Katapetasma: “Paul Did Not Consider Himself a Hopeless Sinner”

Katapetasma, “Before men fell: Corporate sin in Paul” (12.21.22), scribesofthekingdom.com.

Paul’s conscience, so it seems then, was robust. He did not struggle with obeying God’s commands either prior to or after the revelation of Jesus as Christ. Like faithful Jews before him, Paul was, we can assume, “righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord” (Luke 1:6, cf. 1 Kings 15:5, 2 Kings 18:5-6, 23:25). This is to say that Paul did not consider himself a hopeless sinner—a lost sheep of the house of Israel or a prodigal son of Abraham. He required neither guidance back into right covenantal relationship nor repentance from evil deeds (cf. Luke 15:7). Paul was, rather, a healthy Jew, not a sick one (cf. Luke 5:31). He was a “Hebrew of Hebrews and a Pharisee of Pharisees,” a man “educated strictly according to [the] ancestral law, being zealous for God” (Acts 22:3).

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