Christians and the Law: Answering the Objections, part 9

In the comments to Vox’s original post, Tiger asked “Why did Paul go to the temple with the other Christian brothers and sacrifice sheep at the Temple?”

Statement 10: Why? That easy: 1 Corinthians 9:20

“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. ”

-Northern Observer

In other words, Paul was a good actor. He was just pretending to do Jewish things to trick the Jews into thinking he was just like them. When Jews complained that Paul was teaching other Jews to abandon Torah, he took a Nazirite vow and made a blood sacrifice at the Temple, paying for several other men to do the same thing to demonstrate that those Jews were in error. If N.O.’s interpretation is correct, then Paul only did this to pretend that he still kept the Law. As soon as he was back among gentiles, he resumed eating pork chops.

This is not a reasonable interpretation. Once again, it is a misunderstanding based on one statement taken out of its original context. Here’s the same verse with the surrounding text:

1 Corinthians 9:19-23  For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  (20)  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.  (21)  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  (22)  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  (23)  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Unless Northern Observer is a true antinomian and libertine, I seriously doubt that he believes that “I have become all things to all people” means Paul fornicated in order to witness to fornicators. He didn’t actually become weak in order to win the weak. His actual meaning should be very clear to those who have done actual street ministry or door-to-door witnessing.

Paul didn’t become lawless so that he could win the lawless or legalistic to win the legalistic. Instead he did the same thing that Yeshua did with prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen, and rabbis: he spoke to them where they were and in terms they could understand. In order to convince deeply religious Jews that Yeshua is the Messiah, Paul wrote of the priesthood and tabernacle (the Letter to the Hebrews). In order to introduce Greeks to the Creator, he spoke to them of the Unknown God (Acts 17:21-34).

I am certain that Paul did not mean what N.O. asserts, and Paul himself confirmed it. First, in the very same passage, Paul said that he did not operate outside of God’s Law.

1 Corinthians 9:21  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of[to -KJV] God but under the law of[to – KJV] Christ) that I might win those outside the law.

Second, only a few sentences later, he wrote that he kept his body under strict discipline so as no to compromise his witness.

1 Corinthians 9:27  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Third, he said that he remained a Pharisee in regards to the Law his entire life. He always kept the Law no matter where he was or who was watching.

Acts 26:4-5  “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews.  (5)  They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee.”

It is abundantly clear that Paul did not sacrifice at the Temple only so he could appear to Jews as a Jew. He sacrificed at the Temple because he really was a Torah-observant Jew in every way.

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Statement 11, by Daniel, will require another lengthy post. The real religion of Christian teachers seems to be to take every verse of the New Testament completely out of context whenever possible. Sometimes it takes a lot of hand holding to back out the false teachings. The truth is plain to anyone who looks for it, but too many people have lifelong scales on their eyes that prevent them from really looking.

part 7, part 8, part 9part 10, part 11

Vox’s original article: Christians and the Law.

[BTW, this is post 777. I felt the occasion deserved to be marked.]

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