Sunday, May 07, 2023

910. False Assumptions: Jews and Gentiles Were Both Under the Mosaic Law

God established a covenant with Israel after delivering them from slavery in Egypt, and it included a law which came through Moses containing 613 commandments that they agreed to follow and that they would be required to keep. It was generally exclusive for the Jewish people. The rest of the world (gentiles) were outsiders and were unfamiliar with the covenant, without hope, and without God in the world. The Jews attempted to (unsuccessfully) pursue righteousness through the works of this law, while gentiles were doing no such thing—but would still attain righteousness.

Some will chop up the context found in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Romans. It's easy to misunderstand or misinterpret a comment such as "doers of the law will be justified" ... or that gentiles had the Mosaic law written on their hearts before the cross (and the Jews did not?). Recommended: Do not read Romans 2 without at least reading Romans 3—and Paul continues to expound further from there.

Having a basic understanding of the position of Jews under the law, and gentiles who never had that law ... will help us recognize who Paul was directing comments towards when it came to the people to whom he was writing. They were usually a mixed audience of both groups, and his language will often reveal whether his comments are to be contextualized for believing Jews who previously were under the law, or if it was for gentile outsiders who came to faith in Christ. But both groups would receive life by grace through faith, apart from the law, and be brought together into one new man—where there would no longer be the issue of Jew or gentile.

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