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Featured Paul's distortion of the Torah message

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by IndigoChild5559, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    Paul acknowledged that God gave the Torah to Israel, but that's about where he agreement ends.

    Unlike what Paul claims, Torah is not hard to keep.
    It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. Deuteronomy 30:12-14
    And yet this despite the clear teaching that we will be less than perfect:
    For there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
    There is a lot of value to keeping the 613 laws of the Torah. Not only will Israel be allowed to live on the land and prosper, but there are blessings to the individual:
    8 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
    9 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
    10 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, they are righteous altogether;
    11 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

    Psalm 19
    But Paul believed and taught that obeying the law was insufficient for salvation from eternal hell, that only by grace through faith was a person saved.
    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
    Ephesians 2:8
    Therefore the law, for Paul, served no purpose except to show us what sinners we are, indeed it brought with it a curse.
    7 In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”[a] 8 But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.
    Romans 7
    10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is [a]justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,
    Galatians 3

    This is because unlike the ease of the Torah, which allows for simple repentance when one falls short, Paul believed that perfection was the standard if one attempted to keep the law -- missing the mark in even the slightest way brought damnation.
    Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
    Galatians 5:3
    I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
    Galatians 2:21
    Therefore Paul repeatedly taught against obeying the law, saying that salvation came by faith, and keeping the law was not only worthless, but brought damnation. He taught that circumcision was irrelevant, or even obligated one to keep the las -- a big mistake -- keeping the sabbath was personal discretion, and eating meat offered to idols was for the spiritually weak.

    So we can see that Paul contradicts the message of the Torah and Tanakh. He is therefore a false teacher.

     
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  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I'm sure you mean well, but I don't think you're all that interested in Paul mainly because you have other connections to Torah. Maybe that causes you to jump to conclusions. Its like me. What if I started commenting on Maimonides. If I'm just not that interested in him I'd have perhaps one simple view of him like a cardboard cutout view. In many ways an argument I made would be a strawman to anyone who didn't share my view of this prolific and intelligent writer. Even so I'd probably score a few points. Maimonides is only one man, and so he probably rarely contradicts himself.

    With Paul I'm sure you are aware that he's not necessarily only one person. He may actually be several, such was the tendency of art in those days. People considered it to be humble, not dishonest, to write in the name of another. We have some similar practices today in research environments.
     
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  3. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    I don't find that in Paul's writing for he both extols the Law but realizes that the Law made no one perfect but actually accentuated the reality of the need of forgiveness..

    Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

    I think the disconnect comes when it deals with uniting oneself to a Holy and Just God in which when we compare ourselves to Him, Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

    The point Paul was making is that righteousness by working the Law would basically be impossible since the moment you place a law, you create transgression (just look at the difference of those who sin when you put a speed limit law and all the methods that were given to find forgiveness) and thus Abraham was justified by faith and not by the Law since, at that point, there certainly was no Law of Moses given:

    Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

    Thus faith becomes a way for fulfilling righteousness i.e.: Deut 30: 11 "For this commandment which I command you todayis not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. 12 "It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' 13 "Nor is it beyond * the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' 14 "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.
     
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  4. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    The doctrines of many hold to the positions described in your post but not all. To you that seems strange, but these are early days in the new foundations of theology. Since everything has been overturned and tossed into the air by archeological discoveries and other discoveries and repentances there is a new foundation being laid.

    Lets clarify what Paul says, where he says it and under what context. There are numerous letters, and we don't have the entire conversations. Paul also refers to more than one set of laws without giving us specific indication of what he is talking about -- because its a letter to this or that city and is in reference to their situations. For example he refers to the laws of the gentiles, the law of sin and death, the law of the spirit and so forth.

    Paul never, ever, uses that phrase "salvation from eternal hell." Its entirely a modern phrase not used by him. His views on what salvation means have to be exegeted from the letters and interpolated, or we have to accept the comments of later writers. Interpolation reveals that his comments on salvation may be referring to something else entirely.

    You may have a point there, but Galatians is the exception among the Pauline letters. We'd have to discuss that Paul separately to determine if he is consistent with the other Pauls. Certainly he is in the canon, so your concern is reasonable.

    Unclear. All of this depends upon what Christ is which you have not discussed and probably cannot. Christ in Pauline letters is the mystery related to some comments in your prophets who hoped for the love and peace known by the Jews to become worldwide somewhat related to your hope of healing the world. In Galatians Paul seems dimunitive of the Law, however in other letters he upholds its value 100%. The difficultly lies in answering the question why Galatians is in the canon and whether it is consistent, but you won't be able to answer that at your level of interest. Its also possible that no one can.

    Its possible. Its unclear, and Paul has some enemies during his lifetime who write some things against him. What Christians I think ought to do is be careful not to be dismissive of the law and dismissive of Paul's other comments about its value and not dismissive of Jews should read Psalms which praise law and read the law to try to understand its reasoning.
     
  5. Eyes to See

    Eyes to See Active Member

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    Paul's words found in the Bible were inspired, that is they are from Jehovah God. Nothing he wrote therefore is in disagreement with Holy Scripture before it, or wrong.

    The truth of the matter is that no one could redeem themselves by works of the law:

    None of them can ever redeem a brother
    Or give to God a ransom for him,
    (The ransom price for their life is so precious
    That it is always beyond their reach)
    That he should live forever and not see the pit.

    -Psalm 49:7-9.

    No one can redeem themselves in God's eyes, not even by living according to the Law, let alone a brother. That is why everyone living under the law died by the Law, no one under the Law is still alive today, they all grew up in imperfection and ceased to live because of the consequences of sin.

    There were commandments in the Law that made a person unclean and they had no control over it. For example, when a woman menstruated, or a man had an emission of semen. This is because humans are born in imperfection and pass on imperfection to their offspring. Thus our procreative powers are shown by the law to be insufficient to meet the requirements God has set for a person to be justified on his own merit. When these normal bodily functions happened a person was declared unclean and had to atone for their sin.

    Even you yourself quoted the scripture that no man is perfect. And that is due to the fact that we all descend from the sinner Adam. No one is still alive from 200 years ago, let alone 2,000 years ago, or 4,000 years ago.

    What human is still living because they justified themselves by means of law and gained the right to live forever based on works of the law?

    If all is required to gain eternal salvation is to atone for your sins all the time by offering animal sacrifices as was prescribed under the law, where are the humans living by the law that have achieved everlasting life? And where are they performing their animal sacrifices for their sins they still commit all the time?

    If you really are justified by works of the law and can work out your own salvation then show me the human that has achieved it and has gained the right to live forever.
     
    #5 Eyes to See, Sep 30, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
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  6. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    "Thou shall not covet"

    What then shall we say? Is the law sin? May it never be! But I would not have known sin except through the law, for I would not have known covetousness if the law had not said, "Do not covet."
    Rom 7:8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin is dead.
    Rom 7:9 And I was alive once, apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life
    Rom 7:10 and I died, and this commandment which was to lead to life was found with respect to me to lead to death.
    Rom 7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.
    Rom 7:12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
    Rom 7:13 Therefore, did that which is good become death to me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be recognized as sin, producing death through what is good for me, in order that sin might become sinful to an extraordinary degree through the commandment.
    Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold into slavery to sin.
    Rom 7:15 For what I am doing I do not understand, because what I want to do, this I do not practice, but what I hate, this I do.
    Rom 7:16 But if what I do not want to do, this I do, I agree with the law that it is good.
    Rom 7:17 But now I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that lives in me.
    Rom 7:18 For I know that good does not live in me, that is, in my flesh. For the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
    Rom 7:19 For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but the evil that I do not want to do, this I do.
    Rom 7:20 But if what I do not want to do, this I am doing, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that lives in me.
    Rom 7:21 Consequently, I find the principle with me, the one who wants to do good, that evil is present with me.
    Rom 7:22 For I joyfully agree with the law of God in my inner person,
    Rom 7:23 but I observe another law in my members, at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that exists in my members.
    Rom 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

    The law is what makes the knowledge of sin possible because where there is no law there is no sin. So the purpose of the excellent law is to make man realize his sinfulness and the need of mercy because man's very constitution is sinful.
    Paul knows that the law is good but because the law says "thou shall not covet" he sees in himself that evil is always present with him as a master which lives in his flesh causing him to desire things that are not lawful. When he wants to do good he finds that at times he cannot because of the sinfulness of his flesh.

    And Paul also knows that Adam's sin has condemned us all to the death sentence he was given. Not because we are guilty of Adam's actual sin, but because we all share that same earthy nature Adam had.

    Even if a person for one moment desires that which does not belong to him he has broken the commandment "thou shall not covet"
     
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  7. Eyes to See

    Eyes to See Active Member

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    Your explanation is sound. I feel that this statement can use a little expounding. And it has to do with the copper serpent that was raised in the wilderness when the Israelites were bitten by the poisonous serpents for bickering and murmuring.

    Jesus said:

    "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up,  so that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life."-John 3:14, 15.

    So it wasn't just faith in anything that brings salvation. Just as a person putting faith in the copper serpent, and thus looked on it was able to keep living, so too, those who put faith in Jesus' ransom sacrifice can look to it with faith, exercise that faith with actions, and thus be justified in God's eyes.

    Imagine if you were an Israelite there in the wilderness that was bit by a poisonous snake, and Moses interceded by praying to Jehovah to forgive the sins of the people, and Jehovah said, make this copper serpent and tell all who are bit to look on it and thus keep living. And imagine that you do not have faith in the copper serpent and you don't look on it. And then you die.

    Jehovah was giving us an abstract lesson, and Jesus revealed that to Nicodemus. No human can gain their own salvation through works of the law, we are all cursed in sin and death. But he who exercises faith by looking toward the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, a perfect human life given once and for all times for all humankind's sins, will keep living by reason of faith.
     
  8. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Very well said!
     
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  9. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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  10. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    2Pe 3:14 Therefore, dear friends, because you are waiting for these things, make every effort to be found at peace, spotless and unblemished in him.
    2Pe 3:15 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom that was given to him,
    2Pe 3:16 as he does also in all his letters, speaking in them about these things, in which there are some things hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, as they also do the rest of the scriptures.

    Not only did Peter consider Paul a dear brother but he also says that Paul's writings are "scripture" as the rest.

    Peter also says that Paul spoke of "these things" referring to the same things Peter was saying.
     
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  11. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    Is there some law that forgives your sins? What can you do to earn forgiveness of sins?

    I have understood Paul is saying, sins are not forgiven by obeying the law. There is no work that you can do to earn salvation. Salvation means forgiveness of sin and so saving from the judgment that will come because of sin.

    Law tells what is wrong and what would person deserve, if he does wrongly. So, it brings damnation for all who brake the law, which is why I think Paul is correct.
     
  12. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    No humans lives forever or were promised eternal life due to the law. And following it was never about eternal life, but about doing the will of God and through that, you would be saved and allowed access to the kingdom of heaven.

    According to Paul and Silas in Acts:
    Acts 16:30-31
    30 - Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
    31 - And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.


    So not only are you yourself saved but also your whole household, simply by you believing in Jesus. So clearly the law is of no great importance to Paul when it comes to being saved, even for people that potentially ain't Jewish, but simply part of the household will be saved as well.

    Now this is clearly not what Jesus said according to Matthew.

    Matthew 7:21-23
    21 - “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
    22 - On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    23 - And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’


    The will of God is the law and Jesus clearly state that he will turn his back on those that do not manage to follow it.. and even refer to them as working against the law.

    Matthew 15:1-9
    1 - Then some Pharisees and scribes came from Jerusalem to Jesus and asked,
    2 - "Why do your disciples disregard the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands when they eat."
    3 - But he answered them, "Why do you also disregard the commandment of God because of your tradition?
    4 - Because God said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'Whoever curses father or mother must certainly be put to death.'
    5 - But you say 'Whoever tells his father or his mother, "Whatever support you might have received from me has been given to God,"
    6 - does not have to honor his father.' Because of your tradition, then, you have disregarded the authority of God's word.
    7 - You hypocrites! How well did Isaiah prophesy of you when he said,
    8 - 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
    9 - Their worship of me is empty, because they teach human rules as doctrines.'"


    Jesus is clearly upset with the Pharisees and scribes which chooses to not follow the law. And even uses the example of the law, which state that parents should kill their child if they do not honor them.

    If you read the bible, before Paul you don't really get the impression that Jesus is trying to tell people that he can save them personally, but rather that they have to obey God.

    So you might agree with Paul, but it is fairly obvious that Jesus do not. Also God himself say that you are only saved by him and no one else, which seems to fit rather well with what Jesus is saying.

    Isaiah 43:10-11
    10 - "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and trust me and understand that I am the One. Before me no God was formed, nor will there be one after me.
    11 - I, yes I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.
     
    #12 Nimos, Sep 30, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  13. Eyes to See

    Eyes to See Active Member

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    Where is entrance into the kingdom of heaven offered under the Mosaic Law?
     
  14. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Shouldn't you first prove that this is a place that a person is supposed to be going to rather than something the NT made up?
     
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  15. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Is there any reason why someone would think they need to make that comparison?

    This doesn't make sense. The possibility to sin isn't the same as actually sinning. And even if someone does sin, there are numerous verses about repentance. In fact the righteous person is said to be someone who repents, so sin is expected and that doesn't have to detract from their righteousness.

    From what Google tells me, justification means "to achieve salvation". Can you first prove from the Tanach that Abraham was in need of salvation that he required justification?
     
  16. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Maybe I am a little bit optimistic in how I see things. Maybe, in fact, IndigoChild5559 has found the interpretation that is going to be the permanent one. I just think its terribly unfortunate if so.
     
  17. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    You totally missed the context of that passage in the Psalm. The Psalm is chastising those that think money is the answer for everything. It's not that "none of them can redeem a brother" it's money that can't redeem them or pay their ransom for their deeds.

    This does not follow. There is no requirement to always be pure in order to be "justified on his own merit". What that's supposed to even mean.

    Scriptures makes it clear that living forever isn't for now, it's for those who "wake up" from death during the Messianic Age. So we don't expect to see any of those people today. The Tanach does not teach that righteousness will save a person from death, it teaches that it will save a person from eternal shame.
     
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  18. Eyes to See

    Eyes to See Active Member

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    That was never even brought into the discussion until he brought it up. Since he did I would like him to back it up. I know there is no mention of entering into heaven under the Mosaic Law.

    Now there is a reference to the future covenant that was made and it was offered to the nation of Israel:

    "Now if you will strictly obey my voice and keep my covenant, you will certainly become my special property out of all peoples, for the whole earth belongs to me.  You will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”-Exodus 19:5, 6.

    Notice there was no guarantee of this promise. There was a stipulation. Jehovah said "if" the Israelites kept the covenant they would become a kingdom of priests. They did not keep the covenant. And they did not enter into the new covenant for a kingdom of priests.

    For the priesthood was not the entire nation of Israel, but was of the tribe of Levi under the Law Covenant.

    Now who did enter into the covenant that God made for a "kingdom of priests?"

    Jehovah already foretold that he would give it to a nation producing good fruit. A people not called by his name:

    "They have incited me to fury with what is not a god;
    They have offended me with their worthless idols.

    So I will incite them to jealousy with what is not a people;
    I will offend them with a foolish nation
    ."-Deuteronomy 32:21.

    Hosea was inspired to prophecy about this nation:

    "And in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said to them, ‘The sons of the living God.’"-Hosea 1:10.

    Who was this holy nation, this people called as "sons of the living God?"

    Peter reveals who received the new covenant and who received the promises of being a kingdom of priests in heaven when he said:

    "But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies” of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  For you were once not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not been shown mercy, but now you have received mercy."-1 Peter 2:9, 10.

    Why was it necessary to give this kingdom covenant for a priesthood to a "foolish nation", a people who were alienated from the covenants, one who was not God's people?

    It is explained in the previous verses. Peter, writing to the Christian congregation of anointed ones, including both Jews and non Jews who had been begotten by holy spirit, and adopted as spirit "sons of God" just as Hosea 1:10 foretold said this about the Christian congregation in contrast to the Jewish nation:

    "It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers; but to those not believing, “the stone that the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone”  and “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They are stumbling because they are disobedient to the word. To this very end they were appointed."-1 Peter 2:7, 8.

     
  19. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    Hello Indigo,

    I hope you're keeping well friend! That was a most interesting OP to read and I appreciate the thought, evidently, put into it by you.

    However, while I do respect your point-of-view (and the citations of evidence you have provided - by way of quotations from Paul's letters - to back the contention up), I must be clear that I also do not personally concur with your exegesis of Pauline theology.

    It is one at odds with the 'New Perspective on Paul' which has become the emerging consensus in the world of critical scholarship (as opposed to Christian theology), since the work undertaken by E.P. Sanders and Dunn in the 1980s. Today, Paula Friedriksen is also a great authority in this field.

    Your perspective on the matter seems, contrary to theirs, like a harking back to the old-style straight, draconian 'faith vs works' dichotomy (i.e. good spiritual 'faith-based' Christianity reliant on divine grace, bad 'law-abiding' fleshly Judaism reliant on vain works) - which isn't consistent with traditional Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology, anyway, let alone contemporary scholarly expertise. I don't think it's a particularly helpful or accurate paradigm for approaching the thought of St. Paul. He was a far more subtle and complicated (sometimes, I'll concede, plainly 'bewildering') ancient mind, than I feel you're giving him credit for - and certainly much more so than his Reformation-era Lutheran and Calvinist commentarian, I would add.

    His theology, when understood properly in its original Greek (as opposed to the interpretations given by later exegetes), did not actually annul the physical and cultic differentiation between the 'covenanted' people of Israel (Jews) bound by the Torah and the rest of the world's nations (goyim), which are not so covenanted. The original conception of the 'church' was meant to be embracive of both 'Jews and Gentiles' as brethren in a new shared Abrahamic covenant in Christ.

    Paul uses the word pistis and close variants throughout his epistles. It is usually rendered into English as “faith,” yet “faithfulness” is a more accurate translation, which in a manner akin to the Hebre ’emunah is suggestive of loyalty and trust, which include appropriate moral conduct. So this is not 'faith' in a sense dissaociated from moral works. As one Pauline scholar, Mark D. Nanos explains:



    "Where Paul contrasts faithfulness to deeds, he is actually contrasting two different propositions for two different groups (non-Jews or Jews), and thus two different ways of being faithful (by non-Jews, apart from circumcision and thus not under Mosaic covenant obligations because they do not become Jews/Israelites; by Jews, including circumcision and concomitant Mosaic covenant obligations)...

    Thus, Judaism, Paul believed, should announce that it was time for the nations to turn to Israel’s God, the one and only God, through Jesus. The Gentiles do not become Israel when that day arrives; rather, they must remain members of the other nations, just as was expected (see Isa 2.2–4; chs 65–66). But they do become fellow members of the Jewish way of life, that is, of the Jewish communities and their religious practice of Judaism. Jews remain Jews in that day, which was so fundamentally obvious for Paul and his contemporaries that it was not even a topic of his discussions; it was simply assumed.

    It is evident in the logic of his instructions to non-Jews, e.g., in 1 Cor 7.17–24, when he says his “rule” in all his assemblies is for everyone to remain in the state one was in when called, the circumcised in a circumcised state, and the foreskinned in foreskinned state, but in whichever state one is in, it is essential that one “obey the commandments of God.” When this instruction is coupled with Paul’s attestation (Gal 5.3) that anyone in a circumcised state is obliged to observe the whole Torah, it is evident that Paul presumes all Jewish Christ-followers would remain faithful to their Jewish covenant identity by the observance of Torah."



    This 'other dimension' to Paul's worldview, is preserved most clearly in two anecdotes recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. The first, involving the instance where St. Paul circumcises Timothy:



    "Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek." (Acts 16:3)​



    Now, under an overly-restrictive interpretation of the phrase: "I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all" (Galatians 5:2), Paul would in this circumstance be acting contrary to his own conscientious principles. However, of course, Paul was referring only to goyim believers in Galatians 5:2, to whom circumcision would be of no avail since they are not under the Mosaic covenant. Elsewhere, he states contrarily, with reference to Jewish believers: "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much, in every way." (Romans 3:1-2)

    And in Timothy's case, he evidently concluded that it would be of value to circumcise this uncircumcised 'Greek-raised' young man, because he had a Jewish mother and Paul therefore felt obliged to show other Jews that he was Torah-observant.

    We can see this spelt out quite clearly in the subtext of Acts chapter 21, where Paul comes before James - Jesus's 'brother' and the titular head of the Jerusalem church, then the mother church of the Christian movement in the pre-destruction of the Second Temple era - and James informs him that pernicious rumours had been spread abroad that he was encouraging Jews to cease obeying Torah.

    To 'quash' the rumours - which James takes to be false, clearly stated in the text - he and the other 'elders' instruct Paul to undergo a ritual purification rite to prove his faithfulness to the mitzvot in public and Paul humbly obliges (deferring to James's authority):



    "When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us warmly. 18 The next day Paul went with us to visit James; and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard it, they praised God.

    Then they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all zealous for the Torah. 21 They have been told about you that you teach all the Jews living among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 So do what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow.

    24 Join these men, go through the rite of purification with them, and pay for the shaving of their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself observe and guard the Torah. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled* and from fornication.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having purified himself, he entered the temple with them, making public the completion of the days of purification when the sacrifice would be made for each of them."


    (Acts 21:17-26)​



    Note that every Jewish Christian is described here by the Jerusalem elders as strictly Torah observant ("zealous" for the Torah) and Paul complies with the order to demonstrate that he too is still a Torah-observant Jew, even performing a sacrifice in the Temple.

    (continued....)
     
  20. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    The distinction between 'Jews and Gentiles' in ethne and cult remained permanently in Paul's mind, as the Jewish New Testament scholar Paula Fredriksen explains:


    Paul and Judaism


    When Paul speaks against circumcision, he speaks against circumcision for Gentiles (Letter to the Galatians). When Paul speaks against sacrifice, he speaks against sacrifices to Gentile gods (1Cor 10). When Paul speaks of “justification” apart from the Law, he speaks to and for Gentiles (Letter to the Galatians). When Paul speaks about “the law of sin” and death, he contrasts it specifically with the Law of God, by which he means the Torah (Rom 7:22-24). Only the Jewish Scriptures are God’s “oracles” (Rom 3:2); only Israel’s is a “living and true God” (1Thess 1:9). His “kindred according to the flesh” are God’s “children”; the temple, the covenants, the Law, and the sacrifices (weakly translated as “worship” in the New Revised Standard Version) are all marks of the Jewish people’s God-given special status (Rom 9:3-5). All of these elements constitute Torah.

    Paul does insist that Gentiles-in-Christ do not need to “become” Jews (that is, for men, to circumcise, as he says in his letter to the Galatians). But he also insists that baptized Gentiles must assume a singularly Jewish public behavior: they must not worship pagan gods any longer. Depending on the point he pursues, in brief, Paul says both that Gentiles are “free” from the Law and that they must live according to its requirements (see especially Rom 13:8-10)....

    The Gentiles’ inclusion in the Jesus movement was one more proof, for Paul, that God was about to accomplish the “mystery” of Israel’s salvation (Rom 11:25-32). It was only long after his lifetime that Christianity developed into a culture that was in principle non-Jewish, even anti-Jewish. But in his own generation—which Paul was convinced was history’s last generation—the Jesus movement was yet one more variety of late Second Temple Judaism.



    Perhaps we should take glance at Paul's long exegetical argument in Romans chapter 2-3. Note in particular the lines I emphasise in bold:


    "6For [God] will repay according to each one’s deeds: 7to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For God shows no partiality.

    12 All who have sinned apart from the Torah will also perish apart from the Torah, and all who have sinned under the Torah will be judged by the Torah. 13For it is not the hearers of the Torah who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the Torah who will be justified. 14When Gentiles, who do not possess the Torah, do instinctively what the Torah requires, these, though not having the Torah, are a law to themselves. 15They show that what the Torah requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them 16on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

    25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the Torah; but if you break the Torah, your circumcision has become uncircumcision....

    Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4By no means!...

    29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Do we then overthrow the Torah by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the Torah

    12 All who have sinned apart from the Torah will also perish apart from the Torah, and all who have sinned under the Torah will be judged by the Torah. 13For it is not the hearers of the Torah who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the Torah who will be justified. 14When Gentiles, who do not possess the Torah, do instinctively what the Torah requires, these, though not having the Torah, are a law to themselves. 15They show that what the Torah requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them 16on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

    25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the Torah; but if you break the Torah, your circumcision has become uncircumcision....

    Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4By no means!...

    29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Do we then overthrow the Torah by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the Torah
    "

    (Romans 2:6-3:31)​


    His argument here is thus: God will judge each person - whether Jew or Gentile - by their 'deeds', which will determine their ultimate salvation insofar as accompanied by an explicit or implicit faith in God animated by love. However, anyone who sins 'apart' from the Torah (Gentiles) will perish apart from it, whereas all those who sin under the Torah (Jews) will be judged by God on the basis of their faithfulness to the Torah, because it is the "doers" of the Torah (whether practised morally by Gentiles, through nature, or through the revealed Torah for Jews) who are justified before God. Gentiles who do not know the Torah are evidence that the moral laws of the Torah are eternal principles of 'natural law' and God will accuse or perhaps excuse them based upon that metric.

    Paul makes the point that those 'Christian' (to engage in historical anachronism, more technical term would be 'Messianist') Jews and Gentiles nowing share a common "faith" in God and belief in the Torah through the New Testament, will both be justified by that faith (animated by love and judged by our deeds). But that common 'faith' does not "overthrow the Torah", which remains binding on Jews as a people but not Gentiles.

    Ophir and Rosen-Zvi, two Israeli Jewish scholars at Tel Aviv University, recently produced a very compelling study of Paul's views on the Jewish / Gentile (or more accurately, in his context, Israel / other nations) distinction:

    Paul, the Gentiles, and the Other(s) in Jewish Discourse — ANCIENT JEW REVIEW

    So, to cut a fairly long story short, I think Paul was a considerably more 'complex' thinker in relation to Torah-observance than your OP may suggest.
     
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