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Church History. The First Century – Conflicts With Judaism & With Rome. Law vs. Grace Clean / Unclean Circumcision Sabbath Gentiles Angels vs. Christ Temple Worship Sacrifices Holy Spirit vs Tradition “Jacob’s Ladder Spirituality”. Conflicts With Judaism.

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church history

Church History

The First Century – Conflicts With Judaism & With Rome

conflicts with judaism

Law vs. Grace

  • Clean / Unclean
  • Circumcision
  • Sabbath
  • Gentiles
  • Angels vs. Christ
  • Temple Worship
  • Sacrifices
  • Holy Spirit vs Tradition
  • “Jacob’s Ladder Spirituality”
Conflicts With Judaism
law vs grace

Justification is not by law-keeping but by faith in Jesus Christ alone (Romans chapters 3-8, Galatians)

  • We have died to the Law (Romans 7:1-6, Galatians 2:19)
  • If we go back under the Law we are cut off from Christ (Galatians 5:1-11)
  • The Law no longer has any power over us, therefore there is no condemnation from the Law for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1,2)
  • These doctrines caused major conflict esp. between Paul and the Jews
Law vs. Grace
clean unclean

Jesus touched many unclean things and was not defiled by them (dead bodies, lepers, woman with an issue of blood etc)

  • Christ more powerful than ritual uncleanness
  • Jesus declares all foods clean (Mark 7)
  • Peter told not to call unclean what God has called lean (Acts 10)
  • Romans 14 – still to act according to our conscience
  • 1 Corinthians 8 & 10 – we are not to eat in idols temples but neither are we to see the meat as ‘defiled’. Rather we are to stay away from it so as not to stumble others
Clean / Unclean
jacob s ladder spirituality

The Jews had an understanding of spirituality as vertical and that you proceeded upward one step at a time toward heaven.

  • Rich, obviously blessed people, teachers priests and prophets were at the top and common people and ‘sinners’ at the bottom.
  • When Jesus said ‘the tax-gatherers and sinners will enter the Kingdom ahead of you’ He upset this understanding
  • John 3- Nicodemus, John 4 – woman at the well. Both ‘ends of the ladder’ – no difference. Ladder demolished!
Jacob’s Ladder Spirituality
the circumcision debate

Many Jewish Christians insisted that Gentiles Christians be circumcised as part of entering into the blessings of Abraham

  • Paul insisted that the blessings of Abraham were by faith and that all who were of faith were sons of Abraham and that circumcision / uncircumcision was nothing but rather faith working through love
  • It was resolved at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 – that circumcision was not necessary for salvation
The CircumcisionDebate
the sabbath

The Sabbath was the Jewish day of rest and was strictly observed by the Jews as part of the Ten Commandments

  • Yet Jesus frequently ‘worked’ on the Sabbaths and declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath – (Mark 2:27,28)
  • The New Testament Sabbath is our Sabbath rest in God (Hebrews chapters 3&4) and is not a particular day of the week
  • We are not to let people judge us about Sabbath observance (Colossians 2:16)
The Sabbath
inclusion of gentiles

The Gentiles were seen as so sinful that it was ‘not possible’ for them to become Christians

  • If was thought that if Gentiles were righteous they would become Jews first, clean up their lives and then become Christians
  • Spirituality and culture were tightly connected as were spirituality and ‘respectability’
  • Grace reaches down even to those with highly dysfunctional lifestyles and this outraged the Jews who strove for works-based righteousness
Inclusion Of Gentiles
angels vs christ

In the Jewish view the Law was infallible because it was delivered through angels and was mediated by them (Acts 7:25, Hebrews 2)

  • Christ being greater than the angels was able to revoke the Law
  • The supremacy of Christ over the angels is the starting point for the book of Hebrews (chapter 1)
  • Paul even tells us that we shall judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:1-3)
  • The Gnostics again tried to place Christ as lower than the angels
  • But the Bible asserts that Jesus Christ is above all heavenly powers and that they will bow to Him (Ephesians 1;20, Colossians 1:15-20, Philippians 2:5-11)
  • Therefore Christianity is superior to Judaism as it has not an angel but God’s Son as its Mediator
Angels vs. Christ
temple worship

Acts 7:48, 17:24…God does not dwell in temples made with human hands. First said to the Jews, then to the Greeks.

  • Jesus ‘spoke of the Temple of His body’ (John 2:21)
  • Our bodies are now temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • Temple worship ceased in 70AD and has never resumed
Temple Worship

Jesus was the ‘once for all’ sacrifice – for all people, for all time… (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 10:10)

  • Sacrifices of bulls and goats were the shadow but Christ is the reality and has replaced them!
  • The Aaronic system has been replaced the priesthood of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7&8)
  • The only sacrifice now required is praise and thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15)
holy spirit vs tradition

In the NT the Holy Spirit replaces law and tradition as the inner guidance of the believer

  • Hebrews 8:8-13, 10:15-17
  • Matthew 7:8, Colossians 2:8
  • We do not need traditional rabbinical instruction: Matthew 7:29, 16:17, John 6:45, 8:28, 14:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 1 John 2:20,27
  • Revelation comes via the Holy Spirit: 1 Corinthians 2:9-16
Holy Spirit vs. Tradition
tensions with rome

Refusal to say Caesar is Lord

  • Seen as atheists because of the lack of temple observance and ‘meet adoration of the household gods’ (refused to participate in ancestor worship)
  • Seen as cannibals for ‘eating the flesh of Jesus Christ’
  • Makers of idols fomented riots against Christians
  • Pleasing the Jews (by persecuting the Christians)
  • A convenient minority to blame / persecute
Tensions With Rome