Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Gospel’s Ground Zero: Romans 8:2, and Why The Church Must Misrepresent It

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 4, 2019

ppt-jpeg4Church must make the two laws in Romans 8:2 two different realms or two different spiritual forces in order to misrepresent the new birth and the baptism of the Spirit, which is critical to the institution’s survival.  When the verse is evaluated based on the simple meaning of the word used in the verse, “nomos,” it is clear that this refers to two different written standards. In context, two different laws that originated with God. The word is used about 197 times in the New Testament and in every case refers to a written law or God’s written law. In contrast, other words are used when referring to an invisible force or spirit, primarily “pneuma.”

“Yes, but how can there be two laws of God, that makes no sense at all” many will say. Really? Two laws of God are talked about all of the time in church; specifically, Old Covenant/New Covenant, New Testament/Old Testament, etc. Popular theologies are even based on the idea that the Old Covenant was written for the Jews only, and the New Covenant (New Testament) was only written for the Gentiles. At any rate, Romans 8:2 is ground zero for the gospel because in order for the gospel of justification by faith to stand, “nomos” in the verse must be “pneuma” or some other word that refers to a spirit realm or invisible force.

Critical to the gospel of justification by faith is a single perspective on the law in regard to it being the standard for justification. If the law of God has more than one purpose; ie., other than “to show sin,” the gospel of justification by faith collapses. The Spirit’s two uses of the law determined by the new birth/Spirit baptism must be confined to one use of the law, therefore, “nomos” in Romans 8:2 must be a realm rather than God’s written law and thereby redefining the new birth and Spirit baptism.

According to the true gospel, that is justification by new birth, the new birth changes a person’s relationship to the law of God and rejects the law’s single purpose of showing sin. According to justification by faith, the new birth is merely an illumination that enables the “believer” to colabor with God’s law to see how sinful we are which aides in returning to the “same gospel that originally saved us.” It’s a single purpose of the law used in a perpetual re-justification/re-salvation or progressive justification. Proponents of justification by faith deny that it is progressive justification overseen by the church by God’s authority and I have come to believe that they are lying about that and know it. Justification by faith stands or falls on the single purpose of God’s law to show sin. Of course, this is deceptively nuanced thorough sanctification-speak. In justification by faith, sanctification is merely the progression of justification, or “justification in motion.” According to mainstream Protestant pastor John Piper,

Now I want to stop and make sure that you are hearing what I believe the Scripture is saying, because it is not commonly said, but our lives hang on it. There is a real sense in which our justification depends on our sanctification.

Note that Piper is not saying that our sanctification is the natural result of new creaturehood with justification being a finished work in the believer (you are only born into a family once), but justification depends on things that happen in the progression of a “believer’s” life, meaning clearly that justification isn’t a finished work. The redefinition of “nomos” in Romans 8:2 also makes double imputation (a critical doctrine of justification by faith) possible but that is not a subject we will delve into here.

What’s really going on in Roman’s 8:2? We are justified, once and for all time (see Romans 8:1), which completely changes our relationship to the law. Before the old us died with Christ, we were under “the law of sin and death” (see Romans 7), but were raised with Christ and are now under the “law of the Spirit of life.” Same law, two different relationships determined by the new birth. Once you understand this, finally, the Bible starts making sense and the relationship of law and gospel starts making sense. Jurisdiction is the issue here, not a realm. Jurisdiction can include realm in some cases, but not in this case. Here, jurisdiction has to do with life and death; according to Romans 7, the old you is dead, and the law of sin and death no longer has jurisdiction. However, the new you that was raised with Christ is under grace, or the Spirit’s second use of the law; to sanctify via the truth of God’s word.

Furthermore, finally, assurance of salvation is possible because there is no law to judge us, that is, the first law we were under before we were born again. Under justification by faith and its singular perspective on the law (in regard to the definition of righteousness/justification), there is no way to know what your motives are in Christian life. Am I doing this good deed to justify myself in God’s eyes, or purely for love? Well, under grace, or under the law of the Spirit of life, the law for purposes of justification is gone along with the old you, so the only remaining motive is love. “Where there is no law there is NO sin,” so any attempt to outscore sin with good deeds is a nonstarter to begin with. Our faith works, THROUGH LOVE, not law-keeping (Galatians 5:6).

Failure to understand the Spirit’s two uses of the law according to Romans 8:2 leads to a singular perspective on the law regarding justification resulting in a false law-based gospel, while on the other hand, dissecting the law for purposes of bogus secondary and wacky theologies. That’s church in a nutshell.

God’s law (the Bible) has clear and specified roles that lead to an overall understanding of the Bible. If you have the law right, you have the Bible right. The Old Covenant was a will. The will promised that ALL sin would be imputed to the law and that Christ would then come and end the law. The will is “The Promise” which promised that the Spirit would raise Christ from the grave and establish the baptism of the Spirit. This baptizes Jew and Gentile into  the “one new man,” and ends the law with all of the sin imputed to it. Old Testament believers had their sin COVERED by the law (atonement), which made the Old Covenant a “protector” or “guardian” until “faith came” (Christ) and consummated the will. In order for a will to be activated, there must be a death (see Hebrews).

However, this doesn’t mean that the believer is not under a law; it means that the new birth changes the believer’s relationship to the law. The law is stripped of all condemnation, and is our guide for love. Neither does this mean that there are no consequences for failure to love, but condemnation is not the result. That is a matter of a loving Father’s chastisement which is another element of this that will not be addressed in this article.

Also, the word of God as a seed has to do with the new birth, and is not the same exact thing as the baptism of the Spirit, although under the New Covenant consummated by the death of the Testator, both happen at the same time. The word of God as a life-giving seed is another topic, but suffice to say here that Old Testament believers were born again by the “implanted seed.” During the Old Covenant, their sins were covered, under the New Covenant, sin is ended, but nevertheless, they were born again and righteous as a state of being just like those under the New Covenant.

How church redefines all of these terms is an endless study. “Seed,” is redefined as a mere illumination that enables us to see our own sin and inability to do any good work, rather than the very life of God being inside of us as His offspring. This, in fact, makes us righteous as a state of being, and yes, SINLESS, and therefore righteous as a state of being. Look, we have documented this extensively, the Reformation was sparked by the Catholic Church moving away from Augustine’s idea of total depravity, viz, the idea that ALL righteousness remains outside of the “believer.”

But all in all, church denies the new birth and the baptism of the Spirit as defined by the Bible, and accordingly, must misrepresent Romans 8:2.

paul

PS. I realize my distinction between the new birth and the baptism of the Spirit raises a lot of questions and it should! This is uncharted territory deliberately avoided by the church. Per our ministry mode of learning; it is accomplished collectively by the body of Christ. Learning ONLY comes through a collective body effort, NOT top-down hierarchical spiritual authority.

3 Responses

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  1. Republicanmother said, on June 7, 2019 at 9:14 PM

    One thing I’ve observed is the phrase “Christ-follower”: It didn’t exist 25 years ago as a commonly used phrase, but now it punctuates every sermon and blog post. Using my reading comprehension skills, I remember Jesus telling us people of the earth that He was going away, but would send a Comforter who we now know as the Holy Spirit.

    I like to think of myself as a Holy Spirit follower, per the instructions of the Savior Himself. I know that Jesus Christ is no longer physically moving around as He was when He told the disciples to follow Him, so why do Christian leaders use this phrase so much? I think we all know the answer: They define what following Christ is by what the church goals are at the time. They can’t measure, control, or verify the actions of someone led by the Spirit, so promoting this view is not helpful to the organization aka church.

    They also have an aversion to preaching and promoting the Holy Spirit probably because they don’t have it. It seems that getting the Holy Spirit and being born again is part of the same transaction.

    Like

    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on June 8, 2019 at 3:54 PM

      “Gospel Centrality” or Christocentric.” Right. It’s the Father’s righteousness we have through the Spirit. but what do we hear constantly? That Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us; the Bible never states such.

      Like

    • lydia00 said, on June 15, 2019 at 9:39 AM

      Republicanmother,

      That is an excellent point! I had not thought of it before.

      Like


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