In Rom 3.21 Paul says that righteousness has been revealed apart from the Torah, and it has been revealed in Yeshua. It is witnessed by the Law (Torah/Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah), the Two Witnesses. Now, two witnesses are present in a Jewish wedding, and this is seen in the Scriptures. Moses brought the people to Sinai to meet God, and Elijah brought the Messiah to the people in Yochanon Ha Matvil, who came in the spirit (intent, essence, purpose) of Elijah. In the Birth-pains, two witnesses will appear in the spirit and power of Moses and Elijah, teaching the Torah and the Prophets. Rom 3.22-24 talks about the righteousness of God through the faith “of” Yeshua. All of this was decided before the world began. Everyone has sinned, but we are justified as a gift by his grace (chen) and being redeemed (regain possession of) through Yeshua. Rom 3.25 teaches that God displayed Yeshua publically as a “kipporet” (Hebrew) or “hilasterion” (hilarious comes from this word) in Greek. That word was translated “mercy seat” in English. It goes on to say that this was done “in his blood through faith to demonstrate his righteousness because in the forbearance (patient self control in exercising a legal right) of God he passed over the sins previously committed (those before the cross).” In other words, here is what Paul is saying. All of this was decided before the world was ever created. We mentioned earlier that God did not have a Plan A or B, he had one plan from the beginning. It was decided what Yeshua would do and what the Father would do, and what the Spirit would do. God placed Yeshua before him on the cross as a “kipporet” or mercy seat, like what sat on top of the Ark of the Covenant. The Greek word for “mercy seat” is “hilasterion” and it means that God was “hilariously” satisfied, with “grace bursting forth.”
Sin demanded the death penalty, and that was what God said in Gen 2.17. This death not only refers to a physical death, but spiritual death as well. In Hebrew that verse says, “in dying you shall die.” We were lost, along with everyone else who has ever lived. The Lord had to redeem us if any of us were going to “live.” God, having confidence (emunah) in Yeshua that he would finish the work he was sent to do, passed over the death penalty (spiritually lost forever) for those who had emunah before Yeshua came, from Adam to Yeshua. Satan was probably accusing God (that’s what he does) of lying when God said “in dying you will die” during all the years leading up to Yeshua. You can see why he would have challenged the integrity of the Lord. God “passed over” the sins those who were his through faith, like Adam, Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, David and so on. Yeshua was subjected to the justice of man and was murdered. But, he is resurrected and God is vindicated for doing what he did. All those he “passed over” were now redeemed and his plan was perfect. The “proof” of all of this is in the blood of Yeshua. God was righteous all along in letting “eternal death pass over” those who had faith in him before Yeshua. This silenced Satan’s accusation’s before God. God looks through Yeshua as the mercy seat on our behalf and “hilariously” dispenses “chen” (grace) to us.
As a result, Rom 3.26-27 says we have no reason to boast because it all comes by faith, and that comes from God. It is all the work of God. Does this come through a “law (rule, system) of works?” No, but it does come by the “law (rule, system) of emunah (faith).” Rom 3.28 says that man has always been justified by faith apart from works (of the Torah). You can have a person who does the commandments, like in Isa 1.10-15, but it was not in faith so it doesn’t save him. Rom 3.29-30 refutes a common teaching found today called the “Plural Covenant” or “Dual Covenant.” This teaches that the Jews have the Torah and that makes them right with God, and they don’t need Yeshua. On the other hand, the non-Jews need Yeshua. So, there is one covenant for Jews and another for non-Jews. But, this is in error. Yeshua came for Jews and non-Jews. Redemption is provided by the “chen” (grace) of God through emunah (faith).
A famous TV preacher named John Hagee, known as being one of the top 10 spokesmen for Pentecostals has taught this, for example. It is also known as “Christian Zionism.” He says, “Trying to convert Jews is a waste of time. Jews already have a covenant with God.” He goes on to say, “I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the Word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption” (Houston Chronicle, April 30, 1988). Now, Jews have a role to fill, and non-Jews have a role to fill, and they compliment each other. But, each must come to the Lord in faith believing that Yeshua performed and completed his redemptive work. That is what Paul is saying in v 29-30. So, Paul says in Rom 3.31, “do we nullify the Torah through Faith?” No, faith establishes the Torah and this is a good thing.
Now, let’s go down to Rom 4.13-15. The promise to Abraham was not through the Torah because it wasn’t written yet. So, the promise is separate from the Torah. The promise, being separate, is through emunah (faith) so it is not a Torah issue. So, the “Torah brings about wrath” because it defines sin. Paul goes on to say that where there is no Torah, neither is there a violation, which means there is “no knowledge of a violation.” It’s like when a child does something, and what he does is wrong but he didn’t know it at the time he did it. They had no “knowledge of a violation.” But when the Parents give him instruction about what they did, the child will now have what they did “defined.” People want to do away with the instruction of the Lord called the Torah because it is too “binding and too restraining.” They say it doesn’t allow the “Spirit to flow”, etc. There is a story of some children who would not play on an open playground, and they would huddle together. But once a fence was put up, they felt secure and played. These verses simply say that the Torah defined sin and if you transgressed the commandment what would happen. That is not a bad thing either, that is a good thing. If it didn’t, and there was no knowledge that there was a transgression, you would still suffer the consequences but you wouldn’t know why.
We will pick up in Rom 5.12-16 in Part 13.