Commentary — From the Margins
Using the Law Lawfully
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim 1:8–17 double emphasis added)
This the third recent commentary in which I address Paul’s gospel, the good news that Paul taught to Gentile converts—and this gospel can be found in his treatise to the holy ones at Rome:
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 emphasis and double emphasis added)
According to Paul’s gospel, it is the doers of the law who will be justified—the actual work done in striving to keep the commandments is of this world and as such is spiritually worthless. What matters is what is written on the heart, and if a person’s heart is circumcised, the law will be written on this person’s heart. For as Paul writes, a Jew is not a person who has been outwardly circumcised:
For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. (Rom 2:25–29)
Paul gospel makes no distinction between Jew and Gentile, for the barrier between natural Israelite and a person of the nations was abolished by the blood of Christ, who broke down the wall of hostility by ending the covenant of commandments and ordinances that made natural Israel special to God (Eph 2:11–16). Now, it is the doer of the law—not the person outwardly circumcised on the eighth day—that will be justified before God when the person is born of God as a son.
Every humanly born person is a sinner (Rom 3:9–20), consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32), sold under sin (Rom 7:14), and as such comes under the general category for whom the law is laid down: “the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Tim 1:9–10). Only when a person goes against what is natural—the person’s natural inclinations—and does what is right and good, thereby doing what the law requires, showing that the person is a law upon him or herself, that the work of the law is written on the person’s heart [the work of the law is the production of love]; only then, when the person is a doer of the law, will the person be justified before God.
Outward circumcision justifies no one. Animal sacrifices justify no one. Giving all one has to the poor justifies no one. Keeping the Sabbath justifies no one. Having love for neighbor, real love that will have the person keeping the commandments without even knowing or having heard the commandments—this type of love will justify a person when the person comes under judgment.
The nations [Gentiles] are not today under
Peter wrote, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" (1 Pet 4:17–18).
Also in his treatise to the Romans, Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law” (5:12–13 emphasis added) … death functions as natural grace, the state under which all humankind finds itself until born of God as a son, thereby becoming part of the household of God. So the Muslim that kills so-called infidels is not today under judgment even though this Muslim is a sinner, unholy and profane, without the works of the law written on his or her heart; for if the works of the law were written on this Muslim’s heart, he or she would not kill, but would have love for infidels.
But according to Paul’s gospel, the sinner not under the law will perish without the law (Rom ); so the Muslim who dies in violent jihad will eternally perish in the lake of fire without ever having come under the law. This Muslim will not see the face of God for any longer than it takes to have his or her judgment made and delivered. So even though this Muslim is not today under judgment but will come under judgment in the great White Throne Judgment, this Muslim establishes today the basis for his or her judgment in whether the works of the law [love] are/is being written on his or her heart.
The above applies to the natural Israelite and to the Christian within Christian orthodoxy, but with a caveat: because the Christian professes that Jesus is Lord and believes in his or her heart that the Father raised Jesus from the dead, the Christian who dies physically before the Second Passover liberation of Israel and who, though not under the law, had the works of the law written on his or her heart will appear in the resurrection of firstfruits on that day when Christ Jesus judges the household of God. This Christian will be like the righteous men of old, none of whom were born of God through having received a second breath of life, the breath of the Father. The holy spirit that King David had (Ps 51:11) was the breath of Yah, not the breath of the Father.
Death reigned in this world from Adam to Moses (Rom ). Death did not reign from Adam who was driven from the presence of the Lord (Gen 3:22–23) to Christ Jesus who came to earth as the only Son of the Logos [Ò 7`(@H] who was God [1,ÎH] and who was with the God [JÎ< 1,`<] in the beginning (cf. John 3:16; 1:1, 14), but from Adam to Moses who entered into the presence of the Lord when he entered God’s rest (Ex 33:13–23) … there is no death when in the presence of God.
A human person is born consigned to disobedience, this disobedience not counted against the person because the person has no life anywhere but in this world, which has been subjected to decay and corruption. If a person lives his or her life doing good to neighbor and brother, doing what the person knows is right, the person—although still a sinner—writes the works of the law on his or her heart. This person has no immortal soul, but has a dead inner self and is numbered among the dead about whom Jesus said, Let the dead bury the dead of themselves:
Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
And Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead." (Matt 8:21–22)
The dead Jesus referenced weren’t Gentiles, but were Israelites, disciples; for the spirit had not yet been given to anyone except Christ Jesus.
Until truly born of God through receiving a second breath of life, the breath of God [B<,Ø:" 1,@Ø], the inner self of a person is dead and is not under the law because the dead inner self is not of the household of God: this person is not under judgment! However, if this person professes that Jesus is Lord and claims to understand the mysteries of God, this person is as the Pharisees were when they asked if they were blind:
Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."
Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?"
Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains.” (John 9:39–41)
The Muslim who acknowledges Jesus as a great prophet but who denies Jesus’ divinity is spiritually blind, but without guilt for this Muslim is not today under judgment. However, this Muslim, if he or she physically dies before the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man on day 1260 of the seven endtime years of tribulation—the doubled day on which the kingdom is take from the Adversary (Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15) and the world is immersed in the breath of God (Joel 2:28) so that even the animal natures of the great predators are changed (Isa 11:6–9) — if this Muslim dies before being born of spirit when the world is baptized in the breath of God, this Muslim will not come under judgment until the great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11–15) when the world is forced to give up its dead. But if this Muslim lives into the Endurance, the last 1260 days of the seven endtime years, this Muslim will give up being Muslim and will humbly come to Christ or perish in the lake of fire.
The seven endtime years of tribulation are about bringing judgment on this world: at the beginning of these seven years [the Second Passover], Christians will be filled-with and empowered by the breath of God, and thereby liberated from indwelling sin and death. Whereas Christian orthodoxy’s lack of indwelling spiritual life have kept these Christians from being judged, receipt of indwelling heavenly life through being suddenly filled with spirit will see the stripping away of grace and of natural grace: the Son of Man will be revealed, disrobed, made naked (Luke 17:30), with Christians forming the Body of the Son of Man. The Christian who now sins when the Christian has been liberated from indwelling sin—when Sin, the third horseman and symbolized by the king of the South, has been separated from Death, the fourth horseman and represented by the king of the North—will commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit [B<,Ø:" (4@< — breath holy], with this blasphemy not being forgiven or forgivable because no sacrifice remains for the Christian.
The first 1260 days of the seven endtime years—the Affliction (from Rev 1:9)—are about the judgment of Christians, who, like the man at Corinth who was with his father’s wife, will be delivered into the hand of the Adversary (Dan 7:25) for the destruction of the flesh so that the spirit might be saved when judgments are revealed (1 Cor 5:5) … Christians have been with their Father’s wife [Helpmate], the Logos [Ò 7`(@H], the Creator of all that has been made (John 1:3), and have not worshipped the Father. Prayers within Christian orthodoxy are made to Christ Jesus, not to the Father. Songs are sung to the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. Truly, greater Christendom is an idolatrous nation worthy of destruction, but to destroy the dead, the Father will raise the dead to life through filling every Christian with His breath. Then both men and angels will see what has been concealed in hearts; will see what the Father and the Son have seen all along.
Because Christian orthodoxy isn’t yet born of God regardless of what these Christians claim about themselves, Christian orthodoxy shies away from the realization that they will truly be sons when they are born of God; that they will be God, a claim that is to Christian orthodoxy blasphemous for these Christians do not comprehend that although God is one, God is a single category of living entities of which there are presently two, the Father and the Son. And it is this claim, that glorified Christians as sons of God will be God and will truly be one with Christ Jesus through marriage thereby making glorified Christians spiritually analogous to Eve who was one with Adam (Gen 2:24) yet who was not Adam that separates the spiritually dead from the spiritually living, it is understanding that glorified Christians, having received life from the Father, will enter the heavenly moment [a location in heaven] where the mount of assembly (from Isa 14:13) is, a moment that no angel can enter; hence, the Psalmist writes about the natural state of men,
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than [God]
and crowned him with glory and honor. (Ps 8:3–5)
At the beginning of verse five, the Septuagint translates God [plural] as angels; for the Greek-speaking Jews doing the translation could not comprehend that God [YHWH] was one as Adam and Eve were one. These translators held that the unpronounced and unpronounceable YHWH was a singularity and not a marriage even though King David late in his life understood (and reveals through his poetics) that Yah [YH] is to YHWH as the human body is to the complete person [outer and inner selves].
Because of the hardness of Israelite hearts, Moses had permitted divorce, the separation of one, a man and his wife, into two, a man separated from his wife. Spiritually, Moses permitting Israel to divorce introduced a type of death in which one dies while one lives, a nonsensical juxtaposition to the immature for after a divorce, both the ex-husband and the ex-wife remain alive … to understand the mysteries of God, the Christian must grasp the reality that in the beginning there was no separation between the Logos [Ò 7`(@H] who was God [1,ÎH] and who was with the God [JÎ< 1,`<] (from John 1:1) except through the death of the Logos when He entered His creation as His only Son. It is for this reason that Jesus said,
And Pharisees came up to him [Jesus] and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"
He [Jesus] answered, "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 his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."
They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?"
He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Mat 19:3–8)
A man and his wife are, after marriage, no longer two but are one flesh, according to both Jesus and Moses, with the husband serving as the head of the marriage (as if the marriage represented a person) and the wife serving as the body of the marriage … it isn’t the husband that bears children but the wife, who is humanly born without a symbolic head that can be circumcised. It is the husband that is circumcised and has no covering before God but his obedience to God—the husband is his wife’s covering just as Christ Jesus is the covering for the Christian Church; for again, the husband is the head of his wife in a manner analogous to Christ Jesus being the Head of the Church, the Body of Christ (from 1 Cor 12:27).
Paul wrote, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor 11:3) … the Father and the Son are one as a man and his wife are one; the glorified Christ and the human husband are one as a man and his wife are one. Thus, the living new self that is a son of God through receipt of a second breath of life, the breath of God [B<,Ø:" 1,@Ø] in the breath of Christ [B<,Ø:" OD4FJ@Ø], is in relationship to Christ Jesus as the woman is to her husband; however, the living new self is the head of the fleshly body in which this son of God dwells in a manner analogous to how the husband is the head of his wife.
If there are more than one spiritually living entities inside a fleshly body, as in the case of demon possession, there is confusion as well as rebellion against God … there is to be only one living inner self, a son of God, within a fleshly body, with no separation permitted between the living inner self and the fleshly body until death ends the union, either the death of the flesh through human death or through glorification. But—and here is the caveat—because of the hardness of Israelite hearts, Moses permitted divorce, the death of the marriage, the death of a man and his wife being one flesh. Hence, for those Christians not born of God, death of the marriage is permitted.
The above introduces a basis for revealing inner deception and deceit: a person can pose as someone born of God for, actually, decades. If this false son of God is the husband of a wife, he is the head of the wife, a position he must execute as Christ Jesus executes his position as Head of the Church … Christ doesn’t execute tyrannical authority over the Church although to do so would be lawful—and the truly born of God husband doesn’t execute tyrannical authority over his wife. The truly born of God husband covers his wife’s shortcoming and flaws so that she appears perfect to others. He doesn’t berate his wife, nor make lists of “to-do” things for her as if she were a child. He supports her to the best of his abilities; supports her in every way.
And the truly born of God wife doesn’t make demands of her husband that cannot be met … the born of God wife accepts her human position as being the body of the marriage entity, the one who produces what will be made [children] as the Logos created all that has been made physically, including Adam and Eve. The truly born of God wife will publicly acknowledge that she is under the authority of her husband by wearing a covering she had made with her hands. And in publicly acknowledging that she is under the authority of her husband, she will strive not to bring embarrassment upon her husband.
The Christian husband who has not been truly born of God will behave untoward to his wife, lusting after other women (or men), neglecting his oath of faithfulness, thereby making himself an affront to the Father and the Son. This false son of God will rule as a Nicolaitan, a person God hates. Therefore, in how a husband exercises authority in his marriage discloses what is in the husband’s heart; for love is never heavy-handed. Love covers faults. After all, the husband married the woman whom he now knows better than when he married her and became one with her. If he chooses to divorce his wife, he breaks his contracted agreement with her and is not worthy of Christ Jesus.
The wife that poses as a truly born of God Christian but who tires of her husband (even if he is tiresome) and wants again the independence she felt as a single woman—this woman reveals her lack of spiritual birth by seeking separation from her husband. Although she might have spent two, three, or four decades married to a man she despises and has despised for a very long time, her inner falseness that she has successfully concealed from the world will become evident when she separates and divorces her husband.
Therefore, by permitting
As the head of the Christian’s fleshly body, the living inner new self is not to be uncircumcised, but is to be circumcised of heart.
Human Israelite males are not born circumcised, but are circumcised on the eighth day. Likewise, inner new selves are not born circumcised of heart, but are circumcised with a circumcision not made by hands after hearts have been cleansed by a journey of faith equivalent spiritually to Abraham’s physical journey of faith from Ur of the Chaldeans to Haran (where Abraham’s old man dwelt until the end of his days), then on to the Promised Land of Canaan.
The inner new self uses the law lawfully as a roadmap in undertaking this son of God’s journey from Babylon [Ur of the Chaldeans], the single kingdom of this world, to where the old self is crucified with Christ [Haran], then on to the Promised Land represented by Sabbath observance (i.e., entering into God’s rest).
A child that has wandered away from home usually needs help returning home: the child simply doesn’t know the way home. The law gives to the spiritual infant a roadmap so that this spiritual infant as a son of God can find his way into the presence of God—
The inner new self isn’t an angel that has come from heaven as Latter Day Saints teach; nor is the inner new self an immortal soul that the human person received at conception. Rather the inner new self is life [B<,Ø:" 1,@Ø] that has come from heaven in a vessel that has also come from heaven [B<,Ø:" OD4FJ@Ø], and because this life was made complete in the man Jesus the Nazarene, this life in a human person looks to return to heaven. Thus, Paul wrote,
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor 5:1–7)
But for the indwelling spirit of Christ to return to God, the Christian must walk as the man Jesus walked—and the law is the roadmap showing the Christian how to walk as Jesus walked.
It does no good for a Christian to continue walking/living as he or she formerly walked when the person was unholy and profane, a trespasser of the commandments, claiming to understand the mysteries of God yet willfully transgressing the commandments as a lawless and disobedient person. This person will never enter into God’s presence, but will have his or her judgment sending the person into the lake of fire.
There is but one way into the presence of God, and
that way is to walk as the man Jesus of Nazareth walked. And the law is the
virtual roadmap that takes a person from
quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001
by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
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