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Matthehitmanhart
Aug 21st 2009, 03:03 PM
Speaking to the Gentile Christians in Corinth, Paul says "You know that you were once Gentiles (ἔθνος (http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=1484&l=en)), carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led." I know we've probably exhausted Romans 2:28-29 over the last few months in threads like this one (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1808640#post1808640) and this one (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=171351), but I don't believe we've ever talked about 1 Corinthians 12:2 in our debates on Israel, and since it was just pointed out to me I reckon it might be good to start some dialog over it.

What I find extremely interesting about this verse is, firstly, that Paul tells the believers in Corinth that they were (past tense) Gentiles, implying that they are not Gentiles any longer, and, secondly, that he qualifies the meaning of 'Gentile' as one who is 'carried away by these dumb idols'. What this verse demonstrates, in other words, is that within the first century Jewish context in which Paul speaks the term 'Gentile' effectively meant 'outside the covenant' or 'pagan' (as the word ethnos is here translated in the NASB). And, conversely, the clear implication is that Paul now thinks of these Gentile believers as 'Jews', since the term 'Jew' meant 'inside the covenant'.

This is confirmed when we look back at chapter 10:1-4, where Paul speaks of the generation of the Exodus as "our fathers", claiming the history of Israel as the history also of these ingrafted Gentiles. They now belong to the covenant family, the same family that came out of slavery in Egypt, passed through the Red Sea and received the law at Sinai. In other words, they belong to Israel.

markedward
Aug 21st 2009, 05:18 PM
Likewise:

Revelation 2.9: "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.'"

Revelation 3.9: "'Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie--behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.'"

John (Jesus, really) speaks here of people "who say that they are Jews and are not". By ethnicity and religion, these people are what we commonly refer to as "Jews". But John (and Jesus) says that these Jews are not really Jews, that they are lying about themselves. I think this can very reasonably be inferred to mean that, Jews who do not follow Jesus are no longer "Jews" (i.e., "inside the Covenant"), and as a result, those who do follow Jesus are the true Jews (i.e., "inside the Covenant").

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 21st 2009, 06:16 PM
Likewise:

Revelation 2.9: "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.'"

Revelation 3.9: "'Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie--behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.'"

John (Jesus, really) speaks here of people "who say that they are Jews and are not". By ethnicity and religion, these people are what we commonly refer to as "Jews". But John (and Jesus) says that these Jews are not really Jews, that they are lying about themselves. I think this can very reasonably be inferred to mean that, Jews who do not follow Jesus are no longer "Jews" (i.e., "inside the Covenant"), and as a result, those who do follow Jesus are the true Jews (i.e., "inside the Covenant").

Very well said. I completely agree.

John146
Aug 21st 2009, 08:55 PM
Speaking to the Gentile Christians in Corinth, Paul says "You know that you were once Gentiles (ἔθνος (http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=1484&l=en)), carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led." I know we've probably exhausted Romans 2:28-29 over the last few months in threads like this one (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1808640#post1808640) and this one (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=171351), but I don't believe we've ever talked about 1 Corinthians 12:2 in our debates on Israel, and since it was just pointed out to me I reckon it might be good to start some dialog over it.

What I find extremely interesting about this verse is, firstly, that Paul tells the believers in Corinth that they were (past tense) Gentiles, implying that they are not Gentiles any longer, and, secondly, that he qualifies the meaning of 'Gentile' as one who is 'carried away by these dumb idols'.

What this verse demonstrates, in other words, is that within the first century Jewish context in which Paul speaks the term 'Gentile' effectively meant 'outside the covenant' or 'pagan' (as the word ethnos is here translated in the NASB). And, conversely, the clear implication is that Paul now thinks of these Gentile believers as 'Jews', since the term 'Jew' meant 'inside the covenant'.

This is confirmed when we look back at chapter 10:1-4, where Paul speaks of the generation of the Exodus as "our fathers", claiming the history of Israel as the history also of these ingrafted Gentiles. They now belong to the covenant family, the same family that came out of slavery in Egypt, passed through the Red Sea and received the law at Sinai. In other words, they belong to Israel.What Paul is referring to in that verse is the same thing he refers to here when speaking to believers in Ephesus:

Eph 2
11Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

So, they are no longer Gentiles in the flesh, aliens from Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise. They are now fellowcitizens of spiritual Israel (spiritual Israelites) and no longer strangers to the covenants of promise because of the blood of Christ.

John146
Aug 21st 2009, 08:58 PM
Very well said. I completely agree.I concur. Rev 2:9 and Rev 3:9 are clearly speaking of ethnic Jews who say they are spiritual Jews (in a personal, covenant relationship with God) but are instead of the synagogue of Satan. This supports our contention that Paul speaks of two different types of Jews (ethnic and spiritual) in Romans 2:28-29.

Stormfreak1
Aug 23rd 2009, 12:08 AM
From the scriptures that have been quoted on this thread, (Ephesians 2:11-13, 19, Revelation 2:9 and Revelation 3:9,) along with Romans 9-11; I see 4 different categories of people in these passages.

Redeemed people in the kingdom of God:
Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus- the original recipiants of all the covenant promises who enter into them through Jesus.

Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus- Those who were born non-Jewish (Spanish, Chinese, German, etc.) but they were "born again" into Jesus...( i.e. adopted or grafted in)

This is what 1 Corinthians 12:2; 10:4; Galatians 3:28-29 and Ephesians 2:11-3:10 clearly says- we are in because of Jesus! :pp:pp:pp. This means that we are equally loved, equally embraced, and have equal access to God through Jesus Christ.

Those outside the kingdom of God:
Gentiles who do not love and follow Jesus- those who are "lost"

Jewish people who do not love and follow Jesus-those who are "lost"; there ethnic heritage or geneology will not get them into the Kingdom of God.

Where the confusion (and heresy) comes in is that some errenously say that there is a secret way outside of Jesus for the Jewish people...Dual covenant theology:P (I too wish there was a puking smiley...). I believe this is the group Jesus was talking about in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9.

When a Gentile turns to Jesus and is saved... They turn from: Gentiles who do not love and follow Jesus- --> Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus-. They don't turn into: Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus-

Obviously, a when a Jewish person turns to Jesus and is saved; they turn from Ethnically Jewish people who do not love Jesus to Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus-

Unfortunately, their peers think that an
Ethnically Jewish people who do not love Jesus turns into a Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus- because numerically, the Church is predominantly Gentile.

Here is where the confusing questions start for many:

1. Do the Ethnically Jewish people have a specific role in overall salvation history that the Gentiles do not have? I think Paul clearly says "yes" in Romans 9-11. Jesus also indicates this at the end of the age in Matthew 23:37-39. This leads into questions on whether certain covenant promises (particularly regarding land and their role) are given specifically for the Ethnically Jewish people to capture in Jesus or whether these promises are spiritualized for the entire Church.

2. Because the Ethnically Jewish people have a special role to play in redemptive history (Paul says this in Romans 9-11), does it mean they are loved more than Gentiles? Many people assume so (even most worldly cultures falsely tell us this as well) that having a special role to play means you are more loved than everyone else. NOT TRUE! (To cite an extreme case, the Anti-Christ has a very strategic, biblical role in God's overall salvation plan...but does he enjoy being loved by God for all eternity more because he fulfills his "strategic role" at the end?:D)

Many theologians simply lump the two groups at the beginning of this post together and call it "spiritual Israel" and say that any specific roles for Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus- in fulfilling God's overall redemptive plan for humanity has been absorbed by the Church. As we get closer to the end-times and the 2nd coming, understanding the difference in roles between Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus- (corporately) and Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus- will become much more important.

ross3421
Aug 23rd 2009, 07:20 AM
Great thread. In previous threads we have gone from all of Israel becoming Gentiles now correctly to all of believing gentiles becoming part of Israel as we being grafted in.

Note howver there are still a remnant of the 12 tribes to recieve an inheridence.

Now I would like to add that the phrase "time of the gentiles" does not refer to the church as proclaimed by most however depicts a time when unbelievers will trample the holy place for 42 months.

Re 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

Lu 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Lu 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Mark

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 23rd 2009, 05:31 PM
When a Gentile turns to Jesus and is saved... They turn from: Gentiles who do not love and follow Jesus- --> Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus-. They don't turn into: Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus-

Obviously, a when a Jewish person turns to Jesus and is saved; they turn from Ethnically Jewish people who do not love Jesus to Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus-

So, bringing your post around to the topic of the OP, what do you think Paul means when he says Gentile Christians are no longer Gentiles? Or, conversely, what do you make of Romans 2:28-29, where he says that "he is a Jew who is one inwardly"?

Firstfruits
Aug 23rd 2009, 05:46 PM
Speaking to the Gentile Christians in Corinth, Paul says "You know that you were once Gentiles (ἔθνος (http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=1484&l=en)), carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led." I know we've probably exhausted Romans 2:28-29 over the last few months in threads like this one (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1808640#post1808640) and this one (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=171351), but I don't believe we've ever talked about 1 Corinthians 12:2 in our debates on Israel, and since it was just pointed out to me I reckon it might be good to start some dialog over it.

What I find extremely interesting about this verse is, firstly, that Paul tells the believers in Corinth that they were (past tense) Gentiles, implying that they are not Gentiles any longer, and, secondly, that he qualifies the meaning of 'Gentile' as one who is 'carried away by these dumb idols'. What this verse demonstrates, in other words, is that within the first century Jewish context in which Paul speaks the term 'Gentile' effectively meant 'outside the covenant' or 'pagan' (as the word ethnos is here translated in the NASB). And, conversely, the clear implication is that Paul now thinks of these Gentile believers as 'Jews', since the term 'Jew' meant 'inside the covenant'.

This is confirmed when we look back at chapter 10:1-4, where Paul speaks of the generation of the Exodus as "our fathers", claiming the history of Israel as the history also of these ingrafted Gentiles. They now belong to the covenant family, the same family that came out of slavery in Egypt, passed through the Red Sea and received the law at Sinai. In other words, they belong to Israel.

Does the same apply to Christain Jews?

Firstfruits

Stormfreak1
Aug 23rd 2009, 11:45 PM
So, bringing your post around to the topic of the OP, what do you think Paul means when he says Gentile Christians are no longer Gentiles? Or, conversely, what do you make of Romans 2:28-29, where he says that "he is a Jew who is one inwardly"?

I am not a professional Greek scholar so maybe someone else can shed more light on how this word is used.

That being said, using Strong's commentary,
ἔθνος is used both to denote Gentile ethnicity (Matthew 24:14) and also a people who practices pagan idolatry. The word is used in both ways (sort of like our English word "set")

Therefore, in looking at the broader context to gaining the meaning of the word, Paul is talking about the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. In 1 Corinthians 12:2, Paul is defitely using the word as ἔθνος as "pagans" worshipping dumb idols (as a lifestyle), in contrast to worshipping God who is interacting with the believers through His Spirit. The other use of the word ἔθνος to denote an ethnic group wouldn't make sense contextually.

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 24th 2009, 01:36 AM
I am not a professional Greek scholar so maybe someone else can shed more light on how this word is used.

That being said, using Strong's commentary,
ἔθνος is used both to denote Gentile ethnicity (Matthew 24:14) and also a people who practices pagan idolatry. The word is used in both ways (sort of like our English word "set")

Therefore, in looking at the broader context to gaining the meaning of the word, Paul is talking about the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. In 1 Corinthians 12:2, Paul is defitely using the word as ἔθνος as "pagans" worshipping dumb idols (as a lifestyle), in contrast to worshipping God who is interacting with the believers through His Spirit. The other use of the word ἔθνος to denote an ethnic group wouldn't make sense contextually.

I think we miss the point by avoiding the Jewish connotation of ἔθνος as 'pagan' and 'Gentile'. The point is that Gentiles were regarded as pagans in the world of first century Judaism. To turn from paganism to the one true God of the Jews was, in a very real sense, to cease to be a Gentile and to become a Jew. To be a Jew was not just an 'ethnic' matter; it was, above all, a covenantal matter. This is the clear meaning of Esther 8:17:

"Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them."

In saying that the "people of the land became Jews", this verse is saying that many Gentiles converted to Judaism and were circumcised. In other words, they became full-fledged proselytes, members of the covenant, the children of Abraham right along side ethnically born Jews.

Paul's point in passages like Romans 2:28-29 is that circumcision is no longer a necessary badge of covenant membership, and that anyone, including any Gentile, who has the law written on their hearts by the Spirit is counted as a member of the covenant, i.e. as a 'Jew', without reference to Torah. What was revolutionary about this, within the first century context in which Paul spoke, was not that a Gentile could become a Jew, but that circumcision was unnecessary to do so.

DurbanDude
Aug 24th 2009, 02:01 PM
Speaking to the Gentile Christians in Corinth, Paul says "You know that you were once Gentiles (ἔθνος (http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=1484&l=en)), carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led." I know we've probably exhausted Romans 2:28-29 over the last few months in threads like this one (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1808640#post1808640) and this one (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=171351), but I don't believe we've ever talked about 1 Corinthians 12:2 in our debates on Israel, and since it was just pointed out to me I reckon it might be good to start some dialog over it.

What I find extremely interesting about this verse is, firstly, that Paul tells the believers in Corinth that they were (past tense) Gentiles, implying that they are not Gentiles any longer, and, secondly, that he qualifies the meaning of 'Gentile' as one who is 'carried away by these dumb idols'. What this verse demonstrates, in other words, is that within the first century Jewish context in which Paul speaks the term 'Gentile' effectively meant 'outside the covenant' or 'pagan' (as the word ethnos is here translated in the NASB). And, conversely, the clear implication is that Paul now thinks of these Gentile believers as 'Jews', since the term 'Jew' meant 'inside the covenant'.

This is confirmed when we look back at chapter 10:1-4, where Paul speaks of the generation of the Exodus as "our fathers", claiming the history of Israel as the history also of these ingrafted Gentiles. They now belong to the covenant family, the same family that came out of slavery in Egypt, passed through the Red Sea and received the law at Sinai. In other words, they belong to Israel.

I completely agree that gentile believers are "grafted in", and are regarded as Jews. Nevertheless, as far usage of terminology, Paul isn't 100% consistent with this. In Romans he describes non-Jewish Christians as gentiles. Depends on the context I guess. Sometimes he is talking specifically about behaviour and other times about ethnicity. Regardless of our spiritual state, gentile Christians are obviously not Jews ethnically.

Hawk
Aug 24th 2009, 03:57 PM
I completely agree that gentile believers are "grafted in", and are regarded as Jews. Nevertheless, as far usage of terminology, Paul isn't 100% consistent with this. In Romans he describes non-Jewish Christians as gentiles. Depends on the context I guess. Sometimes he is talking specifically about behaviour and other times about ethnicity. Regardless of our spiritual state, gentile Christians are obviously not Jews ethnically.

Hey DD,

In your mind, what New Testament scriptures and New Testament precedent do you see for saved Gentiles to be called "Jews"?

I'm assuming that a "Jew" is not the same as something like "Israel", "commonwealth of Israel", or "Jacob". But if it is, let me know that too and help me understand your reasoning.

Just trying to better understand your position...

Thanks!!

Hawk

Hawk
Aug 24th 2009, 04:02 PM
From the scriptures that have been quoted on this thread, (Ephesians 2:11-13, 19, Revelation 2:9 and Revelation 3:9,) along with Romans 9-11; I see 4 different categories of people in these passages.

Redeemed people in the kingdom of God:
Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus- the original recipiants of all the covenant promises who enter into them through Jesus.

Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus- Those who were born non-Jewish (Spanish, Chinese, German, etc.) but they were "born again" into Jesus...( i.e. adopted or grafted in)

This is what 1 Corinthians 12:2; 10:4; Galatians 3:28-29 and Ephesians 2:11-3:10 clearly says- we are in because of Jesus! :pp:pp:pp. This means that we are equally loved, equally embraced, and have equal access to God through Jesus Christ.

Those outside the kingdom of God:
Gentiles who do not love and follow Jesus- those who are "lost"

Jewish people who do not love and follow Jesus-those who are "lost"; there ethnic heritage or geneology will not get them into the Kingdom of God.

Where the confusion (and heresy) comes in is that some errenously say that there is a secret way outside of Jesus for the Jewish people...Dual covenant theology:P (I too wish there was a puking smiley...). I believe this is the group Jesus was talking about in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9.

When a Gentile turns to Jesus and is saved... They turn from: Gentiles who do not love and follow Jesus- --> Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus-. They don't turn into: Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus-

Obviously, a when a Jewish person turns to Jesus and is saved; they turn from Ethnically Jewish people who do not love Jesus to Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus-

Unfortunately, their peers think that an
Ethnically Jewish people who do not love Jesus turns into a Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus- because numerically, the Church is predominantly Gentile.

Here is where the confusing questions start for many:

1. Do the Ethnically Jewish people have a specific role in overall salvation history that the Gentiles do not have? I think Paul clearly says "yes" in Romans 9-11. Jesus also indicates this at the end of the age in Matthew 23:37-39. This leads into questions on whether certain covenant promises (particularly regarding land and their role) are given specifically for the Ethnically Jewish people to capture in Jesus or whether these promises are spiritualized for the entire Church.

2. Because the Ethnically Jewish people have a special role to play in redemptive history (Paul says this in Romans 9-11), does it mean they are loved more than Gentiles? Many people assume so (even most worldly cultures falsely tell us this as well) that having a special role to play means you are more loved than everyone else. NOT TRUE! (To cite an extreme case, the Anti-Christ has a very strategic, biblical role in God's overall salvation plan...but does he enjoy being loved by God for all eternity more because he fulfills his "strategic role" at the end?:D)

Many theologians simply lump the two groups at the beginning of this post together and call it "spiritual Israel" and say that any specific roles for Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus- in fulfilling God's overall redemptive plan for humanity has been absorbed by the Church. As we get closer to the end-times and the 2nd coming, understanding the difference in roles between Ethnically Jewish People who love Jesus- (corporately) and Ethnically Gentile people who love Jesus- will become much more important.

Stormfreak, I really appreciated your clarity in this post. I've found that a lot of disagreement on this board happens when the two opinions don't have a good foundational understanding of all of the options. You've laid out the issues associated with the definition of "Jew" and "Gentile" in a very precise, easy to follow manner for the contributors to this thread. Thanks for the efforts!

Hawk

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 24th 2009, 04:51 PM
Does the same apply to Christain Jews?

Firstfruits

Absolutely. Despite what many have said, 'Jew' is not merely an ethnic term, it is also a covenantal one. When a Gentile becomes a 'Jew' under the New Covenant, he does so covenantally, not ethnically. In other words, he becomes a member of the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, an heir of the promises. But obviously his DNA doesn't transform to make him a Jew biologically. I don't think anybody is claiming that, but there is definitely a lack of clarity on this point.

The reason, conversely, why verses like Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 can say that there are Jews who are not truly 'Jews' is because they are speaking of covenantal Jewishness, not ethnic Jewishness. Of course those Jews really were 'Jews' by ethnic standards, but Jesus' point is that, despite their ethnicity, they stand decisively outside the covenant, that they are not heirs of the promises, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For a Jew to truly be a 'Jew', in the full ethnic-and-covenantal meaning of the term, he must come in through the Messiah and have the law written on his heart by the Spirit. This is the point of Romans 2:28-29.

We must recover the first century meaning of these terms if we are to have any understanding of the New Testament in this regard.

timmyb
Aug 24th 2009, 06:10 PM
Hey guys I'm moving this to Bible Chat seeing how this fits that topic more than here in ETC... Thanks!

Timmy

webhead
Aug 24th 2009, 06:32 PM
First off, which author of New Testament scripture was "not" a devout Jew? Can't name one, can you?;)

They all were devout Jews. None of them were Americans writing in English, speaking to an English audience, and proclaiming the American people as the true Church.

Why would a group of devout Jews not be partial to devout Jews? It's natural human behavior, and not in any way wrong.

Just because thy believed on Christ, does not mean they ditched their Jewish heritage, and turned on their own people.

I am an American Christian, but I do not denounce my American heritage, and the Bible doesn't say I have to denounce it.

Same applies to the Jews who wrote the holy scriptures.

HeavenlyVision
Aug 24th 2009, 07:10 PM
I am not a professional Greek scholar so maybe someone else can shed more light on how this word is used.

That being said, using Strong's commentary,
ἔθνος is used both to denote Gentile ethnicity (Matthew 24:14) and also a people who practices pagan idolatry. The word is used in both ways (sort of like our English word "set")

Therefore, in looking at the broader context to gaining the meaning of the word, Paul is talking about the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. In 1 Corinthians 12:2, Paul is defitely using the word as ἔθνος as "pagans" worshipping dumb idols (as a lifestyle), in contrast to worshipping God who is interacting with the believers through His Spirit. The other use of the word ἔθνος to denote an ethnic group wouldn't make sense contextually.

In my understanding of the word and the context (both textually and historically) is that to worship idols and not the living God is to be Gentile. Gentiles are idol worshipers, and idol worshipers are defined as Gentiles. To seperate the two definitions from one another isn't helpful or necessary historically speaking. For Paul to say that you 'were of the pagans/Gentiles' denotes a transmutation of identity covenantally from idolaters to the people of God. They have changed into something other than what they were (something like Colossians 1:13, 3:1-7 or Romans 7:1-6). I dont think Paul was merely juxtaposing worship, either idols or God, but identity (see below in regards to 'baptism' and 'one body'. With that if they aren't pagans or Gentiles anymore, what are they? Are they not fellow citizens of the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12)? Those who call the Patriarchs their fathers (1 Corinthians 10:1)? The inheritors of the blessing of Abraham and the promise of the Spirit (Galatians 3:14)? A Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit (Romans 2:29)?

It is here I find it interesting to observe the similarities of Galatians 3 and 1 Corinthians 12. Now as Galatians 3-4 peaks with:

'For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christs then Abraham's seed (to be Jew is to be Abrahams seed)' (Gal 3:28-29).

Similairly, the flow of 1 Corinthians 12 finds a neat statement which forms the pith of the chapter in verses 12-14, within the context of the dealing with the expressions of the gifts of the Spirit:

'the body is one and has many members... for by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -whether Jew or Greeks, whether slave or free - and have all been made to drink of one Spirit."

Now of course there is variation based on the unique context of each letter, but the point is the same in that Paul seems to have a congruent perception of each believer, whether Jew or Greek/pagan/Gentile, as one body in Christ and in the Spirit. Those who 'were Gentiles' who are now 'sons of God and Abrahams seed' or 'one body'. It is not merely that they are not longer idolaters, but that they have been baptized into one body in Christ by the Spirit (that is why, in Corinthians, they should care for and give honor to one another - vs 25).

Hope that helps,

HV

webhead
Aug 24th 2009, 07:36 PM
The Temple Solomon built was destroyed by fire on the 9th of Ab in 585 or 586 B.C. (depending on which biblical scholar is doing the research). Just 656 or 657 years later on the 9th of Ab in 70 A.D., the Temple that Herod built was also destroyed by Titus Vespasian and his Roman army, and the nation of Israel was dispersed throughout the entire world.

Now here is the question that defies all logic, because it's never happened in the history of the world until now.

How did all of those Jews from the destroyed nation of Israel in 70 A.D. keep their Jewish identities and religion over almost 2000 years while being integrated into cultures around the world, and then 2000 years later, they came back to their homeland from all over the globe, becoming a sovereign nation again, if God were finished with them?

Answer. It was a supernatural act of God, because God the father is far from done with his nation and his bride.

Christ's bride is the Church, but God the father is still very married to his bride, Israel.

Israel and the Church are not the same thing.

Why is the holy city in Revelation called New Jerusalem? Why not New New York, or New Beijing? Or New Siberia, or new Iran? etc....?

The Lord lives in the promised land(Deuteronomy), that's why.

BroRog
Aug 24th 2009, 07:46 PM
What Paul is referring to in that verse is the same thing he refers to here when speaking to believers in Ephesus:

Eph 2
11Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

So, they are no longer Gentiles in the flesh, aliens from Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise. They are now fellowcitizens of spiritual Israel (spiritual Israelites) and no longer strangers to the covenants of promise because of the blood of Christ.

Paul is NOT saying that the Ephesians were formally Gentiles in the flesh. Your translation is screwed up. The NASU has a better rendering, which is closer to the original Greek.


11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," [which is] performed in the flesh by human hands-- 12 [remember] that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Paul actually interrupts himself mid-sentence as the NASU correctly represents. The part in bold is the main sentence. The Ephesians were formally separate from Christ and etc., not formerly Gentiles. They always remained Gentiles.

BroRog
Aug 24th 2009, 07:47 PM
First off, which author of New Testament scripture was "not" a devout Jew? Can't name one, can you?;)

They all were devout Jews. None of them were Americans writing in English, speaking to an English audience, and proclaiming the American people as the true Church.

Why would a group of devout Jews not be partial to devout Jews? It's natural human behavior, and not in any way wrong.

Just because thy believed on Christ, does not mean they ditched their Jewish heritage, and turned on their own people.

I am an American Christian, but I do not denounce my American heritage, and the Bible doesn't say I have to denounce it.

Same applies to the Jews who wrote the holy scriptures.

Luke was a Gentile.

webhead
Aug 24th 2009, 07:54 PM
Luke was a Gentile.

No he wasn't.

If Luke really did come from Antioch, as Tertullian mentions, Antioch had a large Jewish community and would explain why he never had to worry about his provisions and could attend Paul for so long as his personal physician. Antioch is where many Jews fled after the stoning of Stephen.

If Jews were given the Oracles, then Luke was a not a Gentile. "Oh he was a converted Jew!" No he wasn't. He was born a Levite! Luke gave extensive details in describing the rotating selection of the Levitical priests for service according to their families. He further described the position of the priest before the altar of incense in Luke 1:8-20 , where the angel appeared to Zacharias! Not only that he showed more intimate knowledge of the temple then any other Gospel writer. It also seems the book of Luke is more directed towards the Tzeddukim (Sadducees) rather then the Perushim (Pharisees).

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 24th 2009, 07:57 PM
In my understanding of the word and the context (both textually and historically) is that to worship idols and not the living God is to be Gentile. Gentiles are idol worshipers, and idol worshipers are defined as Gentiles. To seperate the two definitions from one another isn't helpful or necessary historically speaking. For Paul to say that you 'were of the pagans/Gentiles' denotes a transmutation of identity covenantally from idolaters to the people of God. They have changed into something other than what they were (something like Colossians 1:13, 3:1-7 or Romans 7:1-6). I dont think Paul was merely juxtaposing worship, either idols or God, but identity (see below in regards to 'baptism' and 'one body'. With that if they aren't pagans or Gentiles anymore, what are they? Are they not fellow citizens of the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12)? Those who call the Patriarchs their fathers (1 Corinthians 10:1)? The inheritors of the blessing of Abraham and the promise of the Spirit (Galatians 3:14)? A Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit (Romans 2:29)?

It is here I find it interesting to observe the similarities of Galatians 3 and 1 Corinthians 12. Now as Galatians 3-4 peaks with:

'For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christs then Abraham's seed (to be Jew is to be Abrahams seed)' (Gal 3:28-29).

Similairly, the flow of 1 Corinthians 12 finds a neat statement which forms the pith of the chapter in verses 12-14, within the context of the dealing with the expressions of the gifts of the Spirit:

'the body is one and has many members... for by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -whether Jew or Greeks, whether slave or free - and have all been made to drink of one Spirit."

Now of course there is variation based on the unique context of each letter, but the point is the same in that Paul seems to have a congruent perception of each believer, whether Jew or Greek/pagan/Gentile, as one body in Christ and in the Spirit. Those who 'were Gentiles' who are now 'sons of God and Abrahams seed' or 'one body'. It is not merely that they are not longer idolaters, but that they have been baptized into one body in Christ by the Spirit (that is why, in Corinthians, they should care for and give honor to one another - vs 25).

Hope that helps,

HV

As always, good to have your input HV. Well said!

BroRog
Aug 24th 2009, 08:20 PM
Absolutely. Despite what many have said, 'Jew' is not merely an ethnic term, it is also a covenantal one. When a Gentile becomes a 'Jew', under the New Covenant, he does so covenantally, not ethnically. In other words, he becomes a member of the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, an heir of the promises. But obviously his DNA doesn't transform to make him a Jew biologically. I don't think anybody is claiming that, but there is definitely a lack of clarity on this point.

The reason, conversely, why verses like Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 can say there are Jews who are not truly 'Jews', but lie, is because they are talking about covenantal Jewishness, not ethnic Jewishness. Of course those Jews really were 'Jews' by ethnic standards, but Jesus' point is that, despite their ethnicity, they stand decisively outside the covenant, that they not heirs of the promises, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For a Jew to truly be a Jew, in the full ethnic-and-covenantal meaning of the term, he must come in through the Messiah and have the law written on his heart by the Spirit. This is the point of Romans 2:28-29.

We must recover the first century meaning of these terms if we are to have any understanding of the New Testament in this regard.

The first century use of the term "Jew" had three connotations depending on the context. First, it referred to one's ethnicity, specifically one who was a descendant of Judah or Benjamin, and generally one who was a descendant of Jacob. Second, John, in his gospel, uses the term to refer to the leaders of Israel. e.g John 9:18. Finally, the term refers to a person under the Mosaic Covenant. In any case, it was never used to refer to a person outside of the Mosaic Covenant.

Your contention that the term "Jew" refers to any believer under the New Covenant is not supported by the text, especially Galatians 2 where the terms "Jew" and "Gentile" are both used favorably.

Notice in the following passage Paul chides Peter for his willingness to eat with the Gentiles until certain men came from James. He points out that Peter used to live like a Gentile. In this we understand Paul also lived like a Gentile and is speaking favorably about his behavior. Peter's sin was not living like Gentile, but Peter's hypocritical change of behavior when the men from James came to visit.


11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he [began] to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how [is it that] you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? 15 "We [are] Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

What is missing from this discourse is any change in terminology that would reflect the particular view you have espoused here. Paul's vocabulary remains true to the common usage of the terms "Jew", and "Gentile", with no change of vocabulary to reflect the concept of a New Covenant Gentile named a "Jew."

Paul says that Peter was a Jew living like a Gentile, which was perfectly fine until Peter attempted to compel the Gentiles to live like Jews. In this context, living "Jewishly" remained focused on doing the works of the Mosaic Law and to compel the Gentiles to live as Jews is to compel the Gentiles to perform Jewish religious rites.

He also points out that he and Peter were "Jews by nature" referring to the fact that they were born into their Jewish heritage as opposed to being converted into it. To become a covenant Jew, one needed to have themselves circumcised and go through the ritual purification process (among other things.) Paul's entire argument is to say that the Gentiles do NOT need to become covenant Jews in order to find justification from God.

webhead
Aug 24th 2009, 08:31 PM
The first century use of the term "Jew" had three connotations depending on the context. First, it referred to one's ethnicity, specifically one who was a descendant of Judah or Benjamin, and generally one who was a descendant of Jacob. Second, John, in his gospel, uses the term to refer to the leaders of Israel. e.g John 9:18. Finally, the term refers to a person under the Mosaic Covenant. In any case, it was never used to refer to a person outside of the Mosaic Covenant.

Your contention that the term "Jew" refers to any believer under the New Covenant is not supported by the text, especially Galatians 2 where the terms "Jew" and "Gentile" are both used favorably.

Notice in the following passage Paul chides Peter for his willingness to eat with the Gentiles until certain men came from James. He points out that Peter used to live like a Gentile. In this we understand Paul also lived like a Gentile and is speaking favorably about his behavior. Peter's sin was not living like Gentile, but Peter's hypocritical change of behavior when the men from James came to visit.

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he [began] to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how [is it that] you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? 15 "We [are] Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
What is missing from this discourse is any change in terminology that would reflect the particular view you have espoused here. Paul's vocabulary remains true to the common usage of the terms "Jew", and "Gentile", with no change of vocabulary to reflect the concept of a New Covenant Gentile named a "Jew."

Paul says that Peter was a Jew living like a Gentile, which was perfectly fine until Peter attempted to compel the Gentiles to live like Jews. In this context, living "Jewishly" remained focused on doing the works of the Mosaic Law and to compel the Gentiles to live as Jews is to compel the Gentiles to perform Jewish religious rites.

He also points out that he and Peter were "Jews by nature" referring to the fact that they were born into their Jewish heritage as opposed to being converted into it. To become a covenant Jew, one needed to have themselves circumcised and go through the ritual purification process (among other things.) Paul's entire argument is to say that the Gentiles do NOT need to become covenant Jews in order to find justification from God.


Nuff said.:hug:

theBelovedDisciple
Aug 24th 2009, 09:54 PM
Paul spoke to the Romans and told them that he is not a Jew who is one outwardly.. pertaining to the circumscision of the flesh....


but he/she is a Jew, INWARDLY, one who is 'circumcised in the heart'.. this done thru the Eternal Spirit.. and not of the letter whose praise is not of men, but of God Himself.


These who have been Saved by God the Father, whose Spirit circumcises their 'hearts' thru the Eternal Spirit...

Would 'Gentiles' who have been Saved thru the Will of God the Father and His Foreknowledge.. would these be a part of this group that Paul describes?

he/she that is Truly a Jew......, Inwardly, ..........Spiritually.. thru the Circumsision of the Heart thru the Eternal Spirit... not of the flesh..

would you consider this to be Spiritual Isreal??

that Church of the Firstborn.? which is described in Hebrews? found in Mount Sion??

good post by the way...

BroRog
Aug 24th 2009, 10:16 PM
Paul spoke to the Romans and told them that he is not a Jew who is one outwardly.. pertaining to the circumscision of the flesh....


but he/she is a Jew, INWARDLY, one who is 'circumcised in the heart'.. this done thru the Eternal Spirit.. and not of the letter whose praise is not of men, but of God Himself.


These who have been Saved by God the Father, whose Spirit circumcises their 'hearts' thru the Eternal Spirit...

Would 'Gentiles' who have been Saved thru the Will of God the Father and His Foreknowledge.. would these be a part of this group that Paul describes?

he/she that is Truly a Jew......, Inwardly, ..........Spiritually.. thru the Circumsision of the Heart thru the Eternal Spirit... not of the flesh..

would you consider this to be Spiritual Isreal??

that Church of the Firstborn.? which is described in Hebrews? found in Mount Sion??

good post by the way...

Toward the end of Romans 2, starting at verse 17, the focus of Paul's attention has shifted to those who are called Jews by name.


17 But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know [His] will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?
The discourse has come to the question of those Jews who put confidence in their covenant relationship with God, specifically the teachers of Israel -- those who fancy themselves a guide to the blind, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, etc. The question is, who are those among the Jews that have taken the covenant seriously?

Paul answers that a true Jew is one inwardly. In this context, he is talking about ethnic Jews. Which Jews among the ethnic Jews are true Jews? The true Jews are circumcised of heart, he says.

Elsewhere Paul says that God also circumcises the hearts of Gentiles also. But technically he doesn't call them "Jews."

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 25th 2009, 12:17 AM
The first century use of the term "Jew" had three connotations depending on the context. First, it referred to one's ethnicity, specifically one who was a descendant of Judah or Benjamin, and generally one who was a descendant of Jacob. Second, John, in his gospel, uses the term to refer to the leaders of Israel. e.g John 9:18. Finally, the term refers to a person under the Mosaic Covenant. In any case, it was never used to refer to a person outside of the Mosaic Covenant.

Your contention that the term "Jew" refers to any believer under the New Covenant is not supported by the text, especially Galatians 2 where the terms "Jew" and "Gentile" are both used favorably.

Notice in the following passage Paul chides Peter for his willingness to eat with the Gentiles until certain men came from James. He points out that Peter used to live like a Gentile. In this we understand Paul also lived like a Gentile and is speaking favorably about his behavior. Peter's sin was not living like Gentile, but Peter's hypocritical change of behavior when the men from James came to visit.
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he [began] to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how [is it that] you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? 15 "We [are] Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
What is missing from this discourse is any change in terminology that would reflect the particular view you have espoused here. Paul's vocabulary remains true to the common usage of the terms "Jew", and "Gentile", with no change of vocabulary to reflect the concept of a New Covenant Gentile named a "Jew."

Paul says that Peter was a Jew living like a Gentile, which was perfectly fine until Peter attempted to compel the Gentiles to live like Jews. In this context, living "Jewishly" remained focused on doing the works of the Mosaic Law and to compel the Gentiles to live as Jews is to compel the Gentiles to perform Jewish religious rites.

He also points out that he and Peter were "Jews by nature" referring to the fact that they were born into their Jewish heritage as opposed to being converted into it. To become a covenant Jew, one needed to have themselves circumcised and go through the ritual purification process (among other things.) Paul's entire argument is to say that the Gentiles do NOT need to become covenant Jews in order to find justification from God.

There's so much to take issue with here, but I'll start by asking a basic question. If we are to take your three definitions of the term "Jew" as the only connotations it carried in the first century, what are we to make of Paul's usage in Romans 2:28-29?

In your reply to TBD you admit that Paul is working with two different definitions of the term, and that the second of the two is a covenantal definition--but not just a covenantal definition, a New Covenant definition, as you recognize that he says the true 'Jew' is the one who is circumcised of heart by the Spirit.

So although you would restrict the designation of a 'true Jew' to an ethnic Jew who is also within the New Covenant, you concede that there is a fourth definition of the term, a New Covenant definition.

Now since this is clearly the case, why should this New Covenant designation of the term be open only to ethnic Jews? If there is a contrast in vv. 25-27 between someone who fulfills the law and someone who breaks it, and the former happens to be an uncircumcised Gentile while the latter happens to be a circumcised Jew, and the uncircumcised Gentile is thereby counted in the covenant while the circumcised Jew is excluded from it, it only stands to reason that the following redefinition of what it means to be a covenant-Jew (being based on inward renewal instead of external Jewishness) would be a redefined category open for the Gentile who stands in the covenant over against the ethnic Jew in the previous build-up of verses. To say the contrary seems to tear vv. 28-29 apart from vv. 25-27, in my opinion.


What is missing from this discourse is any change in terminology that would reflect the particular view you have espoused here. Paul's vocabulary remains true to the common usage of the terms "Jew", and "Gentile", with no change of vocabulary to reflect the concept of a New Covenant Gentile named a "Jew."Since the redefinition of the title "Jew" in Romans 2:28-29 is a covenantal redefinition, and not an ethnic, national or personal redefinition, it stands to reason that he would go on calling Gentile Christians 'Gentiles', since they still are, ethnically speaking, Gentiles. He does the same thing throughout with "circumcision". For an "uncircumcised" man to be counted as "circumcised" does not mean that his foreskin was just removed and he is actually now circumcised "in the flesh"; as far as that is concerned he is still uncircumcised and it is of course still appropriate to keep calling him that (as indeed Paul does). But as far as covenenantal status is concerned he is now circumcised, "not in the flesh but in the Spirit".

For Paul to say, therefore, in terms of covenantal status, that an "uncircumcised man" may be counted as "circumcised" is exactly the same as saying that a "Gentile" may be counted as a "Jew". If you affirm that "the circumcision" and "uncircumcision" refer to "Jews" and "Gentiles" related to covenantal status in vv. 25-26, then why should you refuse to believe that a Gentile could be counted as a "Jew" in v. 29? You would concede that Paul has already said the equivalent, so would I fail to see your problem here.

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 25th 2009, 12:24 AM
Toward the end of Romans 2, starting at verse 17, the focus of Paul's attention has shifted to those who are called Jews by name.
17 But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know [His] will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?
The discourse has come to the question of those Jews who put confidence in their covenant relationship with God, specifically the teachers of Israel -- those who fancy themselves a guide to the blind, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, etc. The question is, who are those among the Jews that have taken the covenant seriously?

Paul answers that a true Jew is one inwardly. In this context, he is talking about ethnic Jews. Which Jews among the ethnic Jews are true Jews? The true Jews are circumcised of heart, he says.

Elsewhere Paul says that God also circumcises the hearts of Gentiles also. But technically he doesn't call them "Jews."

Gentiles have been clearly present throughout this passage, actually. And the passage didn't begin in 2:17, by the way. Take a look at v. 10: God will give glory, honor and peace to everyone who works good, "to the Jew first and also to the Greek". Or what about v. 14, explaining the statement in v. 13 that the doers of the law will be justified: "For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written on their hearts..." I have a great deal to say about that verse in particular, but for now just take note that at this stage Gentiles are included in Paul's discussion.

From your post above, it seems that the real bone of your argument is that since Paul is talking to the self-proclaimed "Jew" of v. 17 he must therefore be talking about "Jews" all the way through. Am I right? If this is the case, it is simply faulty logic. Since when does the question of who a statement is directed to determine who the statement is thereby about? Why must Paul restrict his discussion with the "Jew" to the Jews? If Gentiles were present in the discussion right along with Jews up until v. 16, then why must they be excluded from vv. 17-29? On the contrary, the context (and the text itself) highly supports the conclusion that they are still present.

webhead
Aug 25th 2009, 03:45 AM
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an Husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Jeremiah%2031:31-34"))). I would emphasize that this covenant will be made with Israel and Judah--not with the church. It is repeated in Hebrews 8:8-13, (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Hebrews%208:8-13,%20"))showing the unchangeable purpose of God for His beloved people. This covenant will come into effect at the end of the tribulation period which is called "the time of Jacob's trouble" in Jeremiah 30:7 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Jeremiah%2030:7")). It is then that God will pour upon the house of David the spirit of grace and supplication and they will look upon Him whom they have pierced [Jesus] and mourn for Him (Zechariah 12:9-14 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Zechariah%2012:9-14"))). After Israel repents, God will bring in the blessings of the new covenant. It will be a glorious time for Israel (Isaiah 60; Zechariah 14:16-21 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Zechariah%2014:16-21"))).
God says He is going to "bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah" (Jeremiah 30:3 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Jeremiah%2030:3"))), and cause them to return to their land (Isaiah 11:11,12; Joel 3:1,2 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Isaiah%2011:11,12;%20Joel%203:1,2"))). Notice the word "again." God brought Judah back from the Babylonian captivity the first time. In the future He will again bring back, not Judah only, but also Israel.
God says in Isaiah 2 (concerning Judah and Jerusalem) that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains and all nations shall flow into it. Read verses 1-4 and it will be clear that this has yet to be fulfilled.
In Romans 11:1 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Romans%2011:1%20"))the apostle Paul asks the question, "Hath God cast away His people? God forbid." He then gives some unanswerable proofs to show that God has not cast away His people. In fact, the Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (Romans 11:11 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Romans%2011:11"))). Then in verses 25-27 we read, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Notice also that "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29 (javascript:openWin("eBible.php?ref=Romans%2011:29"))). Repentance means a change of mind. God will not change His mind regarding the gifts which He has promised to Israel.

BroRog
Aug 25th 2009, 04:59 PM
There's so much to take issue with here, but I'll start by asking a basic question. If we are to take your three definitions of the term "Jew" as the only connotations it carried in the first century, what are we to make of Paul's usage in Romans 2:28-29?

In your reply to TBD you admit that Paul is working with two different definitions of the term, and that the second of the two is a covenantal definition--but not just a covenantal definition, a New Covenant definition, as you recognize that he says the true 'Jew' is the one who is circumcised of heart by the Spirit.

So although you would restrict the designation of a 'true Jew' to an ethnic Jew who is also within the New Covenant, you concede that there is a fourth definition of the term, a New Covenant definition.

The covenant in view in Romans 2:28-29 is not the New Covenant but rather the Mt. Sinai Covenant. The issue at hand is whether a man is able to boast in the law and expect to find God's favor simply by teaching the law. The answer is that a man is not going to find favor with God unless he internalizes the law. He argues that it is the man who keeps the requirements of the law who is truly circumcised, even if he had not been marked as such on his skin. He argues that circumcision has value in this case.

Elsewhere Paul argues that in Christ circumcision or lack of circumcision means nothing. In that context the issue is whether circumcision is an essential attribute of the one whom God will grant eternal life. To that question the answer is no. Circumcision is not essential for eternal life.


Now since this is clearly the case, why should this New Covenant designation of the term be open only to ethnic Jews? If there is a contrast in vv. 25-27 between someone who fulfills the law and someone who breaks it, and the former happens to be an uncircumcised Gentile while the latter happens to be a circumcised Jew, and the uncircumcised Gentile is thereby counted in the covenant while the circumcised Jew is excluded from it, it only stands to reason that the following redefinition of what it means to be a covenant-Jew (being based on inward renewal instead of external Jewishness) would be a redefined category open for the Gentile who stands in the covenant over against the ethnic Jew in the previous build-up of verses. To say the contrary seems to tear vv. 28-29 apart from vv. 25-27, in my opinion.

It appears to be a common mistake to assume that the uncircumcised man of verse 26 is a real person, i.e. an uncircumcised Gentile rather than a rhetorical hypothetical man. It seems to escape the notice of some that the discussion centers on the meaning of being physically circumcised as it relates to keeping the requirements of the Mosaic law, which are the terms of the Mt. Sinai Covenant.

Paul asserts that though a man is circumcised, his lack of obedience to the covenant belies his circumcision. By contrast, he says, we would suspect that a man was circumcised, even if he wasn't, if that man kept the requirements of the law.

His contrast works to make his point that the sign of circumcision has meaning only if the sign indicates what is truly real about the person wearing the sign.

As to Gentile men, this point has no relevance because Gentiles were never under the law, especially the requirements of the law pertaining to the Mt. Sinai Covenant. There were no Gentile, uncircumcised men attempting to keep the Mt. Sinai Covenant during Paul's time. Had a real Gentile man wished to keep the requirements of the law, he certainly would have gone through the ritual of circumcision. On the surface, an uncircumcised man who is keeping the requirements of the law is a contradiction.


Since the redefinition of the title "Jew" in Romans 2:28-29 is a covenantal redefinition, and not an ethnic, national or personal redefinition, it stands to reason that he would go on calling Gentile Christians 'Gentiles', since they still are, ethnically speaking, Gentiles.


I don't believe Paul has redefined the term "Jew" in Romans 2:28-29. I believe his statement was true from the beginning. It has always been true that a Jew is one inwardly. He points out David's experience with "inwardness" (Psalm 32) in Romans 4.

BroRog
Aug 25th 2009, 05:26 PM
Gentiles have been clearly present throughout this passage, actually. And the passage didn't begin in 2:17, by the way. Take a look at v. 10: God will give glory, honor and peace to everyone who works good, "to the Jew first and also to the Greek". Or what about v. 14, explaining the statement in v. 13 that the doers of the law will be justified: "For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written on their hearts..." I have a great deal to say about that verse in particular, but for now just take note that at this stage Gentiles are included in Paul's discussion.

From your post above, it seems that the real bone of your argument is that since Paul is talking to the self-proclaimed "Jew" of v. 17 he must therefore be talking about "Jews" all the way through. Am I right?

What I said in my post to TBD was, "Toward the end of Romans 2, starting at verse 17, the focus of Paul's attention has shifted to those who are called Jews by name." I'm not saying that the entire chapter is about the Jews. But the focus of Paul's attention has shifted from the general to the specific beginning at verse 17. His focus on the Jew continues into chapter 3.


If this is the case, it is simply faulty logic. Since when does the question of who a statement is directed to determine who the statement is thereby about?


When someone says, "I am talking to you about things that pertain to you."


Why must Paul restrict his discussion with the "Jew" to the Jews? If Gentiles were present in the discussion right along with Jews up until v. 16, then why must they be excluded from vv. 17-29?

He first sets out the general principle of salvation, which applies to both Jews and Gentiles alike at the beginning of the chapter. Then he applies that principle to the specific case of the scribe or Pharisee, living at the time of writing, who would boast in simply knowing what the scriptures teach.

Paul deals with a very grave temptation that we all face. We take stock in the fact that we know and teach the scriptures as if God will be impressed with our knowledge of them. He points out that having the scriptures (3:2) and teaching the scriptures (2:21) is not showing that the law is written on the heart. (2:15) Only those Jews who keep the requirements of the law, not merely teach others, are those who will please God. (2:29)

This is not to say that Gentiles can not also be circumcised of heart. God not a respecter of persons. Paul says this elsewhere. But here the issue is whether Paul has applied the term "Jew" to a heart-circumcised Gentile and in my opinion, he has not.

BroRog
Aug 25th 2009, 05:28 PM
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an Husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Jeremiah%2031:31-34%22%29)). I would emphasize that this covenant will be made with Israel and Judah--not with the church. It is repeated in Hebrews 8:8-13, (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Hebrews%208:8-13,%20%22%29)showing the unchangeable purpose of God for His beloved people. This covenant will come into effect at the end of the tribulation period which is called "the time of Jacob's trouble" in Jeremiah 30:7 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Jeremiah%2030:7%2 2%29). It is then that God will pour upon the house of David the spirit of grace and supplication and they will look upon Him whom they have pierced [Jesus] and mourn for Him (Zechariah 12:9-14 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Zechariah%2012:9-14%22%29)). After Israel repents, God will bring in the blessings of the new covenant. It will be a glorious time for Israel (Isaiah 60; Zechariah 14:16-21 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Zechariah%2014:16-21%22%29)).
God says He is going to "bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah" (Jeremiah 30:3 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Jeremiah%2030:3%2 2%29)), and cause them to return to their land (Isaiah 11:11,12; Joel 3:1,2 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Isaiah%2011:11,12 ;%20Joel%203:1,2%22%29)). Notice the word "again." God brought Judah back from the Babylonian captivity the first time. In the future He will again bring back, not Judah only, but also Israel.
God says in Isaiah 2 (concerning Judah and Jerusalem) that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains and all nations shall flow into it. Read verses 1-4 and it will be clear that this has yet to be fulfilled.
In Romans 11:1 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Romans%2011:1%20% 22%29)the apostle Paul asks the question, "Hath God cast away His people? God forbid." He then gives some unanswerable proofs to show that God has not cast away His people. In fact, the Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (Romans 11:11 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Romans%2011:11%22 %29)). Then in verses 25-27 we read, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Notice also that "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29 (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWin%28%22eBible.php?ref=Romans%2011:29%22 %29)). Repentance means a change of mind. God will not change His mind regarding the gifts which He has promised to Israel.

Good summary. Thanks

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 25th 2009, 05:48 PM
The covenant in view in Romans 2:28-29 is not the New Covenant but rather the Mt. Sinai Covenant.

I know you made a lot of points, but I want to stick with this one for now.

So, when Paul qualifies in verse 29 that the true covenant-Jew is the one "who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter", he is talking about the Mt. Sinai Covenant? This seems like quite a stretch to me.

Elsewhere in his writings when he contrasts the "Spirit" and the "letter" he does so to contrast the New Covenant and the Old Covenant (e.g. Rom 7:6; 2 Cor 3:3), so it would stand to reason that his usage is consistent with that here.

Also, as with 2:15, where Paul speaks of Gentiles having "the work of the law written on their hearts" so that they "do the things in the law", 2:29 seems to carry an echo of Deuteronomy 30:6, Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezekiel 36:26, where the New Covenant is envisioned with the forgiveness of sins and the indwelling of the Spirit. In each of those passages, God's future action of writing the law on the hearts of his people and putting his Spirit within them is associated with the eschatological covenant that he would make with them, a covenant "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt" (Jer 31:32). This, it seems clearly enough to me, is the covenant Paul is talking about in Romans 2.

So, what evidence would you see to validate the notion that 2:28-29 is not talking about the New Covenant? Despite the length of your reply, you didn't really back up that claim (unless my eyes are failing me).

theBelovedDisciple
Aug 25th 2009, 06:19 PM
So when the writers of the NT under the direction of the Holy Ghost tell us that 'those in Christ' are neither Jew or Gentile..

is this referring to the 'ethic background'? a Jew or Gentile by 'ethnos'??

When a person looks to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb..

what will you find there?

Jews and Gentiles?


Scripture tells us those in Christ are 'no longer Jews or Gentiles'.. but One in Christ..


those who have been Circumcised in the Heart... coming from Jewish Backgrounds and Gentile Backgrounds.. but no longer 'labeled' as a Jew or Gentile according to their 'ethnos'....

But then Paul tells us he is a Jew who is One 'circumicsed' in the Heart thru the Spirit, not the letter...

when Its all said and done..

those found at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.. neither Jew or Gentile by 'ethnos'..

but Truly Jews.. According to His Eternal Purpose in Christ.... Circumcised in the Heart... this thru and done because of the Work of God in their Hearts and Lives... Spiritual Isreal.. His Bride.. His Church...

this done 'inwardly' not outwardly... that no flesh should Glory in His Presense....

It seems very simple and Easy.. and It is..

the Simplicity that is in Christ... it still Stands today.. no matter how many want to 'spiritualize' it.. or run it down the 'theological waterslide'.. wowing and mezmerizing those who read...

BroRog
Aug 25th 2009, 08:00 PM
I know you made a lot of points, but I want to stick with this one for now.

So, when Paul qualifies in verse 29 that the true covenant-Jew is the one "who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter", he is talking about the Mt. Sinai Covenant? This seems like quite a stretch to me.

Yes. Given the subject of the discourse starting in verse 17, we know that the Mt. Sinai Covenant is the covenant he has view.

It was because Judah disobeyed God and did not allow the land to go fallow every seventh year that God sent Judah into Babylonian captivity. Due to this, God's name was blasphemed among the Gentiles.


Elsewhere in his writings when he contrasts the "Spirit" and the "letter" he does so to contrast the New Covenant and the Old Covenant (e.g. Rom 7:6; 2 Cor 3:3), so it would stand to reason that his usage is consistent with that here.

The contrast here is between what a man is on the inside (spirit) and what he is on the outside (letter). God gave the nation of Israel a written code of morals and behavior, which was written down on tablets of stone, which he designates as "the letter." Not only was Israel supposed to obey these commandments, they were to internalize them, i.e. meditate on them and reflect on them.


Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Paul cites David, in the fourth chapter of Romans to demonstrate that faith was always a part of the Mt. Sinai Covenant. The covenant keeper was supposed to have a humble and contrite heart, just as David did.


Psalm 32:2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

As we know, David sinned against the Lord when he took Bathsheba and had her husband killed on the battle lines. He attempted to act as if nothing happened but, he says, when he kept silent about his sin, his body wasted away. What he kept hidden, was manifest in his body until he faced God in honesty and humility.


Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
So then, the difference between the letter and the spirit is the difference between the moral code written on the tablets and the internal struggle of a man who reflects on the meaning and significance that code presents to him personally. We can leave the code on the tablet, or we can bring the code inside and do business with it. We can leave the code on the tablet or we can face the code with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. That's the difference between the "spirit" and the "letter"


Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
In this context, to serve in oldness of the letter is to seek God's justification through obedience to the rules, which are written down on tablets of stone. What Paul and others realized was that God was granting his declaration of "justified" not on the basis of obedience but on the basis of faith.

A devout Jew in Paul's day might look at his obedience in one of two ways: either he would take stock in the fact that he kept all the rules, believing that God would be pleased with that. Or he would understand that offering a sacrifice for sin, which is one rule to obey, demonstrates the undeniable fact that he is still a sinner in need of grace. As Jesus says, the man who faces God with a humble heart, crying out to God for mercy is the man that will go home justified.

To serve in newness of spirit is to live the circumspect life, to be honest and humble before the scriptures, and to examine ourselves in light of what they reveal. Paul points out in the next section that when he began to examine himself in the light of the Tenth commandment, "thou shall not covet", he found that he was coveting all the time. He allowed the scriptures to penetrate into his heart and examined them with honesty and integrity to discover that he was no different than other men.


Also, as with 2:15, where Paul speaks of Gentiles having "the work of the law written on their hearts" so that they "do the things in the law", 2:29 seems to carry an echo of Deuteronomy 30:6, Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezekiel 36:26, where the New Covenant is envisioned with the forgiveness of sins and the indwelling of the Spirit. In each of those passages, God's future action of writing the law on the hearts of his people and putting his Spirit within them is associated with the eschatological covenant that he would make with them, a covenant "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt" (Jer 31:32). This, it seems clearly enough to me, is the covenant Paul is talking about in Romans 2.

Undoubtedly there is an intentional parallel between Romans 2:15 and Jeremiah 31:33. However, remember Paul's premise is that the Gentiles do NOT have the law, but are a law unto themselves. The Law written on the hearts of the House of Judah and the House of Israel will be the Mosaic Law, which is unique to those under the Mt. Sinai Covenant. The law written on the hearts of the Gentiles is their own law, not the Law of Moses.


So, what evidence would you see to validate the notion that 2:28-29 is not talking about the New Covenant? Despite the length of your reply, you didn't really back up that claim (unless my eyes are failing me).


Except for the Law-written-on-the-heart aspect of his earlier point found in verse 15, where do we find the New Covenant? What Paul has said could be said to anyone under the Old Covenant, which is really his point. He will go on to say that justification by faith has always been God's will and plan, and that God has always intended to bless those with an honest spirit. In Chapter 10 he will highlight Moses word to Israel that the Law will not challenge their intelligence but it will challenge their resolve and that what is needed is for Israel to bring the law into the mouth and the heart. A covenant-Jew has always been a Jew inwardly.

webhead
Aug 25th 2009, 08:20 PM
I'm not a hard core Zionist by any means, but even the most novice Biblical scholars don't make the mistake while reading the prophecies of Jeremiah, Zechariah, and Isaiah concerning Gods covenants with Israel and Judah, think that Israel and Judah should now be replaced by Church or Bride of Christ for example.

Seriously folks, it's crazy to even think of messing with the restored sovereign nation of Israel in any way, including trying to erase them from Biblical prophecy in place of the Church.

I'm no Biblical expert by a long shot, but even I can understand the importance of God's everlasting covenants with Israel and Judah, and they have nothing to do with the bride of Christ.

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 26th 2009, 05:15 PM
The contrast here is between what a man is on the inside (spirit) and what he is on the outside (letter). God gave the nation of Israel a written code of morals and behavior, which was written down on tablets of stone, which he designates as "the letter." Not only was Israel supposed to obey these commandments, they were to internalize them, i.e. meditate on them and reflect on them.
Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Paul cites David, in the fourth chapter of Romans to demonstrate that faith was always a part of the Mt. Sinai Covenant. The covenant keeper was supposed to have a humble and contrite heart, just as David did.
Psalm 32:2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
As we know, David sinned against the Lord when he took Bathsheba and had her husband killed on the battle lines. He attempted to act as if nothing happened but, he says, when he kept silent about his sin, his body wasted away. What he kept hidden, was manifest in his body until he faced God in honesty and humility.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
So then, the difference between the letter and the spirit is the difference between the moral code written on the tablets and the internal struggle of a man who reflects on the meaning and significance that code presents to him personally. We can leave the code on the tablet, or we can bring the code inside and do business with it. We can leave the code on the tablet or we can face the code with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. That's the difference between the "spirit" and the "letter"
Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
In this context, to serve in oldness of the letter is to seek God's justification through obedience to the rules, which are written down on tablets of stone. What Paul and others realized was that God was granting his declaration of "justified" not on the basis of obedience but on the basis of faith.

A devout Jew in Paul's day might look at his obedience in one of two ways: either he would take stock in the fact that he kept all the rules, believing that God would be pleased with that. Or he would understand that offering a sacrifice for sin, which is one rule to obey, demonstrates the undeniable fact that he is still a sinner in need of grace. As Jesus says, the man who faces God with a humble heart, crying out to God for mercy is the man that will go home justified.

To serve in newness of spirit is to live the circumspect life, to be honest and humble before the scriptures, and to examine ourselves in light of what they reveal. Paul points out in the next section that when he began to examine himself in the light of the Tenth commandment, "thou shall not covet", he found that he was coveting all the time. He allowed the scriptures to penetrate into his heart and examined them with honesty and integrity to discover that he was no different than other men.

So you think that πνεῦμα in the contrast of "spirit" and "letter" of Romans 2:29 and Romans 7:6 is the spirit of man, not the Spirit of God? Again, that strikes me as being quite a stretch. What do you make of the very similar spirit-letter contrast in 2 Corinthians 3:6? In that passage Paul is explicit about the New Covenant meaning of the "spirit" over against the "letter", and given the context (e.g. 3:3) I would think it would be beyond argument to say that πνεῦμα is speaking of the Holy Spirit in this passage. But what are your thoughts?

BroRog
Aug 26th 2009, 08:04 PM
So you think that πνεῦμα in the contrast of "spirit" and "letter" of Romans 2:29 and Romans 7:6 is the spirit of man, not the Spirit of God? Again, that strikes me as being quite a stretch. What do you make of the very similar spirit-letter contrast in 2 Corinthians 3:6? In that passage Paul is explicit about the New Covenant meaning of the "spirit" over against the "letter", and given the context (e.g. 3:3) I would think it would be beyond argument to say that πνεῦμα is speaking of the Holy Spirit in this passage. But what are your thoughts?

I believe if we were to go and look at a few key passages we would find that the Apostles speak about both the Holy Spirit of God, and the sanctified spirit of the believer. Not only does the believer experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but he/she has also been given a renewed, reborn, sanctified, cleansed, spirit.

The Holy Spirit himself is responsible for the sanctification of spirit of the believer, and so in many passages it is unclear whether the term "spirit" should be capitalized or not. And in many cases it doesn't really matter whether we capitalize the word "spirit" or not because the point is the same either way. In the 2Corinthians passage, Paul uses the term "Spirit", capital 'S' to refer to the Holy Spirit but he uses the term "heart" to refer to the sanctified spirit of the believer. The work of the Holy Spirit is being done internally, at the locus of a believer's thoughts, intentions, will, reasoning, perspective, and etc.

The spirit-letter contrast in 2Corinthians is speaking generally about the Holy Spirit (Capital 'S' Spirit). In fact, Paul explicitly points to the Holy Spirit saying, "you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."

For some reason a vocal faction in the Corinthian Church remained unconvinced that Paul was a true Apostle and so we see Paul defending his apostleship in 2Corinthians. He rhetorically asks whether he needs to be vetted again with a letter of commendation. He remarks that his "letter of commendation" is written on the hearts of the Corinthians themselves, not with ink, but with the Holy Spirit of God.

At first, the letter-spirit contrast is between a letter of commendation written with ink, and a letter of commendation written on the hearts of the Corinthians. As Paul moves through his discourse, the letter-spirit contrast makes a cleaver transition into a comparison between the Mosaic Law written on tablets of stone and the Mosaic Law written on the hearts of those who sit in the synagogue.

Paul recognizes and acknowledges the fact that without divine, supernatural intervention, a Jew can not read the law and understand it to the point that it leads him or her to Christ. This is why, he says, that he is not adequate in himself, but his adequacy is from God. Without the activity of the Holy Spirit of God to transform someone internally, i.e. figuratively open the eyes and ears, a person can not internalize the truth of the scriptures in order to stand before them with honesty and integrity.

Just as the people required Moses to put a veil over his face, the people who sit in the synagogue each Sabbath have a figurative veil over their mind and heart such that they can not face the truth and accept the Gospel. The ministry of the Holy Spirit has more glory than the ministry of Moses because when the Holy Spirit lifts the veil a person comes to the Lord. Without divine intervention, those with a veil over their minds and hearts will not come to the Lord.

The Fonz
Aug 26th 2009, 10:35 PM
...............
sorry I don't know how to delete this message.
I am made a different version with a quote.
I am new... thanks for your patience.

The Fonz
Aug 26th 2009, 10:36 PM
Paul's point in passages like Romans 2:28-29 is that circumcision is no longer a necessary badge of covenant membership, and that anyone, including any Gentile, who has the law written on their hearts by the Spirit is counted as a member of the covenant, i.e. as a 'Jew', without reference to Torah. What was revolutionary about this, within the first century context in which Paul spoke, was not that a Gentile could become a Jew, but that circumcision was unnecessary to do so.

I love this paragraph MattTheHitmanHart. I agree with it whole heartedly.
Paul, in Romans 2:15,28 quotes Jeremiah, which is speaking of the new covenant. Showing that the "badge of membership", as you say, is no longer the circumcision of the flesh, but that of the heart. Which is the obvious work of the Spirit. What has changed is not someone's ethnicity, but their status... whether or not they are apart of the family of God, or in the covenant people of God. The hindgepoint of the New Covenant is based on whether or not they have the Spirit of God, a new heart of flesh, a new spirit... and that is shown by them now "keeping the Law" (Rom. 2:27).
So I believe a Gentile can become a "Jew" covenantally... and that a Jew ethnically can forfeit his membership in the covenant by not embracing the New Covenants conditions. Which is belief in Jesus, the resurrected Lord of the whole earth... which is rewarded with the "new life" of the Spirit. So though a Jew might be one ethnically... he may not be one covenantally.

theodoret
Aug 26th 2009, 11:07 PM
"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." Acts 3: 22,23 (quoting from Deuteronomy)

So the Jews of Palestine who reject Christ are cut off/destroyed from among the people until they "hear Him"?

I wonder what John Hagee would have to say about that? :)

shepherdsword
Aug 26th 2009, 11:19 PM
The Temple Solomon built was destroyed by fire on the 9th of Ab in 585 or 586 B.C. (depending on which biblical scholar is doing the research). Just 656 or 657 years later on the 9th of Ab in 70 A.D., the Temple that Herod built was also destroyed by Titus Vespasian and his Roman army, and the nation of Israel was dispersed throughout the entire world.

Now here is the question that defies all logic, because it's never happened in the history of the world until now.

How did all of those Jews from the destroyed nation of Israel in 70 A.D. keep their Jewish identities and religion over almost 2000 years while being integrated into cultures around the world, and then 2000 years later, they came back to their homeland from all over the globe, becoming a sovereign nation again, if God were finished with them?

Answer. It was a supernatural act of God, because God the father is far from done with his nation and his bride.

Christ's bride is the Church, but God the father is still very married to his bride, Israel.

Israel and the Church are not the same thing.

Why is the holy city in Revelation called New Jerusalem? Why not New New York, or New Beijing? Or New Siberia, or new Iran? etc....?

The Lord lives in the promised land(Deuteronomy), that's why.
The church and Israel are more than the same. They are one:

Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both ONE(get the revelation), and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Bing
Aug 26th 2009, 11:51 PM
Not that it isn't fun and all, rehashing Romans 2 again, but I think the really interesting part of this thread (and the least commented on) is Hitman's point that some of the addressees in Paul's letters were no longer Gentiles.

Isn't that a revolutionary point? What were they, if they were no longer Gentiles?

While all of this exegesis is valuable (and do carry on with it, as soon as I'm done here), isn't there textual proof here that the Jew/Gentile divide is not a question of ethnicity? And if that, then mightn't the entire subject of who a Jew is have an important bedrock to build on?

Perhaps my ignorance is showing, but ought we not settle this issue before plunging on with an argument whose premises (not to say answers!) might be significantly coloured by answering this question?

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 27th 2009, 05:55 AM
I believe if we were to go and look at a few key passages we would find that the Apostles speak about both the Holy Spirit of God, and the sanctified spirit of the believer. Not only does the believer experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but he/she has also been given a renewed, reborn, sanctified, cleansed, spirit.

The Holy Spirit himself is responsible for the sanctification of spirit of the believer, and so in many passages it is unclear whether the term "spirit" should be capitalized or not. And in many cases it doesn't really matter whether we capitalize the word "spirit" or not because the point is the same either way. In the 2Corinthians passage, Paul uses the term "Spirit", capital 'S' to refer to the Holy Spirit but he uses the term "heart" to refer to the sanctified spirit of the believer. The work of the Holy Spirit is being done internally, at the locus of a believer's thoughts, intentions, will, reasoning, perspective, and etc.

The spirit-letter contrast in 2Corinthians is speaking generally about the Holy Spirit (Capital 'S' Spirit). In fact, Paul explicitly points to the Holy Spirit saying, "you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."

For some reason a vocal faction in the Corinthian Church remained unconvinced that Paul was a true Apostle and so we see Paul defending his apostleship in 2Corinthians. He rhetorically asks whether he needs to be vetted again with a letter of commendation. He remarks that his "letter of commendation" is written on the hearts of the Corinthians themselves, not with ink, but with the Holy Spirit of God.

At first, the letter-spirit contrast is between a letter of commendation written with ink, and a letter of commendation written on the hearts of the Corinthians. As Paul moves through his discourse, the letter-spirit contrast makes a cleaver transition into a comparison between the Mosaic Law written on tablets of stone and the Mosaic Law written on the hearts of those who sit in the synagogue.

Paul recognizes and acknowledges the fact that without divine, supernatural intervention, a Jew can not read the law and understand it to the point that it leads him or her to Christ. This is why, he says, that he is not adequate in himself, but his adequacy is from God. Without the activity of the Holy Spirit of God to transform someone internally, i.e. figuratively open the eyes and ears, a person can not internalize the truth of the scriptures in order to stand before them with honesty and integrity.

Just as the people required Moses to put a veil over his face, the people who sit in the synagogue each Sabbath have a figurative veil over their mind and heart such that they can not face the truth and accept the Gospel. The ministry of the Holy Spirit has more glory than the ministry of Moses because when the Holy Spirit lifts the veil a person comes to the Lord. Without divine intervention, those with a veil over their minds and hearts will not come to the Lord.

So, you acknowledge that the spirit-letter contrast of 2 Corinthians 3:6 is between the Holy Spirit and the Mosaic law, i.e. between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant, but you don't believe that the very similar spirit-letter contrast in Romans 2 and 7 is talking about the same thing, but instead is speaking of "what a man is on the outside (spirit) and what he is on the outside (letter)"?! I definitely think that meaning is present as well (and is closely connected to the other meaning, as it is also in 2 Cor 3), but to conclude thereby (a) that this is the only connotation of the spirit-letter contrast in these other Pauline passages, (b) that the "spirit" in these cases is talking about the spirit of man and not the spirit of God, and (c) that the New Covenant is not present in them as it is in 2 Corinthians is simply astounding to me, to say the least.

As you admit, Jeremiah 31 stands behind the text of Romans 2 (at least in verse 15, if not in 29!) just as it does 2 Corinthians 3. Where Paul says specifically in 2 Cor 3:3 that the Gentile believers in Corinth are an epistle of Christ, written by the Spirit of God on the tablets of the heart and not on the tablets of stone, he says generally in Rom 2:15 that there are Gentiles, who although not possessing the law, do the things in the law by their renewed nature, having the work of the law written in their hearts. Both of these passages are clearly talking about the indwelling Spirit which was prophesied by Jeremiah as the central feature of the New Covenant.

As for Romans 7, when it speaks of the "spirit" in contrast to the "letter", it is clear about connecting the "letter" to the "law"--the law, that is, which was given through the Sinai covenant (7:1-5, 7). And when Paul contrasts the two, he identifies them with two different ages, the past and the present. In other words, he contrasts the Old Covenant with the New: "we were in the flesh", characterizing the time of the law, i.e. the Old Covenant; "but now we have been delivered from the law... so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter", characterizing, of course, the New Covenant. 7:7-25 then elaborates on the characteristic struggle of Israel as it lives under the bondage of the law (the "I" in these verses functions as a rhetorical device of identification, as it does in 3:7), and then 8:1-11 elaborates on the contrasting freedom of those in Christ as they fulfill the law through the Spirit.

But this is the point at present: there is no contextual grounds from either Romans 2 or Romans 7 to say that the spirit-letter contrast is anything other than what it is in 2 Corinthians 3, i.e. a contrast between the empowering Spirit of God written on the hearts of his people by the New Covenant and the impotent letter of the law which governed and constrained Israel under the Old Covenant. And since this is the case, you have no grounds on which to deny the fact that the designation of the Spirit-defined covenant-Jew of Romans 2:28-29 (which is contrasted there with the merely ethnic Jew) is anything other than a New Covenant designation, and thus that it is a designation open for Gentiles as they have been welcomed into God's historic family through Christ.

BroRog
Aug 27th 2009, 03:29 PM
Not that it isn't fun and all, rehashing Romans 2 again, but I think the really interesting part of this thread (and the least commented on) is Hitman's point that some of the addressees in Paul's letters were no longer Gentiles.

Isn't that a revolutionary point? What were they, if they were no longer Gentiles?

While all of this exegesis is valuable (and do carry on with it, as soon as I'm done here), isn't there textual proof here that the Jew/Gentile divide is not a question of ethnicity? And if that, then mightn't the entire subject of who a Jew is have an important bedrock to build on?

Perhaps my ignorance is showing, but ought we not settle this issue before plunging on with an argument whose premises (not to say answers!) might be significantly coloured by answering this question?

As I understand it, the term "Gentiles" (ethnos in Greek) has a very broad range of meaning because, frankly, it simply means "everyone else." There are Jews; and then there is everyone else. There is Israel; and then there are the other countries. There are the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and then there are other people groups -- everyone else.

Since Israel was ethnocentric by nature, a people called out of the world to be God's own possession, the language and vocabulary of Isreal tended to reflect this centrality. And so we could consider any number of different categories: social, cultural, religious, political, ethinic and etc., setting that of Israel in contrast to the rest of the world.

With regard to religion, for instance, the world had only one divinely authorized religion, which was the Mosaic Law. There was the religion of Israel on one side, and then there were are all the other religions on the other side. And so the term "Gentile" was employed to indicate anyone who was not practicing Judiaism. From the Jewish perspective, all other religions were pagan, and all those who practiced other religions were "Gentile".

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 27th 2009, 05:50 PM
The hindgepoint of the New Covenant is based on whether or not they have the Spirit of God, a new heart of flesh, a new spirit... and that is shown by them now "keeping the Law" (Rom. 2:27).

Well said Fonzie! Welcome to the board.

webhead
Aug 27th 2009, 06:47 PM
The old testament prophets like Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zechariah, etc... had no idea about the Church that would be established in the 1st century A.D., we know this much.

Are some of you guys saying that they were prophesying about a future Church that they had no idea would exist? That when they Wrote about Israel and Judah, they were really writing about the yet to be established future 1st century Church replacing both, they just didn't know it yet?

Am I understanding you right?

Just looking for some clarification.:hug:

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 27th 2009, 06:55 PM
BroRog,

Here's something else that puzzles me about your reading of Romans 2:


It appears to be a common mistake to assume that the uncircumcised man of verse 26 is a real person, i.e. an uncircumcised Gentile rather than a rhetorical hypothetical man.

I see from this statement that you do not believe Paul's example in vv. 26-27 of a Gentile who "fulfills the law" while remaining uncircumcised is a real example, but is actually just a straw-man that he holds up purely for the sake of condemning the circumcised Jew who breaks the law. It is, as you say, hypothetical.

It puzzles me, first of all, that Paul would use such a hollow argument, a mere smoke screen that has no real substance. I know, however, that this is a classic reformed way of reading this passage. Paul's only point all the way from 1:18 through to 3:20 is to place all of humanity under sin and in need of redemption, it is said, and so he can't introduce a category of people who actually fulfill the law prior to his dramatic statement in 3:21. And so we smooth out all the ruff edges and contours of Paul's thought in this lengthy passage, and reduce it all to a point that could have been made in much fewer words: "all have sinned". I can't help but think we are throwing a big part of Paul's point in this passage under the rug.

But the thing that really puzzles me about your reading in particular is that you concede the fact that Paul does introduce such a category of people in 2:13-15, Gentiles who "do the things in the law" by virtue of its being "written in their hearts", while still denying that this category carries through Paul's argument into vv. 25-29. Please, enlighten me on your reasoning here. Why should the law-fulfilling Gentile of 2:26-27 be merely a "rhetorical hypothetical man", as you say, when the Gentile "doers of the law" in 2:13-15 are clearly not hypothetical, but are clearly speaking of Christian Gentiles, members of the New Covenant?

BroRog
Aug 27th 2009, 08:20 PM
So, you acknowledge that the spirit-letter contrast of 2 Corinthians 3:6 is between the Holy Spirit and the Mosaic law, i.e. between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant, but you don't believe that the very similar spirit-letter contrast in Romans 2 and 7 is talking about the same thing, but instead is speaking of "what a man is on the outside (spirit) and what he is on the outside (letter)"?!

If I lead you to believe that the spirit-letter contrast in 2Corinthians is between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, I mislead you. That is not what I believe as I thought my earlier statement said.

Brorog: At first, the letter-spirit contrast is between a letter of commendation written with ink, and a letter of commendation written on the hearts of the Corinthians. As Paul moves through his discourse, the letter-spirit contrast makes a cleaver transition into a comparison between the Mosaic Law written on tablets of stone and the Mosaic Law written on the hearts of those who sit in the synagogue.
The contrast between spirit and letter has always been a contrast between what is written on the page, and the integrity and honesty to live according to what is written on the page. This was just as true during the Old Covenant as it will be during the New Covenant. The contrast Paul makes isn't between the Old and the New, but between a law or a letter written on paper with a law or letter incorporated within oneself.

For example, in the August News And Views, Dr. David Crabtree reflects on the mission of Gutenberg College, and in that article he describes what he means by "understanding". http://www.gutenbergcommunity.org/pdfs/currentnewsletter.pdf


At Gutenberg we want our students to learn some information in this way, but this is not, at all, our emphasis. We don’t just want our students to “know”—we want them to “understand.” Let me explain the distinction I am trying to make.

One can “know” all kinds of things but stay untouched by what one has learned. In the way that I am using the word “know,” a computer can know. But we encourage our students to do more. We want them to interact with ideas. We want them to process ideas and make them their own. We encourage students to take in content and then ask themselves, “If this is true, what difference does it make to the way that I live my life?” When a student is presented with an idea, examines that idea from enough different sides to judge whether or not it is true, and then has the personal integrity to live his life accordingly, then we can say that he “understands” that idea. What Dr. Crabtree wants from his students is the very thing God wants from those living under his law. He wants them to acknowledge the truth and live life according.
I definitely think that meaning is present as well (and is closely connected to the other meaning, as it is also in 2 Cor 3), but to conclude thereby (a) that this is the only connotation of the spirit-letter contrast in these other Pauline passages, (b) that the "spirit" in these cases is talking about the spirit of man and not the spirit of God, and (c) that the New Covenant is not present in them as it is in 2 Corinthians is simply astounding to me, to say the least.I don't believe the issue seeks to understand the contrast between what a man is on the inside and what he is on the outside per se, though the condition of a man's heart ultimately makes the difference. The contrast Paul draws in 2Corinthians, as I see it, is between what a man does with the law, whether he leaves it on the written page or whether he accepts it as truth and incorporates it into his life. I'm not sure whether the spirit-letter contrast is ever meant to be a contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

Paul mentions the fact that he is a minister of a new covenant in 2Cor. 3, but here the contrast is between his ministry and that of Moses.


As you admit, Jeremiah 31 stands behind the text of Romans 2 (at least in verse 15, if not in 29!) just as it does 2 Corinthians 3. Where Paul says specifically in 2 Cor 3:3 that the Gentile believers in Corinth are an epistle of Christ, written by the Spirit of God on the tablets of the heart and not on the tablets of stone, he says generally in Rom 2:15 that there are Gentiles, who although not possessing the law, do the things in the law by their renewed nature, having the work of the law written in their hearts. Both of these passages are clearly talking about the indwelling Spirit which was prophesied by Jeremiah as the central feature of the New Covenant. Again, it is important to keep in mind Paul's earlier statement that the Gentiles are a "law unto themselves." So when he says that the Gentiles have the Law written on their hearts, he isn't talking about the Mosaic Law, since he just said they don't have it.

But I am careful to notice that he talks, not about the Law (capital 'L') as being written on the hearts of Gentiles, but about the work of the Law written on the heart. As Paul points out in Galatians, the objective of the Law, the goal intended to be attained is a particular perspective about sin and life such that a person interested in such things will be prepared to accept Christ as savior. The Law was intended to act as guardian and teacher such that a Jew living under the law would be instructed out of that Law to anticipate God's salvation. That is the "work" of the Law.

What the Gentiles have written on their hearts is not the Law itself, but the very same attitude and orientation expected of those living under the Mosaic Law, which is the objectification of the law in the hearts of believers. Jesus Christ is the goal of the Mosaic Law. But the Gentiles have a law of their own which also informed them of the need for a savior. The closer a moral code comes to the objective moral vision of God, the more adequate that code will be to inform a person of their moral ineptitude and the need for a savior. Paul says that the Gentiles have a moral code of their own that served the same goal and had the same result as the Mosaic Law which lead them to Christ.

Just as it was possible for a Gentile, uneducated in the area of what God's Law says, to have the work of that Law written on his heart, how much more was it possible for a Jew, living under that Law, to come to saving faith? In chapter 3 of Romans he says,


19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;

The Law speaks to those under the law, but only those who are listening will close the mouth. :) I mean, eventually everyone will stand accountable before God, but before the final judgment the law is speaking to whomever will listen. And if we listen, it we won't be able to defend ourselves; we will keep silent.

The point is, Romans 2:29 is not strictly and exclusively a New Covenant experience.


As for Romans 7, when it speaks of the "spirit" in contrast to the "letter", it is clear about connecting the "letter" to the "law"--the law, that is, which was given through the Sinai covenant (7:1-5, 7). And when Paul contrasts the two, he identifies them with two different ages, the past and the present. In other words, he contrasts the Old Covenant with the New: "we were in the flesh", characterizing the time of the law, i.e. the Old Covenant; "but now we have been delivered from the law... so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter", characterizing, of course, the New Covenant. 7:7-25 then elaborates on the characteristic struggle of Israel as it lives under the bondage of the law (the "I" in these verses functions as a rhetorical device of identification, as it does in 3:7), and then 8:1-11 elaborates on the contrasting freedom of those in Christ as they fulfill the law through the Spirit.King David could have made the exact same argument as Paul did. The difference isn't between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant. The difference centers on Paul's subjective experience, which is a contrast between his life before and after the indwelling of the spirit. From a personal standpoint, the individual with the indwelling Spirit will walk in newness of Spirit rather than oldness of Letter, the time factor being relative to when a person came to saving faith. King David, living under the Old Covenant, experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as did some of his contemporaries. Anyone who understands that the true sacrifice is a contrite heart is walking in newness of spirit.


And since this is the case, you have no grounds on which to deny the fact that the designation of the Spirit-defined covenant-Jew of Romans 2:28-29 (which is contrasted there with the merely ethnic Jew) is anything other than a New Covenant designation, and thus that it is a designation open for Gentiles as they have been welcomed into God's historic family through Christ.Hopefully you can see that the spirit-letter contrast is true in either covenant because the contrast seeks to make a distinction between those who leave the Law on the tablet, and those who bring the Law inside to allow it to teach, convict, and cause anticipation for a savior. This was just as true, individually speaking, under the Old Covenant as it will be under the New Covenant.

webhead
Aug 27th 2009, 08:48 PM
I'd like to add the prophet Isaiah's testimony to the discussion.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Isaiah was saved OT nation of Israel style. He didn't know the Christ would be named Jesus of Nazareth, yet he was still saved, how could this be? Same applies to Abraham, David, Moses, etc.......... How were they saved?

It's tricky to figure out how the people making up the nation of Israel are saved without crying on the name of Jesus the Christ, and yet the OT shows many were despite this.

Some day the entire nation of Israel will know the name of Jesus the Christ as the messiah, but that day as prophesied by John in Revelation has not yet come.

Christ is the only way to the father, and the nation of Israel will realize this some day. God is not through with Israel, and this is why the nation was restored after 2000 years, in the 20th century. It's to fulfill Biblical prophecy in the end times. Israel and the Church(body of Christ) are not the same thing.

BroRog
Aug 27th 2009, 09:48 PM
BroRog,

Here's something else that puzzles me about your reading of Romans 2:



I see from this statement that you do not believe Paul's example in vv. 26-27 of a Gentile who "fulfills the law" while remaining uncircumcised is a real example, but is actually just a straw-man that he holds up purely for the sake of condemning the circumcised Jew who breaks the law. It is, as you say, hypothetical.

If I were Paul, I would be offended by your statement that my counterfactual was a "straw-man" with all the negative connotations this word conveys. :)

Seriously though, his "straw-man" as you call him, is intended to highlight by contrast the signal function of circumcision. The bodily mark of circumcision is intended to encode a message that reads, "I am a member of the covenant people." And for Paul, the encoded message can either speak truly or give a false impression. In order to make his point, he sets up a counterfactual hypothetical uncircumcised man to represent the logical case of a man who, as far as anyone can tell, is keeping the covenant, but does not have the signitory mark of that covenant on his body. That is to say, the physical mark can only convey meaningful information if, in fact, the person wearing the mark is keeping the covenant.

I should expect that Paul isn't suggesting that his two examples are the only possiblities. It isn't as if all circumcised men are covenant breakers and so his two conditions aren't the only logical conditions possible. But his two conditions make the point that the sign on the body can falsely indicate covenant keeping, when in fact it isn't true.


It puzzles me, first of all, that Paul would use such a hollow argument, a mere smoke screen that has no real substance. I know, however, that this is a classic reformed way of reading this passage. Paul's only point all the way from 1:18 through to 3:20 is to place all of humanity under sin and in need of redemption, it is said, and so he can't introduce a category of people who actually fulfill the law prior to his dramatic statement in 3:21. And so we smooth out all the ruff edges and contours of Paul's thought in this lengthy passage, and reduce it all to a point that could have been made in much fewer words: "all have sinned". I can't help but think we are throwing a big part of Paul's point in this passage under the rug.

I understand your concern. But I don't place myself in that category. I agree with your point that some have falsely assumed that the Law was impossible to keep. It wasn't. But I think if they tightened up their view, they would agree that the moral vision contained in the law was impossible to sustain. Most Christians will agree, I think, that a man can not merit his salvation based on his moral prowess.

But I don't think Paul is making that point here in Romans 2. You will agree, I think, that Paul has already stipulated that God will judge Jew and Gentile alike on the basis of whether a man has sought glory, honor, and eternal life through his deeds. And as he makes his transition toward a discussion of how this principle applies in a Jewish context, he points out that, as far as deeds are concerned, it isn't the man who hears the law that will be justified, it's the doer of the law that will be justified (which can't be a null set.)

His discourse transitions to a special case in which some Jews expect God's favor on the basis of being the champion of the law, that is, he is speaking to teachers of the law. The issue seems to be a teacher who, at the same time, boasts in his knowledge of the law but doesn't keep it. This isn't to say that all Jews were like this. Some were and some weren't. But this grave temptation to take stock in our ability to memorize vast sections of the scriptures and to correctly teach the scriptures is a common trap for many Christians as well as Jews. But again, doing and teaching are two different things. :)


But the thing that really puzzles me about your reading in particular is that you concede the fact that Paul does introduce such a category of people in 2:13-15, Gentiles who "do the things in the law" by virtue of its being "written in their hearts", while still denying that this category carries through Paul's argument into vv. 25-29. Please, enlighten me on your reasoning here. Why should the law-fulfilling Gentile of 2:26-27 be merely a "rhetorical hypothetical man", as you say, when the Gentile "doers of the law" in 2:13-15 are clearly not hypothetical, but are clearly speaking of Christian Gentiles, members of the New Covenant?

I partially addressed this in my previous post in which I argued that The Gentiles aren't doers of the Mosaic Law, they are doers of whatever law they have. I assume Paul affirms that an objective morally exists, which is why he can argue that the Gentiles have a law of their own which serves the same purpose as the Mosaic Law in terms of its goal to bring us to Christ. Other cultures also have prohibitions against murder, and adultery.

I also argued before that the early part of chapter 2 describes a general principle of God's judgment in terms of how one's motivations and expectations dictates behaviors that God will judge. Beginning in verse 17, Paul raises the special case of someone who teaches, but does not perform, what the scriptures say. Then he raises the issue of the value of circumcision as a means to convey the message, "I am a covenant member", which can be a true message or give a false impression depending on whether any particular Jewish man is actually keeping the covenant or not.

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 28th 2009, 06:08 PM
If I lead you to believe that the spirit-letter contrast in 2Corinthians is between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, I mislead you. That is not what I believe as I thought my earlier statement said.

Brorog: At first, the letter-spirit contrast is between a letter of commendation written with ink, and a letter of commendation written on the hearts of the Corinthians. As Paul moves through his discourse, the letter-spirit contrast makes a cleaver transition into a comparison between the Mosaic Law written on tablets of stone and the Mosaic Law written on the hearts of those who sit in the synagogue.
The contrast between spirit and letter has always been a contrast between what is written on the page, and the integrity and honesty to live according to what is written on the page. This was just as true during the Old Covenant as it will be during the New Covenant. The contrast Paul makes isn't between the Old and the New, but between a law or a letter written on paper with a law or letter incorporated within oneself.

For example, in the August News And Views, Dr. David Crabtree reflects on the mission of Gutenberg College, and in that article he describes what he means by "understanding". http://www.gutenbergcommunity.org/pdfs/currentnewsletter.pdf

What Dr. Crabtree wants from his students is the very thing God wants from those living under his law. He wants them to acknowledge the truth and live life according. I don't believe the issue seeks to understand the contrast between what a man is on the inside and what he is on the outside per se, though the condition of a man's heart ultimately makes the difference. The contrast Paul draws in 2Corinthians, as I see it, is between what a man does with the law, whether he leaves it on the written page or whether he accepts it as truth and incorporates it into his life. I'm not sure whether the spirit-letter contrast is ever meant to be a contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

Paul mentions the fact that he is a minister of a new covenant in 2Cor. 3, but here the contrast is between his ministry and that of Moses.

Again, it is important to keep in mind Paul's earlier statement that the Gentiles are a "law unto themselves." So when he says that the Gentiles have the Law written on their hearts, he isn't talking about the Mosaic Law, since he just said they don't have it.

But I am careful to notice that he talks, not about the Law (capital 'L') as being written on the hearts of Gentiles, but about the work of the Law written on the heart. As Paul points out in Galatians, the objective of the Law, the goal intended to be attained is a particular perspective about sin and life such that a person interested in such things will be prepared to accept Christ as savior. The Law was intended to act as guardian and teacher such that a Jew living under the law would be instructed out of that Law to anticipate God's salvation. That is the "work" of the Law.

What the Gentiles have written on their hearts is not the Law itself, but the very same attitude and orientation expected of those living under the Mosaic Law, which is the objectification of the law in the hearts of believers. Jesus Christ is the goal of the Mosaic Law. But the Gentiles have a law of their own which also informed them of the need for a savior. The closer a moral code comes to the objective moral vision of God, the more adequate that code will be to inform a person of their moral ineptitude and the need for a savior. Paul says that the Gentiles have a moral code of their own that served the same goal and had the same result as the Mosaic Law which lead them to Christ.

Just as it was possible for a Gentile, uneducated in the area of what God's Law says, to have the work of that Law written on his heart, how much more was it possible for a Jew, living under that Law, to come to saving faith? In chapter 3 of Romans he says,

19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;

The Law speaks to those under the law, but only those who are listening will close the mouth. :) I mean, eventually everyone will stand accountable before God, but before the final judgment the law is speaking to whomever will listen. And if we listen, it we won't be able to defend ourselves; we will keep silent.

The point is, Romans 2:29 is not strictly and exclusively a New Covenant experience.

King David could have made the exact same argument as Paul did. The difference isn't between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant. The difference centers on Paul's subjective experience, which is a contrast between his life before and after the indwelling of the spirit. From a personal standpoint, the individual with the indwelling Spirit will walk in newness of Spirit rather than oldness of Letter, the time factor being relative to when a person came to saving faith. King David, living under the Old Covenant, experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as did some of his contemporaries. Anyone who understands that the true sacrifice is a contrite heart is walking in newness of spirit.

Hopefully you can see that the spirit-letter contrast is true in either covenant because the contrast seeks to make a distinction between those who leave the Law on the tablet, and those who bring the Law inside to allow it to teach, convict, and cause anticipation for a savior. This was just as true, individually speaking, under the Old Covenant as it will be under the New Covenant.

Wow... The more I talk to you the more I see that you and I just have polar opposite understandings of Paul. I was initially very intrigued by how you arrived at several of your conclusions related to Romans 2, and the more I press you the list of (what are from my perspective) outlandish ideas continue to multiply in your responses, each of which deserves attention in their own right. So I think that to continue this discussion here would take us too far afield from the actual subject of this thread.

I don't know if I'd have the energy right now (not to mention the time), but it might be good for us to start a dialog in another thread more related to Paul in general, where we could hash out Romans, 2 Corinthians, the Spirit, the New Covenant, etc.

Blessings!

BroRog
Aug 28th 2009, 10:20 PM
Wow... The more I talk to you the more I see that you and I just have polar opposite understandings of Paul. I was initially very intrigued by how you arrived at several of your conclusions related to Romans 2, and the more I press you the list of (what are from my perspective) outlandish ideas continue to multiply in your responses, each of which deserves attention in their own right. So I think that to continue this discussion here would take us too far afield from the actual subject of this thread.

I don't know if I'd have the energy right now (not to mention the time), but it might be good for us to start a dialog in another thread more related to Paul in general, where we could hash out Romans, 2 Corinthians, the Spirit, the New Covenant, etc.

Blessings!

I'll be here in Bible Chat. Can't follow you to ETC.