I’m glad to say that my discussion on Corinthians went well in Sunday School, but as I was continuing to prepare my lesson, some people told me that to understand 2 Corinthians 3, I really had to understand Romans 3-4. I decided instead to read the whole book through in one sitting (not something that many Christians do on a regular basis). When I sat down, I realized that I sympathize with Paul a lot.
Paul was attempting to do something unprecendented–take a formerly Jewish religion and make it accessible to the entire world. Romans is where we still this struggle most dearly for Paul. He attempts to show why things like circumcision and eating certain meats don’t matter anymore, and why the law of sin and death has been defeated by the law of grace and truth.
Paul is doing so much more than many conservative evangelicals give him credit for. He was suggesting that we literally die with Christ. That all of ourselves, our bodies, our desires, our lusts, our flesh, and our will all die with Christ as he himself died. We are actually within Christ, spending that time in the grave with him, and being raised to a new life in Christ–a new creation. And if we are a new creation, what good is circumcision and what good is keeping the Levitical law? The good only comes through faith that we really can be renewed by the death of Jesus Christ. That we can become who we were originally meant to be.
But Paul himself is a Jew, and he is so scared and worried throughout the letter for his people. I also am so worried about the kids at my youth group, because I do not want them to fall away.