Rabbi Schneider - Why the Law Matters Today?
I'm going to the book of Romans 7. I'm going to make application to Jew and Gentile here. Some that are listening today that are not Jewish, you'll maybe wonder in the beginning, "Well, how does this apply to me"? Because you're talking about the law and we know that the law refers to the 10 commandments, and the law in the Torah, the first five books of our Bible, so you're wondering, "I'm a Gentile. So how does that apply to me"? But I'm going to share with you, Mr. or Mrs. Gentile, I say that humorously and with love, how it applies to all of us, whether you're a Jew or a Gentile. Hear the Word of God as Jew and gentle. Receive God's word as one in Messiah.
Paul says, "Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God". What is going on here? Paul is saying that before Yeshua came, Jewish people were bound under the law. The law had a purpose. We're gonna see that the law is good. But the law stirred up within us passion. In other words, stolen fruit is sweet.
Have you heard that expression before? I'm talking to Gentiles right now because you might be thinking again, how does the law apply to me? Well, listen to the concept. Stolen fruit is sweet. We've all heard that. And what that means is somehow, when we know that something is wrong, it causes passion to be stirred up within us. It intensifies desire. And so when you think about the law, if you're not Jewish, just think about the principle that the law is holy, righteous, and good. And when God came to the Jewish people and said, "This is good, do it," or "this is wrong, don't do it," what it did is it stirred up sin within them. The sin was already there, but now knowing clearly a difference between right and wrong, it somehow caused sin to become utterly sinful. In other words, it rose to the surface and it could be seen for what it is.
The law actually caused sin to intensify in order that mankind would be convicted. But God said in the verse we just read that we are no longer to relate to Him... Listen, we are no longer to relate to Him as just a moral God. You see, before Yeshua came, the Jewish people had the law. And in the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord said, "These are all the laws now. And if you do all these laws, you'll be blessed. You'll be blessed coming in, you'll be blessed coming out. The fruit of your offspring will be blessed. Everything you put your hands to are going to be blessed, is going to be blessed if you'll do all these laws. But if you don't practice all these laws, if you forsake them and sin against them, then you're going to be cursed when you come in, cursed when you go out, your offspring is going to be cursed, etc., etc".
So the whole way of relating to the Lord, before Yeshua Messiah came was this ethical moral standard. And humankind is not capable of living up to the standard. But that was the only revelation that was there. It was the law. And that was the way the Hebrew people related to God was through the law. And again, it was a moral standard of right and wrong. And actually, even though it promised life, because the Lord said, "if you do all these things, you're going to be blessed," the law held out the promise of life. But because no one was able to live up to their qualification, to the demand for them to inherit the blessing, it actually became condemnation. Do you understand what I'm saying? The law held forth a promise of blessing. The promise of blessing was, "If you keep the law, you're going to be blessed". But because no one could keep the law with perfection, rather than being blessed, the curse of the law came upon them.
So it held the promise of blessing, but it brought a curse. But now that Yeshua has come, we've been released from relating to the Lord like that. We no longer relate to Him through the law, first of all, but now we relate to Him, beloved one, through the person of His Son. So Paul just use the example that when a woman is married, she's bound to her husband as long as her husband is living. But if her husband passes away, she's released from that relationship, and could be married to another. So Paul is saying to us: before Jesus came you were bound to God through the law. But now, because Jesus perfectly kept the law, and we were in Him, and then He died on the cross, we're released from being bound to the law, even as a woman is released from her husband when her husband dies. And now that Yeshua embodied the law, and we were in Him when He died, now that He did that, we're released from a law to be bound to another, to Yeshua Himself.
Listen again before we continue. "For the woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband". In verse four, "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God". What is the beautiful truth about this is that we no longer relate to God just on the basis of having to live up to a moral standard. But now we have a relationship with a God who's a person, that's full of compassion, who loves us, who understands our weakness, who sympathizes with us, one whom we can bear our soul to, one whom we can cry out for help to.
Now we're released from the law and we're brought into a relationship with a person. Isn't that beautiful? And this person, this one that died on the cross, as I've been saying, He loves us just the way we are. And Beloved, you and I need to receive this message. God loves you, beloved child, just the way you are right now, right where you're sitting. The Bible says Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. It boggles my mind why someone would want to reject this message.
I was walking through a trail, a little dirt road in the middle of the forest just a few days ago. And as I was walking through the forest, there was a man that had a little trailer set up, and he was kind of living there for a few days. And I began to witness to him, share Jesus with him. And he had some real convoluted idea of who Jesus was. And I said, "Have you ever read the New Testament"? And he said, "No". I said, "Well, the New Testament is really the only historical document that we have that accurately records for us who Jesus was and what He said. So what you're saying about Jesus is not in the New Testament". He wasn't just a man that people misunderstood. I said, "He was God clothed in humanity that died on the cross for our sins". And he said such a wretched, blasphemous thing, it just blew my mind. I mean, I won't even say it because it just grieves me to even repeat what he said. But just a fowl rejection of the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sin. He said, "I'd rather burn in hell than accept that". And it was just full of the devil.
Just the other day I was in a restaurant and I shared with our server that our protection in this earth is only God. And she said, "I believe in science. I believe in reading books". And I thought, "why would someone not want God to protect them"? And when the server came back over a few minutes later, I said, "I just want you to know one thing. Jesus died for you and loves you". I think that word was so piercing she couldn't help but say, "I love that". And you know, beloved, God is a person. And that's what Paul is saying, you've been released from the law. God isn't judging you just on being right or wrong. I mean, think about a prostitute. A lot of people consider prostitution as the most vile sin on the earth. The most morally debase sin perhaps it's someone could be walking in. But you know, when God looks at a prostitute now through Jesus, He doesn't just see the sin of the prostitute. He sees a broken soul. Many of these people that are practicing prostitution grew up in broken homes whose parents were divorced or maybe never even married. Oftentimes, the parents were drug addicts.
And so God doesn't just see somebody practicing prostitution. He sees a little child that was abandoned as a child, a little child that was reared in a home with no parental love, and no parental boundaries. He sees a little child raised in a home with a drug addict. You see God's a person. And that's what He revealed to us in the person of Yeshua. The law, the Bible says, was a taskmaster to convict the world of sin, so that you and I would recognize "I need you, God. I'm going to go to hell if I don't have You. I am evil". And so God says, "Yes, but I love you, and I'm going to cleanse you from the evil that you inherited from Adam. I'm going to cleanse you and forgive you for the evil that you've done. I'm going to restore you. I'm going to recreate you. I'm going to make you a brand new creation, and you are now in Jesus holy and blameless before me in love, and I love you. And I created you in my image to become one with you and united with you". That's the message of the gospel. Beloved, that's the message of the gospel.
Now, before we close today's episode, I want to make a few brief comments about a subject there's confusion about. You know, there's been a lot of antisemitism in the church for almost 2,000 years. And I could go into all the reasons for that. I have other series on that, that I would encourage you to go see for more information. For example, a series about the division of how Judaism and Christianity became separated. I explain all the reasons that there's antisemitism in the church. But now I just want to say that because of antisemitism, a lot of wrong theology has been created. And one of the concepts in this antisemitic wrong theology is that many people in the Gentile church have looked at the law as if it's a bad thing. They say, "Oh, we're no longer under the law. We don't need the Law. The law is a bad thing". But beloved, the Law is a good thing.
Listen to what Paul said about the Law. Paul said in verse 7, "What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be"! Listen to what Paul said. "Is the Law sin"? He says emphatically, "May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law hadn't said, 'Do not covet.' But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead". So you see the Law, Paul said, is holy in verse number 12. Holy. And the commandment is holy and righteous and good. So Paul is saying, no, the law is good. It has a purpose. It serves a purpose.
Listen to verse 12 again. "So then the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good". And so don't ever think that the law is bad. It's beautiful, and it's an elementary grace to lead us to Yeshua because it convicts us of sin. And it held Israel together as a nation so that they would be intact to release the Savior to the world as a Jew. And beyond that, beloved, the law is God's self-revelation. And as we study the law, not because we're under it, but because it's a self-revelation of God, we can learn so much about who God is. And this is why Yeshua said, "Do not think I've come to abolish the Law and the prophets, for I've not come to abolish but to fulfill".