Friday, May 4, 2018

“Works” and “Works of the Law” in Paul

Interacting with Modern Catholic Reliance on New Perspectivism
By Keith Thompson

Defining the Issues

Paul often states that a person is justified or saved not by “works” or “works of the law” but by faith (Rom. 3:20, 25, 27-28; 4:1-6; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10, 24; Eph. 2:6-11). This theme is also treated elsewhere but for the most part this essay will be confined to Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. In this paper we will focus on the New Perspectivists (NPP from now on) who have voiced their disagreement with the idea that in such texts Paul is pitting faith against any consideration of works in regards to justification. This is a position long held by the academic Reformed community (that is not to say, however, that works do not play a role in the Christian life after justification). We will argue that both the NPP advocates and the Roman Catholics who rely on the NPP position are in error for not acknowledging Paul is pitting faith against any kind of general works in regards to how one attains justification.

NPP advocates have argued, based on the views of liberal scholar E. P. Sanders, that, as Seyoon Kim writes,
"In this context the phrase ‘works of the law’ is concerned not with general deeds of law observance but specifically with the deeds of obedience to those commandments that mark the covenant people of Israel off from the nations, namely circumcision, food laws, and Sabbath. So Dunn concludes,

That the law became a primary concern for Paul precisely in its boundary-defining role (separating Jew from Gentile); that justification through faith emerged in Paul’s theology as Paul’s attempt to explain why and how Gentiles are accepted by God and should be accepted by their Jewish fellow believers; and that the works of the law . . . were precisely those practices which had most clearly defined Judaism and most sharply distinguished Jew from Gentile since the time of Maccabees (circumcision, food laws and feast days/Sabbath)”(1)
That Paul taught works related to ethnic boundary markers do not justify (as opposed to teaching one is not justified by general works) is also argued for in the writings of Anglican New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, though in many ways his views are to be differentiated from the other more liberal NPP advocates such as Dunn and Sanders. Confirming Wright has voiced this position is Simon Gathercole who notes that for Wright “these works of the law are seen primarily as ‘those things that marked out the Jews from their pagan neighbours, not least in the diaspora: the Sabbath, the food laws, and circumcision”(2).

So for example when Paul in Romans 4:2 says “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God” Wright thinks Paul was saying Abraham was not reckoned in the covenant (his view of justification) by identity or boundary-markers such as circumcision, food laws and Sabbath(3).

Many Catholics I have dialogued with are quite fond of gravitating towards the works = boundary-markers view of the NPP, thus saying things like: “since Paul is only excluding these boundary-markers from justification, we do not have to deny that other works justify people such as the Ten Commandments or works of charity, etc.” For example, based on NPP material, Roman polemicist Art Sippo refuses the idea that “the works St. Paul discusses in Romans 3-4 are 'good works' in the generic sense and not ‘works of the Law’ in the specifically Jewish legal sense”(4). He also asserts concerning justification: “In the light of modern Biblical scholarship, it is no longer possible to maintain that Luther and Calvin were interpreting the Bible correctly in this or other controversial matters”(5).

There has been much advancement in this discussion since the initial onslaught of NPP literature in the past decades. However, the purpose of this essay is simply to show, for those who currently think Paul’s rejection of works of the law in justification is limited to boundary-markers, that Paul is actually attacking the idea that justification can be attained by anything other than faith or trust alone.

Catholic Apologist Robert Sungenis Rejects Works of the Law as Boundary-Markers

Although many Catholics rely on the NPP idea that works of the law are very limited, they do so in spite of the fact that one of their most respected apologists/scholars, Robert Sungenis, has denied this view in his writings. For example, he stated the following his work Not by Faith Alone:
“Since Scripture condemns both the ceremonial and moral law as a means of justification before God, we must address the attempts of certain theologians to limit the phrase ‘works of the law’ to Jewish ceremonial law”(6).
He also states, “For a thorough critique of these views [NPP view of works of the law] by a qualified Protestant, see Mark A. Seifrid, Justification by Faith (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1992), 42-65”(7) demonstrating he believes Seifrid refuted such thinking.

James D. G. Dunn now Admits Works of the Law Means ‘all the Law Requires’

Dunn, who is one of the original founders of NPP, initially taught works of the law were restricted to circumcision, food laws, and Sabbath in his earlier material. But after being refuted by the conservative academic community, he has clarified he is willing to acknowledge the broader scope of the phrase. As Peter T. O’Brien notes
"In response to criticisms of his initial presentation, Dunn clarified several earlier emphases. He concluded that ‘works of the law’. . . refers to all the law requires of the devout Jew, “the ‘deeds’ which the law makes obligatory”(8).
Likewise David E. Aune states,

"Dunn has been widely criticized for restricting the meaning of ‘works of the law’ to markers of Jewish identity. Some of his critics (e. g. Douglas Moo) have proposed that ‘works of the law’ to mean ‘deeds done in obedience to the law of Moses,’ implicitly rejecting Dunn’s distinction. Dunn’s earlier restriction of ‘works of the law’ to mean markers of Jewish identity (Sabbath observance, food laws, circumcision) was subsequently broadened to mean ‘what the law required of Israel as God’s people,’ that is, ‘the ‘deeds’ that the law makes obligatory’”(9).
This is evidenced by the fact that in his later 1998 work The Theology of Paul the Apostle, he conceded works of the law refer more broadly to “what the law required of Israel as God’s people”(10) and “all or whatever the law requires, covenantal nomism as a whole”(11). However, in his earlier work his tone is quite different. In his 1983 work The New Perspective on Paul, for example, he stated, “When Paul denied the possibility of ‘being justified by works of the law’ it is precisely this basic Jewish self-understanding which he is attacking – the idea that God’s acknowledgment of covenant status is bound up with, even dependent upon, observance of these particular regulations. . . . these distinctively Jewish rites”(12).

Therefore, the Catholics I encounter who think works of the law merely refer to boundary-markers based on NPP rhetoric, need to realize Dunn, one of the major founders of this false teaching, has already admitted the phrase is not actually restricted in that way. To continue arguing that for Paul justifying yourself through works is permissible since Paul only allegedly attacked being justified by certain Jewish boundary-markers, is therefore something which needs to be re-thought. Dunn now admits works of the law do not exclusively refer to these boundary-markers.

What Scripture Really Means by “Works” and “Works of the Law” – Evidence in Romans

One must now consider these questions: what does Romans have to say about not being justified by works and works of the law? Does Paul intend for his audience to take away from his teaching that mere boundary-markers do not justify? Can we understand Paul to be saying that ceremonial regulations do not justify but other works can?

Offering a sobering context to works and works of the law in Romans 2 and 3 is Douglas J. Moo who notes,
"Again and again, Paul insists in 2:1-29 that it is not dependence on the law or circumcision as such that renders the Jews liable to judgement, but their disobedience of the law. Transgressions of the law are the reason why the Jews cannot presume on the covenant for salvation. And these transgressions are said to involve the ‘same things’ that Gentiles do (2:2-3) – clearly making it a matter not of ‘inner’ Jewish issues but of sin against God generally. It is this larger and more basic problem of transgression of the law that informs Paul’s conclusion to the section in 3:20: ‘no human being will be justified by works of the law’”(13). 
Hence, it is clear even in the opening chapters of Romans that works and works of the law are not referring to Jewish identity badges.

It is odd to interpret 3:20 as NPP's do (i.e., as denying justification by these mere ceremonial boundary markers). This is because in context Paul also refers to the moral aspects of the law as not being met (2:18-24; 3:10-18). Thus when we're told works of the law do not justify there, it is natural to broaden the scope.

Further proof that to be justified by faith and not by works or works of the law does not merely concern these ceremonial laws or markers is the fact that in Romans 9:11-13, after over and over stressing justification by faith and not works, Paul states: “though they [Jacob and Esau] were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls’” (Romans 9:11-13). Hence, “works” are clearly defined as anything "good or bad" for Paul. Therefore, the idea he was not refering to general works as not being able to justify is incorrect. In light of this it is careless for Catholics to claim along with NPP advocates that Paul would allow for works justification just as long as one is not trying to be justified by circumcision, food laws and Sabbath.

Moreover, when one examines the parallel of Romans 3:28 which is Romans 4:5, it is apparent that works of the law are more general works and not mere ceremonial law:
“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:28).

“just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works” (Romans 4:6).
Still more, it is evident Paul does not only refer to ceremonial law but he rejects all attempts at merit or general works justification. We know this because he stresses that no one is able to boast within a proper salvation framework (Rom. 3:26-28; 4:2). If one is justified by the Ten Commandments, works of charity or loving thy neighbor, etc., how is the ability to boast excluded in such a system? Clearly Paul is teaching no works justify and that is why no one can boast about their right standing with God.

Moo, after his massive study on Romans, sums up what Paul means by works and works of the law in this epistle:
“The Jews become, as it were, representative of human beings generally. If the Jews, with the best law that one could have, could not find salvation through it, then any system of works is revealed as unable to conquer the power of sin. The ‘bottom line’ in Paul’s argument, then, is his conviction that sin creates for every person a situation of utterly helpless bondage. ‘Works of the law’ are inadequate not because they are ‘works of the law’ but, ultimately because they are ‘works.’ This clearly removes the matter from the purely salvation-historical realm to the broader realm of anthropology. No person can gain a standing with God through works because no one is able to perform works to the degree needed to secure such a standing. This human inability to meet the demands of God is what lies at the heart of Rom. 3. On this point, at least, the Reformers understood Paul correctly”(14).
In the end, the phrase works of the law refers to deeds done in obedience to the Law of God and they “differ from the simpler term ‘works’ only in its designation of the source of the divine demand”(15).

Evidence in Galatians

In Galatians 2 and 3 Paul teaches one is justified by faith and not works or works of the law. That he has in view a broader scope than mere boundary-markers is clear since in 3:10-11 he identifies these works of the law with Deuteronomy 27:26:  
"10For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.' 11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for 'The righteous shall live by faith'” (Galatians 3:10-11).
Drawing out what bearing this text has on the debate, A. Andrew Das states,
"When Paul uses the phrase ‘works of the law’ in Gal. 3:10 and cites Deut. 27:26 (a composite quote drawing on other statements in Deut. 27–30), the Deuteronomy context indicates that Paul has in mind the law in its entirety, including even actions done in private”(16).
This is because, as J. V. Fesko notes, Deuteronomy 27:15-25 (the context of the text Paul quotes to say no one is justified by works of the law) deals with “idolatry, honoring father and mother . . .  theft, misleading the blind, perverting justice, incest, bestiality, and murder”(17). Therefore, it will not work to say Paul is merely saying boundary-markers such as circumcision, food laws and Sabbath do not justify.

It is also important to stress that in Galatians 3:10 where Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26, Paul adds the word “all” (“Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them”). The word “all” is not in the text he cites, however. This demonstrates Paul believed works of the law can not save because no on meets it perfectly (i.e., no one does “all things written in the book of the law”). Since God demands perfection to the Law, one can not be justified by attempted obedience of God's commands. As Peter T. O’Brien notes,
“‘works of the law’ are inadequate to save because no one fulfills all the demands of the law. He declares (v. 10) that a curse rests on all those who rely on ‘works of the law.’ He grounds this appeal in Deuteronomy 27:26, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide in all things written in the book of the law to do them.’ Although Paul does not say in so many words that no one does the law, his claim that all who rely on ‘works of the law’ for justification are cursed makes sense only if all fail to do the law”(18).
It is clear that ceremonial law (food laws, circumcision, Sabbath) are certainly relevant to works of the law for Paul in Galatians 2 and 3 (e. g. 2:3, 12), yet to not recognize Paul develops his argument to a broader outlook on the issue is problematic. As Moises Silva, who has done great work in this area, stresses: “his references to the law (esp. beginning in 3:10) give no hint that he is referring narrowly to identity markers. For example, it would be difficult to believe that at 3:21 Paul really means: “Are the ceremonial regulations opposed to the promises of God”(19).

Moreover, concerning the meaning of “those who live by the works of the law” in 3:10 Silva, in the same work, points out that 3:7 is key: “…it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” He argues those who live by the works of the law (3:10) are, for Paul, in opposition to those “of faith” being “sons of Abraham” (3:7).  He bases this contrast on Paul’s constant tension between works of the law and faith.

With that established, he explains those who live by faith are Abraham’s genuine seed and are blessed (3:29), and those who live by works of the law are cursed (3:10). He then highlights how in 3:11-12 Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 and Leviticus 18:5 further defining works of the law: “11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them” (Galatians 3:10-12). Silva then concludes,
"οἱ ἐκ πίστεως [those of faith] are those who, like Abraham, live by faith and are blessed; while οἱ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου [those of law-works] are those who live by the things commanded in the law and are cursed. And in view of the well-established correlation between the concepts of life and justification, it is difficult to avoid associating the second group with those who try to be justified by the law….

Paul evidently intends to characterize a certain group of people as individuals who identify themselves by their commitment to law observance, who therefore find in the requirements of the law their source of life (cf. 3:21), and who, as in the case of the Qumran community, probably expect their law-works to be reckoned to them for righteousness. Moreover, this group, which is viewed as being under a curse stands in contrast to true children of Abraham, the ones who live by faith and receive the blessing of the promised Spirit (3:14)”(20).
Therefore, it is clear in Galatians that being justified by faith apart from works of the law goes beyond boundary-markers, and that only faith does because it appropriates the perfect work of Christ which alone is the foundation of our right standing with God (Romans 3:25). For Roman Catholics to say works of charity, loving your neighbor, or the Ten Commandments can justify you is erroneous because all of those things are found in the Mosaic Law Paul says does not lead to justification. The ability to, with progressive success, strive to act out those valid New Covenant universal moral principles which were carried over to Christianity is evidence of salvation (Matthew 7:17; Ephesians 2:8-10), not the cause of it.

Evidence in Ephesians 

In Ephesians 2:8-10 we read:
"8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Fueled by confusion and problematic NPP rhetoric, I have encountered Catholics who argue the works in v. 9 are boundary-markers and that Paul is not excluding all works from justification. However, that can not be true because v. 10 explains that after salvation and being united to Christ (created in Christ) Christians do the works mentioned in v. 9. So if these particular Catholics are correct then Paul would be saying Christians do the ceremonial laws such as circumcision, food laws, and Sabbath after salvation. That can not be true, however, since Christians do not have to be circumcised, do Sabbath, or abide by Levitical food laws under the New Covenant (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:13-15; 15:7-20; Colossians 2:16; Matthew 11:28; Hebrews 4:9-10). Thus v. 9 is not talking about not being justified by mere boundary-markers.

Second, Dunn has admitted that in this text, “the issue does seem to have moved from one of works of law to one of human effort”(21). So the Catholics who think the NPP advocates have given them leeway in Ephesians 2:8-10 need to reconsider that assumption.

Lastly, the surrounding context shows that a person can not merit justification by any works period, precisely because all humans are born dead in sin (v. 1), following Satan and worldliness (v. 2), living in sin, and being by nature children of wrath (v. 3). Thus, in light of our depraved hopeless condition described here, in order to be made right with God, He is the one who has to make “us alive together with Christ” (v. 5). This fuller context should make Catholics hesitate to interpret Paul as saying humans can do works, with the exception of boundary-markers, to merit justification.

Addressing “Judaism Wasn’t Legalistic so ‘Works of the Law’ Can’t Mean ‘Obedience to the Whole Law'”

One of the chief reasons behind the NPP rejection that Paul combated works-righteousness is that Sanders, Dunn and others have claimed the Jews in Paul’s day universally held not to a legalistic system of works-righteousness, but to what is known as “covenantal nomism.” That is, the belief that you’re granted entry into the covenant freely by grace, you do righteous deeds to honor God, and you attain final justification by the whole of the life-lived. This idea of 2nd Temple Judaism is in opposition to the belief that the Jews thought they earned their salvation. Therefore, the NPP advocates argue if this is how Judaism functioned, one should not interpret Paul as combating the idea that right standing with God is not by legalistic works.

In Romans 10:3-4 Paul’s comments demonstrate works-righteousness was a problem in his day - a problem he felt sufficient need to combat in his writings: “3For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Moo argues, “Paul is scolding the Jews for self-righteousness – the attempt to confine a relationship with God to Israel to the detriment of other nations”(22).

We see more legalism in Philippians 3:4-9 where Paul exposes his former works-righteousness efforts as a Pharisee before he was a Christian justified by faith:
"4though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (Philippians 3:4-9).
Paul is clear that as a Pharisee “in accordance with the righteousness the law demands, he had been blameless”(23) as judged by men, and that this righteousness was his confidence and antithetical to knowing Christ and being in right relation with Him (vv. 10, 12). He also tried to attain a righteous moral standing of his own which came from law obedience (v. 9), thereby refuting the claim that works-righteousness did not exist in Judaism at that time.

As Moises Silva stresses “no amount of exegetical argument can excise the element of ‘personal legal righteousness’ out of the expression ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου [my own righteousness which is of the law] (Phil. 3:9, in obvious allusion to the ‘flesh-confidence’ items listed in vv. 5-6)”(24).

Another text proving works-salvation existed in Judaism is Luke 18: 9-14
"9He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).
It is indisputable that the Pharisee trusted in himself (i.e., his good works) that he was righteous and justified before God – the very theology we are told did not exist in Judaism at the time. It’s important to note his good works which he tried to justify himself with included fasting and tithing which are not boundary-markers. Thus, the issue goes far beyond a denial of justification by ceremonial law and into the realm of justification by works generally.

Two more texts which show Paul’s hostility to works-righteousness are Titus 3:5 and 2 Timothy 1:9:
“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
“who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
Commenting on Titus 3:5’s negative comment “not because of works done by us in righteousness” Donald Guthrie notes it “is intended to bring out by way of contrast the absolute character of the divine mercy in the next phrase”(25). In Christian theology God’s mercy is not set aside – which is exactly what happens in systems of works-righteousness Roman Catholic or whatever.

We will not be going into detail here concerning extra-biblical material, but there are many works which argue such texts cohere in suggesting works-righteousness was indeed a problem as well. See for example the works Justification and Variegated Nomism Volume 1 edited by Carson, O’Brien and Seifrid, Where is Boasting? by Gathercole, and Paul, the Law, and the Covenant by Das, etc.


When a Christian is evangelizing a Roman Catholic and Ephesians 2:8-10 is brought up to try to help the Catholic understand the gospel, it is my prayer this article will be of use if the Catholic responds by saying: “Modern scholars say there Paul was only talking about Jewish boundary-markers not leading to justification.” This is a serious error preventing Catholics from receiving eternal life and it is my hope this essay will be used by God to help, even in a small way, reverse this modern problem.


1.) Seyoon Kim, Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on The Origin of Paul's Gospel, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002], p. 3; n. 14. Dunn, “Paul’s Conversion,” 92 italics mine
2) Simon Gathercole, The Doctrine of Justification in Paul and Beyond, ed. Bruce L. McCormack, Justification in Perspective: Historical Developments and Contemporary Challenges, [Bake Academic, 2006], p. 238 quoting N. T. Wright, Romans, p. 461
3.) N. T. Wright, Romans, [Abington, 2003], p. 489
4.) Art Sippo, Amazon Review of Covenant and Salvation by Michael Horton
5.) Art Sippo, Amazon Review of Getting the Gospel Right by R. C. Sproul
6.) Robert Sungenis, Not by Faith Alone, [Queenship Publishing, 1997], p. 26
7.) Ibid., p. 26 n. 36 parenthetical remarks mine
8.) Peter T. O’Brien, Was Paul a Covenantal Nomist?, eds. D. A. Carson, Mark Seifrid, Peter T. O’Brien, Justification and Variegated Nomism, Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul, [Baker Academic, 2004], p. 278
9.) David E. Aune, Rereading Paul Together: Protestant and Catholic Perspectives on Justification, [Baker Academic, 2006], p. 210
10.) James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998], p. 355
11.) Ibid., p. 358
12.) James D. G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul, [Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, Vol. 65, 1983], p. 110
13.) Douglas J. Moo, Epistle to the Romans, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996], p. 214
14.) Ibid., p. 217
15.) Douglas J. Moo, “‘Law,’ ‘Works of the Law,’ and Legalism in Paul,” WTJ 45 (1983), p. 95
16.) A. Andrew Das, Paul, the Law, and the Covenant, [Hendrickson, 2001], p. 158
17.) J. V. Fesko, Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine, [P & R Publishing Company, 2008], p. 176
18.) Peter T. O’Brien, Was Paul a Covenantal Nomist?, eds. D. A. Carson, Mark Seifrid, Peter T. O’Brien, Justification and Variegated Nomism, Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul, [Baker Academic, 2004], p. 280
19.) Moises Silva, Faith Versus Works of the Law in Galatians, eds. D. A. Carson, Mark Seifrid, Peter T. O’Brien, Justification and Variegated Nomism, Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul, [Baker Academic, 2004], p. 222
20.) Ibid., pp. 224-225 parenthetical remarks mine
21.) James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998], p. 371
22.) Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1996], p. 634
23.) Homer A. Kent Jr., Philippians, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version, [Zondervan, 1981], p. 140
24.) Moises Silva, Faith Versus Works of the Law in Galatians, eds. D. A. Carson, Mark Seifrid, Peter T. O’Brien, Justification and Variegated Nomism, Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul, [Baker Academic, 2004], p. 246 parenthetical remarks mine 
25.) Donald Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, ed. Leon Morris, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, [IVP Academic, 1990], p. 216



    Another text of Scripture that I think could be added in refutation of the New Perspective on Paul would be Acts 13:38-39, which is as follows:

    "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses."

    We are justified in the sight of God by faith, apart from the merit of any and all good works.

  2. The Lord Jesus Christ's words recorded Matthew 11:27-30 is also evidence of first century Judaism being legalistic. All this new perspective business boils down to is an attempt by the works-salvation crowd to undermine the biblical gospel.