Paul the Apostle, Law, and Sin, Part 2

The Pauline Concept of Law and Sin

The Pauline Concept of Law and Sin

Noahide Laws

The Noahide Laws began with God’s proscription against eating or drinking blood, the symbol for life.  Over time, rabbis added fornication and other prohibitions.  Such laws forbade certain practices which Jews found objectionable when dealing with Gentiles.  The laws came to form a basis on which Jews could associate with Gentiles in business, if not socially, without being offended.  When Gentile converts in Antioch were being compelled to be circumcised, the Apostles at Jerusalem determined to require nothing of them but to abstain from idolatry, fornication, and eating things strangled or with the blood (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25).  Presumably, these items constituted their version of the Noahide Laws of the day.

God commanded the Jews not to eat blood

  • The life is in the blood, Genesis 9:4
  • Eat neither fat nor blood, Leviticus 3:17
  • Eat no blood or be cut off, Leviticus 7:26-27
  • Eat no blood or be cut off, Leviticus 17:10-14
  • Eat nothing with the blood, Leviticus 19:26
  • Do not eat the blood, but pour it on the ground, Deuteronomy 12:16
  • Eat no blood with the flesh, the blood of burnt offerings must be poured on the altar, Deuteronomy 12:22-28
  • Do not eat the blood, but pour it on the ground, Deuteronomy 15:23
  • The people corrected for eating meat with the blood, 1 Samuel 14:32-35
  • Those who eat blood and worship idols shall not be blessed in the land, Ezekiel 33:25

Gentile Christians bound only to the Noahide Laws

  • Paul and Barnabas at the First Jerusalem Council, Acts 15:6-31
  • Paul reports back to Jerusalem, Acts 21:20-25

Fornication contrary to the Noahide Laws

  • A fornicator must be disfellowshipped, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
  • Fornicators have no part in the Kingdom, they sin against their own body, 1 Corinthians 6:9-20
  • To avoid fornication, the tempted should marry, 1 Corinthians 7:1-2
  • Avoid fornication leading to judgment, 1 Corinthians 10:8-9

© 2013 Paul A. Hughes

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