Showing posts with the label Torah

Works of the Law

Sin as the Great Leveler places everyone in the same predicament, bondage now - death and “ wrath ” later. No one is exempted from the penalty of sin, neither Jew nor Gentile, and no one has a legitimate excuse for sin. Without exception, God will “ render to every man according to his works ,” and with Him, “ there is no respect of persons .”

Limits of the Law

In responding to claims that Gentiles must be circumcised, Paul appeals to the common experience of the Spirit received by the Galatians. Did they receive the gift due to a “ hearing of faith ” or “ from the works of the Law? ” Having begun in the Spirit, why do they now seek “ completion ” based on “ flesh ” by submitting to circumcision?

Why, Then, the Law?

If a man is not justified from the works of the Law, what was the purpose of the Law given at Sinai? – Galatians 3:19 .  In his letter to   the Galatians, Paul declares that we are set right with God from the “ faith of Jesus Christ ” and not “ from the works of the Law .” But if keeping the “ works of the Law ” does not justify us, inevitably, this raises the question - What was the purpose of the  Torah ? Paul answers this question in the third chapter of his letter.

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.

Even an Angel

After a curt introduction, Paul begins his letter to the Galatians with a stern warning. What some members are contemplating amounts to replacing Jesus with a false messiah and a counterfeit gospel. To turn from the “ faith of Jesus Christ ” to circumcision and other “ works of the law ” as the basis of the faith is apostasy. Thus, the sternness of his language.

Greater Lawgiver

In Matthew’s gospel, the life and deeds of Jesus echo key events in the history of Israel, not that he reenacts them, but instead, he brings what God began in the past to fruition in the kingdom of God. The Nazarene is the Greater Lawgiver foreshadowed in the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

Law and Prophets - Fulfillment

Jesus came to bring all that is promised and foreshadowed in the Hebrew scriptures to fulfillment .  Fulfillment  is a prominent theme in Matthew’s gospel - with the arrival of the Messiah, the time of fulfillment has arrived. All that was anticipated in the Hebrew Bible began to come to fruition. But with his advent, what are the implications for the Law?

Controversy at Galatia

The issue at Galatia was whether Gentiles must be circumcised and keep some, at least, of the deeds of the Torah .  The letter to the Galatians is the response of the Apostle Paul to a specific controversy that had arisen among the churches of Galatia. At issue was the status of Gentile believers. Must Gentile the convert to the faith conform to Jewish practices and submit to the regulation of the Mosaic Law, especially to the rite of circumcision?

Redeemed and Adopted

The Law was an interim stage with a termination point. Disciples are no longer under its jurisdiction, but now, are in Christ .  In  Galatians , Paul argues that adopting the rite of circumcision constitutes regression to something rudimentary, a reversion to an earlier stage in the redemptive history of God’s people. If Gentiles adopt a  Torah -compliant lifestyle, they will return to bondage and once more experience the social divisions inherent in the Law.

New Covenant and the Law

SYNOPSIS  –  The “word spoken in the Son” inaugurated the New Covenant that rendered the old one obsolete  -  Hebrews 8:1-13 .  The  letter to the Hebrews  is structured around a series of comparisons that demonstrate the superiority of the “ word spoken in the Son ” over the past revelations of Yahweh “ spoken in the prophets ,” including Moses. The previous “ words ” were true revelations of God but partial, promissory, and preparatory –  Here a little, there a little . But now, “ upon the last of these days ,” He has “ spoken ” with  great finality  in one who is a “ Son .”

Jesus and Tradition

In  Mark , the city of Jerusalem is the headquarters of the opposition to Jesus, especially the priestly authorities of the Temple. As his popularity grows, he experiences growing conflict with the religious authorities, the Pharisees, the scribes, and the representatives of the high priest. And his enemies began to plot his destruction.

Jesus Crosses Purity Boundaries

  The Touch of Jesus Cleanses a Leper . Leprosy was a skin ailment, one of the most feared afflictions in the ancient world and particularly dreaded in Israel. Contracting leprosy meant inevitable death preceded by isolation from one’s family, home and society for however many miserable years remained in one’s life. Most ominous for the leper was his or her exclusion from the religious institutions and practices of Israel.

Authority over the Sabbath

In response to Jewish leaders, Jesus demonstrated that he is Lord even over the Sabbath Day  - Mark 2:23-3:6.  Religious leaders from Jerusalem objected to Christ’s looseness to their Sabbath traditions, but he used the opportunity to demonstrate that the “ Son of Man ” is “ Lord ” even over  that  day. God did cease His creative activities on the seventh day, but its formal establishment as a regulated day did not occur until the  Torah  was given at Sinai (“ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy ”).