Friday, August 20, 2010

A little more Commentary

Continuing on with commenting on my views Romans 10.
Jesus' life was filled with obedience to Torah, but not with just obedience; with an applied sense of the principles of love for G-d through the Torah.
As far as my reading of the gospels, I have never found Jesus to be guilty of breaking or violating G-ds Torah. Jesus did however challenge certain views and practices. Jesus after all did not come to abolish the Torah, but to fulfill.
To expand a little on v.4 which reads;"For Christ is the goal of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believes .", is to say that Jesus exemplified, lived out and demonstrated the righteousness that G-d desired. He showed compassion for those that needed compassion; love when none else would demonstrate it; rebuke when someone needed to be corrected theologically or just in practice.
Paul uses the word "telos" for the word most often translated as the 'end' of the law. I think there is a word that conveys the thought much better here which I have already chosen to insert. Telos means full performance; perfect discharge; fulfillment; realization or goal; an end attained or a closing act.
The idea that is read through the N.T.; especially the gospels is that Jesus walked successfully the paradox of religious duty and a living faith; thus attaining the 'Telos"; the goal of full performance.
Thus if Jesus is being pointed out as the object in which one is to look to for example, he is and had become the one to reach for the goal of the righteousness for every one that believes. So Jesus being the fulfillment or goal is the blueprint for everyone. Paul wants all eyes toward his Messiah, G-ds message of salvation to prick the hears of every man and woman to come to in repentance and truly live the paradoxical life of faith and religion.
V.5-"For Moses writes about the righteousness which os of the law;"the man who does those things shall live by them."
At first glance between vv.5-6, he seems to be contrasting the Torah(law) and the idea of faith, but I suggest he is showing how they co-exist together. I want to take a look at the passage taken from Leviticus and then expound for further on the other verses Paul uses. This should greatly increase understanding for interpreting the next few verses.
Leviticus 18:5"You shall observe my decrees and my laws which man shall carry out and by which he shall live, I am the L-rd."
Now to grasp this passage is not difficult, it is to the Jewish community in observance of moral standards in intimacy. Following and observing is for the sake of life, or keeping semblance of standards in conduct. This is not unimportant in anyway, but Paul is setting up the birds eye view of what he believes is missing in the observant Jews perspective. He is saying, "Yes, you are as a Jew, obligated to the keeping of Torah, but......"
VV.6-8"But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, Do not say in your heart who will ascend into heaven?,( that is is to bring Christ down) or, who will descend into the abyss?(this is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, in your
mouth and in your heart"(that is, the word of faith which we preach):........".
This is probably Pauls strongest statements of devotion to Jesus as Messiah and is the missing element that he strongly holds as the missing link in all of this; it's faith.
For the best interpretation of this passage it would be best to read it from the original source from where it came; the quote is from Duet. 30:11-14. I am not going to write in the verses, because of the sake of space, but it reads differently than what Paul has written in his letter. This is what I'd like to look at and comment on.
To simply break down what was being spoken of in Duet., G-d is telling the Israelite s that all the commandments, statutes and the ways in which to walk when they go into the land is not out of reach for them. G-d says it is not hidden from them or distant; that is to say, not some esoteric or you to search after in some mystical posture of find under a rock in a distant place; its' right here. G-d then explains where it is not; it's not in heaven, where only some guru can claim that they have the secrets of G-d. Neither is ti beyond the sea for us so that only some may travel on a journey to obtain and bring back to the masses. After explaining where G-ds will is not , he simply says in v.14 ;"But the word is very near to you. It is in your mouth and in our heart, so that you can do it."
There are two categories which Paul illuminates with the reiteration of the verses with the insertion of his interpretation. In vv.6-8 Paul adds additional words to express the idea of Jesus into the equation;"who will ascend into heaven?(that is to bring Christ down) or who will descend into the abyss?( that is to bring Christ up from the dead)." Paul seems to take a little liberty here for the purpose of practicality in comprehension. Duet. 30:12-13 reads; "who shall ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear and do it? ....who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear and do it?"
The idea of the depth of the sea is here in Pauls usage of phrasing, and it is here to demonstrate that it is not neccasary for anyone to cross such depths to attain this action that G-d called them to do. Paul uses the word abusson, the abyss, meaning bottomless or the place of dead. His choice of phrasing has to be understood in light of bringing up Christ from the land of the dead. Paul has not changed the meaning of this, but has rather taken his readers to the edge of G-ds sovereignty. He is taking his audience to the pinnacle of G-ds knowledge so as to ground their arrogance and humble them in how all men and women approach the Holy.
Paul is stringing together a theological thread into which the weaves a tapestry of soteriological thought into how Jesus is Messiah not only for the Jew but also for the world. He begins to stitch the idea of covenant with "the word is near...". For this terminology is so closely tied to the Jewish faith, they would immediately adhere to and be attentive to respond.
"In your mouth..." This carries tremendous action; for it is the action of confessing. It is an action of confessing sins and an action of confessing Jesus, who is the catalyst for confession.
"and in your heart.." This is the essence of who we are and it is the souls response to something. In this case it is the response to a return to G-d and that is repentance through confession and it must be through the faculties of both mind and heart.
This is Pauls gospel message and he proclaims it loudly;"this is the word of faith which we preach.". This is where Paul and his message are most strongly felt, because he just clears the air of any esoteric meaning of attaining a relationship with G-d by using this biblical reference of reasoning. In other words there is no kind of secret, no amount of dance or ritualism that's involved and is quite simplistic yet very profound.
This keeps with the continuity of the entire letter, he again obliterates the idea of any room for boasting. The idea that someone could plumb the depths or climb into the heights more than another based on genealogy or background of sorts becomes absurd.

That is probably enough until tomorrow.
Just my final thoughts for today on these verses before I sign off. I am so grateful for the wisdom of G-d to offer me, a man of no reputable background, no sacred genealogy or works to which to boast would allow me the opportunity to confess the Savior of the world and come full circle which is inly of and by His grace. Amen and Bruch HaShem

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