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Galatians Chapter Two
2:3 - But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.
Comments: The key to understanding this verse is the “force” of the Greek word translated as “forced” (pun intended). Greek “force” (ajnagkavzw, anagkadzo, to necessitate, compel, drive to, by force, threats, etc.), suggests that Titus, a Gentile believer did not even wish to be circumcised at that time, even though it is a clear command of Torah. And why would he not wish to exercise his right to Torah as a full-fledged member of the community? Perhaps he was a “green” believer. Perhaps he was a seasoned believer with proper motives. Remember, being with Sha'ul, he surely was aware of the prevailing rabbinic halakhah that Gentiles were not considered covenant members until after conversion. Thus, his motives for accepting or refusing circumcision at that time were a reflection of his taking a stand with Paul to send the right signal to the newly formed Gentile faction within Apostolic Judaism. See additional thoughts involving Peter on 2:14 below. I think it is safe to assume that once the heat was off, circumcision would not present any problem for him personally. That Sha'ul had Timothy, also considered a Greek by 1st century Jewish standards, circumcised in Acts chapter 16 is proof that Sha'ul himself did not consider this mitzvah unimportant for followers of Yeshua. What is more, that Sha'ul did not view circumcision as equal to conversion can be deduced by his comments in Galatians chapter 5 coming up later. In sum, this Greek word shows up a total of nine times in the Apostolic Scriptures. For our immediate interest it is used twice more in this letter from Paul (2:14; 6:12) and once in his second letter to the Corinthians. Interesting by association is how Paul uses this word in Acts 26:11 describing his former zeal to “compel” Followers of the Way to blaspheme!
2:14 - But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Comments: “Not in step with the truth of the gospel.” The phrase suggests that Sha’ul is contending for defined and exclusive truths (note the definite articles in the Greek: τὴν ἀλήθειαν, ten alethian=the truth, and τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, tou euaggeliou=the gospel), of which the subjects of verses 11-13 (to include Peter) are not upholding, a gospel truth central to his effective evangelization among the Gentiles. Compromise has been taking place on a public level so Sha'ul makes his rebuke public as well.
“If you, though a Jew (a Jew by birth and not a convert), live like a Gentle and not like a Jew.” In what way is Sha'ul accusing Peter of living like a Gentile? From the inner circle perspective of those who apply Torah to their lives on a daily basis, to “live like a Gentile” would mean to invite non-Jews into close quarters where table fellowship is likely to take place. To be sure, verse 11 and 12 show that Peter was in fact eating with Gentile believers prior to the arrival of the “men from James.” From a sectarian point of view, like the one obviously held to by those in opposition to Gentile inclusion, to eat with Gentiles was simply taboo—not acceptable if one wished to tow the Jewish party line accurately. To “live like a Gentile” most certainly does not mean that Peter ate food that was clearly proscribed by the Torah (recall Peter’s confession to God in Acts 10:14). For a Jew to be labeled by another Jew as “living like a Gentile” was simply to accuse him of having close relations with Gentiles. Because Sha'ul stressed the equality of Jewish and Gentile covenant membership via Messiah Yeshua, for Peter to waffle in his relations with Gentile believers simply because they were Gentiles was to “live as a good Jew should” only from the perspective of the prevailing Jewish thinking of his day. In other words, in the mind of Sha'ul, to live within the boundaries of the halakhah of a normative Judaism who defined herself as exclusively Jewish was unacceptable for a Messianic Jew the likes of Peter. “To live like a Jew” (Greek=Ioudaizo ÅIoudai?zw “Judaize”) may even suggest that Peter unknowingly supported the halakhah that favored circumcising Gentiles before they could enjoy unlimited Jewish community access. “How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?” seems to reinforce the notion that from Sha'ul’s point of view, whether knowingly or unknowingly, Peter was guilty of undermining the central truth of the equality of the Gospel for both Jews and Gentiles without either one having to be converted by coercion. The English word rendered “force” is our already familiar Greek word anagkazo ajnagkavzw “compel,” “constrain.” A fellow Torah student pointed out to me that the “Jewish customs” in question by Sha'ul likely included the specific group requirements that excluded Gentiles from full covenant membership and thus full Torah participation, viz, Oral Torah. For, in point of fact, Written Torah never forbids Jew-to-Gentile table fellowship.
2:15, 16 - "We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
Comments: The background behind understanding these important two verses was addressed in Section Four above (Works of Law Part Two). Verse 15 states, "We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners'...” Tim Hegg writes in his Galatians commentary (p. 67) that the key to understanding this cryptic phrase is in knowing that it is not coming from the mouth of Paul. Rather, he is simply restating the popular views of the Influencers he is arguing against. I think Hegg's point is a strong possibility. To be sure, to call a Gentile a “sinner” was, from a Jewish point of view, derogatory, and something Sha'ul likely would not have endorsed. However, the established Judaic view of Gentiles allowed for them to be labeled by “authentic covenant members” as such. For Paul to insert this quote into his argument (the syntax of the Greek phrasing is crucial here) only makes sense if we understand the rhetoric by which Paul is desperately trying to shake Peter loose from his current, deficient halakhic actions. Peter has indeed confessed faith in Yeshua, so that to hold to the view that Gentiles are “unclean” would be frustrating to the genuine Gospel that Sha'ul has been commissioned to take to the Gentiles.
I am indebted to a group of fellow Torah students in a Bible study that I attend weekly for pointing out that there may, however, be another way to understand “Gentile sinners,” and that is as connected to verse 17 where Paul says that Jews who choose to identify with Gentiles in coequal justification in Christ are candidates for being labeled “sinners” by the sectarian Jews who support the ethnocentric view of justification and fraternization. Thus perhaps by initially mentioning Gentile sinners in verse 15, Paul might be alluding to the fact that no matter “Jewish by birth” or not, if one seeks the way of the Cross, he is choosing the way of persecution and mockery (note his phrase “we too were found to be sinners” in verse 17 of the ESV).
Continuing with his sharp rebuke, Sha'ul categorically embraces the notion that true, biblical Judaism holds to the correct view that a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ.” Contrary to the popular 1st century belief that one must either be born Jewish or convert to becoming a Jew, Paul’s gospel extended lasting covenant membership to all who would freely embrace the message of the Cross Event. The word translated here as “justified” clearly invokes a positional-righteousness as determined by HaShem. Given the current contextual argument, the phrase “by works of the law” likely means “by conformity to a man-made ritual” for the Gentile, or “by being born Jewish” for the native born; works of the Law could and most probably also envisions the commensurate Torah obedience that was expected to flow out of the life of a professing covenant member, a life of obedience designed to mark a person out as belonging to the treasured people of God. Works of the Law in this fashion functioned as a badge of identification. We could translate the whole phrase thusly: “…a man is not justified by his ethnic-driven identity, whether natural or achieved, nor by his subsequent social possession and maintenance of Torah, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” What follows (So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified) perhaps may or may not actually amount to so much tautological repetition (but see Dunn’s comments below on the repetition of this verse).
However well-meaning I might be in my assessment of these two verses, I could be wrong. I wish to provide two of my favorite Bible commentator’s remarks for secondary consideration. First, Tim Hegg’s commentary to Galatians has been indispensable in my understanding of Paul's 1st century Judaisms. Here is what Hegg has to say about these verses:
The question, then, is what will appeal to God in terms of declaring someone who is unrighteous in His eyes, righteous. For a given sect to come to the conclusion that their group, and their group alone, would be judged by God as righteous, and then to require conformity to man-made rules in order to enter the sect this was the kind of thing that Paul was combating. For never did inclusion in any group afford one the status of "righteous." Rather, righteousness was to be found in another-in the Messiah. And it is only those to whom His righteousness is applied, that may be assured of standing in the day of judgment and being welcomed into the presence of God as righteous. For Paul, the crux text relating this truth was Genesis 15:6, in which Abraham himself did not "earn" righteousness, but had it accredited to him through faith. Abraham stood as the paradigm for righteousness, and he gained his status of righteous before he was ever circumcised. Thus circumcision became a seal of his righteousness, not the means of it.
One hardly thinks that Peter or those who came from James (including James himself) had forgotten this fundamental truth. Note well the plural "we" throughout this verse and the next. But the strength of tradition had clouded their perspective so that apparently they could not see how their insistence that the Gentiles become proselytes was actually a denial of this foundational truth. For they were insisting that the Gentiles become proselytes in order to enjoy the covenant fellowship which was already theirs through faith in Yeshua.
Likewise, James D.G. Dunn’s comments on these two verses is quite telling so I will quote him at length here so as to also provide a difference of perspective for Bible students to consider:
(a) First, then, how did Paul mean to be understood by his sudden and repeated talk of ‘being justified’? – ‘Knowing that a man is not justified by works of law … in order that we might be justified by faith in Christ … by works of law shall no flesh be justified’. The format of his words shows that he is appealing to an accepted view of Jewish Christians: ‘we who are Jews … know …’ Indeed, as already noted, Paul is probably at this point still recalling (if not actually repeating) what it was he said to Peter at Antioch. Not only so, but his wording shows that he is actually appealing to Jewish sensibilities, we may say even to Jewish prejudices – ‘we are Jews by nature and not sinners of the Gentiles’. This understanding of ‘being justified’ is thus, evidently, something Jewish, something which belongs to Jews ‘by nature’, something which distinguishes them from ‘Gentile sinners’. But this is covenant language, the language of those conscious that they have been chosen as a people by God, and separated from the surrounding nations. Moreover, those from whom the covenant people are thus separated are described not only as Gentiles, but as ‘sinners’. Here, too, we have the language which stems from Israel’s consciousness of election. The Gentiles are ‘sinners’ precisely in so far as they neither know nor keep the law given by God to Israel. Paul therefore prefaces his first mention of ‘being justified’ with a deliberate appeal to the standard Jewish belief, shared also by his fellow Jewish Christians, that the Jews as a race are God’s covenant people. Almost certainly, then, his concept of righteousness, both noun and verb (to be made or counted righteous, to be justified), is thoroughly Jewish too, with the same strong covenant overtones – the sort of usage we find particularly in the Psalms and Second Isaiah, where God’s righteousness is precisely God’s covenant faithfulness, his saving power and love for his people Israel. God’s justification is God’s recognition of Israel as his people, his verdict in favour of Israel on grounds of his covenant with Israel.
Two clarificatory corollaries immediately follow.
1. In talking of ‘being justified’ here Paul is not thinking of a distinctively initiatory act of God. God’s justification is not his act in first making his covenant with Israel, or in initially accepting someone into the covenant people. God’s justification is rather God’s acknowledgement that someone is in the covenant – whether that is an initial acknowledgement, or a repeated action of God (God’s saving acts), or his final vindication of his people. So in Galatians 2.16 we are not surprised when the second reference to being justified has a future implication (‘we have believed in Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified …’), and the third reference is in the future tense (‘by works of law no flesh shall be justified’). We might mention also Galatians 5.5, where Paul speaks of ‘awaiting the hope of righteousness’. ‘To be justified’ in Paul cannot, therefore, be treated simply as an entry or initiation formula; nor is it possible to draw a clear line of distinction between Paul’s usage and the typically Jewish covenant usage. Already, we may observe, Paul appears a good deal less idiosyncratic and arbitrary than Sanders alleges.
2. Perhaps even more striking is the fact which also begins to emerge, that at this point Paul is wholly at one with his fellow Jews in asserting that justification is by faith. That is to say, integral to the idea of the covenant itself, and of God’s continued action to maintain it, is the profound recognition of God’s initiative and grace in first establishing and then maintaining the covenant. Justification by faith, it would appear, is not a distinctively Christian teaching. Paul’s appeal here is not to Christians who happen also to be Jews, but to Jews whose Christian faith is but an extension of their Jewish faith in a graciously electing and sustaining God. We must return to this point shortly, but for the moment we may simply note that to ignore this fundamental feature of Israel’s understanding of its covenant status is to put in jeopardy the possibility of a properly historical exegesis. Far worse, to start our exegesis here from the Reformation presupposition that Paul was attacking the idea of earning God’s acquittal, the idea of meritorious works, is to set the whole exegetical endeavor off on the wrong track. If Paul was not an idiosyncratic Jew, neither was he a straightforward prototype of Luther.
(b) What then is Paul attacking when he dismisses the idea of being justified ‘by works of the law’? – as he does, again, no less than three times in this one verse: ‘… not by works of law … not by works of law … not by works of law …’ The answer which suggests itself from what has already been said is that he was thinking of covenant works, works related to the covenant, works done in obedience to the law of the covenant. This is both confirmed and clarified by both the immediate and the broader contexts.
The conclusion follows very strongly that when Paul denied the possibility of ‘being justified by works of the law’ it is precisely this basic Jewish self-understanding which Paul is attacking – the idea that God’s acknowledgement of covenant status is bound up with, even dependent upon, observance of these particular regulations – the idea that God’s verdict of acquittal hangs to any extent on the individual’s having declared his membership of the covenant people by embracing these distinctively Jewish rites.
2:19 - For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.
Comments: At first blush this verse seems to spell the end of any Torah relevance for the apostle. But a careful reading will reveal its true meaning. Prior to his salvation experience Sha'ul was blinded to his true condition: dead in trespasses and sin. However, now that the Spirit has taken up residence within him, via the sacrificial death of Yeshua, he can look back to how the Torah played a part in bringing him to this newfound revelation about himself. The Torah, working in concert with the Spirit of God, revealed sin for what it was: violation of God’s righteous standard. Thus, through the Torah—that is, through its proper function of revealing and condemning sin, the individual is brought to the goal of the Torah, namely the revelation of the Messiah himself. Once faced with the choice to remain in sin or be set free by the power of the Blood, Paul confesses that he “died” to his old self and was consequently made alive in the newness that is accredited to those who choose life!
But Paul says that he died to Torah. What does he mean by such a statement? Are we to assume that in Yeshua Paul is now somehow dead to obedience to the Torah? May it never be! Simply put, he now realizes that his new life in the Spirit is a life to be lived without the fear of being condemned as a sinner by the very Torah he previously thought he was upholding! The Torah has a properly installed built-in function of sentencing sinners to become the object of HaShem’s punishment and ultimate rejection, a rejection that will result in death if the person never choose the Messiah of life. Paul is teaching the Galatians that his choice of Yeshua is to be understood as a death of self and the former life that Torah condemned in favor of a new life of serving God through the Spirit, a choice brought on by the revelation of Messiah found within the very pages of the Torah itself! Such freedom in Messiah does not liberate one from Torah, rather, such freedom liberates one to be able to walk into Torah as properly assisted and seen from God’s perspective!
2:21 - I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Comments: This is the first time in Galatians that Paul uses the specific noun “righteousness” (Greek=dikaiosune δικαιοσύνη). He is going to use this noun again in a nearly identical argument in Gal 3:21. This courtroom term is related to our familiar verb “justified” (Greek=dikaioutai δικαιοῦται) from Gal 2:16, one being a noun and the other being a verb, but they both convey the same biblical concept: a status of “right-standing” that God exclusively grants to mankind, rooted in God's own righteousness, and yet is, as Hegg states, “neither purely forensic [positional] nor purely experimental [behavioral/practical]—it is both (emphases, mine).” What is more, in the forensic sense of this word, righteousness is something that we like Papa Abraham have now (cf. Rom 3:22; 26; 4:3-11; Gal 3:6, 7), as well as something that “we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of” (cf. Gal 5:5). Thus, positional righteousness is both now as well as “not yet. Moreover, while it is indeed true from the Torah’s perspective that even mere “casual” Law-keeping results in a limited amount of behavioral righteousness being extended from God to the commandment-keeper (read Lev 18:5 and Deut 6:25 in light of Rom 10:5 afresh), I don't believe Paul is wanting his readers to follow that particular train of thought at this time. To be sure, we need to allow context to determine the best way to understand Paul's intentions here.
With Ephesians 2:8, 9 in mind, some like to interpret this verse as a generic teaching leveled against works-righteousness, where mankind in general might be found trying to gain salvation (forensic righteousness) by doing good works (without the Law necessarily even being in the picture, yet supposedly being singled out by Paul here in Galatians as a sort of supreme example of “good works that a man could do”). In this way, the verse would basically be saying, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through doing good works, then Christ died for no purpose.” The theology behind taking “Law” here to mean “good works in general” would not be incorrect (viz, good works do not secure salvation), but this would not do justice to the historical and religious context of the section begun in Gal 2:15, which is most definitely a carefully-reasoned, narrow argument aimed at Jews and their relationship, not to your average “good works” in general, but specifically to the works of the Law as “Jews by birth.”
David Stern’s Complete Jewish Bible translates this verse as, “I do not reject God's gracious gift; for if the way in which one attains righteousness is through legalism, then the Messiah's death was pointless.” I believe the theology behind this translation is accurate (legalism is not the path to forensic righteousness), and yet I do not think Paul is using Torah (Law) in this manner here. To be sure, if sincere Law-keeping will not result in salvation (the position that historic Christianity takes), how much less will legalistic Law-keeping result in salvation? The context of this verse was established in Gal 2:15, 16 with ‘works of the Law’ above, and it will be picked up again at Gal 3:2, 5, 10 where ‘works of the Law’ shows up again, so I believe “Law” here is likely somehow related to “works of the Law” in Galatians as a whole.
Lastly, since the Church’s interpretation is so similar to Stern, both of which are surprisingly closer to the Jewish context of Galatians than interpreting Law in this verse as mere good works, we should rightly recognize the accuracy of the theology behind interpreting this verse as a teaching against Jews or Gentiles trying to leverage salvation (forensic righteousness) through keeping the commandments specifically, without even saying anything about motive, be they sincere or legalistic (i.e., “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the keeping the commandments of the Law, then Christ died for no purpose”).
Consider Titus 3:4-7:
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (ESV, emphasis mine).
Here we have a verse with both “works” and “righteousness” in the same immediate context. And wouldn't most agree that “works done in [behavioral] righteousness” would have to at the very least include “works done in accordance with the Law”? After all, every good religious Jews knows and affirms that God's standards of behavioral righteousness are spelled out in the Law of God, and most Christians affirm that the forensic righteousness found exclusively in Yeshua is also grounded in the truths of Torah as well (cf. Rom 1:17 and specifically Rom 3:21, 22, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction…”). Thus, using the popular Christian hermeneutic, we could easily interpret Titus 3:4-7 as Paul stating, “not because of works done by us in accordance with the righteous standard that Torah spells out for us to live by,” and such an interpretation would then seem to be supported by our Gal 2:21 verse here.
As well structured as the popular Christian hermeneutic is in regards to dismantling works-based salvation, I don't believe this his how Paul is using “Law” here. The broad application just described would not capture the full force of the fact that 1st century Isra'el believed that God extended forensic righteousness narrowly to the individual Jew—and indeed narrowly to the people of Isra'el as a whole—supposedly based on the distinction that Jews were, in point of fact, called out and chosen as the elect of God, and that as the elect of God, they were subsequently covenant bound to follow after Torah with all their heart, soul, and strength (read the Shema of Deut 6:4-9). Put simply, if the surviving rabbinic writings are any indication of the pattern of religion in 1st century Isra'el (as Sanders valuable research has so adequately indicated), then we have to confer that Paul's Jewish audience was not seeking forensic righteousness through keeping the Torah; they were not trusting in their “good works” to save them (despite how many verses seem to indicate this with their wording). They were not attempting to gain entry into the covenant as adults by keeping HaShem's commandments. Instead, they were seeking the subsequent ongoing forensic and behavior righteousness (one coin called “righteousness” yet with two sides) that was ostensibly and exclusively granted to Jewish covenant members who remained loyal to the Torah (i.e., covenantal nomism). It is those nationalistic presuppositions that the Jewish people of Paul's day held to in regards to viewing the Torah as a social prize, a thing to be coveted in and of itself, a treasured reward that supposedly proved to the surrounding nations that God deemed them exclusively as forensically righteous as a people group—this ideology is what Paul is seeking to dismantle in his letter to Galatians.
Thus, we can interpret this verse within its historical and socio-religious context as Paul bringing his carefully-worded, technical, Jewish and Gentile arguments of the previous verses (Gal 2:15-20), and indeed the chapter as we have it, to a close. By opting for the single word “Law” instead of his usual phrase “works of the Law” like he used three times in Gal 2:16 when speaking of justification above, Paul can address National Isra'el’s ethnic blindness as a whole, while at the same time again reinforce the genuine truth to those individual Gentile Christians who were considering the Jewish “good news” of membership into the communities of Isra'el via the process of proselyte conversion, that the “righteousness of God” (indeed, such righteousness is the subsequent result of God's declarative ‘justification’ of Gal 2:16) is attained for an individual at Christ’s expense and not through the rubrics of a man-made conversion ceremony (read here as “through the law”), or by self effort. Alternately, if the emphasis is instead on group righteousness instead of individual righteousness, we could have Paul using “Law” here to say that the Jewish “social badge” of Torah as a supposed “trophy” for Jewish Isra'el does not signal “righteous approval” from God on the salvific group level—or on any level for that matter. For indeed, to restrict the Torah to ethnic Isra'el is to deny the universal gospel message contained therein!
If this understanding is correct, this would render the verse along these paraphrased lines, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if individual and group-level forensic and behavioral righteousness were through merely possessing the Law as an exclusively God-treasured people group—possession that naturally leads to our obedience of it—then Christ died for no purpose, because such an ethnically restrictive view of the Law excludes those from the nations for whom God beforehand intended to include as forensically and behaviorally righteous in his promises to Abraham.”
In conclusion to our exegesis of this verse, according to Paul's Messianic understanding of National Isra'el’s covenant status with God, the fact that, at the time of the writing of the book of Galatians, Isra'el was (in their self-understanding) in exclusive possession of the laws of God did not mean she was the only chosen people group that God had promised to bless. Indeed, the Abrahamic covenantal promises of Genesis 12:3 envisioned “all the families of the earth” instead of the limited scope of a supposed “Jewish-only Isra'el” like the Influencers were purporting. Context would suggest then that the “law” in question is the specific Written Torah, yet as it was unfortunately limited—nay, destroyed—by its Oral Tradition counterpart (the Jewish policies known as halakhah), laws that conveyed the notion that Isra'el exclusively (read here as “Jewish Isra'el”) can inherit blessings in the World to Come, a belief formerly held to by the apostle himself. To be sure, as an individual, if being declared righteous (understood to be primarily forensic, but including behavioral as well) could be achieved via the flesh (that is, being born Jewish or converting to Judaism and then maintaining obedience to the Torah, viz the ‘works of the Law’), then truly what need would there be for a Messiah to come and provide it later for anyone, Jew or Gentile alike? Paul would have the reader to understand that such genuine righteousness (the total verdict as rendered from God himself) is altogether outside of Jewish and Gentile achievement and therefore must be procured by surrendering to the power of the Anointed One of God, namely Yeshua the Messiah.
 Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary (TSBD), ajnagkavzw.
 Matt. 14:22; Mark 6:45; Luke 14:23; Acts 26:11; 28:19; 2 Cor. 12:11; Gal. 2:3, 14; 6:12.
 James D.G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul: Revised Edition (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2008), Section II.
 Gal 3:21, “Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness (δικαιοσύνη) would indeed be by the law” (ESV).
 Lev 18:5, “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord” (ESV).
 Deut 6:25, “.And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us” (ESV).
 Rom 10:5, “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them” (ESV).
 Eph 2:8, 9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (ESV).
 Gal 2:15, “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners” (ESV).
 Note Amos 3:2, ““You only have I known of all the families of the earth…” (ESV).
 Rom 2:6; 3:27; 4:2-6; 9:11, 32; 11:6; Eph 2:8, 9; 2 Tim 1:9; Titus 3:5.
 Recall the Master’s words in Matt 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (ESV), where the Greek word καταλῦσαι “abolish” likely implied “destroying” them through improper interpretation and application.