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  • understanding Paul

    Peter said that Paul was sometimes difficult to understand. I think that's because Paul used shorthand to describe things, expecting the context to explain things.

    For example, when Paul mentioned "faith," he often meant "saving faith," or "faith in Christ," and relied on the context for his readers to understand that. Paul was not saying there aren't other kinds of faith, such as belief in a God or belief in God's Law.

    Paul mentioned in Romans 3 that none are righteous under the Law. He expected his readers to understand that he was speaking of righteousness that leads to salvation, or to eternal life, and not discounting the fact men could be righteous under the Law.

    Paul perfectly well knew and explained that those who kept the Law properly were righteous. He was speaking only of the righteousness that could lead to eternal life. That either came by perfection or by Christ. Obviously, since the Fall, righteousness leading to salvation only comes by Christ. So righteousness under the Law, lacking Christ, does not work for anyone.

    Context is important, therefore, when reading Paul. You have to know when he is using shorthand. Otherwise, you will draw all kinds of false conclusions. For example, you may falsely conclude that he is teaching the Law was worthless, or that nobody can do anything good. He never taught those things. What he taught has to be understood *in context!*

  • #2
    Originally posted by randyk View Post
    Peter said that Paul was sometimes difficult to understand. I think that's because Paul used shorthand to describe things, expecting the context to explain things.

    For example, when Paul mentioned "faith," he often meant "saving faith," or "faith in Christ," and relied on the context for his readers to understand that. Paul was not saying there aren't other kinds of faith, such as belief in a God or belief in God's Law.

    Paul mentioned in Romans 3 that none are righteous under the Law. He expected his readers to understand that he was speaking of righteousness that leads to salvation, or to eternal life, and not discounting the fact men could be righteous under the Law.

    Paul perfectly well knew and explained that those who kept the Law properly were righteous. He was speaking only of the righteousness that could lead to eternal life. That either came by perfection or by Christ. Obviously, since the Fall, righteousness leading to salvation only comes by Christ. So righteousness under the Law, lacking Christ, does not work for anyone.

    Context is important, therefore, when reading Paul. You have to know when he is using shorthand. Otherwise, you will draw all kinds of false conclusions. For example, you may falsely conclude that he is teaching the Law was worthless, or that nobody can do anything good. He never taught those things. What he taught has to be understood *in context!*
    Would I be correct in saying you do not support the faith alone / grace alone crowd?
    22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth... (1Peter 1:22)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by randyk View Post
      Peter said that Paul was sometimes difficult to understand. I think that's because Paul used shorthand to describe things, expecting the context to explain things.

      For example, when Paul mentioned "faith," he often meant "saving faith," or "faith in Christ," and relied on the context for his readers to understand that. Paul was not saying there aren't other kinds of faith, such as belief in a God or belief in God's Law.

      Paul mentioned in Romans 3 that none are righteous under the Law. He expected his readers to understand that he was speaking of righteousness that leads to salvation, or to eternal life, and not discounting the fact men could be righteous under the Law.

      Paul perfectly well knew and explained that those who kept the Law properly were righteous. He was speaking only of the righteousness that could lead to eternal life. That either came by perfection or by Christ. Obviously, since the Fall, righteousness leading to salvation only comes by Christ. So righteousness under the Law, lacking Christ, does not work for anyone.

      Context is important, therefore, when reading Paul. You have to know when he is using shorthand. Otherwise, you will draw all kinds of false conclusions. For example, you may falsely conclude that he is teaching the Law was worthless, or that nobody can do anything good. He never taught those things. What he taught has to be understood *in context!*
      The only way obedience to the Law could credit man as righteous is IF obedience was done in faith. For apart from faith the Law can make no man righteous. We know this through looking at the Pharisees. A group of extraordinary keepers of the Law without faith. The only righteousness accredited to them was self-righteousness.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by RogerW View Post

        The only way obedience to the Law could credit man as righteous is IF obedience was done in faith. For apart from faith the Law can make no man righteous. We know this through looking at the Pharisees. A group of extraordinary keepers of the Law without faith. The only righteousness accredited to them was self-righteousness.
        I'd like to add to your post. I'm currently in Galatians, Christians who began to turn away from Christ's grace and faith, FOR the Law. Paul was very critical of their choice in turning away toward the Law, away from Christ, away from faith in Him and away from God's grace.

        Originally posted by randyk View Post
        Paul perfectly well knew and explained that those who kept the Law properly were righteous. He was speaking only of the righteousness that could lead to eternal life. That either came by perfection or by Christ. Obviously, since the Fall, righteousness leading to salvation only comes by Christ. So righteousness under the Law, lacking Christ, does not work for anyone.
        Context is important, therefore, when reading Paul. You have to know when he is using shorthand. Otherwise, you will draw all kinds of false conclusions. For example, you may falsely conclude that he is teaching the Law was worthless, or that nobody can do anything good. He never taught those things. What he taught has to be understood *in context!*
        The context Paul is teaching is that the Law will NEVER make a person righteous, even "if" they could possibly adhere to all 613 statutes of the Law with perfection. They still... were not righteous.
        --
        Slug1--out

        ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nova2216 View Post

          Would I be correct in saying you do not support the faith alone / grace alone crowd?
          No, I do support faith alone with respect to *atonement.* The language Catholics used of faith plus works was, I think, partly misunderstood by Luther. When Catholics implied that works partly earned atonement, that would be rightly rejected by Luther. We cannot "buy" our atonement. We cannot "buy" people out of Purgatory.

          But when some, like even some Protestants, more modestly declared that works were required as part of our repentance unto Salvation, I would have to agree--the faith plus works equation is fine. The only works that obtained atonement belonged to Christ. The works that we do to achieve Salvation has to do with our testimony that Christ is our exclusive atonement. The works we must do as part of achieving Salvation is repentance, which makes the choice to take hold of Christ's atonement. It's a choice to not just do good, but to also be good.

          Salvation is, I believe, both a determination to do good and a choice to avail ourselves of the means of breaking free of the bondage of the sinful nature by partaking of a new nature, free of condemnation. Without this sense of abandoning evil works there can be no Salvation. Repentance is definitely part of Salvation, as defined by Christ himself.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by randyk View Post

            No, I do support faith alone with respect to *atonement.* The language Catholics used of faith plus works was, I think, partly misunderstood by Luther. When Catholics implied that works partly earned atonement, that would be rightly rejected by Luther. We cannot "buy" our atonement. We cannot "buy" people out of Purgatory. But when some, like even some Protestants more modestly declared that works were required as part of our repentance unto Salvation, I would have to agree--the faith plus works equation is fine. The only works that obtained atonement belonged to Christ. The works that we do to achieve Salvation has to do with our testimony that Christ is our exclusive atonement. The works we must do as part of achieving Salvation is repentance, which makes the choice to take hold of Christ's atonement.
            Works don't come into the equation until AFTER a person believes. Not by works... is made SO very clear in the scriptures so it can't be misunderstood. NO WORKS lead to redemption, ALL works follow redemption.
            --
            Slug1--out

            ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RogerW View Post

              The only way obedience to the Law could credit man as righteous is IF obedience was done in faith. For apart from faith the Law can make no man righteous. We know this through looking at the Pharisees. A group of extraordinary keepers of the Law without faith. The only righteousness accredited to them was self-righteousness.
              Yes, Roger, I agree. But this is where the language problem of Paul can be seen most clearly. It's not that Paul was saying anything wrong, but that he can be easily misunderstood if the context and the terms are not properly understood. In shorthand Paul is talking about a specific kind of righteousness--the righteousness of faith for Salvation. Righteousness clearly existed under the Law that was by faith, but did not merit final atonement. Only Christ could do that.

              So we have to understand that Paul was defining terms in context that can be misunderstood when that context is lost. He is not just talking about faith or righteousness, but more narrowly, faith and righteousness that avail themselves of the atonement of Christ, without which nobody can be saved, whether with faith or righteousness.

              At the time Jesus came Israel had become a bad example of observance of the Law. If we look at that context alone, we might conclude that observing the Law was worthless and only produced a fašade of righteousness.

              But this was an extraordinarily bad time that Jesus came to redeem Israel. It was a time when most, but not all, exhibited such shallow faith that their observance could generally be characterized as national apostasy. Faith existed, but religion had become external and weak. For many, therefore, religion had become pure ceremony and without faith entirely.

              We cannot conclude, therefore, that religion in all times is purely external and worthless. It is only worthless if faith itself is weak or gone. Though the Law ended, as a system, religious works are not always dead when they are accompanied by faith.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Slug1 View Post
                Works don't come into the equation until AFTER a person believes. Not by works... is made SO very clear in the scriptures so it can't be misunderstood. NO WORKS lead to redemption, ALL works follow redemption.
                On the contrary, repentance is part of the works that lead to redemption. A person must *repent* in order to be saved. We get saved when we turn from our own ways to rely upon Christ's atonement. After receiving that atonement we are gifted with a new nature that verifies our choice to repent, and then we begin to produce works from that new nature.

                You would certainly be right to say that the works of repentance *alone* do not save. Apart from availing ourselves of Christ's atonement, all the works of repentance alone accomplish nothing with respect to obtaining eternal life. We are still poisoned, and condemned, by our sin nature. Repentance does not remove that curse.

                Luther was wrong with his doctrine of Predestination, or what he called, "the bondage of the will." He believed that people could not even make the choice to follow Christ, because they were so despicably wicked (total depravity) that they could not even choose for righteousness. Christ had to come to them first.

                While I don't deny that Christ must approach us first (prevenient grace), I do deny that we are unable to choose for Christ. It is approach to us, by his word, that enables us to choose him. And he enables these works of repentance for all men--not just for an elite.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by randyk View Post

                  On the contrary, repentance is part of the works that lead to redemption. A person must *repent* in order to be saved. We get saved when we turn from our own ways to rely upon Christ's atonement. After receiving that atonement we are gifted with a new nature that verifies our choice to repent, and then we begin to produce works from that new nature.

                  You would certainly be right to say that the works of repentance *alone* do not save. Apart from availing ourselves of Christ's atonement, all the works of repentance alone accomplish nothing with respect to obtaining eternal life. We are still poisoned, and condemned, by our sin nature. Repentance does not remove that curse.

                  Luther was wrong with his doctrine of Predestination, or what he called, "the bondage of the will." He believed that people could not even make the choice to follow Christ, because they were so despicably wicked (total depravity) that they could not even choose for righteousness. Christ had to come to them first.

                  While I don't deny that Christ must approach us first (prevenient grace), I do deny that we are unable to choose for Christ. It is approach to us, by his word, that enables us to choose him. And he enables these works of repentance for all men--not just for an elite.
                  Randy, really think about this... did you become truly aware of your sin, of which you found a need to repent of, before or after you "chose" to believe?

                  It is approach to us, by his word, that enables us to choose him. And he enables these works of repentance for all men--not just for an elite
                  You even point out here that repentance isn't a work we do, our repentance is fruit of HIS work. Our redemption is NOT BY WORKS that we do... only by His works. ALL works we do, follow our redemption. So we can't "claim" that one's repentance is a work that one does before belief.
                  --
                  Slug1--out

                  ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Slug1 View Post
                    Works don't come into the equation until AFTER a person believes. Not by works... is made SO very clear in the scriptures so it can't be misunderstood. NO WORKS lead to redemption, ALL works follow redemption.
                    #1. Belief is "A WORK" according to (Jn 6:28,29)

                    #2. Please notice how much "WORK" Paul had to do BEFORE his sins were forgiven. (Acts 9:6).

                    Go to Damascus
                    Go to the street called Straight
                    Go to the house of Judas
                    Speak to Ananias and he will tell you what you must do (Acts 9)


                    Three days later (Acts 9:9)

                    Arise
                    Be Baptized
                    Wash Away Your Sins (Acts.22:16)

                    Paul done all these things BY FAITH. (Heb.11)
                    22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth... (1Peter 1:22)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Slug1 View Post
                      Randy, really think about this... did you become truly aware of your sin, of which you found a need to repent of, before or after you "chose" to believe?

                      You even point out here that repentance isn't a work we do, our repentance is fruit of HIS work. Our redemption is NOT BY WORKS that we do... only by His works. ALL works we do, follow our redemption. So we can't "claim" that one's repentance is a work that one does before belief.
                      If you will re-read what I said, you may find I agree with you. Again, Prevenient Grace is God's word that approaches us 1st, so that we are able to respond to a word from God that comes to us 1st. But if we are truly Totally Depraved, as some say, then we cannot even respond to God's word--not even if it approaches us 1st. We have to be Born Again by some act of arbitrary Divine Predestination in order to even choose to obey Him.

                      But this isn't, I believe, true repentance. True repentance is done by fallen men who respond to a word from God that reaches out to them 1st. And despite our sin nature, we are able to respond to that word and truly repent, thereby acquiring a new nature that constitutes Salvation.

                      I cannot comment of what it was like before I chose to believe because I simply don't remember a time when I didn't believe. But yes, there came a time when I recognized that I was different from the world, and that if I got too caught up in fellowship with the world, I would begin to compromise and thus come to be in bondage to sin. I had to repent, even as a Christian, to get back out of the bondage to sin. That was truly liberating!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by randyk View Post

                        Yes, Roger, I agree. But this is where the language problem of Paul can be seen most clearly. It's not that Paul was saying anything wrong, but that he can be easily misunderstood if the context and the terms are not properly understood. In shorthand Paul is talking about a specific kind of righteousness--the righteousness of faith for Salvation. Righteousness clearly existed under the Law that was by faith, but did not merit final atonement. Only Christ could do that.

                        So we have to understand that Paul was defining terms in context that can be misunderstood when that context is lost. He is not just talking about faith or righteousness, but more narrowly, faith and righteousness that avail themselves of the atonement of Christ, without which nobody can be saved, whether with faith or righteousness.

                        At the time Jesus came Israel had become a bad example of observance of the Law. If we look at that context alone, we might conclude that observing the Law was worthless and only produced a fašade of righteousness.

                        But this was an extraordinarily bad time that Jesus came to redeem Israel. It was a time when most, but not all, exhibited such shallow faith that their observance could generally be characterized as national apostasy. Faith existed, but religion had become external and weak. For many, therefore, religion had become pure ceremony and without faith entirely.

                        We cannot conclude, therefore, that religion in all times is purely external and worthless. It is only worthless if faith itself is weak or gone. Though the Law ended, as a system, religious works are not always dead when they are accompanied by faith.
                        There was never anything wrong with the Law. The problem is thinking that obedience to the Law would make them righteous before God. That was never true, and since Christ came is still not true. To be made right with God was always by FAITH alone. The Law was not given to save, it was given to drive them to Christ, Who could. That's why Paul tells us the Law was their schoolmaster. They had both the Law (Moses) and the prophets telling them, and leading them to Christ, the Messiah to come. Those of Old who were obedient to the Law of Moses, believed the prophets, i.e. had faith, looking forward to Christ who would come and redeem them. They are the elect remnant saved by grace through faith, and not through adherence to the Law of Moses.

                        Galatians 3:24 (KJV) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
                        Galatians 3:25 (KJV) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Slug1 View Post
                          Works don't come into the equation until AFTER a person believes. Not by works... is made SO very clear in the scriptures so it can't be misunderstood. NO WORKS lead to redemption, ALL works follow redemption.
                          I agree because there are unbelievers that do a lot of work, e.g. charities, etc. But the scripture is emphatic that only grace through faith that will save.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nova2216 View Post

                            #1. Belief is "A WORK" according to (Jn 6:28,29)

                            #2. Please notice how much "WORK" Paul had to do BEFORE his sins were forgiven. (Acts 9:6).

                            Go to Damascus
                            Go to the street called Straight
                            Go to the house of Judas
                            Speak to Ananias and he will tell you what you must do (Acts 9)


                            Three days later (Acts 9:9)

                            Arise
                            Be Baptized
                            Wash Away Your Sins (Acts.22:16)

                            Paul done all these things BY FAITH. (Heb.11)
                            Belief In Christ is not WORK, so you misunderstood what Jesus said in John 6:28-29. Paul corroborated the same in this text:

                            Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.

                            Going to Ananias as instructed by Jesus to regain his sight also, does not count as work.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Trivalee View Post

                              Belief In Christ is not WORK, so you misunderstood what Jesus said in John 6:28-29. Paul corroborated the same in this text:

                              Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.

                              Going to Ananias as instructed by Jesus to regain his sight also, does not count as work.
                              Well, now you have gone to a verse which demands one do something to be saved. (Rom.10:9,10)

                              Confess Jesus is the Son of God.

                              That is something man does with the mouth. (leaving faith alone behind)

                              Are you against the "faith alone / grace alone" doctrine?




                              Thanks for posting.
                              22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth... (1Peter 1:22)

                              Comment

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