By Edward O'Hara
First I want to say that I am hoping that during these studies through Romans people are seeing that the 'Roman Road' message churches teach people to use in their witnessing to unbelievers does not even remotely reflect what Paul taught in this letter. Because it teaches that men need Jesus because they are bad. While what Paul is really teaching us is that men need Jesus because they are natural and not spiritual. Specifically telling Israel that works of the law have no place in New Covenant salvation that is by faith without works.
That what these Israelite believers need to know about their salvation has nothing to do with law keeping. And everything to do with being led by the Spirit of God by love. A love that is shed abroad only in the hearts of those who have believed in Jesus for eternal life. A love without which Israelites, and by extension all others, look to works of the law as the standard by which righteousness is measured.
A works righteousness that can save no one that causes those who witness using the so called 'Roman Road' to put others under the law just as they are. Wresting the scriptures like Rom.3:23 and 6:23 to keep them from knowing God's grace for salvation.
This ought not be. And if you are getting what I am sharing through this study then it won't be.
Now that we've learned from the apostle Paul in Rom.12 that renewing the mind is motivated by our love for Him and God's love shed abroad in our hearts. And that this motivates the believer to the "good works God has ordained that we walk in". Paul continues this thought in ch13 explaining how these Israelite believers should behave saying, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."
When Paul uses the phrase "receive to themselves damnation" it might be a little confusing for some. Because it appears that Paul could be referring to the condemnation of hell if they will not "be subject unto the higher powers".
BTW this was a favored passage for the Germans during ww2 who wanted to make christians obey Hitlerian dictates. And used out of context it was a very powerful tool of satan during Hitler's reign.
But, if we will be careful of the context, first by looking at the word that has been translated "damnation" here, we will be sure to come to a very different conclusion. In the original Greek this word is krima. And while it can have the meaning of eternal damnation. Another meaning it has is one of judgment as when an earthly judge judges whether a crime has been committed.
This is clearly the context Paul is referring to because it is in regard to the judgment exercised by the "higher powers" and "magistrates" Paul speaks of in this passage.
So it is clear from the context that Paul's intent was not to make you think that you might go to hell if you do not obey the magistrates. But, only that you are in danger of being taken to court to be judged and punished by men.
This is why Paul continues in vs4 explaining that these magistrates or higher powers through their ruling capacity God has ordained are those who are "ministers of God to thee for good". And that their job is to be "a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil".
By this Paul has given us a qualifier for his statement about these "higher powers" being "ministers for good" saying, "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."
By this Paul makes it very clear that the magistrates or higher powers we are to obey lest we be resisting God. Are powers that do the work of punishing evil and praising that which is good.
This means that if the powers that be are ones that practice lawlessness to enrich themselves. And who punish those who would find them out and have them removed and punished for their crimes. They are not ordained of God. Nor are we to obey them.
But, if they are ministers for good Paul adds that it is "For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."
Tribute and custom, what we know as taxes today. Only to be derived Constitutionally from a consumption tax, for their support in the capacity God has ordained them to. Protecting and ensuring the God given freedoms for those they work for.
Having accomplished this Paul adds that we are to 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
A website I once read led by Geoffrey Grider, an all but defrocked 2Tim.3:1-5 form of godliness denying the power thereof minister, using this passage once told how this was Paul explaining that God reinstated all the 10 commandments in the New Covenant except the 4th by teaching this.
Not only showing himself to be under the wrong covenant and therefore a slave to sin. Which has been exposed sufficiently now for people to know better than to support anything he does. Or at the very least showing himself to be the "wretched man" of Rom.7. But, also showing his denial of the power of God to deliver completely from the power sin wields against those who are under the law. Power that Paul said in Rom.6:14 and 1Cor.15:56 derives it's power from the law.
Also proven by his own reprobate behavior doing exactly what Paul said he would. Just as his own apostle Augustine who codified to the Roman Catholic church the pagan gnostic doctrine of original sin and sin nature did as well. Paul saying of men like these, "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
So we see that what Paul is saying has nothing to do with reinstating all but one of the 10 commandments in the New Covenant. Because after reciting these commandments he says "if there be any other commandment". To show that his intent was to include all the commandments.
But, not to reinstate them. Because we see Paul's real intent for saying these things was to show the Israelite who was accustomed to works of law keeping that love is the fulfillment of all that was ever written in the law. And that now for the believer love, and not the law, is what must guide their choices.
This is why Paul also said in Gal.3:19 that the only purpose the law served was to preserve Israel as a people till Jesus came. But, that in the New Covenant love would be the operating system that would now govern men's choices who have chosen to believe in Jesus for eternal life. Because the Holy Spirit in every believer would shed His love abroad in our hearts to be such a guide for them.
If love was the motivation for Now The End Begins' Geoffrey Grider, or his apostle Augustine's choices, they would never practice the things Paul said those who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof do.
So when Paul speaks of love fulfilling the law he is actually quoting Jesus. Who when answering a question about which is the greatest of the commandments asked by one of the pharisees who was a lawyer that was among them. A man that was trying to trick Jesus because he had been put to silence earlier by Jesus' preaching. Jesus answered saying the greatest commandment is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Mt.22:35-40.
And Paul explains here that the reason love is the fulfillment of the law is because "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." And when you think about what all of the laws concerning man's relations to man are we see they speak of doing no ill to others.
And the beautiful thing about this is that love goes way beyond what the law commanded Israel to do in regard to how the believer relates to God and others. Because the law only showed Israel how to work no ill to their neighbor. But, love gives us reason to do good to him.
A good that Jesus showed was foreign to most Israelites by telling them His parable about the Good Samaritan. Showing that when the law said an Israelite must not touch the man robbed and beaten because he was unclean. Love says to help him.
So Jesus was showing Israel that their keeping of the law had nothing to do with real love. Nor was it supposed to supersede love. The law for Israel was only to serve as a preservative. Meant to keep them from destroying each other by doing these things that would now be known to them as transgressions under the law till messiah would come.
This is what Paul was telling them in Gal.3:19 by asking and then answering for them, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator."
So trying to show Israel that because love is the fulfillment of the law. And this love is only known when they will put their trust in Jesus apart from the works of the law. Paul tells them "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."
So we see that there is behavior that is to be expressed by the believer if he is to be a witness for Christ and His love He has for all mankind. And there is a gov't ordained of God who punishes evil and rewards good. A gov't we are to obey because it has our best interest in mind.
By awakening out of the slumber of living by the flesh through law keeping. Into the glorious light of salvation by grace through faith without works in Christ Jesus. No longer living and making choices according to the law. But, now making those choices in accordance with the love God has shed abroad in our hearts.
So that as many as will hear Paul's gospel will come to a saving faith. A faith without works for salvation. And if this saving grace has touched you as it did some of these Israelites. And you too realize your need for it's saving power. Then the next step is to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. And believe in your heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead.
Because Paul says it is with the heart man believes and is righteous. And with the mouth that confession is made unto salvation. Another quote from Jesus when He told them "by your words you will be justified. And by your words you will be condemned."
To a salvation that is deliverance. Deliverance from natural to spiritual. Deliverance from mortal to immortal. And deliverance from the sin of unbelief the Holy Spirit has come into the world to reprove it of. To righteousness which is believing in Jesus.
If you will do this then you will be saved. If you will do this then you will have eternal life. If you will do this then you will have a spirit from God birthed in you. A spirit that makes you a begotten child of God and heir to His kingdom. If you will do this then an immortal body will be yours in the resurrection.
If you will do this... then I will see you there or in the air!
This message can also be heard at: https://rumble.com/v3c0jft-a-
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