Category Archives: Torah

FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW AND PROPHETS

SYNOPSIS – In Jesus, “All the promises of God are Yea and Amen,” not in Moses or the Torah – (Matthew 5:17-21). 

Fulfillment and Kingdom are prominent themes in the gospel of Matthew. With the arrival of Jesus, the season of fulfillment and the kingdom of God had arrived. So, what were (and are) the implications for the Law of Moses – The Torah?

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CONTROVERSY AT GALATIA

SYNOPSIS – The key dispute at Galatia was whether Gentile converts must be circumcised and keep some, at least, of the required deeds of the Torah

The Letter to the Galatians is often read as a broadside by the Apostle Paul against “legalism,” the belief that right standing with God is “earned” through good works and human effort.  This reading stems from the influence of Reformation theology, which tends to see Divine grace and human obedience in constant tension, if not inherently incompatible with each other.

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PAUL’S MAIN DISPUTE AT GALATIA

SYNOPSIS – Paul presents the points of agreement and disagreement with his opponents at Galatia – Galatians 2:15-21.

In the first two chapters of his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul explains how he received his gospel for the Gentiles by divine revelation, a commission confirmed by the leaders of the Jerusalem church. He also details how certain “false brethren had slinked in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus” in an earlier but similar controversy at the church in Antioch of Syria – (Galatians2:1-5).

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Why, Then, the Law?

(Galatians 3:18-19) – “For if by law is the inheritance, it is no longer by promise; but unto Abraham through promise, hath God favoured it. Why, then, the law?”

Mount Sinai smoked and quaked

In reaction to some Jewish Christians that arrived in the churches of Galatia and claimed that Gentile believers must be circumcised, the Apostle Paul declared that a man or woman is set right with God from the “faith of Jesus Christ,” not “from the works of the Law.” In fact, if justification is based on performing the deeds and rituals of the Law of Moses, then Jesus “died in vain” (Galatians 2:15-21. Cp. Galatians 2:3, 5:2-3, 6:12-13). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul presents scriptural arguments to validate his proposition. Continue reading Why, Then, the Law?

Having begun in the Spirit

SYNOPSIS:  The receipt of the Spirit while in an uncircumcised state was irrefutable proof that the Galatian Christians were accepted by God.

waterfall flowing through rocks in iceland

In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul addressed a growing danger to his congregations. Certain Jewish believers claimed that Gentiles must keep some of the required deeds and rituals of the Mosaic Law in order to “complete” their faith. They were “compelling Gentiles to Judaize”; that is, to conform to Jewish customs. This included circumcision, the observance of Jewish feast days and, possibly dietary restrictions (Galatians 2:11-14, 4:10). Continue reading Having begun in the Spirit

Duration of the Law’s Jurisdiction

Synopsis:  According to the books of Hebrews and Galatians, the jurisdiction of the Torah reached a termination point with the arrival of Jesus.

boardwalk bridge cloud clouds

The book of Hebrews cites the promise of a new covenant by the prophet Jeremiah to demonstrate that the earlier legislation made at Mount Sinai had proved inadequate; otherwise, there would have been no need for a new and better covenant. This logic also indicates the temporary jurisdiction of the Torah, the legislation delivered to Moses by angels at Sinai. The very need for a new covenant demonstrated that the former covenant was not “faultless” (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 2:1-5, 8:7-13). Continue reading Duration of the Law’s Jurisdiction