Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Paul and the Law, Part III

Standard of Righteousness

Paul views the law as the standard of righteousness of a Holy God. In numerous Scriptures, Paul outlines the goodness and effectiveness of the law and states that the law helps us recognize sin (Rom. 3:20; 5:13, 20-21; 7:7-12; Gal. 3:19, 21). “The covenant…clarified the exceeding sinfulness of sin” and “the law only revealed human sinfulness and prepared an individual to be open to faith in Christ.”[1] Romans 7:12 gives a glimpse of Paul’s view on the law as “holy and righteous and good.” Martin summarizes the positive aspects of the law: it was “given by God (Rom. 9:4…) and written by God (1 Cor. 9:9; 14:21; cf. 14:34), it contains the will of God (Rom. 2:17-18), bears witness to the righteousness of God (Rom. 3:21) and is in accord with the promises of God (Gal. 3:21).”[2] By itself, the law was a good thing, given by God for His good purpose; in the “sphere of sin,” [3] as Snodgrass designates, law became a path to false righteousness.

Although the law had no part in helping a person to obtain true righteousness, it clarified God’s standard and helped people see how far they are from holy. Paul realized that without the recognition of sin through the law, people would still be lost. However, the law “made people conscious of their desperate plight, their need for salvation.”[4] It was through the law that people were able to see their sin, to recognize it against the holiness of God. In Romans 3:31, “Paul was affirming or establishing the usefulness of the Mosaic Law and upholding its validity.”[5] Moo explains, “Paul means…that Christian faith, far from shunting aside the demands of law, provides (and for the first time!) the complete fulfillment of God’s demands in his law.”[6] Paul tells the Galatians that the law “was added because of transgressions” (3:19) and that “we were kept in custody under the law” (3:23). In essence, the law showed mankind its sin and kept mankind until Christ came. At the point of Jesus’ birth, the status of the law, and that of man’s relationship to the law, changed forever.

[1] Thomas A. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Baker Academic, 2003), 355.
[2] Brice L. Martin, “Paul on Christ and the Law,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 26, no. 3 (September 1983): 273.
[3] Klyne Snodgrass, “Spheres of Influence: A Possible Solution to the Problem of Paul and the Law,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32 (Fall 1988): 99.
[4] Femi Adeyemi, “Paul’s ‘Positive’ Statements about the Mosaic Law,” Bibliotheca Sacra 164 (January-March 2007): 56.
[5] Ibid., 52.
[6] Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 255, quoted in Adeyemi, 53.

Monday, August 29, 2011

6 miles and Halloween 5k...

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday I ran 6 miles!! We had a 10-mile long run Saturday morning, and I ran the first 6, two miles at a time with gatorade-breaks in between. But I ran a whole 6 miles! Unfortunately, after 6 miles, my legs were dead, so I walked most of the last two and a half and called it quits. So, didn't make it to 10...but I am still happy with my run.

SO, my running team is hosting a 5k on October 28. It's a Halloween 5k, complete with costumes! I would LOVE for all of my friends to come and run this. It will be a lot of fun, AND it will raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

You can find the registration form here: Team in Training Halloween 5k. Also, we have a facebook event set up, too! So, who's in??

Speaking of Team in Training...I'm only a few hundred dollars away from my fundraising goal, so if you would like to help me get there, please use the donation link on the right side of this blog. OR, just click here to go to my Fundraising Page. Any donation helps, no matter how small! THANKS!

It's almost September!! The weather should really start cooling down soon, right?? I'm looking forward to cooler running weather and improving my time!

Question for YOU: What do you look forward to in September?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Paul and the Law, Part Deux

The Law Defined

The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines the law as “not a system of merit whereby the unsaved seek to earn divine favor but a pattern of life given by the Redeemer to the redeemed so that they might know how to live for his good pleasure.”[1] Walvoord describes law generally as “any working principle, usually moral, regulating conduct, being binding either because revealed by God, established through custom, a part of man-made law, or a principle of operation true in the nature of things.”[2] Bruce states, “The law was God’s law; it was the revelation of his will. To keep the law was to do the will of God.”[3] The word law as used in Paul’s writings to the Romans and Galatians can be translated several ways, including the broad sense of moral, civil, or natural law and the narrowest sense of the Mosaic Law given in the Old Testament.[4] Paul’s view of the law as put forth here encompasses all of these meanings, albeit in varying circumstances and usage.

First century Judaism had a large influence on Paul’s theology and preaching;[5] he was, after all, a “Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee” (Phil. 3:5 [NASB]).[6] Obviously, Paul was raised by the law and knew it in the depths of his being. As a Pharisee, Paul (then Saul) was expected to follow the Law to the last jot and tittle – and he claimed to be “found blameless” (Phil. 3:6). Once Paul became a Christian, he realized his mistaken view of the relationship between the law and righteousness (Phil. 3:9; Rom. 9:30-33). Bruce points out, “No longer did he [Paul] rely upon the law and boast of his relation to God as one who had been born a Jew; no longer did he make his aim the attainment of that righteousness before God which was based on keeping the law. He had found a new way of righteousness, based on faith in Christ.”[7] As Saul, he viewed the law as something that, when followed, ascribed righteousness. However, to Paul, a new creation in Christ, it was something that was actually capable of keeping someone from true righteousness. As Paul wrote to the Galatian and Roman churches, he wanted to clarify his view and ensure that these new believers understood the law for what it really was.

Scholars have often examined Paul’s use of the expression “works of the law,” which is used only in the books of Romans and Galatians (and even then, only eight times).[8] Matera provides this view on the phrase:

While the expression "works of the law" in Galatians primarily refers to circumcision, dietary prescriptions, and the observance of certain Jewish days, we might say that it ultimately signifies anything imposed as necessary for salvation above and beyond what God has accomplished in Jesus Christ.[9]

In an excellent textual analysis of the Greek, Cranfield concludes (against Dunn) that “έργα νόμου…denotes (the doing of) the works which the law requires, obedience to the law.”[10] Paul viewed works of the law as anything that changed the gospel from its basic tenet of grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Attempting to gain righteousness by doing “works of the law” was missing the point of God’s grace. He berated the Galatians for falling prey to a false gospel (Gal. 1:6-9); he then proceeded to explain the true gospel and its relation to the law.

Hope you are enjoying this! Next up: the law is GOOD.

[1] J. A. Motyer, “Law, Biblical Concept of,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 675.
[2] John F. Walvoord, “Law in the Epistle to the Romans,” Bibliotheca Sacra 94, no. 373 (January 1973): 16.
[3] F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 189.
[4] Walvoord, 16.
[5] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 375.
[6] All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), unless otherwise noted. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995).
[7] Bruce, 189.
[8] Carson and Moo, 384.
[9] Frank Matera, “Galatians in Perspective: Cutting a New Path through Old Territory,” Interpretation 54, no. 3 (July 2000): 245.
[10] C. E. B. Cranfield, “‘Works of the Law’ in the Epistle to the Romans,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 43 (Summer 1991): 100.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Running again and Facebook Babylonians...

Alright everyone...I'm back on track with running. YAY! I did 6.5 miles Saturday, although I walked quite a bit of it. Did 2 yesterday and felt pretty was sweltering though. I'm going to lift and swim today and hopefully get in a full 5 or 6 miles tomorrow. This Saturday bumps up to 10 miles!! Ugh. Not sure how I feel about that. We'll see how it goes!

These shoes are holding up well! :)

Ancient Babylon was know for its extravagance, indulgences of every kind, and generally an "it's all about me"-attitude. Their motto, according to Isaiah, was "I am, and there is no one besides me" (Isa. 47:8).

Unfortunately, today's society mimics this motto in every way. And facebook has become a forum for the all-about-me mentality. I'll be the first to admit that I spend WAY too much time reading about other people's lives and "stalking" my friends' walls. This topic has come up several times in recent conversations, so I decided to make a list of some of the things that people do to portray this mentality of "I am, and there is no one besides me." Please remember that this is not directed at anyone in particular...just some things I've observed (and, ahem, done).

You might be a Facebook Babylonian...
  • if you feel the need to "check-in" everywhere you go.
  • if you pour out your life story in 420-word or less soundbites...enlightening your readers to all of your ailments and intimacies.
  • if you call people out on facebook - by name - without calling them out IRL (in real life).
  • if you expect people to know what's going on in your life because you posted it on facebook. (attention users: not everyone checks your profile page every day - shocker, I know)
And finally, you might be a Facebook Babylonian...(drumroll please)...
  • if you post something that starts with "if you know someone..." or ends with "99% of you will not re-post, let's see if you're in that 1%"
Exceptions to the above include:
  • ANY TIME you need prayer - please post it. Asking for prayer is completely acceptable!!!
I'm sure I've offended someone. Please comment below. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011


Just gonna go ahead and share this post at Bohemian Bowmans for today. Read it. Think about it. Examine your own life.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Enfamil and Junk Email...

Ugh. So, last October I totally unsubscribed (so I thought) to all of the emails from companies having to do with babies or baby products (because of my story here and here).

However, much to my dismay, I checked my Junk mail folder this morning and I had received an email from Enfamil. Nothing against that company, just one email that got through.

Unfortunately, this email had large bold letters that said: "Your baby is now 6 months old!"

Ugh. It's hard. IF the girls would have been born on their due date of February 14, yes, they would be 6 months old now.

I'm okay. Really, I am. I just felt the need to share a little frustration and sadness.

God is still good. His peace still surpasses all understanding. And one little email WILL NOT define my day.

OOH...tomorrow I'll share a BEAUTIFUL canvas a friend of mine painted for the girls. I have to get the pictures in there first!

Plank Pullin' - with gossip...

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style.

*deep breath*
I hate gossip. Especially in the form of a prayer request. With a large group of gossipy ladies. Ugh.

But it's just as bad to gossip with one person. In private. With no prayer. (As a matter of fact, it might be worse to gossip without prayer!)

So, what plank am I pullin' today? The gossip plank. Because chances are, if you're reading this blog, I've talked about you. In private with one other person. With no prayer. And I hate it.

I'm sure there are some of you reading, thinking either 1) she couldn't possibly be gossiping about me...    OR    2) I'm offended.

I deeply apologize to everyone. Seriously, I hope we can still be friends.

Consider it pulled. (I might need some help keeping this one out.)

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
~Ephesians 4:29

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paul and the Law, Intro...







Considerable research and debate in theological circles over the last forty years has centered on Paul and his view of the law. This view is evident especially in his letters to the Galatians and the Romans. Much has been written about Paul’s view of Judaism in conjunction with the law, and recently, studies are approaching Paul in a different light.[1] This “New Perspective” has prompted much debate in theological research and has caused researchers to reevaluate their methods and sometimes draw new conclusions. Writings concerning this topic range from views on Paul’s theology in general to very specific hermeneutical analyses of the word law. Depending on which side of the argument is read, very different perceptions of Paul’s view of the law are possible. Nevertheless, throughout the research there is a common theme: In both Galatians and Romans, Paul writes to first-century believers about faith via belief in Jesus Christ, apart from the law.  This paper will argue that Paul viewed the law as: the standard of righteousness of a Holy God (holy, righteous, and good); terminated at the coming of Jesus Christ as the new covenant; and insufficient for justification and salvation.

That's all for now! Next time: What is the Law??

[1] Notably, E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (London/Philadelphia: SCM/Fortress), 1977, Google e-book; also, James D. G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), 2008, Google e-book. For defenses of the traditional view, see Douglas Moo, “‘Law,’ ‘Works of the Law,’ and Legalism in Paul,” Westminster Theological Journal 45, no. 1 (Spring 1983): 73-100; and Thomas R. Schreiner, “‘Works of Law’ in Paul,” Novum Testamentum 33, no. 3 (July 1991): 217-44.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shin Splints, Landstuhl, and Paul...

Hi readers! Sorry I've been a lousy blogger lately. Life has really been busy!

edited: just realized this is my 50th post! lol.

I haven't been running much lately because of a right shin splint. Yep. It KILLS everytime I run, so I'm resting it this week. No Fun.

 I finally took my own picture of the bridge that I like to run.

I dropped Hampton off at the airport Sunday morning for his flight to Germany. He'll be over there for 6 weeks, doing a rotation at Landstuhl. (I'm getting used to spelling that!) It's tough this time, cause everytime he's been away before I've been able to go see him whenever I wanted to. This time, I have to actually wait out the full 6 weeks. On the plus side, I AM going over there at the end of his rotation and we are going to explore Europe a little. yay!

Saturday night we went to Half-Shell Oyster House and had a nice dinner. Kind of a "going-away" dinner. It was yummy, but I got a huge platter of fried food and it was TOO much.

Here's the view from our table (that's the Hard Rock Casino) and Hampton's smiling face as we peruse the menu!

Now, for some really great news that made me tear-up today. Those who know me as a perpetual student will appreciate this. I had been working on a research paper (on Paul, the apostle) all of last week and really struggled to get it done. I didn't think that I had done enough, but I gave it a go and turned it in. Apparently, my professor LOVED it! I got my grade back today - 100. Yep, a perfect grade...on a not-so perfect paper. But I guess the content was good enough that he overlooked some small mistakes and gave me a 100 anyway. I was blown away by my professor's praise and I totally almost cried reading his response to my writing.

SO, I decided that I would share my paper with you, my loyal readers! haha.

Part 1 will follow tomorrow, and then I'll post the rest in parts over the next few weeks (don't want to overload you!).

To peak your interest, the subject is "Paul and the Law: Through the Lenses of Romans and Galatians." You can't wait to read it, huh???

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 8, 2011

4 miles!

Remember this?

So, this morning, I totally ran the Ocean Springs bridge. Yep. From the OS side to Biloxi side with a little extra (which was a full 2 miles)...then walked back to the bridge and ran back almost to the top of the main hill before walking again for a tenth. Then, ran the last tenth up and ran down the rest of the way!

So, with only walking about a quarter-mile, I ran 4 miles!!

I'm super excited at this jump in my progress. I was talking with my bestie/training buddy just yesterday about how most of my struggle is mental. So, today, I was determined to overcome that...and I did!

I figured out that my shin splints were probably caused by the tight turns at the gym, not running there anymore unless I absolutely have to. Gonna try to stick to early morning outside runs - they simulate the race, anyway!

Hope everyone is having a fantastic Monday!

Remember, "this is the day that the Lord has made...rejoice and be glad in it!"

ALSO, "give me THIS day my daily bread."

God has enough grace, mercy, patience, love, kindness, joy, faith, and whatever else you need TODAY.

What's the farthest you've run without stopping? (C'mon, I know there's a few marathoners out there!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Will you?

“…your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”
~Matthew 6:10


Are you actively seeking God’s will in Your life? Or do you settle for surviving each day and pursuing your own wants and desires?

I say “surviving” because I believe that’s all we do when we only seek our own will and not God’s. We make it through the day. Or we survive the week. Or we just barely endured this month. God has SO MUCH more in mind for us than merely “surviving.” He wants to help us LIVE more abundantly than our measly human minds can imagine.

So, what’s the plan for today? Get through it? It’s Wednesday, middle of the week… if you can just make it until Friday…what? What happens then? Do you LIVE for the weekend?

What if we LIVED for EVERY DAY? How would that look? Think about how God could use us if we surrendered to His will every day. Think about how every day could be an opportunity to do something amazing to the glory of God.

Keep in mind that seeking God’s will is not always a huge decision, but it is always life-changing. Taking the small step of humility each day, putting others before yourself…or choosing to not engage in certain conversations…or simply being flexible about your time so that God can use you.

Father, help me abandon my own will – my own wants and desires – so I can become more in tune with Your will. Help me put aside everything that does not bring glory to You.


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