We Christians love to use Romans 8:1 as an antidote to condemnation and guilt. And the way we understand it is this if we believe in Jesus, we are in Him by passive faith. Our passive faith in Him has united us with Him and set us free from the Torah, which can only cause death, so now we are walking in the Spirit of grace. But what if we are wrong? What if this is not the correct way to understand Romans 8:1-2? So let me ask you, have you ever read Romans 8:1? Let us read it together: In Romans 8:1-2, we read, ” There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Messiah Yeshua for the Torah of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua set you free from the Torah of sin and death.”
What you just read is a literal translation from Greek, so the meaning of the verse in Greek says there is the Torah of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua, who has set us free from the Torah of sin and death. Why is Paul saying there are two Torahs?
To understand Romans 8:1-2, we have to keep in mind Paul’s Bible was the Old Testament. He did not intend to write an addition to His Bible; He only meant to write expository comments to His Bible, showing believers in Yeshua how to live out their faith based on the Old Testament. Is there anywhere in the Old Testament a reference to what Paul just said in Romans 8:1-2?
We find the reference in Isaiah 50:9, where it reads, “Behold, Yehovah, will help me. Who is he who will condemn me?. They will all grow old like a garment; the moth will eat them up.”
By itself, Isaiah 50:9 does not make much sense, but if we read it in its context, we can understand it. Isaiah 50 begins with Yehovah our God speaking to Israel’s descendants. He divorced Israel back in Jeremiah 3:8. Even though they had been unfaithful to Him, and He had divorced Himself from them, He had also made a promise to regather them one day.
Here in Isaiah 50-53, Yehovah says He will do it using His suffering servant. Who is the suffering servant of Isaiah? As Christians, we know and believe this is Yeshua.
When Yehovah’s servant starts speaking from Isaiah 50:4, we as Christians believe Yeshua is the one speaking. So what Yeshua says in Isaiah 50:9-10 is the condition for the promise in Romans 8:1. Here in Isaiah 50:10, Yeshua says those who revere and trust in Yehovah, obeys the voice of Yeshua, are those who will not be condemned.
What Yeshua says here in Isaiah is the same thing He says in the Gospels in John 10:27-28 and what He says in the great commission. Both in Isaiah and the Gospels, the emphasis is on Yeshua’s teachings, not what He did for us.
This shows us one important thing; if you want to experience Romans 8:1-2 in your life, you will first have to meet the conditions. What are the requirements? Revere and trust in Yehovah (not in Yeshua) and listen to and obey Yeshua’s teachings.
Sadly, most Christians have chosen to reject Yehovah in favor of Yeshua and will have nothing to do with Yeshua’s teachings. Both Romans, John 3, Matt 7, and Isaiah 50 say that they will be condemned and lie down in sorrow.
But why is Paul, in Romans 8:1-2 saying there are 2 Torahs?
If we continue to read, in Romans 8:3, Paul says that something was impossible for the Torah, and therefore Yehovah gave us Yeshua. If you understand the Torah, you will soon see there was something it could not do. It could not provide atonement for intentional sins, only for unintentional sins.
What is the difference between the two?
The difference is motive, as seen in the example of Ananias and Saphira. If you choose to sin because you are egotistical, it is an intentional sin. In Ananias and Saphira’s instance, they had made a promise to Yehovah, but their desire for money made them go back on their commitment. As a punishment, Yehovah killed them both. An unintentional sin would be a situation where you have to choose between committing a small sin or a greater sin. Such an example would be the Shabbat; breaking Shabbat is always a sin, but causing someone’s death or suffering is a greater sin. If you have to choose between keeping the Shabbat or breaking the Shabbat by going to the ER because someone is sick, your sin of breaking the Shabbat (by making the doctor work on Shabbat) would be unintentional. It would still be a sin, but as it says in 1. John 1:9, if you repent of your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you.
The Torah says, in Lev 17, it can only atone for unintentional sins. If someone did an intentional sin, they would be lost forever and have to live under the curse of the law in Deut 28:14-46. But when Yeshua came, this changed.
When Yeshua came, Isaiah 50-54, Romans 8:3 and John 1:9 says Yehovah for the first time made it possible for intentional AND unintentional sins to be atoned for.
So Paul is not saying there are 2 Torahs; what he is saying is that the cross sets you free from the curse of the law. And as we have just learned, the curse of the law is the law of sin and death, which comes into effect when someone sins intentionally.
Then Paul goes on, in Romans 8:4, to give us the conditions of the promise in Romans 8:3. Here he says the requirements of the Torah is fulfilled in us if we walk according to the Spirit.
We Christians usually interpret this as to mean faith in Jesus = walking in the Spirit = we dont have to do anything = Jesus did it all for us = we dont have to keep the Torah because He kept it = the requirements of the Torah is fulfilled if we believe in Jesus.
How does Paul understand “walking according to the Spirit”?
In Romans 8:1-2, Paul has just told us what walking in the Spirit looks like. Walking in the Spirit is: Revere and trust in Yehovah (not in Yeshua) and listen to and obey Yeshua’s teachings.
What Paul is trying to tell us here in Romans 8:4 is this: If obey the Torah as Yeshua told us to do, we are walking in the Spirit. If we walk in the Spirit, we follow the Torah, and the requirements of the Torah can be fulfilled in us.
This is the exact same thing John says in 1.John and Jacob in Jacob 2, where they both tell us to obey the Torah if we are saved.
So what Pauls message to us today is can be summarized into this:
We all know we have sinned with egotistical motives at one time in our lives. Thus, we all have to suffer under the curse of the law, which is the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death will cause us to suffer in life because Yehovah our God has cursed us, and when we die, we will end up in hell. But it does not have to be that way; Yehovah has given us His Son and His Sons teachings. If you accept what His Son Yeshua did for you at the cross, listen to and obey His teachings by living in obedience to the Torah of Moses, you will no longer be under the law of sin and death and the curse of the law. Then you will go from death to life, from curse to the blessings Moses promised us in Deut 28:1-14, and have eternal life when you die. Then you will not be condemned because you will be in Christ by your faith in the cross AND your obedience to Moses.
Do you feel condemned?
Repent back to Moses, accept the cross, and be free.