“I’m not under the Law. I’m under grace.”
The above words have slipped off my tongue hundreds of times over the last thirty years, but are they really true?
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law but under grace. (Romans 6:14 NKJ)
When I used to read the word “Law” in the New Testament, I immediately connected it to the Old Testament and assumed that the word “Law” was a bad thing, but of course, I never checked the word out.
The Hebrew word “torah” is translated into our English word “Law” in both the Old and New Testaments. Yet the true meaning of the Hebrew word “torah” is not “Law”, but rather, “instructions or teaching.”
Thus, should I be under the instructions or teaching of God?
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law [Torah] or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)
The word Law (or Torah) in the above verse refers to the Pentateuch or the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And the word Prophets refers to the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the other prophetic books with Malachi being the last one.
Admittedly, for thirty years, I have looked at the above verse and believed that since Jesus fulfilled the Law or Torah, I did not have to do so. My attitude was — “Thank you Jesus, I can ignore the Law or Torah and its requirements and just follow the red letters in the New Testament.”
I know! I know! I know!
My logic was childish at best because one of my favorite sayings, “Anyone who believes in Me will do the works I am doing and greater ones because I go to the Father,” blows this logic to pieces. You see, one of Jesus’ works was following the Law or Torah.
“…I came not to destroy, but to fulfill.” And surely to ‘fulfill’ means to complete, in the sense of bringing to perfection, not, as Christians have all too often interpreted it, to render it obsolete; but to fulfill in such a way as to perfect a foundation on which to build further. (Christian Jewish Heritage, Western Sussex: Angel Press, 1988, p. 8 via Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1992, p. 26)
The Apostle Paul wrote:
Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah. (Romans 3:31 Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1998, p. 1408)
Am I there yet? Heavens no! I have many miles to go yet.
So, stay buckled up until next time.
(Continued in Part 8…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)