Or — How he has been “wrested”
Peter warned (II Peter 3:15-16) that Paul’s writings can be “hard to understand”. After all, if most of Israel could be fooled by the “leaven of the Pharisees” even while the Messiah Himself walked among them, how much more so could the legions of Torah-ignorant “heathens” that Paul took His message be confused if they weren’t even allowed to enter the synagogues of every city and hear “Moses read”? (Acts 15:21 )
If you think about it, that situation is at least as true today, when most ‘churches’ do NOT teach “Moses” at all, but instead parrot the lie that God’s “law” is “impossible” to keep, so modern “Christians” shouldn’t even bother to try. They don’t even understand the difference between the “traditions of men” and the “commandments of YHVH“. (Mark 7:7, etc)
In other words, by now Paul has been twisted so badly that many decide to “sin more, that grace might abound“.
So here’s my simple summary of the books of Galatians, Romans, and the Gospel of John.
- Keeping YHVH’s commandments is “not too hard for you”. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14 )
- Obedience brings BLESSINGS, not curses. (Deuteronomy chapter 28)
- But don’t think you can ever EARN salvation — it’s a free gift, because He loves you. (This is the part of Paul’s teachings most get right; it’s the subtle aspects that are “wrested”!)
- So why do it? Because He ASKS: (John 14:15) “If you love Me, keep My commands.”
And Paul, by the way, said it was our “reasonable service“. Maybe that’s why he called himself a “bondservant“. There’s no contradiction at all there either, if you study Exodus 21. Those who study the ‘torah of Moses’ for themselves (Acts 17:11) will know what he meant.
Paul was trying to explain His Word to those who had trouble trying to understand the word “IF”. And some of them couldn’t discern the difference between the “law” of the Pharisees and what was actually Written in Scripture.
Salvation, of course, was never about “IF you keep My ‘law’, then you will earn eternal life.” But walking in blessing and having life “more abundantly” is another thing entirely!