Paul & the Law

There are two sides to the debate about the Law from the writings of Paul.

Side one states that: Col 2:14  blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.
Primarily with this verse side one and side two have an argument as to what this statement that Paul made means.

The first side, side one, tells us the Law is null and void according to Paul in the verse above, therefore there is no need to observe the Law in any way because Messiah abolished the law through his death. The second side, side two, agrees with side one and tells us that the writings of Paul does away with the Law, and therefore Paul is a lawless heretic, throws away the first five book of the Bible, and should not be considered as a valid character in the New Testament.

Let’s take a look at side one and read some verses having to do with the Law supposedly having been done away. We have already read Colossians 2:14. Let’s look at some more verses Paul wrote.

Gal 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,"

Gal 4:9  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elements, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again?
Gal 4:10  You observe days, months, seasons, and years.
Gal 4:11  I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you.

Gal 5:2  Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.
Gal 5:3  Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (everything in Genesis through Deuteronomy)

Gal 5:18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

2Co 3:6  who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2Co 3:7  But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away:

2Co 3:14  But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away.

What we have just read can all be summed up by saying that “salvation is by faith in Christ alone and is a doctrine accredited to most Christians today.

Those are just some of the verses that Christians use to show that keeping the Law is useless, and even dangerous for salvation to attempt to keep them. This gives those Christians license to not keep the 7th day Sabbath or keep the Feasts and food laws mentioned in the Law Given by God and written by Moses, and allows them to worship God in any way they want. Except for Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, this group rarely reads the “Old Testament” at all.

Now, the second group on the other side of this issue concerning Paul and the Law, view the verses that we read used by group one to be exactly what Paul means, and therefore he is anti-Law, or a Heretic. These people go to the opposite extreme and throw out Paul’s writings and by doing so they throw out a huge portion of the New Testament. Soon after accepting that Paul was a heretic, the next step is to move into one sort of Judaism or another, and therefore they reject Yahshua as Messiah altogether.

In these two extreme points of view, group one cannot worship without their perception of what Paul seems to be saying about salvation through faith alone, and once saved, always saved. Group two cannot tolerate Paul, and write him off because they believe him to be a heretic for doing away with the Law written down by Moses (John 1:17). They also agree with the Pharisees in Acts 6:7 through verse 15. Read it, then read all of Acts chapter 7.

Paul never said the Law was abolished.

Some years ago I came to the conclusion that Yahweh (that is his real name, not God) inserted the writings of Paul in the Bible that we have today to see who will truly be faithful to Yahshua (that is his real name, not Iesus/Jesus), and ultimately to Yahweh because they are one in spirit.

In other words, Paul’s writings can be a trap for those that simply do not understand what he is saying. That would include almost everyone that practices Christianity. One example of this was when I asked someone to tell me why Christ spoke in parables so many times and that his disciples had to ask him what he meant? Their answer was that they were stories that helped to understand more clearly. I said, OK, read this:
Mat 13:10  The disciples came, and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
11. He answered them, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.  12.  For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.  13. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing, they do not hear, neither do they understand. 
14.  In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, 'By hearing you will hear, And will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, And will in no way perceive: 
15.  For this people's heart has grown callous, Their ears are dull of hearing, They have closed their eyes; Or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their heart, And should turn again; And I would heal them.' 

Yahshua Messiah did not want them to understand what he had to say for the reasons he stated above. Much of Paul’s writing falls into the same category. It is for this reason that Peter, a man that spoke of Paul’s wisdom and understanding, wrote what he had to say about Paul concerning his epistles. This is what Peter said:

2 Peter 3:15  …And think of the long-suffering of our Lord as salvation, as also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him; 16.  as also in all his epistles, speaking in them concerning these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unsettled pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Wow, Peter knew something about Paul’s writings that few bible scholars understand.

Not only can Paul be a trap on one extreme, but at the other extreme he is a gigantic faith builder and teacher of how to worship God in complete righteousness until Messiah comes.

This next collection of scriptures will show that Paul never taught that we do not need to obey the Law. Paul himself believed in and kept the Law found in the first five books of the Old Testament. Remember there was no New Testament when Paul wrote:

Acts 24:14 "But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

Acts 25:8 …while he (Paul) answered for himself, "Neither against the Law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all."

Acts 18:21 …but took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming Feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, Yahweh willing." And he sailed from Ephesus. (He kept the Feasts as he had done all his life.)

Romans 7:25 I thank Yahweh--through Yahshua the Messiah our Master! So then, with the mind I myself serve the Law of Yahweh, but with the flesh the Law of sin.

Colo 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17. which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of the Messiah. Paul taught the disciples not to let anyone judge them about observing the Law.

Paul also says that the doers of the Law will be justified and those who break it will be judged.

Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without Law will also perish without Law, and as many as have sinned in the Law will be judged by the Law 13 (for not the hearers of the Law are just in the sight of Yahweh, but the doers of the Law will be justified;  That’s good, I know I want to be justified, do you?

The word that is translated "without Law" here is word Strong’s #460 which means without the law, or ignorance of the law.

Paul says that we know Yahweh (the father) and approve the things that are excellent when instructed out of the Law:

Romans 2:17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the Law, and make your boast in Yahweh, 18. and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the Law, 19. and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20. an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the Law.

Here he says that when we break the Law, we dishonor Yahweh and blaspheme His name. (…again, Yahweh is his name)

Romans 2:21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22. You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23. You who make your boast in the Law, do you dishonor Yahweh through breaking the Law? 24. For "the name of Yahweh is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.

Dropping down to  Rom 2:26  If therefore the uncircumcised keep the ordinances of the law, won't his uncircumcision be accounted as circumcision? 27.  Won't the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfills the law, judge you, who with the letter and circumcision are a transgressor of the law? 28.  For he is not a Jew that is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that outwardly in flesh; 29.  but he is a Jew that is one inwardly, and circumcision is of heart, in spirit, not in letter; of whom the praise is not from men, but from God. The intent of the Law is spiritual, not simply physical.

Here Paul twice states that we learn what sin is from the Law. This backs up the statement in 1John 3:4 that “Sin is transgression of the Law”.

Romans 7:12 Therefore the Law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Here is an unpopular statement that Paul made. Many Christians like to believe that the Law is of the flesh.

Romans 7:14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Paul delights in the Law of Yahweh

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the Law of Yahweh according to the inward man.

Now let’s move on to where Paul uses the term "Lawlessness". The word that is translated "Lawlessness" in the following verses is the greek word "anomia" which carries the following definition:

458. anomia, an-om-ee'-ah; from 459;
illegality, i.e. violation of the law or (gen.) wickedness: --- iniquity, transgression of the law, and unrighteousness.

Paul believes the same thing that we see in 1Joh 3:4 Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the Law. By the way, this is the only verse in the entire Bible other than what we read from Paul’s writings that define what sin is. Sin is breaking the law, not drinking, smoking, dancing or anything like that.

This was written by John, but it is showing that this word is the definition of sin. For sin is anomia, the condition of being in violation of the Law.

In these verses Paul shows that righteousness is the opposite of Lawlessness (anomia). If we are keeping the Law, we are walking in righteousness.

Romans 6:19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of Lawlessness leading to more Lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

Paul equates this word Lawlessnes (#458) with SIN.

Romans 4:7 "Blessed are those whose Lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;

Here is an example where this word is used when translating from the Old Testament.

Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated Lawlessness (#458);
Therefore, Yahweh, Your Elohim, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions."

Now this is is an example of where the New Testament is quoting from the old testament. (From the Hebrew to the greek). Now what word does this greek word #458 translate from?

Psalm 45:7 Thou love righteousness, and hate wickedness: (#7562H which is the same as the greek #458G) therefore Yah, your El', has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.

So it comes from the Hebrew word reshah (#7562H) which means "Wickedness", the same as #458G!! Now how is this word used in other places in scripture? Here we have seen an example of a Psalm that makes wickedness the opposite of righteousness just as Paul taught.

We could go on a long time proving that the meaning of what Paul meant by "righteousness" was obedience to the Law but let’s look this example:

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slave whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Obedience to what? The Law of course.)

Here is another one where obedience is equated with righteousness as defined by the Law.

Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the Law, "The man who does those things shall live by them."

Here are several other scriptures where Paul says that we ought to walk in righteousness:

Ephesians 5:8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in Yahweh. Walk as children of light  9. (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), See also Psalm 119:172

Ephe 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

2Tim 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on Yahweh out of a pure heart. 23. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.

Here is an example where Paul takes another step forward in showing that ALL SCRIPTURE, which must includes the Law of Yahweh, because there was no written "new testament" at the time Paul wrote.

2Tim 3:16 All Scripture (Scripture is the Old Testament) is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Yahweh may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

There would have to be no doubt that according to these verses in which Paul wrote that he certainly upheld the Law as the very definition of righteousness. He taught that breaking the commandments is unrighteousness, lawlessness, wickedness, and most importantly, SIN. We can come to the conclusion that whenever Paul speaks of Sin, he most certainly is talking about disobeying the commandments in the Law. How many more scriptures are there where Paul speaks against sin? We could go on for hours on this.

We can see that to Paul’s followers it was quite obvious that Law obedience was expected. Another thing we should consider is that many of the details of Law observance were worked out in public meetings in the synagogues. James made the decision in Acts 15, that the Gentiles would learn the Law in the synagogues every Sabbath.

Both group one, those that will not observe the Law because they think Paul did away with it, and group two, those that think Paul is a heretic, and go off into Judaism because they think he nullifies the Law, are both wrong. Why is this the case?

Romans 8:6-7 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against Yahweh; for it is not subject to the Law of Yahweh, nor indeed can be.

The second chapter of James wraps up this whole subject. If it were not for the carnal mind, and not living by every word of Yahweh when he says in Jas 2:24, You see, then, that a man (or woman) is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Jas 2:17  So also faith, if it does not have works, IS DEAD (a dead faith) being by itself (You have to have something else.).17  So also faith by itself, if it (faith) does not have works, is dead (a dead faith). 2:18  But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

What you have just read is (almost) the bottom line because the Law of Yahweh goes hand in hand with our faith. For our very salvation one has to incorporate both Works, which is the keeping of the Laws of Yahweh found in the Old Testament, and then we add our faith in Messiah Yahshua, combined with thoes works.

We can see now that Paul taught that the observance to the Law is absolutly necessary for salvation.

Bob Widmer