Faith & Grace Alone: Job & the New Perspective on Paul| Job 9


job-silohette

How then can I answer him,
choosing my words with him?
Though I am innocent, I cannot answer him;
I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.
Job 9.14-15

Job says he is innocent, but he says he still needs mercy. What does this mean? Perhaps he does see not people in the simplistic way that we often do–or at least as simplistic as we see the ancient Israelites.

Just like in the Christian scheme, I’m starting to think that the ancient Israelites also thought that people were considered righteous only on account of graciously being in covenant with God. All the sacrifices, festivals, laws, etc. were more as signs that they were the people of God; they were not how people became part of that group in the first place. In other words, the sacrifices and laws were outward displays that they were fully righteous before God’s eyes; they weren’t the ways that they “earned” righteousness or forgiveness.
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A Random Romans Miscellany | vignettes from Romans 2


There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.
Romans 2.9-11

Okay, this is a little funny, right? “God shows no partiality…to the Jews first, and then to the Gentile”. Haha.

All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
Romans 2.12

Regarding the New Perspective on Paul. See, here: “The law” is an ethnic marker, not a bunch of stuff to do. (Otherwise, how might someone be “apart from the law”?)

When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.
Romans 2.14-16

What the Hell? (Literally.) This definitely seems to talk about an almost salvific dimension to some people’s natural consciences, as if they’re consciences will ultimately judge them. I don’t know how you can pull anything differently from a plain reading of this.

Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
Romans 2.25-26

Sorry to stop and point this out every time see something like this, but again, here’s another thing in line with some of the basic ideas of the New Perspective on Paul. But here: Circumcision (ethnic markers, not legalism) = Law

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Luke on the New Perspective on Paul | Acts 15:1,8-11


Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”…
Acts 28.23-31

This is a great summary of the argument for the New Perspective on Paul. The key is the line about Moses. It’s not about works righteousness, but ethnic identity.

And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
Acts 15:8-11

Another quick NPP note. Notice here that Peter is not contrasting salvation by yoke versus salvation by grace, but that grace will also save them just as the Jews believed it saved them.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.