NOT UNDER LAW but UNDER GRACE

BY: JONATHAN MITCHELL

YOU FOLKS ARE NOT UNDER LAW [Torah; or: Custom] BUT UNDER GRACE [or: Joyous Favour]

The title of this article includes a suggestion that the Law spoken of in Rom. 6:14-15 is the Torah (= the Law of Moses), and its ensuing customs: a law of works. In his gospel, John contrasts “the Law… given through Moses” with the grace (or: joyous Favour) and truth (or: reality) which “came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16)

One of the obvious differences between the two is not just a legal difference, but a difference of lifestyle. There is no religious cultus suggested in John 1:16, and Rom. 6:14-15 definitely speaks of a freedom from this. Jesus suggested that even in His day there was an end of religion (no worship in their mountain, nor in Jerusalem) and that those then worshipping did so “in spirit and reality (or: in attitude and Truth)” John 4:21-24.

In Heb. 8:10, the author quotes Jeremiah 31 where Yahweh promises to be “progressively giving My Laws into their thought (into that which goes through their mind; into their perception and comprehension), and I shall imprint them (write or inscribe a mark) upon their hearts.” So, we are not left lawless, but rather, His goals and purposes become a part of our nature. Rom 3:27 speaks of a “law of trust (or: a law which comes from faith and concerns loyalty).” Paul describes this in Rom 8:2 as “the law of the spirit of ‘The Life within Christ Jesus,’ or, ‘the Law of Life’s spirit, within Christ Jesus,’ or, ‘the Spirit’s law of life, within the Anointed Jesus.’” This is the Nature of the Spirit, the Christ nature, and “life” has to do with “being.”

And then, in Gal. 6:2, he says, “You folks be habitually lifting up and carrying one another’s heavy burdens (grievous weights; oppressive matters), and thus, you will fulfill Christ’s Law (or: the law which is Christ; the law of the Anointing; [other MSS: and in this manner, at once fill up the law of the Christ {the law whose character and source is Christ}]). So are we just “on our own” by being “not under Law”? Not in the least! In fact, in Rom. 1:1, Paul calls himself “Christ’s slave.”

Now this “law” of Rom. 8:2 does something for us: it “frees [them] (or: instantly set [them] free) away from the Law of sin and death.” I suggest that this latter law is a pseudonym for the Law of Moses – the Law Paul refers to in Chapter 7:4, where he said, “you folks also were made dead to the Law through the body of the Christ.” This is why he says, in 8:1, “Nothing, consequently, [is] now condemnation for, to, in, or with the folks within (or: in union with) Christ Jesus!”

Paul at times behaved in accord with the custom of those to whom he was sent. In 1 Cor. 9:20 he says, “To the Jews I became AS a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, AS under the Law – although not being myself under the Law – so that I might win those who are under the Law.” So although he had been a Pharisee of the Pharisees, he states here that he is not under the Law. A change had surely come. But it was a time of transition, for some did not know the good news and were still behaving as though the Law was still in effect.

In Gal. 5:18 he tells us, “Yet since (or: if) you folks are continuously being led in spirit (by [the] Spirit; to [the] Spirit; with a Breath-effect), you do not exist (you are not) under Law.” So here we have being led by or in the Spirit contrasted to being under Law. It is one or the other.

Next, let us consider Eph. 2, where in vs. 11 Paul refers to the circumcision (= the Jews) and the uncircumcision (= the non-Jews), and then says, vs. 14. For He Himself is our Peace (or: continuously exists being our harmony [= Shalom]) – the One making (forming; constructing) The Both [to be] one, and within His flesh is instantly destroying (unbinding; unfastening; loosing; razing) the middle wall of the fenced enclosure (or: the partition wall which is a barrier): the enmity (cause of hate; characteristics of an enemy; hostility), vs. 15. rendering useless (nullifying; rendering down in accord with inactivity and unemployment) the Law ([= the Torah]; or: the custom) of the commandments consisting in decrees (or: prescribed ordinances), to the end that He may frame (create; found; reduce from a state of wildness and disorder) The Two into One New [p46 & others: common] Man (or: mankind; humanity) within the midst of, and in union with, Himself, continuously making (forming; constructing; creating) Peace (or: harmony; [= shalom]);

So there is no longer “the circumcision” contrasted to “the uncircumcision,” or no more Jew versus non-Jew (= pagan), for He has made them to be one new humanity, rendering the Law useless and inoperative. Then, in Gal. 2:19, we have, “You see I, myself, through [the] Law died by [the] Law (or: to [the] Law; in [the] Law; with [the] Law), to the end that I could and would live by God, in God, for God, to God and with God!” This is similar to Rom. 7:4, above. The message is: we no longer relate to the Law. We have been released from it (Rom. 7:6), and in Gal. 3:10 through 4:7 Paul repeatedly contrasts the promise given to Abraham to the Law which came through Moses.

For example: In Galatians 3:10. You see, however many people continue their existence from the midst of observances and works of Law (= Everyone who lives by deeds and actions based upon the Torah) are continuously under a curse (a negative, down-focused or adversarial prayer; an imprecation), for it has been and now stands written, namely that, “A curse (or: an adversarial prayer; imprecation) [is settled] upon all (or: [is] added to everyone) not constantly remaining within all the things having been and standing written within the scroll of the Law [= Torah], in order to do them.” [Deut. 27:26]

And again: Galatians 3:19. Why, then, the Law of The Transgressions? It was at one point set aiming at, and thus provided a view to, grace and Favour [D, F, G & others read: It was appointed for (or: set {beside}) grace] (or: Why, then, the Law? It was placed close and applied {imposed; added} on behalf of the walks to the side of [the path]; or: What, therefore [is] the Law [= Torah]? Something set, as a Favour, face-to-face with the over-steppings and transgressions to the side of and beyond [the Way]).

And then: In 3:24: so that, consequently, the Law had come to be (had been birthed into existence) and continued being our supervising guardian and attending escort [with a view to, aimed and moving] into Christ, to the end that we could (or: would) be made fair and equitable (rightwised; just, free of guilt, and in right relationship within the Way pointed out) from out of (= on the basis of) faith and trust.

So far, so good! The Law of Moses had its place. But in Rom 7:9 Paul tells us, “Now I was at one time (or: formerly) habitually living apart from law (or: I was once alive, independent from custom and [Torah]), yet, in connection with the coming of the Commandment, the Sin becomes alive again (or: deviation, failure, error and the missing of the target revived and comes back up to life), but I die (or: and I died; yet I die).” Recall from Ch. 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. But he continues, in vs. 10-11, “Also, the Commandment – the one [meant to lead] into Life – this was found by me (for me; in me; to me) [to be leading] into death. For the Sin (failure; error; the miss when shooting at a target; the deviation from the goal), taking a starting point (receiving an occasion and base of operation) through the Commandment, completely makes me unable to walk the Path (made me incapable to walk out; thoroughly cheats and deludes me, making me lose my Way; deceives me) and through it kills me off (or: slaughtered me).”

So do we want to have this working in us? In Rom. 5:20 we are told that, “Yet Law and custom at one point entered in alongside (or: came into the situation by the side) to the end that the fall to the side (or: so that the offense and the stumbling aside) would increase to be more than enough (should greatly abound and become more intense). But where the Sin (the failure; the divergence and missing of the target) increases (abounded to be more than enough; becomes more intense) THE GRACE (or: joyous Favour) at once super-exceeds (or: hyper-exceeded) over and above, surrounding to excessive abundance and overflow.” Let’s stay with the administration of Grace, folks, and not add the Law of Moses back into the mix.

In Paul’s day, many Jews wanted to receive Christ, but still have the Law. Then the one thing of the Law which they wanted to retain was circumcision. But pay close attention to what he said about bringing even this one thing into the administration of grace.

In Gal. 5 he says,

1. For the [aforementioned] freedom, Christ immediately set us free (or: [The] Anointed One at once frees us in, to, for and with freedom)! Keep on standing firm, therefore, and do not again be habitually held within a yoke of slavery (or: a cross-lever [of a pair of scales] whose sphere is bondage) (or: Continuously stand firm, then, in the freedom [to which the] Anointing sets us free, and let not yourselves be progressively confined again by a yoke pertaining to servitude)!

2. See and individually consider! I, Paul, continue saying to you folks, that if you should proceed to being circumcised, Christ will benefit you NOTHING (will be of use to you [for] not one thing)!

3. Now I continue solemnly asserting (attesting; affirming; witnessing), again, to every person (or: human) proceeding to be circumcised, that he is, and continues being, a debtor (one under obligation) to do, perform and produce the whole Law [= the entire Torah]!

4. You people were discharged (made inactive, idle, useless, unproductive and without effect; or: voided, nullified, exempted) away from Christ, you who are now in Law trying to be rightwised and are basing your fairness and relationships on the way it points out – you at once fell from out of the grace and Favour!

Is this what we want? Do you really want to mix Law with grace? You can’t. You simply fall out of His grace and Favour if you try to. And Christ benefits you nothing. You are once again in bondage to religion, to ceremonies, to the rules and regulations of what ever group you join that has these. You lose your freedom.

Now some will say that Jesus admonished people to do things that were prescribed in the Law. This is true, but remember that He was born under the Law and He lived under the Law to fulfill it. Folks in His day were still under the old covenant. But with His death, the old passed away and now all things have become new. But let us consider what Jesus said concerning the Law in relation to the kingdom of God.

In Matt. 5 we find Him saying,

17. “You folks should not infer from customary presumption or from established supposition that I came to loosen-down or demolish the Law (or: Torah) or the Prophets. I did not come to loosen-down or demolish, but to the contrary, to fulfill (or: fill up) and make full,

18. “for assuredly (or: amen; it is so), I am here saying to you people, until the heaven and the earth could ever go by and pass away, one iota (the smallest Greek letter) or one horn-like projection (diacritical mark, such as an accent or breathing mark, or part of a Heb. letter; a serif; = the smallest detail) can by any means pass away from the Law (or: Torah) – until all things can birth themselves (or: should occur; may happen)!

19. “Whoever, then, should loosen [even] one of the least of these directives (commands; precepts; injunctions) – and should teach humans (mankind) to that effect – he will be called “least” (or: a least one) within the reign of the heavens (or: the kingdom which pertains to the heavens). Yet, whoever may practice (or: should perform and do) as well as teach – this person will be called “great” within the reign of the heavens (the kingdom which pertains to the heavens). So what does this mean in light of what Paul has said, above?

Jesus gives the answer in Luke Ch. 21,

20. “Now later, when you folks see Jerusalem being continuously surrounded by encamped armies, at that time realize and know from that experience that her desolation has drawn near and is now present.

21. “At that point, let the people in Judea progressively flee into the hill country and mountains; then let the people within the midst of her [i.e., Jerusalem] proceed departing out of that place, and don’t let (or: let not) the folks in the country or the district continue coming (or: going) into her,

22. “because these are days of executing justice – of bringing about what is fair and right and of establishing what accords with the Way pointed out – with a view to have fulfilled all the things having been written (or: for all that is written to be fulfilled)!” This happened is AD. 70. For the Jews to which Jesus spoke, their heaven and their earth (= their whole world) passed away. That covenant passed away and we are now in Christ, so, as 2 Cor. 5:17 says, “Consequently, since someone [is] within Christ (or: if anyone [is] in union with [the] Anointed One), [there is] a new creation (or: [it is] a framing and founding of a different kind; [he or she is] an act of creation having a fresh character and a new quality): the original things (the beginning [situations]; the archaic and primitive [arrangements]) passed by (or: went to the side). Consider! New things have come into existence (have been birthed; or: It has become new things; or: He has been birthed and now exists being ones of a different kind, character and quality).”

Now there are other uses of the Greek word nomos (law, or custom). Paul uses it to refer to the OT as Scripture – as in Rom. 3:21 and Gal. 4:21. In Rom. 3:27 he uses the word to refer to laws in general, or to refer to a principle, or to a natural or spiritual law such as a “law of trust or faith.” But in most contexts, it is clear that he uses this word to designate either the Law of Moses (or: the Torah) as a covenant of works, rituals and customs. It was this Law of which he spoke in Rom. 3:21, where he says, “Yet now, APART FROM LAW (or: custom; habitual practice; ordinance made by authority; or: = Torah), a righteousness of God (God’s solidarity, with fair and equitable dealings; God’s just acts and decisions; God’s justice and pointing out of the Way; a right-wising and right relationship which is God) has been manifested and remains displayed in clear light – being continuously attested in witness by means of (or: under) the Law (= Torah) and the Prophets.”

In 1 Cor. 7:19, Paul says, “The circumcision is nothing, and the uncircumcision is nothing – but to the contrary [what matters is the] observing and keeping of the goals implanted from God (or: the impartation of the finished product within, which is God; or: God’s inward directives to [His] end).” You will note that my translation renders the Greek word entole (which is normally rendered: command or directive) is a different way, but that is for another study. The point is, these distinctions are nothing. I would also suggest that the terms “Christian” and “non-Christian” are nothing – but what is important is God’s impartation of His goal and purposes within us. If the Law of Moses was still in effect, then circumcision would be of utmost importance. But Christ is the goal, the end in mind, of the Law – and thus is the end OF the Law, as in Rom. 10:4, “for you see, Christ [is] an end of Law (or: for Christ [is the] goal of Law; for Christ [is] a termination of [the] Law; for Christ [is] perfection and maturity of law and custom) [leading] into the Way pointed out in fair and equitable dealings, and rightwised relationships of justice, to and in everyone habitually trusting and believing (or: for everyone normally exercising faith; with each person remaining loyal).”

Recall the contrast of the Law with the grace and reality that came in Jesus Christ (John 1:17). These are spoken of as two covenants in Gal. 4.

Hear what Paul says,

24.which things are habitually being allegorized (or: are normally being expressed in an allegory; are commonly spoken of as something other [than what the language means]) – for these women are (= represent) two settled arrangements (covenants; contracts; wills): one, on the one hand, from Mount Sinai, habitually (repeatedly; continuously) giving birth into slavery (or: bondage) – which is Hagar.

25. Now this Hagar is (= represents) Mount Sinai, within Arabia, and she continuously stands in the same line (row; rank; = corresponds to; or: is habitually rudimentary together) with the present Jerusalem, for she continues in slavery (or: bondage) with her children. [note: What a statement: Jerusalem, the present capital of the “chosen people” was in God’s eyes actually not a part of “the heir of the promise” – Isaac – but was in the spiritual line of Ishmael] Hear him: what does it say that Hagar represents? Mount Sinai. And what does Mt. Sinai represent? The Law of Moses! But what does Paul say to do with Hagar, the slave-girl?

30. Still, what does the Scripture yet say? “Cast out (or: At once expel) the servant girl (the slave-girl; the maid) and her son, for by no means will the son of the servant girl (the slave-girl; the maid) be an heir (take possession of and enjoy the distributed allotment) with the son of the freewoman.” [Gen. 21:10]. What does this mean? It means: cast out the Law (Mt. Sinai)! Do not mix the two covenants, for what the Law produces (represented by the son of the slave-girl) will by no means be an heir with what is produced by the Jerusalem above (our mother, the one who produced us – vs. 26 – the new covenant of freedom and promise).

So, speaking of covenants, Heb. 7:19 tells us, “you see, the Law perfects nothing (brought nothing to the goal; finishes nothing) – yet on the other hand [this is] a fully leading-in (or: a bringing-in upon; an introduction; [note: according to Thayer, this was used in Josephus of the introduction of a new wife in place of one repudiated]) of a superior (stronger and better) expectation (or: expectant hope) through which we are continuously and progressively drawing near to and in (or: by) God.” Then vs. 22 says, “Jesus has become a guarantee (pledge; surety; sponsor) of a superior (stronger and better) arrangement (or: covenant; disposition).” And again, in Ch. 8:6 we are told, “But now He has hit the mark of a thoroughly carried-through public service, even by as much as He continues being a Medium (an agency; an intervening substance; a middle state; one in a middle position; a go-between; an umpire; a Mediator) of a superior (stronger and better) arrangement (covenant; settlement; disposition) which has been instituted (set by custom; legally established) upon superior (stronger and better) promises!’ The case is made stronger in Ch. 9:23 that speaks of “better sacrifices” than those of the old covenant. The arguments for the better and superior, in the book of Heb., ends with telling us of a “a superior (stronger and better) resurrection” in Ch. 11:35. With all this that is better, and superior, why try to hold on to the Law of Moses?

Do not tell people to “keep the 10 Commandments.” Jesus gave us a new impartation of His goal in John 13:34, “I am giving to you men a new commandment (a directive different from that which had been formerly; a command that is new in kind and character): that you folks are to be continuously and progressively loving (or: should constantly love) one another, just as (correspondingly as; to the same level as; in the sphere as) I love you folks so that you also may constantly (or: would habitually) love one another.”

Jesus gave a foretaste of not being under the Law of Moses when in Mark 7:18-19 He said, “Are you folks still continuing to not use your mind and intellect (to not think or consider) so as to perceive and comprehend that nothing proceeding to enter into the person (human; man) continues having power or ability to ritually defile (contaminate; make common or unclean) him, because it is not passing on into his heart, but rather, into the stomach and intestines (the cavity), then proceeds to pass out into the toilet (evacuation seat; latrine)?” – “[Thus, He is] proceeding in cleansing (making ritually clean) all foods!”

Then with Peter, in Acts 10:15, the Voice tells him to rise, kill and eat things that were declared unclean by the Law. Furthermore, Peter understood God’s words, “do not call common (= ceremonially unclean) what God has cleansed,” to refer to the non-Jews. As Paul has said, there is no distinction between Jew and non-Jew – because there is a new arrangement. He said it all very well in 2 Cor. 5,

17. Consequently, since someone [is] within Christ (or: if anyone [is] in union with [the] Anointed One), [there is] a new creation (or: [it is] a framing and founding of a different kind; [he or she is] an act of creation having a fresh character and a new quality): the original things (the beginning [situations]; the archaic and primitive [arrangements]) passed by (or: went to the side). Consider! New things have come into existence (have been birthed; or: It has become new things; or: He has been birthed and now exists being ones of a different kind, character and quality).

18. Yet further, all these things [are] (or: the Whole [is]) forth from out of the midst of God – the One transforming us down to be other [than we were] (or: bringing us down into another place or state of being; changing us to correspond with other [perceptions and conceptions]; altering us down to be another [person]; changing us from enmity to friendship; reconciling us) in Himself (or: with Himself; by Himself; to Himself; for Himself), through Christ, and giving to us the attending service of the transformation to be other [than we were] (or: the lowering of us into another [position]; the changing of us to correspond with other [situations; perceptions]; the alteration for us to be another [person]; the change from enmity to friendship; the reconciliation),

19. as that God was existing within Christ (God was and continued being in union with [the] Anointed One) continuously transforming [the] world ([the] system of culture, religion and government) down to be other [than it is] (or: progressively bring [the] ordered system down into another [position]; repeatedly changing [the] universe to correspond with other [conditions; perceptions]; progressively altering [the] ordered arrangement down to be another one; habitually and progressively changing [the] world from enmity to friendship; reconciling [the] world [of mankind]) in Himself (to Himself; for Himself; by Himself), not accounting to them (not putting to their account; not logically considering for them; not reasoning in them) their falls to the side (their trespasses; their offences), even placing within us the Word (the Idea; the Reason; the message) of the corresponding transformation (or: the full alteration; the change from enmity to friendship; the conciliation).

In 2 Cor. 3 Paul declared that they were servants of the new covenant (vs. 6)not of the letter, but of the spirit; not of the “ministration of condemnation” (vs. 9; referred to as “Moses” in vs. 15), but of fairness and equity in the Way pointed out. Then, in vs. 11, “You see, since that which was being progressively unemployed and brought down to doing no work – even being made ineffective and nullified – [came] through glory, to a much greater extent is the continuously remaining one (the dwelling, abiding and enduring one) [existing] within the midst of glory.” So, we are not under the Law of Moses, the customs and rituals in the Torah, but we are under an administration of grace and joyous Favour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


NOT UNDER LAW but UNDER GRACE [Jonathan Mitchell]         1

 

Pin It on Pinterest