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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Paul adjusts the focus...
After introducing both himself and the topic upon which he is about to write, Paul explains that all men are sinners, and therefore justly condemned by God (Romans 1:18-32). This is the first step in a larger argument that Paul is making. It behooves us, as thoughtful readers, to follow the logic of the argument that Paul is building.

Having established that sin is universal, and universally condemning, Paul, in Romans 2:1-11, introduces the next rung on the ladder of his argument: a general conclusion based on his first observation. Here Paul reasons that those who pass judgment on other sinners condemn themselves, because they themselves are just as sinful as those that they are condemning for sin.

Paul’s argument shouldn't be difficult for any reader to follow. The rapist who demands that the thief be put to death is hanging himself. We get that. Paul has a purpose in laying these facts out before hand. As I said in the previous post, Paul understood that many of the Jews who were converted to Christ had received their Messiah without fully understanding that they had moved out of the Mosaic Covenant, and into Christ's covenant. He knew these same Jewish Christians were still zealous for the Law, and more, that unless these converted Jews understood the doctrines of grace, they would not only continue in their ignorance - they would also (as those whom the Gentiles around them were looking to for guidance in the faith) lead others into their own confused theology.

So I am reminded, when I read this far, of how the prophet Nathan confronted David's adultery by tricking David into condemning himself (see: 2 Samuel 12 for account). I say, I am reminded of this because that is exactly what Paul is doing to the Jewish believers who would read this epistle. These Jewish believers had accepted Christ, but were still looking to the law for righteousness. Paul is building a case against this error in particular. We see this as Paul begins to explicitly apply, starting in Romans 2:12, what he previously was implying.

See here in Romans 2:12-29, how Paul paints the same conclusion (again) using the Law of Moses as his brush and the Jewish convert as his canvas? The Gentiles who did not have the Law perished on account of their sins, just as the Jews who had the Law were judged guilty by it. Paul's argument, in case you're missing it, is that becoming a Jew does not improve this situation, because the Jews still sinned, even though they had the Law.

If you understand Paul's argument up to this point, you won't be derailed by his (seemingly) sudden fixation with circumcision. When a male Gentile converted to Judaism, circumcision was the final, and defining act of his conversion. It marked the moment the Gentile became a (proselyte) Jew. Remember that Christianity, at this point, was largely misunderstood by both the Jews and the Gentiles. Many viewed Christianity as simply the most correct (or simply the most recent) form of Judaism. That was the major hang-up of the Judaizers - it wasn't that they fixated on the surgical procedure (circumcision) - they were fixated on the Gentile’s conversion to Judaism (hence they were called "Judaizers”).

When Paul speaks of circumcision, he isn't alluding to the surgery, he is alluding to the idea of the Gentiles having to become Jews first (in order to become Christians afterwards). When Paul asks, in Romans 3:1, "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?" It is like asking, "Then what advantage has the Jew, or what is the value of becoming a Jew?"

Paul answers his own question: the value of being a Jew is that the Jews were the keepers of God's truth. If you were a Jew, you had ready access to this truth, even if you did not avail yourself of that access. In fact, if you did not avail yourself of it, that is, if you were unfaithful to God, God remained faithful to you. That was the Jewish advantage: they were entrusted with something that depended upon God's faithfulness, instead of their own (c.f. Romans 3:1-8).

In what can only be described as a masterful economy, Paul closes this thought in a way that both introduces a line of reasoning that he will rely upon heavily in the chapters to come, and simultaneously silences the objections that may otherwise have been raised at this point.

I hope to do these thoughts justice in the next post.

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posted by Daniel @ 11:31 AM  
1 Comments:
  • At 9:30 AM, April 06, 2012, Blogger Daniel said…

    Wow.

    In case you missed it, every instance of the word “the” and the word “that” was deleted from my post somehow. (Thank David Kjos for pointing that out). I am presently writing it up as a Blogger glitch, but I can’t imagine how it would have come about.

    Strange.

     
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