Friday, February 7, 2020

Faith's Works

Therefore by the deeds of YHVH’s instructions no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Word of Elohim, in the Torah, we come to the knowledge of sin that is, in our flesh.  But now the righteousness of Elohim apart from the Torah is revealed, being actually witnessed by the Torah and the Prophets… “(Romans 3:20-21 my modifications and emphasis).

How is YHVH’s righteousness revealed in the Torah and the Prophets?

The answer is, “I will write My Torah on your heart”.  If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, you ‘shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ [and] you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:9 emphasis added). Paul raises a very important question: “What shall we say then? Are the Commandments of Elohim sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the Commandments in the Torah. Therefore the Torah is holy, and the commandments holy and just and good…” (Rom. 7: 2).  

 “Then He [Yeshua] said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Torah of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures (Torah and Prophets)…”  (Luke 24:44-45).  Why is it so important for us today that Yeshua has (also) been opening our understanding of the Torah and the Prophets?  There are religious voices in our midst which claim that the Word of Elohim, “Yeshua”, in the ‘Old Testament’ have very little relevance compared to ‘New Testament’ writings.  If the word of Elohim is the same yesterday today and forever, how can such a distinction be made?  Their favorite ‘proof text’ is:  “For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).  The Greek word used there for “end” is 5056 telos {tel'-os} – meaning, end, completion or purpose.

The anointing of the Spirit of Yeshua in the life of a believer is in itself the righteousness of the Law to its fullness, thus ‘end’ does not mean that the Law has been done away with, rather, that nothing more may be added to its fullness, completeness or purpose in Messiah.  The righteousness of Elohim is seen as the fruit of the Spirit. Now that we have received Yeshua as Lord and our life is embedded in the Spirit of the Son, we have His righteousness expressed in the works of faith.

The apostles often quote and instruct from the Torah and the Prophets, giving credence to these writings in their preaching and teaching of the gospel of the Kingdom and Yeshua the Messiah (see Acts 28:23).  “For what the instructions of Elohim could not do while humanity lives in the flesh and under the power of Sin, the Father did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of Torah might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit…” (Rom. 8:3-4 emphasis added).

 “But now the righteousness of Elohim apart from the Torah is revealed, being actually witnessed by the Torah and the Prophets…”  (Rom. 3:20-21), as we noted above. “Do we then make void the Torah of Elohim through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish it…‘‘ (Rom. 3:21) “For we delight in the Torah of Elohim according to the inward man… “(Rom. 7:22). “We thank our Heavenly Father, through Yeshua our Messiah and our Lord, we can serve the Torah of Elohim with our mind…” (Rom. 7:25). For when we are in Messiah, and He in us, He is the completeness and fullness of the Torah “for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4. My modifications in all of the above quotes). 

Therefore the evidence of faith is not justification only, but righteousness that is seen through the works of righteousness.  The works of the flesh are enumerated in Galatians 5:19-21. Immediately following this list comes the list of the works or fruit of the Spirit:  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25).  

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have the works of righteousness? Can faith save him?... “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14 ,26 emphasis and modifications added). 

In what way is faith dead?

Yeshua summed up the commandments that have been written on our hearts into: “Love YHVH with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself”.   This is the proof of righteousness that comes by faith in Messiah.  James challenges the believer who says he has “faith without works”.  In other words, he is asking for evidence in the behavior of the one who claims to have faith. If faith is truly present, then so would be the fruit of the Spirit or ‘works’ of the Spirit. “He who loves another has fulfilled the royal law” (James 2:8). “Owe no one anything except to love one another” (Romans 13:8). If there is no evidence of the righteousness that comes through faith, then as James states, “faith is dead” and if faith is dead, then one is fooling one’s self into believing that they have been justified through faith only.  A living faith sees and becomes an expression of that which is unseen.  Our life in Messiah is unseen until it is manifested through the obedience of faith to His Word. What is it about our life in Messiah that is seen? Would it not be “the works that YHVH prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”? (Eph. 2:10b). Yes, we are “His workmanship that have been created/prepared in the Messiah Yeshua for good works” (Eph. 2:10a).