Saturday, June 12, 2010

Studying the Scriptures

Romans 6:14:
14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
Which of the 6-7 connotations of the word “Nomos” (translated “Law” in every instance) are we not under?
A. Are we not to keep G0d’s Law/Torah?
B. Are we not to try to be saved by keeping the Law/Torah?
C. Are we not under the temple system of sacrifice for sins?
D. Are we not under the penalty of breaking the Law, which is death?
E. Are we not under the “Law of Sin”, that is, we NOW in Christ have the ability to not sin (as Paul calls the inability to refuse sin the “Law of Sin” in Romans 7, and also mentions 4 other kinds of “Law” in that chapter).
F. Are we not under the Talmud and traditions of the Pharisees/the modern Church tradtions for salvation?
The next line in the verse is “Should we go on sinning so that grace may abound? Certainly not. For Grace ESTABLISHES THE LAW.” So once, again, which connotation of “Nomos” is used here.
A few questions to ponder as you read:
If sin shall have “no dominion” over us, and sin is breaking G0d’s Law in 1st John 3:4, then how could we live Lawlessly and claim to be “under Grace”? If Grace is why sin has no dominion over us, it therefore should not lead us into living lives controlled by sin (Law breaking). Changing the definition of sin doesn’t mean that it doesn’t rule us, just as renaming a slave an employee, doesn’t make him any less of a slave if he can’t quit and gets no reward for his labors. The semantics don’t change the reality.
Grace can’t establish something if Paul just said we are no longer under it. And since the word “but’ is used, we are being shown that this translation of the word “Law” used in “Not under LAW but under Grace” must be in contradiction to Grace. And in the next verse, “Grace establishes the Law” then a different translation of Law needs to be used, because Grace can’t establish something contrary to Grace.
Which connotation of “Law” is “established” by Grace? and which connotation of “Law” is “Contrary” to Grace? Which meaning would line up with the first 2/3 of the Bible, and the rest of Paul’s wriings for that matter, especially 2nd Corinthians 6:14 “What fellowship can Righteousness have with Lawlessness?”
Is Keeping G0d’s Commandments OUT OF LOVE AND OBEDIENCE contrary to the salvation system of Grace or established by the salvation system of Grace?
Is keeping G0d’s Commands IN ORDER TO BE SAVED contrary to the salvation system of Grace or established by the salvation system of Grace?
Is the love inspired obedience to Torah (G0d’s instructions for our life) contrary to Grace or established by it?
Is legalism (earning one’s own salvation) contrary to Grace or established by it?
Here is the kicker. Both Legalism and Torah are “Nomos” in Greek and translated as “Law” in English. But they are contrary ideas.
So the audience must have understood that 2 different things were meant in that verse, which are both translated as the English word “LAW” despite these being 2 different concepts.
An Analogy:
We could write a letter using the word “Love” several times, and then put the letter in a time capsule to be discovered by school children studying history centuries from now. First the capsule would be uncovered when our culture and religious climate have disappeared,then someone would put the letter into a language that had many words for love, all with different meanings, but sadly, that person who translated only used one of the many words for the idea expressed. If these school children studying us spoke Greek, the translators would have to use the Greek word for Romantic Love,or the one for Friendship Love, or the one for Undeserved Love. If just one word for love was used, the the meaning of the letter would be very different, with some very drastic implications about what the speaker meant and what he was saying.
If we wrote a letter in which we use the word “Love” in English several times, and in one instance we love our wives, the next we love our children, the next we love our best friend, then our morals, lifestyle, and intentions could be easily misconstrued by a bad translation.
Especially if someone took the whole paragraph and placed it into a different language, if the translator was using only the word for love that described romantic love (Eros), then they would assume we are all homosexuals because we “Love”(Eros) our best friend with the same word “Love”(Eros) that we love our wives, and we are pedophiles because we “Love” (Eros) our children the same way that we love our wives. So the readers conclusion would be that our religion taught pedophilia.
Now if the word “Philos” was used every time, implication would be that our religion taught that husbands and wives are merely to be friends and not lovers, and that parents should be buddies with their children instead of authority figures.
Now, if they used the proper word for love in each instance, the confusion and accusations of homosexuality and a lack of affection between husband and wife would disappear. If instead of “Eros” every time, regardless of context, they used (Eros-Romantic Love), Philos (Liking) and Agape, Unconditional Love, the way the orginal author intended, the meaning would change.
The letter could read. “We LOVE (Eros) our wives, and we spend time with our guy friends that we also LOVE (Philos), and we love (AGAPE) our children.”
How would those studying our letters in the future know what in the world we meant? They would have to study the bulk of our other writings and the writings of those from our culture, especially the writings we ourselves claimed to have drawn our morals from. Those reading in the future would have to use the translation that lined up with the rest of this individual letter, the rest of our writings, and the writings of those that we imitate (in Paul’s case, the Torah was what he studied and claimed to live by).
What is sin? 1st John 3:4 “Sin is Breaking the Law of G0d (Torah)”. So Grace (chesed) establishes the Torah.
God’s Grace (Chesed=loving kindness) in our lives, establishes the Love shown in His Law (Torah=the Father’s loving instructions to His children on how to have a blessed life).
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