Tuesday, November 4, 2014

From the Twitterverse: "Paul said..."

When we announced on Twitter the new blog for The Refiner's Fire, it quickly brought the following 4 comments from the same individual:

@TheRefinersFire:  Yeshua condemned sin in flesh, so the righteous decree in the law might b fulfilled within us. Romans 8 speaks 2 your blog.

@TheRefinersFire:  Jesus did not abolish the law but He gave us the Holy Spirit to discern where the law weakened by the flesh has failed.

@TheRefinersFire:  In other words sacrificial law has been fulfilled..now were compelled by love & faith 2 live in His Holy Spirit & example.

@TheRefinersFire:  This includes Mosaic law, proverbial law, and the greatest commandment of all. In addition, he added to love your enemies.


So, 140 characters at a time, this person was clearly trying to say that "Torah was replaced by the Holy Spirit".  We answered "Thank you for you comments", but in more detail I will say here: I'm sorry, but this is typical Christian schmaltz!

These comments are really nothing but "Paul said....", with the typical Christian zero-understanding of what Paul said! Zero. Zilch. Nada.

But let's talk about this since it is so confusing.

Romans 8 is very often used to "explain away" the need to actually obey God.  (I truly don't understand this reasoning. Why would one NOT want to be obedient to God?  And if you did want to be obedient, wouldn't you want to know how you should behave to be obedient? But I digress.)  Does Romans 8 actually say that "...because you have the Holy Spirit, you actually don't need to obey Torah any more"? The opening verses of Romans 8 (out of context) sure sound like it! Here's the first 10 verses from the AENT:

8:1 There is therefore no condemnation to them who in Y’shua the Mashiyach walk not after the flesh. 2. For the Torah of the Spirit of Life, which is in Y’shua the Mashiyach, has emancipated you from the instruction of sin and death. 3. Therefore, as Torah was impotent through the weakness of the flesh, Elohim sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin; that He might, in his flesh, condemn sin; 4. So that the righteousness of Torah might be fulfilled in us, since it is not in the flesh that we walk, but in the Spirit. 5. For they who are in the flesh recall to mind the things of the flesh: and they who are of the Spirit do recall to the mind the things of the Spirit. 6. For minding the things of the flesh is death; but minding the things of the Spirit is life and peace. 7. Because minding the things of the flesh is enmity towards Elohim: for it does not subject itself to the Torah of Elohim, because it is not possible. 8. And they who are in the flesh cannot please Elohim. 9. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit; if the Spirit of Elohim truly dwells in you. And if in anyone there is not the Spirit of Mashiyach, he is none of his. 10. But if Mashiyach is in you, the body is dead in regard to sin; and the Spirit is alive in regard to righteousness.

But to whom is Paul writing? Ever think to ask that? Was he addressing modern "Christians" who deny everything YHWH & Y'shua taught, in favor of some "Torahless Messiah" named "Jesus"? Or was he addressing Gentiles of his day who were first to receive the gift of eternal life, brought to all (Jew and Gentile alike)?  The answer is in Romans 1:

1:1. PAUL, a servant of Y’shua the Mashiyach, called and sent and separated to the Good News of Elohim. 2. (That) He (Elohim) had before promised, by His prophets, in the Set Apart Scriptures, 3. Concerning his Son who was born in the flesh, of seed of the house of Dawid, 4. And was made known as the Son of Elohim by power, and by the Ruach haKodesh, who arose from the dead, Y’shua the Mashiyach, our Master, 5. By whom we have received grace and a mission among all the Gentiles to the end that they may obey the faith in His Name; 6. Among whom, you also are called by Y’shua the Mashiyach; 7. To all those who are at Rome, beloved of Elohim, called and sanctified: Peace and grace be with you, from Elohim our Father, and from our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach. (AENT)

So let's see who these Gentiles were:

a. Romans. (Verse 7)
b. They who chose to "obey the faith in His Name". (Verse 5)
c. Those "called and sanctified". (Verse 7)

So Paul was writing to Romans (gentiles) who had heard of and accepted that the Messiah came to ALL, should they only "obey the faith in His Name" and be "called and sanctified".  Remember, Roman gentiles lived under ALL SORTS of gods!  They had to actually work hard to ferret out the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob from the riff-raff!

So what is "faith in His Name"?  It is that Y'shua's very name means "YHWH is salvation".  Y'shua actually tells us in John 17:2-3 that to obtain eternal life we must "know YHWH and know the Messiah"!  To "know" YHWH most certainly does not include going about your daily lives constantly sinning and denying His instructions for us to live on earth then expecting to be blessed!

And what does it mean to be "called and sanctified"?  (This is your opportunity to cite from Romans 8!) Paul tells the Romans in Chapter 8, that while they had heard that Torah was impotent to cover their sins because it had only become "rules" which, when broken, condemned you, Y'shua's atoning death for you covers you - provided you actually let the Holy Spirit into your mind/body and walk in Torah instead of the flesh (Romans 8:8) - and you not continue to sin intentionally!  To be "sanctified" means you are set apart for a sacred purpose, free from the influence of sin!  How can you be "free from sin" if you continue to sin?  Paul was not saying "you can't sin if only you believe"!  No!  He was saying that your obedience becomes a thing of the heart when you accept the Holy Spirit, and not just as "rules" forced on you by the authorities!  Paul was not denying Torah!  He was explaining why it is the only thing which makes you righteous (Romans 8:4)! And if "minding the things of the flesh is death; but minding the things of the Spirit is life and peace" (8:6), then in your mind, what is "minding the things of the flesh" if not your complete and utter disobedience to YHWH's rules for living and instead doing what you want 'cause it feels good?  If you are "called and sanctified", i.e. those to whom Paul was writing, then should you not WANT to know and obey YHWH?

Paul actually quotes the Hebrew "Old Testament" (Tanakh) over 80 times in this Letter to the Romans.  Does this sound like he would teach that Torah was "fulfilled" or "replaced by the Holy Spirit"?  Without understanding the context of Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible), Neviim (Prophets) and Ketuvim (writings) from which Paul quotes, it is impossible to thoroughly comprehend his teachings! In fact, Paul never heard the words "Old Testament" in his lifetime, nor would he ever refer to the Word of YHWH - which was all he knew - as "abolished" or "no longer applicable"!

You said "Jesus did not abolish the law but He gave us the Holy Spirit to discern where the law weakened by the flesh has failed".  Perhaps now you can see what nonsense this is.  If "Jesus did not abolish the law", then what does the last part of your comment even mean?  Paul was only saying, for example, that while the rote sacrifice of animals did not fully provide for us because our flesh is weak, Y'shua's sacrifice did cover us for such weakness, but only to that point where we accepted what His substitutionary death provided for usIf we continue to sin, we are no longer covered!  See Hebrews 10:26 "For if a man sin voluntarily after he has received a knowledge of the truth, there is no longer a sacrifice which may be offered for sins..."  You seem to be saying "Jesus did not abolish the Law, but I don't  have to follow it, and my sins are covered".   Well, your INADVERTENT sins ARE covered! But this is the same as it always was!  Even before Y'shua, the obedient to YHWH were only covered for accidental/unintentional sin!  We have ALWAYS been expected to try hard to lead a sinless life!  And need I define for you what "sin" is?

So, no, please don't quote Romans 8 and try to tell us that the "Torah was fulfilled in the Messiah", and then say we only need to "live in His Holy Spirit & example" when you clearly don't understand that His Holy Spirit and example IS TORAH!  And you clearly don't know Y'shua! Please, go find out who Paul was and what he actually taught!

2 comments:

  1. Excellent article, Liam! You and I have, through the years, heard the same ol' thing, over and over: "We're under grace; we're no longer under the Law. Jesus abolished all that Old Testament stuff at the cross!"

    Little do people like this realize that grace has ALWAYS been around! It was GRACE that allowed Adam and Eve to continue living - albeit, outside the Garden. It was GRACE that caused Noah and his family to survive the Flood. On and on, example after example. And the best one: Grace was the reason YHWH sent us Y'shua - and it was GRACE that caused Y'shua to understand WHO HE WAS and to be willing to offer Himself as our Final SIN Offering!

    Y'shua never said He came to bring a new religion! He came to do the following:

    Luke 4: 43 "But he (Yeshua/Jesus) said, "I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."

    Luke 8: 1. And it happened after these things that Y'shua was going around in the cities and in the villages and was preaching and declaring the Kingdom of Elohim.

    Acts 28: 23 "From morning till evening the Apostle Paul explained and declared the Kingdom of God and tried to convince people about Yeshua from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."

    Acts 24: 14. But this indeed I (Paul) acknowledge, that in that same doctrine of which they speak, I do serve the Elohim of my fathers, believing all the things written in Torah and in the prophets.

    So, while His death, burial, and resurrection are an important part of the Good News, it's not the whole story! God isn't just in the business of "saving" people. As Creator and law giver, He is in the business of teaching us how to be good subjects in His Kingdom to come! If "Jesus abolished Torah at the cross" then why was EVERY believer completely Torah observant for one hundred years after Yeshua's death, including the Apostle Paul who was "caught" being Torah observant 29 years after Yeshua's death (Acts 21:23-24)! Was Paul a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing another; or were his teachings, perhaps, misunderstood?

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  2. I love this article and will use it when given the opportunity. This is good witnessing tool.

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