ROMANS NOTES

Journaling March 2021

Michael S. Heiser@DRMSHPhD

Mar 5 The Law was not how Israelites achieved salvation—it was how they showed loyalty to the God they believed in.

Matthew 5:

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I know the title of this refers to Romans. Well, I began reading Romans with the intention of looking for verses relating to whether the OT Mosaic LAW applies to us or not. I got very frustrated because not only is Paul a scholarly writer, he used the word law over and over. I find it confusing as there are multiple definitions or meanings to the word itself. It’s kind of like having a basket full of apples of different kinds. They are all apples, all related, but each one is different. So, I looked up law in Strong’s Concordance to find Romans using the following:

G460 (2 times)

G3548 (once)

G3551 (close to 80 times)

So, this book is full of information regarding the law. But, is it referring to the Mosaic Law, the oral law, civil law, sacrificial law, law in general, the idea of law, the institution of law? Do you see why I was getting frustrated?

I was speaking with my husband about how the Lord has pointed me to this topic again and again, yet not only am I getting resistance from other believers, but it’s extremely confusing and difficult to make heads or tails of all these references to law.

As I was complaining that this was too hard for me, I heard the Lord say, ‘You can do this’.

Alrighty then, Lord, I need your help and guidance.

This morning I sit down to listen to the Torah portions for this Sabbath day and hear the verse that I started this writing with, copied again here:

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

This is Jesus speaking. These verses are one of the passages that I have held on to in my belief that the OT LAW of Moses still applies. I wrote a long, 35 page, worddoc on this a couple years ago showing my walk through how I came to that belief. Still, most others don’t; part of me says fine, another part says, ‘what if the Body is supposed to be following these, how does their not doing so affect them, does it affect them? What are the Church’s and our responsibilities and roles here in this life and how are they affected if we are supposed to be following the Law?’                

Look at this passage in Matthew 5 again. The final sentence speaks of the Pharisees who were known for their strict adherence to the Law. They are illustrated as overbearing, adding more to God’s Law, via oral rabbinical traditions mainly, making it even more difficult for the people to fulfill the expectations. Yet, Jesus himself acknowledged they were “righteous” in verse 20, according to the LAW (emphasis mine). Jesus notes that no one will ever enter the kingdom of heaven without “righteousness” that exceeds the Pharisees. How is this “righteousness” defined? By their adherence to the LAW. Obviously, this is impossible for us mere humans on our own. The only way to have righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees is through Jesus. But the point I’m making is that the definition of righteousness for humans in this passage is relative to the Law. Only through Christ can we attain it, because it’s His righteousness that we are covered with. Still, look at verse 19 where it says Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. First, it doesn’t say they won’t be there, in heaven, only that their position will be relative to the degree in which they adhered to and taught these commandments. That does not sound as if Jesus is calling for the Law to be relaxed let alone done away with. It appears He is commending those who are doing and teaching the Law. Since this is followed by his comment regarding the Pharisees, I think it’s obvious the Law is important and still applies. It does say “great in the kingdom of heaven”, not here on earth. Logically speaking, earth comes first for us, then heaven. If we aren’t doing them here, how could we be considered great there?

Go back to the verses 17-18. It says the ‘Law or the Prophets’. This shows that Jesus was referring to OT Mosaic Law and Torah. He clearly states He did not come to abolish either, but to fulfill. Then, again clearly, nothing will pass from this LAW until all is accomplished, which is in the same sentence as “until heaven and earth pass away”.

Far as I know, heaven and earth is still around, so how does one do away with the Law or the writings of the Prophets? The three words imperative to understanding this passage seems to be abolish, fulfill and pass.

Let’s try an age old trick I was taught as a child when trying to understand something. You pull out your dictionary (here Strong’s) and insert each definition for the word in question into the sentence to see what made the most sense. I’ve also done this with parallel translations.

AbolishG2647-to loosen down, i.e. to demolish; specially to halt for the night.

Parallel translations use: destroy, do away with, set aside, throw down, abrogate

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 

The meaning is, I have not come to abolish, do away with, demolish, set aside, throw down or abrogate the Law or the Prophets.

Fulfill-G1096- a prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb; to cause to be (generate), i.e. (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literal, figurative, intensive, etc.):—arise, be assembled, be(-come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, God forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be published, require, seem, be showed, soon as it was, sound, be taken, be turned, use, wax, will, would, be wrought.

Parallel translations use: accomplish, give them their full meaning, make their teachings come true, make them come true, to give them their completion

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 

The meaning is, I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill, accomplish, give them their full meaning, make their teachings come true, make them come true, to give them their completion.

I’ve written on this before, that one of the teachers I listen to said that fulfill is better understood as to make it possible for us to carry them out. Before Christ we were at the will of sin. With Him and the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to deny sin and therefore fulfill, carry out, complete the Law of Moses. This does not mean that we do not sin, but with the power of the Spirit within us, we can withstand the temptations and inclinations to sin.

Pass-G3928-to come near or aside, i.e. to approach (arrive) go by (or away),(figuratively) perish or neglect, (causative) avert:-come (forth), go, pass (away, by, over), past transgress.

Parallel translations use: disappear, done away with

not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished      

The meaning is, not an iota, not a dot, will pass, disappear, be done away with from the Law until all is accomplished. All is not clarified, neither is accomplished, but again it does say heaven and earth will pass away prior to.

So, the above in conjunction with what I’ve written on this in the past leads me to believe that the Mosaic Law is not obsolete, irrelevant, old-fashioned, no longer applicable. Therefore, how is it to be “fulfilled”?

This circles back to Romans, the book I am currently reading, which has many scriptures using the term “law”, recall my apple basket analogy.

G460 (2 times) Adverb; lawlessly, i.e. (specially) not amenable to (the Jewish) law — without law. Occurs 2 times in 1 verse Romans 2:12

G3548 (once) Noun, Feminine; legislation, lawgiving occurs 1 time in 1 verse Romans 9:4

G3551 (close to 80 times in Romans) Noun, Masculine; that which is assigned, hence usage, law; usage, custom, law; in NT: of law in general, plur: of divine laws; of a force or influence impelling to action; of the Mosaic law; meton: of the books which contain the law, the Pentateuch, the Old Testament scriptures in general.

The word “law” in itself has many uses. I have no doubt that most Christians who read the word “law” simply think of the OT and Moses. My attempting to make sense of Romans is what led me here.

Husband suggested using a thought for thought bible as opposed to a word for word since it may be easier to read, hence understand. I am going to attempt that next. But as I am going through the book, I am noting verses that I think relate to the topic I am trying to figure out.

Remember I said that I’d written on this before, chronicling my journey of trying to make sense as to why I had such a strong inclination that the Law was still applicable, at least in part, and that we are supposed to be following much more of it that we’ve been told or taught. What precipitated this journey was finding that my Christian life wasn’t flowing as I was assured it would “once saved”, that there were things occurring with me and my life that didn’t fit into the mainstream Christian church model and neither were they addressed, which led me to ask, why? I wonder how many journeys begin with “why”? I am going to include the blog link (which won’t work-ugh-why not?!) for this writing as I cannot reiterate it all here. But I can say that much of the Law, in my opinion, wasn’t negated but changed in the manner in which it was carried out, kind of like a remodel, not a new construction. For instance, certain practices went from outward to inward, since the Holy Spirit was now within believers and we are the temple itself. In incorporating such changes, stepping a bit outside of the mainstream church, I’ve come over the past four years to a point where I can see tremendous improvement in my spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.

They threw the baby out with the bath water. | mentalmeanderingsoftheelainekind (wordpress.com)

Wow, nearly two years ago to the day I posted it. If you are interested in it, just do a search.  

I think a lot of the confusion for me and Christians in general is the similarity, the close relational aspect in the meanings of the words, law, covenant, faith, sin, and righteousness. All are separate things that relate and work with one another, they are all different but often spoken of together.

Basically a covenant is a promise, an agreement between parties. Law in our modern vernacular is rules, regulations. Jews consider the LAW to be God’s instructions for living. Quite a different image arises from that definition. That’s the one I use now. Faith is believing and trusting in what isn’t provable by human means. Sin is what separates us from God, the things that are not acceptable to Him and His kingdom. Righteousness at its epitome is sinlessness, whereas for us it means being as close to that state as possible which is done through Christ.  

God made covenants, agreements, promises with different people(s) in the bible. God established the Law of Moses to guide his people to learn how He wanted them to live and construct their lives with the definitions of sin being determined by nonadherence to the law. Sin separates us from God and again, is defined by not following the law. Righteousness is fully being in compliance with the law, which was only attainable by Christ, and how he was defined as the sinless sacrifice. Faith leads to salvation by belief in Christ. All related but different.            

Here’s something to consider as most people believe salvation is only available through Jesus post crucifixion. Enoch was taken to be with the Lord without even dying first and prior to the embodied Jesus. Who was Abraham’s Bosom inhabited by if not those who were set aside to be taken to heaven? How, if Christ hadn’t yet been born, let alone die? Granted, they didn’t get there until after the cross, but at least some of them are listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews being described as those who gained righteousness by their faith. While on the cross, prior to His death, Jesus told the thief he’d see him in paradise that day. Therefore, obviously salvation by faith was possible prior to Christ’s death. We see salvation through Jesus but it’s really salvation through the Word. The cross paid for the sin. The resurrection dealt with eternal life, access to heaven, being in The Father’s presence plus reclaiming authority and dominion for us.

Jesus is the incarnate Word. The Word has always existed. We relate to Jesus as the means for us because we have hindsight but for those who died prior to the Cross, salvation was attainable through their faith. The scriptures say no one gets to the Father except through Him-well, HIM has always existed, just in another form. In other words, the Hall of Faith-ers got their salvation, righteousness through their faith in the Word. They were in a temporary holding place prior to the Cross, which is when their entry ticket to heaven came. These are separate issues.

Now, I am not saying that the sky will fall on believers who do not follow the Law. But, if the Law are the instructions on how God wants His people to live, the rules of His Kingdom, how we are to conduct ourselves in God’s arena, then our not following, at a minimum, means we are missing out on a lot of educational opportunities here.

1 John 2:6 

NIV-Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

NLT-Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

ESV-whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

BSB-Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.

BLB-The one claiming to abide in Him ought also walk just as in the same way that He walked.

KJB-He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

NKJV-He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

NASB-the one who says that he remains in Him ought, himself also, walk just as He walked.

How did Jesus live? How did Jesus walk? He was righteous. He was sinless. How was that righteousness and sinlessness defined? By living, walking, obeying the LAW. Jesus lived by the Law of Moses his entire life.

How does one live like, walk like Jesus when the Law He followed is no longer applicable? To me, that does not seem logical let alone possible. So how do we bring together these two diverging ideas, that the law is no longer to be followed yet in imitating Christ it appears that we should. There is a difference between the letter and the spirit of the Law. On this side of the cross there are some changes, modifications in how it is understood and followed, but the precedent is the same because, in my opinion, the LAW is how God wants His people to conduct themselves in His kingdom. It’s not a matter of being so legalistic that your life is encumbered but that you want to do things God’s way. I think it’s more a matter of heart and spirit than actually doing things, although the will of God is often demonstrated through different acts, such as charity.

As I said previously, I think there is a lot of confusion between the definitions of the different terms often used at the core of Christian living. Just as salvation is received through faith, our faith is often demonstrated through works, but works do not equate to faith nor the Law, but the Law is filled through actions and faith, but not just faith. Head spinning yet? 😊 

Before we go any further, another aspect that causes confusion is why all those sacrifices in the Old Testament Law? On this side of the cross we usually only consider the aspect of Christ paying for our sins, being the ultimate sinless sacrifice. But there were different types of sacrifices, let alone offerings.

The following information I’m pulling from The Feasts and Fasts of Israel-Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum

Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Fruchtenbaum Jewish Book Author (ariel.org)

There was the Burnt Offering, the Meal Offering, the Peace Offering, the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering. Only the Meal Offering did not require a blood sacrifice, although it was placed upon one.

I will give a brief description of each.

Burnt Offering-this was a voluntary oblation (a thing presented or offered to God) of a male animal that was fully burnt upon the altar to secure atonement for sins but also to express total dedication to God. It sanctified the whole-man in self-surrender to the Lord.

Meal Offering-consisted of wheat or barley and was put upon the burnt offering. It literally means to “give a present” and was a tribute from a faithful worshipper to God. It represents the “fruit” of sanctification.

Peace Offering-a voluntary expression of thanksgiving that symbolizes the blossoming of the possession and enjoyment of saving grace.

Sin Offering-serves as atonement for specific ‘unintentional’ sins-those committed without premeditation, that did not require restitution. This focused on the sin itself.

Trespass Offering-this was a guilt or reparation offering. This offering emphasized the harmful effects of sin, requiring confession, compensation and restitution for the wrong done.

The latter two are expiation offerings. They furnished the means of removing the barriers that sins and trespasses set up between man and God and they provided forgiveness of sins and guilt, though only for inadvertent sin. These sins could not be committed in a spirit of rebellion; it could not be a sin of presumption, a sin committed with a high hand, a calculated sin of defiance against God, for which there is no sacrifice. The penalty for those kinds of sins was merely to be cut off or executed. For unintentional sins, God accepted the blood of the animal as a ransom payment for the particular sin which occasioned it and, by so doing, diverted His wrath from the sinner and, ultimately, to the Messiah on the cross.

So, there are lots of sacrifices. Some say, “thank you” and some say, “I’m sorry”. As Christ was a sin sacrifice for all time, it makes me question, what about the first three listed above that expressed dedication, thankfulness, presents to God? Should we be doing them in some manner? We think the sacrifices relate only to sin because we are on this side of the cross and have been taught that due to His death, sacrifices are no longer necessary, which I tend to agree with. But what about the others? Have other ways of expressing our gratitude taken the place of those offerings or has that concept just been forgotten?

AND, if the sin offerings were for inadvertent or unintentional sins, with intentional, calculated sins to be dealt with by death, you can see where the “penalty for sin was death” makes more sense. Other sins were covered by the sacrifices, but not the really bad ones. This is where understanding the differences between sins, transgressions and iniquities helps.

All of that was a prelude to the meat of this writing. I question and wonder if the Law truly is obsolete, outdated, no longer applicable to the life of a believer. I know what’s taught in most churches. I am well versed in the dogma that the OT is obsolete, that the Law isn’t for us, that we’ve been freed from it, that the cross removed the old covenant and replaced it with the new, yadda yadda yadda. But to me, it does not jive with all the scriptures that I believe contradict such teachings. I know the verses that are used to support the main arguments and I still cannot overlook those that appear to confute.

Remember, the OT scriptures speak of God’s law being written on our hearts.

Jeremiah 31:33 After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

ROMANS

Chapter 2

:15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts

How can that be if it’s no longer valid? If the OT Law is no longer valid, then what Law is written on our hearts? I think that’s the main question, honestly. What does and doesn’t apply because obviously there is law that is written on our hearts.

12-16 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13(for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified14for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Post crucifixion, those who have sinned in the law will be judged by the law, the doers of the law will be justified, the work of the law is written in their hearts. Now, this could be referring to those who died prior to the Cross but the terms are “will” which means present and/or future. It is possible this means each individual will be judged according to what was applicable at the time of their lives. But as the words here include Gentiles, I see it as pertaining to post Cross. Therefore, the law is certainly being spoken of as relevant. Main question is, which law?

17-21But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law19and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?

It sounds as if instruction from the Law leads to the embodiment of knowledge and truth. I realize the hypocrisy of these people was being pointed out but still, the OT Law is being held up as the example of knowledge and truth. How do we know right from wrong? Because of God’s law. How do we know His will? For one, His Law. Twenty years post crucifixion and this is how the Law was being spoken of.

23-24You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law24For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

These are Jews breaking the law and dishonoring God. If the Law is not valid, then how could breaking it dishonor God? Referencing Gentiles in Romans means we are approximately 57 AD. Again, there is no New Testament at this time. The Law either refers to, at minimum, the Mosaic Law or the oral rabbinical law.

25-29For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

There’s a lot in this passage. Basically it’s saying physical circumcision means squat. It’s following the righteous requirements of the law that determines if someone is circumcised spiritually, via the heart. Main question, what law?  

Chapter 3

19Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God20For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Through the law comes knowledge of sin. How then can it be obsolete, no longer relevant? The whole world may be held accountable to God, the giver of said law. Sounds relevant to me. The law defines sin. NLT says that the more we know the Law the clearer we see our disobedience. Wow. Does tossing out the law cause people to not understand sin, not see their own sin?

21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. 

Righteousness has been manifested, displayed, shown in a way other than the Law. In other words, Jesus is righteousness personified. I will go back to how was he shown to be sinless? By his living his life according to the law. The law showed the people what was acceptable and what was not. Jesus, by his life, showed them the “living law”. Our righteousness is impossible for us, even if we live the law to the T, because outside of Christ, we cannot obtain it. So, our righteousness comes through Him, but His righteousness does not negate the law in and of itself as we still need that barometer to define sin. The Jews thought righteousness came through the law but it has always been by faith as demonstrated by the previously mentioned Hall of Faith in Hebrews. Forgiveness of sin came through the cross.

28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law29Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Justified by faith does not nullify the law, it establishes it. Parallel verses for establish use uphold, fulfill, confirm, firmer footing, more powerful. Bottom line, it doesn’t negate it.  

Chapter 4

13For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Plain as day, the promise/covenant with Abraham was through faith, not the law. Prior to the Cross, faith was the way to God just as it is after the Cross. Faith leads to salvation. The law was for something else. The law brings wrath (Strong’s justifiable abhorrence; by implication punishment); for where there is no law there is no transgression (overstepping, deviation. From parabaino; violation)-if there is no law, rules, do’s and don’ts, then there is no overstepping, no deviations, no violations. Without the Law there is no right or wrong because that’s how God showed His people how to determine it. The law served an important function. If the law is now void, obsolete, done away with, how do we determine what is right from wrong? Either the law is intact, was changed, or replaced because we know God has boundaries, rules, parameters that we are to live within in order to keep in alignment with His Will. In my opinion, the Law is the guidelines to His Kingdom.  

Chapter 5

12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law

Again, why the law was necessary, to define what sin is. Sin existed prior to the actual law being given. How can one say one sinned without a definition of that sin? I think it’s obvious that the law was necessary and still applies in some form or fashion. Exactly how is what I’m wrestling with.

Chapter 6

1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

The point I see here is that although we are saved and “forgiven”, that does not mean that we continue to sin, mandating God to forgive us over and over. But it also means that we have a choice, we choose to sin or not sin. Sin itself is not absolved, we can still do so but it should not be an easy choice, we should be convicted when we do so. Yet again, how do we determine what sin is? Maybe it’s being so close to the Holy Spirit that any time we lean towards sin, we are convicted spiritually. Still, whether written down on hard copy or on our hearts, there still has to be a definition of what sin is or isn’t.  

14For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

What does “under law” mean? I believe it means that the penalty of the law is not hanging over our heads, aka separation from God, death. I know most people consider it to mean the Law itself is void, but law, being the definition of sin is necessary in some form. The key word is “dominion”. Sin will not have authority or rule over those who are saved by grace. Verse 16 makes it plain there’s a choice to be made, it isn’t a given.

Chapter 7

1Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

The first three verses show that the law has dominion over one who is under it, which stops when he is no longer under it due to a change in the person’s situation, not that the law itself is gone. What does dead mean here? I think most equate it to the law being void, obsolete. I don’t see it that way. I see it as a matter of who should have jurisdiction over us if we are saved, once our situation has changed, the penalties of the law or God’s grace? Verse six speaks on being delivered from the law. Again, I don’t see this as a negation of the law but of our position. We should no longer be standing under the anvil of death, the penalty of sin, but under the grace of God, the threat of death no longer over us, we are no longer captive to its power. This passage ends with going from the letter of the law to the Spirit of the law, which I see as a change not a negation.

7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 

Sounds clear to me, the law is holy, just and good and necessary to know what sin is. Then why would it be done away with? Obviously there is good law. Determining what is being referred to is the question. These individuals are still operating without a New Testament at the time of this writing. So, what “law” were they speaking of? Verse 12 applies “holy and just and good” to the commandment, which is part of the law. No specific commandment is noted, only that once something is identified as sin by a commandment, it begins to work against us. In other words, for someone unsaved sin in and of itself is a non-issue overall because it doesn’t mean anything to them. But to someone saved who has it identified as sin, it becomes something needing to be dealt with; he uses the term “sin revived” in verse 9. In other words, sin is sin regardless, but knowing something is sin gives that sin power to work against us.

21I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

I don’t see someone who thinks the law is bad, obsolete or void as delighting in it. The word law is used quite a few times in this passage which illustrates that the word itself doesn’t always have the meaning of the “Mosaic or Torah” law. In this passage I see him showing it’s not just an outward, physical carrying out but has gone inward and to the mind. From letter to spirit.

I am currently doing a daily devotional (A Warrior’s Battlefield Strategy Devotional-Sheila Holm) that emphasizes on topics relating to: doubt, fear, unbelief, reverential fear. Each Sabbath it touches on blessings.

That being said, today’s portion the writer mentions how it’s taught that the new covenant replaced the old, negating the Law. Are we really supposed to pick and choose which commandments we are to follow?, she writes. Oh, someone after my own heart, I am not alone. Thus the dilemma I find myself in. Also, covenants and the Law are not synonymous.

Chapter 8

1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

This is freedom from the condemnation, from the influences and consequences of the sinful nature, the flesh, not the Law in and of itself. The Law itself could not combat sin. The sacrificial system, a subset of the Law, could not fully combat sin. The Law doesn’t save-it never could and that wasn’t its purpose. It was to define the rules of living God’s way and the sacrifices were always a temporary substitute until the true sacrifice, the sinless flesh of Christ, could deal with sin, fulfilling the righteous requirement. Verse 6 says the carnal or fleshly mind is not subject to the law of God; this sentence does not specify what is subject to the law of God but in reading the full passage it should be deduced that it’s those who live according to the Spirit. In verse 7 the word submit is often used instead of subject. Therefore, replace subject with submit and it implies that those of the Spirit submit to the Law. Another perspective, if the carnal or fleshly mind does not submit to the law of God, then what does? Those walking in the Spirit. The writer here would not have pointed out that the flesh does not submit to the law, then say those in the Spirit should do the same. No, we are do to the opposite. We are to be with God, not against Him. If the carnal mind is enmity with God, where are we supposed to be? With Him. How are we with Him in the context of this passage? By being subject to the law of God.

9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Our bodies are “dead” because of sin, but our Spirits alive because of righteousness, which is of and from Christ and comes through salvation. I think we all get that. But I find this a good example of how all these different topics, flesh, Spirit, death, sin, life, righteousness, law can become jumbled up in our minds because of their relational aspect to one another and yet each are separate issues.

I have a note here and I’m not sure why I inserted it at this point. Hey, I’m not perfect. 😊 You’d be surprised how much work goes into reading, making notes, copying verses on paper, or emailing them to myself, then transferring it to a worddoc, then collating and organizing it all. Sometimes I get lost and put things where it wasn’t intended. Oh, well, that being said, my note is: commandments and golden rule-summation and foundation-abbrev definition but not all encompassing. Most people say that the Ten Commandments and the Golden rule are the only Law that we are now to follow. These are foundational to the Mosaic Law and basically a summation, an abbreviated definition of the Law, but not all encompassing. Did you know there are illness and hygiene issues dealt with in the Law? Did you know that there are societal problems addressed in it, how to live with your family and neighbors? It isn’t all about animal sacrifices. Did you know that many of the things that are considered no longer relevant often are at the root of issues that can go back generations? Did you know that a lot of those do’s in the Law bring blessings, and the don’ts protect us? Something to think about.

Chapter 9

 1I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Just pointing out that the Jews were the ones who were originally given all of the things listed, of which I highlight the Law and covenants, and through this human line Christ came. If the law and covenants were only for the Jews, if they were only relative to the pre-Cross people,  then why was it necessary to preserve it all through those thousands of years only to toss it on the trash heap of history? One thing the bible says multiple times is that God is unchanging, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, that He loves righteousness and justice all of which was exemplified in the Law and the covenants. But again, we’re taught they’re no longer applicable. I have difficulty rationalizing that.

30What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith31but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 

First, law and faith are different things. These verses show that clearly. Righteousness by faith, as touched on before, is what God intended. The Law was never meant to bring salvation or righteousness. But because a large portion of the Law was wrapped up in the sacrificial system, it’s easy to see how the people got confused and led awry. Jesus’ sacrifice dealt with sin’s penalty of death and separation from God aspect, it fulfilled the debt owed by humanity and made a way to God for us, but it did not negate everything else in the Law, let alone the covenant.          

Chapter 10

4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

What’s ‘end’ mean? Parallel verses use: end (most common), culmination, accomplished, no longer necessary, fulfillment, termination. Easy to see where people get that the law is no longer valid. But let’s keep looking. Strong’s Greek 5056: (a) an end, (b) event or issue, (c) the principal end, aim, purpose, (d) a tax. What if (c) is more accurate? Further consideration could lead there. The verse doesn’t just say the law is ended but the end of the law for righteousness. If righteousness, through Christ, was the aim, the purpose, the principal reason for (intentionally not using end) the Law, and Christ has now, through the Cross, brought to righteousness through faith those who believe, then that doesn’t mean the law in and of itself is ended, only the part that applies to righteousness, building that bridge between us and God, to whom we previously were denied access. Remember, sin separates us from God and it’s Christ’s righteousness that covers us and makes us able to be in God’s presence. So, this isn’t speaking of the full Law, but of this one part. Another aspect, the end of the “law for righteousness”; didn’t we establish that the law wasn’t for righteousness to begin with, that that was an error on the part of the Jews, faith in God, the Word, Jesus being what was necessary to bring righteousness through Him? And why only to those who believe? Does that mean the law continues for those who don’t? That doesn’t make sense.

I prefer the NLT version: 4For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

Again, guiding towards salvation was a portion of the entire law, not the only reason for it. The cross accomplished the purpose, back to the original verse above-for righteousness, to everyone who believes.

Sorry, I do not see this as meaning the entire Mosaic Law was done away with.

5For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Verse 5 easily shows how the people were led to believe that obeying, following, living the Law brought them to righteousness. I see the word “live” to be important. Strong’s Greek 2198: To live, be alive. A primary verb; to live. Most versions use “live”. It could mean that they will obey the law. It could also be that by following the law it made them “alive”. Remember, the wages of sin was death. What if this leans more towards living God’s way brought life, the Spirit of life, which equates more towards righteousness than simply obeying the rules. Following the law brought them closer to righteousness, God, the Spirit, Life but true righteousness came through faith, which if one was following the Law, brought blessings, favor, good health, etc which increases faith, leading to more “righteousness” aka God.

The Law in and of itself was not bad or wrong but the people, understandably, depended on it for righteousness instead of depending on God’s righteousness to be sufficient for them.

Chapter 13

8Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Love fulfills the law. Is love obsolete? Then how can the law be? It says love fulfills, it doesn’t say love negates. It says love fulfills, it doesn’t say the law is no longer necessary. According to Jewish tradition there are 613 Laws in the OT which encompassed many different topics and areas of life. A few of the famous 10 are listed here with an interesting note-and if there is any other commandment. How vague. It doesn’t say any other of the ten, or any other in a particular OT book. It certainly leaves that open ended. But I like the ‘summed up’ as that’s what I’ve mentioned before, that the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, love your neighbor as yourself, are exactly that, a summarization, an abbreviated format, but not all inclusive. Verse 10 reiterates that love is the fulfillment of the law. We have fulfilled and fulfillment. Those word make it sound as if they are past tense and yet, if we are to love, then it’s current, even future tense. Therefore, if love is to be present or future, then it is active, not obsolete, not done away with.

Another thought, in 1Corinthians 6: Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. Although most of these listed can be sorted under at least one of the Ten Commandments, they aren’t all specific to the Ten Commandments and the above doesn’t cover all of the Ten. My point? That simply saying our Law is now only the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule neither covers all that is listed in the NT nor do most Christians follow them, Sabbath and honoring parents being two big ones. I do believe that the Ten and the GR are important parts of the believer’s walk, but overall are too vague. Where is bestiality in the Ten or GR? If anyone has come up with a full list of commandments, do’s and don’ts from the NT, let me know. Maybe that will help me figure things out but I’ve yet to see a modern NT do not tattoo yourself (that’s part of the OT Law) and yet deliverance and spiritual warfare ministries are adamant not to do so. Such a conundrum.

Chapter 14

And then comes chapter 14. Ugh. It makes me want to throw up my hands and surrender, then I recall the Lord telling me that I can do this and I hunker back down. I certainly see where people get the idea that the OT Law is null and void, obsolete, irrelevant, etc. But remember, I’ve sat here and typed 17 pages up to this point, of reasons why I feel there are verses that contradict that, or lead me to a different understanding. If nothing else, the fact that there are so many verses that can appear to counter one another is reason enough for me to say the subject is not settled even though it is taught as such.

So, are these contradictions, disputes over opinions? My underlying feeling about this chapter is that this is a matter of how to deal with bones of contention, not making things stumbling blocks for others. As this chapter opens with others who are “weak in faith”, to avoid condemning or judging others, that the Lord will help them “receive His approval”, plus the following chapter leads into similar dialogue, I see this more as a discussion on how to avoid things that will divide, push others away from God, that will make the walk with Him difficult or unwieldy. Paul was dealing with people who had been raised in Judaism from birth to new Gentile believers coming to faith. He had people from hugely disparate beliefs, traditions and customs coming together. Recall that he was well versed in the hypervigilant, Law-heavy ways of the Pharisees and Sadducees which caused much grief and problems for the people. I have no doubt he desired to find ways to not fall under the same type of ideals or practices. Also chapter 15 begins with “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak………..” confirms to me this was more a matter of avoiding contention and not becoming legalistic. Ultimately, it is between the individual and God, the walk being personal and tailored to where each is at in any particular point in their walk with the Lord, each one walking out his sanctification process a step at a time. So, I do not see pulling the verses from this chapter out and claiming they apply for all, negating all law, especially in relation to the scriptures mentioned previously, but this is a “let’s keep the peace as best we can” adage while continuing to demonstrate righteous living to those around us, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead those in error to truth when it is the best time to do so.

Try reading this chapter with that leaning.

NLT 1Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.

5In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. 7For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

10So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11For the Scriptures say,

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD,

‘every knee will bend to me,

and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’”

12Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

14I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 17For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

20Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 22You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

In my daily reading, I am now in 1Corinthians where I see more that substantiates my above sentiments. My husband jokingly asked if this means I’m going to begin writing on that book now? No, no I am not because I think I’ve presented enough in this one to counter the mainstream teaching that the OT Law of Moses is obsolete. I argue, certainly not in its entirety.

54 AD 1 Cor 8:9-10 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox………………………….” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake…………….

Why would Paul refer to the Law of Moses as being something God wrote due to His concern for us, for our sake, if it were no longer applicable 20 years post crucifixion?

But it’s 1Cor 9 vs 19-23 that solidifies my belief that Paul was arguing for peace among the varying people groups he was dealing with.

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law-though not being myself under the law-that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law-not being without law towards God but under the law of Christ-that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak; that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

So, either Paul was bipolar, or there was a method to his arguments, a strategy as opposed to a negation of the Law.

Chapter 15

1We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up3For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Ditto. 😊 You can’t pull out certain verses and claim they mean thus and so when there are so many others that point to the contrary. At a minimum, one must consider why there appears to be such disparity, let alone attempt to rectify them.

KIB 300 – Multidimensional Gates and the Machinations of Hell – Kingdom Intelligence Briefing

God, being who he is, put this podcast in my email inbox as I’m writing on this. Listen to what he says around 45:20-we have been taught to be anti Torah………..there are two laws Paul references in the book of Romans. The explanation is only about 30 seconds long.

Then at 52:10 for about 45 seconds, the speaker mentions how we’ve been led astray by snippet theology, ignoring the full context which includes not only what’s in an individual book, but the entire volume.

Last night I read aloud in our prayer time Psalm 119. Read it out loud and listen to the different ways the Law is described, the attention given to it.

I think 19 pages is more than enough for now. Ciao.

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