Paul’s Case Against Judaism
The Law of God was issued to show men the holiness of God. It also reveals the sinfulness of man. In this, the Law is good. It is spiritual. It is just. The Law makes us look bad, and it highlights the exceptional goodness of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was born of a woman, born under the Law. The light of God’s Law shows every man to be a sinner. The one exception is the impeccable God-man, who knew no sin.
Jesus avoided the original sin of Adam by being conceived, not of Joseph’s tainted seed, but by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Is 7:14). Jesus was not polluted, as everyone else is, by the inheritance of sin passed down. Adam brought death to his entire progeny because of sin. Jesus, the second Adam brought life to His entire progeny because of His blood redemption (Rom 5:12–21).
Judaism was and is a works-based religion. In Paul’s day, the message of Judaism was all about keeping the Law of Moses, which Paul excelled at above his peers. Judaism was a performance religion and highly competitive. In the end, it was agreed that God must judge on a curve (“Just be earnest and you will be ok”). This was a false conclusion based on the observable fact that nobody was a perfectly obedient Law-keeper.
Jesus Christ came into the world without sin, and He lived in perfect obedience to God’s Law. Knowing who He was and where He had come from, Jesus assured His listeners that He had come to fulfill God’s Law, not abolish it. His obedience was perfect in His life, lived in this fallen world, and in His death upon the Roman cross.
Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4), and the very nature of every man is sin (Eph 2:3), therefore, there is nothing that captures the essence of the sons of Adam like the term, “sinners.” All have sinned (Rom 3:23; 5:12), and in Adam all die because of sin (Rom 6:23; 1 Cor 15:22). The nature of man under the reign of sin, is so bad that when the Law of God is introduced, it exacerbates the sinner’s penchant to sin.
Legalistic, man-centered, performance religion is tomfoolery. It is utter vanity. Man presents himself as a religious performer, but then, he misses the standard of Law with a phenomenal degree of separation. For any man to boast in his goodness, his righteousness, or his good works is a pathetic sham. Everyone may rightly say to his neighbor, “Dude, you are a total failure in the eyes of God.”
The top performing Jews of Judaism did not believe Jesus, when He told them that God does not grade on a curve and that their ridiculous claims, regarding their performance, were not acceptable to God. How did Jesus know this? He was God incarnate that day, and He will be God their Judge on the last day (2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5).
It was for this reason the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian churches, which had become quickly infected with the teaching of the Judaizers. These false teachers were trying to put people of grace back under the Law of Moses.
The Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (Jn 1:17). Everyone who thinks that his contribution to salvation, whether it be big or small, is a fool. Sinful men do absolutely nothing to facilitate the salvation of God, in any way. This is Paul’s case against Judaism.
Judaism has another Gospel for men (Gal 1:6–7). It is a man-made religion, not from God (Gal 1:11–12). It pollutes the purity of the Gospel of God’s grace (Gal 1:6; 2:21). Sinful men are bewitched with performance (Gal 3:1), and they want to contribute something to God because in their wicked hearts (Jer 17:9), they want to be like God (Gen 3:5).
Salvation is Christ keeping the Law of righteousness, without any contribution by sinners, working to keep the Law (Gal 3:9, 13). Jesus is the faithful covenant keeper, in which God has made promises to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21), excluding their works (Rom 4:5). He finishes His works to perfection.
The man who says, “I have done this one thing and Jesus is mine,” is a foolish Galatian. He is in bondage to the Law that demands his performance. He remains a slave and is not free in Christ (Rom 6:6). Therefore, we must review Paul’s case for grace, not Law, that affords eternal salvation.
God is glorified, alone, for the works He has performed, in His bringing about so great a salvation. Our focus is on His performance, not on the performance of anyone else. This is why the true believer boasts in Jesus Christ, exclusively (1 Cor 1:30–31). God deserves honor, glory, and praise for what He has done. Man deserves eternal punishment in the fiery hell, of the second death, for what he has done (Mt 25:46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).
God the Father chose a people to save, in eternity past (Rom 8:30; Eph 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13). Jesus Christ died on the cross, in order to redeem these people from their sins (Jn 10:11, 15; Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 2:24). The Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26; 15:26), to bring this new life to God’s elect redeemed people (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). The Trinity performs salvation from beginning to end. Man sins from beginning to end. Man is not good, nor righteous, nor seeking God as his remedy, nor is he able to meet the standard by himself (Rom 3:10–12; 8:7).
The evidence of one being saved, is the manifestation of this Gospel witness that entirely denies man and his ludicrous claims, about his filthy works, of failed obedience, to what is required of him, under the Law. God did it all. You and I did nothing and that is Paul’s case against Judaism in his Epistle to the Galatians.
If you believe that you have to, or can do anything, to be in Christ (1 Cor 1:30), then be assured that you are not in Christ, for you have trusted in a lie and the truth is not in you.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 18, 2020