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If you find the truth, will you believe it?

If any man desires to do God's will, he will have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from myself and on my own accord.  John 7:17 

 

UNDER THE

LAW/UNDER

GRACE

“For sin shall not have dominion over you:   for you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).  If you are still sinning are you under grace?  The Apostle Peter cautions us that there “are some things hard to be understood” in the writings of Paul “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).  Not only are Paul’s writings misunderstood but “also other scriptures” are misunderstood and perverted by many in the world today.  There may be no other verse of scripture that Paul wrote that is more misunderstood and has been perverted more than that which is stated in Romans 6:14.

Is Paul doing away with the Ten Commandment Law when he writes “for ye are not under the law?"  If he is, and that is exactly what many contend, then he is contradicting what he has stated earlier and what he states later in the book of Romans.  “Do we then make void [invalidate, to annul] the law [the Ten Commandment Law] through faith?  Elohim forbid:  yea, we establish [to place on a firm basis] the law [the Ten Commandment Law]” (Romans 3:31, emphasis added).  “Wherefore the law [the Ten Commandment Law] is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good” (Romans 7:12).  It is obvious from what Paul has said in these two verses that he is not saying that the law (the Ten Commandment Law) has been done away with.  In fact he says just the opposite and that the law is established (placed on a firm basis).  So if Paul is not doing away with the law, what is he saying when he says “for ye are not under the law?"

Let us read Romans 8:2-3.  “For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yahushua {Jesus Christ] hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law (the Ten Commandment Law) could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh [our inherited, fallen, human nature], Elohim sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh [our inherited, fallen, human nature], and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh [our inherited, fallen, human nature].”  If you look at the genealogy of Yahushua you will see what His nature was like and what attributes or weaknesses He inherited from His ancestors.  See Matthew 1:1-16.  Some of the characteristics that Yahushua's ancesters possessed are incest, lust, covet, adultery and murder and these flaws were passed down to Yahushua through His mother who was not immaculately conceived as some would contend.

In Romans 8:2, Paul brings to light two other laws besides the Ten Commandment Law – “the law of the Spirit of life in the Messiah Yahushua" and “the law of sin and death."  In Romans 8:3, Paul talks about “the law” which is the Ten Commandment Law.  There are three laws being discussed in the book of Romans, and we need to make sure we know which one we are talking about or else we will misunderstand what he is saying and come to a wrong conclusion.

How do we know that the law mentioned in Romans 8:3 is the Ten Commandment Law?  Let us read Romans 7:7.  “What shall we say then? Is the law sin?  Elohim forbid.  Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law:  for I had not known lust, except the law [the Ten Commandment Law] had said, Thou shalt not covet.”  Paul is citing the tenth Commandment of the Law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. 

The Ten Commandment Law governs the nature of man and when that law is violated it is called sin.  There are many laws in the world in which we live.  For those who have studied math and the sciences, you know that there are a multitude of laws.  And while there are many laws in the sciences, there are laws pertaining to our spiritual, moral and physical being.  When those laws are disregarded or violated bad things can happen to us.  We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).  When the laws of physics are violated, we can have catastrophic results as seen in an atomic or hydrogen bomb exploding.  The laws of physics are intentionally violated in order to obtain that result.

The laws we know about in the area of physics, for instance, came to be understood as we observed and experimented.  These laws explain to us how things operate or function in the world in which we live.  By laws we define how things operate.  The relationship of cause and effect.  We discover how Elohim made things to function when He brought things into existence from nothing.  The volume of our understanding of those laws has greatly increased over the last century.

In Romans chapters 6, 7, and 8, Paul discusses three separate laws and how they function in our being.  1) The Ten Commandment Law, 2) “the law of the Spirit of life in the Messiah Yahushua," and 3) “the law of sin and death."

We have already seen that the Ten Commandment Law was described by Paul to be "holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12).  We know that “sin is the transgression [or violation] of the law [the Ten Commandment Law]” (1 John 3:4, emphasis added).  By definition transgression means to “break a rule or law” (Webster’s Dictionary).  Whether this is done intentionally or through ignorance, if you transgress a law whether in nature or morally you are breaking a law or rule and there are results that follow; sometimes with disastrous results.  And when it pertains to the moral law as defined in the Ten Commandments, it is described as sin even if done through ignorance.

As we have seen the results when we violate the laws of physic, so we can see what are the results of violating Elohim’s moral laws, the Ten Commandments.  Initially when Adam and Eve sinned, or violated Elohim’s law, they became aware that they were naked, and when Elohim came to visit them they attempted to hide from Him whereas before they were glad to meet Him.  Fear came to Adam and Eve as the result of sin and Who they once loved to meet, they now found that they were afraid of Him.  It was not something Elohim had done to cause them to fear, but it resulted from their having sinned or disobeyed Elohim.  When my children were old enough to be left alone at home while my wife and I went shopping, we knew instantly by their reception or lack of it when we returned that something was amiss or that everything was alright.  Soon Abel was killed by Cain, and it has been downhill ever since with the degradation of mankind.  We know that great changes occurred on this planet and in the nature of man after Adam sinned.  As a result of Adam’s disregard of Elohim’s law, death came upon man just as Elohim had said it would.  But what else took place as a result of Adam’s sin?

Many proclaim that we are made in the image and likeness of Elohim.  Genesis 1:26 tells us that that is how Elohim created man in the beginning.  That Elohim created man in His image and His likeness.  But what about after sin?  “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his [Adam’s] own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth” (Genesis 5:3)  There were changes in the nature of man as a result of Adam’s sin which were passed on to his offspring and eventually have found their way down to us.  Adam could not pass on to his children what he had lost and no longer possessed.

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:  among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:2-3, emphasis added).  We are born with propensities (natural dispositions or tendencies) to evil that have been passed down to us through our ancestors.

Just as we do not have to plant weeds in our garden, and they just pop up on their own, so in our lives we do not have to plant things that are bad.  We cannot blame everything on our environment for our behavior. Those tendencies are there from conception and vary with individuals and are eventually manifested in our lives.

In Romans 7, Paul describes his observations of what it is like because of that inherited fallen nature we have received through Adam and our own ancestors.

“For we know that the law [the Ten Commandments] is spiritual:  but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For that which I do I allow not:  for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law [the Ten Commandments] that it is good.  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin [that inherited, fallen, human nature] that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:  for to will is present with me:  but how to perform that which is good I find not.  For the good that I would I do not:  but the evil which I would not, that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  I find then a law [‘the law of sin and death’], that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God [the Ten Commandments] after the inward man:  but I see another law [‘the law of sin and death’] in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin [‘the law of sin and death’] which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:14-24).

Maybe you have come to this point in your life where you just wanted to throw up your arms and yell at the top of your lungs, “O wretched man that I am!”  And maybe you even added “Who shall save me from the body of this death?”  I believe that many who come to this point in their lives end it rather than go on living.  This is the state I found myself in before I went to see a dear friend of mine who for four hours shared with me what he had discovered in the Bible.  This is the condition of humanity (quilt) as the result of the violation of the moral laws of Elohim and which has been passed down through each succeeding generation to us living today and is fortified or cultivated in our own lives.

Peter told Yahushua:  “Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended.  Yahushua said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice” (Matthew 26:33, 34).  A little later Yahushua came to His sleeping disciples and said to them “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:  the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41, emphasis added).  Peter loved Yahushua, and yet he ended up denying His Savior in spite of what he had just vehemently stated that he would never do.  Yahushua understood the condition of humanity in its fallen condition.  Paul also understood.  “For to will is present with me:  but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18).  I believe we all can relate to what Yahushua and Paul are saying.  We want to do what is right, but in the end we do what we do not want to do!

So how do we, if there is one, remedy the effects of sin in the nature of man?  Can we remedy it on our own?  Far too many try and fail, and then give up.  The remedy is not to be found in human wisdom or power or knowledge.  It can only be found in what Elohim has provided.  Yes, He has provided a remedy for the fallen condition of humanity, but there are few that know or avail themselves of it.  The verse following Paul’s plea for help gives us the answer although most of us miss what it is talking about because they do not go any further in what Paul has to say.  “I thank Elohim through Yahushua Messiah our Master” (Romans 7:25).  Paul’s thoughts on the matter do not stop in Romans 7 but continue into Romans 8.

The suffering and sacrifice that Yahushua went through in the Garden of Gethsemane and at the cross paid for the penalty of our sins, but it did not take care of the power of sin in our lives.  “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities:  the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, emphasis added).  There is healing for the sin-sick soul folks.  There is “good news”!  Just think what excitement it would create if mankind found a remedy for cancer!  No more sorrow or suffering because of that oftentimes deadly disease!  But there is a more deadly disease dragging humanity down and everyone one of us has it as a result of being born into this world.

When Yahushua cried out “It is finished” (John 19:30), the penalty for our sins was paid in full.  “Who was delivered for our offenses, was raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25). 

The plan of salvation includes much more than just having the penalty for sin laid upon the Lamb of Elohim.  The root word for salvation is “salvage."  “To rescue from destruction or fire” (Webster’s Dictionary).  But even after the atoning death on the cross we find “the law of sin and death” and Paul crying out “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death”? (Romans 7:23-24).  Paul realized that if one continued sinning even after the death of the Son of Elohim for the sin of mankind it would lead to eternal death (second death).  “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death [the second or eternal death], or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 8:16). 

Romans chapter 7 concludes with these words:  “So then with the mind [‘knowing’, ‘willing’, ‘consenting’] I myself serve the law of Elohim [the Ten Commandments]; but with the flesh [I serve] the law of sin” (Romans 7:25).  Are we to conclude that is where the matter ends?  If we stop here in our experience with Elohim are we to conclude that Elohim cannot fix what is broken? Or if He could, that it cannot be done in the here and now?  And that we will continue to sin right up until the time Yahushua returns and changes us?  “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [who are still living when Jesus returns] shall be changed.  For this corruptible [with the inherited, fallen, human nature] must on incorruption [no longer having a fallen, sinful, human nature], and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:52-53).

How are we to understand what is written in Romans 8:13?  “For if we live after the flesh, we shall die [the second death, for we will all die the first death unless Yahushua returns while we are yet alive]:  but if we through the Spirit do mortify [subdue] the deeds of the body, we shall live.”

Let us look at Romans 8:2 and the two other laws that Paul talks about in Romans.  We have already looked at the effects of “the law of sin and death” when we read what Paul was describing in Romans 7:14-24.  Especially in Romans 7:21 where Paul tells us he found “a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me."  Again we saw in Romans 7:23 where Paul saw “another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."  In both cases Paul is describing the inherited, fallen, human nature which has been passed down to us through Adam and our ancestors and which in Romans 8:2 he tells us is “the law of sin and death."

But as Paul said in Romans 7:25:  “I thank Elohim through Yahushua Messiah our Master.” “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Messiah Yahushua hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2, emphasis added).  “The law of the Spirit of Life in the Messiah Yahushua” had already made him free.  It was not going to take until the resurrection when we are made incorruptible for this transformation to take place.  “Hath made me free.”  Paul was not waiting for some future date for this to happen in his life.  He was already experiencing that freedom from sinning.

Listen to what he tells us in Romans 6:18:  “Being then made free from sin."  In Romans 6:22 he tells us this:  “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to Elohim."  If you are still sinning can you become a servant to Elohim?  I have a saying which goes like this:  “If you are still sinning then Satan is winning."  And what is sin?  “For sin is the transgression of the law [the Ten Commandments Law]” (1 John 3:4).  “The soul that [continues to] sins, it shall die [in spite of the death of the Son of Elohim on the cross, it will die the second death]” (Ezekiel 18:20).

There is no excuse for sinning.  But what if we sin?  John tells us in 1 John 2:1:  “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And IF any man sin, we an advocate with the Father, Yahushua Messiah the righteous” (emphasis added).  It was not a forgone conclusion to John or any of the early Apostles that we would continue in our sinful way of living.  They were to be set free from sinning.  “IF any man sin.”  Elohim can fix what has been broken – even right now – today!

So how does one law [“the law of the Spirit of Life in Messiah Yahushua”] set us free [“hath made me free”] from another law [“the law of sin and death”]?  Everyone has heard of the law of gravity.  Can we be “set free” from the law of gravity?  If we hold something in our hand and let it loose, it will fall to the ground.  Right?  Is there any way by which an object can be “set free” from the law of gravity?

Yes there is!  By the law of aerodynamics which says if you put so much thrust behind such a weight you can escape (be “set free”) from the gravitational pull of this earth.  One law is used to “set us free” from another law of Elohim’s creation.  Both laws are still in effect, but one law “sets you free” from the effects of the other law.  So it is with “the law of the Spirit of Life in Messiah Yahushua” and “the law of sin and death."  Or as Paul wrote in Romans 6:14:  “For sin [‘the law of sin and death’] shall not have dominion over you:  for you are not under the law [‘the law of sin and death’], but are under grace [‘the law of the Spirit of Life in Messiah Yahushua’]."  

There are some who claim they have “holy flesh," and they cannot sin.  You will not find such a belief supported from the Scriptures.  We shall have this inherited, fallen, human nature to contend with until the return of Yahushua when He shall change us.  “This corruptible must put on incorruption” and that as we found out earlier takes place at the resurrection of the righteous and the translation of those who are alive.  I personally believe that when Yahushua returns and “the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible [without the inherited, fallen, human nature], and we [who are alive at His coming] shall be changed.  For this corruptible [inherited, fallen, human nature] must put on incorruption [restored to the state of being that Adam and Eve were created with in the beginning], and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:52-53).

So death is not the only thing that was passed on to humanity as the result of sin.  An inherited, fallen, human nature, after Adam’s likeness (Genesis 5:3) was also passed on to the entire human family and has been becoming more and more corrupt with each passing generation.  This is what is referred to as “Original Sin” by many and will be addressed in another article.  And that part of our being can be kept in submission and overcome by the indwelling Spirit of Elohim, Who changes us from what we were into the very likeness of Elohim.  “Where the Spirit of Yahuwah is, there is liberty [freedom from sinning].  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory unto glory, even as by the Spirit of Yahuwah” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

We are to overcome as did Yahushua.  “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father [‘and our Father’] in His throne” (Revelation 3:21).  And how was it that Yahushua overcame?  “The Father [by His Spirit] that dwelleth in Me [Yahushua], He doeth the works” (John 14:10).

Some have placed an emphasis on keeping the Ten Commandment Law for it is written:  “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life” (Revelation 22:14).  And some in considering this verse have concluded that in order to “deserve” to be in heaven they must keep the law.  And if they fall short in keeping the Law they tell you “Oh Elohim's grace is sufficient!"  But it is Elohim’s grace [“the law of the Spirit of Life in Messiah Yahushua] that enables one to keep the law; not to make up the difference when you have done YOUR best.  Your best will never be good enough.  But Elohim living in you through the gift of His Spirit is sufficient “to keep you from falling” (Jude 24). Elohim does not subsidize our efforts with His grace.  He provides His grace (the power of His Spirit in our lives) in order to meet His requirements and to successfully overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.

We are told in the book of Romans that the Ten Commandments make known to us what sin is.  “Nay I had not known sin, but by the law:  for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7).  The Ten Commandments define what sin is, but they do not provide the remedy in order to keep the Commandments, and to stop sinning, and to provide the power to live a righteous life.  “That the righteousness of the law [the Ten Commandments] might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).  They are seeking a connection (abiding in Messiah [1 John 3:6]) or else described as the indwelling power of Elohim in order to live a righteous life.  Yahushua gave us the story of the Vine and the branches to illustrate this vital truth.  You may have an electric light which has a plug, but unless that light is plugged into the source of power you can try to let that light shine all you want, but it will never give you any light.  Yahushua said “Let your light so shine before men” (Matthew 5:16).  He never tells us to strive to let your light shine.  If the Spirit or Power of Elohim is dwelling in you, you will shine!

I am not condoning dog fighting, but if you have two dogs that you are going to have fight each other, you can determine which one will win.  If you starve the one and feed the other, which one will win?  “For if you live after the flesh, you will die:  but if you through the Spirit do mortify [subdue] the deeds of the body, you shall live” (Romans 8:13).  If you feed the flesh (the inherited, fallen, human nature) and do not feed the Spirit, who will win?  But if you feed the Spirit and starve the flesh who will win?

And immediately after discussing the fruit of the Spirit [the characteristics that the Spirit of Elohim develops in a human being] in Galatians 5:22-23, Paul tells us “They that are Messiah’s have [not will at some future time, but have already done so] crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).  If you have “crucified” something, it is dead.

Baptism is symbolic of what our experience with Yahushua is to be.  “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahushua were baptized into His death? [Not the Trinity because Matthew 28:19 was falsely inserted into the Bible to sustain the Trinitarian belief but was not in the original Greek texts.   See Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48 and 18:5 for examples of how the early believers were baptized into Yahushua only.]  Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death:  that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For IF we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man [with the inherited, fallen, human nature] is crucified with Him, that the body of sin [with our inherited, fallen, human nature] might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:3-7, emphasis added).  Unfortunately all too many have been buried alive and have never died to the flesh and to sin and have never experienced freedom from sinning.  Again “For sin shall not have dominion over you:  for you are not under the law [‘the law of sin and death’] but under grace [‘the law of the Spirit of Life in Messiah Yahushua’]” (Romans 6:14, emphasis added).

And if sin still has dominion over you then you are still “under the law [‘the law of sin and death’]” and not “under grace” no matter how much you may claim to be under grace!  The evidence proves otherwise!  If you are still sinning then the devil is still winning in your life, and you will be lost for you are being deceived by the enemy of our souls.  Grace empowers the sinner to stop sinning.  “And the great dragon was cast out [of heaven], that old serpent the Devil, and Satan, which DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD” (Revelation 12:9, emphasis added).

But let us always remember the words of the Apostle John and what he told us in 1 John 2:1:  "My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not.  And IF any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yahushua Messiah the righteous" (emphasis added). Elohim is like any earthly father who has great expectations for his children.  "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).  As a child we may stumble and fall, but we must get up and continue the process of learning to abide in Messiah.  The process of becoming perfect is described as sanctification.  One is not made perfect instantaneously.  It is a process and a state of being that can be attained only through the Spirit of Elohim dwelling in us.  "To them that are sanctified by Elohim the Father" (Jude 1).  It is the Spirit of the Father that dwells in us when we are born again which gives us that power to live a life of obedience to the will of Elohim.  "Whosoever is born of Elohim doth not commit sin:  for His seed remaineth in him:  and he cannot sin, for he is born of Elohim" (1 John 3:9, emphasis added).  "Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not" (1 John 3:6, emphasis added).  It is a matter of remaining abiding in Elohim and His Spirit abiding in us.  For one reason or another that connection can become weak through neglect of prayer and the study of His word and that is when we fail (sin).  Therefore we must heed the words of Yahushua when He came to the disciples and found them sleeping.  "Watch ye and PRAY, lest ye enter into temptation.  The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:38, emphasis added).  And Elohim through His Spirit will strengthen us to endure and to overcome.  "Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37, emphasis added).  The word of Elohim tells us that if we meet certain conditions we "cannot sin" and that we "sinneth not" and "doth not commit sin."  The devil will tell you that is not possible to stop sinning, just as he told Eve that she would not die if she ate of the fruit of the tree of life.  Who will you believe?  "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29).  If you do not believe, then it will not happen!  Elohim asks you this question:  "Is there any thing too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27).  Jeremiah had already given the us the response to this question asked by Elohim. "There is nothing too hard for Thee" (Jeremiah 32:17).  "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling [sinning], and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.  To the only wise Elohim our Saviour, be glory and majesty, and dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen" (Jude 24-25).