How Apostle Paul distorted biblical view of Torah observance and righteousness
Paul vigorously fought the Jewish belief that observing the Torah’s ritual and ethical laws made one righteous in God’s eyes. If that were true, he reasoned, people could achieve righteousness through their own efforts: It would mean that there was no purpose to the crucifixion, and “Christ would have died in vain” (Galatians 2:21 ).
Paul believed, as did the Jews, that God had given mankind the Torah. However, unlike the Jews, he maintained that people could only be saved if they followed the Torah’s laws perfectly. Since it is impossible to do so, and since God will damn people for any violations whatsoever, the Torah’s many laws must be seen as a curse, not a blessing. To be saved, mankind must be redeemed from the Law, a redemption which can only come through belief in Jesus (see Galatians 3:10, 21-22; and Romans 3:28).
Judaism rejected virtually every element in Paul’s reasoning process. While it advocated complete observance of the Torah, it also recognized that people inevitably would sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Well before Jesus and Paul, it had worked out an extensive process for repentance (known in Hebrew as teshuva). Unfortunately, Paul’s claim that God damns people for violating any Torah law has helped lead many people in the Western world to believe that the God of the Hebrew Bible is a harsh, vengeful figure. (Paul, Jewish Literacy by Joseph Telushkin)