Posts Tagged ‘righteousness’

Authority, Polygamy and Bride Price

September 27, 2016


I wanted to write a few short paragraphs of what the Bible said about divorce and why this understanding was so hard and challenging for the Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus. Gentiles did not look through the eyes of the Jews but of other Gentiles. Hence, this teaching fell short and did not survive the test of time.

Imagine if you will, the destruction of Israel in 70 AD; the primarily Jewish council in Jerusalem, where James and the elders resided, dismantled and dispersed abroad. Gentile Churches no longer having a central hub are now forced to answer questions on their own. Without having a great understanding of marriage from its Jewish roots divorce and remarriage became a debated subject in the first early years of Christianity.

This writing is from a Jewish perspective using both New and Old Testament Scripture. Documentation shows that the Jewish people had primarily only allowed the man to initiate the divorce since the Torah. They still practice this today in the State of Israel according to Orthodox Jewish Rabbis.

Christian scholars agree up to this point so far. But as I asked the question “why” the Jews only allowed the man to initiate the divorce I was quite surprised with their answer. They gave similar reasons that us Christians use for teaching about headship and submission both in the home and in church leadership. As I looked further this is what I found.

The reason Jewish leaders believed only the man was allowed to put away his wife was said to be for, “Well…because Deut. 24:1 said so!” When looking deeper in Jewish sources I found that this belief was based off their understanding of Gen. 3:16. That is, the role of woman and the rule of man. The understanding of man’s unilateral divorce really stems from God’s makeup, design and principles of marriage seen all throughout the Torah.

Man typically paid a bride price for his wife in Scripture. This practice was from the belief that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife. The woman did not usually leave the home (Num. 30:9). The man had to request a wife from the home of her father which we still practice today. A suitor asks the father for his daughter’s hand in marriage in which, if accepted, eventually walks her down the aisle and symbolically “gives her away.”

Since the woman was designed to originally have a bride price the Jews believed she was therefore “acquired” by the payment. Although payment was a bilateral transaction between the groom and the bride’s father the contract simultaneously created a “unilateral” marriage covenant between the man and his wife. Scripture says a bride price was required to pay for the Church, “Which [Jesus] hath purchased with His own blood” Acts 20:28. Since the father had authority over his daughter after he made the contract she legally and culturally could not refuse. The woman was not required to sign the marriage certificate but the father, groom, and two witnesses.

Although payment was traditionally given to the father of the bride the Orthodox Jews accept a gold wedding ring as a form of payment (Rebecca’s gold nose ring) very similar to our engagement ring. Many people believe these principles were the reasons the Church quickly embraced this type of marriage proposal from the man which formally came from possible pagan and Roman practices. Many cultures believed that the bride price created the rights for a unilateral divorce that could only be initiated by the husband. For, how shall someone who was paid for release the one who paid for her? At this point it is all about authority and not about ownership.

Traditionally, the daughter was not always asked by either the father or the groom for her consent or her hand in marriage. But Scripture suggests the father did ask her prior to the betrothal period. The Jews practice this traditionally by offering the bride a drink of the “wine of acceptance” before the betrothal was considered in effect. Only in rare cases were the daughter’s wishes not respected or considered but it still took a volunteered “acceptance” consummation to begin the marriage.

The Jews and Israel still practices the “unilateral” marriage covenant and call it the Ketubah. Unilateral, meaning oaths and promises were only presented by one side. The woman was not required to make vows of her own; she only had to accept his offer to enter into the marriage covenant. The contents of the marriage covenant were traditionally discussed and agreed by the father of the Bride and groom. The Ketubah was later written in the first century to offer the woman financial security after a divorce in lieu of a large bride price prior to the marriage.

The unilateral marriage covenant is common for most Jewish marriages today. The Jews have documentation that it has been practiced with very little change for 2,400 years. All in all, these symbols are the foundations and making of a marriage covenant but now the scripture of Deut. 24:1 supported an abolishment. Once the covenant has become obsolete and the woman has been released from her husband she now has freedom to marry another.

Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. The Scripture does not say it was unlawful or immoral for a man to have more than one wife; although, it does say that it was unlawful for a woman to have more than one husband (Rom. 7:1-4). If women were allowed to divorce their husband according to Deut. 24:1 than men would not be able to multiply wives the way they did in the Old Testament.

Jesus paid a bride price for the church (leaving us an example of a biblical marriage) and offered a unilateral covenant to the Church with one sided promises. Abraham was also offered a unilateral covenant by God (God went between the slain animals- not Abraham). In contrast, Scripture tells us the Jewish leaders went through the slain animals to enter into their “bilateral” covenant with God through Moses. This made the Mosaic Covenant of “Blessings and Cursing” different than Abraham’s. Since our Covenant was one sided all we had to do was accept the covenant through faith to enter in, much like Abraham’s covenant.


Jesus and Paul

The New Testament supports the doctrine that only the man was allowed to initiate the divorce and not the woman. The Jews asked Jesus, according to Deut. 24:1, if it was lawful for a “man” to put away his wife for any reason. Jesus did not answer their question directly but rather that Moses permitted it outside of God’s original design. Later in private, Jesus told His disciples that if the man put away his wife for sexual immorality that he would not be guilty of adultery if he married another. Matthew’s gospel is written primarily to the Jewish audience and this is why the exception clause is mentioned here.

9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”

The reason Mark has an account of a woman putting away her husband in 10:12 is this book was a letter that was written to Gentiles living in Rome. Because it emphasized that this was a “private” account of Jesus we can understanding the author is speaking directly to the Gentile audience which allowed easy divorces (evident by Harold unlawfully marrying his brother Phillip’s wife and the Samaritan woman having married 5 times).

“10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

We can also see further evidence that only the man was allowed to initiate the divorce by 1 Cor. 7:10-11. Paul said the departed wife is to “remain unmarried or to be reconciled to her husband.” This is why Paul speaks later about the widow being free to remarry in vs. 39. The reason Paul said a divorced woman is not to marry another man is because the only way for a woman to depart from her husband was to do it outside of scriptural concessions. So, Paul wanted to make this point clear both with the particular Greek words that he chooses to use and the very clear command (giving her only two options) of not allowing her to marry another man.

“10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.”

Paul spoke about Jesus’ command saying the wife not to depart from her husband and the man is not to divorce his wife in 1 Cor. 7:10-11. Paul used the very common Greek word “depart” which comes from the same root word used earlier by Jesus when He said, “Do not (separate or depart) what God has joined together.” Since the man was permitted by scripture to put away his wife for porneia and marry another, Paul used a rare and formal Greek word not typically seen in the New Testament. He did this in order to describe a more traditional style Roman divorce (11b).

Josephus used both of these Greek words in a story about a couple who divorced. He showed that the “depart” Greek word was to describe a general leaving or a more informal type of Greco-Roman divorce while the “divorce” word similar to Paul’s in 1 Cor. 7:11b was used by the Greek speaking Jews who wished to obtain a Get (Writ of Divorcement).

“But some time afterward, when Salome happened to quarrel with Costobarus, she sent him a bill of divorce and dissolved (similar to “divorce” in 1 Cor. 7:11b, 12, 13) her marriage with him, though this was not according to the Jewish laws; for with us it is lawful for a husband to do so; but a wife; if she departs (similar to “departs” in 1 Cor. 7:10, 11a, 15a, 15b) from her husband, cannot of herself be married to another, unless her former husband put her away.” (Josephus Ant. 15.7.10, 259)

Since the man did have allowances for remarriage Paul did not command him to likewise “remain unmarried or to be reconciled” 1 Cor.7:11. Paul latter says a man “loosed” from his previously “bound” wife will not sin if he marries, and if a virgin marries they will not sin (1 Cor. 7:27-28). Paul calls the men in these teachings “unmarried” men (vs. 32) but refers to the unmarried woman as a “virgin” (vs. 34). Paul says the woman is no longer “bound” to her husband when he dies, thus she is “loosed” to marry another (vs. 39).

“26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned…”

The reason Paul uses the formal Greek word for divorce again in both 1 Cor. 7:12 and verse 13 (evidently the women had an improper understanding of gender equality in this church 1 Cor. 11:2-16 and 1 Cor. 14:34-36) is that the women obviously must have felt that they had every right to divorce as a man in certain Scriptural mandated situations.

“12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.”

So, when the question about the Law of Ezra 10:3 came up, among these believers, the women thought they could use or were commanded to obey this Law. They thought they were to put away their unbelieving husband, as the men were told to put away their unbelieving wife, in order to keep the seed pure.

“14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.”

We know this is in reference to Ezra 10:3 because Paul says in 1 Cor.7:14 that the children would otherwise be “unclean” but now they are holy. The believers were later told to separate from the unbelievers and not to be “unequally yoked” together with them 2 Cor. 6. But even with this general understanding (not to touch the unbelievers) already becoming popular in the Corinthian Church, Paul said if the unbeliever wished to stay married than stay married to them since they are now sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor. 7:15 “depart” (same word used by Paul in 1 Cor. 7:10-11a) is in the present tense which demonstrates that the only allowance for a believer to divorce an unbeliever is if the unbeliever has already initiated the divorce according to cultural laws. By Paul using the Greek word “depart” in 1 Cor. 7:15a, he was demonstrating to the believer that he was authorizing the divorce even if it was for unscriptural reasons.

“15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”

Paul responds by commanding the believer not to fight or resist the divorce but to give them this unlawful divorce even if previously commanded not too according to the Law (shown in 1 Cor. 7:10-11). This is why Paul said that the believers are no-longer in bondage but rather to be at peace with the unbelievers by honoring their request (1 Cor. 7:15c). The Law was typically referred to as bondage or slavery by Paul (Gal. 4).

Paul did not speak about remarriage in these last few passages because they being familiar with the Law already and Jesus’ teachings in the Gospel only had to address the new situations of Gentile women divorcing their husbands (1 Cor. 7:11) and those who are married to non-Christians (Ezra 10:3). Besides this, they had no other questions in regards to being “loosed” according to Deut. 24:1.

Paul ends by giving a logical argument in verse 16 to release them from guilt or compulsion by explaining to the believer that we can never know if holding onto the marriage would ever lead to their spouse being converted. Therefore, God called us believers to be at peace with the unbeliever and let them go. Paul is not giving his express permission to remarry.

In conclusion: the authority of man, the biblical allowances of polygamy and the general concept of the bride price all point to the woman not being allowed to initiate a divorce by design. On the testimony of two or three witnesses every word is established. Amen!

Reference: Calvin College Computer Science website. The Christian Classic Eternal Library, CHAPTER 7. HOW HEROD SLEW SOHEMUS AND MARIAMNE AND AFTERWARD ALEXANDRA AND COSTOBARUS, AND HIS MOST INTIMATE FRIENDS, AND AT LAST THE SONS OF BABBAS ALSO. Retrieved Sept. 23, 2016 from



“Walk In”

April 11, 2010

“Walk In”

(Not perfected but can perfectly walk in Jesus)






Chapter 1        Run with Endurance (Book of Hebrews)


Chapter 2        Do not sin (1 John)


Chapter 3        Victory over sin (Romans 7:14-15)






Chapter 1     Run with Endurance (Book of Hebrews)


I wish to address this troubling quote, “If they fall away to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” Heb 6:6.



The book of Hebrews is a warning about falling away from your faith from where you first began.


Which is said, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” Heb 2:3


Heb 2:1 “give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard lest we drift away.”



Start at Heb 2:10 for, “It was fitting for Him…to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings…”


Israel is used as an example for us to learn from once again


“But Christ as a Son over His own house whose house we are if we HOLD FAST the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope, FIRM TO THE END


“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you and evil heart of unbelief in DEPARTING from the living God…


“Lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin…


“Partakers of Christ IF WE HOLD the beginning of our confidence steadfast TO THE END


”He swear that they would not enter His rest…to those who did not obey. So we see that they could NOT ENTER IN because of unbelief.” 


The end at Heb chapter 3


Then brought to a conclusion to the matter…


Heb 4:1 “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear least any of you seem to have COME SHORT OF IT. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, NOT BEING MIXED WITH FAITH in those who heard it.”



Although the promise was given to Moses and his people to “enter His rest” they did not because they did not “mix with faith” upon hearing the Living God and they fell away to disobedience.


Heb 4:11 “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.”


If we are not diligent in our walk by faith, we may fall as the Israelites once did in the Wilderness, due to their rebellion in their hearts.  Those who do not stand steadfast till the end.


There were those who were leaving the “elementary principles of Christ” Heb 6:1 for they have “become dull of hearing” Heb 5:11 by not exercise their senses by use Heb 5:14.  These were those who were “once enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift and have become partakers (fellow brothers) of the Holy Spirit.”  They have “tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come” Heb 6:4-5.


Paul (possible) now tells us a parable of “thorns and briars” who is rejected and near to being cursed whose final end is to be “burned” Heb 6:7-8.  These are those who have started the work and put their “hand to the plow” but have looked back and now becoming unfit for the Kingdom of God.


Abraham is given an example now of one who has “patiently endured” and finally “obtained the promise” Heb 6:15.  We are given this example so we shall we obtain the promise, if you hold fast till the end.


“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries…Of how much worse punishment do you suppose will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing and insulted the Spirit of grace…” Heb 10:26-30 for “The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”


“Recall the former days in which after you were illuminated you endured a great struggle with sufferings…Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise…”


“For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back My soul has no pleasure in him.”


“But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” Heb 32-39.  If (that is) you hold fast your faith, in obedience, till the “end”.


Summation of Chapter 11, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” Heb 12:1-4.


“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons” Heb 12:5-17 “looking diligently least anyone fall short of the grace of God” and sin causes you to “become defiled” like Esau who for one morsel of food sold his birthright and later wanted to inherit the blessing but he was rejected for “he found no place for repentance though he sought it diligently with tears.”


God “is a consuming fire” Heb 12:29.  In, we will “not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven.”


For the Apostle said, “And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words” Heb 13:22.


Don’t find yourselves as the 5 “foolish” virgins who did not have enough “oil” for their lamps, finding the door was “shut” hearing, “I do not know you”.  But be one of the 5 “wise” virgins who were able to hear the groom and being ready, with the oil of endurance, and were able to enter into His rest.


When it says “sin willfully” it is about those who go back and practice sin once again in their lives since they were at one time delivered and “set free”.


But everyone asks… “but don’t we sin?”


Does the bible really say, “do not sin…”?


Chapter 2     Do not sin (1 John)


“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” 1 John 1:8-10.


John is telling us now (his dear little children) “these things…that you may not sin” 1 John 2:1.


Main premise of this book:

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” 1 John 5:13.


This was a book to encourage the believers and warn about the false brethren. 


These who were first coming to Christ need to rest knowing that God “sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 John 4:10b.


First of all, we know that there were false brothers in this church teaching bad theology, “They went out from us” 1 John 2:19 and said further concerning this, “those who try and deceive you” verse 26. These were two false statements the false brethren were claiming.  First, for what ever they do in their earthly flesh, would not be considered sin (“no sin”).  Thinking their wrongs will not be accounted as sin and using this “liberty” as an opportunity for the flesh (also in Gal 5:13).  Or some were claiming that they never “sinned” in the first place; needing the forgiveness of Jesus.


They were trying to lead the brothers astray; deceiving others while they themselves are deceived.  They enjoy being followed while bringing others back into bondage. 


So when 1 John 1:8-10 is speaking about sin he is warning about the false claims in the Church concerning sin.  But in the middle of this speech John tells the sincere Christian about the forgiveness of sin verse 9… “If you confess your sins he is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and cleans you from all unrighteousness. “


1 John 1:9 is speaking to those who are walking in light contrasted (1 John 3:4-10b) to those who call themselves Christian’s but are walking in darkness (1 John 1:6 “Darkness we walk, we lie and not are practicing the truth”)  i.e. a “lie,” and “truth not in us” used in 1 John 1:8, 10.  Why is 1 John 1:9 sandwiched between those whom Paul is chastising?  Paul is speaking similar as Proverbs do.  He speaks to those who are in the light in verses 5, 7, and 9.  Then in every other verse contrasting to those who are walking in darkness (verses 6, 8, and 10).  As Paul says in 1 John 3:4, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness and sin is lawlessness.” So, although Jesus “was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin” whoever abides in Him “does not sin” 1 John 3:5.


Paul uses opposing truths though out this letter.


It says if we say that we have not sinned “we make Him a liar”.  What verse or teaching is John relating here that Jesus said that we “sin”?


Jesus main teaching on earth was “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”  That is not only us, but the entire “world” 1 John 2:2. 


Because while Paul is on the subject about “sin” in verse 9, he wants those who are walking in light to know and rest on the knowledge that Jesus being a “propitiation” for our sin, continually is an “Advocate” on our behalf (1 John 2:1-2).  That is, if we “confess” (admit) our wrongs (sin) and lean on Him for forgiveness.  Although John is admonishing the false teaching about using the liberty as a cloak for their sin, saying they never sin, he wants us to understand that if we do sin His blood will “cleanse” us.


About confession and forgiveness, they were also baptized, by John, for repentance “confessing their sins” Matt 3:6.  As well as those who were first turning to Christ, “And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds…” Acts 19:18.  We are also told to pray if we see our brother sinning a sin (1 John 5:16) that does not lead to death (except the unforgivable sin of blaspheme of the Holy Spirit).  As well as confess our trespasses to one another James 5:16.


This was why 1 John 2:1 starts off “I write to you that you may not sin.”  Not that they (true Christians) were sinning (little children) but so that they might be warned of the false teachings of those who were walking in darkness and fear their judgments.


But now he finally speaks to those who are now Christians but might sin… “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate (Heb 7:25 our High Priest atoning for our sins) with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the whole world…” John 2:2.


This is why the rest of the book of First John expects us to…


“…(only) if we keep His commandments”


“walk just as He walked”


“(then) you also will abide in the Son and in the Father”


“(then) you will abide in Him”


“everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him”


“we shall be like Him”


“And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” 1 John 3:2-3.


“Whoever abides in Him does not sin, whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” 1 John 3:6.


“He who sins is of the devil…” 1 John 3:8.


“Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” 1 John 3:9.


“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” 1 John 3:10.


If our heart does not condemn us, for God is greater than our hearts and knows all things, then “we have confidence toward God” 1 John 3:20-21.  For “His commandments are not burdensome” 1 John 5:3b


So, what First John is truly saying:


“We know that whoever is born of God does not sin, but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him” 1 John 5:18.


This is not a book about forgiveness, but rater John saying we were forgiven from our past sins and future so do not to walk in sin any further.


“Be children of the Light”


But most Christians usually say, “we are sinners saved by grace”.


Yes, it is true, that we WERE at one time sinners, who have now been saved by God’s grace.  And if we sin, grace increases that much more in our lives.  But we are expected to be the righteousness of Christ in this world (salt and light)…


Some Christians may laugh and say “are you saying then that we are to be sinless? Who can stop sinning?”



Chapter 3     Victory over sin (Romans 7:14-15)


Peter says, “It is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 1 Peter 4:18


From “sinners” to “saints”




Romans 7:14-15 “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice: but what I hate, that I do.”


This is incorrectly understood by most Christians.  This is not a point for Christians who are trying to obey Christ but are fully unable too.  Paul is trying to make a point to the Jews who are trying to obey God through the Law.  What Paul is doing in this letter to the Romans (chapter 2 till the end of chapter 8) is to explain to the Jews, who are in Rome, that they are not to live subject to the Law of Moses when they are under Grace.


These Jews were practicing the Law, “Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve of the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness” Rom 2:17-19.  But Paul ends by saying, “You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?  “’The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you’ as it is written” vs. 23-24.



You can see the thought of Romans 7:14-15 by Paul making a point to the Jews, who through the “commandments” are trying to obey the Law of God verse 13, “sin, was producing DEATH in me…(that is) sin through the commandment.”  Sin was working through the commandment and was producing death instead of life (to himself, as an example of a Jew under the Law).  This is what Paul meant when he declared to the conclusion of this speech “who will deliver me from this body of DEATH?” verse 24.  Paul claims only Jesus Christ can deliver him (or anyone else in this theory) from this state of his bondage of sin to obey God and live.



Paul spoke previously concerning this “when we were in the flesh…” Rom 7:5.  Paul is going to bring the Jew back in their minds from Romans 7:14-24 (saying we in the 1st person, plural) “we” as being unsuccessful (himself as well as them).


Paul is going to use himself, as an example in theory, as a carnal man, in the present tense (this of course excluding the one who can “deliver” him from this body of flesh, Jesus Christ vs. 25).  Paul is going to show through theory (as a man who studied under Gamilel a great Jewish teacher and theologian) as one trying to obey the Law, the struggles they would go through, and how they would fall short of obedience, while still in their fleshly nature.


Chapter 8 will show being dead to the old sin nature is the only way to obey the “righteous requirements of the Law” and live.  The Law was given because of man’s increasing sin.


Paul starts off teaching in Chapter 6, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! … But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart, that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin…” Rom 6:15, 17-18.


So, we have “been set free from sin” Romans 6:18, and are not “sold under sin” as Paul says of himself later in Romans 7:15. 


Paul speaks to the Jews who were still living under to the Law of Moses (circumcision and all the precepts), “Oh do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?” Rom 7:1.  In this Paul says it is impossible for a woman to have two husbands, for she commits adultery by having “another”.  Jesus then is the “Another” in Rom 7:4 in which we are truly and can only be married (and not also to the Law at the same time committing adultery (as it were) against Him).


Paul then explains the Law of Moses a little further by saying, “I would not have known sin except through the Law” vs. 7.


Paul is now going to tell the journey of the Law of Moses.  Observe as Paul uses himself as an example as ‘before’ the Law, then ‘during’ the Law, and finally us being delivered ‘from’ the condemnation of sin and the Law.


Paul after explaining this a little further says something very important that will help us understand what Paul is referring to in this Rom 7:14-15 troubling quote of his. 


“I was alive once without the Law” Rom 7:9a.


Of course Paul was not alive before the Law of Moses was given, but to prove a point, Paul is going to explain to these Jews that as far as judgment go’s as if he were alive before the giving of the Law he would be guiltless of breaking the Law.  For where there is no law, you are not guilty of breaking any laws and thus cannot be condemned by the Law.  Thus free from any condemnation by the Law and therefore still “alive”. 


“For before the law was given, sin was in the world, but sin is not taken into accord when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses…” Rom 5:13-14a.


Paul goes on to his next point.


“…but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died” Rom 7:9b.


Not only does he now have knowledge of sin by the Law… “Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law…” Rom 7:7b but sin also takes advantage of his sinful nature he becomes “exceedingly sinful”.


“For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me” Rom 7:11.


Paul is not spiritually dead as he says here but using himself as an example showed that the Law of Moses killed him if he were held guilty (condemned) living under the Law.  From this point on you will not see the Holy Spirit nor Jesus mentioned but only the Law, till the closing of this point and chapter.


You must understand Paul showing by example, to his fellow Jews, that “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died” Romans 7:9-12.  And the very Law they held on to, supposing bring them life as well, will ultimately bring them death by being subject to their, still sinful nature (the real meaning of Rom 7:14-15).


Although Paul is not speaking about himself in the past, Paul is going to explain that he figuratively (that is for any Jew living in the Law to put themselves in his place) how it would destroy him and bring him death instead of life. 


Paul was pointing out the inability of fulfilling the Law through the Law saying, “who will deliver me from this body of death?” Rom 7:24a.  But he shows there is a better way, so that we CAN become over-comers, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” Rom 7:24b. 


The next Greek word “So then…” is used to give the conclusion of the entire Chapter 7, to wrap it up, as it were.  Therefore you have only one conclusion that in the Law of Moses though with the mind you “serve the law of God” you are doomed while in the flesh to serve the “law of sin” Rom 7:25.



Because we are not use to this style of storytelling to bring conviction to others, we discredit this to mean anything other than Paul being unable to fully please God now, while in his earthly body. 


Romans 7:14-15 he was speaking of himself only as one of a Jew living under the Law and not as a Christian who truly died to sin.  We are then expected not to live in sin any further but to be this “slaves of righteousness” by righteous living.


This is the only scripture that we build the philosophy that we are doomed to be sinners who will always struggle with sin and fail.  We say to ourselves, “if Paul does the very thing he hates, we too are doomed to repeat our sins”.  If this were true then we would be sinners – those who, by nature, live in their sinful behaviors.  In which Paul said in an earlier letter (1 Corinthians 4:4) that he knew nothing against himself for judgment sakes.  What Paul was referring to is being convicted of any sin in his life.


Paul then switches his speech pattern and instead of speaking only of himself says “those…” in Chapter 8.  Not only are you not judged as a sinner by what Jesus did on the Cross (forgiven of your sins) but being delivered from walking in your “old” sinful nature, formerly a slave to sin, you are now a slave and free to live righteously.  For whatever you do is ultimately showing who truly your “master” is (Chapter 6).


Paul is not saying next that Christians (Chapter 8:1) are not condemned just because we are Christians but Paul is saying there is “no condemnation” BECAUSE we do not walk “according to the flesh” any more vs. 8:1b.  Paul says, for if we walk “according to the Spirit” then we have this hope 8:1c.


Though it is by Jesus’ Righteousness that we are saved, and in no way by our works, Paul goes on in Romans chapter 8, we are not to live to the flesh which brings forth “death” where Paul says if you live in the flesh “you will die” Rom 8:13.  But to put to death this flesh once and for all, so that they may be able to be the “slaves of righteousness” Rom 6:18b he speaks of and now to fulfill the (the believing Jews (Acts 21:20-25)) “the righteous requirements of the Law” by walking in the “law of the Spirit” (8:2) to do them.


For “sinners,” those who live in or practice – that is, those who walk in sin –  will not inherit the Kingdom of God, which were some of you but are now no longer 1 Cor. 6:11. 



“I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” Galatians 5:16-17.


Commentary-The things that you would like to do (things that would make your flesh happy), will never be the same thing God would want you to do when you are lead by His Spirit.


Are you still in your “earthly nature?”  For, “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” Gal 5:24. Paul is not trying to teach the Galatians Church that they will always have a war inside themselves.  But he is saying either there are people who are walking according to the flesh or to the Spirit. You are either one or the other. Not both.


You will walk according to the Spirit “if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you” Rom 8:9. But if you walk according to the flesh (your earthly members inside of yourself), “you will die.”


We put to death the flesh when we were “buried in Christ.”  We are now made “alive” by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead “giving life to our mortal bodies”.  Therefore, it is no longer I who lives, but Christ inside of me.


Gal. 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free…”

When Paul says “so that you do not do the things that you wish” in Gal 5:17 he was concerned about those who would use the “liberty as an opportunity for the flesh” Gal. 5:13b.  And “bite and devour one another” verse 25.  Which Paul wanted them rather to use this Liberty in Christ to “serve one another in love.” 

Paul told them they are not in bondage to the “Law.”  But there were those, in the Church, who troubled them and said you need to be “circumcised” according to the Law.  Paul said they were hindering them from further obeying the truth Gal. 5:7. Paul said was explaining to them that they are free from the Law of circumcision, but did not want them to use this liberty as an opportunity for the flesh to serve themselves.  


The “flesh” and the “Spirit” will not walk hand-in-hand. And never will they. Paul says in another place, “but if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” Romans 8:17-18.  John warns us from the “world” who is trying to lead us back to the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” 1 John 2.


“God will not be mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” Gal 6:7-8.


I am not saying you have now been “made perfect” Phil 3:12 or that you have reached perfection…  Only that you have put off your sinful flesh and its desires upon coming to Christ to fulfill all righteousness.  So please, do not turn back to those things that lead you into bondage.  That is either the Law of Moses by seeking your own righteousness, or your former sinful life styles which you were delivered from. 


Love you guys, michael


Walk in the Light