Being "Religious" is not enough

Being religious is not what gets us into Heaven.

Being “good” or “spiritual” are never going to be good enough.

In order to be saved you MUST be born again according to John. 3 verse 7. ( Especially in its full context, the entire chapter!)

In fact being religious is not what we are called to be.

The “good” will not outweigh the “bad”…because there will not be a “good and bad” balance beam in Heaven. Even if there was such a balance beam in Heaven the ONLY person who could reach God’s standard would be Jesus. (Rom. 6:23, Romans 3:23) So if we were judged on being good or bad, heaven would be only be occupied by Jesus and God (and the Holy Spirit) but all in one – of you know what I mean.

Fortunately, Heaven is not for just Jesus and God has allowed ANYONE to call on the name of the Lord to be saved! (Rom. 10:9, 10, Rom. 8:8)

So Heaven is not for religious people. Heaven is for those who call on the Lord.

Religious people are the ones who called on Jesus to be Crucified. Religious people where opposed to Jesus, the Pharisees. Religious people have started wars.

We are not seeking to be religious. We are not called to be religious. Being Religious does not save.

But Chrsit does. And we are to seek Christ in a relationship, not a religion.

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In His sermon this week, my pastor spoke about Jesus and the disciples. Jesus chose fisherman to be his disciples, regular fishermen. The fishermen “immediately” left their boats and followed. “immediately” left their father and their fishing business to follow a man whom they had just seen for the first time!

The Greek Word “euyewv” is used for straightway, forthwith, or best fitting for modern English “immediately.” aka- quickly, shortly, without hesitation, at once or soon, as soon as possible.

This hits home with me ,because the very first disciples laid down a pure example of what faith can look like. These men did not know Jesus well when they met him, when all he said was “follow me.” But they left all that they knew and followed.

Ever since the first disciples and even today, that is all it takes to follow Jesus. It is not necessary to know everything about Him in order to believe and to follow Him. I am not saying that people shouldn’t look into Jesus and learn about Him before they make any kind of decision. Please do the research, Jesus speaks for Himself and the more you know about Him the better.

But for the point of this post and just pure reflection, it is an interesting thought. The first disciples simply followed. There wasn’t any skepticism. My point really is that this still happens today. Look at my salvation story, for example: I was very young when I came to know Christ. At eight years of age, I only knew the basics…Jesus died for my sins. Sure I grew up in a Christian home, but I was not trained on epistemology, hermeneutics, and Christology, not as an eight year old. My mom asked me if I would follow Him. I kind of understood that I was a sinner. But I wanted whatever it was that my mom had and was talking about. So I followed Him. That is it! I was saved without knowing very much at all about Jesus.

Today as my faith has matured a lot, I enjoy studying those deeper things I referred to. And if you read the Gospels and then read Acts, you see how Peter and the disciples’ faith mature quite a bit too. They knew very little and then over time and in their relationship with God they began to understand more deeply.

It is really basic observation but truly amazing, Jesus is for everyone!

if Christians really believe…

why are they afraid of me? Why don’t they tell me the truth …
(Interesting points from Penn Jillette, from teller and Penn)

“How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that?”

Felt needs and anti-intellectualism

Today’s Church are basing preaching on felt needs. This helpful to an extent but it is lacking and inadequate. Here are some reasons why:

1. It does reach out to people who are out of touch with their feelings. (Some Men for example.) This is one reason why church are crowded with women right now and lacking in men. But there is a place for men in the Gospel.

2. It invites an easy out response to the Gospel, “Sorry, I don’t have a need at this time.” People never responded to Paul this way. He did not preach felt needs, instead he based teaching on the fact of the Gospel which is reasonably and true to believe. He reasoned with people intelligently in order to persuade them to believe in Christ Jesus. Everybody has a need for a true and reasonable Gospel.

This felt needs Gospel let’s people off the hook, leaving them saying, “Well that is fine for you, if that works for you” And it is leading society to a relativistic mindset.

I can relate to the ideas of JP Moreland. I graduated with my B.A. in psychology. I wanted to help people. But as I learned about psychology, I was turned away by how humanistic and secular the ideas were. All of it was about felt needs and telling people what they wanted to hear. I knew there was something more. The answers, most of the time, was not in emotions, but in the Word of God and in a deeper study of the Word with the mind.

Bibliography

Bibliography
Barth, Markus. THE CHALLENGE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL. JOURNAL OF
ECUMENICAL STUDIES 1 no 1 Wint 1964, p 58-81.
Bruce, F. F. Paul : Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Boston: William B. Eerdmans
Company, 2000.
Carson, D.A. & Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd Ed. Grand
Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.
Clarke, Adam. Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain. ~1800.
Darby, John. Commentary. Public Domain. ~1850.
Gill, John. John Gill exposition of the Bible. Public Domain. 1809.
Hays, Richard. Is Paul’s Gospel Narratable? Journal for the Study of the New Testament 27.2
(2004).
Durham, NC
Henry, M. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged
in one volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996.
Kulikovsky, Andrew. Paul’s View of the Law in Galatians and Romans. Biblical

Hermeneutics. (1999.) Retrieved on Nov. 15th, 2008 from

http%3a//hermeneutics.kulikovskyonline.net/hermeneutics/Law.pdf

Lea D., Thomas and Black, Alan David. The New Testament, Its Background and

Message (2nd edition). Tennessee: Broadman & Homan Publishers, 2003.

Lull, David. “The Law was our Pedagogue.” Journal of Biblical Literature. 105/3. New
Haven, CT: Yale Divinity School. 1986. P. 481-498.

New American Standard Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999.
Newell, William R. 1994. “Paul’s gospel.” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Spring 1994
. Christian Periodical Index, EBSCOhost (accessed November 20,
2008).
Penny, Donald. Topic 10 Galatians, and Topic 12 Romans. Power Pointe slides from
course Religion 212 Campbell University
http://www.campbell.edu/faculty/Penny/rel212/index.html
RHYNE, Thomas. Meaning of Romans 10:4 (Blackstone, VA: THE CATHOLIC
BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 47, 1985)
Scott Jr, J. Julius. Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker
Academic. 1995.
SCHREINER, Thomas. PAUL’S VIEW OF THE LAW IN ROMANS 10:4-5 (Westminster
Theological Journal 55 (1993) 113-35.)
Snodgrass, Klyne. SPHERES OF INFLUENCE; A POSSIBLE SOLUTION TO THE
PROBLEM OF PAUL AND THE LAW. (Chicago, Il :
Journal for the Study of the
New Testament 32 (1988) )
Strong, James. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville:
Thomas Nelson, 1995).
Thayer, Joseph H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody,
MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003).
Toussaint, Stanley. The Contrast between the Spiritual Conflict in Romans 7 and
Galatians 5. BIBLIOTHECA SACRA October, 1966
Vincent, Marvin. Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament (4 Volumes). Public
Domain. New York 1887-91.
Vine, W.E. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Nashville: Thomas
Nelson, 1996 reprint)
Wesley, John. Wesley’s Notes on the Bible. Public Domain. 1755.
Zodhiates, Spiro. The Complete Word Study of New Testament. AMG Publishers,
Chattanooga, TN 37422; 1999
1 Newell, William R. 1994. “Paul’s gospel.” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society Spring 1994 . Christian Periodical Index, EBSCOhost (accessed November 20, 2008).
2 Rom. 10:4, much more in depth discussion on this verse later.
3 Rom 7:12, 14, 16, 22
4 Kulikovsky, Andrew. Paul’s View of the Law in Galatians and Romans. Biblical Hermeneutics. (1999.)
5 Rom. 5:13, 3:20, 4;15
6 Kulikovsky.
7 Ibid.
8 Bruce, F. F. Paul : Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Boston: William B. Eerdmans Company, 2000.
9 Kulikowsky.
10 Gal. 3:19-25
11 Lull, David. “The Law was our Pedagogue.” JBL 105/3. 1986. P. 481-498.
12 Wesley, John. Wesley’s Notes on the Bible. Public Domain. 1755.
13 Gal. 2:16
14 Penny, David. Religion 212 class at Campbell University.
15 Henry.
16 Gill. John Gill exposition of the Bible. Public Domain. 1809.
17 Zodhiates . Word Study. Zodhiates, Spiro. The Complete Word Study of New Testament. AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 37422; 1999
18 Lull
19 Gal. 4:1-9
20 Lea and Black. The New Testament, Its Background and Message (2nd edition). Tennessee: Broadman & Homan Publishers, 2003.
and Carson, D.A. and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd edition. Zondervan, 2005..
21 Darby. Commentary. Public Domain. ~1850.
22 Penny, David.
23 Luther, Martin.
24 Rom. 3:10
25 Rom. 1:18-32
26 Rom. 3:23
27 Rom. 3:19, 20
28 Rom. 3:21-31
29 Rom. 4:4,5
30 Rom. 4:15
31 Rom. 6:12-15
32 Clarke. Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain. ~1800.
33 Ibid.
34 Rom. 7:12
35 Rom. 7:21
36 Gal. 5:1-6
37 Toussaint. Toussaint, Stanley. The Contrast between the Spiritual Conflict in Romans 7 and Galatians 5, 1966
38 Snodgrass. Snodgrass, Klyne. SPHERES OF INFLUENCE; A POSSIBLE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF PAUL AND THE LAW. (Chicago, Il : Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32 (1988) )
39 Hayes, Richard. Is Paul’s Gospel Narratable? Journal for the Study of the New Testament 27.2 (2004).
40 Ibid.
41 Ibid.
42 Barth, Markus. THE CHALLENGE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL. JOURNAL OF ECUMENICAL STUDIES 1 no 1 Wint 1964, p 58-81.
43 Ibid.
44 Snodgrass
45 Schreiner, Thomas. PAUL’S VIEW OF THE LAW IN ROMANS 10:4-5 (Westminster Theological Journal 55 (1993) 113-35.)
46 RHYNE, Thomas. Meaning of Romans 10:4 (Blackstone, VA: THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 47, 1985)

Conclusion

Conclusion

Paul is the main contributor in the New Testament of our understanding of the Law. After a close look at Paul’s writing, it is clear that there is no contradiction in His understanding of the Law. While there are some differences in how Paul explains the Law to the Church of Galatia and the Church of Rome, there are no contradictions. Much of the confusion is cleared up when the context and background of the letters are examined. Paul writes each letter with a separate occasion and purpose.

Paul makes it clear that righteousness does not come through the Law. Christ Jesus put an end to that. The Law is still important and good, but it is no longer used for man to establish his own righteousness. This is because it is impossible for man to obey the Law completely. Righteousness only comes through faith in Christ Jesus. Paul’s Gospel is centered on Christ Jesus as the Savior and Redeemer. Paul knew the Law quite well and yet, he concludes that Jesus is the answer. Through Jesus (His death and resurrection) and in grace, God has given us the gift of salvation. Not through the Law.

Is there a contradiction Galatians and Romans?

Is there a contradiction Galatians and Romans?

The controversy between Romans seven and Galatians five is an interesting one. Toussaint makes a point that the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in Romans seven.37 While in Galatians five, the Holy Spirit is the emphasis of a spiritual battle that is taking place. But in Romans seven, there is a spiritual battle taking place not involving the Holy Spirit. What then is doing battle? In Romans seven, the new nature is emphasized as the opponent of the old nature. Is the new nature the same as the Holy Spirit? No, these are two different conflicts. In Romans the conflict is between sin nature and the reborn ego. Paul is still building his systematic theology, assuming that one is not saved. But in Galatians, Paul is speaking specifically to Christians. Their battle is between the flesh and the Spirit. They are saved but still struggle with sin. The Galatia church must choose between the Law or grace. This is a great observation. Context is always the key in Biblical study. It is extremely important to understand the context and back ground of each book in the Bible to effectively study and truly understand the authors.

Romans seven and Galatians five are speaking about two conflicts to two different audiences. Still there are other questions about the Law, which Paul’s writing is quite confusing. How can Paul claim that he has died to the Law in Galatians two, verse nine-teen and but yet does not want to abolish the Law? How is it that all of the Law fulfilled completely, yet saints are still required to love their neighbor as themselves? Is the Law in Galatians three the same Law in Romans seven? What exactly does Romans ten, verse four mean that Christ is the “end” of the Law? These questions are some of the most difficult and most debated topics in New Testament studies.38

There are a lot of theories discussing these topics; this paper will exhaust all of the theories sufficiently. Longnecker suggests that Galatians represents a more basic and fundamental form of Paul’s story of Israel. Romans represents what he calls “organic linearity” versus an “conventional linearity” in Galatians.39 Obviously, Longnecker’s argument is much more complex. Basically, Longernecker’s theory is that Romans and Galatians are logically incompatible with one another. Hooker responds saying that Paul is not telling different stories in the two letters but drawing on different elements in the one story.40 Hayes agrees.41 The two stories are acutely different, but are not contradictory. As discussed above, the context and background of each letter is essential to understanding Paul.

Barth debunks the assumption that Paul should have fought the Old Testament writings. Firstly, because the Old Testament writings actually begin with the reminder that redemption precedes Law.42 Secondly, Barth is confident because Paul had been well trained in the Old Testament. Barth does not question Paul’s understanding of the Old Testament. The truth is that Paul loved the Old Testament. He was one of the most literal Jews and considered one of the best keepers of the Law before his conversion. Paul killed Christians because they were not properly obeying the Law. Paul understood the Old Testament well.

So if Paul loved the Law so much, what was his purpose in standing against those who believed in justification by the Law? Paul brings Jews and Gentiles together.43They both are given access to God through faith. God’s gift of grace and salvation through faith is for everyone, Jews and Gentiles. Saints are all united by God. There is no way to reject God’s grace. The Judaizers, for example, were offering a false system that rejects God’s grace. It is not ethics or obeying the Law that justifies us to God, but the only justification is through faith. This is why Paul stresses these things.

Snodgrass brings a calming perspective. His theory is simple yet eye-opening. He says that the Law is just a tool.44 It does not have any power of its own and it is not really meant as a Tyranny. As Paul says the Law, itself, is good, righteous, and holy. Although, the Law is a tool that sin can (and has) used before. The exceedingly sinfulness of sin commandeered the Law for its own use. Normally, the Law as a tool for God and accomplished many good purposes as discussed above. But the flip side is that sin wrathfully used the Law as well. Understanding this helps because there is less conflict. The Law can be good and increase sin.

The final questions remain surrounding Romans ten, verse four? Is Christ the end of the Law? What does this mean? After much research, I support Schreiner’s solution. Schreiner concludes that Christ is the end of the Law in the sense that he is the end of using the Law to establish one’s own righteousness.45 In other words, righteousness no longer comes through obeying the Law. As Paul has made clear righteousness only comes through faith in Christ. Many scholars want to extend this verse’s meaning to mean a lot more than what it is saying in context. The verses around verse four must also be studied for a full meaning of what Paul is saying. Paul is not suggesting an end of the Law completely and absolutely. Paul is saying that righteousness does not come through the Law because the Law cannot be obeyed perfectly. Christ provided what was necessary for salvation. He obeyed the Law perfectly and died as a sacrifice for us. And salvation is obtained by believing this Gospel.

Schreiner continues his case, saying that it is quite unlikely that Christ is the “goal” of the Law because Romans nine, verse six says, God’s Word has not failed with respect to Israel. Schreiner believes that Paul is not saying that Christ is the absolute end of the Law. Paul’s view of the Law suggests continuity and not contrast of the Law. In fact, Paul is writing experiential, for he is reacting to an experiential problem. Again, those who believe in Christ will no longer use the Law to establish their own righteousness. Nowhere does Paul ever say that righteousness comes “from” the Law!

What Paul is doing when he cites Lev 18:5 in Rom 10:5 is pointing out that no one can attain righteousness or eternal life by obeying the Law since no one can obey sufficiently what the Law demands. In context of Romans nine and ten this fits well, because Paul makes it clear again and again that the Law is not the source of righteousness. To put these concepts in another man’s words, “Christ brings the Law in its promise of righteousness to its goal so that righteousness may be available to everyone who believes.”46 This is from Rhyne. His theory has three parts. First is that Christ did the work. Christ is the propitiation for sin. Second is the “the Law in its purpose of righteousness to its goal.” The purpose of righteousness is now through Christ, not through the Law any longer. Therefore there is an end to gaining righteousness through the Law, but not an absolute end of the Law. Finally “so that righteousness may be available to everyone who believes.” Hallelujah, Christ died for all! Amen!