Grace and the Law

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to th...
English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to the Corinthians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you think that my musings on “Grace and the Law” (and similar posts) sound convoluted, you’re on to something.  I have more questions than answers.  Paul is an enigma to me.  Just when I think I’ve figured him out, I read something he wrote that throws a wrench in my theories.

To begin with, I love Paul.  God used his writings (namely, I Corinthians 1: 25) to lead me to Christ.  I believe that the entire Bible is the Word of God.  What Paul says is true.  The problem is that I don’t always know what Paul means.  And I’m not alone.  Peter wrote that Paul’s letters are difficult to understand.

1)  What does Paul mean by “the law?”  Is he talking about the Law of Moses,  the Torah, the Ten Commandments, “the law of sin and death,” “the commandments and teaching of men” (Colossians 2: 22)?  Context is everything.  (For example, when he talks about women wearing head-coverings in a service, he is talking about complying with a Greek custom, not the Law of Moses, according to the Key Word Study Bible (NASB), page 1519).

2) What does Paul mean by “self-made religion” (Colossians 2: 23), “philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental things of this world”  (Colossians 2: 8)?

3)  What are “the elemental things of this world” (Galations 4: 3, 9; Colossians 2: 8)?

4)  What does Jesus mean by “the doctrines and tradition of men” (Mark 7: 6-13)?  Are He and Paul talking about the same thing?

5)  Was the Law of Moses nailed to the cross, or were our sins nailed to the cross (Colossians 2: 13-14)?

6)  If the Law of Moses has been done away with, why not remove the Torah (the first five books of the Bible, which includes Genesis) and Psalm 119 from the Word of God?

7)  Were Jesus and Paul both Torah-abiding Jews?

8)  What does Paul mean by “liberty” in Christ?  Are we free to sin?  (Paul’s response is “God forbid!”  But I don’t recall the book, chapter, and verse.)

9)  What did Christ say about the Law of Moses?  Has he fulfilled it–all of it?

To be continued.


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