The Pauline Paradox Part 5 – Romans

Additional Reading: Did Jesus do away with the Law Matt 5:17?
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Next: The Pauline Paradox Part 5 – Corinthians

Welcome to the section on Romans in the Pauline Paradox Series. We expect that there may be two types of persons interested in this teaching.

The first type might be one who does not understand or agree that those in the faith should be observing the Torah, or the whole Law of God. To those that fall in this group, we strongly recommend that you start at the beginning of the Pauline Paradox Series, as there is a lot of foundational material included in prior parts of this series that we will be using in this teaching on Romans.

The second type of person might be one who already understands that we are to be observing the Torah, but still wants to be able to better understand and explain the difficult words of Paul. To those in this group, we still recommend beginning at the start of the Pauline Paradox Series, however, we do not consider it to be absolutely necessary.

You may also find that we move quite quickly in this teaching. Because we intend to cover the whole letter to the Romans, we are forced to cover the points quickly and concisely. As a result, we will not be dwelling too long on any of the points or material. Because of that, you may find value in watching the teaching more than once to better absorb and test the presentation.

Lastly, before we get started, also be aware that there will be parts of Romans that you may have wished that we would cover in more detail, but instead, we simply move forward. For example, Romans is often cited for Calvinistic doctrine, however, we will not be discussing our perspective for or against such doctrine, as that is not the point of the Pauline Paradox Series.

The goal of the Pauline Paradox Series is to call the whole Body of the Messiah back to the whole Word of God, this is what we believe the ministry of Yeshua (Jesus) was all about, apart of his actions on the cross or torture stake.

To do this effectively, we feel that showing how Paul’s letters are consistent with the same message of the Messiah is very important.

It is not by accident that we chose Paul’s letter to the Romans as the first complete letter to address in the Pauline Paradox Series. This letter is foundational, as Paul reveals his understanding of the Torah and how it relates to us in the faith.

In the first century, Rome consisted of at least several distinct groups. One of those groups were called Jews. The word “Jews” was shortened slang which derived from those that were of the Kingdom of Judah (Jew-dah) which consisted of mostly the tribe of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin. Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin, which is why he called himself a Jew, because the tribe of Benjamin was from the Southern Kingdom of “Jew-dah.” You would also find some Levites still around in the first century as well that assimilated into this group, however, Levites were originally part of the northern Kingdom of Israel, also called the “House of Israel.” You can see this distinction of the two houses mentioned in the context of the New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD (YHWH), when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,”

the diasporas of the ten tribes and judahThe ministry of Yeshua was the beginning of the process of bringing these two houses back together as part of the New Covenant. This process will culminate at the resurrection, coupled with the return of the Messiah.

At one time, the House of Israel was scattered among the nations, and became a part of the nations or gentiles, while the House of Judah (or Jews) remained. So the Gentiles in Rome contained those descended from the House of Israel, and also those that had no original lineage to Israel whatsoever.

So in short, first century Rome contained three groups that were in the faith.

1) House of Judah – Jews
2) House of Israel
3) Converted gentiles with no lineage to Israel.

This all merits some brief explanation.

the twelve tribes of israelThere were two tribes of Southern Israel, called Jews, and there were those that were of the ten tribes of the northern Kingdom of Israel. This group of the House of Israel was divorced and the House of Judah was not:

Jeremiah 3:8
“Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.”

The divorced House of Israel assimilated into the nations and learned the ways of the nations (or Gentiles) and gradually forgot the ways of the faith. Eventually, in the first century, they began coming back into the faith, because of the efforts of those like Paul.

Gentiles simply means “of the nations.” The Hebrew word for this is “goyim.” There were also those that were Gentiles that were not traced back to the northern Kingdom of Israel, but they were also coming into the faith as well. (see the teaching “The Lost Sheep” for more information)

So the “goyim” or gentiles consisted of the lost sheep of the House of Israel and also the nations that have no lineage to trace back to Israel…and of course, there were those that were mixed as well, meaning they are decedents of both the nations and the House of Israel. This is why Paul mentioned not to get too caught up in genealogy (Titus 3:9).

There are those that were once part of Israel that need to come back to the faith, and those that have no linage to Israel that are invited as well to be grafted in. This is all covered in Romans, and we will discuss this further later.

The main point is this, a central point of Yeshua’s ministry was to bring the House of Israel that became gentiles back together with the House of Judah, or Jews.

Matthew 15:24
“He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

The House of Israel became part of the nations, or gentiles. They became lost in the ways of the nations, and forgot about the ways of their Creator. All of this means that Paul was addressing a very diverse group in the letter to the Romans.

Because of this, historical context and the intended audience should dictate much of our understanding as we examine Paul’s words in this letter. Paul was also a Hebrew who spoke Hebrew and trained under the most prominent Hebrew scholars of his day. We must also keep this in mind as we seek to better understand Paul’s writings.

Now that we have briefly introduced the context and background of Romans, let’s begin…

Romans 1:1-6
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua), called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah)…”

Paul starts off Romans by stating that grace and apostleship is designed to bring about the obedience of faith. In this declaration, Paul focuses on how Yeshua, our Messiah, was always the plan in the Scriptures to provide the means to grace, and that the Messiah was also there to teach or really, re-teach us the Word of God as disciples in the faith, then yielding our obedience.

Now, our faith is in the Word of God, thus the obedience we are called to, is of the Word of God.

We also see that Paul is highlighting of the purpose of his Roman’s message as going out to ALL nations. Thus, this is not only about the House of Israel and the House of Judah coming back together, but bringing all nations together under the banner of the Word of God in the faith, obeying it, and bringing glory to our Creator’s name in that process.

Paul details this out more later throughout Romans, but we wanted to note that in Paul’s introduction he clearly states that in our faith we are to be obedient. It is the obedience that is of our faith.

Also note that this obedience does not replace grace, but it is grace that gives us the desire to be obedient to the faith.

Romans 1:6
“…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations…”

And why are we obedient? We are obedient for the sake of His name among all of the nations.

When we come to the faith, we also come into His grace….THEN, we also follow the Word of God in that faith, which is called obedience. Do you see the order there…faith and grace is not the result of obedience, but obedience is the observable result of true faith and grace.

This brings glory to our Creator’s name, because it is His name that we follow and banner to the nations. We do this by obeying His Word and proclaiming it as truth. It is a proclamation of the authority we claim in our lives…to do His will instead of our own will, which is the will of the flesh.

The Hebrew word for “name” is “shem.” The word “shem” denotes character or authority. Thus, the goal of our Creator is for the whole world to obey His ways, to follow in His character, emulated in His Torah, by His authority.

That is the point of repentance. To repent means to “turn to”. It is the opposite of sinning. Instead of sinning it is the turning to the Word of God, to hear and obey it.

To hear and obey is a critical Hebraic concept. First you hear the Word and believe that it is truth. That is faith. That is a change of heart, mind and soul. Because of this change of the heart, mind and soul, we will decide to follow the Word of God in our lives.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD (YHWH) our God, the LORD (YHWH) is one. You shall love the LORD (YHWH) your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”

In the first paragraph of Romans we see Paul appealing to the mission of calling ALL nations into obedience to the Word of God.So basically, Paul starts off his letter touching on the major tenant of what is normally called the great commission of Yeshua.

We are to teach all nations to obey everything he commanded…

Matthew 28:19-20
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Of course our Messiah only practiced and taught the Word of God, and in case there is any confusion as what that meant to our Messiah, remember, the New Testament was not only not written yet, but when the New Testament was written it has to agree with the Old Testament….not contradict it. For more on this, we recommend our teaching “The Deuteronomy 13 Test” which should have already been covered.

According to God Himself, God stated that He would NEVER send a prophet that stated anything contrary to what was written by Moses.

Let’s continue…

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah).”

As we mentioned earlier, Paul wrote this to ALL those in Rome that are in the faith. This would include Jews and non-Jews, non-Israelite Gentiles and lost sheep gentiles. Again, for more on this, if you are interested, please see our teaching titled “The Lost Sheep” for free at TestEverything.net.

Moving on…

Romans 1:8-17
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach) for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Here Paul begins to reveal and define what the earlier discussed “obedience of the faith” looks like. He uses the word “righteousness” related to faith and then quotes the prophets (Habakkuk 2:4)

It is at this moment that Paul reveals that the righteousness of God is revealed by our faith and it also brings others to the faith…as the righteous are those who live by faith.

So, according to Paul, and the prophet Habakkuk, faith is a way of life. It is a way to live. It is a way of being and a way of doing. Faith is not a philosophy or simply a belief.

Instead, it is absolute truth that becomes our way of life. It is truth that rules over us, in our mind, and in our actions. We do what we believe to be true. In other words, if the Word of God is truth, then it is the Word of God that we do. That is the righteousness that is the faith we live by.

When we examine what the word “righteousness” in a Biblical concordance, we find that “righteousness” simply means “walking in the right ways of God.”

These “right ways” are not subjective, or invented by you or I, or any other man for that matter. The right ways are the ways articulated in the Word of God, or more Hebraically, the Torah, or instructions of God.

For more on the word righteousness, we would encourage you to watch 119 Ministries teaching, “Hunger”

Now this is very, very, very important. We are only in chapter 1. But this definition of righteousness that Paul establishes here will present itself again in chapter 10, which is nearly an hour away in this teaching. Please remember how Paul defines righteousness.

Moving on…After Paul defines righteousness and faith as the right ways to livePaul then describes the opposite, which are the unrighteous ways to live. Remember, Paul is addressing Rome, which has become accustomed to all types of unbiblical behavior that our Creator detests. He also begins to detail some of the typical Roman traits in an attempt to illustrate what unrighteousness looks like. This is contrasted against the righteous who live by faith, who walk in the whole Word of God.

Romans 1:18-32
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

So, Paul is contrasting here. There are those in the faith, called to obedience, and there are those not in the faith, that do unrighteousness, contrary to the truth.

So, what does the Word of God define as truth?

Psalm 119:142
“Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.”

Two things, note the correlation here once again between righteousness and the law of God, and also the word “truth”. The Hebrew word here is “emet” means truth. There is a couple of translations that exist out there that change the Hebrew word “emet”, which literally means truth, to another word. The law is truth.

Let’s continue…

Romans 1:19-32
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Paul went on quite an impressive, descriptive rant there, offering us a plethora of examples on defining righteousness. Note how earlier Paul defined righteousness as a way of living, a way of doing the right ways. Likewise, Paul just defined unrighteousness by breaking the Torah, or as living contrary to the Word of God, which is what Psalm 119 calls to be, truth. This might be a good time to read all of Psalm 119 again, so that you can see the perspective that both our Messiah and Paul shared on the Torah, or the Law of God.

In the last verse we read, Paul declares that there are those that know the righteous ways, yet practice ways contrary to God’s Torah. In addition, they allow others who may not know or have the law to continue being lawless…thus Paul continues about the wrath coming to both groups.

Romans 2:12-13
“For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

Did you catch that? Though we are saved by grace, it is the doers of the law who will be justified and will be righteous before God, not because of their works, or because they have kept or keep the law of God perfectly, let’s make that clear, but because they believe the Word of God to be truth and thus they want to do the law of God. If you believe this is a conflict between works and grace, or that doing the law of God negates grace, then you have misunderstood what was just said.

How is it fair that those who do not have the law, the Gentiles, can be judged by the law of God? Paul explains how that all men know that there are basic principles written by nature on our hearts that reveal the nature of God, and how we have all lived contrary to them.

Continuing on, Romans chapter 2.

Romans 2:14-16
“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by (Yeshua the Messiah) Christ Jesus.”

After saying all of that, then Paul goes back to those who have the law, but do not obey it. This would be the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Remember what Yeshua said about how the Pharisees treated the Law of God:

Mark 7:8-13
“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

and

John 7:19
“Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. …”

Just as the Pharisees and Sadducees made every attempt to cause issues for Yeshua, they continued doing the same for Paul and the Gentiles coming into the faith.

Romans 2:17-20
“But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— “

In talking to these types of Jews, note Paul’s references of the law being His will, being what is excellent, being a guide to the blind, a light to those in darkness, and the law being defined as knowledge and truth. This does not sound like a Paul that teaches against the Law of God…

Romans 2:21-24
“You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Note here, in verse 23, Paul states that breaking the law of God dishonors God. The law of God he is referring to can only be the same law that the Jews of the first century would have understood to be the Law of God…the Torah, as he is speaking to Jews….those that teach others. Also note, that because the Jews were doing this, that it blasphemes the law of God to the Gentiles, meaning what? The law of God was intended for the Gentiles, but the Gentiles were not getting it because the Jews were perverting its urpose and how to practice it.

Now moving on, this is also where it can start to become confusing…

At this point in Paul’s letter, he is addressing the teachers of the Law. The main concern Paul is addressing to the teachers of the Law in Romans is related to the Gentile converts, and whether Torah-observance should be expected at the beginning of their walk in the faith. We saw this earlier in Romans discussing the obedience to the faith, and how the righteous will live by faith….that it is not those that hear the law that will be justified, but those who do the law of God that will be justified.

Paul knows that the gentile converts will be hearing Torah every Sabbath, and he knows that the teachers of the Law will be helping the converts understand it and practice righteousness that Paul detailed in the first two chapters. Paul is also telling those who understand the Law and teach it, that they need to exercise impeccable behavior to be a good example, being careful to do what they are surely teaching.

All of this we have already read.

Now Paul begins to talk about circumcision. Many have taken this section to mean that Paul believes that circumcision is now only of the heart, and no longer physical.

However, circumcision has always been about the heart as well. Paul is not teaching anything new here. Spiritual circumcision does not nor has ever replaced physical circumcision. In fact, it is quite the opposite. A circumcised heart has always meant a heart that is willing and desires to follow the Torah….a circumcised heart is desire for obedience to the faith. Physical circumcision is an outward sign of that inward circumcision.

Deuteronomy 10:16
“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.”

Those that are stubborn and stiff-necked refused to follow and walk in the Word of God, because they did not want to. As we read this next verse, remember that John 5:3 declares that loving God is to keep His commandments.

Deuteronomy 30:6
“And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”

Circumcision of the heart has always been a commandment and delivered to us in the same package as physical circumcision. So let’s continue with Romans and try to understand what Paul is teaching related to circumcision.

Romans 2:25-29
“For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”

Paul says “for indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law” (Romans 2:25), so, circumcision is profitable, but only if you are keeping Torah. This makes sense because circumcision is to represent your desire to want to keep the Torah.

One of the big issues was about when a convert should be circumcised in the flesh–to have the seal of the faith Abraham had. Since converts are also descendants of Abraham, eventually they should have this seal of righteousness too.

As the converts listen to Torah, and as the teachers of the Law help instruct them, the converts will want to have the circumcision that Abraham’s descendants are to have. So, it’s like Paul is trying to ease the minds of the teachers on this topic.

This is not to say that Paul would ever say outward circumcision doesn’t matter, for that would go against Scripture since outward circumcision is an everlasting command.” (Genesis 17:13-14)

Since having a circumcised heart and the gift of the Spirit are to help us zealously keep Torah, the teachers of the Law don’t need to worry about physical circumcision right away–the converts with circumcised hearts and the Spirit will want to be physically circumcised as they grow in the faith.

Like Abraham, the converts can have faith while uncircumcised in the flesh, and like Abraham–because of their faith, they will receive the sign of circumcision–a seal of the righteousness of the faith which they had while uncircumcised.

Just like it is for the Jew, if a convert is circumcised but does not keep Torah, then that outward circumcision won’t save him. Circumcision only profits if he keeps Torah. For the uncircumcised converts to keep what has been established of the Torah, it demonstrates their circumcised hearts.

As adult converts, obedience and knowledge of Yahweh should precede the act of outward circumcision.

Like Abraham, the converts will be credited righteousness before being circumcised, because they will have the faith like Abraham did to observe all that Yahweh commanded.

After all, Yahweh said He chose Abraham ‘because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws’ (Genesis 26:5).

James 2:22-24
“You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

The point of all of this is that our faith is to transform us from the inside out, not the outside in.

First we need the spirit and desire in us to follow the Torah, or, the whole Word of God. Only after that, and through continued learning about the Word of God, will we practice the rest of the Torah.

Thus, it makes no sense to pressure those to get circumcised, as they who are circumcised of the heart will eventually understand in their studies that circumcision of the flesh is part of the Torah…it is part of the obedience to the faith.

The obedience to circumcision will happen when it is ready to happen in a person’s faith, just like it was with Abraham.

Now we can proceed to chapter 3, in which Paul reiterates the value of circumcision to those who may have been confused about his comments in chapter 2.

Romans 3:1-2
“Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.”

To quell any confusion, Paul clearly states here that circumcision has value.

The Jews, and like others today, may have perceived his earlier statements about focusing on circumcision of the heart first as though circumcision of the flesh has no value. To correct for this possible misunderstanding, which is even misunderstood today, Paul immediately clarifies to state that not only does circumcision of the flesh still have value, as it is part of the Torah, but the whole Torah, or oracles of God are still of value…and to have the whole Torah, and to know the whole Torah, and to practice the whole Torah is an ADVANTAGE that the Gentiles did not have, as they still had to learn it.

Again, knowing and practicing the whole Torah is an ADVANTAGE, not a disadvantage, or something that is bad.

He basically states that the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God, which is defined as the Torah. Because the Jews were entrusted with the Torah, their circumcision was occurring on the 8th day after being born. This is unlike the Gentiles, who were being circumcised in the example provided through Abraham…as adults.

This is simply to point out Paul’s earlier point. The Jews cannot expect the Gentiles to catch up to full understanding and obedience to the Word of God immediately…it takes time to study and learn these things. The Jews have been raised in the Torah their whole life. The Gentiles have not. That difference needs to be respected and appreciated. We see the same issue presenting itself in Acts 15. By now, you should have already watched the respective teaching on Acts 15.

Really, throughout all of Paul’s letters, we see the same common thread of issues and context presenting themselves.

Moving on…

Romans 3:3-8
“What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.”

Here Paul is simply making the case that men are sinful. Though men are inherently evil, our Creator is perfect and faithful. Though we sin, it does not take away from the faithfulness of our Creator.

When we sin, we show that God is good. Our unrighteousness makes it even clearer and more obvious just how righteous God is in His character.

Paul argued that some might say that God is bad because His righteousness is revealed through our unrighteousness and that God still judges us for our unrighteousness. Some might say that since it is good that our sin shows the perfection of our Creator, and that is good, then why don’t we sin all of the time?

And if our unrighteousness is good by showing God’s righteousness, then why would God condemn us for our unrighteousness?

It seems like a confusing argument, but Paul states that really, it makes some sense.

But Paul makes a distinction.

The fact that our unrighteousness, meaning a desire to break the law of God, reveals God’s righteousness, which means that God’s desire to do what is right according to His perfect Word, should serve a more important function.

When our unrighteousness is revealed to us, as compared to God’s righteousness, we should then desire the righteousness of God, which is His perfect Torah.

Romans 3:9-20
“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Now 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 God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

Some will teach here that there is no one that is righteous. That is a true statement, but we need to look at the context. There are those who are righteous. Those who desire to follow after the Law of God are considered righteous by God.

For example:

Luke 1:5-6
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (also Matthew 13:17; Habakkuk 1:4; Hosea 14:9; Ezekiel 33:18)

However, those that do not seek God, that use their tongues to deceive, that curse, and follow the wrong path, that do not know the way of peace, and have no fear of God in their eyes, those are they who are unrighteous…

Those are the people that are “under the law” according to Paul. They will be accountable to God and their mouth will have no defense when they are judged.

“Now 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 God.”

These are not people who desire to follow after the law of God. In fact, they are the exact opposite.

That means, those who desire NOT to follow after the law of God, are the ones who are UNDER the law of God. Sometimes people confuse it by thinking that those who follow the law of God are the ones under the law of God. More on this later.

Verses 9-20, let’s read it again.

Romans 3:9-20
“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: 
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Now 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 God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

Being “under the law” according to law does not equate to whether or not we should follow the law of God. Being “under the law” equates to those who have sinned, or followed the law of sin, deserving death, and are thus under the “law of sin and death.”

That might sound confusing at the moment, especially if you have not watched The Pauline Paradox Part 4 before watching Part 5. If you recall, Paul discusses several laws in his teachings.

In fact, he makes mention of at least seven of them.

1) The Law of God (Romans 3:31; 7:22-25; 8:7)
2) The Law of Sin (Romans 7:23-25)
3) The Law of Sin and Death (Romans 8:2)
4) The Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:2)
5) The Law of Faith (Romans 3:27)
6) The Law of Righteousness (Romans 9:31)
7) The Law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21)

So within those seven different laws that Paul mentions, this is the point where Paul introduces the concept of the “Law of Sin.” The “Law of Sin” is defined as the ability for the “Law of God” to reveal the sin that is in us, since it is the breaking of the “Law of God” that is what defines sin.

Romans 3:20
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

So, at this stage in the process of faith, once cannot be justified before God, as we are all guilty. Anything that we have done that we claim as “good” because it was found in the “law of God” counts as nothing until we have faith.

There is a reason for this. A main purpose of following the Law of God is to bring glory to our Creator. If we do anything to follow the law of God before we have faith in our Creator, it was not for Him, but for us.

Does that make sense?

How can doing good be for God when we do not have faith in God. Thus, doing any good is only to serve us by making ourselves feel good about doing good.

Do you see how that works?

We are to do good, or keep God’s law, to serve God, not make ourselves feel good.

This moment in the teaching requires a little more explanation to explain where Paul is coming from. Paul is trying to teach the process of faith and salvation. At this point, we will summarize much of what Paul teachings on this process in Romans and we will see it play out in the following chapters.

First, here are the various “laws” according to Paul that play a role in this process…

1) The Law of God (Romans 3:31; 7:22-25; 8:7)
2) The Law of Sin (Romans 7:23-25)
3) The Law of Sin and Death (Romans 8:2)
4) The Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:2)
5) The Law of Faith (Romans 3:27)
6) The Law of Righteousness (Romans 9:31)
7) The Law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21)

Imagine yourself as an unbeliever. You know nothing about God, but in your heart you know that there is a such thing as good or bad. God equipped your heart naturally with such general knowledge of His character. You know that it is wrong to murder, or to steal for example.

You may even consider yourself a good person, because you do not do these things.

However, at some point, you are exposed to the whole Law of God, or even the fact that your heart can break the law of God even without physically doing something contrary to the Law of God.

So the first step is to hear the Law of God.

Then, the next step is to realize that you have sinned by breaking the Law of God. This is called the “Law of Sin.”

Paul introduces that here: Again, verse 20.

Romans 3:20
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

Keep in mind, we realize that he did not use the phrase, “the law of sin” …but he will later, so please be patient.

You then realize that you are guilty and God is more righteous than you, and at judgment, you will be found guilty of breaking His law.

According to the Word of God, we then deserve death. God promised us that we deserve death, and God has to be faithful to His Word. This is why Paul said earlier:

Romans 3:3
“Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?”

This is where it starts to become interesting. At this point, all one has done is exposed themselves on how they are guilty before God because of the Law of God, no matter what works they have done before, all have sinned.

We know that the context of Romans 3:9-20 are those who have not yet come into the faith.

We read:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands;”

Those that are not righteous are considered to be those not yet of the faith. We know this because that once someone is in the faith, they are considered righteous by God.

Genesis 6:9
“These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”

Genesis 15:6
“And he (Abraham) believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”

Genesis 18:23
Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?

Luke 1:6
“And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.”

Matthew 25:46
“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

So, once we realize we are all in sin, and that we are all guilty, the next step is to come into faith that the Word of God, and promises of God are true.

So, the righteousness of God was realized in the realization of our sin. We now also realize the righteousness of God apart from sin, or the breaking of the law, and also now see the righteousness of God through our Messiah Yeshua. This is what Paul speaks of next.

Romans 3:21-31
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua) for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua), whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Yeshua).”

So it is through Yeshua’s works that we are justified into salvation, and “passed over” our former sins.

Our works are excluded in the scope of the means of salvation. Our works are not for the purpose of salvation. They serve another purpose, and Paul will discuss that later. For the moment, Paul wants to make it clear that our works in the law are not the same as Yeshua’s works in the law. His works afforded us salvation. Our obedience to the law is for another purpose outside of salvation.

“Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”

So, Paul established several things here:

1) Our obedience is not for salvation, but the result of our faith. We believe the Word of God to be true and that is our faith. Since we believe that the Word of God is true, we then do, or obey what we believe to be true. It’s really that simple.

2) Paul also states that God is the God of Gentiles and Jews. This means that God does not separate one type of obedience to one law for the Jews and another law for the Gentiles. That would be silly. He treats us all as equals and are all afforded the same blessings and freedom of following the same perfect law. We covered this earlier in the Pauline Paradox Series.

3) Most importantly, Paul wants to make if very, very clear…that just because our obedience in the faith has nothing to do with salvation, it does not mean that we overthrow the law of God. The Law of God is STILL VERY MUCH INTACT. We are to uphold and obey the Law of God. This brings it full circle back to the fact that Paul opened the letter stating that God’s grace brings us into the obedience in the faith.

After having said all of that…let’s read it again.

Romans 3:27-31
“Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”

Onward to chapter 4…

Paul then uses Abraham to illustrate his point, because it is understood that Abraham was considered as righteous because of his faith…

Genesis 15:6
“And he believed Yahweh, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”

Here Paul discusses this…Paul states that Abraham believed, and he established his faith, and then he was considered righteous, before Abraham even obeyed the law of God.

Romans 4:1-5
“What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…”

But, that does not mean that Abraham refrained from obeying the law of God.

Genesis 26:5
“…because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

Then Paul brings another example, the example of David…to show how forgiveness in the faith is for all…whoever shall believe….and he then again discusses the example of Abraham…doing all of this to show that it is just fine that Gentiles are coming into the faith, and also showing that it is just fine if there is a delay in their understanding in obedience to circumcision as they come into the faith…as was the same with Abraham….

Romans 4:6-8
“…just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”

Remember though, Paul did say just not long ago that we are to still uphold the law of God, which includes circumcision. Paul’s point is that obedience is not what affords us the right to salvation…it is faith that affords us the promise of salvation…that is Paul’s point….but do not confuse that with the idea that we are not to keep the law of God at all…Paul is simply detailing the reason we are to keep the law of God, or more specifically, what keeping the law of God is not designed to do…it is not to give us salvation.

As he explains here…

Romans 4:13-15
“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.”

Paul’s point is that if the promises of Abraham were to be derived by following the law of God, that would not be of faith; and the promise was built on faith.

Paul makes another very interesting point here.

“For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.”

The law brings wrath because we have all disobeyed it. Remember the law of sin and death. We have all sinned, and thus deserve the wrath of death. But, that does not mean we get rid of the law, because Paul’s second point is that if you get rid of the law, there is no sin anyway, because sin is defined by the law.

“..but where there is no law there is no transgression.”

So, we know that the law of God still stands, because sin still exists, and sin is defined by the law of God.

Paul then continues back on the subject of how the promises of God are built or founded on faith…

Romans 4:16-25
“That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus (Yeshua) our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

Paul continues this subject into chapter 5…

Romans 5:1-14
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua). Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua), through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”

We should stop right here for a moment. What did Paul mean when he said:

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. “

We all recall the event in Genesis…the sin of Adam…his failure to guard and protect the garden as he was instructed and thus allow sin to enter the world through Eve and himself.

Thus, Adam was given Torah, or instruction. He failed to keep the law of God, which is defined as sin. Sin leads to death. Thus, once again, we understand why Paul names that concept the “law of sin and death.”

Paul also said this, which is VERY important…

“…for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.”

Many believe that the law of God was not given till Moses. However, that was simply when it was written down. The Word of God is forever and unchanging. What was sin before is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That is Paul’s point here. The point is that if there was sin before the law was given to Moses, then the law of God had to exist prior to Moses as well. Why? Because if sin exists, that means the law exists. The law of God was simply passed on verbally. This is why Noah knew about clean and unclean animals already in Genesis 7. This is why Cain knew murder was wrong. This is why Cain and Able knew to bring specific types of offerings and when (Genesis 4). The book of Genesis is not a book that is purposed to give us the law of God. That is reserved for other books. To assume that simply because the law of God in full is not written in Genesis is to assume that was the purpose of Genesis. Clearly, it was not…and as already evidenced, they already had the Torah prior to Moses.

Continuing on…Paul continues to discuss how Yeshua’s actions offered us salvation by grace…

Romans 5:15-21
“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua).

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ (Yeshua Messiah) our Lord.”

Romans 6:1-4
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into (Yeshua the Messiah) Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as (Messiah) Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Paul must enjoy twisting people’s brains, but here is his almost crazy question. If our sin is necessary for God’s grace, and God’s grace is good, then why is it not good that we just sin more often so that there is more grace? Now remember, sin is defined by the breaking of the law of God (1 John 3:4).

Paul adamantly says NO, no we should NOT sin.

…and by him saying that we should not sin is the exact same as saying that we should obey the law of God (1 John 3:4).

To answer this further, Paul asks another important question…if we died in the Messiah and our sin died with Him, and we consider that good that we died to our sin, then why would we want to continue to sin?

“…we too might walk in newness of life.”

The newness of life that we are to walk in is the law of God. The law is the way of life that we are to walk. Before, in our old life, as the old man, we walked in sin. Now, in our new life, as a new man, we are to walk in the law of God.

The old is the former way of living…in sin…the new, is the law of God, the Torah…it is the new way of life in the faith.

Paul is not teaching anything new…only what is already true.

Proverbs 6:23
“For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life…”

Paul continues to explain…showing how we have died to sin, and thus no longer deserve death…this of course, is all setting up for Paul’s conclusion that we are no longer under the law of sin and death.

All of this is in process now, as we die to Him daily…however, we will not follow the law of God perfectly and be fully free from sin until the resurrection…in which our new bodies will desire only the law of God and not the ways of the flesh.

Romans 6:5-11
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in (Messiah Yeshua) Christ Jesus.

We have died to sin and the natural consequence of death…we should have an interest in not sinning any longer, which means to obey the law of God by its very definition…the obedience of faith Paul opened this letter with…

Now we come to another controversial verse, about not being under the law, but being under grace. This might be one of the most misunderstood verses by Paul.

Romans 6:12-14
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For SIN will have NO dominion over you, since you are NOT under law but under grace.

Note that he says “sin will have no dominion over you.”

Which means that at one time in our lives, sin did have dominion over us. Meaning this, at one time, we were “under sin.”

One might say, Paul is not talking about us being “under sin,” but about us no longer being “under the law.”

And that is where the error happens.

Even though it is the exact same sentence, too many make the error that Paul’s first half of sentence is about one thing, and the second half is about another thing.

How many have heard the phrase in Biblical hermeneutics…context, context, context? Context is everything…

Think about this for a moment…something about this law, that we are not under, actually relates to sin having no dominion over us.

The law that we are no longer under has something to do with also not being under sin. That is the context before us, in the very same sentence. You would think this would be easy to figure out, but doctrinal bias is EXTREMELY hard to overcome in one’s mind.

Consider this…

What if Paul actually was referring to not being under the Law of God in Romans 6:14.

Did Paul mean that we are not under the law of God because we are not under sin?

If it is the law of God or Torah that is no longer over us, then that would mean that Paul is equating the law of God to be sin.

Now, is the law of God sin?

You might be thinking, surely no one would consider the Law of God to be sin, however, that is EXACTLY what Romans 6:14 actually implies when you read it…if one misunderstands the context of course…But only if the law Paul is mentioning is the Law of God.

Romans 6:14
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Actually anticipating this possible confusion, Paul appears rather used to being taken out of context. He actually asks this question in the very next chapter.

Romans 7:7
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

So it is by the law of God that we define sin. The Bible instructs us that breaking the law of God is sin.

1 John 3:4
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

Recall that Hebraically, the word “law” simply means “instruction.” Thus, the Law of Sin is an instruction that is against the Law of God. If you wanted, like Paul, you could then call this instruction, “The Law of Sin.”

Our flesh “instructs” us against the instructions, or Torah, of God. It instructs sin…It could also be called, as called by Paul…the law of sin.

Later we will discuss more where the instructions of sin comes from, in chapter 7.

Continuing on…

Sin, or breaking God’s instructions, leads to death. We learn this from the beginning, and for this very reason, as we already know, Paul also covered this over the last few chapters, which of course, offers us context.

Genesis 2:16
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Paul intentionally covers the same thing well before we even arrive to Romans 6.

Romans 5:12
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Thus our Creator through Genesis, Paul, and in other places of Scripture, instructs us that following the “Law of Sin” leads to death. This of course would be another instruction, or law if you will.

Paul refers to this as the “Law of Sin and Death.”

We are not inventing this concept just to confuse you. We will actually show you in Paul’s conclusion statement that this is his main point related to chapter 6 and chapter 7.

In other words, if you are not following us just yet, please be patient with us, and we will lead up to Paul’s teaching on the Law of Sin and Death.

What we would like to propose is that Paul is introducing the concept of what is called the “Law of Sin and Death” in Romans 6:14, and that he is not speaking specifically about the Law of God in such context.

This would mean that Paul is not saying that we are not under the “Law of God,” but instead he is saying that we are no longer under the “Law of Sin and Death.”

We would propose that when Paul is teaching that when we come into the faith, our Messiah’s death enabled us to be free from the bondage of sin, and allowed us to overcome death, thus…we are no longer under the law of sin of sin and death, but under grace.

We are no longer under the “Law of Sin and Death.”

If that sounds like a stretch, we submit that any hesitation to accept this explanation might be the result of years of Christian programming that has conditioned many to believe that Paul is stating that we are not to be under the law of God. …because we will show you where Paul clearly states it in the same context.

As we noted, the context is that we are no longer under the dominion of sin…and that has to do with a law that we are no longer under. Then, Paul specifically mentions something called the “Law of Sin” which is not only different than the “Law of God,” but the “Law of Sin” is actually the exact opposite of the “Law of God”…as Paul stated that sin is the breaking of the “Law of God.”

Yet, many will still maintain that Paul is talking about the “Law of God” in Romans 6:14 when in fact, that is the exact opposite context presented to us by Paul.

Please note, that nowhere in Romans 6 does it specifically mention the “Law of God,” so we are forced to determine from context exactly which law or instruction Paul is referring to in Romans 6:14…and that can ONLY be accomplished through the examination of the immediate context.

So, please afford us the opportunity to reveal the context of Romans 6:14.

We already showed that the law Paul states that we are no longer under has something to do with the law of sin and its dominion or bondage over us.

Romans 6:14
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

In the same chapter, Paul states that death no longer has dominion over the Messiah, and thus likewise, we live and death has no dominion over us as well.

Romans 6:8-9
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

Therefore, according to the context related to not being “under the law” we learn that both sin and death do not have dominion over us. Sin and death are no longer over us…at least according to the context…

So, are we suggesting that Paul is not teaching that we are no longer under the Law of God, but instead, is teaching that we are no under the “Law of Sin and Death?”

Yes, that is exactly what we are saying.

There might be some who have simply heard, too many times, that Paul teaches that we are not under the law of God, but under grace, so we are going to allow Paul just to give it away here.

Make no mistake, the law that Paul says we are not under is made very, very clear for those who just keep on reading past Romans 6:14.

Paul concludes and summarizes this topic by saying this just a few verses later:

Romans 8:1-2
There is therefore…(notice how the word “therefore” is used in a conclusive and summary fashion) …There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Messiah (Christ) Yeshua (Jesus), who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah (Christ) Yeshua (Jesus) has made me free from the law of sin and death.

This should make much more sense.

Grace is receiving forgiveness for breaking the law of God, which is defined as sin. Sin leads to death. Thus being under grace means that we are free from the bondage of sin and the death that was to result from it.

Consequently, we are not freed from the “Law of God,” but instead, we are freed from the “Law of Sin and Death.”

It would make no sense to say that it is grace that is causing us to not be under the law of God. If there was no law of God, there would be no sin, and the law of God defines sin, and then we wouldn’t need grace.

This of course, once again, is Paul’s whole point here:

Romans 7:7
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

If there was no law of God, there would be no sin. If there was no such thing as sin, we would not need grace in the first place.

Just like all of Psalm 119 teaches us, Paul is stating that the Law of God has value in pointing out to us what is sin, and thus showing us the right way to walk…that the law of God is freedom and joy!

So if context means anything, now we should all understand that Paul never said that we are not under the Law of God. We cannot say that Paul ever taught such a thing. All we can say is that Paul taught is that we are no longer under the “The Law of Sin and Death.”

…the Law of Sin and Death is the opposite of the Law of God and Life.

Let’s continue with the rest of chapter 6.

Romans 6:15
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

So Paul’s is answering a question that he believes some might propose. If in our faith through grace we are no longer under the punishment for our sin then can’t we just sin and everything be just fine with that?

Paul says no. We are to not sin…”By no means” he says. And if sin is the breaking of the law of God, as he taught earlier in Romans, then Paul is saying that we are to still obey the law of God.

Paul is clearly stating that being under grace is no excuse for not following the law of God.

Romans 6:15
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

Paul then proceeds to explain this in terms of slavery. We would recommend our teaching “Bound to Righteousness” for more on this subject.

In general, there are two types of slaves, 1) we either serve God by obeying His law, which is a slave to righteousness, or 2) we serve sin by breaking His law, which being is a slave to sin.

Those are our only two options. There is nothing here about how we are to not obey the law of God any longer.

That is not an option presented to us.

Paul concludes this section that being a slave to righteousness leads to eternal life…and on the flip side, being a slave to sin leads to death. Again, Paul is simply stating how we are no longer under the law of sin and death, but under grace.

Romans 6:16-23
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) our Lord.

In the ESV Bible, and other translations as well, chapter 7 contains the header “Released from the Law.” Isn’t that an interesting title to follow chapter 6?

In chapter 6 many incorrectly believe that we are no longer under the “law of God” because of grace. However, we just showed that we are no longer under the “law of sin and death” because of grace.

The sectional headers in various translations are inserted by the translators themselves. The title “Released from the Law” heading chapter 7 was not placed there by Paul.

The title itself preconditions the reader to believe that we have been released from the law of God, even though Paul just spent the last half of chapter 6 stating that we should be slaves to the law of God, and not slaves to sin.

Let’s read this section of chapter 7…

Chapter 7:1
Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?

Now we need to stop right there. Paul is speaking to those that know the law of God, or also called the Torah. Sadly, most Christian teachers today do not understand the Torah. To be fair, some understand more than most, but the reality is that the particulars on obedience to the Torah is hidden from many.

Some evidences of this include the following response to obedience to the Torah:

1) Why are you not stoning people?
2) Do you do sacrifices in your backyard?
3) Why do you reject grace?

Such questions only expose a person’s lack of study on the Torah. However, this is understandable because most doctrine teaches there is no value in understanding the whole law of God.

Thus, by Paul stating that this section is FOR THOSE THAT KNOW THE TORAH, Paul is basically beginning this section by saying “you better understand the Torah before you read this section, because I am writing to those who know the Torah.”

Many read this section not knowing the torah, and walk away thinking that we are not under the law of God, completely disregarding Paul’s intended audience.

Now remember, Paul has been teaching since chapter 6 that we are no longer under the law of sin and death…and the law of sin and death is defined as breaking the law of God, which is sin, and then the punishment that follows, which is death.

Yet some want to change Paul’s context again, and have him be suddenly saying that we are no longer under the law of God. The context is still about obeying the Law of God in the faith and how we are no longer under the Law of Sin and Death.

Paul is not a wishy washy schizophrenic…he is difficult to understand, yes, but at least his conclusions agree with his context…so let’s use it.

Let’s read the rest…

Chapter 7:2-6
For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

A teaching that we strongly recommend watching on this subject is titled “The Lost Sheep.” This section is not teaching that we are not to obey the law of God. It is teaching that we are freed from the punishment of breaking the law of God. We are freed from the Law of Sin and Death…yes, context once again.

Our relationship with our Creator is often given to us in the metaphor of marriage. In marriage, two become one. If a married woman (which was the House of Israel – Jeremiah 3:8) commits adultery, she deserves death according to the Torah (Leviticus 20:10).

So once again, Paul is speaking of the law of sin and death…disobedience to the law, and the consequences that follow. In this case, Paul uses the disobedience in the law of marriage, adultery, which also leads to death, as an example.

Paul is not teaching that we are not under the law of God. He is teaching that in death we are freed from the punishment that the law demands…which is death. If you do not believe us at this point, please allow Paul to continue his explanation of his metaphor. Try to see for yourself if he is teaching that we are freed from the punishment from the breaking of the law of God, which is death, or if he is teaching that we are free from God’s desire for us to keep the law of God.

Romans 7:5-6
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

We are now released from the law of sin that leads to death. Do you see it? Remember, all of chapter 6 and 7 are leading to Paul’s conclusion that we are no longer under the law of sin and death.

Some teach that the law of God holds us captive. “having died to that which held us captive”

But what did Paul say we died to…did we die to sin (the law of sin) or did we die to the law of God? The law of God exposes the law of sin that at work inside of us…and then we are to die to that law of sin in our faith.

The law of God cannot hold us captive in obedience, the Torah is considered to be freedom and liberty.

In Hebrew, it means to walk in a “wide place.” It is sin that is restrictive to our life and causes bondage. Sin is our prison, leading to death, not the law of God.

Psalm 119:44-45 (NKJV)
So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.

The written code demands our death…but, we walk in the Spirit. “…so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” But just because we walk in the Spirit does that mean that we are not to walk in the law of God?

Of course not!

Paul is teaching what was prophecy related to the Spirit and the Law of God. This was all foretold to happen. We are to walk in the Spirit so that we WILL keep the law of God. Some teach that walking in the Spirit means that we do not walk in the Law of God.

That is the exact opposite of what the Bible says. Remember, Paul started this chapter speaking to those who know the law of God. He is speaking to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Here is the related prophecy Paul is speaking of directed at the lost sheep of the House of Israel, those that were divorced (Jeremiah 3:8):

Ezekiel 36:26-27
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

For more on what it means to “walk in the spirit” as it relates to the law of God, we recommend our teaching “Walking in the Spirit”.

Remember, our Messiah came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This is His purpose.

Matthew 15:24
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Just in case anyone thought Paul was stating that we were released from the law of God or confusing the law of God with the law of sin, because people obviously do, Paul goes on a serious series of clarifications here.

Romans 7:7-12
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

So, what did Paul just teach us here?

The law of God defines sin by anything being against the law of God. Anything against the law of God is considered to be sin. Paul thought he was alive living a sinful life, but once he read the law, he realized that he was doomed to death.

God’s law killed him. Is that bad?

No! Absolutely not. Our sinful man must die.

Do you want your sinful self to live?

It is good that the law of God kills the sinful part of ourselves.

Some states the law of God is bad because it kills. It is not bad, the law of God is good. Paul even states that in the last verse of that section in case some let themselves become confused.

So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

How could the law of God be anything but good. Is our Creator not good and perfect? It does kill us, but that is a good thing. You cannot be reborn until the law kills you.

Paul explains this further.

Romans 7:13
Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual,

Here’s another important biblical definition that has presented itself. Those that desire to be “spiritual” then follow the Law of God…that is the new way of the Spirit in the faith. The old way is to be of the flesh and carnal. We will discuss this more in chapter 8 as Paul then offers more detail. Continuing with Romans 7…

Romans 7:14-17
but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

Now all of that might have been rather confusing…it is typical Paul…here is some clarification. The law of God really did not directly kill Paul, because the law of God is good.

Sin, which is defined by the law of God, revealed the death that is in him. It is similar to a person having a chronic terminal illness and not realize it. Sin is that illness and it kills.

One day, this person goes to the doctor (reads the Word of God) and the doctor reveals the terminal illness or death inside of him…the sin.

Is the doctor bad because of this?

Of course not!

Because of this, the law of God is good by revealing the Law of Sin and Death inside of us.

Remember, removing sin is a process started once we enter the faith, but it is not fully realized until the resurrection. We are granted access to the resurrection to life not because we are sinless or stop sinning, but because we have faith in His promises and that the Word of God (same as Yeshua) is the right way to live.

Paul complains about how he sins and how he really does not like to sin. He does not understand why he sometimes sins, but he does anyway. So, if Paul does not want to sin, what does he want to do?

Does Paul teach that we should have a desire to do or not do the law of God?

Let’s continue….

Romans 7:21-25
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Paul is offering two options here, here is the first. We can go after the Spirit and follow the law of God (Ezekiel 36:26-27):

Paul teaching the spiritual:
“For we know that the law is spiritual”
“For I delight in the law of God”
“I myself serve the law of God”

Or, secondly, we can go after the flesh and reject the law of God…to follow sin:

Paul teaching the carnal or flesh:
“but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.”
“captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members”
“with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”

Which one do you want to be?

Do you want to follow and teach the law of God and thus be spiritual? …or, do you want to be of the flesh…to be carnal, and teach that we are no longer under the law of God?

Those are our only two choices.

Paul then concludes all of chapter 6 and all of chapter 7 with the following statement…we are freed from the law of sin and death, not freed from the law of God.

Romans 8:1-2
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua). For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) from the law of sin and death.

Hopefully by now you can appreciate why it is important to not focus on just one verse of Paul and make a doctrine out of it. We had to examine the context of two chapters, with some very confusing statements if left in isolation, just to lead up to Paul’s conclusion statement on this section. We are no longer under the Law of Sin and Death.

It really becomes interesting in chapter 8.
Paul then goes on to explain the nature of the spiritual, who are those who practice and teach the law of God…and the nature of the carnal, or flesh, who are those who practice and teach against the keeping the law of God.

Romans 8:3-8
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.

What could that possibly mean?

It means that if we were to have followed the Law of God perfectly, we would not have needed the act of grace through Yeshua.

But, because our sinful nature is to be against the law of God and to break the law of God, the law of God could not serve us to save us, but only expose our sin that leads to death, and offer us an example of the right way to live.

Romans 8:3-4
By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

In chapter 7, Paul discussed how those in the flesh desire sin, to not walk in the law of God. On the flip side, Paul stated that those who are spiritual or walk according the Spirit desire to follow the Law of God, the Torah.

Remember what we reviewed in Ezekiel 36, how it is in prophecy that the Spirit would lead God’s people back to the Torah?

Is Paul teaching the same thing here? Well, that would assume that Paul is consistent in his context, but let’s see how he proceeds.

Romans 8:5
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Well, that does not really reveal anything specific yet. What are the things of the Spirit?

Romans 8:6
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Well, that helps a little. At least we know that whatever these “things of the Spirit” are, that they give those in the faith LIFE, and PEACE…and, the “things of the Spirit” are the opposite of the “things of the flesh.”

Who wouldn’t want LIFE and PEACE? It just sounds great…What are the things of the flesh that we should avoid? What are the things of the Spirit that we should desire?

Romans 8:7
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Wow! What did you say Paul?

Those that are hostile to the Law of God are those that go after the flesh? Thus, those that are after the things of the Spirit submit to the Law of God!

To not submit to the Law of God is to be hostile and we cannot please God.

To submit to the law of God is to be full of LIFE and PEACE, and can please God.

Even though we highlight these direct statements by Paul in chapter 8, is it not exactly what Paul has been teaching us for the last couple chapters?

If you serve the Spirit, you desire the Torah…if you serve the flesh, you are hostile to the Torah. This is not our opinion, but Paul’s. Thus, anyone who affords any credibility in Paul’s writings should realize that the Torah, or whole Word of God applicable to their life, and in doing so, one should expect life and peace (see Psalm 119).

However, if hostility and a lack of life and peace is what one desires, then being hostile to submitting to the Torah would be the preferable route.

Why? Because we are in the faith, and we are after the Spirit, which Paul defines as desiring to submit to the law of God, the Torah.

Romans 8:9-11
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ (Messiah) does not belong to him. But if Christ (Messiah) is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

This of course simply speaks to the resurrection that we are someday promised. Because we desire the Word of God, through the grace of our Creator, we are given new bodies that will only do the whole Word of God for all of eternity. Thus, to Paul’s point, if you do not want the Law of God now at all, why would you want it for all eternity? There will be no grace in eternity, because there will be nobody breaking of the law. There will only be obedience to the Torah of Yah. Think about that for a moment.

When reading the next section, remember how Paul defines living according to the Spirit. It means that we desire to follow the Law of God. Please do NOT misunderstand…a desire to follow the Law of God does NOT equate to following the law of God perfectly. In chapter 7, Paul already went through his problem of desiring the law of God yet sometimes still sinning in the flesh. For our sin, we still have grace.

Romans 8:12-17
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Does this not sound like what John wrote? We know that we are in the faith because of the faith we practice. It is the test to ourselves and to others. When we fail that test, we have grace, a Father who advocates for us because of the actions of the Son.

1 John 1:2-6
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

To walk the same way as the Messiah can be interpreted two different ways. One way is to interpret it literally. The immediate context are the commandments of God, and the commandments that the Messiah kept are from the Torah, lest He sinned by adding to or taking away (Deuteronomy 4:2). Thus, the literal way to interpret this is for Yeshua to be an example on following the whole Word of God. The other way to interpret this is, however you want. Outside of the context you can decide for yourself what walking like Yeshua means. Whatever it means to you is fine.

One way is the correct way to interpret Scripture, and the other way serves the flesh.

Paul continues with the context he introduces in verse 17. The reality is this, once you decide to fully set yourself apart from the instructions of the world, allow the Spirit to lead you in the desire to obey the whole Word of God…tribulation and suffering are sure to come. Often it comes from the ones closest to us.

Paul just finished about the rewards and blessings of submitting to the Torah, now he is going to discuss the carnal consequences to be receive from others.

Romans 8:18-39
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Keep in mind that firstfruits is a Biblical holiday. This is a term from Leviticus 23. Paul did not call it easter. There is a reason for that, and if you have not already, watch the free teaching titled “Sunburned” for more information on that subject.

Continuing with verse 24…

Romans 8:24-30
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we await for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What we just read is often used in the debate on whether or not men have free will. As we stated earlier in the teaching, our purpose will be revealing how Paul taught the Torah.

Continuing on…Paul is still speaking about the tribulation we will face as we teach and practice the Torah….

Romans 8:31-39
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) is the one who died—more than that, who was
raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) our Lord.

As we move into chapter 9 we see that Paul is expressing his dissatisfaction with a portion the House of Judah. They took the law of God and the man made oral law and made such their righteousness unto salvation, instead of by grace. Paul then speaks of the prophecies related to the divorced House of Israel who became Gentiles. Paul makes mention that it is not genetics that merits one into the promises of God, but faith. There is also more related to the discussion on free will, which will not be the subject of this teaching.

Romans 9:1-29
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they 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— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump done vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”

“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” And as Isaiah predicted,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”

Starting here in verse 30, there is some commentary relating the law of God. It is possible that this section could be misunderstood by some.

Romans 9:30-33
What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

It must be carefully understood what Paul is saying exactly. It is not obeying the law of God that is the stumbling stone, it is the obeying of the law of God and thinking that was going to save you. As it should already be understood, we keep the law of God not for salvation, but because of our salvation.

As we progress into chapter 10, we will find several verses that are used to teach an understanding that the law of God is made void, mostly verses 4 and 6. We will first cover verse 4, and then move on to verses 5-6.

As you should recall, Mark 7 details an instance in which the Pharisees attempted to force Yeshua and the disciples to obey the oral law. Again, the oral law is not the law of God, but the law of man. We have reviewed this several times already in the Pauline Paradox Series.

The Pharisees established their own righteousness by inventing their own commandments. The example offered to us in Mark 7 was a prescriptive method of washing of hands before eating. The Torah does not command us to wash our hands before eating. It is certainly a good practice, but you cannot force commandments onto others. The Pharisees invented the idea that eating food with unwashed hands caused the food to be considered unclean to God, thus, they made a commandment for all those to wash their hands before eating. This is clear violation of Deuteronomy 4:2 in which we are to not add to or take away from the Law of God.

The Pharisees believed that their righteousness unto salvation was derived from their obedience to the Law of God and the man made laws of the oral law.

This is a false righteousness, and was just that, false. In fact, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. Yeshua corrected them and told them to come back to the Law of God and leave the commandments of men behind…

Mark 7:8
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

So, the Pharisees became ignorant of the Law of God by establishing their own commandments. As a perfect example, Yeshua came and performed the real law of God to everyone who believes.

To say it even more simply….

The Pharisees rejected the law of God and invented their own law. Yeshua came to set them straight by being the perfect realization or example of the law

We are going to see Paul say the exact same thing in Romans 10:1-4.

Romans 10:1-4
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end (goal) of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

So Paul says that the Pharisees did not submit to the righteousness of God.

What is the “righteousness of God?”

Do you remember when we covered chapter 1 earlier in this teaching, and we asked you to remember how Paul defines the righteousness of God? The righteousness of God is the walking in the “right ways of God.” The righteousness of God is the “Law of God.”

We are not going to reteach chapter 1 here, so if necessary please study that section again. So in essence, Paul is saying that the Pharisees abandoned the Law of God to follow the commandments they invented for themselves.

For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

This is the same thing Yeshua said in Mark 7, Matthew 23 and in several other instances…

Mark 7:8
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

Please note, our Messiah considered the leaving of the Law of God, the Torah, a very bad thing which is the opposite of it being a very good thing to leave the Torah. …Just something to think about, especially as we proceed into Romans 10:4.

Romans 10:4
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

That does it. The law is ended!

All of the context and pro-law statements by Paul that we reviewed in the last 9 chapters means nothing. Suddenly, Paul is making a statement saying the law of God is over. It is done. Goodbye.

It should be obvious that was a little dose of sarcasm rooted in the constant frustration of verses being systematically taken out of context from different letters and reassembled into a law abolishing doctrinal package outside of Paul’s intent.

The Greek word for “end” in verse 4 is “telos.”

It does not mean “end” as in destroyed.

Here are a couple of Greek words that Paul could have used to show that the law was being destroyed or rendered void could have been the following:

katargeoœ
to render useless or unproductive, occupy unprofitable, destroy, annihilate

ekleipoœ
to fail, die out,

But Paul, he uses “telos.”

If “telos” means destroyed or made void like many Christian commentators want it to mean, then we have a serious problem. Consider these examples of the same Greek word being used elsewhere…

James 5:11
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose (telos) of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

So if “telos” in Romans 10:4 means that the law is ended as in made void, then that must mean that James is stating that our Creator was made void as well. We expect that you see the problem with that.

How about one more?

1 Timothy 1:5
The aim (telos) of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

So, should our love be destroyed or made void just like the law of God was made void in Romans 10:4?

Same word…”telos” Did you notice how the word “telos” was used here?

The English word “aim” is used as a definition for “telos” …as in a type of “goal”

“Aim” is a something we shoot for…like an arrow at a target. You might find this interesting, but the Hebraic word picture offered to us in the root understanding of Torah is the same as aiming an arrow at a target. See our teaching on the word Torah in our Hebrew Root series (coming soon).

So, “telos” is something that we aim for, it is our goal.

Ok, one more example…

Matthew 10:22
and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end (telos) will be saved.

So, does it make sense to interpret “end” here as “our destruction or made void?”

Even the same English word “end” is used here for the Greek word “telos” Just like in Romans 10:4

Romans 10:4
For Christ is the end (telos) of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Let’s read Matthew 10:22 again, but interpret “end” in the same way that many Christian commentators like to interpret “end” in Romans 10:4

Matthew 10:22
and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to “our destruction” (telos) will be saved.

Does it make more sense like this?

Matthew 10:22
and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the goal (telos) will be saved.

The difference is obvious.

The same is true for Romans 10:4

Romans 10:4
For Christ is the goal of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Or

Romans 10:4
For Christ is the aim of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Yeshua is our example on how to walk the Law of God…that is what Paul is saying. The Pharisees made up their own commandments for righteousness. Paul is simply pointing out that we do not need the example of the Pharisees and their traditions as commandments of men. We should just follow our Messiah and do what He did. He is our example. He is our goal. He is the image that we should conform to.

1 John 1:6
…whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

This means that we should just follow the Torah just as Yeshua followed the Torah. That is the exact opposite of what many understand this verse to mean. This verse does not mean that Yeshua ended Torah, but came to be the example of Torah.

The next few verses are often misunderstood as well…

Romans 10:5-13
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus (Yeshua) is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

That word “but”, starting verse 6 simply messes everything up.

The word “but” in the English language is a conjunction that nullifies what was said before it and is replaced by what is said after it.

For example…

I was tired, but I went to the gym.

It was very cold outside, but I went to the park.

Or….

Many think Paul taught against the Torah, but Paul taught the Torah.

What comes after the English conjunction “but” is set in opposition to what was said prior in the sentence.

So, in reading this again, we see that it seems as though that there is a righteousness that Moses wrote, and then something new, a righteousness by faith.

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says…

Now, we are going to say all of what needs to be said again here.

1) In chapter 1, Paul defined righteousness as walking in the right ways of God, or walking in the Law of God. Nothing has changed.

2) Paul taught in the first 9 chapters that we should keep the law of God.

3) In Romans 10:4 Paul taught that Yeshua is our example on how to keep the law of God, contrary to the Pharisees

4) Verse 5 and 6, which is what we just read, is a continuation of verse 4, in which Paul stated that Yeshua is our goal on how to keep the Law of God.

The Greek word used for “but” in verse 6 is “de.” It occurs about 2,792 times in the New Testament.

It is a conjunction, but it can be interpreted as a conjunction that can have the first half and the last half in agreement with each other, or in disagreement with each other. It can mean either.

This is different than the English language. When we have agreement on both ends of the sentence, we use conjunctions such as “and” or “also.” When we have both ends of the sentence to be against each other, we use “but” or “on the other hand” or “however.” So the English language has words that clearly illustrate a continuation of the sentence or setting up for an opposition.

The Greek word “de” requires context so that the reader knows if the conjunction is to be a continuance of the first thought or in opposition to the first thought.

Here is what Strong’s has to say related to this word…

de G1254

a conjunctive particle, marking the superaddition of a clause, whether in opposition or in continuation, to what has preceded, and it may be variously rendered but, on the other hand, and, also, now, etc.

So you can imagine the thoughts of the translators for the verse. They interpreted Romans 10:4 as what Moses wrote being made void, and this righteousness of the faith as something new. So, they placed a “but” there to set up an opposition instead of a continuation of Paul’s thought. It was the only thing that made sense to them.

But, as even Strong’s says, context is required to know if it is to be translated as a but, and, also, now, etc.

What if we were to place an “also” there instead of a “but?” The Greek text permits it. Let’s see if it fits the context.

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. Also the righteousness based on faith says…

Do you see how this leaves fully intact what Moses wrote?

That is why “for Moses writes” is in present tense form instead of “for Moses wrote.”

Verse 5 is quoting Leviticus

Leviticus 18:5
You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am YHWH.

Verse 6 is quoting Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 30:12-13
It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’

what is good doctrineSo Paul is quoting from the Torah, what Moses wrote, for both of these. If Moses wrote both the righteousness that we are to live by, and the righteousness that is by faith, then how can what Moses wrote be against what Moses wrote?

More importantly, how can righteousness by faith be a new thing?

These concepts are not against each other. Both co-exist.

The righteousness that we live by is the law of God. Paul discusses this in chapter 1.

The Law of God is life. But, we don’t always keep the law of God. The law of God cannot raise us up. In fact, it humbles us and makes us low as we realize we cannot live up to God’s standards.

Thus, the law of righteousness based on faith is the gap filled by the righteousness of Yeshua.

Now you see why both have to exist. Paul said earlier in Romans that we should not sin, we should keep the law of God. This is to be our way of life, and how we live. This is the way of righteousness. That is great, but that is where the Pharisees stopped in their understanding.

What do we do about where we failed in living out that righteousness?

And that is where we need the good news. The good news is that we have a perfect law of God to live by, and grace for when we fail.

We need to know the righteous way to live from God, which Moses wrote about. We need to do the law of God because it is good.

But, we also need to have faith that the righteousness that we failed to keep will be covered by the righteousness of Yeshua, which Moses also wrote about. Paul explains this further…

Romans 10:14-21
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

Paul continues his discussion on the current state of Israel and how the Gentiles are coming into the faith. There are not many verses of contention as it relates to the law until chapter 14. We will read chapters 11-13, with minimal commentary in an effort to minimize the length of this teaching. Several times we will recommend other teachings that cover various subjects beyond the intent of this particular teaching.

Chapter 11:1-6
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Remember, obedience to the Law of God because you love God and because you want to walk righteously is not against grace. However, obeying the Law of God for your salvation is indeed against grace.

Romans 11:7-16
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”

And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs forever.”

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Related to the next few verses we recommend watching the teaching “Grafted In” and “The Lost Sheep

Romans 11:17-36
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now* receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

And chapter 12…

Romans 12:1-21
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, pin proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 13:1-7
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for she is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, tan avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

How do you define love? How should we define love? How does God define love?

Every commandment of God relates to either loving God or loving others.

We teach this very early in the Pauline Paradox Series, and Paul discusses it here. A teaching we might recommend on this subject is titled “Do You Love God?” The foundation of the Torah is love.

Romans 13:8-14
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua Messiah), and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Now we enter into chapter 14. Chapter 14 is primarily used in two ways.

Verse 5 is used to suggest that the Sabbath is no longer important to YHWH.

Verse 14 is used to suggest that Leviticus 11 is no longer for God’s people.

Because these verses are cited for such purposes so often, we are going to be very thorough.

Please keep in mind that for the last 13 chapters, Paul has been an advocate for keeping the law of God. Just the same, the first for parts of the Pauline Paradox Series further illustrate that Paul practiced and taught the Law of God.

Paul begins the chapter by declaring we are to receive those who are weak in the faith and to not dispute over doubtful things.

Romans 14:1
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.

We need to keep in mind that Romans 14 is often used to support the abolishment the Sabbath (Leviticus 23) and the dietary instructions (Leviticus 11).

These commandments have always been clear and have never been the matters of “doubtful things.”

On the contrary, God’s law is given to us to clearly define sin (Romans 3:20; 7:7)(1 John 3:4) and to enable us to correct and rebuke others (i.e. 2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Paul was speaking of things outside of God’s law that were matters of contention for believers in the first century. These matters required discrimination in reasoning because they are not clear matters established in God’s law.

Given that this is a letter to a specific group of people about a specific debate we must extract various clues to assist us in piecing together exactly what Paul is teaching.

There are two debates Paul focuses on in Romans 14. Paul headlines these points of contention in the very next two verses (verses 2 & 3).

The first matter of discussion and correction from Paul is a matter of eating all things or eating only vegetables.

Debate #1
Romans 14:2
For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.

The second matter Paul establishes as a focus in chapter 13 is related to what day or days believers should fast.

Debate #2
Romans 14:3
Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats

Paul answers Debate #1 in verses 14-23.

These verses are often used in mainstream Christian doctrine to suggest that all animals are now clean and suitable for food. The proof verse to support this understanding is supposedly established in verse 14.

Paul answers Debate #2 in verses 5-13.

These verses are often used in mainstream Christian doctrine to suggest that God abolished the Sabbath day and now all days are alike, unless in your mind all days are not alike and thus the Sabbath still exists. It somehow depends if you are doing it for the Lord or not.

Therefore anyone can determine what God’s law now declares on this matter solely based on what one wants to believe.

Since the Law of God defines sin (1 John 3:4), and since we can decide for ourselves if the Sabbath is to be observed or not, that means we can decide for ourselves what is sin and what is not sin. It is fantastically convenient to define for yourself what is sin and not sin.

Supposedly we can decide what God’s law now is or what God wants us to observe.

This matter is no longer established by what is written in God’s Word about the Sabbath or even by what was practiced by Yeshua (Jesus) as an example for us to follow, but purely based on how convinced we are in our own mind.

This interpretation is still promoted even though the context is clearly about food which has nothing to do with the Sabbath. The proof verse to support this understanding is supposedly established in verse 5.

First we will address Romans 14:5 which Paul establishes as Debate #2.

Romans 14:5
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

The question is this, is Paul teaching that the Sabbath is a matter of what we believe in our own minds versus what is established in God’s law, or is Paul discussing another matter entirely?

The difference has significant impact on what value and understanding we are able to extract from Romans 14.

If Paul is teaching on another matter rather than the Sabbath day then we cannot teach that Paul is teaching anything related to the Sabbath day. That should make sense. These are basic hermeneutical principles that we need to apply.

As this teaching series already established, Paul taught in agreement with God’s law and not against it. That should be a concern for anyone teaching Paul taught against God’s law.

However, Romans 14 can still be rather confusing, so it does need to be addressed.

Paul was teaching to those who knew God’s law. Paul was writing to those believed God’s law to be clear, not defined as doubtful matters.

It should already be clear that the context is not God’s Sabbath because God’s Sabbath is clearly part of God’s law.

Those who knew God’s law (7:1) already understand this and no one in the first century disputed the establishment of the Sabbath day in God’s law (especially the Jews who were given the oracles of God – Romans 3:1-2). Paul is certainly not going to appeal the benefit of knowing God’s law and then throw God’s law in the trash can.

There is value in knowing and understanding what still has application for the believer, not what has supposedly been done away with. It should also be noted that the Sabbath is nowhere to be mentioned in Romans 14 or even the entire letter.

So, for many Romans 14 is about the Sabbath, but strangely enough, the Sabbath is not even mentioned once.

We already covered what Paul directly taught in Romans on the subject of the “Law of God” and thus what he indirectly taught on the Sabbath since the Sabbath is part of the Law of God.

We need to ensure that our interpretation of Romans 14 is consistent with what Paul already taught earlier in the very same letter.

We cannot teach that Paul taught against the Law of God and in agreement with the Law of God in just a few paragraphs apart.

We can only conclude that Paul was teaching on something outside of God’s law in Romans 14, something more related to tradition or doctrines of men and something that would be considered doubtful disputations to Jews.

Remember, many Jews had been deceived by the mainstream theological education system of the day that men’s traditions and doctrines (oral law/Talmud) actually mattered. At best, sometimes these doctrines and traditions of men were the source of bickering and debate, as in Romans 14.

At worst, Yeshua (Jesus) taught that, unfortunately, such traditions often conflicted against the Law of Moses (Mark 7:6-13). Paul calls these things “doubtful disputations” because they are not of God’s law, but of man.

What we need to determine is the tradition or doctrine that is the source of the debate in Romans 14:5. As often the case with Paul’s letters, if we simply continue reading Paul explains himself.

Romans 14:6-7
He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.

Verses 6-7 give the context away.

Paul mentions that “the day” (verse 6) that he is referring to is a matter of eating or not eating (verse 7).

In more Biblical terms, the doubtful disputations outside of God’s law being discussed here is the matter of weekly fasting, when to fast and when not to fast. There is no day in which the Torah commands us to fast. 

Since we know Paul is not teaching on God’s law, but traditions and doctrines of men we need to discover if that many Jews in the first century had quarrels about what days to fast according to tradition.

In Yeshua’s (Jesus’) time, the Pharisees fasted twice a week, on our Mondays and Thursdays. In His parable the Pharisee prayed, Luke 18:12 “I fast twice a week.”

Gentile converts that continued the tradition of weekly fasting observed fasting on Wednesdays and Friday so that they could be different than the Pharisees and their corrupted “oral law” that was contrary to the Law of Moses.

The Didache (Teachings of the Apostles – First Century Writing), chapter 8: “But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation.” (Wednesday and Friday).

An interesting point to establish is that they (converted Gentiles) continued to consider Friday as the “day of preparation” in this quote.

If the Sabbath was no longer the Day of Rest, like some assume here in this text, then what did they (the Gentile converts) preparing for? That is an impossible question to answer for those who believed the Gentiles did not keep the Sabbath.

This is first century writing proof that they did.

As the Book of Acts establishes, the pattern is a Sabbath observance for all believers. This continued to be the case until Sunday was introduced as a pagan corruption.

What Paul was simply trying to solve in Romans 14 is whether weekly fasting matters or not as it relates to the commandments and teachings of men (“the oral law”).

As Paul concludes, what really matters is what we do for God. That may or may not include weekly fasting. Weekly fasting is not to be a status symbol. It is to not be projected as a commandment or directive to others. Anyone who fasts for such a reason is weak in the faith. They are placing more faith in man’s traditions and missing the whole point of fasting in the first place. This is the mentality that Yeshua (Jesus) taught against during the majority of his ministry. This is not a new problem that Paul is dealing with, though many try to turn this into a new debate.

Those that teach that Romans 14 is against the Sabbath and thus against God’s law have completely missed the point Paul was making.

Simply said, Romans 14:5 is specific to a debate about on what days believers should fast, not whether we should keep the Sabbath.

The traditional days of fasting was a topic of debate, and Paul was simply addressing it.

Paul’s whole point is that the very fact that they are debating these traditions of men and even judging others is evidence of their weakness in the faith.

Being obedient to God’s law is never defined as weakness in the faith; in fact, it’s the opposite! We are even called to judge others in sin (breaking God’s law) and correct and rebuke others against God’s Word.

This is why Paul has license to say to not judge others when we know that Scripture commands us to address sin in ourselves and in others.

Paul can say this because he is not teaching on matters of God’s law, but traditions and commandments of men related to fasting. We are never to judge others just on the matter of tradition.

Weakness in the faith is the definitive pattern of those who place too much value in traditions and commandments of men outside of Scripture.

Weakness in the faith is also defined as those who abolish and deny the very same Word that is to be the foundation of our faith.

Continuing on…

Romans 14:7-9
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

At this point, Paul begins to say that we should not judge each other on these things…these things being if someone chooses to only eat vegetables (verse 2) or the day of the week they choose to fast (verse 3).

Romans 14:10-13
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Now it is time for one of the greatest supposed law abolishing verses by Paul, Romans 14:14.

Romans 14:14-23
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food (“broma”), you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things[is acceptable to God and approved by men.

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Contrary to God’s Word, Yeshua (Jesus), and even Paul, verse 14 is often used as license to teach that all animals are now clean and suitable for food. If we examine the context we discover that in verse 15 Paul is speaking of what God’s Word already defines as food according to Leviticus 11. The word used for “food” is “broma.”

Strongs:
G1033 broma bro’-mah
from the base of G977;

food (literally or figuratively), especially (ceremonially) articles allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law.

Unclean animals have never been considered food (“broma”), regardless of what unbelievers might consider food outside of God’s Word.

Paul is not entertaining a debate whether unclean animals according to Leviticus 11 are now suddenly clean and thus can be defined as food (“broma”). Paul is settling a debate whether already Biblically established clean food can be made unclean in ways not mentioned in Scripture.

This specific debate and confusion was already common in the first century. This is not a new debate. There are a couple other examples and parallels in Scripture alone in which we can draw understanding.

In 1 Corinthians chapters 8-10 Paul teaches that if meat ends up being sold in the meat market that has been sacrificed to idols then it is absolutely fine to eat, as long as we are not aware of its origin and eat it with others, and thus give the impression to others that sun god temple sacrifice is acceptable to a believer in the true God. If those criteria are met then it is Paul’s opinion and understanding that the meat is just fine to eat. There is nothing in the Torah that forbids it. See our teaching “Meat Sacrificed to Idols” for a more in depth study.

We can also contrast this with the decree James made in Acts 15:20 in which it is made clear that we are to not directly participate in pagan cultic temple sacrifices.

Thus there is a difference in this case.

Eating meat sacrificed to idols as it relates to directly partaking in the cultic pagan practices in the pagan temples is different than unknowingly eating meat sacrificed to idols that was purchased from the marketplace.

It is all about whether or not someone is participating directly or indirectly in sun god worship and/or giving the impression of participating in sun god worship and thus causing others to stumble. We would recommend watching our teaching “Acts 15: Obedience or Legalism” for more information.

In Yeshua’s (Jesus’) day there was much debate whether food (broma) that was already considered clean according to God’s Word (Leviticus 11) can be made unclean.

Yeshua (Jesus) dealt with this issue in Mark 7 surrounding the Pharisee tradition of forcing and compelling others to wash their hands before eating.

One who did not wash their hands according to their prescribed method consequently defiled their food and made it unclean according to the man made “oral law” …not “God’s law.”

Again, there is a difference between commandments of men and commandments of God.

Yeshua (Jesus) taught that clean food cannot be made unclean by such practices. It is because of this teaching Yeshua provided in Mark 7 that Paul declares confidence in what he teaches in verse 14:

Romans 14:14
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus (Yeshua) that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Paul is “convinced” by Yeshua (Jesus) because Yeshua (Jesus) stated this:

Mark 7:18-19
So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”

In this case Yeshua (Jesus) states that all “foods” (broma again) are purified by the stomach.

According to those who knew God’s law, only animals defined as clean in Leviticus 11 were to be considered food.

swine pig is not foodPig is not food.
Lobster is not food.
Dog is not food.
Cat is not food.
Shrimp is not food.
And so on and so on.

Leviticus 11 defines what is food (broma).

In the context of this declaration Yeshua (Jesus) was rebuking the Pharisees for nullifying the Law of Moses in their traditions.

Yeshua equates the writings of Moses to the Law of God and to the Word of God.

shrimp lobster not foodMark 7:6-13
He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:‘ This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said….(13)…making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Obviously Yeshua (Jesus) is not rebuking for the Pharisees nullifying the Word of God (God’s law as written by Moses) and then abolishing it Himself. Wouldn’t that be something?

…Yeshua telling the Pharisees that they are wrong for rejecting what Moses wrote, and then Yeshua says his next statement that Moses is abolished?

What a contradiction that would be…Likewise, Paul is not doing this either.

It is through this teaching of Yeshua (Jesus) that Paul said that he was convinced by Yeshua the Messiah Himself that all things are clean in of itself.

In the context the “things” are defined as “broma.” “Broma” is already clean animals as defined by Leviticus 11.

How Paul applies Mark 7 is that he teaches that clean animals (broma) that are sacrificed in pagan temples and sent to the marketplace are still considered clean and thus are still considered to be food.

Paul also was not nullifying the Law of Moses, which would be contrary to what Paul even wrote several chapters earlier.

Paul goes on to teach that those who are weak may not understand this but that those that are strong should bear with those who are weak even if that means modifying our practices around those who do not understand God’s law just yet. To Paul’s point we want to lead others to their edification or learning.

Romans 15:1-3
We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.

Paul then goes on to state exactly what they will be learning, they will be learning everything that was written before.

Romans 15:4
”For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Eventually those weak in the faith will understand the the Law of God well enough that there will be no more “doubtful disputations.”

Simply put, contrary to the ones that were only eating vegetables because they were afraid of the meat that was sacrificed to idols in the marketplace, all Paul is teaching, as it relates to verse 14, is that we can eat anything that was already written in the past to be declared clean (broma), in Leviticus 11.

We do not need to be concerned with the doctrines of men or concerns of men that are not rooted in the Word of God.

Yeshua (Jesus) already taught us on this matter in Mark 7 and as long as we still to the Word of God then we are strong in the faith. Those who exercises doubtful disputations outside of the Word of God are weak in the faith.

We need to be patient with them and do not offend them as they continue to learn about everything that was written in the past by Moses. They will eventually come to the same conclusions. There is nothing really controversial with the rest of Romans. We encourage you to read the rest. The last thing we would like to note is how Paul concludes the letter….

Romans 16:25-27
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua), according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through (Yeshua the Messiah) Jesus Christ! Amen.

We hope that this review of Paul’s letter to the Romans served well to bring you into fully obeying the faith, as was Paul’s intent.

Our faith is to be in the Word of God, which is who Yeshua was and is in the flesh, and thus, we should obey what the Word of God says…not for salvation, but because of our salvation; not to replace grace, but because of His grace.

We hope that this teaching has blessed you

Additional Reading: Did Jesus do away with the Law Matt 5:17?
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Next: The Pauline Paradox Part 5 – Corinthians