Understanding Paul, Part Two

Understanding Paul, Part Two

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put my law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”  Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: If this fixed order departs from before Me,” declares the LORD, “then the offspring of Israel will also cease from being a nation before Me forever.”   – Jeremiah 31:31-36

Thus begin the terms which the LORD lays out through His prophet of the coming New Covenant. This is the same New Covenant which Christ initiates through his death and by being raised from the dead as the first fruits of the coming kingdom.

(Note: This post is longer than most of my posts. Allow 10 minutes to read it thoroughly.)

This is part two of our two-part series on understanding Paul. We should remind the reader of the purpose behind these two posts. I am not trying to give a dissertation on Pauline doctrine, but to respond to a post made by a fellow blogger, Pastor Keith Haney. He made some statements in his blog post “What Does God Expect From Me?” which I have challenged. (A link to that post can be found in part one of this series).

The first three ideas which Keith put forth which I dealt with were:

  1. The Law was put in place only for a certain period of time.
  2. The Judaizers (in Paul’s letter to the Galatians) taught that obeying the Law was necessary for salvation.
  3. The only purpose of the Law was to prepare for the arrival of the Messiah, and since his arrival the Law’s only current purpose is to prove to people their inability to keep it so that they recognized their need for a savior.

We dealt with these statements in the first installment, which can be found here: Understanding Paul, Part One.

The final three objections to Keith’s post will be dealt with here.

(I should make note that I’m not trying to pick on Keith Haney. He writes a good blog. I’m simply taking issue with the Replacement Theology which he, I think unknowingly, espouses through his misinterpretation of Paul; a common mistake in the modern church.)

These three statements which I will address are these:

  1. There was no “life of faith” before Jesus, only “imprisonment under the Law.”
  2. Water baptism into the church (becoming a Christian) makes the body of believers into a “new nation.”
  3. The Law created differences, distinctions and hostility, but through our adoption into Christ , all such distinctions have been removed “in Christ.”

There are also a couple of other statement which I disagreed with strongly, one of which I found galling:

  1. He attempts to mock a Jewish prayer, and wrongly attributes it to the Pharisees, as a way of trying to show how legalistic and harsh religion “under the law” was before Jesus. This will be shocking to some of you just how far from the truth Keith’s claim is.

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