We have this idea in the church. This idea is that, once we believe, we are set free from the law. The law no longer has a hold on us, and we are thus no longer under the law of Moses. The problem comes in when you think clearly about it. What problem? It’s ALWAYS about sin. Everything is always about sin.
Paul’s letters to me, like to most people in the church throughout the ages (i.e. the last 1700 years) has always been very difficult to understand. He seems to walk down the road like a drunken sailor, wallowing from one side of the road to the other. From “We don’t need the law” to “we do need the law”. From “The law has been nailed to the cross” to “Keep the law”. From “We are no longer under the law” to “we establish the law”. Paul, make up your mind, man. What are you really saying?
Well, these were my thoughts until very recently. The moment I understood the impossible gospel (please read booklet CFT2 for a piece on the impossible gospel – link to the right), and started reading Paul’s letters with that in mind, things started to (slowly) make sense, bit by bit, one verse at a time.
Paul is difficult to understand for a number of reasons. However, there is one thing, which makes it incredibly dangerous to quote verses out of context with Paul, more so than any other scripture author. He reasons in a very specific way. He will start out making a point, and he will lean so far towards that point, that he almost seems anti-“everything else”. Lets take his grace teachings, for example. He’ll make a point that we are under grace, but he’ll push the point so hard and far, that it seems as if he is completely anti-law, and then he’ll snap back to reality, to just bring balance to it all again, by saying something like:
Rom 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Torah but under favour? Let it not be!
Rom 3:31 Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.
This one thing that he does, makes it dangerous to quote a single verse out of context, when it comes to Paul. Why? Because most of his letters, when taken verse by verse, can mean completely the opposite of what he wants to bring across.
What few realise is that Paul spent a tremendous amount of time arguing the “Gospel of the Circumcision”, for lack of a better term. These guys were pharisees that came from Judea, that taught the brothers that they first have to be circumcised, and become Jewish proselytes, before they can have salvation. Salvation, according to them, lay in being Jewish, and keeping the laws of Moses (Torah). No faith, no trust in YHWH, nothing, just works. Because this was Paul’s primary audience, he HAD to preach a primarily grace focussed message. He had to drive the point home, that we are saved by grace, through faith, and “not of works, lest anyone should boast”. Paul had to make a strong case about grace being the only means to salvation, because he was arguing against those who were teachings salvation by works.
Lets look at Romans 6:15-23 in a bit more detail. It truly is a remarkable piece of scripture.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Torah but under favour? Let it not be!
16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?
17 But thanks to Elohim that you were servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
18 And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness.
19 I speak as a man, because of the weakness of your flesh. For even as you did present your members as servants of uncleanness, and of lawlessness resulting in lawlessness, so now present your members as servants of righteousness resulting in set-apartness.
20 For when you were servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit, therefore, were you having then, over which you are now ashamed? For the end thereof is death.
22 But now, having been set free from sin, and having become servants of Elohim, you have your fruit resulting in set-apartness, and the end, everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the favourable gift of Elohim is everlasting life in Messiah יהושע our Master.
Paul here, starts off by bringing us back to the centre of the road again. He brings us back to balance again by stating that we must not sin, in verse 15. He then follows with a teaching about slavery. He says that the one you obey, becomes your master, and you its slave. Either you obey sin, and you are its slave unto death, or you obey Father YHWH, unto righteousness.
What is righteousness? Well, that’s pretty easy, thanks to John. John defines righteousness as doing what is right (1 John 3:7).
But then Paul continues in verse 17, stating that we were servants of sin, and although we did not know what to obey, we obeyed what we were entrusted with. And then, we were set free from sin (by the grace of our Saviour) and became slaves of righteousness.
Now, he goes on by saying that we, while we were sinners, presented ourselves as slaves to uncleanness and lawlessness (rebellious sin – lawlessness doesn’t refer to a single sin, but rather sin that you refuse to stop doing, partly because of rebellion against Father), we must now (after we are no longer sinners) present ourselves as slaves to righteousness, and that this results in holiness.
Verses 20 – 23 speaks of the fruit that this bears. First we bore fruit that we should’ve been ashamed of, which results in death, while we now bear fruit that results in holiness, which results in everlasting life in the end.
Paul ends off with making a statement that should shock us all to the core, but we interpret it to be something good. We, the church, interpret this as being set free from this, by the blood of Jesus, and this is certainly true. However, we stop there. What Paul is saying is taken further than being set free by the blood of Jesus. He is talking about our works that still might produce death if we do not change, and bear fruit unto life. We have to bear fruit unto life, and Paul says that this fruit is being obedient. What should we be obedient to? Father’s commands, as Yeshua clearly says:
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.
Beloved friend, do not be deceived by our traditions, incorrect interpretations and other lies and deceit that’s been handed down from generation to generation. The root of these things we have been taught, is Satan. We, the church, must wake up and realise that we have been taught error. We must wake up and realise that we have inherited lies and other worthless things, in which there is no profit (Jer 16:19).
Please ask yourself this question. What is it really about for you? Why are you rebelling to Father’s word? Which of His commandments are so bad for you, that you openly rebel against it? Which of His commandments are so difficult to keep that you refuse to be lead by them? Which of His commands are so complicated that you refuse to obey? What is it really about for you? Do you not realise that your eternal soul depends on this?! Stop messing around and leave your rebellion behind you. Do yourself the favour, and start obeying your Father, or it might be too late!