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Biblical Paradoxes, Part 1

by | Jan 6, 2017 | Biblical Paradoxes (A Mini-Series), Salvation

Before focusing upon the Biblical paradoxes, let’s focus upon what the Oxford Dictionary has to say about the word “Paradox”. It defines the same as “a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.” Are there paradoxical statements in the Bible? Hmmm…many, but in this series of 5 parts, I want to train my spotlight on only eight of them. Firstly…


“Now the law came in to increase the trespass…” (Romans 5:21)

Talk of automobile accidents increasing after introduction of traffic laws…is this probable? Well, the Mosaic Law given at Mount Sinai to the Israelites, redeemed from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 20), aroused all kinds of forbidden desires in them when brought in contact with their inherent, rebellious Adamic nature. Now let an erstwhile rabid Jew explain his predicament, we pick up action from Romans 7:7-8 (TLB). Over to Apostle Paul…

“Well then, am I suggesting that these laws of God are evil? Of course not! No, the law is not sinful, but it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known the sin in my heart–the evil desires that are hidden there–if the law had not said, ‘You must not have evil desires in your heart.’ But sin used this law against evil desires by reminding me that such desires are wrong, and arousing all kinds of forbidden desires within me!”

Laws of God coupled with man’s innate fallen, sinful nature (inherited from the first breakers of Law–mind you sin is lawlessness…1 John 3:4) makes for an explosive mix. Talk of mixing gasoline with fire…

The “paradoxical” attitude of the Israelites at the same Mount Sinai (they hadn’t moved an inch) after receipt of the Laws on one occasion, is proof (if proof is needed) that Divine Laws aimed at man’s welfare and his rebellious nature do not belong to the “made for each other” genre. Let the Scripture take over…

“So they were up early the next morning and began offering burnt offerings and peace offerings to the calf idol; afterwards they sat down to feast and drink at a wild party, followed by sexual immorality.” (Exodus 32:6)

Now how’s that for a “Rev Party”! If the Law itself leads to death…where exactly is the solution? Let the same, hitherto Jewish fundamentalist named Saul answer it (after he became a Christian, he was christened Paul)…

“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:25 NLT)

Well, then how did Christ the Saviour accomplish it? To save us from our own wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), as it were? Through the “heart transplantation process” beginning with the work completed at the Cross! Welcome to yet another Biblical paradox…


“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil…” (Heb 2:14)

Now this is how renowned JFB Commentary captures the essence of the above-captioned Scripture portion…

“…that through death–which He could not have undergone as God but only by becoming man. Not by Almighty power but by His death (so the Greek) He overcame death. ‘Jesus suffering death overcame; Satan wielding death succumbed’ [Bengel]. As David cut off the head of Goliath with the giant’s own sword wherewith the latter was wont to win his victories.”

By His death, He overcame death…ah those are the key operative “paradoxical” words. Virtually there was “victory” at apparent “defeat”. Where Christ’s life obviously “ended” at the Cross in the eyes of His earthly enemies, a “new” journey of God’s redemptive Gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4) had begun of saving countless from the clutches of sin.

All those who believe and accept the Saving Gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4) are given a “new heart”. But isn’t this unfair for God to let sinners go free, and say that they are innocent? No, for He does it on the basis of their trust in Jesus who took away their sins…who has already “been punished” on their behalf (Romans 3:26 TLB).

At the imminent rapture, what would happen conclusively to all those who have accepted God’s plan of Salvation in Christ and are living “new lives” (Romans 10:8-10/2 Cor 5:17)?

Let Apostle Paul explain this matter of “life and death”…here he touches upon the “Law-Sin-Death-Saviour’s Victory at the Cross” connection: “O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin–the sting that causes death–will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (1 Cor 15:55-57 TLB).

So how is it that “obedience to God”, which was so burdensome to the Jews (Acts 15:10-11), is not so to Christians? Enter yet another paradox…which we shall focus upon in Part 2 of this series.

Prayer: Father, You have saved us from our own wicked selves by transferring the punishment due to us to Thy sinless Son. For this and for sustaining us in our Spiritual walk we praise Thee in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries

(To access the entire “Biblical Paradoxes” mini-series, please click here.)


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