2010 ©Homer Kizer
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Commentary — From the Margins
“All Who Have Sinned Without the Law Will Also Perish Without the Law”
For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:12–16)
The Christian who claims that he or she is not under the law will, according to Paul’s gospel, perish without the law if this person transgresses the law; for it is doers of the law who will be justified. But does Paul contradict himself for he also writes to these same converts at Rome, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his [God’s] sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20).
According to Paul, the law brought sin to life:
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Rom7:7–12 emphasis added)
Knowledge of sin, of what sin is brings sin to life. It is easy to “believe God” when there is no knowledge of what sin is; for ultimately, sin which the Apostle John defines as lawlessness or the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4) becomes simple unbelief, from which lawlessness descends as a logical progression.
The concept of the law being a living entity brought to life by sin is not a concept modern Christendom has embraced, but this concept appears in Jesus’ words:
And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in Him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees Him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words [mou rhēma] and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words [mou rhēma] has a judge; the word [Ò Logos] that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has Himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:44–50 emphasis added)
If a commandment is eternal life; if the law is holy, and the commandment holy, then indwelling eternal life is the indwelling of the commandment, with this indwelling causing the person to be holy. Without the indwelling of the commandment the Father gave Jesus, a person has no indwelling eternal life. And if the word [the message personified] that Jesus delivered to His disciples will be the judge of all Israelites who doubt Him, then the words that Jesus left with His disciples function for Him as He functions for the Father; for “‘the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). Jesus judges no one, but will have the word [Ò Logos] He spoke judge the Israelite.
The words Jesus spoke become a single living word [Ò Logos] or message, and this single word is His spokesman: the words He spoke deliver today and tomorrow the same message as He delivered to His first disciples yesterday. … The saints of Philadelphia keep the word [ho logos — objective case of Ò logos] of the endurance [hupomonē] of Jesus, with this word or message being the simple good news [euaggelion] that “‘the one [having endured —hupomenō] to the end will be saved’” (Matt 24:13). This is the gospel of the kingdom that will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations (v. 14). Thus, the word [Ò Logos] of Jesus is a message that speaks as if it were a person; it also judges those Israelites who do not receive His words.
When a person can wrap his or her mind around the reality that the relationship between the Father and His Helpmate, the Logos [Ò Logos], who was God [Theos] and was with the God [ton Theon] in the beginning (John 1:1), is analogous to the relationship between the man Jesus of Nazareth and the words Jesus left with His disciples, the person can begin to understand how it is that the commandment the Father gave Jesus is eternal life … Jesus spoke only the words of the Father during His earthly ministry. He spoke as a human being; thus, the words He spoke were modulations of His human breath, the breath that gave His fleshly body life. The same breath that delivered the words of the Father to His disciples also supplied oxygen molecules to His lungs, with these oxygen molecules being picked up by the blood in His lungs and carried to every cell in His earthly body where they supported the oxidation of simple carbohydrates, with the dark fire of this cellular oxidation sustaining physical life.
The words Jesus spoke were neither His breath that sustained His life nor a personage. Collectively, the words Jesus spoke formed a message that was the word [Ò Logos] of Him. Once delivered, the words Jesus spoke were not subservient to Him: they existed independent of Him. And here is where problems enter: the words Jesus spoke were not begotten by Him, for they were the words that the Father gave to Him to speak. These words came from the Father and were of the Father, but they were not God [Theos]. They were not the Helpmate of the Father. They were not the breath of the Father although they would have been delivered by the Father’s breath, the Holy Spirit [pneuma Theon], to Jesus. So Arian and Trinitarian err when the first claims that the Logos [Ò Logos] is the breath of God and the second claims that the breath of God [pneuma Theon] is a personage like the Father and the Son.
When born of Mary, the man Jesus of Nazareth was as spiritually lifeless as a person’s words are humanly lifeless—this is an important anchor when it comes to understanding the relationship between men and God. The man Jesus was without sin. His father was not the first Adam but the Logos [Ò Logos], who was God [Theos] and was with the God [ton Theon] in the beginning—
The man Jesus of Nazareth didn’t enter His creation as the only begotten Son of the Father, but as the only begotten Son of the Logos [Ò Logos], who again was Theos [no definite article, for the noun shares the article of Ò Logos] and who was with the God [ton Theon] in the beginning (cf. John 1:1; 3:16). In the Christological statement with which John begins his gospel, John’s construction of his first claim creates a grammatical separation between the Logos who was God [Theos] and the Father who was the God [ton Theon]. This is the two-are-one principle seen in marriage (Gen 2:24), where two separate entities function as one unit: prior to the present Western-world era, a wife took her legal identity from her husband. By marriage, she became one with her husband. When asked whether it was lawful to divorce a wife for any cause, Jesus said, “‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh’” (Matt 19:4–6) … in the beginning, the Tetragrammation YHWH existed as one spirit. These two deities, the Logos [Ò Logos], who was God [Theos], and the God [ton Theon], functioned as one deity, one spirit, but with the creation concealing the God [ton Theon] (i.e., the Father whom Jesus came to reveal) from humankind’s perception of God so that even Israel did not know the Father. Thus, the Tetragrammaton YHWH deconstructs to YH (Yah) and WH, with ancient Israel only knowing Yah. With the exception of King David who disclosed in his late psalms that he knew that Yah was the natural or earthly face of the conjoined YHWH, no one in ancient Israel reveals any knowledge of the Father.
In the “before female liberation world,” if a husband told his wife to tell the butcher that he wanted a lamb crown roast for the night to be much remembered, the wife would go to the butcher, order and purchase the meat, then prepare and cook the crown roast. The husband merely spoke his will while providing the means for his wife to purchase and prepare the crown roast. The wife did all of the real work getting the roast, preparing and cooking it. The meal was her glory, with her husband basking in her glory as he enjoyed the roast he desired. And it is this model that is seen in John’s Christological statement: the Logos [Ò Logos], who was God [Theon] and was with the Father [ho patēr] who was also God [Theon], functioned as the Helpmate to the God [ton Theon], and it was this one [autos] who created all things (John 1:3), but created all things at the direction of the Father [ho patēr].
A human family comes about when the woman in whom all ova exist from her beginning has an ovum fertilized by the sperm of the male: a son or daughter is born to the woman, with the son or daughter carrying the DNA of the mother. The son or daughter is not the woman, but descends from the woman and carries a trace of the woman within him or her. And so it is with sons of God—
Every human being born of woman, past, present, and future, existed in the elements of this creation from the beginning; collectively, people are developed or undeveloped ovum in a woman, existing from the beginning in the creation itself, with the creation functioning as the womb of the Helpmate to the God [ton Theon]. In a human woman, most ova never develop—and of those that do develop, most drop without being fertilized. The number of children a woman bears is few in comparison to the number of ova with which she is born. And so it is with sons of God: of the number of human beings (spiritual ova) that will be humanly born, few will actually become sons of God. But those who are glorified will all carry the mind of Christ within them, with the mind of Christ functioning spiritually as maternal DNA functions physically.
Every Christian born of God [i.e., born of spirit or born from above] is a son of God (Gal 4:6–7), born of the Father and not simply begotten of God but given real life in the heavenly realm through the indwelling of the Father’s breath, the Holy Spirit. But every Christian who will be glorified through the Son causing the perishable flesh to put on immortality when judgments are revealed will conform to the image of Christ Jesus: the Christian will walk as Jesus, when a man, walked.
The Apostle John wrote, “And by this we know that we have come to know Him [Jesus], if we keep His commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked” (1 John 2:3–6)
Paul expresses the concept that those who say they are of Christ ought to walk as Jesus walked when he says,
· “I urge you, then, be imitators of me” (1 Cor 4:16);
· “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1);
· “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1);
· “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Phil 3:17);
· “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord” (1 Thess 1:6);
· “For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea” (1 Thess 2:14);
· “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:7–8);
· “‘Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I [Paul] committed any offense’” (Acts 25:8).
The common acronym WWJD [What Would Jesus Do] that many Evangelical Christians use can be answered simply: Jesus would walk and live as an Observant Jew. Any Christian who ignores the commandments is far from WWJD … no Christian can walk as Jesus walked or imitate Paul as he imitated Jesus and attempt to bodily enter into God’s presence on the first day of the week—and that is what Sabbath observance represents, bodily entering into God’s rest, with God’s rest being a euphemistic expression for God’s presence. Thus, the person who attends Christian worship services on Sunday does not walk as Jesus walked.
Mainstream Christendom vigorously denies that when glorified, sons of God will be “Gods” as the Father and the Son are each “God,” with God being the name [identifying noun] of the single house or household of the Father—all who are of this house [or will be of this house] are “one” as Adam and Eve (two individuals) were one. Collectively, born of spirit disciples are “one” with one another; they are one Body (1 Cor 12:12), with Christians baptized into one Body, and with all made to drink of one spirit. But this means that most self-identified Christians are not really Christian—
Whose sons will glorified disciples be if not the Father’s? And if disciples are sons of God, younger siblings of Christ Jesus (Rom 8:29), younger siblings who will be as He is when these disciples are glorified, will not glorified disciples be Gods as Scripture claims: “I have said, ‘You are gods, / sons of the Most High, all of you’” (Ps 82:6) … Jesus used this psalm to justify saying that He and the Father are one:
The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:31–36 emphasis added)
If the man Jesus of Nazareth in His human life is the embodiment of the living commandment of the Father that the Father delivered to the Logos, who entered His creation as His only Son; and if the man Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30) as the words spoken by an honest man disclose what is inside the man; and if the words of Jesus, the words that He spoke while a human being and the words that the Logos gave to the man Moses, form a message that will do the actual judging of human beings, then the Christian who insists that he or she is not under the law will be rightfully condemned for transgressing the law regardless of what the Christian believes about him or herself. Hence what Paul writes—true because the “spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one” (1 Cor 2:15)—about “all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law” (Rom 2:12) places a substantial burden on the Christian whose righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees if the Christian will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20) … the scribes and the Pharisees had the law and outwardly kept the law, but did not inwardly keep the law. Hence, none of them kept the law (John 7:19).
The works of the hands will never enter the kingdom of the heavens; hence, the works of the law will justify no one. It is the thoughts of the mind and the desires of the heart that either justifies or condemns the person. It is the words of a person that truly come from the heart of the person that disclose the contents of the heart.
But people have become increasingly deceitful: words cannot be trusted to disclose the thoughts of the mind and desires of the heart. Thus, the Father will cut through all of this deceit to create in each Christian a clean heart and a pure mind when the Father liberates Israel from indwelling sin and death through filling the Christian with spirit—His divine breath—at the Second Passover. Then there will be no place for the Christian to hide the thoughts of his or her mind, for the body of the Christian will be made subservient to the mind and heart. Whatever the Christian desires to do, the Christian can do. If the Christian desires to keep the commandments, he or she can. If the Christian doesn’t believe God, that unbelief will manifest itself in the acts of the Christian. And what will be seen is that the greater Christian Church, like the nation of the Israel numbered in the census of the second year (Num chap 1), will rebel against God and will perish in Sin. It will be the children of Christendom, most of whom are today in Islam, that will be brought into covenant with the Most High and saved through enduring to the end after the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation.
But God is not a respecter of persons: Plowing under the ideological cover crop of Islam and turning this cover crop into green manure will cause the world to be bathed in blood. The seven years of the Affliction and the Endurance will be an exceedingly difficult period, for truly two of every three living persons today will die during the first 1260 days, with a third part of the remaining third of humanity certain to perish when Christ returns.
Too many Christians who insist that they are not under the law refuse to believe what Paul wrote: “For all who have sinned [who have transgressed the law] without the law will also perish without the law” (again Rom 2:12). It simply doesn’t matter that they were not under the law. The word or message that Jesus left with His disciples will judge them—and if they come under judgment, they will be condemned. Jesus said, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word [—the word of me] and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life’” (John 5:24). But hearing the words of Jesus that form His word requires believing the writings of Moses: “‘For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words’” (vv. 46–47). The answer is that the person won’t.
A person is no more to God than an uttered word is to a person—and no less. When a person’s words mean something to the person, with the person being careful to utter only the truth, the person can begin to grasp how far humankind has gotten from God; for public discourse today isn’t just filled with lies, but is a lie posing as liberty dressed in multiculturalism.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."