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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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Monday, February 21, 2011
Romans 10:4
"For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. - Romans 10:3-4 [NASB]

If I tell you that my work day will end at 3:00 p.m., you will understand intuitively that the word end, in this case, describes the point at which my work day ceases. On the other hand, if I tell you that the end justifies the means, you will understand that the word end, in this case, is describing a purpose or conclusion. I think that is why the word end is used to translate the Greek word τέλος, since the English word end shares this range of the semantic spectrum with τέλος.

This verse is therefore telling us that either Jesus (for God's righteousness) brought the law to an end, or that Jesus was the purpose of the law (for righteousness)?

When Paul speaks about Christ being the end of the law for righteousness in verse 4, we know from verse 3 that Paul is referring back to God's righteousness. Thus verse for is telling us one of two things, either Christ is the cessation of the law for the God's righteousness, or Christ is the purpose of the law for the God's righteousness. In order to know for sure which use Paul intended, we should follow his argument in the next few verses.

Okay, back to

Paul, a former Pharisee, presumes that his countrymen are going to refute what he has just written by quoting Leviticus 18:5 (cf. So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD [NASB]). In anticipation of this refutation, Paul himself alludes to the passage when he writes the following in verse 5, "For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.". Paul equates up front what his Jewish readers are going to equate: the keeping of God's statutes with the righteousness which is based on the law.

But in verses 6-8 Paul challenges the depth (shallowness) of this understanding by digging deeper into the Torah:

But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: "DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, 'WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or 'WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, Romans 10:6-8 [NASB]

Look at the texts Paul is quoting and take instruction from the fact that Paul inserts Christ in this passage in the place of observing God's commands:

"For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. 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?' 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?' But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. - Deuteronomy 30:11-14 [NASB]

Now back to Romans 10:4, and our question concerning which meaning of the word τέλος did Paul intend. Paul's argument is that the Jews misunderstood the Torah by concluding that a man is made righteous by keeping the law, rather than is proved righteous by having kept the law. The distinction is subtle, so bear with an almost vulgar illustration. A person who has lot their virginity cannot become a virgin through any amount of abstinence. The virgin is the one who has abstained, but abstinence does not produce virginity. In the same way the One who has kept the law perfectly (Christ) has demonstrated that He is righteous. His keeping the law did not generate righteousness, it revealed it. No amount of law keeping can create new righteousness. This was what the Jews had missed. They thought that keeping the law produced righteousness in men, when it did no such thing.

Thus when Paul shows that Christ kept the command of God, it shows that He alone is righteous, and his overarching argument is that Christ is our righteousness - and that this righteousness is God's righteousness, not our own - not something we generate.

Going back to the text then, is Paul saying that Jesus Christ has terminated the law for God's righteousness, or is Paul saying that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the law by which everyone who believes is able to partake of God's righteousness? If you have been following the flow, you must conclude, as I do, that Christ is the fulfilment of the law proving Himself to be God's righteousness for those who believe.

Some argue from this text that Christ has abrogated the law, I think this is not the text to use to make that argument. This text does not teach that Christ terminated the law, it teaches that Christ was the fulfillment of the law.


posted by Daniel @ 8:37 AM  
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