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Paul's View of the Law as seen primarily in Galatians and Romans - Essay Example


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Paul's View of the Law as seen primarily in Galatians and Romans

Paul’s overwhelming view that total coherence to the laws and abiding them in letter and spirit was not physically possible for everyone relies on the assumption that human beings are weak by design. Keeping this in mind, Paul contended that human beings have a duty to the Lord above their duty to laws enforced by human beings such as the Jews. He felt that the principles of exclusion used by the Jewish tradition to limit laws to themselves were nothing more than attempts at limiting salvation to themselves. In comparison to the rigid and orthodox views on the law, Paul presents a more balanced approach. Given the shortage of early written tradition from Paul’s times, it is pertinent to use any available sources to document Paul’s views on law. One possible source for extracting such information are the letters addressed by Paul to the Romans and the Galatians. Taking into consideration pieces of Paul’s work such as Gal 3:1-14 provides a useful understanding on the exact views of Paul on the law. This paper will look into Paul’s letters in detail in order to clarify Paul’s position on the law and salvation. Law in the Early Church The Jewish tradition has had strong roots in the strict observance of the law. The Jewish position on the observance of law came into direct conflict with early Christian beliefs. At the time when Paul wrote letters to Galatians and Romans, Christianity was novel and foreign to the Jewish civilization that insisted on the strict observance of the law. Paul’s contention

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in writing these letters was to address the different churches facing different conditions. To understand Paul’s utterances about law, it is important to have an understanding of the viewpoint of the people he was addressing in his letter. Pauline epistles were written to a society that revered Judaism, which demanded austere compliance to Jewish laws. Such laws include bodily male circumcision as a compulsory requirement for salvation. Those who did not abide were considered gentiles and unrighteous.1 In his letters to both Galatians and Romans, Paul clarified that circumcision, which was a cherished Jewish tradition was not a constituent of the gospel of Christ. He asserted that salvation is by God’s grace and not out of our efforts, thus it is for all but not Jews alone as Judaism proposed. Paul’s efforts to dismantle these orthodox customs received opposition to such an extent that some went following him from church to church to revise his teachings2. Within the same Church were Pharisees who believed in Jesus as the Christ and the means to salvation and believed that observance of the law was an obligation and not a compulsory requirement for salvation. In the society were the lawless gentiles that Paul hoped to convert. The gentiles were unwilling to adopt Jewish laws, which resulted into great criticism from the Jews. Paul’s Views on the Law Paul’s letters are filled with a constant comparison of the law, righteousness, and salvation. It must be kept in mind that Paul initially had a Jewish background before his conversion to Christianity. He had been a persecutor of


Contents Introduction 2 Law in the Early Church 2 Paul’s Views on the Law 3 Pauls Views on Righteousness and Law 7 Paul’s Views on Law as a Condition to Salvation 7 Pauls Views on Law as a Gauge of Morality 8 The Role of the Law in Paul’s Gospel 8 Application of Pauline Epistles to Modern Christians 9 Conclusion 9 Bibliography 10 Paul’s View of the Law as in his Letters to the Galatians and the Romans Introduction Paul was an extremely important part of the early Church and provided it with strong traditions that persist to the modern day…
Author : eleonoreheaney
Pauls View of the Law as seen primarily in Galatians and Romans essay example
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