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Featured understanding Paul

Discussion in 'Christian Theology Forum' started by Randy Kluth, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Randy Kluth

    Randy Kluth Active Member

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    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!*
     
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  2. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    i dunno, many, many believers believe they can Quote "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord..."
    what? i doubt it, wadr; maybe depends on what "Law" you mean. Or he meant
    got a Quote for that? ty
     
  3. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member

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    Hi Randy, I see in the context of the first eight chapters of Romans, Paul taught that the Ten Commandments were holy, but no one with a sinful NATURE could be righteous, because the sin in them was contrary to the Law, so even though knowing the Law with the mind, the flesh wanted to do the opposite. That is why Jesus came to make us born again. He took away our sin, and in Him there is no sin. It is because He placed His own sinless powerful Spirit within us taking us out of the sinful old flesh that was nailed to the cross, and we are resurrected with a nature that is dead to sin.

    Many have tried to change this because it doesn't coincide with their own experience of a nature that still sins. They want to be saved, but still love their sin and don't want to be holy. I was one who still had my sinful nature for decades, but finally truly repented and actually wanted to be holy, justification by faith. That is the key. Realizing you love your sin, but want to hate it but can't. It is true repentance, and it is only then that Jesus gives His Spirit with power and we are justified by grace - the power of God to indwell us. 2 Peter 1:2-4

    One reason the Israelites were to remember the Sabbath day was by it you were made holy.

    “Be sure to keep my sabbaths, because the Sabbath is a sign between me and you in every generation so you will know that I am the Lord who makes you holy.

    Except it wasn't a day of the week that makes us holy, but Who the Sabbath rest IS - Christ. The law was only until Christ, the true law of God - Love.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
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  4. Enoch111

    Enoch111 Well-Known Member

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    Actually, in Romans 2, Paul made it very clear that even the unsaved could be righteous (doing what is right).

    ROMANS 2: THE CONSCIENCE IS ACTIVE IN ALL

    10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
    11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
    12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the Law shall be judged by the Law;
    13 For not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified.
    14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
    15 Which shew the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another,
    16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

    This does not mean that the unsaved do not need the New Birth and justification by grace through faith. What it does mean is that the unsaved are not purely evil.
     
  5. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member

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    He Enoch, You know that we Gentiles that have Christ do not have the law. Having Jesus inside us is the only way we can BY NATURE be righteous. That means they must have been born again. We will be judged by Jesus and found innocent if we walk after the Spirit He provided.
     
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  6. historyb

    historyb Well-Known Member

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  7. Randy Kluth

    Randy Kluth Active Member

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    Thanks for your comments, though we don't agree in everything. My wish is to help make Paul's theology better understood so we don't end up in hopeless confusion.

    Paul is easily misunderstood. His expression of a dichotomy between Law and Grace is often thought to be similar to the teaching of the heretic, Marcion, who saw two gods--an evil god of the Law and a good God of Grace and Mercy.

    But Paul never depreciated the Law--it just sounded like it because Paul utilized a kind of shorthand to express things, without getting too caught up in the weeds of explanation. He used the term "righteousness of the Law" not to say the Law was evil--he plainly said it was good, and did produce genuine faith and righteousness. But Paul was trying to communicate that there is a system of Law that, despite its righteousness, necessarily fell short of eternal life.

    The act of disobedience committed in the Garden was alone sufficient to prove man ineligible for eternal life. The Law of Moses simply verified that by proving that sin was always in Israel, requiring Israel to pursue atonements for their sin, in order to keep their covenant with God intact.

    The Law did please God, despite Israel's continued disqualification from eternal life. It gave them hope that God would Himself provide for an adequate atonement to render them eligible again for eternal life.

    When Paul refers to the sin nature in Man, and to the "mind of the flesh," he is not saying Man is swallowed up whole in sin. Rather, it is saying that Man is hopelessly condemned to eternal death apart from the atonement Christ came to bring. When we are in the mind of the flesh most certainly we cannot be righteous.

    But we are not "in the mind of the flesh" at all times, most definitely! Not even the pagan world is unable to obey God's word to their conscience at times! Consider how the wicked Prophet Balaam was able to obey God and prophecy blessings upon Israel!

    Clearly, when men do not know Christ they are captured by sin, and are unable to be freed from the domination of the sin nature. But even then, there is some good in them, and they can, by their conscience, do good. The ubiquity of the sin nature does not prevent Man from being able to obey God's word on occasion!
     
  8. Randy Kluth

    Randy Kluth Active Member

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    Of course.
    Rom 2.14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
     
  9. justbyfaith

    justbyfaith Well-Known Member

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    Jeremiah 17:9 declares the state of the unregenerated heart:

    Jer 17:9, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
     
  10. justbyfaith

    justbyfaith Well-Known Member

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    @Randy Kluth's doctrine falls right in line with humanistic philosophy of today.

    However, the scripture says,

    Col 2:8, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
     
  11. marks

    marks Well-Known Member

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    Personally I find things pretty well spelled out by Paul, but you need to look at everything he wrote, and be able to associate the different passages as you learn the contents of his letters.

    This part above about righteousness is addressed specifically . . .

    Philippians 3
    8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
    9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
    10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
    11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

    Paul declares a righteousness which is by the law, but is worthless, and a righteousness which is of God by faith.

    And of course Romans 4 spells out that our righteousness had to be through faith, that it may be by grace, and therefore available to all.

    Much love!
     
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  12. marks

    marks Well-Known Member

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    The mind of the flesh is the mind that exists in the one born of Adam. The mind of Christ is the mind that exists in the one born of God.

    That which is born of flesh is flesh.

    The flesh is the child of Adam.

    That which is born of Spirit is spirit. We are born the spirit children of God. Before we are reborn, all we are is the man of flesh born from Adam with the mind of the flesh. Mankind is already dead. It is unfolding itself through history exactly as God created it to do, but clearly not in the way He created it for.

    But a new humanity is unfording from it's New Head, Christ, the firstfruits.

    Much love!
     
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  13. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member

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    What does atonement mean to you, and what did Jesus do to make us eligible again for eternal life?
     
  14. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I prefer this. It shows more depth of understanding of what Jesus accomplished.
     
  15. Randy Kluth

    Randy Kluth Active Member

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    Until Christ died for all sin on the cross, the stain of sin was on all men. No matter how much "right" they did, no matter how much they repented, they could not achieve eternal life until *after* the atonement of Christ. Repentance must be coupled with Christ's atonement in order to achieve eternal life.
     
  16. Randy Kluth

    Randy Kluth Active Member

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    This is, I think, short of the reality that the human mind was made in the image of God, and despite the presence of the sin nature, can reflect upon God's word and can follow one's conscience. If Man is strictly the "mind of the flesh," then he is in "total depravity," which I do not agree with. This is strictly a Protestant concept by which one version of Predestination is conceived of.

    Prevenient Grace allows depraved Man to receive and to obey God's word, because all men were created with the capacity to respond to God's word. The depravity of the sin nature does not prevent Man from doing what he was created to do, which is walk in the nature of God.

    We may be bound to a sin nature, whether as an unsaved pagan or as a Christian still infected with the sin nature. But we can still do good, bound by that nature, or freed from the power of that nature by the regeneration of Christ.

    As Christians we are liberated from the power of sin, but still are infected by the sin nature, and limited, to some extent, by the effects of it. Though we are freed from the condemnation of our sin nature by Christ, we are still impacted by the effects of sin in our flesh. But our sin nature does not prevent us from hearing God, and responding to it by doing good. And all men are still able to choose to receive a new nature that comes by the gift of Christ, and which dominates over our sin.

    As such, we cannot say that anybody still impacted by the sin nature--all of us--are in the "mind of the flesh." Having sin in us does not mean that our mind is totally depraved and cannot rise above sin. Even as Christians we still have the sin nature, and at times have the "mind of the flesh," as Paul assumes in his exhortations *not* to be that way! We are called upon to reject our tendency towards sin, which obviously means we are able to do that!

    No, Christ is the firstfruits of a new creation, it is true. But that does not mean that men, still under the old creation, are so totally depraved that they cannot rise above the "mind of the flesh." Obviously, God called upon all men to repent, which implies that they may do so.

    We are not captive to anything more than a compulsion to sin and to live in sin if we do not exercise our capacity to live in covenant with God. Today's covenant comes by Christ, who liberated us not just from the power of sin, but also from the condemnation of sin.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 12:34 PM
  17. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    Paul was after holiness and to walk by the resurrection power of Christ. And that Christ be FORMED in him. And that is a level that modern believers are not after...yet they quote Paul as if they already had attained to what Paul sought after.

    A truly amazing lack of reality.

    The law produced an imperfect righteousness at the level of a human power. A self-power. But it was still righteousness. A person can tell if something is good or bad in the general sense. And if you do something bad you pay a restoration and ask for forgiveness. You make it right and continue in doing what is right. That is righteousness in the OT.

    In the NT God is selecting a few people to go higher and be His ambassadors in the world. He clothes these with HIS righteousness...a righteousness that is holy. In this righteousness no sin at all is permitted. It is a higher form of righteousness whereby even the thought life is holy...ALWAYS. As Jesus described.

    So people want at the most an Old Testament righteousness standard (easy enough or so it seems)...but with a New Testament kind of payoff. A mixture of standards that brings the most bang for the least effort. And that is being peddled as the gospel of "grace."

    But God will not be mocked.
     
  18. Randy Kluth

    Randy Kluth Active Member

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    Cheap shot! I don't agree, in any respect, with humanism, which is a compromise of Christianity with paganism.
     
  19. Randy Kluth

    Randy Kluth Active Member

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    Not at all! Righteousness, for God, was always obedience to His word. And that word was given to all men from the beginning when He made men in His image, after His likeness. And so, all men could do right, whether they are pagans or not, whether they are in bondage to the sin nature or not.

    Obedience under the Law was *not* the power of man. That would not be true righteousness before God! It is true that in the time of Jesus, and in times of national apostasy, Israel followed the Law artificially, and produced a modest form of righteousness, though it was overshadowed by sin. This is *not* the righteousness of the Law. And it is not even true righteousness!

    God has always been interested in more than just doing right--He has been interested in a conversion of nature--a lifestyle of doing good. And so repentance is not just a matter of doing a few good things. More, it is a matter of leaving a sinful lifestyle behind, and doing right regularly, in effect overpowering sin.

    The new nature that God cultivated in Israel in the OT was through the covenant of the Law. It encouraged a lifestyle of righteousness, and not just a few acts of doing right. Living properly under the Law was, therefore, true righteousness. It just couldn't, in NT terms, achieve eternal life. Only Christ's atonement could accomplish that.

    I completely agree with your sentiment here. I reject a weak form of "grace." God wants us to live holy lives. He hates compromise. He nevertheless forgives sin, and defers judgment to give us a chance to repent. He is patient. Nobody should misconstrue that as "softness."

    But the Law's righteousness was true righteousness just as NT Grace is true righteousness. The only difference is that we no longer rely on our own works to achieve covenant status with God on a temporary basis. Today, we rely on the work of Christ in making atonement for us so that we no longer need do anything to retain covenant status with God, apart from abiding in Christ.

    We can develop this false dichotomy between Law and Grace, conceived of by a misconception of what Paul was saying. He compared the difference of the Law to Grace not on the basis of one being a false righteousness and the other being a true righteousness. Rather, he conveyed that NT righteousness alone leads to Salvation, where OT righteousness can be false or true, and neither can achieve eternal life.

    You simply have to determine in each context what Paul is specifically saying. In some places he speaks of true righteousness under the Law. And in other places he emphasizes false righteousness under the Law. We should not conflate this, in my opinion.

    I would say, however, that a major point here has little to do with the falseness of some religious practices under the Law. It is that God wishes there to be a complete liberation from the power of sin in our lives. And that comes only from living under the NT covenant of Christ. If all we do is perform a few righteous acts--whether that took place in the OT or now takes place under the NT--we are not "out of the woods" until we actually live in the covenant of God, adopting an entirely new way of life, sometimes called a "new nature."

    In the NT our new nature achieves eternal life by the atonement of Christ. It liberates us from the power of sin, because we subdue it. And it frees us from the condemnation of sin because we are forgiven for it when we repent.
     
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  20. Randy Kluth

    Randy Kluth Active Member

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    Brother, I think you're missing my point. There is for a fact this ambiguity and confusion created when we read seeming contradictions here, whether as young Christians or even as older Christians not yet fully able to work out the systematic theology.
    I'm just trying to help here because I've spent a few years on this.

    We read in Psalm 119 that the Law is good and produces righteousness for those in covenant under that system. In the NT Paul seems to condemn the "righteousness of the Law." This has to be worked out, correct?

    Paul in no way depreciated the Law *while that Law was still in effect.* But when the NT covenant system came into effect, the righteousness of the Law became like "refuse" to Paul--not because it had been a bad system, but only because continuing in that system was an affront to what it had represented.

    The Law had represented a new system of grace, dependent not on animal sacrifices, but rather, on the atonement of Christ. To turn back to animal sacrifices after Christ had already won redemption was an exercise in futility, according to Paul, because it never was intended to achieve eternal life. That could only be achieved by the atonement of Christ.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 1:19 PM
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