I admit that I worship the God of our fathers
As a follower of the Way . . . .
I believe everything that agrees with the Law
And that is written in the Prophets
And I have the same hope in God
As these men
That there will be a resurrection
Of both the righteous and the wicked.
So I strive always to keep my conscience clear
Before God and man. …
I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.
First to those in Damascus
Then to those in Jerusalem
And in all Judea
And to the Gentiles also
I preached that they should repent
And turn to God
And prove their repentance by their deeds. …
I am saying nothing beyond
What the prophets and Moses said would happen –
That the Christ would suffer
And, as the first to rise from the dead,
Would proclaim light to his own people
And to the Gentiles.
-Acts 24:14-16; 26:19-20, 22b-23
In spite of the complexity of much of the Apostle Paul’s writings, perhaps no clearer picture is painted about what he himself believed and practiced than that presented in the book of Acts. It is very clear that he was a Messianic Jew. He upheld the Law and practices of Pharisaic Judaism as well as holding belief in the resurrected Yeshua, as Israel’s Messiah and the ‘light of the world’.
You could say that Paul is a stumbling block both to Jews and Gentiles – Jews see him as teaching the ‘heresy’ that Yeshua is Israel’s long-awaited Messiah; Gentiles see him as a Jew continuing to practice Judaism in apparent contradiction to holding Yeshua as the Messiah. Paul can’t win. Yet Paul didn’t run his race to particularly support Jew or Gentile, he ran his race to please God, who for the sake of both Jews and Gentiles, set Paul on His course.
We can learn a lot from the simplest picture of Paul: Turn, believe Moses and the Prophets, believe in the resurrection of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, keep a clear conscience, prove your repentance with good deeds, hope in God.
The Lord is coming!