Showing posts with the label Torah

Redemption and Adoption

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.

Beggarly Rudiments

In his  Letter to the Galatians , Paul chides believers for their desire “ to return to bondage under the weak and beggarly rudiments ” of the world, including calendrical observations and circumcision. Since they are no longer “minors” but full heirs who live in the  AGE OF FULFILLMENT  and have the Gift of the Spirit, resorting to outmoded rituals is tantamount to returning to a state of slavery.

Neither Jew nor Greek

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.”  In  Galatians , Paul portrays the Mosaic Law as the “ custodian ” or “ pedagogue ” that supervised Israel “ until  the seed came ,” and that “ seed ” was Jesus. In Greco-Roman society, the “ pedagogue ” was the slave with custodial and disciplinary authority over an underage child until he reached maturity, even though the custodian was a slave.

Controversy at Galatia

The key issue in Galatia is whether Gentiles must be circumcised and keep some, at least, of the deeds required by the Torah .  Paul’s letter to the Galatians is his response to a controversy in the churches of Galatia. The issue is the status of Gentile believers. Must they conform to Jewish practices and submit to the regulation of the Mosaic Law, especially the rite of circumcision?

Why, then, the Law?

OVERVIEW  -  If a man is not justified from the works of the Law, what was the purpose of the Torah given through Moses at Mount Sinai?  –  Galatians 3:19 .  In his  Letter to the Galatians , the Apostle Paul declared 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 before God, logically, this raises the question:  Why, then, the Law? What was the purpose of the  Torah ? Paul answered 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.

Dividing the Church

For the church to insist on a Torah-observant lifestyle means the restoration of the old social barriers between Jews and Gentiles .  The final paragraph of the third chapter of  Galatians  is pivotal to Paul’s argument. It stresses the oneness of God’s people. In the covenant community, the old social divisions are inappropriate since the promised “ seed of Abraham ”  has arrived.