Rudy Ross is a tremendous resource to help us understand Jewish thinking in the first century.
In today’s YouTube video on the Bob Spradling channel, Rudy will explain how certain boundary markers of the Jewish faith were transposed to a higher and universal purpose.
The Boundary Markers
Imagine a box with four distinct sides: circumcision, food laws, the Law or Torah, and the Sabbath.
For centuries Jewish people believed that people who observed the four boundary markers were part of God’s family. Observers were considered righteous and non-observers were sinners.
The righteous were qualified to be within the “box,” but the sinners were on the outside.
As I have written before, Gentiles were on the outside, because they were idol worshipers.
Circumcision, food laws, the Law or Torah, and the Sabbath were valuable as is an architect’s drawings are beneficial to the construction of a house.
No one wants to live within the house plans, however. They want to enjoy the full benefit of a house.
Peter and Paul
Paul confronted Peter with these words: “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Galatians 2.14).
To continue the above analogy, Peter had been enjoying the house, but when people came from James (verse 12), he returned to the house plans.
Much of Galatians 2 and 3 is Paul’s response to Peter’s choice to return to the boundary marker of table fellowship (food laws) with regard to Gentiles.
Boundary Markers Transposed
Rudy Ross explains how the boundary markers of Judaism were transposed or taken to a higher meaning through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, along with the gift of the Spirit.
Please take a few minutes to listen to Rudy’s explanation on YouTube.
Here is a quick summary.
— Circumcision was taken to a higher and universal level in baptism.
Circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant with his people. It only affected male members of God’s people.
Baptism became a sign of God’s covenant and included both male and female people in the rite.
— The Sabbath was replaced by the Lord’s Day (Sunday). Sunday commemorates the day that Jesus was raised from the dead and gradually replaced Sabbath observance.
— The Law or Torah – Torah is the Hebrew word for Law. It includes the Ten Commandments and other observances, such as sacrifices.
The Law is a perfect example of the architect’s plans. It shows God’s intent, but it took the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (plus the gift of the Holy Spirit) to accomplish its full purpose.
— Food laws were challenged by a dream God gave Peter that resulted in the conversion of the Gentile, Cornelius. See Acts 10 for the full story.
Much of what we will study in the next articles will deal with why Paul believed that food laws and table fellowship in particular were being taken to a deeper and more universal spiritual purpose.
Boundary Markers in 2022
The four Jewish boundary markers had years of tradition behind them. They were valuable because they pointed to God’s ultimate purpose through his Son, Jesus.
Churches in 2022 also have boundary markers. They divide people into righteous and sinners, accepted and unaccepted.
Boundary markers that arise from American culture should be thoroughly examined to see if they reflect the attitudes and actions of Jesus.
The study of Galatians should help us understand the inclusive nature of the church and the need for church unity.
Paul strove for a unified church for the purpose of expanding the good news of God’s love. Church unity continues to be a positive witness in a troubled world.
The church in Galatia was confused about what constituted salvation. Dallas Willard has a very interesting talk on the topic of salvation conclusion.
I have included a link to a YouTube video by Willard. It is about one hour in length. I recommend that you listen to it in segments and prayerfully meditate on his teaching.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.