I work a graveyard shift job. It entails changing pallet jack batteries for a large wholesale grocery distributer, in whose warehouse I used to select frozen product that went onto pallets.

Whereas my original post was very frustratingly physical, my current job is frustratingly tedious.

In a portion of my mental downtime, I have been considering Romans 1.

I am currently engaged in a close reading of Proverbs and Romans during my times with the Father. This is before I engage reading on the New Perspective, and free from a lot of the methods that have been handed me in interpreting that book.

One of those phrases that stood out to me was the phrase from 1:14.

“I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians.”

Paul was not under obligation, in this context, to Jews. He was writing to a mostly non-Jewish audience, which gave Peter the willies (Arthur Burk paraphrase of Galatians 2:11-14), and to whom he was obligated because the Jews had rejected him (Acts 13:46).

Obligations and vows are something I have been studying a lot recently, and vows, covenants, and obligations are not inherently bad things for New Testament believers (Number 6:1-23, Deuteronomy 23:21, Psalm 76:11, Acts 18:18).

Next time someone questions those things as legalistic and attempts to throw Matthew 5:34 at you as a prooftext, talk to them about the vows we make when we marry, among other things.

A vow as an insurance against lying and in a court of law is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 5, which is vastly different to a vow before G-d and covenant spouse. Questionability of integrity or truth-telling is what Matthew 5 is about.

And Job’s covenant with his eyes was, I dare say, anything but legalistic (Job 31:1).

An obligation that is Spirit-driven is an excellent thing, and indeed, we are called to walk in the whole counsel of G-d, and part of that counsel is to know the obligations G-d has assigned us and to take those obligations seriously.

Be blessed, church, and fulfill your obligations and vows.

The Paraclete’s Hammer


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