Friday, August 27, 2010

For what do the Scriptures say?

I am thinking this morning that this on going commentary should have its own blog. Until then however I'll post maybe just one more after this one.
In this continuance of this commentary I have to be as honest as I can in searching out Pauls intent in his writing. So I will always steer away from some systematic apologetic s of trying to make Paul fit my theological framework. My framework however is not quite systematic anyway.
Soooo, here we go! V.11-12 "For the scriptures say,"Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.".
Paul always point back to the prophets as the authoritative Word. I will say this before moving on, as I believe it is imperative for the usage of scripture here, that Paul purposely and wisely chose this particular quote because of the usage of the pronoun "pas'". The word "pas" from the Greek is translated as all, everyone, or whoever. It is an all inclusive word and thus a non exclusive statement leading right into the further analysis of G-d saving "Jew and Greek alike".
Paul makes a clear mark in the clay of his readers thinking;"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek....". He use the word "diastole" which means distinction;difference;interval;space or distance. Even though there are distinct differences in ritual observation, foods to abstain from, times of months and years to be sanctified that ore obligatory for the Jew, there is no difference on how all people come before G-d. G-d is the Lord of Lords, the creator of everything that can be seen and unseen. G-d is not exclusive to any one group or religion; G-d is over ALL. We must all come the same way, and that is through repentance and acceptance of the wonderful revelation of G-d Himself. Paul is just evening up the gap for the purpose of dismantling the wall of pride and prejudice that is built up by both parties addressed.
V 13-"For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
To understand this quote, Paul uses the words from the Prophet Joel. There are two phrases to understand that I think are important here. Let's start with "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord...". It's imperative to understand the context here and to see why Paul chose the prophet Joel to make his statement of faith and confession. So as to make this quick I just broke down the chapters of Joel into a synopsis. Chapter on speaks of the invasion of the destroying locusts and a call to repentance. Chapter 2 deals with the eschatological "day of the Lord'; war and bloodshed; returning to the land and the pouring out of G-ds Spirit. Chapter 3 talks of G-ds judging the nations and the glorious future of Judah.
After a revealing look at the future era of messianic reign, when G-d had shown jealousy for the land and His people(2:18), G-d says that afterward He would do something. Biblically and prophetically speaking, this would be the end of the times of the Gentiles. That is to say that Israel would have by divine decree, their land apart from the Gentile ruler ship.
In all of these promises, Joel pronounces by way of inspiration;"I will pour out my Spirit in all flesh...". The "all flesh" is speaking of just that; "all flesh". Whether Jew or Gentile. The Spirit of G-d will inspire not just the Jew, but break the boundaries of the sexes through:"your sons and daughters"; through barriers of age:"your old men shall have dreams and your young men shall see visions.". G-d even breaks the through the walls of what we call first class and lower class;"even on the male and female slaves in those days I will pour out my Spirit.".
This is Pauls purpose in his usage of this passage, it is to demonstrate that G-d is impartial to the idea of ethnic superiority and that he is the maker of all flesh and all are welcome unequivocally to call on Him.
This is the second phrase included in the verse and that is to call in Him. Joel uses the Hebrew expression "to call" and it basically means to summons G-ds aid. To have this done is for the person calling to have come to a place of understanding of who we are and who G-d is. It is place of humility, divine sorrow for sins and a desperate cry for help that we cannot bring ourselves and thus are dependent upon the G-d of all. The Greek word used for this same expression is "epikalomeous", and it means to call upon or attach or connect to a name.
Paul has an interesting thought with the usage of words and quotes, he uses it to kind of purport an apologetic response to the superiority syndrome and states not only that the nations will call upon the G-d of creation, but will attach His name to theirs and their name to His. This proves to only slam the door on the pride of each of the hearers of the letter.
May we "all" recognize the place where we are at, that we are all the same and in need of G-ds divine favor and grace. I am no better and am in no way superior to any one, because even the faith that I have I cannot even claim as my own, seeing that even that is a grace.
May we all be humbled in His presence call upon the only one that can deliver us from ourselves, the Lord Jesus Messiah. Amen.

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