But didn’t Paul preach the law?
In a number of previous writings I demonstrated how the law of the first covenant had passed, that we were under the New covenant and a new law and how Paul explained why we were no longer under the law of Moses (first covenant laws.) I have shown that NOBODY kept the law of the first covenant, before the Israelites were given it in the wilderness through Moses, hence why it is referred to as the law of Moses.
BUT in response to these writings, without actually addressing anything that was contained within them, some people have stated that Paul in fact preached observance of the law and that we must follow it. But rather than addressing anything that was in any of my writings directly as I just stated, what they actually did was to offer a number of verses and passages that they believed “showed” Paul did in fact teach that not only does the law remain but that we in the new covenant must keep this law of the first covenant that they claim has been transferred to the new covenant. I do feel it is very dishonest to ignore verses or passages that would at least seem to disagree with your own claims while only using those that you feel support your claims. We cannot build a correct doctrine by doing so.
In this writing I am going to address the very few verses and passages that they have used. Unlike the people that used the verses in rebuttal to my writings I will actually address the verses directly and not simply ignore them. What we will see is that they do not do what these people believe they do but rather they actually support the understanding that Paul taught that the law of the first covenant had passed and that we are not under it.
Paul clearly cannot contradict himself so he cannot preach that we are under the law and yet the law remains and that we are under it. It is either or, it is not both.
Paul himself stated that he BECAME a Jew, to them that were under the law so that he could win the Jews that were under the law, but that he himself was NOT under the law.
1 Corinthians 9-20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
We must remember that Paul WAS a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. So what did he mean that he BECAME a Jew. This is pretty simple. Paul acted like a Jew when he was around the Jews so that he would be accepted by them and so that he could teach them.
But the important statement is that Paul said that he was not under the law. Once we understand what Paul did then understanding the rest is basic.
So let’s have a look at these verses that “prove” Paul taught the law.
Here I am going to deal with 2 of the most common verses used that are found in the book of Romans
Romans 2- 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Romans 3-31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Now taken on their own out of the context of the book of Romans they would appear to be very powerful support for the belief that Paul did NOT teach the law of the first covenant had passed. However we have to view these in light of Paul’s full teachings and the book in which they are found. Also that the very clear evidence (see my other writings on this subject) that he does teach that the law had passed and that he himself was not under it.
I do find it amazing that people use these verses to try and prove contrary to what Paul so clearly taught throughout his writings.
Both of these verses come as part of a rather long teaching by Paul to the JEWS. This is very important to understand. NEITHER of these verses are aimed at Gentiles and NEITHER are attempting to prove the law. Now it is very true that Romans is written to a Gentile church, HOWEVER …NOT all of Paul’s writings in this book, or in fact many of his books are purely for the Gentiles. Paul although he was the apostle to the Gentiles also taught Jews.
What we will see is that both these verses form part of his argument to the Jews at the church in Rome that we are all sinners and that we are justified by faith and NOT the law.
In Romans chapter 1 starting in verse 18 Paul explains that men had gone away from God doing all manner of sin
Romans 1- 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Paul states how God had given them up to their desires.
Romans 1- 24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Paul doesn’t refer to the law here. The Gentiles were not given the law.
In chapter 2 Paul states that ALL those that do evil and obey unrighteousness will be punished by God, JEWS and Gentiles.
Romans 2- 8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Paul now includes the Jews in those that are unrighteous and under the wrath of God.
But Paul also says that ALL those that do good will have glory, honour and peace. Again Paul states both Jew and Gentile for God is no respecter of persons.
Then Paul makes his argument regarding the law
Romans 2- 12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
The Jews were the ones who had the law. They believed that they were better then the Gentiles seeing they were God’s chosen people. But as Paul had just stated, God is not a respecter of persons. Those that do evil will be punished and those that do good shall receive glory, honour and peace, regardless of who you are.
He then states that it wasn’t the hearers of the law that were justified but the doers of the law.
Romans 2-13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Paul states that in order to be justified by the law then a person had to DO the law not simply be one who was given it. Paul very clearly arguing against the Jews belief of their righteousness based purely on being a Jew.
This was even something that John the baptist had stated to the Pharisees back before Jesus started his ministry.
Matthew 3- 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Being a Jew profited nothing if they didn’t keep the law. A Jew was not a Jew by his circumcision but one by following God.
Paul stated this very clearly
Romans 2- 25For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Paul said that if the Gentiles were to do by nature the things of the law then they would be a law unto themselves.
Romans 2- 14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Paul simply stating that if the Gentiles follow the law even though they were not given it then they would be justified by it.
Paul’s argument being that to be justified by the law then you have to follow it completely, being hearers of the law was not enough.
But in chapter 3 Paul states that by the law NO flesh would be justified. The law was to SHOW sin.
Romans 3-20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Paul continues that ALL have sinned, everyone has com short of the glory of God.
Romans 3- 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
For we know that if a person offends at just one point of the law then he is guilty of it all.
James 2-10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
Back in chapter 2 Paul shows the Jews that they did not in fact keep the law
Romans 2- 20An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?24For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
Jesus had demonstrated that keeping the law went far beyond what they understood keeping the law to be. Killing didn’t just mean don’t literally kill.
Matthew 5- 21Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Adultery didn’t mean literally committing the act.
Matthew 5- 27Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Even Paul said that he was a sinner
1 Timothy 1-15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
As ALL men have sinned therefore nobody can be justified by the works of the law.
But by the faith of Jesus a man can be justified.
Galatians 2- 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
So then Paul asks where is their boasting now regarding the law? He states that it was by FAITH that a man would be justified INCLUDING the Gentiles for God is the God of the Jews and the Gentiles.
Romans 3- 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29Is he the God of the Jews only? is henot also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
In Romans 5 Paul states that being justified by faith we have peace with God
Romans 5-1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
BUT Paul says those that wish to be justified by the law are fallen from grace and Christ has become no effect for him.
Galatians 5-4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
So if a man be circumcised (unto the law) then he is indebted to the whole law
Galatians 5-3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
We already know that a man that is indebted to the law will not be justified by it. For no man can be justified by the law. If he fails at one point he is guilty of all and if he is circumcised (in the law) then Christ has become no effect for him.
Therefore anyone that continues in the law but doesn’t complete it are under a curse.
Galatians 3-10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Then Paul ends his argument which when correctly understood in context and with the rest of his writings argues against the keeping of the law, with the statement regarding making the law void through faith and establishing it.
Romans 3-31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Far from Paul meaning that we remain under the law Paul explains that faith does exactly what the Jews were trying to do through the law, justify a person.
The law was to lead us to Christ so that we would be justified by faith
Galatians 3-24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But after Christ we no longer need that schoolmaster(the law)
Galatians 3-25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The law was added ONLY until the seed would come
Galatians 3-19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Far from saying that we are under the law, Paul demonstrates that the law has perfectly fulfilled its purpose. The law then is not void it has done exactly what it was intended that it do. Led us to Christ so that FAITH can do what the law never could, make a person justified. The purpose of the law was to show sin, to lead to Christ so that through faith we could be justified. For this the law is not void it is established. The law did exactly what it was supposed to do.