Like forensic detectives, theologians mine the facts and go over them again and again, searching for something that might elucidate. I am on a second book by Brad Young after reading Jesus the Jewish Theologian. This one is Paul the Jewish Theologian. I was hoping that he could tell me some things. But…as per usual, another scholars “data points” just so happen to complexify as much as make any clarity. He said that the Greek word “nomos” is not really Law in the Hebraic sense. And Law is not really TORAH in the Hebrew sense, which is what…more holistic and wide-ranging in meaning? And that Pharisee View (which Paul was trained in, and knew of intimately) saw Law as both rendered and “oral” meaning the mitzvot considerations of past rabbis, I think. For instance the 613 laws come from mitzvot? How Law and behavior comes together in action? But, as at least the Hillel faction of Pharisaism believed...oral law emphasized and prioritized the love of man and men's "lives" first. Which is to say...that if two laws seem to oppose or contradict another one, that priority takes on the whole or conclusion (resolution of a rabbi). There must be a further consideration of a division of Law, and this must have to do with Law towards God directly as opposed to…social law. I am sure that the Pharisee considered ZEALOUSNESS as a direct connection to the Love of YHWH, being the Shema Great Command. But and yet I keep reading esp. of Hillel and then Gemaliel the Elder emphasizing love among PEOPLE (social law) as being prioritized. Therefore Law unto God and Law unto each other must have a dichotomy in Pharisee thought. For instance it is said that the sabbath was considered by Gemaliel the Elder to be less strict than many “traditions of men” which would make it similar to Jesus’ own consideration: “sabbath is made for man,” not “man is for the sabbath” (God). The passage in Mat 12:1-8 juxtaposes the “Pharisee view” with Jesus’ own, but this was not necessarily Gemaliel’s view (or Paul’s own, being ‘at the feet of Gemaliel'). The key here is a division with Pharisees themselves, as Gemaliel was said to be much more lenient overall and even to Gentiles, than another faction within that denomination, the Shamai faction. In any case, if the Pharisees actually did consider Law divided between God and man, the confusion we have regarding Paul’s use of the Koine “nomos” might be lessened. As you can tell, I am not really an expert on Judaic View, or Pharisee View, or Paul’s own reconstructed Pharisee View (after his conversion). But I do already balk against Brad Young’s idea that Paul was still a Torah observant Jew and that he was still completely sold on Torah Law in his heart. The Law of the Flesh Circumcision SHOULD HAVE BEEN the God-fearer to CONVERT transition. Instead Paul only recommended the flesh circumcision for the sake of…”being all things to all men.” (A Jew to all Jews). And the New Component was for me his SPIRITUAL conversion. Gal 5: 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Do we see then the link I make from New Covenant to…both the Shema and the Promise of Life by the Circumcised Heart in Deut 30? This verse again: 6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. ALL of these things are directly linked by Paul, 1) The Shema love of God being INHERENT in the saints, BY SPIRIT, and EXEMPLIFYING the Shema Principle. 2) This Spirit now characterized by Jesus himself, as the TESTIFIER of grace and formulated or represented symbolically by the symbols or metaphors, “Abba, Father.” Gal 1:6 “to reveal His Son in me.” 1 Cor 2 …but we have the mind of Christ (in the same Spirit). And now the Flesh Circumcision largely TRANSCENDED by the new saints being HEART circumcised. No, Paul was not in his heart considering the flesh circumcision to be INHERENTLY a priority or valuable commodity IN THE FACE of the new Heart Circumcision. The last verse above in Gal 5 again: 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
This “circumcision” HAS to be the flesh circumcision, and the “faith which worketh by love” HAS to be the Heart Circumcision.
What does this have to do with faith vs. works; the theology of Paul as opposed to my contrast in the last post, that of Mat 25 and the Parable of the Talents?
In the main, Paul is speaking of the Holy Spirit being the new operative mechanism. This is actually MISSING in the Deut 30 verse but serves as key anyway in understanding JUST HOW doing Shema will result in a man BEING ABLE to do Shema to the extent of the requirement of God. Only by Spirit, and this indwelling the saints of Christ. And this as a direct consequence of considering Jesus and his message. As the first 3000 and then 5000 saints were then supernaturally converted, and as Paul’s stupendous conversion exemplified. So what then are the NEW WORKS of the NEW CONVERTS?
Works of faith, which Paul was especially cognizant of, if he never actually RENDERS this distinction in Text. He still knew even of his own great supernatural and miraculous works of faith IN CONTRAST TO, his previous obedience to Torah Law.
As much as we modern-day men are NOT PRIVY to this knowledge or power in Christ or great experiential faith, we still have the DESCRIPTION of this very thing in Paul’s own Epistles as well as the New Testament. Me included. Me being a PART of our now WANNABEE Christianity.