What “Under the Law” Really Means

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This is not going to be a scholarly treatise on the differences in the Greek words used for “law”, or that Torah means “teaching”, or anything that involves anything more than just some common sense and a basic understanding of God’s plan of salvation.

So let’s start with how God’s plan of salvation works. It’s really quite simple: God gave the Torah through the Jewish people to all people so that we would know two things, and just two things. They are:

  1. How to worship God; and
  2. How to treat each other.

When we do as God tells us we should be doing, we are living in accordance to His will and thereby not sinning. When we do that which God says we should not do, then we are rejecting God’s commandments, which is called “sinning.” When we sin, that sin separates us from God and if we die in our sin we cannot be with Him throughout eternity. Salvation is available to those that ask for it and do not die in their sin.

Salvation starts with the Torah, which tells us how to not die in our sin by staying within God’s will. The problem we run into is that no one is able to live in accordance with Torah, so we all will die in our sin, unless we happen to die as we are exiting the Temple in Jerusalem right after performing a sin sacrifice.

Oh, wait a minute! The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed! That’s OK because God has us covered for that one; again, all part of the plan.

Right from the start, even before God gave us Torah, He knew this would all happen so He had a back-up plan. That plan is called Messiah. The Messiah would present Himself as a sin sacrifice for all people, and through His sacrifice we would be able to atone for our sin, even though the Temple is no longer available to us. Messiah’s sacrificed “trumped” the animal sacrificial system that was what we needed before Messiah came.

Today we try to live our lives as God told us we should (Torah) and when we fail to do that we ask for forgiveness, which we can receive as a result of our T’shuvah (repentance) and by means of the substitutionary sacrifice of Yeshua haMashiach.

That’s it! God gave the world the Torah (through the Jewish people) and because we couldn’t obey the Torah as we should, He sent Messiah Yeshua (again, through the Jewish people) to suffer the penalty we all (Jew and Gentile) deserve so that we can overcome sin and be in God’s presence for all eternity.

Now that we have a basic understanding of how salvation works, the next step is to understand the difference between being under the law and obedience to the law.

Under the law is a term used in the New Covenant writings to describe a system that understands salvation to be a result exclusively from obedience to rules and regulations. It doesn’t account for a desire to obey as a result of love for God. Faith is not needed in this system because salvation is only possible through performance.

Obedience to the law means that we choose to obey the rules and regulations that God gave us as a means of proving our T’shuvah (repentance) and comes from a desire to please God. It is not a means to gain salvation. Salvation is only possible through faith; we obey because we love God and show that by obedience to His word.

The Torah is the User Manual for staying in God’s will. We obey the Torah because we want to show God that we fear Him (as in honor and respect) and to show others how God wants them to act. We should obey Torah as a love response to God’s kindness, His sovereignty and His authority.

When we are obedient to Torah we are not doing so to “get into heaven”, but because we want to do as God says and because we respect and honor Him.

Obedience to Torah is not a means to be saved, it is a way to show God how much you love Him. In John 14:15 Yeshua told His Talmudim (disciples) that if they loved Him, they would obey Him: everything He taught was directly from the Torah, so to love Yeshua means to obey the Torah.

Can you see the difference now? Obedience to the law is all about faith and desire to please God, whereas under the law is nothing more than a means to an end.

And since no one can be perfectly under the law, those means lead to only one end- damnation.

Many people say they love Jesus, they love the Lord, they love, love, love…but do they ever even try to love God the way He asks them to? No- they excuse and rationalize disobedience to the Torah.

Do you love God? Do you love Yeshua? If so, do you prove it by living the way God says you should, or are you living the way you want to?

Which one do you think God will accept?


  1. Steven R. Bruck
    Roger Gloux March 10, 2018 at 00:15

    The way you write it, and talk about it sounds close, but we are not on the same page.

    You said…. ” I think the “under the law” issue is really just you and I having a different way of seeing it, but essentially we both know Torah obedience is still expected but by Grace we are saved from the death penalty…..”

    The only people who get saved from the Death Penalty are those who do exactly what it says in [Acts 2:38]. We both know what “repent” means, which is stop sinning and keep the Law. Law is a little stronger then a “teaching” because Law means there are consequences for not keeping it. No different then looking at a sign that says 30 MPH.

    The removal of sins is what saves a person from the Death Penalty. The only way those sins are removed is to be Baptized in יהושע Name. Not some other name but His Name. And definitely not “Jesus or “iesus”. The very same Name that YHWH gave HIS only begotten Son. the very same Name that Moshe gave to Hoshea the Son of Nun [Num. 13:16].

    Grace is the removal of sins and the Death Penalty.

    How many people do you know that are Baptized in the correct Name? The two most important Names in the Universe has been removed from the Translations, but are still there in the Hebrew. Can you tell me where this name “Yeshua” came from and exactly what does it mean? Why is “ha Shem” used instead of YHWH?

    When you get down to the “nitty gritty” you and I are very different.

    You said….. “You pointed out acceptance of Messiah Yeshua…”

    No I didn’t. I said…. יהושע …. not יְשׁוּעָ . Two different words. YHWH sacrificed HIS only begotten Son and gave Him a Name that reveals who is doing the Saving and for some reason people want to re-name HIS Son.

    The last part of the terms of the New Covenant is found in these Scriptures…..

    Revelation 2:11
    11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Power says to the assemblies. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’

    It is one thing to repent of sin but it is another thing to actually overcome sin. And remember the MAGNIFIED Law that Mashiach explained is much harder to accomplish then the Law that was given at Sinai. The “second death” is what a person is SAVED from, BUT…… you have to overcome those sins which have to do with the MIND…….

    Romans 8:9
    9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Mind, if indeed the Mind of Elohim dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Mind of Mashiach, he is not His.

    Under the Old Covenant, you had to refrain from adultery, (which is in the flesh) but now in the New Covenant if you think about adultery, it is the same as committing adultery. This is what a person must overcome, and if you don’t, you die the second death. This is what Shaul is saying in verse 9 above which is exactly the same thing Mashiach was saying in …..

    Matthew 5:28
    28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his mind.

    This is what a “convert” must overcome. Control the thoughts where sin originates. The only way this can be accomplished is to have YHWH’s MIND and POWER which is given as a gift, if you are Baptized in the Son’s Name for the removal of sins.

    The Ruach haKodesh is YHWH’s MIND and POWER.

    So you see, just using the words is not the same as doing what the words imply and say.

    • Steven R. Bruck
      Steven R. Bruck March 10, 2018 at 07:09

      I am afraid I have to agree with your statement that you and I are different. You are clearly very avid about details, and I am more about heart. I know the answers to the questions you ask, and I also know that you will not accept my answers. I have been saved for over 20 years, have ministerial credentials from the Messianic Bible College (which only means I have studied the bible and Messianic Judaism), I have taught bible school, acted as Rabbi-pro tem at a Messianic Synagogue, and in the two places where I have worshiped over the years I have been asked to be on the Council by both places and to help lead and teach at Shabbat services. I do not tell you this to brag, but to simply let you know that I am no “Tyrolean” Believer, and have been confirmed by many other spiritually mature and credentialed people that I do know, to a degree, what I am talking about.
      All that being said, I appreciate your desire and enthusiasm for properly respecting and using the name of God and the Messiah. I also feel it is important to be careful when we use those names, as they are so important. But I have learned God is less concerned about which name we use when we call on Him than the attitude of our hearts, and the genuineness of T’Shuvah we present before Him. He is big enough to get over some mispronunciation, and when someone uses Jesus, or Yahashuah, or Yeshua, or Yahweh or whatever, it is my belief that God is not listening to pronunciation but looking at the heart of the one praying to Him. I like using “HaShem” because it means simply “The Name” and gives proper respect to the commandment not to use His name in vain.
      There is plenty of evidence in the Tanakh that God is not as concerned with the details of worship as He is with the attitude of worship. In the past I have written about my concerns regarding how Gentiles that are beginning to desire to know their Hebrew roots, and wanting to worship as Messiah did, getting so involved and tied-up in things like pronunciation, what God’s “real” name is, how to spell Messiah’s Hebrew name, numerology, etc. that I see this overpowering desire for specifics as a new form of legalism, and just as dangerous.
      Brother Roger, I wish you all the best and am not at all trying to get you to change your beliefs or desire to know God as well as possible, and I would ask you to please consider that God may not be so concerned about what we call Him as to the fact that we DO call on Him with an attitude of T’Shuvah, humility and a contrite spirit. Remember what Micah told us in 6:8.
      Because we have very different views and you won’t change my mind (I don’t feel I should try to change yours- you have to decide what to believe and what not to believe) I don’t think further discussion on this topic will be fruitful. Maybe some other topic will spring up that we can discuss.
      Thank you, though, for your input and discussion. Bless you and shalom.

  2. Steven R. Bruck
    Roger Gloux March 9, 2018 at 10:55

    Thanks for the comeback and being honest with your perception of this process. It is a process and not one part can be missing.

    In [John 6:44] reveals it is YaHWeH that is choosing who HE wants for the job that is being offered. Like you point out people are not always ready to give in, even though YaHWeH is calling them. Not everyone has an innate desire to know HIM, even if they are what is called “religious”. We all read the same Scriptures that are fraught with miss-translation and each has to decipher what is being conveyed. Most don’t, they rather have someone else do the work.

    I had a reason for asking you …. “what are we saved from?”…., because the vast majority don’t know. Each sin has a DEATH PENALTY attached to it. Sin is the transgression of YaHWeH’s Royal Law of Love [I John 3:4]. and what you get for each of those sins is a DEATH PENALTY [Rom. 6:23].

    Every human being has sinned, except the Son of YaHWeH. That means every single human being is slated for an execution. We all are under the PENALTY of the Law. Humanity is DOOMED.

    BUT…. YaHWeH had a plan made before the Creation. That plan was to save people from that ETERNAL DEATH. As you point out we all have “FREE WILL” ……just like the angels do. We have the ability to reason and think and to choose what we want to do. The angels had that same choice, and 1/3 of them made the wrong choice. We humans are made in the “image” which is the capacity to think and reason. We have MIND.

    But the angels are “immortal” beings, they can’t die. We on the other hand are “MORTAL” beings, we can die. There is nothing in us that is “immortal”. Immortality is a gift given to those who accomplish what is required.

    We all are “UNDER THE LAW” and have the DEATH PENALTY over us.

    There is only one way to get that DEATH PENALTY removed and that is to do what it says in the first part of the terms of the New Covenant. Shimon Kepa/ Simon Peter reveals what is necessary…….

    Acts 2:38
    38 Then Kepa/Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of יהושע the Anointed One for the removal of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Special Power.

    Steven, when the sins are removed, so is the DEATH PENALTY. The slate is clean. The folks that do this are now not UNDER THE LAW because the DEATH PENALTY has been removed. That doesn’t mean they can go and sin. Shaul/Paul points that out……

    Romans 6:15
    15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? the Powerful Authority forbid.

    The Law wasn’t removed, the DEATH PENALTY was removed, which is what GRACE is. It is an unmerited pardon from the crime of sin. They have been saved from the DEATH PENALTY while they accomplish the next step in the process of Salvation. The Son’s Name reveals who is doing the Saving….. יהושע…. is doing the Saving.

    All of Shaul/Paul’s letters are directed to those who were willing to enter the New Covenant and it’s terms.

    These folks don’t just keep the Torah, they keep the Magnified Torah that the Son יהושע explained about. This is much harder and can only be accomplished with the Special Power that is given at Baptism [Acts 2:38], done in the Son’s Name יהושע.

    You said… “However, the works will never save us- faith is the only way we are saved, …”

    Your right, “works” don’t save anyone from the Death Penalty. At Baptism a person asks YaHWeH to apply the shed Blood of HIS only begotten Son to the sins we have committed, so they can be washed away by the Blood. That doesn’t mean you then get Eternal Life. Before that happens, you have to complete the rest of the terms of the New Covenant.

    Do you know what else is required to get Eternal Life?

    • Steven R. Bruck
      Steven R. Bruck March 9, 2018 at 11:37

      If you don’t mind my saying so, I think we agree on the basic points. I have no problem with everything you said, and I think the “under the law” issue is really just you and I having a different way of seeing it, but essentially we both know Torah obedience is still expected but by Grace we are saved from the death penalty that the law requires of us. As for the last question, what else is required for eternal life, what else other than …what? You pointed out acceptance of Messiah Yeshua, baptism, and working out our salvation with obedience to Torah. I don’t see anything else, unless you are talking about continuing to do T’Shuvah when we sin and constantly dying to self so that we can be more filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit.) Is that what you were talking about?

  3. Steven R. Bruck
    Roger Gloux March 7, 2018 at 19:13

    First of all, I don’t agree with your perception of Salvation. I also think you don’t understand what Paul was saying regarding, to being under the Law and not being under the Law.

    You also don’t know what a person is saved from.

    So, just from this short essay in print, You don’t know what the NEW Covenant is about nor it’s terms.

    That’s a lot to not know.

    • Steven R. Bruck
      Steven R. Bruck March 8, 2018 at 07:26

      Since you are of the opinion I don’t know about salvation or what Paul was saying, please enlighten me as to your understanding. Perhaps I didn’t express myself correctly?
      I would like to know what you think about salvation and what Paul was saying, which may edify me and anyone else reading this post.

      • Steven R. Bruck
        Roger Gloux March 8, 2018 at 20:37

        Let’s go through the process one by one. The very first thing that has to happen is found in [John 6:44]. This is the first thing in the process of Salvation. Not one human being will make the first move. It is the Father of the Mashiach who is handpicking each individual.

        Let me ask you a question before we go on. What is a person saved from?

        • Steven R. Bruck
          Steven R. Bruck March 9, 2018 at 08:11

          First off, thank you for your comments. I appreciate the fact that you are interested in a discussion.
          As for John 6:44, Yeshua is saying that God will draw people to Him, implying a form of predestination. After all, if what you say here is true, that no human being will make the first move, then that is the basis of predestination, isn’t it? I believe God does call to people, and I also believe God puts in everyone’s heart an innate desire to know Him, but we have Free Will (my opinion) and that means despite God’s calling, we still can refuse to listen. Take Jonah, for example. God eventually got him to do as He wanted, but only because Jonah made the choice to go.
          My feeling on salvation is that we are saved from ourselves. The innate desire to sin, called iniquity, overcomes our ability to live in accordance to God’s commandments. When we refuse (for one reason or another) to obey the Torah, we are in sin and God cannot have sin in His presence (so far this is all biblical, right?) and as such, if we die in our sin we cannot be with God. Messiah died and was resurrected, proving that His sinless life was an acceptable sacrifice, and even though He took on all our sin (so we will be seen in His righteousness and not our own), we still have to repent of the sins we commit and do T’Shuvah, asking forgiveness from God in Yeshua’s name (i.e., using His substitutionary sacrifice to cover our sins) so we can be cleansed before God. Salvation is the free gift of God for those that accept Yeshua as their Messiah, ask forgiveness and show that their T’Shuvah is real by a change in their lifestyle, known as doing “good works”. However, the works will never save us- faith is the only way we are saved, faith in Yeshua (as He tells us) and faith in God’s promises: the works are simply the result of living a faithful life in obedience to God.

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