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Romans;- No preference for the Jews

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posted on Sep, 27 2019 @ 05:06 PM
Having a particular interest, I believe, in convincing his fellow-Jews in Rome, Paul has been explaining why the world needs the revelation of the gospel.
He told them at the beginning of his explanation (ch1 vv17-18) that the saving righteousness of God was revealed as a response to the wrath of God, so his first task was to account for the wrath of God.
Then he established in the second chapter that the Jews and the Gentiles would be judged under the law on equal terms. The test would be their keeping of the law, not their knowledge of the law.

The Jews might well ask, then “What advantage has the Jew?” What is the benefit of circumcision? (ch3 v1).
To which Paul replies “Much, in every way.”

The first advantage mentioned (though he does not suggest any more) is that their community was entrusted with the LOGIA, the spoken words of God.
They were the first point of contact in God’s campaign to introduce himself to the world.
They are the “eldest son” of the family of believers, a position which cannot be taken away from them.

(Pursuing the course of the argument, I move on to v9)

But then what? Does this mean that “we Jews” are any better off?
Or, taking the more useful translation offered by one commentator, does this mean that the Jew is “preferred” by God?
No, not at all. Because, as already mentioned, Jews and Greeks are both equally under the power of sin.
Paul proves his case by quoting declarations found in the Old Testament, mostly in the Psalms.
Nobody is righteous, they have all turned away from God, they do not “fear” God (in the sense of respecting his commands).
He calls this teaching “the law”, using this term for the inherited scripture in general (as he does in Galatians ch4 v21). Since the words of the law speak to those under the law, the general condemnation must cover everybody without exception, including the Jews (v19)
The effect is to silence all boasting and make the whole world accountable to God, obliged to throw themselves on his mercy.
So nobody in the world can be justified before God by their works under the law.
The law serves only to make them aware of their sin.

But now he returns to the starting-point.
The answer to this revelation of the wrath of God is that the righteousness of God has now been revealed. That is, it has been revealed through Christ.
This mode of justification works “apart from” the law.
Though the testimony that God would work in this way can be found in the law and the prophets (by those who know how to read them).
This righteousness comes through faith in Christ Jesus, available to all believers.
There is no distinction here between Jew and Gentile (vv21-23).

(Again, pursuing the course of the argument, I move on to v27)

Since there is no distinction, what becomes of our [Jewish] boasting?
It is excluded.
By what law?
Not by the law of works, but by the law of faith.
(The modern translation “by what principle?” is an excellent way of missing the point- that there is a more spiritual version of the law, just as the second chapter expounded a more spiritual version of circumcision)
For our [apostolic] teaching is that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Our [Jewish] boasting is also excluded by the fact that God is one, which means that he is God of the Gentiles as well as God of the Jews.
So he justifies the circumcised on the grounds of their faith (rather than their works), and he justifies the uncircumcised through the same kind of faith.
Does this mean that we [apostles] are overturning the law?
Not at all- we are upholding the law (v31).
This paradox is fully explained by reference back to v27 (if that verse has been properly translated).
The law which Paul is upholding is the second law named in that verse, “the law of faith”.
Under this law, the Jews and the Gentiles have an equal chance.

posted on Sep, 27 2019 @ 05:07 PM
The text of this chapter is complicated by two passages which are really in parenthesis. As I have been showing, the argument does not need them, and flows down on either side of them.

The first passage (vv3-8) is attached to the assurance that the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Paul quotes and tries to deal with quibbling arguments trying to show that the Jews should not be blamed for falling away from God.
“If they have been faithless, if they have broken off their relationship with God, does that rebut the belief in God’s faithfulness?”
Not at all; he would remain true even if every man was false.
The objection continues, on behalf of the faithless ones;
“It is said that our wickedness serves to show the justice of God. In that case, it is having a beneficial effect, surely, and so it could be argued that God cannot justly punish us for it.”
Paul’s response is that what God does must be considered just, since otherwise he could not judge the world.
The objector then repeats the argument in slightly different words;
“If through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
For that matter, would it not be good for us to increase our sin, so that God would be glorified even more?”
Without actually answering this last point, Paul complains that some people are falsely accusing his own followers of taking this line. These slanderers are justly condemned.

The second passage (vv24-26) is a summary of Paul’s teaching on the gospel.
Now in these chapters, Paul is slowly and carefully introducing his potential Jewish readers to the gospel as a new teaching.
So any kind of summary is out of place at this point. It belongs, if anywhere, at the end of the argument.
Furthermore the summary is expressed in condensed technical language, making it more appropriate for a different readership, people who already know what Paul is talking about.
The summary goes like this;
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God- that is, the image of God, in which they were created.
They are justified by his grace as a gift (“grace” has not yet been explained).
Through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (“redemption” has not yet been explained).
Christ was put forward by God as the HILASTERION, or “thing that deals with sin” (translated as “expiation” or “propitiation”, according to taste). This is another concept which is introduced without explanation.
This works through faith in his blood. That is to say, through faith in the fact that he died.
Previously, God has been exercising patience and taking no notice of the sins of the world. As Paul
told the Athenians, “The times of ignorance God overlooked” (Acts ch17 v30).
But this forbearance is not acceptable in the long term, because it denies his righteousness.
So now, finally, he vindicates his righteousness by justifying those who have faith in Christ.
This passage is one way of summarising the gospel, but it would have been a very unhelpful and confusing detour in the middle of a simple introduction.

How did these “supplementary” passages get into this chapter and other Pauline chapters?
My theory goes back to the time when Paul’s letters were first collected and “published”. Something of the kind must have happened, anyway. I believe the event inspired the writing of the other letters of the New Testament, which are directed more generally.

I premise that supplementary additions would have been made in the process of collecting the letters.
Sometimes, perhaps, Paul added later notes to what he had written originally.
Sometimes extracts from letters which were not being included in the collection might be “saved”, by getting inserted into the text of the published letters. That could account for the second passage mentioned in this post.

There are two interesting points which may throw light on the first passage.
On the one hand, Paul’s immediate response to the self-defensive case made by the “faithless” party is rather lame and perfunctory.
On the other hand, the raising of these topics looks like a foretaste of the more elaborate discussion which we find in ch6 and ch9.
Putting those two points together, I surmise that we have been gifted with some of Paul’s preliminary notes for the writing of those later chapters, which survived long enough to be incorporated into the published version.

posted on Sep, 27 2019 @ 05:29 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

The jews suck just as much as the rest of us, if not more. js.

I really wish I knew what this was about but it just seems like a bunch of science-fiction writing. To be specific, sci-fi writing in an attempt to flatter Judaism. Probably not, just my lack of understanding. Would you give us a quick summary for the laymen?

This reply probably just a bunch of bull# to you. For that, I apologize. A little bit of self reflection is going on so don't worry.
edit on 27-9-2019 by Antipathy17 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 27 2019 @ 05:33 PM
a reply to: Antipathy17
In fact your first line is not a bad summary.
It sets out to explain the reasoning of a chapter of Romans. I hope nobody who bothered reading it would have any trouble understanding it.

P.S. Where on earth do you get "flatter Judaism", when the whole passage from the first line is saying they're the same as everybody else?

edit on 27-9-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 27 2019 @ 05:42 PM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: Antipathy17
In fact your first line is not a bad summary.
It sets out to explain the reasoning of a chapter of Romans. I hope nobody who bothered reading it would have any trouble understanding it.

I did a major # up and started reading the second half first. And I stopped at the first paragraph. At least I can admit when I've been retarded.. Was *explicit* and only quick browsing. This is a good way to learn a lesson.
edit on 27-9-2019 by Antipathy17 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 27 2019 @ 06:28 PM
Basically, the only special about Christians and Jews is that theoretically, we should *know* better, but that doesn't always translate into *doing* better.

It's faith, true faith that helps to carry us through and pick us up when we fall.

posted on Sep, 29 2019 @ 01:06 PM
When people read statements like "I believe" we know what follows is an opinion. Usually we should try not to use terms like it or ones like it.

posted on Sep, 29 2019 @ 01:42 PM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
Yes, the suggestion that Paul was directly addressing Jewish readers was only intended to have the status of "opinion", because there aren't enough grounds for certainty. I gave my reasons for it in the first thread of the series, and I think (which is another opinion) that the way he conducts his argument supports the idea. But surely you would not have me proclaim such a debatable point as a matter of "faith"?

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