Thursday, July 21, 2022

An Exegetical Study On The Sin Lists Of Paul's Epistles

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:
          -The Apostle Paul says twice in the same passage that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. He also specifies who these kinds of people are. Compare with 1 Corinthians 5:9-11. The repeated emphasis demands consideration on our behalf. Paul does not want readers of his epistle to misunderstand or minimize the seriousness of his message.
          -Homosexuality is mentioned in this passage as being one of many damnable sins. Paul elsewhere says that lesbianism is condemned by God as such behavior on a widespread scale is an indicator of divine judgement (Romans 1:26-27).
          -Paul echoes the teaching of Jesus Christ to Nicodemus about the necessity of being born again in order to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-5). The expression "Kingdom of God" refers to His reign existing in a state having been brought to full fruition. Evil has no presence there. His kingdom is designed specifically for people who are morally upright.
  • Ephesians 5:4-7:
          -Paul again expects his audience to live lives that correspond with their profession of faith. His message to those who have a newfound identity in Christ is this: "Be what you are." Morally impure behaviors are "not fitting" (Ephesians 5:4) in the Christian life. By that, it is meant they are not worthy to be practiced among those who have been set apart for a holy life.
          -This "inheritance" is spoken of as a future possession that cannot be enjoyed by those who are not in Christ. They do not know Him. They have not been forgiven by God. Compare with Ephesians 1:14 and Colossians 1:14.
          -Greed is isolated from a broader list of sins and called a form of idolatry. Compare with Colossians 3:5. Covetousness corrupts how a person conducts business.
          -The kingdom of heaven belongs to both Christ and God, since the latter has put everything under the dominion of the former (1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22).
  • Galatians 5:19-21:
          -The first three sins mentioned in this list are of sexual nature. They are spoken of in all-encompassing terms. Sexual sins were common in Greco-Roman society.
          -The next two terms relate to worship. Idolatry is giving anything reverence that belongs to God alone. It is a more common problem than we realize. It is easier to get caught up in than we think. Asia Minor had problems with witchcraft (Acts 19:18-19).
          -The rest of the sins mentioned in this text relate to human temperament; the overall ugliness of sinful man's reactions to things and the rate at which he does so. 
          -Unbelievers are excluded from the Kingdom of God because that is the place in which His will is done. Selfish people are not qualified to partake in the eternal blessings that God bestows on those who love Him. Their perspective is utterly incompatible with His. 
  • Noting The Type Of Culture In Which Paul Wrote His Epistles:
          -"It has been rightly said, that the idea of conscience, as we understand it, was unknown to heathenism. Absolute right did not exist. Might was right. The social relations exhibited, if possible, even deeper corruption. The sanctity of marriage had ceased. Female dissipation and the general dissoluteness led at last to an almost entire cessation of marriage. Abortion, and the exposure and murder of newly-born children, were common and tolerated; unnatural vices, which even the greatest philosophers practiced, if not advocated, attained proportions which defy description." (Alfred Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 1) 
  • The Source Of Holiness In The Writings Of The Apostle Paul:
          -"The source of Paul's emphasis on holiness was his Jewish religion, yet this tradition too was revalued in light of his messianism. Like the Pharisaism he was partial to, the Diaspora Judaism that nurtured him in his youth, and the apocalyptic Judaism that marked him for life, Paul viewed God as the source of holiness (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2). Now present in Spirit, this God was the author of the consecration (áyiáoat) of believers and their advocate in the final judgment, keeping their souls, spirits, and bodies "blameless" (åpéutw) at Jesus' parousia (1 Thess. 5:23). God's eschatological presence and power were Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19; 3:17; 12:3; 2 Cor. 13:13; Rom. 5:5; 8:27; 9:1; 14:17; 15:13, 16, 19; 1 Thess. 1:5; 4:8), making believers holy at baptism (1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11), inspiring believers (1 Cor. 6:19), interceding with their spirit "with sighs too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26), and bearing fruit in them (e.g., Gal. 5:22) for holiness." (Calvin Roetzel, Paul: The Man and the Myth, p. 34)

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Faith And Endurance

III. The apostle tells us what these believers endured by faith. 1. They were tortured, not accepting deliverance, [Hebrews 11] v. 35. They were put upon the rack, to make them renounce their God, their Saviour, and their religion. They bore the torture, and would not accept of deliverance upon such vile terms; and that which animated them thus to suffer was the hope they had of obtaining a better resurrection, and deliverance upon more honourable terms. This is thought to refer to that memorable story, 2 Macc. ch. vii., etc. 2. They endured trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, and bonds and imprisonment, v. 36. They were persecuted in their reputation by mockings, which are cruel to an ingenuous mind; in their persons by scourging, the punishment of slaves; in their liberty by bonds and imprisonment. Observe how inveterate is the malice that wicked men have towards the righteous, how far it will go, and what a variety of cruelties it will invent and exercise upon those against whom they have no cause of quarrel, except in the matters of their God. 3. They were put to death in the most cruel manner; some were stoned, as Zechariah (2 Chron 24 21), sawn asunder, as Isaiah by Manasseh. They were tempted; some read it, burnt, 2 Macc 7 5. They were slain with the sword. All sorts of deaths were prepared for them; their enemies clothed death in all the array of cruelty and terror, and yet they boldly met it and endured it. 4. Those who escaped death were used so ill that death might seem more eligible than such a life. Their enemies spared them, only to prolong their misery, and wear out all their patience; for they were forced to wander about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, and tormented; they wandered about in deserts, and on mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth, v. 37, 38. They were stripped of the conveniences of life, and turned out of house and harbour. They had not raiment to put on, but were forced to cover themselves with the skins of slain beasts. They were driven out of all human society, and forced to converse with the beasts of the field, to hide themselves in dens and caves, and make their complaint to rocks and rivers, not more obdurate than their enemies. Such sufferings as these they endured then for their faith; and such they endured through the power of the grace of faith: and which shall we most admire, the wickedness of human nature, that is capable of perpetrating such cruelties on fellow creatures, or the excellency of divine grace, that is able to bear up the faithful under such cruelties, and to carry them safely through all?

IV. What they obtained by their faith. 1. A most honourable character and commendation from God, the true Judge and fountain of honour—that the world was not worthy of such men; the world did not deserve such blessings; they did not know how to value them, nor how to use them. Wicked men! The righteous are not worthy to live in the world, and God declares the world is not worthy of them; and, though they widely differ in their judgment, they agree in this, that it is not fit that good men should have their rest in this world; and therefore God receives them out of it, to that world that is suitable to them, and yet far beyond the merit of all their services and sufferings. 2. They obtained a good report (v. 39) of all good men, and of the truth itself, and have the honour to be enrolled in this sacred calendar of the Old-Testament worthies, God's witnesses; yea, they had a witness for them in the consciences of their enemies, who, while they thus abused them, were condemned by their own consciences, as persecuting those who were more righteous than themselves. 3. They obtained an interest in the promises, though not the full possession of them. They had a title to the promises, though they received not the great things promised. This is not meant of the felicity of the heavenly state, for this they did receive, when they died, in the measure of a part, in one constituent part of their persons, and the much better part; but it is meant of the felicity of the gospel-state: they had types, but not the antitype; they had shadows, but had not seen the substance; and yet, under this imperfect dispensation, they discovered this precious faith. This the apostle insists upon to render the faith more illustrious, and to provoke Christians to a holy jealousy and emulation; that they should not suffer themselves to be outdone in the exercise of faith by those who came so short of them in all the helps and advantages for believing. He tells the Hebrews that God had provided some better things for them (v. 40), and therefore they might be assured that he expected at least as good things from them; and that since the gospel is the end and perfection of the Old Testament, which had no excellency but in its reference to Christ and the gospel, it was expected that their faith should be as much more perfect than the faith of the Old-Testament saints; for their state and dispensation were more perfect than the former, and were indeed the perfection and completion of the former, for without the gospel-church the Jewish church must have remained in an incomplete and imperfect state. This reasoning is strong, and should be effectually prevalent with us all.

Excerpts taken from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible