Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 4 Study # 4
August 9, 2005
Lincolnton, N.C.

<148> Thesis: The unity of God allows justification to escape the boundaries of Judaism, but it does not allow it to escape the boundaries of divinely revealed Truth. Introduction: Last week we began to consider the meaning and importance of Paul's second major question after he had established the inescapable truth that justification before God would only be obtained by the principle of faith in opposition to the principle of works. The first question was how this inescapable truth addresses the problem of human boastfulness as a direct attack on the roots of Sin. This second question addresses the problem of the Jewish perversion, through boastfulness, of the doctrine of God. It has to do with the issue of whether the true God is "Jewish" in the sense of only really being interested in the Jews (not as a race, but as practitioners of the particular type of religion known as "performance theology" -- salvation by works). In our study last week we argued that Paul's question was his second major bombshell for people involved in the Jewish theological mindset. The first such bombshell was his argument that the purpose of the Law was not to provide a way of salvation through its works, but, rather, to provide a revelation of the hopelessness of anyone who attempted to gain salvation by its works. All have sinned. Under Law, this is both inexcusable and unacceptable and leads only to condemnation. This second bombshell is his argument that Yahweh is not locked into being "God" only of the Jews in respect to His salvation objectives. This was a frontal attack by Paul on the Jewish twist on their election by God. Instead of their election being something that makes them the center of the God's universe, it is something that makes them God's instruments of salvation for others in His universe. (By the way, Paul argues in Ephesians that even the Church exists in part for the edification of the angelic hosts; thus, he carries his concept of election unto instrumentality on into the Gospel also.) Now, this evening we are going to continue to pursue understanding of Paul's argument that true theology has been distorted by the Jewish focus upon Law as a revelation of the way of salvation through works. Since the root of Sin is self-exaltation, it is no accident that the way of salvation has been turned, by Sin, into a way to exalt oneself by superior achievement through superior works. And, likewise, it is no accident that "election" has been turned, by Sin, into a doctrine of "my superior importance to God" instead of a doctrine of God's desire to obtain instruments whom He can use to extend salvation to others who are as important to God as I am. So, this evening we are going to look into Paul's use of the "Shema" of the Jews to argue against their perversion of its meaning.