I am not a college trained theologian, I just use my brain, what I have left of it, and I think. As a friend said recently, “I am a Berean.” I guess that might imply that he is also from Berea, should I opt to take that literally. Anyway, I get the point, he does not accept things that sound wrong at face value.
[Caution: some things that sound right can be wrong, so I implore you to read things for yourself. It’s okay and their doing this made the Apostle Paul very happy.]
These questions come out of study book called, Galatians, Fully Accepted by God, published by Q Place, and written by Marilyn Kunz and Catherine Schell. I am not going out of my way to berate the resources but I am admonishing you to use diligence when using any resource. This particular question intrigues me because I can tell you that the standard religious response is limited and very legalistic. Sadly, that is the complete opposite of God’s nature and character.
This particular question intrigues me because I can tell you from experience that the standard religious response is limited and very legalistic. Sadly, limitation and limit are the complete opposite of God’s nature and character.
- (a.) How is a person reckoned righteous in God’s sight if he or she is Jewish? Prior to grace, they had to act according to the law and offer sacrifice. This was not an act of permanence because leaving the temple you could easily have someone on a camel back make an illegal left turn in front you. Cussing them out, dragging them off their camel and beating them appropriately would not have been considered righteous. Now, only minutes after offering your expensive sacrifice you are now stuck in your unrighteousness until the next sacrificial period. And, what happens to you should the Lord come then?
[As followers of Christ it is not this way for us. Christ bought our freedom and forgiveness on the cross. This was an aspect of God’s commitment and really required nothing from us. Besides that, there was nothing we could do that would move that process along. However, our righteousness, in the simplest of terms, requires one action from us, acceptance. We have to accept that forgiveness. In doing that, He makes us righteous. If you choose to throw yourself into Him so many amazing things begin to happen within you as He transforms you into the likeness of the Son you are now a part of.]
Is it just a coincidence that shortly after the cross the ability to sacrifice was gone as well? The answer is spelled out in Galatians 2:16.
Galatians 2:16 NASB nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
(b.) If he or she is Gentile?
Should the Gentile be treated any differently from the Jew?
Of course not.
Perhaps the Jew is held to a higher standard?
That is entirely up to the Father. If we start that nonsense then we have moved over into judgment
After all, the Jews had the law, while the Gentiles/nations, had what?
The ability to decide for themselves.
How is this true?
Because the knowledge of good and evil is part of the “sin” that besets every person on the earth. That means that we also have the ability to choose good. Unfortunately this has proven not to be the case and because of it God destroyed all creation except Noah’s family, with a flood.
In truth, the law of God applies to every man, or does it?
In Matthew’s gospel, we find something that disrupts our thinking on this subject.
Matthew 25:31-46 NASB “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. (32) “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
[“the nations” – The catching away of the church has come and gone; the time of wrath and judgment has come and gone; the thousand-year reign has come and gone and with it the opportunity to come and worship the LORD has come and gone. We are now at the end of time, standing before the great white throne. Who is this standing here then? Since what we see here in Matthew 25 and what we see in Revelation 20 are the same thing let’s look at that also.
Revelation 20:5 NASB The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
Revelation 20:11-12 NASB (11) Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. (12) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
So, those before this throne are the dead. Dying, we suppose, without the LORD, with no possibility of attaining righteousness. And yet, He says to those in the group called sheep, “Come, you who are blessed of the My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
They are shocked at this and ask how and why do we deserve this. Jesus response: ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; (36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.‘
Now, the question is, where in here is the “law” that gives these the righteousness we expect, that allows them into the same kingdom that we have access to? You cannot see it, can you? Neither can I, so then my next and obvious assumption is that God is merciful beyond my comprehension.]
I finished out Matthew’s telling of this account for your enjoyment.
(33) and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. (34) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (35) ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; (36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ (37) “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? (38) ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? (39) ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ (40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (41) “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; (42) for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; (43) I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ (44) “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ (45) “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ (46) “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
I am not telling you to buy what I am selling. However, my admonition to you is to: read and think; look for and find his mercy. In doing so you will find his nature and character.