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Romans 7:1-6 and Spiritual Adultery

Following is a guest post regarding the exposition of Romans 7:1-6, a passage greatly misused by those in the Hebrew Roots Movement and other ‘Law-keeping’ sects.  At the end of this article, I’ll post an excerpt from Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement  –  An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley, where the HRM view of Romans 7:1-6 is detailed to give contrast to what we see a plain reading of the passage communicating.  Thanks to UGANUL for submitting the following!

Christian Law-Keepers and Spiritual Adultery
An Exposition of Romans 7:1-6

by UGANUL (Under Grace And Not Under Law)

Hebrew Roots, Torah Observant and Seventh Day Adventist believers know well the commandment, “You shall not commit adultery”, number seven of the Big Ten. They also know well Jesus’ expansion of that commandment in His sermon on the mount, in which He proclaimed lust to be adultery in the heart.  Law-keepers love to say things like, “See, Jesus didn’t do away with the law, He made it even more demanding!”

A little rabbit-trail here from my main subject, but every time I hear a statement like that I want to reply, “Yes, and if Jesus had included the fourth commandment in His sermon on the mount, it would have probably gone something like this:”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘The seventh day is a Sabbath (complete rest) to the Lord Your God’, but I say to you, not just one day a week shall you enter into rest, but you shall enter into My rest every day of the week all day long.”

That is exactly the message of Hebrews 4:1-10 and elsewhere in the New Testament. But I digress . . .

Back to adultery.  I think that we can all agree on the fact that there are at least two kinds of adultery:

  1. Physical adultery (actual sexual involvement with someone other than one’s spouse)
  2. Psychological adultery (lust in the heart for sexual involvement with someone other than one’s spouse)

To these two forms of adultery, I believe the Apostle Paul clearly adds a third form of adultery, spiritual adultery, explained in Roman 7:1-6.

The first three verses there set up the basis of comparison with physical adultery:

Romans 7:1-3
1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

That’s all pretty clear; no controversy here.  Paul is speaking to those who know the Law, so probably a good number of Jewish converts to the gospel of Jesus are among the Christians at Rome.  And they (and even those under other forms of civil law) clearly understand that, yes, if a woman is married to a husband, and while that husband is still alive she goes and joins herself to another man, she is clearly an adulteress.

Having set that stage, Paul goes on to apply this truth to those who are followers of Christ:

Romans 7:4
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.adultery 3

What is the “therefore” there for?  Obviously, this verse is an application of the previous three verses.

It is evident, is it not, that on a spiritual level, the Apostle is saying we cannot be joined to both Christ and the Law at the same time.

Otherwise, just like the woman in the first three verses, an individual who seeks to join himself or herself to both Jesus and the Law at the same time commits spiritual adultery, a third kind of adultery.

It seems obvious to me that this article should be concluded right here in the first clause of v. 4 in which we are told that if we are part of the “brethren” in Christ Paul is addressing, then we have been “made to die to the Law”, period, end of argument, end of this nonsense about Christians needing to obey the Law given to Moses.

We believers in Christ have been made to die to the Law!  What is so difficult to understand about that straightforward statement?  But alas, I must be too simple-minded, so I will continue.

There is obviously a huge problem here.  Some 1400 years before the book of Romans was written, Moses recorded the commandments of God for the Israelite people which appeared to be good for all time stretching into eternity.  Now, however, the very Son of God has appeared demanding that we be joined to Him in ways which supersede the Law given to Moses.  E.g., in His sermon on the mount He differentiates Himself from the Law with the refrain, “But I say to you…”, and even overturns some points of the Law such as commanding us to swear no oaths at all when the Law commands its adherents to take oaths to the Lord.  (Compare and contrast Mt. 5:33-37 and Dt. 6:13.)

So, what is the solution to this perceived contradiction between the Laws given to Moses, and the teachings given to us by our Lord Jesus and His Apostles?

Here it is:  Just as in verses 1-3 in which someone has to die in order for the second union to be non-adulterous, so someone has to die here in order for there to be no spiritual adultery – the adultery of seeking to join ourselves to both Jesus and the Law of Moses at the same time.

Now here is where I think God provides an amazing, startling, and totally unexpected solution.  In verse 4, He actually has two people die: Jesus and the believer in Christ!  But He also has those two people raised from the dead, so that they may be joined to each other in a new union that truly bears “fruit for God”.

Implication: The old union with the Law was not getting the fruit-bearing job done.  Only New Life can do that.

In another place Paul reveals,

The letter (speaking of the Ten Commandments carved on tablets of stone) kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

But wait; there’s more!  God tells us why He had to work the plan this way.  He tells us that there is actually a problem with the Law:  It actually causes the flesh to sin, to bear fruit for death!  Romans 7:5 says:

For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.

Almost every translation of the New Testament puts it the same way – that our sinful passions are aroused by the Law to cause us to sin!  Yes, there is something about the Law of Moses and our sinful flesh that is impossible to fit together to bear fruit for God.  The Law of Moses arouses our sinful passions to show us how desperately we need our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now I can almost feel a flood of law-keepers descending upon me saying, “But look down at v. 12, ‘So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.’  The problem isn’t with the commandment; it is with our sinful flesh.”

My dear friend, I am not saying that there is something evil about the Law.

  • By saying that the Law is “holy”, that word signifies that it is set apart for a special purpose, to show us our sin.
  • By saying that the Law is “just”, that word signifies that God is just in condemning us to His wrath.
  • By saying that the Law is “good”, that word signifies that the Law accomplishes the good purpose of showing us that in and of ourselves we can never accomplish all the demands of that law, and it thereby leads us to our need for Christ.

Unbeknownst to the Israelites of Moses’ day and following, they were never going to be able to perfectly keep the Law, and were in effect being set up for failure so that in the fullness of time they would be driven to the grace and mercy and forgiveness in Christ, along with the power and privilege to live a whole new kind of life above sin.

So the Law has a purpose, and Paul explains that purpose in vv. 7-12 (as well as in many other places in the New Testament).  But here is the one thing we must recognize about the Law:  Though the Law of Moses had and has many good purposes, though it is holy (set apart), and though it is good, there is something even more important about it:  It is inadequate.  It cannot produce life, and it cannot bear fruit.  This is why it is so important to tenaciously hold to the truth of Romans 7:6:

But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

I am amazed at the hermeneutical (interpretive) gymnastics that HRM, TO, and SDA apologists use to get around verses in the New Testament, but it is as obvious as the day is long that what this verse really means is, “we have been released from the Law”!

In the Greek it still means, “We have been released from the Law”!  Ok, if you missed it look at the second phrase which indicates action completed in the past with results continuing into the present:  “having died to that by which we were bound”.

Folks, when we were “born-again” or “born from above” (John 3), we were crucified with Christ and raised up with Him (Col. 3 and elsewhere), so that we are now dead to the Law along with everything else associated with our old life. We are new creatures in Christ… “the old things passed away, behold new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17)!

Now there is one more very important death that took place by crucifixion, and sadly this death is often missed by many Christians.  Not only was Jesus crucified (and raised again), and believers in Jesus were crucified with Him (and raised again, Gal. 2:19-21), but there was also something else that was crucified, and this thing that was crucified was not raised from the dead.  For believers, the thing that was crucified was the Law itself!

Check out these two passages from Colossians and Ephesians:

Colossians 2:13-14
13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

What is the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us? Paul makes it even clearer in his parallel passage to this one in the body of his letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 2:14-16
For He Himself [Jesus] is our peace, who made both groups [Jews and Gentiles] into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

Dear friend, do not pass over this passage too quickly.  Observe two very important points:

First, notice in v. 16 what exactly was put to death on the cross.  It was the enmity.  What was the enmity?  Look back up into v. 15, where it tells us exactly what the enmity was:  “…the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances….”

Let’s not get too complicated here.  The enmity is the Law.

Second, as JGIG has pointed out previously, the Greek word translated “abolishing” both here in Ephesians 2:15 and in the text of our exposition at Rom. 7:6 is the word katargeo – G2673.  It’s semantic range includes the following meanings:

to render idle, unemployed, inactive, inoperative; to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency; to deprive of force, influence or power; to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish; to cease, to pass away, be done away; to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from; and finally to terminate all intercourse with.

Given this semantic range, it would seem to me that the translators of the New King James Version were rather mild in saying we have been released from the Law in Romans 7:6, and dead on accurate in their translation of Ephesians 2:15 by saying “abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law….”

Dear friend, if you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you have been

  • released
  • separated
  • severed
  • loosed
  • discharged and terminated from the Law of Moses which has been
  • annulled
  • abolished, and
  • deprived of all force, influence, power and authority over you as a New Covenant believer!

There are many reasons why we have been released from the Law of Moses, but one of the most important is that it is impossible for us to ever obey all its commandments:

James 2:10
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

It is both a Biblical fact and the common experience of every human being outside of Jesus Christ, that none of us, not even Ellen G. White or any other proponent of sinless perfectionism, has ever lived a life completely without sin.

Sooner or later, many Law abiding believers come to the realization of what sadly has taken them a long period of years to finally admit:  That living by the letter of the law is actually and truly an act of the flesh.

You are either walking in the power of your own flesh to keep commandments, many of which, by the way, were never intended for believers in Christ to keep in the same way the Old Testament Israelites were to keep them, or you are walking in the Spirit, being led by Him as “sons of God” into and through a lifestyle of fulfilling the Royal law (James 2:8), the law of love, the “new commandment” Jesus gave to us.  There is no middle ground!

Ok, sorry for the run-on sentence in the previous paragraph; perhaps I was influenced by many of the Apostle Paul’s long sentences.  Dear loved one, let me conclude here by encouraging you from the bottom of my heart:

Galatians 6:7-8
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Whether it is committing adultery or trying to keep all the commandments of the Law of Moses, it is still of the flesh, and will only reap corruption.  Sow to the Spirit, dear friend, and reap eternal life.

Postscript: For those of you Goyim (Gentiles) who are trying to become more Jewish through Torah observance, please take heed to the following New Covenant warning from Romans 2:17-24 about being Jewish:

17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?  22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?  23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written.

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Following is an excerpt of an examination of Jim Staley’s teaching, ‘Identity Crisis’, in which he relays an interpretation common in the Hebrew Roots Movement regarding Romans 7:1-6.  Excerpted from Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement – An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley:

The Misuse of Romans 7:1-6

. . . Staley doesn’t answer the question, but goes into how God divorces and then makes it so that He can remarry Israel.

Around 1:00 he takes Romans 7:4 and actually says that Israel died to Law, but died only to the law of adultery, so that She could be married to another. Romans 7:4 actually says,

4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Those in Christ do not die to a single law, but to THE Law, as Romans 7:4 clearly states.

Did you die just to the Law regarding adultery? If the law of adultery died, like the husband did in the scenario presented in verses 1-3, that might make sense, as the rest of the Law could remain intact, but the Scripture does not say that the law of adultery died, it says that those in Christ died. When someone dies, they die to all laws. So dying to a single law makes no sense in light of Romans 7:6, which says this:

6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The written code, as we know, is the Ten Commandments and the other 600+ specific commands documented by God in Torah.

In Romans 7:4-6, the Law doesn’t die, WE do!

To what?

To the Law.

Why?

To be able to be joined to Another.

To Whom?

To Christ!

Hang on to your hats for this one: If you go back to the Law (which you have died to and been released from in order to be joined to Christ), you commit spiritual adultery (see part 4 on this page).

Whether you view the Law as a husband, as in the example in verses 1-3, as a Schoolmaster/Tutor/Guardian, as in Galatians 3:21-28, or anything else, you cannot be joined to both the Law and to Christ!

. . . we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way
of the written code.

Which brings me to a few rhetorical questions: If you are now dead to just the Law of adultery, does it now matter if you commit adultery? Is adultery no longer a part of the jots and tittles, none of which were supposed to pass away? If you believe that you died just to the law of adultery, what is the ‘written code’ spoken of by Paul — just the Law of adultery? Or maybe the passage is referring to the Oral Traditions? No, that can’t be it, because the Oral Traditions include all of the Law plus other stuff. Silly? Perhaps, but you get the point.

Torah folk that I’ve talked with tell me that if we interpret Romans 7:4 to mean the whole Law then it must be okay to go out and murder, steal, commit adultery, etc. Yet, if we go with that logic and couple it with the HRM interpretation of Romans 7:4-6 (which is standard in the HRM beyond Staley’s teaching), then it must be okay to commit adultery since that’s a law you’ve died to, yes?

Well I certainly don’t believe that! Why? Because I died with Christ:

Galatians 2:20-21
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

The Scriptures tell us clearly that those in Christ have died to the Law — all of it.

In the New Covenant, Grace teaches us and the Spirit leads us (Titus 2:11-14, Galatians 5:18-26). If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under Law (Galatians 5:18), which coincides to being dead to the Law. Not only that, but what does Romans 7:5, which is sandwiched in between verses 4 and 6, say?

Romans 7:5
5 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.

I like the idea of being dead to that which arouses our sinful passions! Because as one in Christ, I’m not looking for license to sin, rather for how to sin less and less. The Law does not show us how to accomplish that. The Scriptures say that in us, the Law actually stirs up sinful passions rather than to tamp down sinful passions (Romans 5:20, Romans 7:5-11, 1 Corinthians 15:56).

Living in Grace and by the Spirit does not leave us in a vacuum, floating about with no compass to guide us! Notice in Galatians 5:21 where it says, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

So how does righteousness come? Grace. (See Hebrew Roots Movement – Man’s Righteousness or God’s Righteousness? and Grace or Law? How Then, Shall We Live?, and also Parts 2 and 5 on this page for more on this topic.)

We also know from the Scriptures that the Fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22-23) and that love, which does no harm to its neighbor fulfills the Law (Romans 13:8-10) because someone loving others is not murdering, stealing, committing adultery, bearing false witness, etc.

6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

So we see that in the New Covenant, Grace teaches us and the Spirit leads us (Titus 2:11-14, Galatians 5:18-26). The Fruit of that is Love, which fulfills the Law (Romans 13:8-10). These are foundational Truths to the Gospel that bear repeating in the face of false teaching.

The balance of the article excerpted above can be read here:  Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement  –  An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley

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Other articles of interest:

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the other testimonies on the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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10 Responses

  1. The new article is excellent, and thanks for attaching excerpts from the other article as well. Praise God for His mercies to us in Christ!

  2. “we cannot be joined to both Christ and the Law at the same time.”

    “an individual who seeks to join himself or herself to both Jesus and the Law at the same time commits spiritual adultery, a third kind of adultery.”

    “and even overturns some points of the Law such as commanding us to swear no oaths at all when the Law commands its adherents to take oaths to the Lord.”

    Etc, etc, etc…..

    “I am amazed at the hermeneutical (interpretive) gymnastics that HRM, TO, and SDA apologists use to get around verses in the New Testament…”

    There aren’t any “gymnastics” going on. At some point in your studies of the Scriptures and walk with God Almighty, you’re going to have to deal with this:

    Isaiah 8

    20 To the LAW (Strong’s H8451- Torah – Mosaic Law) and to the testimony: if they speak not according to THIS word, it is because there is no light in them.

    …or not deal with it. But I personally got to the point of refusing to live in hypocrisy and willfull ignorance. Either the “Word of God” is one, consistent revelation OR it becomes a mish-mash of contradiction and confusion in which case it’s no longer the “Word of God” but at best simply a loving and well-meaning, albeit flawed, human, attempt at cobbling together a religious faith for the masses….or at it’s worst…an outright deception and Jesus is a false prophet and false messiah of the worst kind. OR Jesus was misquoted and Paul hijacked the message. OR Paul has been misunderstood….

    You can’t have it both ways. It’s either one or the other. Consistency or contradiction.

    “Released from the Law”

    Really? So I’m released from murder? Homosexuality? Love your neighbor? Take care of the poor? I can abuse animals now? These are all Torah/Mosaic Law commandments…..

    “Oh wait…well not the WHOLE Law…just certain parts…”

    Wait…I thought “all or nothing”…

    Oh boy….gymnastics for sure, people. If you are truly following the words of Christ, you are already following Mosaic Law commandments. So no matter how hard you try, you cannot FULLY tear yourself away from Mosaic Law (God’s Law). It’s impossible. It doesn’t exist. So every Christian on the planet is in a constant state of “spiritual adultery” according to the logic of this article.

    Peace my friends. God Almighty please guide us all who truly seek your guidance and truth. Amen.

    • Hi MR! Good to see you here (MR and I have conversed at length on a forum).

      What is Torah but instructions, commandments, yes?

      What are God’s instructions/commandments after the Cross?

      23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (from 1 Jn. 3)

      You wrote, “Really? So I’m released from murder? Homosexuality? Love your neighbor? Take care of the poor? I can abuse animals now? These are all Torah/Mosaic Law commandments…..
      ‘Oh wait…well not the WHOLE Law…just certain parts…’
      Wait…I thought ‘all or nothing’…”

      Are those things fulfilled by loving others? Romans 13 says so:

      8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 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.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

      MR, did you read the excerpt after the end of the article about the misuse of Romans 7:1-6? It deals specifically with your objections to having died to/being released from the Law. The HRM interpretation of that passage is that Israel was released from the law against adultery, freeing Her to Marry Messiah. To follow your logic, is it now okay for you to commit adultery since you were released from THAT law? Of course not! Why? Because that would not be loving your wife!

      It really isn’t all that complicated; love fulfills the Law – everything that God wants us to be doing or not doing can be summed up in this word: “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

      As for not being able to fully tear one’s self away from Mosaic Law, first of all, there were commandments before the Laws given to Israel at Sinai and there have been commandments after the Laws given to Israel at Sinai. The New Covenant Scriptures are clear that those in Christ are dead to, released from, and that that for believers the Old Covenant Law has been abolished (see Released/Delivered From the Law and Christ is the End of the Law – Getting Greeky About Romans 7, 10, and Ephesians 2
      ).

      That, however, does not leave us in a moral vacuum; we become New Creations in Christ and Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness (Tit. 2) and the Spirit produces His Fruit in and through us – Love – which fulfills the Law (Gal. 5, Rom. 13).

      As for fully ‘tearing yourself away from Mosaic Law’, how many dead people do you know who are under any law?

      Much love in Christ and grace and peace to you, MR,
      -JGIG

    • MR – I tried to send the following to you personally, but the email addy you gave bounced back, so I’ll put this here for when you check back.

      Hey MR!

      Glad to hear from you; hope this finds you well =o).

      Sorry your comment was held in moderation for so long – we’ve been sick at our house this week. Trying to get caught up now.

      Grace and peace to you,
      -JGIG

      • Haha…I thought you just deleted it. Sorry to hear about everyone being sick. I pray a speedy recovery for all. Thanks for the response. I appreciate that. Long time, no talk… ;)

        I understand where this article is coming from. I just have a hard time accepting the “two laws” concept where “First law kind of ok, second law (“law of Christ”) way better and different”….I see two different covenants…but not different laws.

        And “love” is kind of subjective unless that love is clearly defined. I hate to keep using the homosexual example but it’s the easiest and most direct to my point (I personally could care less if one is gay or not…doesn’t affect me and my life…that’s between them and God). There are gay couples that certainly love eachother, no doubt. According to your example of “love” though they would actually be in good standing before God as long as they are “in Christ,” they are technically under a “new law” wherein their love “overrides” the “old law’s” explicit instructions not to do that because it is sin.

        “What are God’s instructions/commandments after the Cross?”

        I think we are back at our old impasse on the exact definition of “sin” again.

      • No, I don’t delete stuff unless it’s really long or doesn’t have at least something to do with the OP (check out the Comments Policy). You know me from SB . . . I’m always up for good discussion =o).

        As far as you having a hard time accepting a ‘two laws’ concept, then you must have a really hard time accepting the letter to the Hebrews. That concept is all over the place in that letter. And the prophets. New Covenant prophecies are in several places in the prophets, and Jeremiah makes clear that the New Covenant will not be like the Old (Jer. 31).

        As for love, there are three elements of its Biblical definition: 1) love does no harm to its neighbor (Rom. 13), and 2) love is sacrificial (Jn. 15). Number 3 – the overriding element – is that Godly love is a fruit of Him, of His Spirit (Gal. 5). Any kind of sexual sin does not fall within those Biblical definitions of Love, so what’s your point? It’s not ‘their love’ that overrides the old laws – it’s the Fruit of the Spirit, HIS love, that fulfills the old and new laws (love is the fulfillment of the Law, and believe on the One He has sent and love one another, 1 Jn. 3:23-24).

        And yes, we come back to what is defined as sin. Will folks be sorted out on the Day of the Lord for what sins they committed/didn’t commit, or for whether or not they believed on the One God sent?

        You’re also neglecting another definition of sin found in Rom. 14: What is not of faith is sin.

      • Bear with me JGIG as I tend to jump around a lot but wanted to get this thought out while I was thinking about your post…..

        Alright, so I know your stance in the past is that believers in Christ are NOT associated with Israel in any way (going to Romans 11). That we are somehow separate and under a “different” law than the law of Moses since again, according to your thought process that the law of Moses cannot be kept perfectly in it’s entirety (which obviously it can’t, I agree). But where is the command to “throw out the baby with the bath water”? Just because I know I can’t keep it perfectly does that mean I throw my hands up in the air and don’t make an honest attempt at all? Many of the commands of Christ are exact quotes from Torah. So I am inextricably entwined with the law of Moses whether I want to be or not. And my physical body is still going to die for violating that law….which means my physical body is still “under the “punishment” of the law.” Believing in Christ doesn’t make physical death go away….just spiritual in which eventually the spirit will “quicken” the dead flesh body to rise again into the resurrection. The spirit saves the flesh… ;)

        So, my point kind of comes down to this…what happens if a “gentile” believer in Christ who supposedly will never be apart of Israel decides to take this prophecy in Malachi to heart:

        Malachi 4
        4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

        And just to tie this in:

        Revelation 12
        17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

        What happens to that believer in Christ? Are there any salvational consequences for keeping relevant parts of Mosaic Law that apply to them in this day and age? If one is in Christ, let’s say choosing to no longer eat pig specifically for the purpose of keeping a dietary law (that according to you is abolished), what’s going to happen?

      • Hey MR,

        You wrote, “Alright, so I know your stance in the past is that believers in Christ are NOT associated with Israel in any way (going to Romans 11).”

        That’s your perception of what I believe. Here’s what I actually believe: Believing Israel and believing Gentiles are One New Man in Christ because we are grafted into the Root, Who is Christ, Who supports us. Both natural and wild branches are grafted into the Tree; the wild branches are not grafted into the natural branches. (Rom. 11, Eph. 2, Gal. 3, Col. 2) More can be read about my position HERE

        You also wrote, “That we are somehow separate and under a “different” law than the law of Moses since again, according to your thought process that the law of Moses cannot be kept perfectly in it’s entirety (which obviously it can’t, I agree).”

        It’s not my ‘thought process’. It’s Scripture. New Priesthood, New Law (Covenant). If one is in Christ, one has died to the Law (see post above). The Old Covenant Law required those in that Covenant to keep it. When they failed, there were penalties, depending on the offense. We are now free from all of that, because in Christ, the Scriptures say that God is no longer holding our sins against us. He promised it in Jer. 31 and delivered on that Promise in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20, 2 Cor. 3, 2 Cor. 5:18-19, Heb. chapters 7-10).

        If you continue on in the Old Covenant, you bring the curse of the Law upon yourself, since, as you stated, no one can keep it perfectly, and to receive the blessings of the Law one must keep it all, 100% of the time (Exodus 23:13, Deuteronomy 5:28-33, Deuteronomy 8:1, Deuteronomy 12:27-28, Jeremiah 7:21-26, Joshua 1:6-9).

        In Christ, we receive the blessings promised to Abraham, entered into by faith, and brought to fullness by Christ. Note that all nations will be blessed through the Promise, not through Israel (though Israel is certainly one of the nations to be blessed through faith, and God used Her to bring Messiah Who fulfills all of His Promises):

        “5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’?
        7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’ 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
        10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them. 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ 12 But the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them.’ 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” (from Gal. 3)

        You wrote, “But where is the command to ‘throw out the baby with the bath water’? Just because I know I can’t keep it perfectly does that mean I throw my hands up in the air and don’t make an honest attempt at all?”

        Do you want to be in Moses or in Christ? God/Christ gave the Old Covenant Law, yes, but the Scriptures clearly tell us this: 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (from Jn. 1). Christ did the Work of the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension and sits – and that is a significant detail to note: Christ SITS as our Perfect High Priest, as His Work is done. Under the Old Covenant, the priests’ work was never done, because sins were always counted against the people – there was no perfect sacrifice; no perfect high priest – now there IS, and in Christ, our sins are no longer held against us:

        17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. (from 2 Cor. 5)

        How can God no longer hold our sins against us? Two major reasons: 1) His wrath was poured out on Christ who took our sins to the Cross once and for all, and 2) by taking the Law out of the way, where there is no Law, there is no transgression. That’s what Romans 7:1-6, Ephesians 2:15, Colossians 2:16-17 and others are telling us: That for those in Christ, the Law has been abolished, and where there is no law, there is no transgression:

        15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression (from Rom. 4).
        13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law (from Rom. 5).

        Put yourself under the Law, put yourself under wrath. Put yourself under Law, and Christ becomes of no effect to you (Gal. 5:4), for you, in this life, are relying on your works of the Law to sustain your relationship with God instead of Christ’s Work for you to sustain your relationship with God. Torah folk like to say that they’re only ‘under’ the Law if they disobey it. You yourself said that the Law cannot be kept by anyone, and that being true, because the Law worketh wrath, if you try to live by the Law you are putting yourself under it, because you cannot keep it! And the Law has no choice to condemn you – it is the ‘ministry of death’ – that’s its job – it was given to transgressors to show them their sin. And like a mirror, it does its job very well, but also like a mirror, it cannot do a thing to cleanse that sin away or even to help you to avoid sinning (“The Law makes nothing perfect” Hebrews 7:19). Only in Christ and His New Covenant can we be cleansed, and made perfect in Him (Hebrews 10), we are made a New Creation in Him (2 Cor. 4), and if we are led by the Spirit and Grace sinning IS reduced in our lives (Gal. 5, Tit. 2:11-14).

        So you can ‘do your best’ to ‘keep’ the Old Covenant commands, but in so doing you 1) bring yourself under a curse (Gal. 3:10, James 2:10), 2) are counting the Blood of the New Covenant as an unholy thing (Heb. 10:29), 3) and putting yourself under condemnation, under the ministry of death according to 2 Cor. 3. In your liberty in Christ, you are free to do those things. But why would you?

        You wrote, “Many of the commands of Christ are exact quotes from Torah. So I am inextricably entwined with the law of Moses whether I want to be or not.”

        Which Covenant was in place when Jesus was preaching? Had the Blood of the New Covenant yet been spilled? Jesus preached the Law to those under the Law. He magnified the Law (fulfilling prophecy). He clarified that it was not just the physical actions against the Law with which God was concerned, but the intents of the heart – preaching the Law ‘full preach’, not a watered-down, pick-and-choose version. He said not one jot or tittle would pass until all was fulfilled – and then He fulfilled it.

        How did He fulfill it? By doing the Work of the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and sitting as our Perfect High Priest. He fulfilled the Old covenant, and ushered in, ratified by His Blood, and qualified Himself as our Perfect High Priest of the New Covenant. In that work, the Old Covenant became obsolete; it is not the means by which we obtain righteousness (see more HERE), it is not the means by which we avoid sinning, for in Christ, Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness, the Law was given to stir up sin and the Scriptures say that the power of sin is in the Law! (Rom. 5, 7, 1 Cor. 15:56)

        The Law’s purpose before Christ was to isolate/separate Israel from the world and keep Her an identifiable nation so that Messiah would be recognized when He came. Mission Accomplished. By God, for His glory, because Israel failed over and over and over in the Old Covenant. That’s part of what the Old Covenant was given for – to point out man’s sins to him, not to give him a means by which to avoid sin. The ONLY WAY to get away from sin and its effects are in Christ. The letter to the Romans is all about this.

        You wrote, “And my physical body is still going to die for violating that law….which means my physical body is still ‘under the “punishment” of the law.’ Believing in Christ doesn’t make physical death go away….just spiritual in which eventually the spirit will ‘quicken’ the dead flesh body to rise again into the resurrection. The spirit saves the flesh… ;)”

        Physical death was a result of some violations of the Old Covenant, but physical death obviously occurred before the Laws on Sinai were given, so it could not have been the Law that causes physical death. And you’re right – believing in Christ makes us alive spiritually – but we obviously still suffer the physical death. Why is that?

        Because it is spiritual, not physical death that was the judgement in the Garden. Adam and Eve did not die on the spot when they disobeyed, yet God said “On the day that you shall eat of it (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) you shall surely die.” (Gen. 1:17)

        So the death, if not physical, had to be spiritual. Why the physical death then? I’ve heard some say that physical death is God’s mercy – a way out of this fallen world and the suffering we endure here until His Kingdom comes in fullness. Anyone who has seen a loved one die from injury or disease can see how this could be so.

        That said, the Law has nothing to do with physical death for those who die of natural causes (sickness, disease, old age, etc.) or injury.

        The Law has to do with punishment. Physical punishment for violations of the laws designed to keep Israel isolated from the world. Some forms of punishment were to be put out of the assembly – like if you married a Gentile. Some penalties were far less harsh, like if you ate pork or shellfish – you were simply unclean until evening. Other offenses required blood – either your own or the blood of sacrifices, depending on the offense. If you were an adulterer, murderer, Sabbath-breaker, or rebellious son, you were to be taken out by your community and have rocks thrown at you until you were dead.

        These were not sins that separated men/women from God any more than they were already separated because of the Fall in the Garden:

        13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. (from Rom. 5)

        The penalties of the Law are penalties of the flesh (just as are the blessings – fleshly blessings, and only if the Law is obeyed completely as we saw above), not eternal consequences. The eternal consequence for sin was already determined at the Fall. The penalty? Spiritual death. The penalty for sin was dealt with where? By obedience to laws? No. At the Cross. The penalty? Death. By Christ on our behalf so that He could, by the power of the Work of the Cross and His Resurrection give us forgiveness for all of our sins, give us the gift of His righteousness (Rom. 5:19, 2 Cor. 5:21), New Life, and seal us with His Holy Spirit – spiritual LIFE. And yes! In THAT we have the hope – the confident expectation – of the resurrection of our physical bodies!

        You wrote, “Malachi 4
        4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

        “And just to tie this in:

        “Revelation 12
        17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

        You’re trying to define God’s commands given at Sinai (Malachi) as the same commands given by God after the Cross (Revelation) – which enables the testimony of Jesus Christ. What are God’s commands after the Cross?

        23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (from 1 Jn. 3)

        What is the testimony of Christ? That He died, Rose, Ascended, and sits as our Perfect High Priest. We have New Life, the Holy Spirit, and Rest in Him. That is our testimony. And because of those truths – He changes us. He produces His Fruit (Love) in and through us. And if we are loving one another, we are doing not only no harm (as the Law required), but serving sacrificially others in love to bring others to Him (as only the New Covenant can, because of the New Life that it brings).

        You also wrote, “What happens to that believer in Christ? Are there any salvational consequences for keeping relevant parts of Mosaic Law that apply to them in this day and age? If one is in Christ, let’s say choosing to no longer eat pig specifically for the purpose of keeping a dietary law (that according to you is abolished), what’s going to happen?”

        As examined above, what are the penalties for breaking the Law? Temporal or eternal? To not be cursed by the Law or have wrath brought upon you by the Law, what MUST you do according to Scripture? What are the blessings for keeping the Law? Are they temporal or eternal? In order to obtain those blessings, what MUST you do according to Scripture?

        How do Christians obtain blessings according to Scripture?

        By obedience to the Laws given at Sinai or by partaking in the Promises of God by faith in Christ?

        Great comments, MR. Let me leave you with this:

        1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (from Heb. 12)

        Grace and peace to you as you continue to hash this all out, bro! Fix your eyes on Christ – HE is the perfecter of your faith \o/!

      • By the way, Mountain Recluse, on this Memorial Day . . . Thank you for your service to our country, Marine!

        -JGIG

  3. Ah, Ephesians 2:14-16. Such a simple verse, disproving anything the HRM may say, and yet overlooked by so many.

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