Saint Paul

An Interview with Paul of Taursus

Church signs sometimes make me smile. Sometimes they make me cringe. Recently a church sign made me think about a remarkable gift. Here is that church sign message.

Don’t Fear The Full Ten Commandments
They Are The Character of God

Uhhhhh…Actually I do fear both the full and even the partial Ten Commandments. And the reason I fear them is because the Ten Commandments actually do reveal the character of God. They also reveal that I can never measure up to God’s character.

What can we do about this conundrum? I decided to invite a man who is an expert on Biblical law to the Monday Musing. It is my honor to welcome our special guest Paul of Taursus.

Paul of Taursus: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Dave of Garland: Thanks. I know you wrote a bit about the crushing requirements of the law that God gave the Jews. Yet you wrote that the law actually had a surprising purpose.

Paul of Taursus: Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Dave of Garland: No argument from this guy. What would you say to those who feel like you have to bring something besides faith to salvation? I remember that some in your day were teaching that you must be circumcised to be saved. How about that?

Paul of Taursus: Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could.

Dave of Garland: Feel free to speak boldly Paul. Tell us about your credentials to address this topic.

Paul of Taursus: Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Dave of Garland: Well said Paul. We are running out of time this week. Could you come back and join us soon?

Paul of Taursus: I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.

Dave of Garland: Wow. Most of my guests are not that affirming. Final thoughts on today’s musing.

Paul of Taursus: Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

Dave of Garland: Great place to stop this week. Paul, what would you say to those who feel they don’t measure up?

Paul of Taurus: For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Dave of Garland: Thanks to our guest and thanks to God for this amazing gift of grace. You can read more of our guest’s insights in his writing to the Romans, Philippians, Ephesians, and Galatians.

(Note: Paul’s answers were provided by the New Living Translation)