Message 26 - By Jerry D. Green

Let Not, or Lest?


I believe there is more gospel preached in the first eleven verses of Romans 6, than in any other eleven verses of the entire Bible. However, a translation error in verse 12 actually nullifies the gospel truth of the preceding eleven verses because of one mistranslated word. What a tragedy this is for all English speaking people, for the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important message any person can ever hear; but as we will point out, even though the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is “…the power of God unto salvation to every one…” who believes it (Romans 1:16), it can also be severely decimated with a single, wrongly translated word. If you will bear with me, and if God will grant the words, I will attempt to explain these statements which are the reason for this message.

We’ll begin with II Timothy 3:16. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, (and) for instruction in righteousness.” We continue with II Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” This we must understand. It is the inspiration of God by His Holy Spirit that makes the “Word of God” (“The Bible;” “The Holy Scriptures”) different from all other writings. We must also understand that this inspiration did not and does not extend beyond that first “man of God.” As most of you probably know, for hundreds of years all copies of those original letters or writings were hand written by mortal men. As you can imagine, this gigantic, arduous task gave room for mistakes. No matter how dedicated and/or careful the writers were, mistakes were bound to occur. Others, not so dedicated and careful, only exacerbated the problem. I believe that in at least a couple of cases, some well meaning person or persons even went so far as to ignorantly add complete sentences in order to, in their mind, explain or expound upon the scriptures. These things can happen, not only with those who make copies, but also with all those who translate the scriptures to other languages. In the case of translators, that which the translator himself believes will ultimately be the deciding influence in the way any word or verse which is in doubt is translated. But sincerity and well meaning can never be a substitute for the “…inspiration of God….

Now, with as few interruptions as possible, let’s look at the beautiful gospel which the Apostle Paul lays forth in Romans 6:1-11.

1. “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6. Knowing this, that our old man (our old sin nature) is crucified with Him (Christ), that the body (the whole) of sin (both the sin nature and the committing of sins) might be destroyed (rendered idle or inoperative; inactivated), that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

9. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.

11. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What wonderful, glorious news to all who can believe it. But then comes verse 12 which seems to completely contradict the previous 11 verses.

12. LET NOT sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

The first eleven verses are pure, unadulterated gospel. It is a complete finished gospel, a finished work which Christ has done for us. It is all we could ever need.  Then comes verse 12, LET NOT, and puts all the work back on us.  But we can’t LET NOT.  If we could, we wouldn’t need Jesus and that which He accomplished on that cross, on Calvary.  So what happened?  Why, all at once, does the message change?  It took a little searching, but I know without doubt that I discovered the answer to this question.

Let me first say, I am not a Greek scholar and know very little about the Greek language.  I am blessed, however, to be living in the age of computers and to have access to the wonderful works of some brilliant men who were Greek scholars. One of these men is Dr. James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D. We highly recommend that every student of the Word have a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the King James Bible, with Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries which work in conjunction with each other.  (For information on how to obtain a free, electronic, KJV Bible and Strong’s Concordance, see the NOTE at the end of this message.)

The first thing I did in my search was to check out verse 12 in all the English translations on my computer Bible program. There are at least two dozen. I always do this to see how various translators deal with a particular word or verse. Usually one or more translations will agree with what I believe to be correct, but not in this case. EVERY translation basically said, LET NOT.

Next I went to my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. I discovered that the Greek word which was translated LET NOT was #3361 in Strong’s Concordance and the Strong’s Greek Dictionary gave the definition as: “a primary particle of qualified negation; (adverbially) NOT, (conjunctionally) LEST; also (as an interrogative implying a negative answer) whether.” In this I discovered, as with many English words, Greek words can also have different meanings and can be used in different ways.

Then, for those like myself who may not have been strong in Grammar, I looked up conjunction in “The American Heritage Dictionary.” It says conjunction means “the act of joining.” In other words, a conjunction is a word that ties two thoughts or phrases together.  I’m sure most anyone adept in English already knows this.

Again, as most Bible scholars will know, the original texts did not have verse numbers, punctuation marks, or, the words  of Christ in red.  All of these were added many centuries later by persons other than the original writers and have been a great blessing to all Bible scholars since.  By this time I had began to see something I already knew to be true. Verses 11 and 12 should read like this; “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, LEST sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”  Praise God!  Verse 12 doesn’t destroy the gospel of the previous verses at all, but rather, confirms it.  For outside of faith in Jesus Christ and the true gospel of Him, sin will reign in your mortal body.

I didn’t stop my search at that point, but everywhere I checked, this which I had discovered was confirmed. “Thayer’s” simply gave the definition of the Greek word as no, not, and lest while “Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words” gave the definition as: “a negative particle, often used as a conjunction, (and) is frequently translated “lest.” Everywhere I checked there was at least one definition of the word as “lest.” So it wasn’t as though the translators didn’t know this. Also, none of the popular commentators I checked offered any objection to the translation, but simply went about giving their comments on what they evidently accepted as correct.  How is it then that they all missed what must be the correct translation? I believe the answer to that question is given by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 17-21.

17. “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, LEST the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

18. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (to save us from our sin and sins; Matthew 1:21; John 1:29; Romans 1:16).

19. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

21. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (the gospel of Jesus Christ) to save them that believe (the glorious message of that which He accomplished on that cross).” Worldly wisdom, no matter how wise, can never comprehend the wisdom of God which is the foolishness of preaching “…the gospel…” of Jesus Christ and the “…shedding of (His) blood. The “wise” translators and commentators simply could not believe the simplicity (II Corinthians 11:3) of the glorious gospel of that which Jesus did for us at Calvary.  I now ask a very simple question; CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

JDG Message 26 - Let Not or Lest?


NOTE!  We highly recommend that every student of the Word have a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and a King James Bible; which work in conjunction with each other. If you have access to the Web, FREE downloads of an electronic KJV Bible and Strong’s Concordance are available at www.e-sword.net.  Just click Links on our navigation bar, then under FREE Bible Study Tools, click www.e-sword.net.  These tools make bible study easier and much more rewarding.  JDG






Keith Surface MESSAGES

Leroy Surface MESSAGES