Sunday, March 01, 2009

Christ our Righteousness

Offered in response to a friend:
"I have read all of the Gospels . . . and understand what is required of one who is seeking salvation of the Christian variety."
Respectfully, this indicates a lack of understanding of the faith. The Bible's clear teaching is that by observing the Law, no one will be saved, but because of God's great mercy, Christ died for us. There is nothing required of us, for God's Son has done everything.
"what I read in both the Bible and the New Testament and do not find a seamless thread connecting the two."
The one unifying theme of the Old Testament writings is the Messiah-to-Come; the New Testament writings all testify to the Messiah-Who-has-Come-and-Will-Come-Again.

Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures [the Old Testament] because in them you think you have life, but they testify of Me."

A post-Resurrection account describes Jesus showing to two Christians that the Law and Prophets ([the] Old Testament) all spoke of Him.
"I did not get from the last prophet in the Bible the same impression that is expounded upon by Paul about Jesus as the Messiah as well as other topics."
By "last prophet," do you mean an Old Testament prophet? In that case, John the Baptist was the last prophet, and he said of Jesus, "Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!"

If you meant the last book written, Revelation, then that was the Apostle John, author also of one gospel and three epistles.

Every author has his own style, audience, and purpose for writing.

Revelation, as apocalyptic (and therefore highly-symbolic) literature gives an overview of the New Testament period. Basically, the Church will suffer terrible persecution, but those who remain faithful to the end will receive eternal life.

(I'd be happy to discuss Revelation further with you. Do not expect it to be like any other book except Daniel and Ezekiel.)
"for the Jews there is a criteria that is to be fulfilled by the Messiah and ALL OF IT was to be fulfilled."
Yes, except for those parts that have to do with the End of the World.
"Christianity and Judaism are religions each in their own right and not connected in any way.
That is not true.

Again, Jesus is the Messiah promised since Adam, His Scriptures [are] all Hebrew/Jewish, His Apostles were all Jews, the first Christians were Jewish, [and] traditional Christian worship comes from its Hebrew/Jewish roots.

The faithful Jew -- as Paul points out powerfully; see his comments on the true Israel, the true children of Abraham who are circumcised in the heart and not necessarily in the flesh -- is the one who believes in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the unfaithful, rebellious, and apostate (or ignorant) Jew who rejects the Messiah.

Jesus made that clear when He said, "Before Abraham was born, I AM."
"Christians would be Jews--and not the other way around since the Messiah is intended to bring the all of God's people to the Jews either in righteousness or conversion, while the Jews fulfill their covenant with God as the intended priests of the world."
And the Jews did not keep their part of that covenant. Recall the conditions of that agreement: Israel had to keep all of YHWH's commandments. They did not. They broke the Covenant, which is why the Messiah came to institute a New Covenant, a New Testament in His blood for the forgiveness of sins!

As I noted above, Christ came to reconcile the whole world to His Father, both Jew and Gentile. Paul actually describes Gentile Christians being grafted into the plant (of God's people): If God does not spare natural branches for their unbelief in the Messiah, then neither will He spare those grafted-in branches.

Again, Paul talks about all who trust in Christ -- whether Jew or Gentile -- as being the true Israel. Peter also makes the same point calling Christians -- Jew and Gentile -- ["]a chosen people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people belonging to God [. . . ."]

I hope you will look into these things more deeply. Jesus said, "salvation is of the Jews," and "I AM the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except by Me."

Seven hundred years before the Messiah appeared, the prophet Isaiah wrote, "He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed."