The Meaning of “Under The Law” in Rom 6.14

This term is used by Paul to illustrate several concepts. These concepts are not understood by most believers as they read the Renewed Covenant, and it leads to a great deal of misunderstanding. The word “law” is “Torah” in Hebrew and “nomos” in Greek, and it means “teaching, guidance, and instruction.” Whenever one says “law” say “teaching or instruction” and you will get a clearer meaning. The “law” or teaching (Torah) has two aspects to it. First, it has an Educational role, it is our instructor. It tells us what sin is (Rom 3.20) and defines it. It tells us God’s way of life and his desire for us to follow it. It is his good and perfect will, not only by the written commandments, statutes, judgments, and laws, but by what it implies in the stories and historical accounts.

The second aspect is the Judicial. The Torah acts as our custodian or tutor (Gal 3.23-29) until we come to faith in Yeshua. By identifying us as sinners and demanding the death penalty, the law holds us in “custody or under indictment” until our death. Knowledge of the law and its high standards makes us even more aware of our responsibility and leaves us with no excuse before God (Rom 1.18-32). When we come to Yeshua by faith and we are born again, the law’s role holding us in custody or under indictment is abolished, or “done away with.” The Judicial role has no power over us. When Paul uses this term in relation to salvation, he is saying that the Judicial or custodial aspect of the law that holds us under indictment till death has been done away with, and we are not under its condemnation. God has declared us “not guilty” and the law under the judicial aspect cannot demand our death anymore. The record of our sins has been blotted out and the curse of the law (death) has been removed.

However, we remain under the Educational aspect of the law (Torah). Paul says it best in 2 Tim 3.16-17 where he says, “All Scripture (the only scripture that existed when Paul wrote this was the Tanak, meaning the Torah, Prophets and the Writings from Genesis to Malachi) is inspired by God and profitable for teaching (the meaning of Torah), for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (as defined by the Torah); that the man of God may be adequately equipped for every good work (Hebrew “mitzvah” meaning the commandments).” It is how a believer walks and how we come to know God.

So, in the “new” testament you will see that we are no longer “under the law” but under grace, and similar phrases like that. It is not as black and white as Replacement Theology assemblies like to present it. Being no longer “under the law” is a theological statement by Paul that he uses to explain that the Torah cannot condemn us anymore. We are not under arrest or indictment, and we are not in “custody” as far as the Judicial aspect is concerned. We are not under a system of “works righteousness (Rom 9.30-33).” We have “died” to ourselves and are “alive” to the will of God in his Torah, as it applies. We are not going to be condemned for our sins because we are “dead” and the “tutor or custodian” aspect of the law has no authority over us anymore

To illustrate this, modern law does the same thing. If a man murders someone, then that man dies, there is nothing that the Criminal Justice system can do to enforce its just punishment upon the murderer. When a sinner, deserving death, dies to himself and becomes born again by putting his trust in Yeshua, then the Torah’s just punishments (death) cannot be enforced on him. This aspect involves the grace of God. The sinner who now is “born from above” and cleansed by the sacrifice of Yeshua and filled with the spirit of God, is called to be “holy” or have a kedusha and separate from the world. We are changed and have a new nature. If his nature is in us we will want to walk in the Torah. We will want to keep the Sabbath and eat foods that are permissible. We will want to obey the commandments as they apply to each person, to Jewish believers and non-Jewish believers. In other words, we have a new “heart” which means new desires, intentions, and thoughts (Jer 31.31-34). We will want to walk in the Torah because that was Yeshua’s nature. If his nature is in us, we will want to keep the commandments, not argue against them. To “keep” or “observe” the commandments means to incorporate into our lives the things of God, and stay true to the blueprint God has given in his word by doing specific things, at specific places, by specific people, at specific times.

So, when Paul says we are “not under the law” it means all the above things, not that we don’t keep his commandments at all. There is one “source” in the spiritual world that would tell us we don’t have to keep God’s commandments and would give us that sort of counsel. Ha Satan (the adversary) knows we have all sinned and deserve death and he wants it to stay that way. If you are reading this and you are an unbeliever, you remain under arrest and indictment, awaiting your final appearance before God and condemnation. The Judicial aspect of the Torah remains in effect. But once a believer, you are no longer “under the law” or under arrest or indictment and are free from condemnation. You are under the educational aspect of the law which Paul described as holy, righteous, and good in Rom 7.12. It is the will of God for your life and how to walk in faith (Jam 2.14-26).

Posted in All Teachings, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, The Temple, Tying into the New Testament

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