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Author Topic: Did Paul sin when he ‘purified’ himself in the Jerusalem temple ?  (Read 4016 times)

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loretta

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“Did Paul sin when he ‘purified’ himself in the Jerusalem temple, according to the record in Acts 21?”

“Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them went into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them” (Acts 21:26).

There were four Hebrew men who had placed themselves under a vow. It was near the time for that ritual to be consummated by a purification ceremony in the temple, when it was suggested, that Paul identify with them, paying their temple fees, and, “purifying” himself along with them. This would be done so that the Jews might see that Paul was “walking orderly, observing the law.”
 
Why would Paul, knowing that the Mosaic law was obsolete, submit to a “purification” ritual, that would appear to convey the impression that Christ’s blood was insufficient as a medium of cleansing? Earlier the apostle himself had circumcised Timothy in order to prevent offense to the Jews (16:3).

Was not Judaism, the church in the wilderness from which the believing Jews were called out, same as believers today are called out of the Babylonian chuch.  So what Paul did could be likened to us tolerating, even partaking of the rituals of say, the catholic church today. 

Does that make it alright ? 
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Kat

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Re: Did Paul sin when he ‘purified’ himself in the Jerusalem temple ?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2013, 12:11:30 PM »


Hi Loretta,

Reading back in this chapter you will see that James and the elders of the church at Jerusalem had asked Paul to do those things with the believing Jews, that by some compliance with their ceremonial/ritual law it would help them accept him better.

Act 21:18  On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.

Act 21:21  but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.

Act 21:23  Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow.
V. 24  Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.

This was simply Paul conforming in a ritualistic way, knowing full well he was no longer under the law/ordinances, to show these believers (that may have been struggling with this 'new' way of life) he had consideration for them and win them over. Paul does explain why he would do this type of thing.

1Cor 9:19  For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;
v. 20  and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law;
v. 21  to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law;
v. 22  to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
v. 23  Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

mercy, peace and love
Kat
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loretta

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Re: Did Paul sin when he ‘purified’ himself in the Jerusalem temple ?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 01:07:32 AM »

Tks Kat for your response.  I know that Paul had good reason to do what he did and I am reluctant to question the motives of such a man of faith.  But were his reasons good enough?

I have been turning this over in my mind and what Ray wrote also got me thinking.

http://bible-truths.com/email16.htm#supper

Paul baptized at one time in his ministry and then he quit. Why? Because he put away childish things and went on to spiritual maturity.

Paul used to circumcise in his early ministry and then he quit. Why? Because he put away childish things and went on to spiritual maturity.


Maybe Paul didn't sin, but perhaps he did act in spiritual immaturity?  Tomorrow my brother's family arrives from overseas on a short vacation.  I am wondering if I should put up the x'mas tree and decorate the house for the season.  I'd given up on this custom/tradition since a couple of years (hubby still does it by christmas eve much to the younger child's short delight).  I must confess that it wasn't easy putting aside this very catholic and also evangelical custom.  Conservative believers strongly felt that the x'mas tree was pagan/evil and I couldn't understand how one could celebrate christmas without the tree!  That is, till I figured that christmas was pagan as well!  Admittedly, it is hard for myself and the girls to go against popular tradition.  No festivities, no tree, no carolling, no celebrations with family and friends, no new clothes, no gifts, no high day church service and fellowship.  But we don't miss it - last year we took a vacation during the christmas holidays.  Still, is it right to do as the Romans do just so that we can minister to them, share the gospel?  Btw, nobody was interested in the gospel during the time I did celebrate christmas.

Since coming to BT, I've become less of a fundamental Christian, less self-righteous, less condemnatory, more accomodating.  So what do I do? Do I put up the tree or not? Guess, in the end I will do exactly what God wills me to do! :)
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Kat

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Re: Did Paul sin when he ‘purified’ himself in the Jerusalem temple ?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2013, 11:20:11 AM »


Hi Loretta,

I just want to mention a few things for thought, I am only trying to give another perspective and not tell you what you should do though. I think it is a delicate balance we walk, because we do want to remain in a good relationship with family, but do we send the wrong message by participating, like doing our own decorating, if they know we disagree with the principle of it? Maybe or maybe not, it depends.

But maybe we should consider when Paul was trying to win new converts, it seemed to be to initially get to know them, so they would accept him. After he had become their friend, gained their favor, I would think then he would have shown a much stronger example of Christ like behavior, as their teacher.

We all witness to others by our example, our actions speak louder than word, as the saying goes. Sure we don't always know the right thing to do, but I think whatever we do should be done meekly. What I mean is I would't want to come across as 'putting on' righteousness to impress others, by either decorating or not decorating. We each weigh our own situation and do as the spirit leads us, the spirit is that "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12), but it certainly makes it's presents known. And we learn from the experience...

mercy, peace and love
Kat
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DougE6

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Re: Did Paul sin when he ‘purified’ himself in the Jerusalem temple ?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 01:48:23 PM »

I think Paul explained himself in his own words rather well...

1Co 9:19  For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
1Co 9:20  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
1Co 9:21  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
1Co 9:22  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
1Co 9:23  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Paul did whatever he could do...to win others for Christ.
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sansmile

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Re: Did Paul sin when he ‘purified’ himself in the Jerusalem temple ?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2013, 07:33:49 PM »

Hi All.
I think reading the above posts, that this is exactly why Christ allowed John to baptise Him in water.?
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loretta

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Re: Did Paul sin when he ‘purified’ himself in the Jerusalem temple ?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 11:34:37 PM »

tks Kat and DougE6 for your insightful and very helpful posts.

I told my daughter to tell her visiting cousins (if they asked) that we do not really care for the traditions of Christmas, that we consider them meaningless, besides being a needless bother to put up the tree and take it down.  However, if they were planning to spend christmas with us and if these traditions meant very much to them, we would be happy to decorate the house so that they could celebrate christmas in the traditional spirit.  They've come loaded with gifts and christmas crackers, but I think that they are planning an extravagant christmas celebration with other family.  But while they're with us we are serving them with extravagant love.  How about that! :)


Hi All.
I think reading the above posts, that this is exactly why Christ allowed John to baptise Him in water.?

Good thought sansmile.  Like Paul however, we put away childish things and go on to spiritual maturity.
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