Satan hates God’s Law and for good reason. He knows that those who obey it will escape his religious trap known globally as “the church.” He has worked from the beginning to steer people away from the Law by using a ploy as old as man himself–deception. Beginning with Adam and Eve he has successfully drawn people unto himself by confusing the Law issue, even to causing billions of salvation seekers to believe that God nailed His “holy, just and good” Law to the cross of His Son Who came to earth to “magnify the Law and make it holy.” This is the same Son Who declared that He did “not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it.”
I have been amazed at the extent Bible-owning people will go to in order to “prove” that the One they claim as their Messiah is at best mistaken and at worst an inveterate liar. I have been told that the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Rome proves that God’s Law was nullified by the death of the Messiah. I was told that, “If you don’t get Romans, Romans will get you.” According to Law-rejecters, the Book of Romans is the final nail in the coffin that contains God’s Law.
However, an honest STUDY (2 Tim. 2:15) of that most important of Biblical Books reveals an entirely different message from the Lord relative to His Law. A “fine print” STUDY of its contents is absolutely essential in order for one to know God’s requirements for inheriting eternal life. Such a STUDY will prove that, contrary to universal opinion, faith and grace are not enough, that WORKS are necessary in order to EARN the promised WAGE FOR OBEDIENCE–eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Notice that I use the words “WORKS,” “EARN” AND “WAGE.” The Apostle John defines sin as the breaking of the Law (1 Jn. 3:4). Paul states that we earn the wage of death by sinning (Rom. 6:23). If we earn the wage of death for disobeying the Law, then we earn the wage of life by obeying it. Roman 5:21 and 6:22 prove this Truth. The author of the Book of Romans plainly states that Jesus Christ, Who taught him the Gospel (Gal. 1:12), taught him that ETERNAL LIFE IS THE END RESULT OF A LIFE LIVED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS–the result of obedience to the Law. The second “headline” found in Romans 6:23–“the gift of God is eternal life”–is true. However, in His “fine print” Jesus reminds us that we must qualify for that gift: “If you want to have eternal life, obey the commandments” (Mat. 19:17).
Before we enter into a study of the Book of Romans, I must confess a grave sin. Before my true conversion a few years ago I had been a minister in “the church” for approximately 30 years. I was known for my miracle ministry and my in-depth knowledge of the Scriptures. Preaching, healing the sick and casting out demons were an on-going part of my ministry. However, the Book of Romans had always been my nemesis. I simply could not understand how Paul could say “you are not under the law,” then tell me that “a man is under the Law as he lives.” Those messages came at me time after time as I studied that most confusing Book.
God had made me a perfectionist, especially so in the spiritual realm. But I could not find perfections in the midst of such obvious contradictions. Yet He would not allow me to ignore Romans. And I tried by telling Him that I was through with the Book. But it kept drawing to back to itself. One day, in utter frustration, I ripped a Bible to pieces and threw it in a trash can. Because of the problems I once had with the Book I understand why billions of people do not understand the issue that Romans presents relative to God’s Law. Following my true conversion years later, the patient Lord led me back to Romans, opened my heart to hear His spiritual “voice,” and taught me about His two Laws. Because many Truth seekers struggle with the Law issue as I did, the Lord has led me to present this series.
I tend to be repetitive and simplistic when it comes to the Scriptures. So bear with me when I emphasize the Lord’s “fine print” to the extreme while dealing with this life and death subject. And it is a life and death subject. Simply put: Life awaits the one who obeys God’s Law; death awaits the one who disobeys His Law, also known as God’s Word, which Jesus called “Truth” in John. 17:17. Paul tells us in Romans 2:20 that “TRUTH IS IN THE LAW.” Jesus said that God’s Word is Truth. Therefore, THE LAW, THE WORD AND THE TRUTH ARE ONE IN THE SAME. COLLECTIVELY THEY ARE KNOWN AS “THE GOSPEL.” Let us now study the “fine print” found in one of the Books that comprise God’s Gospel–the Book of Romans.
As stated in the previous posting, people confuse justification and salvation, which are two different Godly actions which happen at two different times. Justification (forgiveness of one’s past sins) is based on one’s faith in God’s Word/Gospel/Law. Salvation is based on one’s obedience to His Law following justification and conversion. Simply put, justification is the reward of faith; salvation is the reward of obedience. Law deniers believe that salvation is awarded at the beginning of life’s “race” (I Cor. 9:24/ Heb. 12:1). The Lord tells us that JUSTIFICATION is the reward for beginning life’s “race.” He also tells us that salvation will be awarded at the return of Jesus Christ, and only to those who have “endured (in obedience) to the end” of one’s life–the end of the “race.” Only these, He tells us, “shall be saved” at that time (Mat. 10:22). As already noted, Paul states the same Truth in Romans 5:21 and 6:22 which I ask you to read carefully.
As stated, the words “justification,” “justification” and “Jusify” are found 21 times in the Book of Romans while those relative to salvation are mentioned 12 times. That, in and of itself, should identify the focus of the epistle.
Paul stresses the importance of WORKS beginning in chapter 2. In verses 5-11 he notes that God will judge each person according to his/her “DEEDS” (works). He then uses such terms as “WELL DOING,” “OBEY” and “GOOD WORKS” relative to one’s “DEEDS.” In verse seven he notes that such DEEDS WILL RESULT IN “ETERNAL LIFE.” In verses 8,9 Paul warns that those “who are contentious and do not OBEY THE TRUTH (WORD-Jn. 17:17) will receive “INDIGNATION AND WRATH, TRIBULATION AND ANGUISH because they “do evil.” In verse 10 he notes that he who “WORKS GOOD” will receive glory, honor and peace. In verse 11 he says that the rule holds true whether one is a Jew or a Gentile.
In order to determine who “works good” and who “does evil” we must determine what the words “good” and “evil” mean and how to distinguish between them. In 2:12 and 13 he answers sets the record straight: OBEYING THE LAW IS “GOOD” AND DISOBEYING IT IS “EVIL.” He explains that one’s deeds relative to the LAW determine whether one lives eternally or perishes eternally. In short, WE WILL ALL BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO THE LAW. Combining this statement with the words of Jesus found in John 12:44-50 tells us in no uncertain terms that eternal life depends on obedience to God’s Law. A careful study of this passage, along with Matthew 4:4, will make it clear that the Holy Bible is God’s Word/Law and that man will be judged by every Word written in it. The same Words were spoken by the same God in Deuteronomy 8:3. This proves that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” What He said to Moses He says to us today. The Gospel that He preached to Abraham is the same Gospel He speaks to us through His Holy Scriptures (Gal. 3:8).
In 2:13 Paul states that only those who are “doers of the Law” are, and will continue to be, justified. In verse 15 he brags on believing Gentiles who “have the WORK (doing/obeying) of the Law written in their hearts (minds). Recall that in Jeremiah 31:31-33 God said that He would make a New Covenant with the House of Judah and the House of Israel. He would write His Law in the hearts of those who choose to live under that “New Covenant.” In Hebrews 8:8-12 He proclaims that He did just that. His true church lives under the tenants of that New Covenant today, having His Ten Commandment Law written in their hearts. In verse 13 Paul makes it clear that, since the New Covenant based on God’s moral, Ten Commandment Law was then in effect, the old sacrificial Law had to be discarded and forgotten. Jesus had announced during the Last Supper that His soon-coming death would mark the end of the old blood law. God did away with it by nailing it to His cross.
In Romans 3:1 Paul asks a question and then answered it. He asks what advantage did Jews have when it came to justification? Their advantage was great–THEY ALREADY HAD THE WORD/LAW/GOSPEL OF GOD AVAILABLE TO THEM. THEY ONLY NEEDED TO DUST IT OFF, LEARN IT AND OBEY IT. Gentiles had to learn the Law from scratch. They did not learn the sacrificial law, but rather the moral, Ten Commandment Law. This is the same Law Jesus told the rich man he had to obey in order to receive eternal life (Mat. 19:17). He said to him: “If you would have (eternal) life, OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS.”
In closing I will focus on Romans 13:19-26 where Paul tells the Roman church that JUSTIFICATION (not salvation) is attained and retained through faith alone, that one is JUSTIFIED solely by faith in the Word of the Lord, that by the deeds of THE TEN COMMANDMENT LAW no man could be JUSTIFIED. Only by faith (taking God at His Word) can we be JUSTIFIED. But as many other passages found in the Lord’s “fine print” reveal, once having been JUSTIFIED, one must be converted by beginning a life of obedience of the Law in letter and spirit. Salvation will be awarded upon Christ’s Second Advent and the first resurrection. Read Hope and Salvation and The Resurrections. Key words–Hope and Resurrections respectively.
I trust that the reader now understands that God created two Laws, and that the sacrificial law was created because the people would not obey God’s moral, Ten Commandment Law, and that the sacrificial law remained in effect until the death of Jesus Christ, at which time it was nailed to the cross. The other (moral) Ten Commandment Law must be obeyed until the end of one’s life in order to be saved.
In closing I will add some of Paul’s statements in the Book of Romans relative to the Law: “The Law is holy, just and good” (7:12). “I would not have known what sin was if not for the Law” (7:7). “I was alive once without the Law. Then the Law came to my attention, I came to understand what sin was, and I realized that I was a walking dead man” (7:9). L.J.