Paul, Law and Grace, and ‘Cheap Grace’


1. Charges in antinomianism

1.1. Paul’s awareness of Jewish charges

1.1.1. Romans 3:7-8: God’s greatness approves evil?

1.1.2. Romans 3:31 and 7:7, 13: Offending the law?

1.2. Paul’s awareness of (possible) antinomian sophistication

1.3. Evaluation and summary of the opposition

2. Historical-theological assessment of the fact of the charge

2.1. The revision of Paul, the Law and his Jewish accusers

2.2. The more traditional revision of the revision

3. Back to the basics: what Paul has to say in response to the charge

3.1. The Law

3.2. Grace, not allowance of sin

3.3. Righteousness and new life




Prominent thinkers’ views are often questioned or challenged, and at times severely misunderstood, especially when they offer crosscurrent ideas.[1] The apostle Paul appeared to join their number when he began to preach his Christ-centered gospel.[2] Pondering over Paul’s soteriology[3] and how it seems to have been mistreated within and after his lifetime, one may wonder as to what arguments Paul would set forth in defense against apparent charges in teaching an easy way of salvation or perhaps what looks like abusing of God’s goodness.

The task of the present paper is to seek answers to following questions: Was Paul accused of teaching an antinomian doctrine that might be called ‘cheap grace’?[4] What happened in the 1st century AD that gave rise to accusation of teaching so-called ‘cheap grace’? If yes, what answers, both direct and implied, did Paul give? And, finally, what pattern of though could the apostle Paul equip us with today in order for us to properly respond to extremes that are unfortunately tied to the genuine biblical teaching on grace?

As I attempt to formulate Paul’s perception of and response to the supposed charge of teaching ‘cheap grace,’ I will focus mainly on what the Epistle to Romans contains concerning the issue. I will argue that in Romans Paul (partly) is concerned with Jewish charge in abusing God’s goodness and antinomian perversion of his teaching, and refutes both by proper presentation of the law and propounding the distinct saving features of his gospel’s concepts of grace and righteousness. The procedure of this study is (1) to extract from Romans and review what appears to be the charge (addressed to Paul) in teaching ‘cheap grace’ or antinomianism, (2) to briefly assess the clash of competing views on Paul and his opponents to determine the background for the charge, and (3) to suggest a coherent response to the charge based on Romans that consists of reviews of key theological ideas in a sequence as to have them lead to a conclusion refuting the charge.

1. Charges in antinomianism

1.1. Paul’s awareness of Jewish charges

Käsemann believes that, for example, in 3:8 “Paul is reproducing an actual criticism against him on the part of, most probably, Jewish Christians”[5] (emphasis mine). Others argue with greater certainty that 3:8 is specifically a Judaizing accusation while 6:1 reflects Gentile-antinomian misinterpretation.[6] Yet others suggests that in 3:8 it was some Gentiles, who mistakenly attributed their antinomianism to Paul.[7] It seems more natural to see indignant (or, perhaps, bewildered) Jews or Judaizers[8] getting into debate of this kind (e. g. around the law)[9] with the apostle in Romans 3 (and 7), while chapter six may be addressing an antinomian misinterpretation of the Christian walk.

1.1.1. Romans 3:7-8: God’s greatness approves evil?

Apparently, Paul faced serious opposition of a specific kind: he was accused of teaching that people can do evil since good will result out of it anyway. Romans 3:7-8: “But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), “Let us do evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved!” (NRSV)

What exactly was the charge is hard to say[10] for we know little about the opposition to which Paul refers in this particular situation. Were the ‘some people’ (3:8) in Rome or some other place?[11] What was their grievance conditioned by?

The driving force behind the accusation and its content can be inferred from the context. The point Paul made in Romans 2 is that external religious factors (circumcision, possessing of the law, etc.; 2:12, 25) will not deliver unrighteous Jews from God’s judgment (2:3-5); the important note is that ‘some’ have not kept God’s commandments (3:3 (ti gar; ei eipisteisan tines), cf. 2:22-23) and are liable to condemnation.[12] Paul, leaning on normative logic and perhaps wanting to outpace a brewing question from his imaginary Jewish interlocutor, asks: “What then is so extraordinary there in being a Jew?”[13](3:1). There is no mere advantage[14] according to Romans 2, but still is there something they possess that the Gentiles do not? In addition, is there any benefit from circumcision? To the first half of the question the answer is clear: yes, the oracles of God were entrusted to the Jews. The benefit of circumcision, in its turn, is very limited for those who do keep the law (cf. 2:25): it remains only a sign of belonging to the chosen people.

Then Paul points out that many chose not to believe (apisteo; 3:3) although their unfaithfulness by no means abolishes God’s faithfulness. The following verses (4-6) set forth God’s righteousness (rightful and correct judicial dealing) in judging man. By this point the interlocutor supposedly has agreed with Paul’s sentence ‘Jews are as guilty as Gentiles’ but, perhaps, not wanting to concede, attempts a different maneuver saying in effect: “You, Paul, seem to imply that we may go ahead and do evil because it only will result in some sort of good and elevate God’s truthfulness?” (3:7-8). So, the accusation of allowing sinful living for a nice cause seems to have been articulated clearly, were it said to Paul face to face or diffused ‘behind his back.’ It demands a reply and it will be suggested in section 3.

1.1.2. Romans 3:31 and 7:7, 13: Offending the law?

Another Paul’s statement may have been formulated with reference to Jewish accusers: “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” Again, the argumentation in the context helps our comprehending of the accusation Paul apparently had to withstand. Having said that all people are equally guilty and lawfully condemned[15] he then points out that the law is designed to make humans aware of their sinfulness (3:20). Within these gloomy contours God makes manifest His righteousness (3:21)[16] in solving the plight: through redemption by Christ (3:24, 25) he makes sinners righteous (3:24, 26, 30).[17] Paul reemphasizes in vv. 26-28, 30 that it is on the condition of faith (pistei, ek pisteos), independently of the law, that any man is made righteous. And again, as to outrun opponents, Paul sounds the crux and gives a doubt-demolishing reply in v. 31.

In the course of argumentation the law, which Paul says he upholds, was properly and its role clarified. This nomos appears to be Moses’ law and also “the whole system of religious thought based upon this revelation.”[18] There is a tie back to v. 21b in which the law is said to be “witness to the righteousness of faith.”[19] So, what more does Paul have to say to rebut his possible accusers who would charge him with disparagement of the law and thus teaching antinomianism: if a man becomes pleasing to God apart from observing the law, then why keep it at all? Paul’s answer will be constructed in section on law 3.1.

In such debatable passage as Romans 7:7, 13 the Judaizers again seem to appear within Paul’s eyeshot as he discusses sin-revealing and death-bringing ability of the law (vv. 9-11). A heavily prejudiced Jewish mind might inquire of Paul: Does law drive one to commit sins? Did the commandments God gave become sin-and-death-causing?

1.2. Paul’s awareness of (possible) antinomian sophistication

Perhaps having this same charge in mind, Paul had to articulate a similar question (which was rhetoric to him) in the context of discussion of the Christian walk, and then give unambiguous answer.[20] In Romans 6:1-2 he asks: “What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?” And 6:15: “What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace?” These two questions, with specific verbs used (epimenomen tei hamartia and hamarteisomen), may cover different modes of allowance to sin (sinful lifestyle and occasional sins) although pressing the distinction too far is risky.[21] After all, the matter with these deliberative-rhetorical subjunctive verbs “is not whether one will continue to sin but whether it is morally acceptable to continue in sin.”[22] 

In this section of Romans (chapters 5-8) Paul stresses holy living on the basis of God’s grace’s provision. He differentiates between being slaves to sin and slaves to righteousness, and invites believers to choose the latter (cf. 6:8-23). This would contain much more significance for Gentiles who once were slaves to sin of which they now can only be ashamed (6:20-21) rather then for Jews who never needed to be talked into not-sinning.

So the issue is how the all-sin-covering grace does not allow, promote and/or neglect sinful living. Or, how the opinion that Christians may allow sinful behavior because God’s grace covers all finds no basis with Paul and is false. If 6:1 and 6:15 do represent irresponsible antinomian speculations, it certainly does not mean that Judaizers would not chorus the scoffing and slander Paul as though he almost approved their propensity to sinful gratification. This critique behind the scene would have been very probable to arise in some significantly biased minds after hearing Paul say that “law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied” and “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20). This abuse of Paul’s implications too demands response, which will be suggested in section 3.2.

1.3. Evaluation and summary of the opposition

It was said that “the better we understand these opponents of Paul the more fully we will comprehend the apostle himself.”[23] In Pauline corpus the opposing activists (‘false brothers’ and ‘false teachers’ as they are called) are referred to with very strong rebuking words (Gal 5:10, 12; 6:13; Phil. 2:21; 3:2; 1 Tim. 1:6-7; Titus 1:10-11) and their ‘gospel’[24] is criticized (Gal. 1:6-9).

Martyn puts it quite leniently saying that Paul’s opponents were “greatly concerned to correct what they saw as the Law-less evangelism of Paul.”[25] However, what can be discerned in some of the Jews is really an unintelligent oversimplification and mocking[26] that came from a challenged and thus offended national conscience and perhaps personal pride. Supposed debasing of the law was only a pretext. Paul could be accused at times of breaking some national traditions but never of immoral living.

It may be mentioned that Paul the Jew loved the Jews and believed that there is a future for Israel (Rom 9-11); what he fought against was the Jewish/Judaizers’ (see section 2.2) influence that distorted the gospel (cf. Phil 3:2; Gal 2:4) and other Jewish misinterpretations of his proclamation (Rom 3:7-8, 31).

2. Historical-theological assessment of the fact of the charge

In addition to what we have seen in Romans, the book of Acts, now as a historical record, testifies to the fact of opposition to and disagreements with Paul (23:1-15; 24; 25:1-3; 26; 28:17-19; 22-29). From these texts it is seen that in most cases it was Jews opposing him and mainly over matters of the Law and the way to righteousness. When it was needed, Paul demonstrated his fidelity to the religious heritage of his ancestors (e.g. Acts 16:1-3; 24:14), yet there was something in his radical decision to follow Christ and teaching that made many Jews hostile to him even to the point of commitment to kill him.[27] What was the reason for such hostile reaction and by what aspects of Paul’s teaching was it caused?

2.1. The revision of Paul, the Law and his Jewish accusers

Scholars of recent decades have been divided in their opinion over Paul’s view on the law in relation to righteousness and how and whether his views corresponded to Judaism of his day.[28] As F. Thielman has shown,[29] C. Montefiore had pioneered the review of the traditional perception ascribing Paul’s views’ origin to the Jewish Diaspora (as distinct from Palestinian Judaism) which was more pessimistic about the world, the law and had a legalistic attitude toward the law. Paul’s contention, then, was against that particular legalism, not against the whole of allegedly legalistic Judaism. (Thielman has, though briefly, demonstrated the artificiality of the distinction between Palestinian Judaism and the Diaspora Judaism made by Montefiore and some other authors who argued along similar lines (Schoeps, Davies)).[30] 

E. P. Sanders offered a new outlook rejecting the idea of Judaism as works-righteousness religion altogether and suggesting that Paul held to an “exclusivist soteriology” reasoning from solution to plight. According to him, Paul believed that all solutions are wrong besides Christ while Judaism was no legalistic religion.[31] H. Räisänen insisted that Paul misinterpreted the role of the law in Judaism that believed in salvation by grace and saw the law as regulating the conduct of God’s covenant people – hence Paul’s contradictory and disorganized statements on the law.[32] J. D. G. Dunn, in his turn, focuses on the social function of the law within the first century Judaism. According to Dunn, Paul argued merely against the Jewish abuse of the law as “the boundary marker”, “the badge of national privilege,” that is a wrong discrimination that placed only Israel within the realm of salvation thus excluding Gentiles.[33]

Some of these recent alternative perspectives on Paul and the law do not seem to account fully for why Paul was criticized by his contemporaries concerning his treatment of the law nor provide for understanding of what we have seen to be charges against the apostle in debasing or abusing of the law. Paul’s Christ-obsession alone,[34] his new understanding of mission to Gentiles,[35] or rejecting the law as the boundary-maker[36] will not quite do, because that Judaism was but a grace-and-faith religion and that Paul’s teaching was about dethroning the law are merely unwarranted assumptions by pro-new-perspective scholars. My conviction is that these issues are not that ‘black-and-white’: Judaism was a great deal legalistic[37] (see 2.2.) and Paul did not dethrone the law (see section 3.1).

2.2. The more traditional revision of the revision

In keeping with lines that are more traditional other scholars made their suggestions that are of interest to this study. Hafemann refers to C. E. Cranfield who redefined “the focus of Paul’s criticism of the Law in terms of a criticism of its perversion into legalism, this perversion being represented by the unique Pauline phrase ‘works of the law’.”[38] Thus, Paul opposed not the law but its legalistic perversion. S. Westerholm, while not regarding Judaism completely legalistic, did see in it a mixture of law on the one hand, and grace, faith and promise on the other hand, which as such is not unintelligible even to the Christian theologian. It is this mixture, including the “works of the law” as the works demanded by the law for one’s welfare, that one can speak against while contending for pure grace-and-faith gospel.[39] Thielman points out that though the OT Scriptures speak out God’s gracious initiative, “some Jews of Paul’s time” misread them to express the idea of depending of final salvation on man’s choice to do good.[40] Others, whose writings were available, could be referred to are T. Schreiner,[41] D. Moo,[42] M. Silva[43].

Gathercole has offered a study of Judaism straightening up what he calls the one-sidedness of Sanders.[44] He considers the factor of boasting, reemphasizes the eschatological dimension of Jewish soteriology (vs. the earthly staying-in-covenantal-nomism) with greater precision considers the term ‘legalism,’ thus showing the lack of complete adequacy of the new-perspective. Then Gathercole presents the “role of obedience in final vindication at the eschaton” and “wide variety of ways in which the theme of final salvation according to deeds is treated”[45] thus exposing deeds-and-merits tendencies in Judaism of the period. He very cautiously and correctly defines features like character of the religion as centered on religious practice vs. inner disposition of its participants, and ‘getting in.’ Terms ‘self- and works-righteousness’ he lays aside as ill-defined.[46]

These scholars refer to many passages in Second Temple Jewish writings (e.g., Pss. Sol. 9:4-5; Jub. 20:2; Sir. 15:15-17; 26:28; Tob. 12:9; 14:9, 11; Wis. 2:22, etc., plus 4 Ezra which Sanders rejects altogether as too legalistic to represent Judaism of the period, and characteristic DDS texts). These references present understanding of wages and rewards for human achievements, that “salvation from God’s wrath depends at least to some extent on the human choice to do good and human success at doing it,”[47] and of “Law as the means to righteousness and life.”[48]

S. Kim exposes frequent apparent arbitrariness of the Paul/law reconstruction by J. Dunn.[49] The call to the Gentile mission, he insists, and the conversion to Christology and “new” soteriology (including his view of the law) happened simultaneously on the road to Damascus and developed as Paul reflected on the matters immediately after the experience. The message for Gentiles had, by logic, to be the same for Jews from the very outset[50] – justification though faith in Christ (as relevant for all) and therefore without works of the law (as relevant initially specifically to Jews). That is to say that Judaism of Saul the Pharisee did need to be reformed, needed true salvation by grace just as did the Gentiles. Kim insists that there had to be a continuity between the Judaism of Saul and Judaism as Paul the apostle perceived it. He observes the tendency (in groups like Pharisees and Qumran community) for striving to righteousness that is greater then mere “staying in” (as obvious in the Rule of Community (1QS 5:1-10, 20-26: 8:20-9:6, Pss. Sol); failure to keep the law perfectly did not cause them to give up but rather prompted in “more pious Jews” to greater efforts in spite of atonement provided in the Law.[51]

C. Talbert lists the four ways in which Paul has been recently understood in relation to Judaism: (1) Judaism was legalistic and Paul opposed it; (2) Judaism was not legalistic and either Paul’s interpreters were wrong or Paul was wrong and inconsistent in opposing it; (3) Hellenistic Jews were legalistic but not the Palestinians and Paul fought against the prior. Talbert contends that (4) what Paul opposed was “Middle Judaism” which represented a diversity of views including (a) legalistic exclusivism toward Gentiles and (b) synergism (remaining in the covenant and getting into the Age to come by performance), but (c) not neglecting some professing grace-and-faith religion. Thus Paul “criticized (4a) and (4b) in the name of (4c).[52] 

These other theologians do seem to provide a background accounting for Jewish charges in abolishing or/and abusing the law referred to in Romans. It would makes sense for Jews with at least some legalistic interpretation of the law and reliance on religious customs in order either ‘to get in’ or ‘stay in’ to attack Paul’s grace-and-faith-oriented reinforcement in treating of the law. Besides, “the diversity of non-Christian Judaic ideas about the role of the Law was reflected in early Christian Judaism as well,”[53] and Paul therefore had to withstand Judaizers.

3. Back to the basics: what Paul has to say in response to the charge

If Paul was accused of teaching ‘cheap grace,’ then it would have been about his uncompromising adherence to the gospel,[54] a religion[55] of living before God with full reliance on His salvific accomplishments in His Son, one that in some sense is ‘apart from law’ (3:21). Such existence, Paul believed, must necessarily be accompanied by practice that is ethically scrupulous.[56] Paul’s ‘version of the gospel’ differed from Jewish-Christian sophisticated ‘gospel’ and was opposed to any expression of leniency to sinful behavior allegedly excused by believing in grace. In this section several key concepts will be discussed with the purpose of showing that an accusation of teaching lawlessness, if addressed to Paul, is completely irrelevant. The emphasis will fall on the concept of the law since we are dealing with the possibility of antinomianism and other subjects intentionally will be discussed more briefly.

3.1. The Law

If the role of Moses’ law, as Paul presented it, is misunderstood, then the grounds for false accusations (of teaching hideous antinomianism) appear. Some scholars say that Paul never presented his own systematic understanding of the Law,[57] and that may be true, but he definitely had a coherent view of it.[58]

The dynamics of God’s law, in the framework of history, theology and ethics – according to Paul (as in Romans) – may be presented as follows:

(1) The law leads to grace which it foreshadowed (in following aspects) by first showing human hopelessness

a) the law was to reveal and increase sin (3:20; 5:20; 7:7-9);

b) the law condemns (2:12; 3:19)[59] and brings God’s wrath upon the sinner (4:15);

c) the law testified to God’s righteousness to come (3:21b)

(2) The law was weakened, impotent (8:3)

a) keeping the law, in essence expressed in love (13:8, 10), would justify a man (hypothetically, 2:13; 10:5[60]);

b) no natural man (flesh) can be made righteous by doing (some) works of the law (3:20)[61];

c) possessing the law doesn’t bring any advantage. (In fact privileges (like being heirs, promises, approval) come apart from the law, on a different principle) (2:25-27; 4:13, 14, 16);

d) it is thus futile to rely upon the law itself[62] and boast in God as though one perfectly keeps it (2:17; cf. 2:21-22; 9:31).

3) therefore, God’s righteous dealing with man is apart from the law

a) a sinner is made righteous independently of his relationship to the law (3:21, 28);

b) believers in Christ are not under the obligation of keeping the law with regards to being righteous (justified) (7:4, 6);

c) Christ is the end of man’s attempts to gain righteousness through the law (10:4; 9:30-10:4).

4) yet, the law in some sense is still to be established and fulfilled

a) established as to its true meaning and purpose (see point (1) above; 3:31);

b) fulfilled as to its moral requirements (8:4);

c) since the law is from God and is good (7:12, 14).

God’s law was a covenant ordinance for Israel.[63] The Law of Moses was not given to make or keep anyone righteous;[64] it has served well to mark a specific nation’s identity, and to reveal God as well as, along with that, the lamentable state of humanity.[65] In addition, since ethnical and religious identity and heritage do not matter, and the law it is not able to resolve human plight,[66] there is a need in a greater provision.[67] Yet, along with that, it is not the law itself but rather men’s wrong-headed endeavor that Paul criticizes.[68] The law was to be understood in terms of righteousness by faith, that is the righteousness it demands should have been pursued by faith, not ‘climbed up to’ by doing certain works,[69] since Christ was the end or goal of the law.[70]

In Rom 10:4 “the end” (telos) may be interpreted as “completion,” “fulfillment”;[71] that is the law did what it was supposed to in leading people to the true righteousness. For Paul telos nomou is not “cessation of the law”[72] (let alone its “abrogation”[73]), though the lexical meaning of the term may imply that. Since the law’s function was not to establish man’s righteousness (and thus this needs not be abrogated while human misconceptions regarding the law do[74]), but reveal his weakness and lead to supernatural uprightness, there is no grounds for fear that Paul is up to abolishing the law in its whole or/and its moral demands thus supposedly promoting ‘cheap grace’ convictions. In other words, unbiased reading of Rom 10:3-4 should not evoke the troubling question “Why should then people continue to observe the morals of the Mosaic Law if its significance has ceased?” The concluding part of this defective question would represent an erroneous inference. Rather the (rhetorical) question should take a different direction: “Has the law been brought to completion of its historic role?” or “Has what it pointed to happened in the coming and accomplishments of Jesus Christ?” The answer is “Yes!” and it in no way threatens or nullifies the law. To expand, if necessary, the morals of the law are still demanded of and of use to Christian living; the ceremonial part (even including dietetic, hygienic, etc. portions) still effectively explains in types and symbols and assists understanding of OT theology that has been unveiled in the NT to the coming generations.

The law is to be fulfilled in the Christian’s life (Rom. 8:4). Since the law is holy (Rom. 7), its requirement[75] is righteous and it is to be fulfilled. However, “…Pleipothei is not to be taken to imply that the faithful fulfill the law’s requirement perfectly…. They fulfill it in the sense that they have a real faith in God, … that their lives are turned in the direction of obedience…”.[76] Westerholm insists that Paul’s statements about fulfilling the law by Christians is inadequate base for arguing that Christians are obliged to its percepts (since the law was only a covenant obligation for Israel and not God’s will for all people at all times),[77] but why would one even argue about it? If the law is operative in the whole world making it accountable before God (3:19-20), then why would all people not be invited to cling to its moral demands (correctly interpreted and applied, of course)? For example, love as the essence of the law is definitely prescribed for all. (It can be reinforced that Paul in his ‘negative’ statements never spoke against the law but merely placed it properly in the order of things). I suggest that the tension is not whether Christians, who are under grace, ought to adhere to the law’s precepts or not, but rather for what purpose (to obtain justification or because of having been justified) and by what means (flesh or the Spirit) they ought to do it.

3.2. Grace, not allowance of sin

As it was shown above, the law pointed to God’s redeeming provision which Paul calls grace. For Paul it is a free, unmerited gift[78] of a right standing before God and ethical transformation to the sinner (3:24; 4:4; 5:15, 17;); along with it comes glorious hope for the believer (5:2) and “reign in life” (5:17, 21), the ‘true life’ which is from God and therefore distances from evil.[79] (It is on the principal of grace that God includes all men into his redemption aspirations (4:16), otherwise he would have to discriminate between groups of people. It is radically different then any-merit-or-work-involved-approach (11:6)). Grace abounds to cover sin not in the sense that it carelessly ‘waves its hand at it’ but because it is simply more overwhelming for the believer then his transgression as a sinner (5:20).

For Paul grace is not an attitude of negligence to sin. In Rom 3:7-8 Paul pronounces what seems to be condemnation[80] to those falsely accusing him because “the presence of grace does not make sin less odious.”[81] In fact grace came to make man righteous – in standing and in practice. “Believers continue to experience this grace in the ongoing work of sanctification in their lives.”[82] God has accomplished in Jesus and offered to us a sufficient gracious provision to bring about moral transformation: those who are under grace are dead to sin and alive unto righteousness (6:6-7; 11-22).

Again, in chapter 5 Paul makes a contrast between Adam and Christ[83] and, as to grace, he wants to emphasize its ability to solve human plight, namely the reality of sin in whose ‘oppressive and inescapable grip’ Paul portrays humanity to be.[84] Grace is not indulgence,[85] but is powerful to do what the law could not[86] (Rom. 8:3-4). It neutralizes the effect of sin (condemnation, death, spiritual insanity) and offers what pertains to full and whole living. Therefore the logic “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” alluded to in Rom 6:1, 15 just is not relevant, and is passionately refuted by Paul.

3.3. Righteousness and new life

Righteousness[87] for Paul is legal standing of a-once-sinner’s being justifies before God (3:26; 4:3, 5-6, 9) as well as an ethical qualification for practice in life. The term itself makes sense when there is a conformity to a given standard.[88] Sanders is wrong saying that ‘righteous’ and ‘righteousness’ are not used by Paul to refer to Christian experience, continuing behavior, though he is right in that Paul “never refers to being righteous, when speaking of the correct behavior that keeps one ‘in’.”[89] In Ziesler’s words, “being made righteous and being acknowledged righteous are logically distinct, but in practice simultaneous.”[90] And yes, dikaiosunei, as used in Romans, clearly stands as a description of ethical daily living (esp. Rom. 6:13, 18-20). The verb too in some contexts signifies just that, especially in 6:7 where a believer has been ‘righteoused,’ as Käsemann puts it, or freed, from sin.[91] The believer’s body members are to be instruments of righteousness (6:13), which refers but to upright behavior. Likewise in 6:16, to be a slave of obedience unto righteousness is to be morally acceptable.

Was righteousness a virtue to be gained by or readily available to be done for a godly man in Jewish thinking? If yes,[92] then the provoking difference offered by Paul was that righteousness was a gift one receives by means of faith (5:17; 9:30). Instead of gaining righteousness through subjection to law (including that out of gratitude) Paul speaks of having righteousness in Christ.[93] If one were to suggest a reason why to stick with ‘nomism,’ one would have to refute Paul’s teaching on Christ’s gift of righteousness as standing and provision for moral and holy living (in accordance with the law); one would have and prove it a mere fantasy. In 8:10 Paul says that although the body is dead though sin,[94] Christ’s presence in the believer assures that human spirit is alive through righteousness (which brings positive ethical consequences). Therefore, if God’s provision for practical righteousness is not overlooked, then there is no grounds for searching for some ‘cheap grace’ or leniency or antinomianism in Paul’s treatment of worship to Yahweh.

Paul stresses that the believer identified with Christ ought to live a holy life, and being justified is also called to live by the Spirit’s power so that to dikaioma tou vomou may be fulfilled or met in him (8:4).[95] This is the “newness of life” (kainoteiti dzoeis, 6:4), not simply “new life” (NIV), in which Paul calls Christian to walk, the phrase en kainoteiti dzoeis peripateisomen being “untypical of Greek thought but characteristically Jewish”;[96] Paul’s use of Jewish figurative speech may have been purposeful – to convince the skeptical Jews of real depth of Christian moral and God-revering devotion (see 5:10). Besides, eternal life is closely related to holiness and spiritual mindedness (6:22; 8:6). To sum up, Paul’s gospel with the view of righteousness as this eliminates any possibility of lawlessness.

What Paul seems to stand against is primitive religious ways (over against true righteousness), as Marrow defines it: “…Persistent quest for the tangible in religious life, the compulsive need for the reassurance of a prescribed course of action – both ritual and moral, and the restless urge to discover at every moment just how they stood in relation to God.”[97] Paul’ big task was assuring the idea of ‘getting in’ for Gentiles, and that explains his emphasis on justification as a gift; but then he also talks about righteous behavior for which everything necessary is provided through the Spirit. It is incorrect to look for confusion in Paul’s views. Disagreement and confusion, as well as mistaken charges addressed to Paul in the 1st century, necessarily emerge only from those who “share his (Paul’s) concern for moral living but lack his optimism about the sufficient power of the Spirit to produce it.” [98]


I formulate my thesis as follows: Paul’ gospel was about God’s gracious provision for both initial justification (righteousness) and further ethical (righteous) living, which in itself was an uplifting of God’s law and which also leaves no room for vicious attempts to do evil presumably excused by referring to grace. Thus, charges in teaching ‘cheap grace’ were false, mistaken and factitious. Paul could not be looked at as a proponent of ‘cheap grace’ religion. By challenging his fellow-contemporaries’ religion he reestablished the Law in its proper place, never abusing God’s goodness nor teaching Christians to abuse it. His message was that of fulfilled hope promised in the Law of Judaism, not one of debasing the Law. His teaching on law, grace, righteousness and new life with its divine enablement for worthy living do not provide hints for reasonable charges in teaching ‘cheap grace’ or antinomianism.


Bauer, W., Arndt, William F. and F. Wilbur Gingrich. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1957.

Achtemeier, Paul J. Romans. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox, 1985.

________. “Romans 3:1-8: Structure and Argument.” Anglican Theological Review Supplementary Series 11 (1990): 77-87.

________., Joel B. Green, Marianne Meye Thompson. Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.

Barrett, C. K. A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. Black’s New Testament Commentaries. London: Adam & Charles Black Ltd., 1957.

Bowers, W. P. “Mission.” Pages 608-19 in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G, Reid. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Brown, Colin, ed. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 4 vols. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion on CD-ROM. The AGES Digital Library Version 1.0. 1998.

Canales, Isaac J. “Paul’s Accusers in Romans 3:8 and 6:1.” Evangelical Quarterly 57 (1985): 237-45.

Congdon, Roger D. “Did Jesus Sustain the Law in Matthew 5?” Bibliotheca Sacra 135:538 (1978): 117-25.

Cranfield, C. E. B. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. 2 vols. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1975, 1979.

Dunn, James D. G. “How New Was Paul’s Gospel? The Problem of Continuity and Discontinuity.” Pages 366-88 in Gospel in Paul edited by L. Ann Jervis and Peter Richardson. Journal for Study of the New Testament Supplement Series. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994.

________. The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

________. Romans 1-8 on CD-ROM. Logos Library System Version 2.1g, 1995-1999. Print ed.,

James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1-8. Word Biblical Commentary 38. Dallas, Texas: Word Books, 1988.

Eastman, Brad. The Significance of Grace in the Letters of Paul. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.

Elliot, Neil. The Rhetoric of Romans: Argumentative Constraint and Strategy and Paul’s Dialog with Judaism. JSNTSup 44. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. Romans. The Anchor Bible. Doubleday: The Anchor Bible, 1993.

Hafemann, S. J. “Paul and His Interpreters.” Pages 666-79 in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G, Reid. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Gaebelein, Frank E., ed. Expositor’s Bible Commentary. New Testament on CD-ROM. Zondervan NIV Bible Library Version 2.5.1, 1989-1997.

Gathercole, Simon J. Where Is Boasting? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

Howell, Don H. “Pauline Thought in the History of Interpretation.” Bibliotheca Sacra 150:559 (1993): 303-27.

Johnson, Dennis E. Review of S. Westerholm. Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith: Paul and His

Recent Interpreters. Journal of Evangelical Theological Society 34:4 (1991): 523-26.

Käsemann, Ernst. Commentary on Romans. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980.

Kim, Seyoon. Paul and the New Perspective. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

Kittel, G. and G. Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Translated and edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. 10 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964-76.

Longenecker, Richard N. Paul, Apostle of Liberty. New York: Harper & Row, 1964.

Lowery, David K. “A Theology of Paul’s Missionary Epistles” Pages 243-97 in A Biblical Theology of the New Testament edited by Roy B. Zuck. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.

Luter, A. B. “Grace.” Pages 372-74 in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Edited by Gerald F.

Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G, Reid. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Marrow, Stanley B. Paul: His Letters and His Theology. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist, 1986.

Martin, Brice L. Christ and the Law in Paul. NovTSup 62. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1989.

Martyn, J. Louis. Theological Issues in the Letters of Paul. Edinburgh: T&T Clark Ltd, 1997.

Moo, Douglas J. “Law,” “Works of the Law,” and Legalism in Paul,” Westminster Theological Journal 45:1 (1983): 73-100.

________. The Epistle to the Romans. New International Commentary on the New Testament.

Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996.

Murray, John. The Epistle to the Romans. NICNT. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959.

Räisänen, Heikki. Paul and the Law. 2nd edition. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 29. Tübingen: Mohr, 1987.

Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Word Pictures in the New Testament. 6 vols. Nashville: Broadman, 1930-1933.

Rosenblatt, Marie-Eloise. Paul the Accused. Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1995.

Ryken, Leland. James C. Wilhoit, Tremper Longman III, eds. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery on CD-ROM. Logos Library System Version 2.1g, 1995-1999. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1998.

Sanders, E. P. Paul. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

________. Paul and Palestinian Judaism. London: SCM Press, 1977.

________. Paul, the Law and the Jewish People. London: SCM Press, 1983.

Silva, Moises. “The Law and Christianity.” Westminster Theological Journal 53:2 (1991): 339-54.

Schechter, Solomon. Aspects of Rabbinic Theology. New York: Schocken, 1961.

Schreiner, Thomas R. “Paul and Perfect Obedience to the Law: An Evaluation of the View of E. P. Sanders.” Westminster Theological Journal 47:2 (1985): 245-78.

________. “Paul’s View of the Law in Romans 10:4-5.” Westminster Theological Journal 55:1 (1993): 121-35.

________. Romans. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998.

Talbert, Charles H. “Paul, Judaism and the Revisionists.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 63:1 (January 2001): 1-22. Cited 11 November 2002 . Online: pqdweb?Did=000000079014991&Fmt=3&Deli=1&Mtd=1&Idx=13&Sid=2&RQT=309.

Thielman, Frank. “Law.” Pages 529-42 in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Edited by Gerald F., Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G, Reid. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

________. Paul and the Law. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1994.

Wallace, Daniel B. “Galatians 3:19-20: A Crux Interpretum for Paul’s View of the Law” Westminster Theological Journal 52:2 (1990): 225-45.

________. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.

Westerholm, Stephen. Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith: Paul and His Recent Interpreters. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988.

Ziesler, J. A. The Meaning of Righteousness in Paul: A Linguistic and Theological Enquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972.

________. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. TPI New Testament Commentary. Philadelphia: Trinity, 1989.


[1] It is assumed that Paul’s euangelion in certain respects contravened the religious views of his world, which brought about various accusations. See Don H. Howell, “Pauline Thought in the History of Interpretation” in BSac 150:599 (1993): 303-27.

[2] Dunn says Paul’s gospel was in many ways new because of Christ-centeredness. J. D. G. Dunn, “How New Was Paul’s Gospel?” in Gospel in Paul (ed. L. Ann Jervis and Peter Richardson; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), 387-88.

[3] Modern trends on Paul’s soteriology will be overviewed in section 2.

[4] A Jewish writer says that the teaching of the apostle Paul had manifest antinomian consequences in 1st century AD, and then, concerning Paul’s epistles, puts the matter straight and clear: “Either the theology of the Rabbis must be wrong, its conception of God debasing,… or the Apostle to the Gentiles is quite unintelligible.” S. Schechter, Aspects of Rabbinic Theology (New York: Schocken Books, 1961), 5, 18.

[5] E. Käsemann, Commentary on Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), 78. Dunn sees in 3:8 “a hint of explicit opposition.” J. Dunn, n.p., Romans 1-8 on CD-ROM (Version 2.1g, 1995-1999) on 3:8.

[6] Isaac Canales, “Paul’s Accusers in Romans 3:8 and 6:1,” EQ 57 (1985): 237-45.

[7] Canales, 237-38. Cf. his reference to W. S. Campbell, “Romans 3 as the Structural Centre of the Letter,” Novum Testamentum, 23 (1981), 31; (note 3).

[8] Gathercole insists that in general it was a certain wing of Judaism opposing Paul. (Cf. Where Is Boasting? esp. 26, 197-98); Dunn allows both Jews and Judaizers on the opposing side; Romans 1-8, n.p., on 3:8. Fytzmyer says it was mainly Jewish Christians alarmed by Paul’s gospel; Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Romans (AB 33; Doubleday: The Anchor Bible, 1993), 79.

[9] Relevant is Dunn’s thesis that “that the Christian groups in Rome emerged from within the Jewish community itself, made up, at least initially, of Jews and God-worshiping Gentiles who found themselves attracted to faith in Messiah Jesus, and whose meetings in each others’ homes would probably not, in the first instance, be thought of as opposed to the life and worship of the wider Jewish community” (Dunn, Romans 1-8, n.p., § 2.2.2).

[10] As to diatribe-styled questions Paul has to deal with in v. 1 and 3, Käsemann says that no specific controversy is in mind (Käsemann, Romans, 78).

[11] Paul faced opposition in several places; in Romans he seems to have a misgiving as to his journey to Jerusalem and asks believers to pray for his deliverance from “unbelievers in Judea” (15:31), probably Jews who opposed his gospel. Paul J. Achtemeier, Joel B. Green & Marianne Meye Thompson. Introducing the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001), 301.

[12] Achtemeier calls it a ‘relentless logic’ in Romans (Atlanta: John Knox, 1985), 54.

[13] Translation mine. Ti hun to perisson tou ho Iudaiou. NRSV: “Then what advantage has the Jew?” Rendering perissos as ‘advantage’ or ‘benefit’ (NJB) is not satisfying. The term denotes ‘that which is above’ or ‘extra’ or even ‘superfluous’ (see T. Brandt, perissoeu, NIDNTT 1:728-30; BAG). So the question, in effect, really goes like this: “What is there to Jews that Gentiles do not have?” The answer: “Oracles of God.” This would more clearly imply responsibility rather then merely a privileged position.

[14] As beneficial factor, favorable position, gain, superiority (Webster’s Dictionary). Moo says (italics mine): “…Whatever historical privileges the Jews may have these do not place Jews in superior position in God’s judgment.” Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 200-01.

[15] 3:19: hupodikos geneitai pas ho kosmos to theo|. “So that the whole world may be accountable to, liable to prosecution (hupodikos, hapax legomena) before God.”

[16]  Dikaiosune theou (3:21, 22). Here, it is not ‘God-kind righteousness,’ as if it is what will be given to men (as with A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures (Nashville: Broadman, 1931), 346), nor is it misleading ‘righteousness from God’ which comes, as NIV renders it. Rather pephanerotai applies to v. 22 as well as to say that what is made known is “God's righteousness, that is, his method of bringing men into right relation to himself, is "apart from law," which is agreeable to the declaration that the law operates in quite another sphere – viz., to make those who live under it conscious of their sin (v. 20).” N.a., “Romans,” n.p., Expositor’s Bible Commentary on CD-ROM. Version 2.5.1. 1989-1997, on 3:21-22).

[17] The question of dikaio (to justify or to make righteous) will be discussed in section 3.3. I will argue that God pronounces sinners righteous (justifies forensically) as well as makes righteous (ethically). I use term ‘to be made righteous’ referring to dikaio because it is flexible and inclusive, can denote either or both ideas.

[18] Barrett says it is the religion of Judaism. C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (BNTC; London: Adam & Charles Black Ltd., 1957), 84. Possibly along with this religion officiously came cultural and religious excrescences that often became demandable for life to be considered pious.

[19] Käsemann, 105; he adds: “Paul does not have merely the judicial function of the law in mind,” but also more gene-rally as the OT statement of the will of God. “The OT will of God can be manifested only when the nomos comes to an end as a principle of achievement. Hence the law does not contradict the righteousness of faith; it summons us to it.”

[20] See Neil Elliot, The Rhetoric of Romans (JSNTSup 44; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990), 235-36.

[21] See Moo, Romans, 397.

[22] See Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 467.

[23] J. Louis. Martyn, Theological Issues in the Letters of Paul (Edinburgh: T&T Clark Ltd, 1997), 4-5, note 4.

[24] “…He [Paul] knows that the Teachers are in fact referring to their message as ‘the gospel.’ It follows that, no less then the Apostle himself, the Teachers are in the proper sense evangelists, probably finding their basic identity not as persons who struggle against Paul, but rather as those who preach ‘the good news of God’s Messiah.’ They are then Jews who have come … proclaiming what they call the gospel…” (Martyn, Theological Issues, 13).

[25] Martyn, Theological Issues, 14.

[26] Dunn says: “Clearly Paul’s teaching on God’s righteousness was coming under attack as being in effect an encouragement to sin, and … Paul … describes it as slander, a deliberate turning of white into black…” (Romans 1-8, 143).

[27] As Rosenblatt puts it, “Paul is not an outsider to Judaism…. He did not invent a new teaching about the Law, nor ignored the Law…”, yet “part of Paul’s opposition arises from internal theological battles within Judaism.” (Marie-Eloise Rosenblatt, Paul the Accused (Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1995), 70-72).

[28] See F. Thielman “Law,” DPL 529-42, and S. J. Hafemann, “Paul and His Interpreters,” DPL 666-679; comprehensive summary by Howell, “Pauline Thought” and Dunn’s presentation in Romans 1-8, “Introduction” §5; also relevant reviews of views and methodologies by Brice L. Martin, Christ and the Law in Paul (NovTSup 62; Leiden: Brill, 1989), 39-68; Gathercole, Where Is Boasting? 10-34.

[29] F. Thielman, Paul and the Law (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1994), 27-31, and “Law,” DPL, 530-32. See also Westerholm, Israels Law and the Churchs Faith (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988), 34-46.

[30] Thielman, Paul and the Law, 33; Also, Hafemann, “Paul and His Interpreters,” 671-73.

[31] E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (London: SCM, 1977), 543-44.

[32] See a summary by Thielman, Paul and the Law, 38.

[33] See Dunn, Romans 1-8, explanation on Rom. 2:12, 25; Thielman, Paul and the Law, 42; Silva, “The Law and Christianity,” WTJ 53:2 (1991): 339-354.

[34] Cf. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 544, 550.

[35] Cf. survey of Sanders’ approach to Paul as missionary by W. P. Bowers, “Mission,” DPL, 608-19, 614. S. Kim critically assesses J. Dunn’s hypothesis that Paul’s view of the law (defending the Gentiles’ right into the people of God) developed much later after his Damascus road conversion-call to take the gospel to the nations; see Kim, Paul and the New Perspective (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 2ff).

[36] Cf. Dunn, Romans 1-8, “Introduction” § 5.4.

[37] Though it is not my task to examine the 1st century Judaism (and here I rely on the work done by others, primarily Gathercole, Where Is Boasting?), some passages from Second Temple Judaism writings (available at hand) can be mentioned to support my conviction: Tob. 4:10-11; 12:9; Sir. 11:26; 17:23; 44:10-13; Bar. 4:1.

[38] Hafemann’s (“Paul and His Interpreters,” 671-72) refers to Cranfield’s “St. Paul and the Law” (SJT 17 (1964): 43–68) and “‘The Works of the Law’ in the Epistle to the Romans,” JSNT 43 (1991): 89–101.

[39] Westerholm, Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith, 143-50, 165-69, 172. See also Howell, “Pauline Thought,” 324; Dennis E. Johnson, review of S. Westerholm, Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith, JETS 34:4(1991): 523-526.

[40] Thielman, Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith, 64-68.

[41] T. Schreiner, “Paul and Perfect Obedience to the Law: An Evaluation of the View of E. P. Sanders,” WTJ 47:2 (1985): 245-278. “Paul’s View of the Law in Romans 10:4-5” WTJ 55:1 (1993): 121-35.

[42] D. Moo, “Law,” “Works of the Law,” and Legalism in Paul,” WTJ 45:1 (1983): 73-100.

[43] Silva, “The Law and Christianity,” WTJ 53:2 (1991): 339-353.

[44] See Gathercole, Where Is Boasting? pp. 10-34.

[45] Gathercole, Where Is Boasting? 37, chapters 1-5. Cf. Thielman, Paul and the Law, 68.

[46] Gathercole, Where Is Boasting? 30-31.

[47] Thielman, Paul & the Law, 66.

[48] Gathercole, Where Is Boasting? 41, discussion on Baruch.

[49] S. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, chapter 1, esp. pp. 7-35.

[50] Ibid, 22.

[51] Ibid, 144-52.

[52] Charles H. Talbert, “Paul, Judaism and the Revisionists,” CBQ 63:1 (January 2001):1-2. Cited 11 November 2002 . Online: 309, is concerned largely with the same issues as in this essay: Was Paul accurately addressing a real situation when polemicizing against “works of the law”? If so, what did he find wrong with it? And, how did he understand divine enablement (grace) to work after getting into the people of God.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Paul refers to his proclamation as ‘my gospel’ or ‘our gospel’ (Rom 2:16; 16:25; 2 Cor 4:3, etc.) thus possibly distinguishing it from ‘another gospel which is in fact no gospel at all’ (Gal 1:7).

[55] Sanders speaks of ‘patterns of religion,’ that of Jews, that of Paul, and, in general, that of any other religion (Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 16-18).

[56] “A major feature of Paul’s theology is his vigorous ethical concern. As a pastor as well as theologian , Paul was inevitably concerned with the outworking of his gospel – not only in terms of the beginning and process of salvation and of communal worship and ministry but also in terms of how believers should live” (Dunn, The Theology of Paul, 626).

[57] “He [Paul] did not have one single theology of the Law” (Sanders, Paul (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 84). Some say that Paul was confused and inconsistent. See Raisanen, Paul and the Law (Tübingen: Mohr, 1987), xiv-xvi. See also summary by Thielman, Paul & the Law, 10-11; conclusion in Thielman, “Law,” Dictionary of Paul, 542. Howell (“Pauline Thought,” 303) quotes Meeks: “The real Paul is to be found precisely in the dialectic of his apparent inconsistencies” (Wayne A. Meeks, ed., The Writings of St. Paul (New York: Norton, 1972), 438).  

[58] Sanders (Paul, 84) says that Paul wrote on the Law different things “about it, depending on circumstances…. It does not mean that Paul had no organizing principles or that his statement were simply random. Each thing that he said about the law was consistent with one of his major principles.”

[59] Cf. Rom. 4:15. In connection with Gal. 3:19 see Daniel B. Wallace, “Galatians 3:19-20,” WTJ 52:2 (1990): 236.

[60] See summation of interpretations and analysis of Rom 10:5 in Schreiner, “Paul’s View of the Law,” 124-135.

[61] The ‘works of the law,’ the performance (e.g. rite of circumcision) polemicized in Rom 2, that on which Jews relied to be the covenant people (cf. 2:17; see Dunn, Romans 1-8, explanation on Rom 3:20), in reality breaking the law by preferring external religion over the love-essence of the law.

[62] Rom. 2:17: Ei de su Ioudaios eponomadzei kai epanapauei nomo…. Relying on the law is a distorted use of the law to which Paul referred back in v. 13: to be a hearer of the law gains no advantage (see Murray, Romans, 81). It is good to keep the law in view as long as one trusts in the Lord first (see Schreiner, Romans (BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 129).

[63] H. –H. Esser, Nomos, NIDNTT, 442.

[64] Or obtain blessing (or privilege); see Rom. 4:13-14. “…Being the people of God does not depend on having or keeping the Law” (J. A. Ziesler, Paul’s Letter to the Romans (TPINTC; Philadelphia: Trinity, 1989), 130).

[65] To which Paul refers as huph hamartian (‘under sin’; Rom. 3:9) and hupo nomon (‘under law’ that is condemned; Rom. 6:14-15). ‘Under sin’ is to helpless captive to sin’s power; cf. ‘slave to sin’ (6:17) (Moo, Romans, 201).

[66] Unlike an incorrect statement in “Law,” DBI, n.p. (italics mine): “The law expresses God’s expectations for the moral and spiritual conduct of Israel, the guidelines God has given to Israel to enable them to live life as he created it to be lived.”

[67] “When the holy and spiritual law is faced with the overwhelming and malignant power of Sin it proves to be impotent to bring sin under control (Rom. 8:3). That controlling task is accomplished by God’s sending of His Son, not by the law…. Paul sees that the law, being impotent, has fallen into the hands of Sin and Sin has been able to use the Law to kill human beings (Rom 7:7-11)” (Martyn, Theological Issues, 43).

[68] Westerholm would disagree with this formulation, for he insists that Paul abolished the law completely, its validity is not abiding, and Christians are not obliged to adhere to its precept, etc. (Israel’s Law, 199-218). I can see why Westerholm contends for it but, in the end, it is hard to see why one would scrupulously look for the contrast and push the matter so vigorously if he still believes Paul meant for the law’s percepts to be followed by Christians (p. 199).

[69] 9:31. Israeil de diokon nomon dikaiosuneis eis nomon ouk ephasen. See Dunn, Theology of Paul, 639-40; Thielman, Paul & the Law, 205-06.

[70] R. N. Longenecker (Paul, Apostle of Liberty (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 147-52) speaks of ‘abrogation’ of the law as ‘the end of nomism.’

[71] In Paul telos is used to denote “end result” (cf. Rom. 6:21, 22; Phil. 3:19) in most cases, “cessation” is less doubtful only in 2 Cor. 3:13.

[72] Cf. NEB; G. Delling (telos, TDNT 8:54-55), says the meaning in 10:4 is “cessation.” Schreiner, “Paul’s View of the Law,”as ceasing to use the law for establishing one’s own righteousness. Elliot, The Rhetoric of Romans, 243-44; Dunn (Romans 9-16 on 10:4) discusses the ambiguity of telos, still largely in favor of “fulfillment,” “outcome.”

[73] Cf. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (II, XI, 4) on CD-ROM. Version 1.0. 1998.

[74] Cf. Roger D. Congdon, “Did Jesus Sustain the Law in Matthew 5?” BSac 135:538 (1978): 117-25, 125.

[75] Cranfield emphasizes the use of singular (to dikaioma); it means that ‘the law’s requirements are essentially a unity … a recognizable and intelligible whole’ (C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1975), I:384). Martin suggests that this one requirement is in essence ‘the love commandment’ since according to Rom 138-10 ‘love is the fulfillment and summation of the law’ (Christ and the Law in Paul, 152)

[76] Cranfield, Romans I:384.

[77] Cf. Westerholm, Israel’s Law, 199-218.

[78] The linguistic starting-point is the sense of “making glad by gifts” (H. Conzelmann, kharis, TDNT 9:393-4).

[79] See Bultmann, “The Concept of Life in the NT,” TDNT, 2:861f.

[80] Achtemeier make a quite interesting and plausible conclusion: the final phrase may be understood “not as kind of vindictive curse on those who misunderstand Paul, but rather to understand it as reason why God’s overcoming grace does not legitimate playing fast and loose with this eschatological justice. Understood this way, namely, that the presence of grace does not sin less odious, Paul’s subsequent argument (3:9-20) makes good sense: he now emphasizing that very fact, i.e. that everyone is guilty of sin despite the goodness of a gracious and faithful God” (P. Achtemeier, “Romans 3:1-8: Structure and Argument,” ATRSup 11 (1990): 86).

[81] Ibid.

[82] A. B. Luter, “Grace,” DPL 372-74.

[83] See Cranfield, Romans, 284

[84] See Eastman, The Significance of Grace, 129.

[85] Although it indeed is a kind of clemency, a condescension which God undertakes to reach out to fallen man.

[86] Ziesler notes that “the law can point the way but cannot enable people to follow it” (Romans, 203).

[87] The term dikaiosunei is used over 30 times in Romans, 6 times designating God’s righteous dealing with man and the rest referring to a legal and moral characteristic of humans.

[88] David K. Lowery, “A Theology of Paul’s Missionary Epistles” in A Biblical Theology of NT (ed. R. Zuck; Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 246.

[89] Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 544.

[90] Ziesler (The Meaning of Righteousness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 5) makes a reference to V. Taylor (Forgiveness and Reconciliation (London, 1941)) “who argues that God declares man righteous in Christ, though at the time of the declaration the righteousness is a matter of will and intention rather then achievement.”

[91] Ho gar apothanon dedikaiotai apo teis amartias. Cf. Käsemann, Romans on 6:7. The term is also used by Sanders, Paul, the Law and the Jewish People (London: SCM, 1983), 10, 26. Schreiner says “righteoused” is an awkward term and, and faithful to his tradition, prefers “justified” (“Paul and Perfect Obedience,” 245, note 3).

[92] See e.g. Tob. 12:8-9; 14:11; Wis. Sol. 1:1; 5:15; Bar. 4:13; Sir. 26:28; esp. Sir. 27:8: “If thou followest righteousness, thou shalt obtain her, and put her on.” Cf. Dunn, Romans 1-8 on 3:10; Gathercole, Where Is Boasting? 32, 60.

[93] See Longenecker, Paul, 161.

[94] See discussion in Dunn, Romans 1-8 on 8:10 and Fitzmyer, Romans, 490-91.

[95] Cf. Lowery, “A Theology of Paul’s Missionary Epistles,” 257.

[96] Dunn, Romans 1-8 n.p.

[97] Stanley B. Marrow, Paul: His Letters and His Theology (Mahwah: Paulist, 1986), 105.

[98] Westerholm, Israel’s Law, 198.

Emerging Church Economics

There are too many errors in this book for unsophisticated readers. McLaren’s book has value only to readers who recognize the mistakes but are willing to learn about a position that springs from ideology and a theological framework. For me, the emerging church movement is enough to consider by itself without flawed economics intertwined

Mordecai Kaplan: Rethinking Judaism for the New World

Sed porta eros cursus nisi. Suspendisse a odio in mi interdum faucibus. Nulla eleifend turpis at massa. Praesent dictum, leo sagittis rutrum fermentum, massa metus scelerisque justo, sed dignissim velit tellus ut odio. Quisque mollis aliquam lectus. Vestibulum tempus tellus a augue. Suspendisse ipsum.