Friday, January 23, 2015

Rm 2:25-3:20

Paul continues with a prime example of a false argument he deals with, an argument about doing well at something in the Law, some aspect or  part of the Law by which they, as far as keeping the covenant, actually thought of themselves as actually keeping the the covenant, because of their keeping an entering into keeping covenant.  Paul is dealing here with an "I've gotten in the door" argument..

Circumcision is an undisputed example of their idea of that door.  Isn't going through the entrance point,  namely, circumcision, of value?  His answer is 2:25.  Again, we might tend to think Paul is saying that he agrees that circumcision is an entrance point, and that  Paul either has better entrance points, new entrance points, or cares only about exits.  We will see.  But the truth is that here, Paul denies that circumcision is anything but a possibly temporary entrance point before God.  He does so in 2:26-27.  Circumcision, far from being a permanent entrance point, is only so if subsequently, one abides inside!  It is something that, if someone "keeps the requirements of the Law" (2:26), or "if he keeps the Law" (2:27) without that one thing, will be regarded -- by God! -- as having been circumcised, as having entered!

This has got to befuddle those who "rely upon the Law" (2:17).  If you imagine the Law as a city, and circumcision as a gateway into it, Paul is saying that getting in, becomes the same as being outside, if when you're in, you violate the rules of the city (2:25).  Those in the city, who don't violate the rules of the city, will be regarded as having come in(2:26).

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