Doers Of The Law Will Be Justified

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Does Romans really teach the law has been abolished? The answer is, emphatically no.

The problem that Christians have with Paul in Romans 6 and 7 is that Paul is talking about two laws, the law of God and the law of sin (Romans 7:25). In Romans 8:2, these two laws are referred to as the law of the Spirit and the law of sin and death. Christians can’t see these two laws clearly because they lack a solid foundation of Torah from a Hebraic perspective and because they have accepted incorrect teaching that has been passed down to them for many generations.

Let’s begin this discussion with Romans 2:9:  “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek.”  Is the opposite of this true?  It should be, but it sure hasn’t been my experience.  The law of YHVH defines what is good, righteous, and holy. It defines evil by telling us what to avoid.  If we don’t embrace the law of YHVH, we can expect tribulation and distress on a regular basis, especially as the end comes upon us. Of course, we can also expect this when we are surrounded by others who commit evil too.  It’s just how life can be.

Paul is really not presenting a new concept.  He’s presenting what Moses said in Deuteronomy 11:26-28. Basically, you will be blessed if you obey the commandments of YHVH your God, or you will be cursed if you disobey the commandments of YHVH your God.

When we think about our lives, we know that we have often given in to the sinful desires of the flesh.  Just as Messiah died and was raised from the dead, we are to put to death the deeds and desires of the flesh and walk in newness of life by the power of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

We are not to be slaves of sin but slaves of righteousness.  According to John 8:34, “if you commit sin, you are a slave of sin.”  Since we all sin from time to time, I think he is speaking more in terms of habitual sin.  In Romans 6:6, Paul said that our old man was crucified with Messiah so that the body of sin might be done away with; in other words, we should no longer be slaves of sin.  Sin came into the world through Adam; this resulted in death being spread to all men.  In a similar fashion, Messiah reversed that result through one act of righteousness. Previously, Adam’s sin led to the condemnation of many, but Messiah’s righteousness led to justification of many.

So what is justification? Justification is the action of declaring someone righteous in God’s sight.  It is a separate act from what the law does, and it takes place as a result of a few separate things (Romans 3:21-31).

First, there is an act of righteousness that comes through faith.  For Abraham, it was a faith that God would keep His promise that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heaven (Genesis 15:4-6).  That one act of belief was considered righteousness for Abraham. It was an act of faith that looked into the future, which he could not see with his own eyes.  For us, our act of faith is believing that God raised Yeshua from the dead (Romans 4:23-25). This is an act of faith that looks into the past, which we cannot see with our own eyes.

Second, there is an act of righteousness that comes by God’s grace as a gift.  This gift or act of righteousness is God’s free to us, but it was a costly gift from the Father.  It was the cost of redemption put forth by God; it was the blood of Yeshua given as a propitiation for our sin.

When we believe that God raised Yeshua from the dead, we are believing/trusting that we have been redeemed from the curse of the law of sin and death with the blood of Yeshua, which was given as a propitiation for our sin. Folks, this is not the end of the story as most Christians believe it to be.

These two acts of righteousness were performed by two different parties to draw us into an ancient covenant with one another.  I’m speaking of the covenant on Mount Sinai where YHVH gave the terms of the covenant to Moses to pass on to the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt.

We can see this displayed in the following chiasm:

Faith of Abraham: that YHVH would keep His promise of many descendants and give him land as an inheritance. Abraham killed and cut the offerings given for the covenant where God, as a smoking oven and burning torch walked between the cut parts (Genesis 15:4-21). 

God sending Moses to lead the people out of slavery and through the waters of the Red Sea to the other side.

A seh (animal from the sheep or the goats) was offered as Passover sacrifice for the Threshold Covenant.

**Covenant on Mount Sinai

Yeshua was offered as the Passover Lamb for the New Threshold Covenant. The terms of this covenant are the same as the original; these terms are to be written on our hearts.

God send Yeshua to lead people out of slavery to sin. They are to receive the baptism of repentance. They are to cross over/be raised from death to life.

Faith of believers: that God raised Yeshua from the dead so they could walk in newness of life. Believers must receive the free gift of God’s grace with which He redeemed us; this gift of grace was God offering His son, Yeshua as a propitiation for our sin by the hands of wicked men. Believers now stand in grace because they have been bought with a price.

In Romans 3:31, Paul himself said that the law is not abolished because of man’s faith in Yeshua. Indeed, Paul upheld the law of YHVH.  Not only that, Paul previously said, “all who have sinned under the law of YHVH will be judged by the law of YHVH (Romans 2:1).”

Now let me present two apparently conflicting statements Paul made:

  • “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified (Romans 2:13).”
  • “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).”

Which is it? Is Paul trying to confuse us?  Can both verses be correct? Yes, they can!  The problem is that these verses are often quoted out of context.  Paul has made statements with ellipses.  We must use the context of the text to insert words into the ellipses for it to all make sense.

In Romans 2, Paul is comparing and contrasting lawless, wicked people with lawful, righteous people. It’s a basic repeat of the warning Moses gave to the people long ago.  If you obey YHVH’s commands, you will have blessing and life.

We can restate Romans 2:13 by filling in Paul’s ellipses as: “For it is not the hearers of the law of YHVH who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law of YHVH who will be justified.”

In Romans 3, Paul is talking about those who are all under sin. They are disobedient to the law of YHVH. According to Moses, if you disobey YHVH’s laws, you’ll have cursing and death. This is also known as the law of sin, or the law of sin and death (because sin leads to death).

We can restate Romans 3:20 by filling in Paul’s ellipses as: “For by works of the law of sin no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law of YHVH comes knowledge of sin.”

We are not supposed to allow sin, as define by the law of YHVH, to reign in our lives.  We are not under the law of sin, but the law of grace.

Paul reminded his readers, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)”

Based on what Moses told the second generation that came out of Egypt, Romans 6:23 now makes sense when we clarify the word “sin” this way: “For the wages of sin (lawlessness) is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So what is the purpose of the law of YHVH? There are two purposes.  First, it was a tutor to teach us what is righteous and what is not (Galatians 3:24-25). In other words, it defines righteousness.  It was also to bring us to Messiah so we could be the seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:25 seems to indicate we are no longer under this tutor.  Is that correct?  I think this verse specifically applies more to Paul’s original readers in Galatia than to us. The reason I say that is because the Jews and many converted Gentiles were raised on the Torah. They knew it well.  For us, the opposite is often true. We either do not know it at all, or we don’t know it as well as we should. We can look at this concept in a reverse-chiastic fashion.

Torah brings people to Messiah.

**People are redeemed by the blood of Messiah and justified by faith in Messiah.

Those justified by faith in Messiah are brought to Torah so they can learn how to live righteously (walk in holiness).

Acts 15:19-21 supports this idea.  Originally, many Gentiles were turning to Messiah that had no knowledge of Torah.  The Jerusalem Council submitted a letter with a judgment to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.  These are the core teachings of Torah found in Leviticus. These things were the major things plaguing the Gentiles.  They could learn the rest of the Torah from what was being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.

Previously, we mentioned two acts of righteousness. The first was believing that God rose Yeshua from the dead. The second was God’s act of redeeming man with the blood of His son. A third act of righteousness would be man’s trusting in the act of God redeeming people from the curse of the law.  Acts of righteousness are not supposed to stop here.  There are many other acts of righteousness we are expected to do.  We can’t know what all of those are unless we study the Torah and begin doing them.

Why should we be concerned with Torah?  Didn’t Yeshua fulfill the law?  Actually, He did NOT fulfill ALL of it yet.  There is much prophecy to be fulfilled when He returns.  Does that shock you?  It shouldn’t.  Everything won’t be fulfilled until heaven and earth pass away.  Those who teach that the law has already been fulfilled or that it is not necessary to do it will be LEAST in the kingdom of God.  See Matthew 5:17-19 if you aren’t sure.

So why should we be concerned with Torah? It’s because the final purpose of the law of YHVH is our holiness.  This is the fruit we are supposed to bear to God.  We are not to bear the fruit of wickedness.

Look at the following verses:

Romans 6:19:  “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”

Romans 6:21-23: “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? [My answer: Wickedness] For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Again, this is nothing new. Moses gave them same choice many years ago.

With this in mind, let’s look at Romans 7:4-6 with his ellipses filled in:  “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law (of sin and death) through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another — to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law (of sin and death) were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law (of sin and death), having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Now, we look at Torah, we can agree with Paul and say, “Therefore the law (of YHVH) is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good (Romans 7:12).”

So, if you thought the written law was abolished, you probably don’t even know what it teaches.  You need to be tutored in the written law of YHVH so you know what righteousness really is.  As you learn it, go and do it.

If you’ve taught others that the law of YHVH was abolished, repent; start teaching otherwise.

Do not allow yourself to set your mind on the flesh; that leads to death.  Set your mind on the Spirit; this leads to life and peace. Remember, a mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.  Submit to God’s law and live. This is what being led by the Spirit is all about (Romans 8:6-7, 13).


Righteousness Instead of Wickedness

Today, we will look at Isaiah 59.  The Companion Bible shows us that Isaiah 59 corresponds to Isaiah 50:1-11 which is a part of a larger concentric structure in Scripture.  Ultimately, iniquity (avon; H5771) is the cause of separation between God and His people.  The Complete Word Study Dictionary indicates that avon means iniquity, evil, guilt, and punishment.  It conveys the idea of deliberate perversion.

Despite the condition of His people, YHVH is capable of saving them.  YHVH is omnipresent but His face is hidden from His people because of their sin.

What else does Scripture say about YHVH’s people?

  • Their hands are stained with blood and their fingers with crime ;
  • They speak lies and wicked things;
  • They sue without just cause and aren’t honest in court;
  • They trust in empty words;
  • They say worthless things;
  • They conceive trouble;
  • They give birth to evil;
  • They hatch viper eggs and those whoever eats these eggs dies;
  • They spin spider-webs which are useless as clothing;
  • Their deeds are wicked (H 205; aven) and useless for wearing;
  • Their hands produce violence;
  • Their feet run to evil and murder;
  • They think only of wickedness (H 205; aven).

What is the problem here?  YHVH’s people are living lawless lives; they don’t obey YHVH’s laws which results in shalom (peace).  In fact, they will never know shalom if they don’t repent.

??????Think of what is happening in the world today.  We know the vast majority of people in the world today are wicked.  There’s no work ethic; people want something for nothing.  Rape, murder, adultery, drug abuse, and theft abound.  Violence is so bad that gangs of young people roam the streets or lie in wait (like spiders in webs) for their victims so they can beat and/or kill them just for fun.  Evil seems to have existed from the beginning but seems worse now more than ever before.

Is the condition of YHVH’s people any better today?  Look at the list above.  Ask yourself if anything here describes you.

Is justice far from us?  Where is righteousness?  Do YHVH’s people simply not know what the definition of righteousness is?  Righteousness is fulfilling the law of YHVH—walking it out in our daily lives.  We’ve got to stop walking in darkness so we’re not stumbling about like those who are blind.  We need to throw off the useless clothing of wicked deeds and clothe ourselves in righteousness.

Stop rebelling and denying YHVH; repent.  Be honest even if it makes you a target for the wicked.  Intercede for those who need justice; pray for their salvation and for righteousness to sustain them.

The Day of the Lord will come soon; it is not far off.  When that time comes, the wicked will be taken by surprise but YHVH’s people will be earnestly looking for it and will not be surprised when it comes.

Isaiah 59:17-18 says, “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay.”

I think is descriptive of Yeshua, Faithful and True, returning on a white horse in Revelation 19:11-16.  He will come to rescue His people in Jacob who have turned from their transgressions and to strike down the nations.   At that time, the enemy will come in like a flood but the Spirit of YHVH will lift up a standard against him.  This means it will be time for war!

Isaiah 59:21 says, “As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”

YHVH’s covenant is forever.  While we wait for Faithful and True to come, we must be faithful to this covenant and trust in Yeshua.  As we wait, be zealous on behalf of YHVH and His covenant.

Is God A God of Love or a God of Judgment?

Many people believe that if God is a god of love, He would not carry out judgment against the wicked.  

The Bible makes it clear that God Himself is love.  He loves obedience and righteousness.  He hates disobedience and wickedness.  God loved His people so much that He gave them laws that embody and promote godly love.  All God asks of His bride is to demonstrate her love for Him by obeying His commandments.  In other words, instead of living a life of lawlessness God’s people must choose to live a life of righteousness.

The Levitical sacrifices show that God refines and/or disciplines His people whose sins and trespasses have been atoned by a blood sacrifice and that the wicked will be consumed in the lake of fire.  Jesus’ blood sacrifice is sufficient to atone our sins and trespasses.  Jesus even took away our sins which is something the Levitical sacrifices could not do. 

Over and over again the Bible talks about the Day of the Lord.  This is a day of judgment that was prophesied by the Old Testament prophets, pictured in the Feasts of the Lord, and talked about by Jesus and His disciples.  Jesus warned that those who practice lawlessness will be cast into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  This warning was given out of love.

Don’t we warn our children of the consequences of poor choices even though they may not agree with us?  Of course!  We do it because we love them.  So why don’t we warn non-believers of the coming judgment?  Is it because we fear being accused of being intolerant of sin or of being fanatical? 

Should we only try to love people into the Kingdom of God?  Is this really the only effective method of evangelism?  Is this really fair?  Do you want to enter into a marriage without knowing the expectations of your possible spouse even if you know that person loves you? 

It’s true that all people can come to God in the sinful condition they are in but they are not to remain in that condition and continue to live a life of lawlessness.  Many assume they can.  The Ten Commandments are the basics of the marriage covenant.  Certainly it takes time to learn more details of what God requires but once this is known, people must conform their lives to His standard of holiness.  Non-believers must understand that God is inviting them to enter into a marriage relationship with Him and that there are terms of that covenant that must be agreed to.  God made the terms of His covenant clear to the mixed multitude once He brought them out from under the burden of the Egyptians and brought them to Mount Sinai.  Exodus 24:3 says, “So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has said we will do.” (NKJV)  This is how it began.  See how they were told about the commandments and the judgments?  They agreed to it with their eyes wide open.

Jesus called the Jews to repent and return to the terms of the marriage covenant and warned them of the coming judgment.  He originally sent His disciples only to the lost tribes of Israel.  Eventually, Paul was sent to the Gentiles.  The message has always been the same. 

Do you think presenting both the marriage covenant and the warning of judgment in a balanced manner the answer to evangelism in these last days?  Would you like it if you refused an offer without all the facts?  Think about it.

If you haven’t already done so, do you need to leave a life of lawlessness and place your trust in Jesus to rescue you from the wages of sin which is death?  Are you willing to do so?  Why or why not?