The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant? – Part 2
As we left off in the study concerning the relevancy of the Ten Commandments for today’s Christian believers, we’ll continue delving into why today’s Christians are really still required to keep God’s Laws.
This writer can hear the troops rumbling at that one.
Before we begin, just to make a note that this writer, as a Christian, truly went round and round on this subject with the Lord Jesus and His Holy Spirit for years, wrestling over the Scriptures, and I should simply also note: I lost the fight.
I used to be in my study and pointing out verses of Scripture to the Lord Jesus, saying to Him, “What about this one? Huh, Huh? This says that I am no longer under the Law!!!” Then the Holy Spirit would pop a chapter/verse into my spirit and I would dutifully go there….and be stunned. Then I would usually say something that always showed my extreme intelligence before the Lord… ”Well, then it is true…there are discrepancies and errors in your Word, Lord. How can I be at the same time, ‘not under the law’ here in this passage (I would flip my pages back open, as if the Lord Jesus needed to ‘see’ the place in HIS Word) and yet be ‘under the law’ in this passage? It doesn’t make any sense! Please explain this to me, if you will.” Let me say, this led to a whole lot of frustration for me as a student of the Word of God for the next twenty years or so. The only discrepancy that existed was in my understanding.
Then one day when I was still in Bible College, my professor was drawing something akin to a time-line on the chalk board, but it was more in the form of symbolisms. He drew a rough presentation of the sacrificial altar, then the inter-testamental period, then the coming of Christ, the final sacrifice. I will say that my professor was not attempting to teach me what I learned, but through his rough drawings, the Lord Jesus clearly taught me that the only true difference between the first covenant and the second covenant that we now live under, was the ‘Type of Sacrifice’ and the ‘Blood of the Sacrifice’.
In the first covenant, a physical lamb and its imperfect blood was used. When the Lord Jesus came, He came to lay His life down as the Lamb of God, along with His perfect and Holy Blood to atone for our transgressions. This was the beginning of finally understanding the Truth and I immediately sat up in my chair and began to copy his diagram. Later I went home and was conversing with the Lord in my study and could only keep on thanking Him for finally showing me the answer, which began to clear up the confusion about the Law of God. I will say also that the acquisition of knowledge, which I learned by studying the Koine Greek language, it helped to complete my understanding about the Greek word, “νομοs (nomos).”
This writer should also add, that I was firmly in the camp of those Christians who believed that the Law was ended as it is stated in:
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.
Aha! There it is…I knew it! Eureka! (Euρηka) Which means ‘I found it!’ in Greek. See folks, and you thought you didn’t know any Greek. Okay, all seriousness aside, if you will. So if you happen to have a vacuum cleaner with that name on it, now you know why they named it as such. Because it simply ‘finds’ dirt.
So back to Romans 10:4 and the teaching that this means that the Law of God has been laid to rest. This could not be further from the Truth of God. Let’s look at the context in which this verse of Scripture is situated.
For those who may not already know this: chapters, verses, punctuation, chapter headings, paragraph headings, paragraphs are all devices that were put into the Holy Writ by human translators. These were not divinely included in the original autographs.
Chapter 9 speaks about the Lord wanting to make known His power throughout the earth. Therefore, He will show mercy to whom He will show mercy, etc. as found in v.18. In v. 25-26 Paul quotes from Hosea 2:23 and 1:10 respectively, and then he quotes from Isaiah 10:22 in v.27; in v.28 he quotes from Isaiah 28:22 and then in v. 29 he quotes from Isaiah 1:9 and 13:19, in order to establish a Scriptural precedent that is not of his own making or his own design. This should immediately alert the student that Paul was about to launch out into what might be considered new territory, so Paul wanted to anchor it in Scriptures first so that he would not be accused of attempting to establish his own doctrines.
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
In v. 30 we find that the Gentiles, which were not originally called nor did they follow after righteousness, but they had now attained to that very righteousness that had been made available to the Jews, but now the Gentiles were attaining it by faith.
In v. 31 we see that the Jews who followed after the ‘law of righteousness’ had not attained to the ‘law of righteousness.’ When most students read this passage, they automatically ascribe this ‘law of righteousness’ as being synonymous with the Torah, but is it? Let’s think for a moment in simple mathematical terms. If you remember earlier as it is stated in Part 1:
Since the Bible was originally written in Koine Greek, there is only one Greek word for ‘law,’ which is νομοs (nomos), which is in its lexical (root) form. Since there is only one Greek word translated as ‘law’ in English, the critical understanding of it becomes context specific.
Well, here is a context specific example, so now using a simple mathematical equation: If I do A and B, I will receive C or
A + B = C
Or if you will, if I throw something up in the air, the ‘law of gravity’ will bring it down. So if the Jews would do that which the Lord had commanded in His Law, ‘The Ten,’ then the Jewish people would benefit from the ‘law of righteousness’ if they would have just received it by faith.
Let’s briefly recount the story of Abraham, whom God had promised that He would make Abraham a Father of many nations. He would also give to Abraham and Sarah a son of their own. Abraham ‘believed’ and it was counted unto him as ‘righteousness.’ However, the Jews could not understand the concept of just ‘believing to receive’ this righteousness from their God. So began the process of ‘working out their own righteousness’ by the deeds or the ‘works of the law,’ which was a part of the sacrificial system to have their transgressions forgiven.
Now let’s look at this verse in the original Greek:
Ἰσραὴλ δὲ διώκων νόμον δικαιοσύνης εἰς νόμον οὐκ ἔφθασεν.
But Israel pursuing [the] law of righteousness; as a result, did not attain to [this] law.
Then in v. 32 Paul says, “Wherefore or Why?” Why could the Jews not attain to this ‘law of righteousness’? Because they were not seeking it by faith, which is what the Lord God always wanted for them. They were pursuing it with all of ‘their own strength’, therefore, they did not receive it. In the Greek text, the second word for ‘righteousness’ is not in the Greek text, which indicates that it is ‘elliptical’, see my article Partners in Marriage or watch the video, ‘It’s Greek to Me!’ for more detail about the figure of speech, ‘Ellipsis.’ For those that lived before Christ came they could have attained it by looking forward to the day that Messias would come, and they like Abraham, would have received righteousness as it was ‘counted to them.’ For those that were present when Messias was physically present, if they would have looked to that ‘Rock from which they were hewn from,’ they also would have been counted as being righteous. But as we see in v.32, they ‘stumbled at this stumbling stone.’
Chapter 10 begins with Paul desiring that Israel might be saved. For Paul was acknowledging that the Jews had a great zeal for God but not according to knowledge. This knowledge is not the knowledge of or from the earth realms, but rather this knowledge ἐπίγνωσιν (epignosin), was to come down from God Himself.
In v.3 we read that Israel was ignorant of this righteousness that was of God and they were going about trying to establish ‘their own’ righteousness, but would not submit to God’s righteousness that He was now providing for them. Because they would not submit to God’s righteousness, the ‘law of righteousness’ that they so desired to attain to, continually eluded them, even the more so as they continued to work to achieve it as their goal. We now come to v.4 which has been taught as a standard of truth to just about every Christian. I will not say that every Christian has heard this teaching, but it was taught to this writer. This verse is what set up the continual traveling in circles, yet not being able to understand why in some passages, it looked like I was under law, but then in this verse…well behold…it was being taught to me that Christ ended the Law, that is the Law of God. This teaching point was driven into my understanding of Christian doctrines. At the time, I had not yet studied Greek and therefore I had to accept at face value that which was being taught to me. Now I find it rather amusing on one level that the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t seem to concur with this teaching.
τέλος γὰρ νόμου Χριστὸς εἰς δικαιοσύνην παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι.
For Christ is the end of [the] law resulting in righteousness to all [that] believe.
When Jesus Christ came, He suffered and died, and He laid down His life and allowed the shedding of His pure and perfect blood. When a person chooses (hear this well) to accept the WORK of the Lord Jesus Christ through His death, resurrection and ascension, they receive free of charge their salvation by which their spirit is once again made alive, so that they may be in fellowship with the Triune Deity. He ended for all time, for those that would believe upon His Name and subsequently claim His sacrificial blood, that the former sacrificial system would be the covering for their sins, transgressions and iniquities, thereby ending the need to chase after this ‘law of righteousness’ as their covering.
This is why Adam and Eve attempted to ‘cover themselves’with fig leaves. But then what did God do? He showed them how to sacrifice a lamb and to apply the blood of the lamb which would cover their transgressions against His holiness. This was then done until the True Lamb of God was able to come into the world.
Some might say that this is a moot point, but it is not a moot point! The Lord Jesus Christ did not end the Law of God, but if you will, this ‘law of righteousness’ which arises from the ‘doing’ of the Law of God with your ‘own works,’ rather than the ‘work of the Lord Jesus Christ.’
Please remember up above when I covered, A + B = C, this is more in sync with the idea that the
Lord Jesus Christ – ended the Fruit – not the Root!
This understanding will be crucial in later teachings. So let’s close with:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
See in you in Part 3.