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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, May 07, 2012
Getting back to Paul's letter.
We left off with Paul explaining that the Jews and Gentiles had sin in common, in spite of the law given to the Jews. Paul explains that he isn't suggesting that there is no difference (at all) between the Jew and the Gentile, for he qualifies what he means by noting that the Jews had an advantage over the Gentiles in that they were the keepers of the "oracles of God" - that is, God had made Himself known to the Jews.

But that wasn't the only advantage. Paul goes on to say that the Jews had this benefit also - that God was faithful to them, even when they were not faithful to God.

How many times did both Israel and Judah go astray? Their waywardness did not cause God to do likewise: God remained faithful to Israel, in the face of Israel's unfaithfulness. It is important to understand that this faithfulness on God's part was not something that Israel had earned - it wasn't like God owed it to them - in fact, by breaking God's covenant with them, they showed themselves as being utterly undeserving of His faithfulness. God's faithfulness was, then, an act of grace.

Did God's grace make it "okay" for Israel to sin? No. Of course not. Yes, God was exalted by their unfaithfulness, in the sense that it put God's glory on display - in that it is a glorious thing for God to remain faithful to someone who does not deserve such stalwart faithfulness - but this also does not make it okay for men to sin.

Why does Paul concern himself with showing this? wasn't it enough that Paul had shown that God's faithfulness does not depend upon our own obedience? It is true that God's faithfulness to the Jews was one of the advantages of being a Jew, but it was also a truth that every intellectually honest Jew could had to admit - God's faithfulness - which was graciously supplied, still didn't make it okay to sin.

Paul is putting this out there because he intends to silence some misconstrued objections concerning his teachings on how we are justified grace and not by works of the law; and this by showing that just as it was not okay for Israel to abuse God's grace under the old covenant, so also it is not okay for Christians to abuse God's grace - grace is not a license to sin.

So, though we get a foreshadow of where he intends to go, he doesn't go there yet. Instead he embarks on that teaching for which he anticipates such charges: the doctrine of justification by grace (through faith apart from works) - which I hope to cover in the next installment.
posted by Daniel @ 8:57 AM  
  • At 8:47 AM, May 08, 2012, Blogger donsands said…

    Such a simple truth, and yet is there a deeper truth?
    God gives grace to sinners, and we can in no way deserve this grace, and add to it, and yet because of this amazing grace, our hearts have a new love and affection. which is as genuine as any love we have known.
    Thanks Daniel for the teaching. We do need to hear the truth every day, and deal with our flesh.

    1 John 4:19

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