THINGS HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD
2 Peter 3:16 ...as (Paul) has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.. nkjv
From wikipedia: Judaizing is....derived from the Greek verb ioudaïzō. This term is most widely known from its use in the Greek New Testament (Galatians 2:14) where Paul publicly challenges Peter for compelling gentile converts to Early Christianity to "judaize"
To Judaize means to compel others to live as did the Jew under Torah/Law. It is the practice of those who are under or have adopted Jewish practices related to the Law/Torah, and who seek to influence others to do so. The Galatian Judaizers seem to have sought to bring Galatian believers to perfection (not merely justification is in view in Galatians, but sanctification also) by lawkeeping or Torah observance. We should pay attention to Galatians 3:3 that tells us that when Paul teaches on this topic he is not merely talking about Justification, but Sanctification.
Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun [justification] in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect [sanctification] by the flesh? nkjv
The question for the believer in Christ and HOW he is to walk is paramount. Is it under Torah or a different principle? Let us look at a passage Romans where this very issue is in view.
There is a question in Romans 5:20 through chapter 6, related to Law and Grace. Peter would say that the things Paul wrote in this passage are "hard to understand" and that "untaught people twist." If so, how? Let us examine it.
A 21st century person with whom we have engaged on this topic said the following: Paul's letters are hard to understand for the unlearned in scripture. That is why the church comes up with all these anti-Torah theology and false names for Yahushua. "Do we then make void the Torah through faith? Elohim forbid: yea, we establish the Torah." Rom. 3:31
Is his argument valid? Is his inference valid in a pro-Torah posture, or does he have it backwards?
Let us examine Romans 5:20 - 6:2.
5:20 Moreover the law entered (alongside) that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 6:2 Certainly Not! nkjv
Paul here is using a teaching method where he is answering an "unnamed objector's" arguments. Specifically, that which he anticipates and answers is the expected objection from the Judaizers concerning what he wrote beginning in 5:20. They would be alarmed by the idea that the law came in alongside sin to give it the character of transgression... and ...that where Sin abounds it causes Grace to overflow. It is as if Paul is teaching that if there is more sin, there is more grace!! The mind of a person under the Law principle immediately recoils from such a thought, more sin means more grace!!??! Or - "Let us do evil that good may come!"
The unnamed objector in such a case ASSUMES that since a believer in Christ is under Grace and not Law, that this type of thinking will make him a lawless type person who sins more so that there will be more grace - as if that is to God's glory somehow. The train of thought here is that it is assumed by the Judaizer that increasing grace, in view of sin, makes a person loose and makes him a kind of person who will "sin more so there is more grace" etc. Explaining this is indeed hard to be understoood.
Paul answers the Judaizer's alarm with [kjv] "God forbid!" (Certainly not! nkjv), and then the whole of chapter 6 is taken up with discussing the believers identification truths like having died with Christ and the positional implications of that. He basically teaches in chapters 6-7 that the walk of the believer is TIED TO KNOWING (and reckoning/presenting) the wonderful truths of his new identification with Christ.... including his old man having died with Christ (his old nature-disposition was crucified). The sinful nature & disposition that dominated him before conversion NO LONGER REIGNS AS KING. And on this basis he can WALK pleasing to the Lord under Grace and by the Spirit ....as opposed to the Law Principle (see Roman 7). The Law demanded what the flesh could not accomplish, but the believer can walk pleasing to God under a different principle. Instead of Law.... he is under Grace.
THIS IS PRECISELY the type of thing about Paul that Peter refers to. The thought that a believer is under Grace not the Law principle is HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD especially by those who were previously (or still are) under the Law principle. They see the Law as that which appropriates the Abrahamic Covenant, and that the law is the way of life for the Christian. They see that the flesh needs to be controlled and that Law is the way to do it.
They recoil at such teaching that doesn't depend on the Law for behavior and holiness, because they are untaught and unstable and perhaps unconverted.
Romans 7:4 goes on to teach something more alarming to them, that the believer has died to the Law. (and lest we try to divide the law up notice that 7:7 mentions coveting-so the "law" in view in 7:4 is the 10 commandments). It is not that the law has died or that it is evil or bad, on the contrary the Law is holy, spiritual, and good. Further, the law is established, not set aside, in its ministry. That good and holy ministry includes condemnation. We also see that the law is not for the righteous man (which is the standing of believers-in Chirst) but the law is for the ungodly (1 Tim. 1:9)
The Lawkeeping principle is therefore not the way for a believer to walk - that will end in defeat which even Paul apparently experienced in the "wretched man that I am" of Romans 7:24. We are instead to "walk in the Spirit" and in doing so will not so easily manifest the deeds of the flesh. The Law demands of our flesh what our flesh cannot accomplish. In our identification with Christ though, we believers are now free and ENABLED to walk with God, but that freedom is not via the Law principle. We died to that. See also the article in the Wheatland blog about Adoption.
Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
Galatians 5:22-23 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
written by wbc