We have already established that Acts 15 actually commands believers to keep Torah, the very opposite of what most Christians have interpreted the passage to mean.
In the same way, this next part explores Romans 7, another passage that commands believers to keep Torah -- the very opposite of what Christians think Romans 7 says.
It is helpful, before we begin, to recall the exact words of Apostle Paul in this book of Romans.
In Romans 7 itself, Paul calls the Torah holy, just and good.
In Romans 3:31, Paul states that the Faith He teaches establishes Torah.
So, if Paul says in Romans that Faith establishes Torah and that the Torah is holy, just and good -- would it make any logical sense for Paul to write against Torah or to tell Gentiles not to keep Torah? OF COURSE NOT!
Ok, let's start with Romans 7.
7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
In the first three verses, Paul reminds his Torah observant crowd what the Torah states about marriage. The basic Torah understanding of marriage is that a woman is to be married to her husband and cannot marry another man unless her first husband dies. This is fairly simple and straightforward.
Only death, according to Torah, releases a wife from her covenant with her first husband.
7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Now, most people say being "dead to the law" means we are dead to the Torah and no longer must keep its precepts. But if that were true, then we could tattoo our body or murder, as long as we say we love Messiah Yahshua. That would make no sense. So "dead to the law" must mean something else.
The phrase "dead to the law" means "dead TO THE CONDEMNATION the law brings". If you use this understanding, the whole passage makes sense.
Paul is telling the Torah observant believers that they are no longer married to the "condemnation of the Torah" but that the "condemnation of the Torah has died" and now they are free to marry YahShua, who removes all condemnation of the Torah by aiding us in obeying Torah! :)
Just as the wife can only be released from her husband if he dies, so too the condemnation of the Torah had to die to us so that we could be married to YahShua!!! Our husband was sin and death, but once YahShua put sin and death to "death" through His death and resurrection and our repentance, we could be married to Him!!!
This is what Torah demands and this is what has been done by YahShua for us!
7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Paul reiterates his point: that formerly we were living in the flesh, under the condemnation of Torah, and our fruit was death and sin.
Now, however, we are dead to the "condemnation of the law", and we can serve YahShua in newness of spirit, not in the oldness of the letter.
Is Paul saying keeping the letter of the law is bad? No. He is saying that the Torah was never meant to be kept ONLY in the letter, but ALSO in the Spirit! He is not contrasting keeping the spirit of Torah to the letter of Torah -- he is telling his readers not to only serve the Torah in the letter, but ALSO in the spirit of Messiah!
How do we know this? It matches with Yahshua's exhortation to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23 -- to keep all the jots and tittle of Torah AS WELL AS the weightier, spiritual pillars of Torah. They are both important.
The unregenerate Jews in Rome had been in sin, serving Torah only in "letter" but not in spirit.
Notice how Paul says we are delivered from the law so we could serve in newness of spirit. In other words, we STILL keep the law, only now it is with the newness of the Spirit. We are delivered from the condemnation the law once brought.
Now, at this point, Paul rightly believed that his readers might be a little confused. He suspected that his audience might be thinking Paul is saying the Torah itself is bad and old and not to be served.
Paul heads off this wrong thinking by saying in the very next verse:
7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
Paul clearly says that the Torah is NOT sin. The Torah clearly says what sin is, but it is not sin itself.
A few verses later, after defining what the Torah IS NOT, Paul says what the Torah IS:
7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Ok, so we can establish that Paul believed
1. Torah is not sin
2. Torah is holy, just and good.
Sure doesn't sound like he's telling people to stop keeping Torah to me.
7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
7:10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
Did you catch that? THE TORAH THAT WAS ORDAINED TO LIFE, Paul found to be death.
YHVH NEVER intended the Torah to bring death -- only life and goodness!!! However, because men hate YahShua, even as Paul once did, what was meant by Yah to be life, brings death because of man's refusal to obey Torah!
Torah does not cause sin, it merely tells you when you are in sin. Torah is holy, just and good and was mean to give life and joy and blessing!!! (Deut 30 and Duet 6).
A few verses later Paul says:
7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Paul once more defines what the Torah is: SPIRITUAL!!! Paul also says his former state as a sinner was carnal, sold under sin, under the condemnation the Torah brought.
Romans 7 is clear.
Just as a woman, under Torah, can be freed from her husband and marry another when that first husband is dead --
So too, we who have been married to the condemnation of the Torah -- to sin and death itself -- once we die to sin, and once that sin dies through YahShua's blood atonement -- we, too can be married to another husband -- namely YahShua the Messiah!!!
However, just as the Torah prescribed that a woman could enter into a new marriage covenant, so too the Torah prescribes we can enter into a new marriage covenant with YahShua. Both marriages ARE STILL UNDER THE DICTATES OF TORAH.
It is not Torah which died for without Torah -- WE COULD NOT BE MARRIED TO YAHSHUA IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!
Paul says the Torah is spiritual, that it is good, just and holy -- why would YHVH ever put that to death?
Paul says the Torah is ORDAINED TO BRING LIFE -- if that is true, why would Yah ever put the Torah to death????
Yah would not.
The Torah does ordain life -- for it allows us to marry YahShua, that we might serve Torah, every jot and tittle, in the NEWNESS of the Holy Spirit!!!