EXAMINING PAUL’S LETTERS: IS THE LAW DONE AWAY WITH?

Greetings to all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Yahushua HaMashiach and glory be to our Father in heaven, Yahweh.

To put the entire argument in context we first need to understand Paul’s history, who he was and what he was doing before he became a follower of the Messiah. Paul was a Hebrew (Israelite) and a Pharisee- an avid reader and follower of the the torah and a man completely perfect according to the law. Thus due to his position as a Pharisee he was a zealous persecutor of the Apostles and other believers, hunting them down for the purpose of imprisonment and execution. This was until Yahushua appeared to him during one of his missions to incarcerate the disciples. After this happened he started believing, being baptized by Barnabas in exile and then started giving his testimony about his faith and spreading the gospel to the Gentiles as that was what he was called to do. After this, he changed his name from Saul (a Hebrew name) to Paul (a Greek name) to distance himself from his identity and past. Hence, he went from being a persecutor to being persecuted, running from nation to nation spreading the Gospel mostly through letters and and sometimes live sermons.

Paul’s letters usually caused some contention among the Hebrews because they were (and are) quite nuanced. For instance, Peter once said about them- “his letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:17). One of the scriptures that I feel has been distorted is the one concerning the law and how it is irrelevant and done away with. I think that this is a very dangerous teaching that I myself once fell for (or subscribed to) until I started acquainting myself with the scriptures, studying and not just reading them. And now that I consider myself a student of the holy scriptures it is quite weird to imagine a man that lived his whole life according to the law, teaching against the law and telling people not to observe or subscribe to it. Therefore, in essence just telling people to disobey God. A man that went through hell trying to bring the good news to the people, being imprisoned numerous times, going from being a rich Pharisee who lived in luxury to being completely poor and destitute. I doubt that anyone would be willing to lose their entire earthly possessions without the hope of gaining something greater (i.e., God’s kingdom). Paul knew very well what was (and still is) waiting for false teachers. He and the other apostles preached so often about false prophets and teachers, warning people about their “cunningness” and ungodly intentions. Thus, if anyone believes that Paul taught that the law is done away with then they are calling him a hypocrite and a false prophet.

So let’s look at one of his teachings and letters about the law: In Romans 7:1 Paul says “Do you not know, brothers and sisters… that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?”… To put this in context, in the chapter preceding this one, the Apostle was talking about the fact that as soon as one is baptized in the Messiah and his blood, they are baptized in his death as well. Hence, as soon as you surrender your life to him your old sinful self gets crucified and you become a new creature, led by the Holy Spirit. Hence the law has no dominion over you because you have died to the desires of your flesh, which are in complete opposition to both the law and the Spirit. For instance, “The acts of the flesh are… sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like”(Galatians 5:19-21). On the other hand “.. the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). So it is evident that the works of the Spirit are in one accord with the law and the law is not against such a person. Hence, Paul asserts that if you are saved and filled with the Spirit of the Most High then you are no longer under the law for the law lives within you. You are no longer a slave to the law for you have mastered it and are above it. You are able to persevere in the constant fight of avoiding sin and thus transgressing the law.

Therefore, brothers and sisters do not be deceived. Delight in the laws of the Most High for they give life (particularly the commandments). The path to the Holy kingdom would not be straight and narrow without laws and regulations. We can’t keep on sinning because of grace and mercy for that would be testing His patience and love for us. This road is not easy at all but with support (from other believers), God himself and the Holy Spirit it is doable. It is all about perseverance and self discipline.

Peace and love be with you.