Sin and the Torah.


The following reflection is born of the Readings set for last Sunday. The Second Reading of Romans 5:12-21

Paul says ‘ 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come……..20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Romans 5:12-14,20,21 NIV)

David says ‘ The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,…Psalm 19:7-9 (NIV)

And also countless others including Psalm 119:97 97Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

Which Law is which or are they the same?

Hazarding a guess I say that not quite. Paul is speaking to a group of Jewish Citizens in Rome and is stressing crime and punishment at a very serious level such that salvation and atonement through Jesus Christ are the only ransom that will cancel debt owed to God for the sin of the world.

Meanwhile the Perfect Law of the Lord does not infer the balance of Crime and Punishment but the Torah which is Holy and perfect and a guide to humanity.(Jewish humanity at the time) It is said that in Meditating upon the Law of the Lord and studying it one forms their own Torah or Holy Guide-according to their maturity and understanding which is ever changing and growing.

Rashi Says in his comment on Psalm 1:2 ‘that and in his law he meditates:‘ “In the beginning, it is called the law of the Lord, and after he has toiled to master it, it is called his own Torah.”

Certainly the Torah guides one to right thinking and action but also allows for reconciliation, those who loved it and understood its perfection understood death as part and parcel of life – we were never meant to live forever in our present state. Yet Paul speaks of the Law of Sin and Death … as something to be overcome. That humans die because of Adams sin and he refers to Adam as a Type of Christ of Christ as the New Adam.

Was one born and disobeyed just one commandment causing all to die to enable the other to reverse the process? And this so called sin reigned from Adam to Moses because humanity had no conscience. Did not understand when they committed wrong until the Commandments came to tell them? Well I don’t think so.( I say Commandments here rather than Torah since they were given firstly and became part of it) The Commandments, in my oppinion set the stage for monotheism and Israel’s relationship with the Lord God of Israel and their relationship with one another.

Do I err, probably since I am not Jewish and have not the true understanding of the Torah given to Israel and not to us.

Andrew Blair