Dead To The Law – Romans 7:1-6

We now are to Romans 7, which if you read out of context from chapters 5, 6 then you can get the wrong message that Paul is trying to convey.

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto G-d.  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.  But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.  Romans 7:1-6

Paul clearly tells us in v1 that He is speaking to the Jews, those who know the Law.  The verse really speaks to everyone because the law has dominion over man as long as he lives.  Meaning the law is over you because of your sin and you have a penalty to pay.  This is whether you know the law or not based on what Paul wrote in Romans 2.

Therefore, you must die to the law…to be freed from the law.  We are then raised from the dead through the Messiah to bring forth fruit unto G-d.  In other words, we must be born again.  If you are not born again, then you will not produce fruit unto G-d.  We cannot fulfill the Torah through our own efforts.  We must rely on G-d to work in us to produce the right kind of fruit.

Paul points this out saying when we were in the flesh.  While we were in the flesh sin occurs and brings forth death.  But now we are delivered from the consequences of the death, therefore serve in newness of spirit.  The old is through the flesh and the new is through the spirit.  This reminds me of Ezekiel 11:19-20, Ezekiel 36:26-27.  Those two passages tell us G-d will remove the old stony heart and give us a flesh heart.  He will also put in His spirit and it will cause you to walk in His commandments.

We were never to walk this walk alone.  As Hebrews 4:2 tells us if the word is not mixed with faith then you will not enter His rest.

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!

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Nullify the Torah?

Last time we looked at Romans 3:20-21 and the Law of Righteousness apart from the Torah.  As Sha’ul continues in Romans 3 he makes it clear again that justification (salvation) is apart from the Torah.  It is through grace, which has existed from the beginning of time, that we have salvation.  Therefore Sha’ul asks where is the boasting?  No one can boast, whether you have the Torah or not, again reemphasizing the comments he made in chapter two that we went over a few weeks ago.  This brings us down to verses 30 and 31 which says:

since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.  Romans 3:31

Many will say this verse says we do not need to be circumcised because we are all in faith together.  I will agree all are in faith together, yet I will also contend as does Sha’ul that we do not nullify the Torah through faith.  Sha’ul says may it never be!  It is through faith that we establish the Torah.

One can perform the works of Torah with and without faith.  The Torah is spiritual (Romans 7:14), so if you are following it through your own efforts it is meaningless and yoke I would not want to bear.  If, through Yeshua, we have faith then we can overcome this fleshly desire to sin and follow G-d in His commandments.  Yeshua said His yoke was easy and His burden light.  1 John 5:3 tells us His commandments are not burdensome for those who have faith.  Moshe in His addressing the Israelites before they enter the Promise Land says “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.”  Why?  Because their hearts will be circumcised….emunah (faith/faithfulness).

Yeshua’s yoke is not any different than G-d’s.  Yeshua came to speak only what the Father told Him.  Why some believe Yeshua came to speak a different message I don’t know.  May HaShem give them wisdom and to see the truth!  The truth…I have a whole drash on that as well.  Maybe soon.

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!

Who Is A Jew?

Who is a Jew?  Another way to ask the question is who are the elect or who is a child of G-d?  Paul makes it very clear who is a Jew at the end of Romans 2.  Why is this important?  Why is Paul making this claim in Romans?  We do not know for sure.  We only have Paul’s response to whatever the issue(s) were.  We can make an educated guess based on the letter though.

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from G-d. Romans 2:28-29

We have already gone through the previous verses in Romans 2 and seen from verse 12 through now that Paul was basically speaking to the Jews in this congregation.  Previously, in Romans 1 through verse 12 in chapter 2, Pauls address’ the gentiles.  Paul’s argument is about following Torah.  Whether you have it and follow it or don’t have it, but still do what is in the Torah, it does not matter.  The Torah must be on their hearts.  Paul was telling the Jews that they cannot depend on their birth, physically being a Jew, or on their external signs, circumcision.  He tells them their external circumcision can become uncircumcision in the sight of G-d if their heart is not circumcised.

Now Paul goes into who is a Jew and says the same thing he has been saying throughout this chapter.  One is a Jew, not by flesh, but by heart.  If you are uncircumcised in the heart your election does not matter.

Just to make sure that you are aware, the circumcision of the heart is nothing new.  Moshe and Jeremiah both told the people they must be circumcised in the heart.  Right after the rewriting of the tablets Moshe says:

 So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. Deut 10:16.

Near the end of Moshe’s life he tells them again:

Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. Deut 30:6

Right after this in verse 8 he tells them they will again obey the Lord and all His commandments.

Jeremiah is a little more descriptive…

“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, And remove the foreskins of your heart, Jeremiah 4:4

So you can see that circumcision of the heart is nothing new and has always been taught.  It is with this circumcision of the heart that one becomes a member of the household, a child of G-d’s.

Paul’s focus is not whether one should be physically circumcised.  His intent is to show that one must become circumcised in the heart to receive salvation.  Following the commandments without the internal circumcision will benefit you none.

Until next time….kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!

A New Creation

A couple of weeks ago we finished Galatians 5 and now we are ready for chapter 6.  Chapter 6 is a short chapter with only one disputed passage in it.  You might be able to guess, based on the rest of Galatians what it is about…circumcision.  Yes, again.  We have taken a look at what Paul is saying in the various other chapters of Galatians and this time is no different.

See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.  Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.  But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Yeshua, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.   Galatians 6:11-15

Clearly, Paul is teaching that circumcision is not required for salvation.  I 100% agree!  Some though will use this passage to state that you should not become circumcised even in obedience to G-d.  In my opinion, Paul emphasizes his large writing to emphasize the importance of this topic.  There were those who were pushing salvation by adherence to the Torah…starting off with circumcision.  Yet, this group did not keep the Torah themselves.  Paul then states whether you are circumcised or not what matters is to become a new creation.  We become a new creation once we are circumcised in the heart.  We then and only then can walk the Torah out in obedience.  Trying to perform Torah without G-d is a heavy burden.  Loving others without G-d is difficult.  Our father Avraham followed the same process.  He believed first, then obeyed.  The Israelites were first redeemed from Egypt then given the Torah.  Without a true circumcision of the heart nothing else matters.

All throughout Galatians Paul was stressing having emunah (faith).  Others were stressing performing works in order to be saved.  I believe I have shown in discussing the other chapters of Galatians that Paul stresses salvation first then obedience.  Paul has not forgotten nor dismissed the Torah.  He was Torah obedient his entire life according to his own testimony in Acts.  He had Timothy circumcised.  If circumcision was truly nothing, then why have someone circumcised?

One can read a lot into Galatians.  It is a difficult book, the most difficult book in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) in my opinion.  If one would just take a step back and look at the author, look at his life, look at what all he really said then Galatians becomes a little easier to understand.

With that we are finished with Galatians!  Up next….Romans.

Until next time….kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!