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17327Re: SSNET: 09: Sunday: Sin and the Law

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  • ssnet@...
    Jun 7, 2014
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      It is true Paul and the Christians he is writing too in Rome already believe Jesus is the Messiah. So why does Paul write the book? This is an issue that has also come up in our Sabbath School class.

      In Acts 9:20,22 it says this:  "And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ." This shows what Paul's message was from the beginning.

      When you read Romans 1:1-8 you will notice that Paul refers to Jesus Christ five times. Today we speak as if the words Jesus Christ are the first and last name of Jesus. What it really means is Jesus is the Messiah. The message of the gospel was the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. This meant the Messiah is here. This was shocking news in that day, just as much as when William Miller started preaching the Second Advent in 1843/44. It caused an uproar. Christians took sides on the issue.

      I think it helps to try to put ourselves back in 57AD, when the book was written, and place ourselves in their shoes. In those days Judaism was one religion with various sects. One of these sects was what came to be called Christianity but at the time was called The Way or Nazarenes, after Jesus of Nazareth.

      There was no book called the New Testament. The Old Testament was the only book available but it was not one small book, as we have today, it was 22 scrolls. Most people could not afford these expensive books that were hand written. The synagogue might have a copy but only the Rabbi was allowed to handle it.

      A Gentile, with little knowledge of the OT, showing up at a synagogue in Rome on Saturday would be asked why he was there. If he told of his conversion to Judaism, the story of Jesus as the Messiah, of righteousness by faith, he would be told these things could not be true. The OT teaches righteousness comes by the law (Deut. 6:25) and the Messiah was to set up a kingdom on earth in Israel. All Jews would be gathered into this kingdom. If the Messiah had come, Jews would know about it before Gentiles.

      This kind of information would be too great for a Gentile who had been converted but was unfamiliar with the all of the information in the OT. It would be a novice matched against an expert. They would therefore become confused as to what to believe. Paul confronts this problem in the book of Romans.

      In the book, he often refers to the Jews and their beliefs. In Romans 16:17-19 he says to stay away from these people. He also gives a list of people in Rome they can trust. Finally, he summarizes what he has said by saying, God is going to uphold the message he preaches that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savor of the whole world. This was the original message of salvation as a promise illustrated and forecast in the OT, now it has been fulfilled by the life and death of Jesus. Every race of men on the earth has a chance to be saved, thank God for his wisdom worked out in reality by Jesus the Messiah.

       Duane Maycock

      From: "Tony Zbaraschuk" <tonyz@...>
      To: "ssnet-send" <ssnet-send@...>
      Sent: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 6:07:07 PM
      Subject: Re: SSNET: 09: Sunday: Sin and the Law

      On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 08:22:20PM +0000, duanemaycock@... wrote:
      > When reading Romans I think it helps if you remember why Paul is
      > writing the book, mainly to Gentiles in Rome.
      > Romans is about proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

      I don't see it.  Paul believes that Jesus is the Messiah, and he's
      writing to followers of Jesus-the-Messiah.  Nobody _at this point_
      is trying to prove that Jesus is; they all already accept that, or
      Paul wouldn't be writing to them at all.

      The main question is Romans is: what is involved in _following_
      this Messiah you've already agreed to follow?  No doubt Paul spent
      a while in his sermons convincing others that Jesus _was_ the
      Messiah (and we can see Luke's synposes of such sermons in Acts),
      but his letters are written to people who _already_ believe that,
      or Paul wouldn't be writing to them.

      > (Hebrews is about the same subject but to the Jews) This can be
      > shown by reading the first 6 verses of the first chapter and the
      > last 3 verses of Romans 16, where he concludes by saying this is my
      > proof that Jesus is the Messiah.

      I simply do not see this in those verses. 

      Tony Zbaraschuk

      Love is a garden that needs regular watering, and weeding,
      but produces all sorts of unexpected delights and surprises.


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