Sunday, January 03, 2021

788. James and the Elders Encourage Paul to Deny What He Was Teaching

The Apostle Paul declared over and over again that the law which came through Moses was something Gentiles had no part of and Jews had also been freed from its impossible demands. It could not bring life, but had a purpose of death and condemnation, having been replaced by a more glorious ministry of the Spirit. James and the elders from the Jerusalem church had very little problem with Gentiles not being required to try to keep most of the law—because they had never been under it. But James and his council viewed Jews differently and with an attitude of superiority, even after the cross, which resulted in believing they had a different gospel with a different set of rules which were rooted in that law for justification.

They rejoiced that Gentiles were coming to Jesus, but stumbled over Paul’s teachings that the Jews who lived among the Gentiles should also “forsake Moses.” James and the elders ordered Paul to publicly denounce the accusations against him by saying he believes in keeping the law … and to do this by participating in an old covenant purification ceremony—as if the blood of Jesus was not enough. In other words, they wanted Paul to deny what he had been teaching about grace through faith, apart from works of the law.

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