THE JEWS' RELIGION
By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
Twice in as many verses Paul mentioned his experience with the Old Testament Law and its system using the words of our title. “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers,” (Galatians 1:13-14).
His zeal for his religion caused him to persecute “the church of God.” This church or congregation had been located in the city of Jerusalem. Only because of persecution was it scattered to other places. We know from this what “the church of God” was and is: a congregation of scripturally baptized believers scripturally organized and authorized to do the work Christ left for her to do.
These verses show the complete separation of the Lord's churches as a new thing from Judaism. Then as now there were a significant number of Jews who tried to enforce the Old Testament Law system on non-Jewish believers. These tried to spread their legalism among the churches and caused Paul great concern. He deals extensively with this problem in the Book of Galatians. The other apostles also stood against the idea that believers needed to attempt to keep the Old Testament Law. For instance Peter said, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10). Peter said attempting to keep the law was enslavement and an impossibility.
In dealing with the slavery of Law-keeping he went on to say, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they,” (Acts 15:11). His statement is most significant! Peter did not say that non-Jews would be saved like Jews are saved. Instead he said that Jews can only be saved like non-Jews! Here he emphasizes the fact which Jesus stated: “The law and the prophets were until John...” (Luke 16:16).
Paul went even further: he wrote of Law-keepers that they were “...false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you,” (Galatians 2:4-5). Law-keeping, then, is contrary to “the truth of the gospel!” And Paul and the other apostles would not put up with those Judaizers who thought to please God either for salvation or as a means of life after being saved. “No, not for an hour!”
And what will you do with those who would have you submit to attempting to keep either all or a part of the Old Testament Law? We urge you to follow the apostles' examples and teaching and have nothing to do with such things!
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726