Christ came to free people from bondage to the law of Moses, but not through the absolute abandonment of all law. Paul’s training as a Pharisee made him the most biblically competent of the Apostles, which is reflected by his dominance as an author of the New Testament letters. My intention here is not to impose a foreign metanarrative upon the text, but to reveal the actual metanarrative of the Old Testament in the light of Christ as Paul presented it to the Galatians. That metanarrative was not what he had been taught as a Pharisee, nor what they had been taught by the Temple establishment. It was shockingly different, but it made undeniable sense of the Old Testament. The Temple establishment version was full of ancient mystery and symbolism that was difficult to understand, and cast the role of Israel as the hero of the story. Paul’s version, on the other hand, was clear, simple, and practical—though it required the abandonment of much well-established Temple superstition. Paul’s version cast the role of Jesus Christ as the hero.
While understanding the story of the Old Testament in the light of Christ is not difficult, abandoning our own false presuppositions about it requires some personal tenacity. Jesus continues to challenge our ideas about who we are and our role in history, God’s story. The story that Paul grew up with was the story about the importance and purity of the Temple. But the story that he learned from Jesus was about the corruption and failure of the Temple. Similarly, Christians today are Sunday-schooled in the importance of the institutional church, but the actual ongoing story in the light of Christ is about the corruption and failure of the church as an institution. In the following pages you will see that this story has played out over and again throughout history because of the pertinacity of sin. More info →