Paul’s activity, reduced to simplest terms, was to bring to people, Jew or Greek, the good tidings that through identification with Christ a man could escape the destruction to come. His message is based on views of man, of life, and of the shortness of time left to this world – views which are poles apart from the views of rabbinic Judaism. The rabbis conceived of man, essentially noble and free, serenely doing God’s will in a world destined permanently to endure. Paul, on the other hand, exhibits not serenity, but charged emotion; the world is about to be destroyed, and helpless, sinful man needs to escape the destruction. God has made eligible for that escape those who believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, transformed them from evil, bodily persons into good, spiritual beings.

Rabbi Samuel Sandmel, A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament, 3rd ed. (Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2005), 75.

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