I was reading a newsletter this morning that comes every 3 weeks, written by the son of a famous evangelist who died recently. The main topic of his article was this verse in Romans 10.
Is this verse saying that because the Messiah has come, the Torah or Law has ended?
Sadly, this is what many teach, and it is also what this article taught.
It’s easy to see how one could come to that conclusion if the verse is read with a Greek mindset and does not properly understand Paul, but nothing could be further from the Truth.
If we go back through the letter Paul wrote to the assembly that met in Rome (remember, there were no chapters or verses in the originals, they have been added by the Church Fathers) we can see his position regarding Torah, or the Law.
He establishes the Torah as a standard for righteousness in the beginning of the letter.
He goes on to address the Jews in Rome, saying that they know the desires of YHVH which are written in the Law.
He continues next, clarifying that by doing this, we are not declared right.
HOWEVER because he knew he would be misunderstood, he also clarified that just because we are declared right by our belief, it does NOT nullify the Torah, instead it establishes the Torah.
He then goes on to explain that Abraham and David and others were also declared right by their belief.
He continues in saying that just because we have been given favor, that does not mean we should sin. If we have been immersed into Messiah, we are dead to sin.
He re-emphasizes in the beginning of Chapter 7 that he is writing to Jews who know Torah.
His views on Torah:
- Verse 7 – is Torah sin? Absolutely not!
- Verse 12 – it is set apart, righteous and good.
- Verse 14, it is Spiritual.
- Verse 16, it is GOOD.
- Verse 22, he delights in it.
- Verse 25, he serves the Torah.
All throughout these verses he is pointing out that the flesh is the problem, not Torah. His flesh wants to sin, or not keep Torah.
The key is found in Chapter 8. We must walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. The flesh is the enemy of Elohim because it does not keep Torah (verse 7). The Spirit enables us to keep Torah and live righteously. It is not our own works and it is not Salvation to keep Torah.
Let’s continue to Chapter 9. He reminds the readers that Israel was given the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the Torah, the promises, etc He then goes on to explain who Israel is: the descendants of Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob and at the time of this writing, mostly the Tribe of Judah, the Jews, because of the dispersion. Verse 25-26 is referring to the time when Elohim divorced the 10 Tribes of Israel and said they were no longer His people. (Hosea 1:10 and 2:23)
Now let’s look at chapter 10. Israel in Paul’s day has been trying to be saved by keeping the Torah. This is what Paul addresses in many of his writings. The entire book of Galatians refers to this. Many of the disputes in the book of Acts are over this.
So we have established the following so far:
- The Torah, Law, is the standard of righteousness (2:13-15)
- Our Father’s desires are revealed in Torah (2:18)
- We are not saved by keeping Torah (3:20)
- Faith does not nullify the Torah, but establishes it (3:31)
- Salvation has always been by faith and not works (4:3,6ff)
- Grace is not license to sin, those who are true believers are dead to sin (6:11)
- Paul delights in Torah, declares how good it is, he serves it, etc
- The flesh wants to sin, the flesh wants to disobey Torah, the flesh is the problem, not Torah. (8:7)
- Israel has become confused and is trying to attain salvation through keeping the Torah (chapter 10)
And here we come to chapter 10 and verse 4. “For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” Now that we have summarized the first part of the letter to the Jews in Rome, do you think Paul could be saying that the Torah, Law is now ended? If he is, he is quite the chameleon. So, let’s look at the original Greek and see what it says.
The word we must understand is end. The greek word is TELOS, which has the following definitions:
- a) an end
- b) event or issue
- c) the principle end, aim, purpose
- d) tax
Here are some further helps from a study source:
So the word end here doesn’t mean it is finished. =) It simply means Messiah is the end-GOAL or purpose or AIM of the Torah. Makes perfect sense with the rest of Scripture and what Paul has been saying in the earlier parts of this letter to the believing Jews in Rome.
Let’s read it again with the accurate definition in mind.
For Messiah is the END-GOAL, PURPOSE or AIM of the Torah unto righteousness to everyone who believes.
So, in light of the fact that:
- The Torah, Law, is the standard of righteousness (2:13-15), our Messiah showed us how to perfectly meet that standard.
- God’s desires are revealed in Torah (2:18), our Messiah is what it points to or aims at.
- The flesh wants to sin, the flesh wants to disobey Torah, the flesh is the problem, not Torah. (8:7), our Messiah, again, conquered the flesh and perfectly kept Torah.
Please comment if my thoughts are not coherent or if you have questions or thoughts. I would love your feedback!