“You are not under the Law of God” Exposed
“You are not under the Law but under grace” statement in Romans 6 is probably the most quoted by many theologians phrase (along with others) to “prove” that the new Gentile believers are not to observe the commands in the Torah of YHVH.
Tons of papers have been written to justify the rejection of the Torah and replacing it with the laws of men and traditions rooted in paganism incorporated into the faith. Faith did not change Rome, Rome changed the faith!
But everything started with a man called Ignatius, established as a religion by Constantine, and reinforced by Martin Luther: “You are not under the Law. The Law is done away with”.
They created new “Paul” even new “Jesus”, a new religion, and a new religious body called “Church”. How did they do that? They altered the teachings of Shaul by changing translations here and there (like “Christ is the end of the Law”), replacing the Hebrew names with foreign ones (Yeshua became “Jesus”, Ya’akov became “James”, Yehuda “Jude”), inserting foreign to the Hebrew Scripture concepts and ideas like “dispensations”, “grace began at the cross”, etc., and the replacement theology was born.
The purpose of this and others articles in Time of Reckoning Ministry (TORM) is to expose those false teachings and restore the real Yeshua Mashiach, the Minister of the Face of the Living YHVH.
For sin shall not rule over you, for you are not under the law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Let it not be! 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? (Rom 6:14-16)
First, in order to determine exactly what is meant by “you are not under the law but under grace”, we should take heed who is “not under the law” but also who is “under grace” because to different people “law” and “grace” mean different things.
Under the blood of the Covenant
When Mosheh (Moses) slew a bull and took a branch of hyssop and soaked it in the blood, he shook it on the scroll of the commandments and on the people of Israel. On that solemn occasion, all came “under the blood” of the covenant, and whosoever would violate the conditions of that blood covenant, would come also under the curse of that broken covenant. And these curses of the broken covenant with YHVH are written in His Torah (the Law).
However, this solemn act of Mosheh is seen by some as, “It was then, but not now” and/or “It was for Israel, but not for the Church”. Is it so? Are we under the Law of YHVH, or under grace? Or, perhaps, we are under the Law and under grace of YHVH. Only “theologians” unlearned in the Scripture divide the Word of YHVH into “Old” and “New”, then and now, for them but nor for me, for Israel and for the Church. Has YHVH divided His people? Has He divided His Word? Has He divided His grace from His Torah? Has He divide His Son into Yeshua for some and “Jesus” for others? Or, YHVH has divided righteousness from lawlessness; light from darkness.
Throughout the narrative of Romans 6, Shaul (Paul) draws a clear line between the “old man” and the “new man” who walks in righteousness. The old man was impaled with the Messiah, so that the body should serve sin no longer (Rom 6:6-7) and if we have died with Messiah, who died to sin once for all, we believe that we shall also live with Him (Rom 6:8-10). Therefore, the apostle concludes, do not let sin reign in your mortal body (Rom 6:12).
“I speak to those who know the Law”
Chapter 7 Shaul prefaced it thus, “For I speak to those who know the Law” speaking to the Romans. Why should he have said that, if in fact he was making the case that they were not under the Law at all? Since Shaul has said that, it is very clear then that one cannot understand what Paul is saying in Romans without first knowing and understanding the Torah, for I speak to those knowing the Torah! Evidently, the Romans to whom Shaul addressed his letter knew very well the Torah and its meaning.
1. Or do you not know, my brothers, for I speak to those that know the Law, that the Law has dominion over a man as long as he lives, 2a. As a woman who is bound by the Law to her husband as long as he is alive.
Shaul takes an example from the Torah of YHVH (the Law) that a woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive and cannot marry another. We see here that Shaul shows that the Torah has authority over both a man (the law hath dominion over a man, KJV) (Rom 7:1) and a woman (the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law, KJV) (Rom 7:2), because the woman is bound to the man by the law in marriage; in other words, the Torah (the Law) is over the man and the woman, because they both are bound by the laws of YHVH from the very beginning of creation.
Shaul makes the same case in his letter to the Corinthians, where we read,
And I wish you to know that the head of every man is the Messiah, and the head of woman is the man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim. (1Co 11:3)
However, this is also true: if the Law has authority over the man and the woman, the man and the woman are under the Law, too. And indeed, if the Law is over the man (the regulator over the man) and the woman is bound to the man by the Law (the Law is also the regulator over the woman), therefore they are both under the Law.
Another logical conclusion can be derived from Shaul’s illustration, namely that the Torah and the husband are two different entities, if the Torah rules over the husband, because if the man dies, the woman is freed from the union with him, i.e. from him, to whom she was bound by the Law, and she is free to remarry to another by the regulations and provisions of the same Law.
This plain truth we will need in order to correctly interpret his words in the following verses.
2b. but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law. (Rom 7:1-3 KJV)
Here we are coming to a conflict with the traditional translations from Greek. According to the Greek text, upon the husband’s death the woman is freed from “the law of her husband”; but does the husband have his own law over his wife to start with?
And if he had such a law, what is this law that gave him the authority over his wife, but the Law of YHVH who has instituted the marriage. The apostle knew very well the Torah and could not have possibly made such an apparent contradiction.
At least, we must admit Greek is contradicting itself, or dubious, because verse 1 says, … the Law [of YHVH] has dominion over a man as long as he lives, and verse 2a confirms that, a woman who is bound by the Law [of YHVH] to her husband. Most obviously, this is a law that exists outside and independently from the man and the woman, i.e. the Law of YHVH.
In other words, it appears that Shaul first is saying that it is the Torah of YHVH that binds the woman to her man, but then it is the law of the man that binds her, because she is freed from his law. How can we solve this issue and why is it so important, to begin with?
It is important because the Christian theologians use it, despite the apparent contradiction, to “prove” that the Christians are not under the Law of God. And this is how they have “proved” it. Below is the commentary by F. B. Meyer, that in general explains this “theology”.
He (Paul) says that we are married to the Law as our first husband, and seek, through union with it, to bring forth fruit unto God. Every convert earnestly endeavors, in the first impulse of the new life, to be good and to form, by incessant effort, a life that is pleasing to God. Like Cain we bring the fruit of the ground, extorted from the soil by the sweat of the brow. But we are soon disappointed in the result. Our laborious care ends in failure. Sinful desires are too masterful. As Luther said, “The old Adam is too strong for the young Melanchthon.” Then we see that the Cross has put death between us and our painful effort. We learn that the marriage contract which bound us to our first husband, the Law, has been dissolved. We are set free to enter into marriage union with the blessed Lord, and He, by His indwelling Spirit, effects in us what our own energies have failed to produce.
Because of “commentaries” like that, Apostle Kepha (Peter) felt compelled to warn well in advance,
So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Shaul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these matters, in which some are hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. You, then, beloved ones, being forewarned, watch, lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the delusion of the lawless, (2Pe 3:14-17)
Indeed, there are some teachings of Shaul that are hard to understand and “You are not under the Law” is one of them. Despite Kepha’s warning, theologians like Martin Luther, F. B. Meyer, and many others claim that Paul’s teaching are very easy to understand and the only thing one needs in order to understand [the whole] Scripture and particularly the Law is to read Paul.
Shaul was a brilliant mind, a highly educated in the Law of YHVH teacher, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, as he called himself. Yet, he (unlike the other apostles and even Messiah Yeshua) used a complex language and many metaphors and pictures to depicts what was in his mind.
Kepha had difficulties to understand him or perhaps to understand why the beloved brother had used such a complex way to explain simple things. Kepha and the other apostles being ordinary men spoke and taught plainly; their teachings are straight forward and easy to understand.
Even Yeshua Himself spoke simply and plainly in His sermon on the mount to assert that He had not come to abolish the Torah of His Father. His parables and teachings are simple and clear to comprehend.
But Shaul having used complex metaphors and figure of speech apparently caused Kepha to make that warning that there were some of his teachings which were hard to understand.
However, the warnings of Yeshua in Mat 7:21-22 and His apostle in 2Pe 3:14-17 apparently were not good enough to turn away such “theologians” from the path of their own destruction. The misunderstanding of Paul has become a huge stumbling block before the Christian theologians.
For more understanding of the real Messiah and the real Shaul the reader will do well to read “Has the Messiah Abolished the Law of God” and “Misunderstanding of Paul”, and the studies of Time of Reckoning Ministry (TORM) concerning the Messiah and how He fulfils the appointed times of YHVH.
So, how are we to resolve the apparent contradiction: we are freed from Law or we are freed from the former husband, and who is the former husband, anyway?
Below is a translation of the verses in question from Aramaic by Dr. James Trimm in his The Hebraic Roots Version Scripture (HRV). We read thus,
2b. But if her husband dies, she is freed by the Torah from her husband. 3. And if while her husband is alive she has intercourse with another man, she becomes an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is freed by the Torah; and she is not an adulteress if she marries another.
According to this translation from Aramaic, we are freed by the Torah from the former husband, not from the Torah of the husband. Dr. Trimm explains:
The Aramaic reads נמוסא מן אתחררת the word in question “from/by” is מן which can mean from, but can also mean “from” in the sense of “by way of” and thus it can also be translated “by” as we see in the Aramaic of Mark 1:9: “And it was in those days, that Yeshua came from Natzaret of Galil, and was immersed in the Yarden by Yochanan.” The Aramaic for the phrase “was immersed in the Yarden by Yochanan” is: יוחנן מן ביורדן ואתעמד
The word for “by” here is also מן not because they were immersed “from” (away from) Yochanan, but because they were immersed “by” (by way of) Yochanan. Likewise, in Romans 7:1-4 the phrase is not “freed from (away from) the Torah” but “freed by (by way of) the Torah”.
What is the “husband”?
4. And now, my brothers, you also are dead to the Torah through the body of the Messiah that you might be married to another who arose from the dead, that you should bear fruit to Elohim.
The apparent absurdity continues in verse 4. The Christian theologians interpret Shaul’s teachings and this verse in particular to mean that the Law of God is done away with and the Christians by no means are bound to it. In other words, since we are married to the Messiah, we are dead to the Law, i.e. not under the Law of YHVH.
They twist the above verses to mean thus, “A woman (the Church) is bound by the Law to her husband (the Law) as long as he (the Law) is alive. And when the husband (the Law) is dead, then she (the Church) is free from the Law”.
However, this is not what verse 4 is saying. Verse 4 is not saying that the Law is dead, but we are dead to the Law. After man has sinned, death is actually a benefit because one stops sinning at death and is not indefinitely locked into a sinful state but freed from it.
What verse 4 is saying is this: by taking the sufferings and the terrible death of Yeshua in our hearts (point which the apostle has made in Chapter 6), we die with Him, as He died for us, and by dying we become one in His body. Yeshua having paid the penalty for us took the death on Him and made our sinful state dead. And with His resurrection we are also resurrected from the dead so that we can remarry to the One who arose from the dead.
From the preceding verses we learned that the Law and the husband are two different entities, therefore, the death of the husband does not lead to the death of the Law. Now, if the husband, the wife and the Law are three different entities in Shaul’s illustration, and the woman is the bride of the Messiah, and the Law is the Torah of YHVH, then what is the husband we have been freed from upon his death?
With this question are coming to verses 5 and 6, and the answer is right there.
For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins that are in the Torah were working in our members, so that we would bear fruit unto death. But now we are brought to an end by the Torah, and we are dead to that which was holding us, that we should serve from now on in the renewal of the spirit and not in the oldness of the writing. (Rom 7:5-6 HRV)
While we were in our former sinful state, the Torah having exposed the passions of sins in us, that bear fruit to death, i.e. the penalty of death, has made us guilty of death which the Anointed of YHVH, the Messiah, took on Him.
Thus, by dying with Yeshua, we are freed from our former sinful state, and by His resurrection we have become a bride to Him, the Messiah, to bear good fruits (deeds) to YHVH. This is what the apostle is simply saying in his metaphor.
Again, when we stop sinning at our spiritual death, we are not indefinitely locked into a sinful state, but freed from it. Therefore, what we are freed from is the sin that was working in us; sin is our “former husband”. And if we are brought to an end, we are dead to what was holding us (the sinful state) that was separating us from the Father according to His Law, not from His Laws as the Greek text reads, so that in a new spirit we shall serve YHVH from now on, “and not in the oldness of the writing”.
In other words, we are dead to sin, our former husband, not to the Law, much less the Law is dead.
The sins nailed on the cross, not the Torah
Here again the Christian theologians have twisted the apostle’s metaphor and interpreted to mean that “the oldness of the writing” is the Law of YHVH. The obvious allusion they make is with “the Old Covenant” vs. “the New Covenant”, i.e. we not under “the Old Covenant”. But is this what Shaul is saying?
In Colossians, we read,
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Col 2:14 KJV)
When the Romans executed a criminal, it was a common practice to nail a list of his crimes on the stake as it was done with Yeshua: Mat 27:37, as He was charged of being king of the Jews. Read more about the hidden message on the cross.
What the apostle is saying in his metaphor is that the list of our sins that were held against us [by the Law], Yeshua nailed to the execution stake by having taken them as His own sins.
Therefore, “the oldness of the writing” we should not serve is our former sinful state, not the Law. The illusion the Theologians make in their commentaries is obvious: “the oldness of the writing” is “the Old Covenant”, i.e. the Law, and the conclusion they make is “you are not under the Law”. because you do not serve the old writing.
Consider also Psa 51:9 and Jer 18:23 where we find that the sins are blotted out, i.e. forgiven.
What therefore are we saying? Is the Torah sin? Absolutely not! But I did not learn sin except by the hand of the Torah. For I had not known covetousness except that the Torah said, Do not covet. (Rom 7:7 HRV)
And in order to remove any doubt of what Shaul is saying (lest some twist his teaching), he asserts that our former sinful state, we are freed from, i.e. the former husband, is not the Law of YHVH. ‘Absolutely not!’, he says. The Torah is not sin; the Torah is not our former husband we were bound to is the assertion of the apostle.
And when he says, “I did not learn sin except by the hand of the Torah” he simply means: the purpose of the Law is to expose the sin in us and by the Law we learned what sin was and how it was working in our inner parts for our own destruction. Read more about the meaning of the Law.
And since the Torah of YHVH (the Law) is not sin, then the Torah is not our former husband we are freed from; we are freed from the sin by the Torah, not from the Torah.
Are we under the Law of God?
We will conclude our study of “You are not under the Law” with a few verses in Romans 8. We read from KJV thus,
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom 8:1-2 KJV)
And the verse that has been hidden from the Christians and intentionally avoided in the commentaries. Read carefully this verse and say that we are not under the Law:
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:7-8 KJV)
Let us elaborate on this verse, because this is the key to unlock the apparent controversy in Shaul’s teaching.
Verse 7 explains verse 1 above. The word in question in verse 7 is the Greek ὑποτάσσω hupotasso, which means “subject”. Hupotasso comes from hupo which means “under” and tasso, “to assign”, “to appoint”. Combined they mean to subordinate; to obey, be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto (Strong Dictionary).
In other words, to be subject to the Law is to be under [the obedience of] the Law of God. However, the opposite is also true: to not be subject to the Law is to not be under the law of God.
Shaul is very clear here that the carnal mind, that is a metaphor for sinful nature, is hostility against YHVH. Therefore, what the apostle is saying here is this: “the fleshly mind is hostility against Elohim, because it [the fleshly mind] is not under the obedience to the Torah of Elohim. And those who are in the flesh [those who are not under the Torah] are unable to please Elohim. This is the plain reading of the text without any preconceived ideas and bias.
Simply put, the apostle is saying that those who are in the flesh are not, and it is impossible to be under the Law. The second point he is making is that to please YHVH one must be under the Law, under His Torah.
What a shocking difference from the mainstream teaching in Christianity, “You are not under the Law” and “those who are not subject to the law of God, cannot please God”. This verse turns all “you are not under the Law” teaching in the mainstream Christianity upside down.
With this knowledge that those in the flesh are not under the Law, let us return to verse 1 and read it in the context.
There is, then, now no condemnation to those who are in Messiah Yeshua, who do not walk according to the flesh [those who are not under the Torah of Elohim], but according to the Spirit [of the Set-apart One YHVH]. For the Torah of Spirit [of the Set-apart One] of the life in Messiah Yeshua has set me free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom 8:1)
Clearly, we need to distinguish the term “the Law of God” from “the law of sin and death”. The apostle has made it very clear: by calling the former “the Law of God” he means the Torah of YHVH and the latter, “the law of sin and death”, is the natural law of walking on the path of sin that leads to death. These “laws” are not one and the same as they appear in KJV translation.
And indeed, there is no condemnation to those who do not walk in the flesh, because they are in Yeshua the Messiah who nailed the sins on the execution stake. Because the Torah of YHVH, the Spirit of Life, is Yeshua the Messiah, the Living Word, the Living Torah, who has freed them from the law of sin that condemns to death.
And because the law is weak in the flesh and we cannot condemn sin on our own, YHVH sent His Son Yeshua in the flesh of sin to condemn sin in His own flesh by dying on the execution stake. YHVH did this so that the righteousness of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk by the flesh but are under the Torah by the Spirit. Because, and this is important, the mind of the flesh that is not under the Law is hostility against YHVH is not able to please Him.
To return to square One
So then, how are we to understand Shaul’s statement “You are not under the Law but under grace“?
As we stated in the beginning, to different people “You are not under the Law but under grace” means different things. First, we should take heed again who is “not under the Torah” but also who is “under grace”.
Apostle Shaul has made very clear that those who are not under the Law (the Torah) are those who are still in their sinful state, i.e. they are under sin, under the sin of the law that leads to spiritual death. The Romans to whom he wrote were not of those people, they, as the apostle says, knew the Torah of YHVH not by simply having knowledge of the precepts, commands, etc., but by its observance, by having intimate relation with the Creator, given the Hebraic meaning of the word “to know”, to know in an intimate way.
Under the Law and grace of God
With that being said, the question is, “Are we under the Law of God?” Indeed we are. Shaul said that the carnal mind (those who are still under sin) is not subject (is not under) the Law of God. We read again,
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:7-8 KJV)
But still the confusion is there: “You are not under the Law but under grace“? Are we under the Law of YHVH, or under His grace? Which one is it and can it be both?
We are coming closer to the truth and the answer is right there, too, “For sin shall not rule over you [you are not under the law of sin], [why?] for you are not under the law [of sin] but under grace.
In the most famous statement which has gain “the power” of a mantra in the Christian theology, the words of brother Shaul “under the law” have been twisted and altered to mean “under the Law of God”, i.e. the Law of YHVH is done away with: something neither has Shaul said, nor the other apostles, much less Messiah Yeshua Himself.
Had he meant to say in Rom 6:14 “under the Law of God”, he could have said it as he did in Rom 8:7, “is not subject to the Law of God”, otherwise he would have contradicted himself, but he did not. Shaul was a brilliant mind and although he used a complex language to write his letters and to confuse even Apostle Peter, he was very careful in the choice of his words.
In conclusion of the matter of “not under the Law”, we should recall that Shaul was falsely accused of teaching the gentiles to forsake the Torah and circumcision (see Act 21:21-24); he was falsely accused then, he is being falsely accused even today. (Read more)
But they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the nations to forsake Mosheh, saying not to circumcise the children nor to walk according to the practices. What then is it? They shall certainly hear that you have come. So do this, what we say to you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be cleansed with them, and pay their expenses so that they shave their heads. And all shall know that what they have been informed about you is not so, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Torah. (Act 21:21-24)
Therefore, Shaul was choosing very carefully his words to . So, what is Shaul saying? This is what:
For sin shall not rule over you, because you are not under the law [of sin] but under the grace of YHVH.
The statement, “For sin shall not rule over you, because you are not under the law of sin” is in harmony with itself and causes no confusion in the readers. And in order to dispel any confusion that once they were not under the law of sin, they might behave unthoughtfully and give themselves in to freelance faith and interpret it loosely, Shaul made it crystal clear,
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law of sin but under grace? Let it not be! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of the law of sin to death, or of obedience to the Torah of righteousness?
Grace is not the freedom to choose which commandments of YHVH to keep or whether to keep them at all. Grace is the favor of YHVH which we receive without deserving it. Grace is a precious and priceless gift, a generous act of our Father to forgive our sins. To Him grace costs a lot: the sufferings and terrible death of His Son Messiah Yeshua; to us grace costs obedience to His Word in love for Him and His Son.
We do not observe the laws of YHVH in His Torah to gain salvation. The set-apart Torah is given to us to live by while here on the earth, not get a free ticket to heaven. Doing the commands of YHVH gives us only rewards and shows whether we are in the faith, as Apostle Ya’akov teaches.
We obey our Father solely out of love. And this is the highest expression of love: to obey the One who sacrificed so much for us and has given us grace.
For more insight what love and grace are in order to know how to serve YHVH as His Son Yeshua served Him in obedience to the execution stake, the reader will do well to refer to the articles “What is Love?” and “By Grace You are Saved. But what is Grace?“
Those who have been given much, much is required (Luk 12:48). Yeshua willingly obeyed the Torah and willingly paid the price for our sins to give us salvation! We have been forgiven a great debt therefore we are to live under the Torah in life given itself wholly to the Father YHVH. But, Yeshua also taught that those who have been forgiven little, love little (Luk 7:47). If we love Him much, we obey Him much!
Yeshua made His choice. Now, the choice is ours!
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.