Romans and the Law in the Life of the Believer

Romans and the Law in the Life of the Believer

Someone asked me for help understanding how to relate to the law of God as a believer in Yeshua in light of some verses in the book of Romans, because some verses taken out of context seem to present a negative view of the law.

To understand the book of Romans I think it is helpful to read more than a few verses, so let’s start. "Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation awaiting those who are in union with the Messiah Yeshua. Why? Because the Torah of the Spirit, which produces this life in union with Messiah Yeshua, has set me free from the “Torah” of sin and death. For what the Torah could not do by itself, because it lacked the power to make the old nature cooperate, God did by sending his own Son as a human being with a nature like our own sinful one [but without sin].

God did this in order to deal with sin, and in so doing he executed the punishment against sin in human nature, so that the just requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us who do not run our lives according to what our old nature wants but according to what the Spirit wants. For those who identify with their old nature set their minds on the things of the old nature, but those who identify with the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Having one’s mind controlled by the old nature is death, but having one’s mind controlled by the Spirit is life and shalom. For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God’s Torah — indeed, it cannot. Thus, those who identify with their old nature cannot please God.” Romans 8:1-8

Is this saying that the Torah is not good and cannot make us good? The Jewish King David said “The Torah of Adonai is perfect, restoring the inner person. The instruction of Adonai is sure, making wise the thoughtless.” Psalm 19:8. Since the Bible is clear that the Torah is good and restoring how can the book of Romans say it is lacking? We can understand this mystery. Yeshua’s answer to someone’s question reveals the solution to what may seem like a very confusing problem.

“’There was a man among the P’rushim, named Nakdimon, who was a ruler of the Judeans. This man came to Yeshua by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know it is from God that you have come as a teacher; for no one can do these miracles you perform unless God is with him.” “Yes, indeed,” Yeshua answered him, “I tell you that unless a person is born again from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”…Nakdimon replied, “How can this happen?”…. Yeshua answered him “You hold the office of teacher in Isra’el, and you don’t know this?...Just as Moshe lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life.’” John 3: 1-15

Reading the Torah can give you knowledge but reading alone cannot make you good. The Torah says “and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.” Deuteronomy 6:5. The law without love is powerless. God has to be the center of our lives in order to see real change and it is only as we look to Yeshua for strength-not our own will power-that we can receive the character transforming power of God’s grace. The Torah can show us what is lacking in our characters, but it is the willing submission to the power of God that makes the difference.

That is how the Torah can be lacking and restoring at the same time. In order to be restored you need to know what your life should be restored to and the Torah helps by pointing out what is wrong and directing us to the source of restoration God-but it don’t force us to accept God into our hearts. We need to be willing. God says “and I will give them unity of heart. “I will put a new spirit among you.” I will remove from their bodies the hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh; so that they will live by my regulations, obey my rulings and act by them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God.’” Ezekiel 11:19-20. So ask God to take your old heart and exchange it for a new one.

Picture originally found here

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