Having started in the Spirit

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul addresses a growing danger. Certain “ men from Jerusalem ” claim that Gentiles must keep the deeds of the Mosaic Law to “ complete ” their faith, or at least, some of them. They are “ compelling Gentiles to Judaize ” by adopting circumcision, calendrical observances, and perhaps the Levitical dietary restrictions.

Paul's Proposition

Paul presents the points of agreement and disagreement with his opponents in Galatia  – Galatians 2:15-21.  What identifies God’s people and determines membership in the covenant community is Jesus, especially the Messiah revealed on Calvary,  and nothing else ! That does  NOT  mean the  Law serves no purpose, but it is not the basis for determining who is and who is not a redeemed son of God.

Circumcision - Cutting Issue

With the new era inaugurated by Jesus, circumcision is no longer the sign of membership in the covenant community .  Circumcision is an obstacle to claims that disciples must keep the Mosaic Law. In  Genesis , it is the entrance rite of the Abrahamic covenant and the identifying sign of the covenant. And it is mandatory under the l aw given through Moses at Mount Sinai. Thus, if circumcision is no longer required, then the jurisdiction of the Law has changed.