We are continuing our series on Paul’s view of the Torah and how many of the things he said are misinterpreted. We are going to pick up in Rom 5.12-16 where Paul says that sin has been in the world since Adam, our federal head. The word “sin” should be understood as the “sin nature” so the “sin nature” was in the world. That is why people died before the Torah was given at Mount Sinai, and sin reigned from Adam to Moses (v 14). How many sins does it take to “die?” It takes “one”, and Gen 2.17 says in Hebrew, “in dying (spiritually) you shall die (physically).” But with grace (chen) how many sins can you have? You can have “many” (v 16) or a multitude of sins. So, Adams “gift” of “one sin” caused death. Yeshua’s “gift” of “grace” for a multitude of sins gives life. Rom 5.17-21 says that the Torah came and revealed sin, but where sin was “many”, grace (chen) abounded all the more. When did “grace” begin? With the first sin. Then sin reigned in death, but “chen” (grace) reigning to eternal life through Yeshua. What people thought wasn’t a sin turned out to be sin when the Torah came, so it “increased” the knowledge of it because it was defined now (once the Torah came).
Here is an example. Why did Josiah tear his clothes when he heard the Torah read in 2 Kings 22.11? They didn’t know they were supposed to do many things in the Torah. So, the wrath of God was upon them for not doing what they were commanded to do (2 Kings 22.13). The Torah came that the transgression might increase, which means once it was defined, the people became aware that they were sinning (Rom 5.20). Nobody will be able to say “I didn’t know” as an excuse before God (Rom 1.18-20).
Rom 6.14 makes it look like we have nothing to do with the Torah, but the sin problem is handed down. What God gives you whenever you believe through faith is grace. It is an “escape damnation” card forever. You are not under the penalty of the Torah, and that is what “not under the law” means in this verse. Let’s look at a concept that is not taught in Christianity, and it is called the “Two Aspects of the Torah.”
In the first aspect, the Torah is a “custodian” (judicial role) but only until you come by faith to Yeshua. By identifying us as sinners, it demands punishment for our sins. It holds us in “custody” or we are “under arrest.” However, when we come to salvation, the Torah’s role as “custodian” of those “under arrest” is abolished. The Torah no longer demands our death because God (the Judge) has declared us “not guilty.” It no longer can declare us transgressors because the record of our sins has been “blotted out” and the curse of the law (death) has been removed (Gal 3.12). We are no longer “under arrest” and this is not something we have earned, it is by grace.
The second aspect is the Torah now becomes our instructor (educative role) revealing to us God’s way of life, and what he desires us to follow. It tells us of the good and perfect will of God, not only explicitly through the commandments, statutes, judgments and laws, but also implicitly through the historical stories. The term “under the law” us “upo nomon” meaning a subjection to the system which results from perverting the Torah into a legalistic system of works righteousness. So, Rom 6.15-23 discussed the question “Should we sin because we are not under arrest or under the penalty of the Torah? The answer is “no.” We have been set free in order to be slaves to righteousness now.
In Rom 7.1-13, we learn that the Torah teaches that when a husband dies, the wife is free from the law concerning her husband. Likewise, when we believed we are free from the “old nature” which is our “dead husband” or spouse. The Torah is like a marriage counselor that tells us how to deal with the old nature, or dead spouse. When we sin, we are listening to the old spouse, but we don’t belong to them anymore. It is like being divorced. When we remarry, we have a new spouse, the new nature in Yeshua, and we shouldn’t listen to the “old spouse” anymore. That relationship is dead. When we do, our new spouse isn’t going to like it because there is something wrong, and the “marriage counselor” (the Torah) will tell us what to do. Paul studied Torah (v 10) because someone told him he could have life if he lived it. What he found out was the Torah convicted him of sin. Remember, it was his “custodian” until he became a believer. The Torah showed him he was dead. That is the first aspect of the Torah (judicial role). The sin nature was aroused (v 11) and Paul realized that the Torah was holy, righteous and good (v 12). There is nothing in these verses that we have discussed where Paul attacks the Torah. Sin begins to bother you (v 13) and the Torah defines sin. What you didn’t care about now bothers you. That is how the Torah is a good thing.
Now some will say “I don’t need the Torah, the Holy Spirit convinces me of what sin is.” But, the Torah is the defining element of what the Holy Spirit will use convict you. The Torah and the Holy Spirit go together. If you say the Holy Spirit convicts you, but you don’t keep the Torah in what applies to you because you think it has been “done away with”, you won’t know what the Holy Spirit is convicting you of and it is all in your own heart and mind, with your own definitions. The Holy Spirit inspired the Torah, so they go together. Without the Torah, you are defining what sin is yourself.
Rom 7.14 says that the Torah is spiritual, but there are those who would not agree. The Torah is like a counselor that says that the believer’s marriage to the old nature is over. The believer must now listen to the new spouse (Yeshua) who uses the counselor (the Torah) through the Holy Spirit to counsel, lead and guide us. This comes by an inner prompting in the heart. We want to to good (Rom 7.15) but we don’t do it. We know something is wrong, but we do it anyway. We are listening to “two spouses.” We agree in our heart that the Torah is good, but the old spouse (old nature) is fighting us in our flesh. In Rom 7.16-25, Paul says he is stressed out because of this battle. The “body of this death” is referring to the practice of having a dead body chained to you and it decays on you, killing you. So, on one hand, in his heart (mind, soul, spirit are synonymous terms) where doctrine is stored he is serving the Torah, but on the other hand his flesh (the old spouse) there is the Torah of the old nature.
We will pick up in Part 14 here in Rom 8, but we are going to lay down some foundational truths first. Then we are going to develop the teaching of “no condemnation.”