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In Parashat Chukat there is a lot that is going on, we learn of (i) The law to deal with uncleanness, (ii) Moshe and Aaron are unfaithful to the Lord bringing water to the people, (iii) Miriam and Aaron die, (iv) Snakes bite the people due to their unfaithfulness, and (v) War with the locals (king Sihon and Og). This week’s Torah portion opens saying the following, א וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל-אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר: ב זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָֹה לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר | אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה אֲשֶׁר אֵין-בָּהּ מוּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא-עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עֹל: 19:1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 19:2 “This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. (NIV) Note here the Hebrew text states זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה “this is a statute of the Torah.” Here the English translators write Moshe says this is “a requirement of the law that God has commanded.” This suggests the word חֻקַּת may be translated as a requirement of God. The way this is written in the English translation, does this present a theological difficulty based upon what we have been taught for centuries in the Church that we are not obligated to obey God’s Law? Note the requirement of our country’s laws, how one must obey in order to live at peace with others. The Apostle Paul wrote the following to the Romans saying, Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 8:4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (NASB 1Οὐδὲν ἄρα νῦν κατάκριμα τοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: 2ὁ γὰρ νόμος τοῦ πνεύματος τῆς ζωῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἠλευθέρωσέν σε ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου τῆς ἁμαρτίας καὶ τοῦ θανάτου. 3τὸ γὰρ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου, ἐν ᾧ ἠσθένει διὰ τῆς σαρκός, ὁ θεὸς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ υἱὸν πέμψας ἐν ὁμοιώματι σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας κατέκρινεν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐν τῇ σαρκί, 4ἵνα τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ νόμου πληρωθῇ ἐν ἡμῖν τοῖς μὴ κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦσιν ἀλλὰ κατὰ πνεῦμα. 5οἱ γὰρ κατὰ σάρκα ὄντες τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς φρονοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ κατὰ πνεῦμα τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος.) The NASB translates “dikaioma” δικαίωμα as the “requirement of the Law.” Here Paul speaks of satisfying the requirements of the Torah and of being set free from the law of sin and death. These statements are very practical and tremendously important. What does Paul mean in Romans 8:4 when he says the aim of the Messiah’s death is “that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit?” Are we to believe this to mean as modern theologies teach Christ fulfilled the law for us when he obeyed it perfectly and died as the perfect sacrifice on our behalf, and so we do not have to? If we examine what Paul writes very carefully, Paul says the righteous requirement of the law is being “fulfilled in us,” not “for us” or “on our behalf,” which Paul could have said very clearly if that had been what he meant. Paul is writing that this “fulfillment” is something happening IN US, and not something that is happening to us or for us by someone else (Romans 5:19 or 2 Corinthians 5:21)…

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