“Under the Law” is the Condemnation of the Torah Pronounced Upon Sinners

“Under the Law” is the Condemnation of the Torah Pronounced Upon Sinners


I’m J.K. McKee, editor of Messianic
Apologetics. If you are new to the channel, be sure to subscribe for future
teachings and updates. How can today’s Messianic movement widely advocate that
the Law of Moses is still valid, when the Bible is clear that born again Believers
are not “under the Law”? Any person who believes in the final
authority of the Holy Scriptures, Genesis to Revelation, will have to take the
admonition “for you are not under law but under grace”
(Romans 6:4 {correction: 6:14}, NASU) very seriously. For anyone who believes in the continued validity of
the Torah or Law of Moses, as relevant instruction for the post-resurrection
era, to disregard something like this–or somehow claim that the Apostle Paul is
“wrong”–would indicate that he or she does not hold to a very high view of the
whole Scriptural canon. There are various challenges present
when approaching the issue of what “under the Law” should be viewed as meaning, that
too many of your average Bible readers are simply not aware of. Much of this has
to do with the fact that being “under the law” in too much of contemporary, modern
speech, has become synonymous with “according to the law,” whether such law is
Biblical law or secular. When “under the Law” terminology is witnessed in the
Scriptures, it is automatically assumed to mean “according to the law” or being “obedient to the law.” But, does it really mean this?
And, few are aware that in various mainline English translations, like the
New American Standard or Revised Standard Version, that there are a
variance of Greek clauses rendered as “under law” or “under the law.” Our ultimate
appeal as Bible readers and examiners, as it pertains to what “under the Law”
really means, has to be made to the source text that sits behind our English
translations. It would not only be too convenient, but even a bit haphazard, for
any of us to simply type in a few search criteria via some Bible software program
for “under law,” and then conclude that the results include just the places where
the Greek clause hupo nomon appears. The only places where “under [the] law”
legitimately appears in the Bible are: Romans 6:14, 15;
1 Corinthians 9:20 (four times); Galatians 3:23; 4:4, 5, 21; 5:18. Where an English version may employ “under [the] law,”
and something else appears in the source text, we need to carefully determine if
something like “in the law,” “by the law,” or “according to the law” is used instead.
While for many Bible readers, being “under the Law” means being obedient to the
Torah or Law of Moses, few laypersons are actually aware of the fact that
there are actually three main interpretations of “under law” accessible
to interpreters. Douglas J. Moo, who himself believes that Torah obedience was only a
part of the pre-resurrection era, is quite fair and summarizing the three
main options of what “under the Law” could mean: “We do not presume that ‘under the law’
must connote the same idea and each of its occurrences, although the
stereotypical flavor of the phrase may point in this direction. Three general
meanings of the phrase are popular: (1) under the condemnation
pronounced by the law; (2) under a legalistic perversion of the law; and
(3) under the law as a regime or power in a general sense.” Within a
great deal of today’s broad Messianic movement (in no small part due to the
influence of David H. Stern’s Complete Jewish Bible), “under the Law” meaning some
kind of legalistic perversion of the Torah, has been a common view one will
encounter. Ultimately, though, Bible readers have to recognize that the
redeemed in Yeshua not being “under the Law,” has to serve as an appropriate
counterpart to them being “under grace.” In my estimation, “under the Law” being
subjected to the condemnation pronounced by the Torah, is actually the best way to
view the clause hupo nomon in all of the locations where it appears within
the Pauline letters. For, it is quite obvious that those who have received
Yeshua and His salvation into their lives are redeemed from the high
penalties of the Torah (cf. Colossians 2:14), yet the Messiah Himself bid His
followers to have a high view of Moses’ Teaching as instruction to be obeyed
(Matthew 5:17-19). Being “under the Law,” then, is a status in which unsaved persons
will find themselves–not saved persons who know Yeshua as their personal Savior. Being “under the Law” regards a condition
of condemnation and punishment if not rectified, not the steadfast requirement
that God’s people obey His commandments and live in holiness. If you all found
this content enjoyable and useful, please be sure to drop a thumb’s up for this
video. As always, we thank you for your continued support of our ministry
efforts. God bless and shalom, and we’ll see you again with our next update!

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  1. Excellent video Mr. McKee! A crucial topic! Much needed understanding for ALL believers! I will definitely be sharing this! Thank you!

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