Under the Law or Under Grace, God’s Standard for What Is Right and Wrong Is the Same

I hear Christians often declare that we do not need to follow the law of God anymore, because “we are covered by grace through Jesus Christ”. It is true we are covered by grace through Christ, but that is not an invitation to disregard His life example and His teaching and just keep sinning or living in a way that is inconsistent with the law which He followed.  If we do this, how can we claim to be His disciples?

Truly for those who prayerfully reflect this becomes clear. Imagine a father who loves and forgives his children. Does this mean that the children are right to ignore whatever rules or instructions he provides that they do not like? Of course not. Will not the father measure out consequences for the children to address their unrepentant rebellion by refusing to obey instructions?  Further, some instructions are there for the children’s benefit. If the children refuse to obey, will they not suffer the natural consequences of their decision? If a child disobeys his father and plays in the busy street, will he not risk getting run over by a car and hurt?

We are not under the judgment of the law, which is that punishment for sin is death. Instead, we are under grace through faith in Yeshua. We can be reconciled to the Father and forgiven of our sin. We need not be slaves to sin as we can now be set free from bondage to sin. But none of this means we should disregard the teaching of the law of God as our guide to how we are to live.

Would it surprise you that Paul even specifically addressed this in scripture… and clearly? He did.

Romans 6

Believers Are Dead to Sin, Alive to God

      1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.

      8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

      12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

      15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

      20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We need not remain slaves to sin when we submit to Jesus Christ as Lord. We are set free from sin and are called now to righteousness… living according to Yahweh’s word and Yeshua’s example.

You serve whom you obey. Ask yourself, and measure the answer by evaluating your actions rather than your intentions …“Do I obey sin or righteousness?” Pray for Yahweh to help you turn from sin completely… to be set free from it… and instead follow Jesus Christ in the ways of righteousness according to Yahweh’s instructions.

I invite you to pray with me:

Father, thank You for setting us free from bondage to sin. Help Your people to have discernment to live out their lives according to Your instruction in the scriptures and according to the example of Yeshua, who was judged perfect by the standard of Your law for us. Let us not use grace as an excuse to sin or redefine how we are to live. Open our eyes to the wonderful ways of Your law. Let the Spirit guide us consistent with Your word. Amen. 

 Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

One Act of Righteousness

It is sometimes hard for me to fully understand how sin entered the world through one man in Adam. I wrestle with understanding why the rest of us would suffer sin and death as a result of Adam’s mistake. On the other hand, I conclude quickly that all of us are just as imperfect as Adam and would ultimately make a similar if not the same mistake that he did. In fact, we all make mistakes and rebel against God even today.

While I humbly admit I do not have all the answers, I know the one who does, and we can trust our heavenly Father.  He loves us and demonstrates mercy by sparing us punishment for our sin and grace by providing a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin on our behalf.  Yeshua lived a perfect and righteous life as both God and man and then died for our sins. His act of righteousness was sufficient for all of our justification, being forgiven and reconciled with God for our transgressions.

Romans 5:12-21

    12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

      15But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

      18So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I previously had a chance to dialog with a man who felt he had done too many bad things to be forgiven. He had served in the military and done things which he clearly regrets. People died at his hands in ways he wishes he could forget. He was convinced not even God could forgive him. I had the opportunity to share with him the grace and forgiveness of God through Christ. There is no transgression or sin too great to be forgiven when we humble ourselves, admit our wrong, ask forgiveness, and turn away from our sin to do things God’s way. I hope and pray that I was able to help that man to start to understand and accept the forgiveness available to him. I challenge each of you to take time to reflect on the sins and mistakes you have made in your life. Consider with thanks and praise… and humility… how gracious our Father is that we can all be forgiven.

I invite You to pray with me:

Father, thank You for offering reconciliation and forgiveness as a gift through Yeshua. Please help me to humbly accept that gift and change my life to be more like His example. Show me where there is sin in my life or misunderstanding of Your word so that I may increase in wisdom and obedience to You. Teach me Your ways and how to walk with You. Amen. 

Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ


Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Sin Exists Without the Law, But It Is Harder to Identify

Many Christians today are taught incorrectly that God’s commands are a burden and we have been “set free” of the law by the death of Christ. This concept is definitively false. Jesus Christ was the living embodiment of the word of God. He is the word come to life to dwell among us.

John 1:14-15

      14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’”

How can it make sense that the word became flesh to free us from the word? Jesus lived according to all of God’s commandments and instructions and we, as His disciples, should do likewise. He clearly taught that the law, instructions of God, were not to be done away with because of Him.

Matthew 5:17-19

   17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The law is very important. It sets a framework that helps identify what sin is so that we can turn from it and follow God more effectively. Sin existed before God brought the law through Moses and the law did not eliminate sin. The law allows us to better distinguish man’s ways from God’s ways. The law reveals to us sin so that we can turn away from it.

Romans 5:12-14

      12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Paul makes an important point in these verses. Being without the law does not change what is and is not sin. It simply is not called out clearly as sin because there is no law to point to what is right or wrong. Similarly, if we as Christians say the law is no longer valid, we do not change the nature of sin but rather only conceal and make less clear what is sin and what is righteousness.

Some will claim the law is invalid and has changed because it is now written on our hearts. That does not really make sense. If I have a law in a ledger written down and I commit it to memorization or write it down in a computer document, have I changed the law? No. I just rewrote the same requirements somewhere else. The written law is still quite relevant and helpful. Paul speaks further about what this means in Romans 2.

 12For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

The emphasis in bold above is mine. Note the focus from Paul’s perspective. To have the law written on your heart means you do what the law says even without having a written copy of the law taught to you. It does not mean you change the law and act differently.

I grew up in a church that taught the false doctrine that the law of God was just for the past before the death of Jesus. It was not until much later that I came to better understand the will of our heavenly Father. I have found much joy in studying, understanding, and following what He calls us to do. It is not easy, in particular because so many Christians have a false understanding that the law is no longer relevant. What is really intriguing, is that much of what Christians believe is from the law, but they say the law is obsolete. However, obeying the full instructions of God provides a wonderful structure to guide us through life the way He intends.

It is important to actually read the Bible personally and not just read books written by others, though that can be a helpful supplement. Challenge yourself to apply God’s instruction in your own life and share it with others.

Read more: Understanding the Law – What Does It Mean Today? 

I invite you to take a few minutes right now. Prayerfully ask God to reveal to you the truth of His word and study daily.

Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ


Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Would You Die for Someone Who Rejects You?

As a father and a husband, I consider at times if I am prepared to die for my wife or children. I love them, and I believe I am ready… with God’s help. Of course, I would prefer to avoid having to give up myself or my family.  It is much harder to extend the same love to others for whom my love is not so great. To imagine giving up my life for someone who is my enemy is more difficult. If it is my child or close family member, who is rebelling against me, but whom I still love, then perhaps it is a bit easier to visualize. It is love that makes the difference!

That is precisely what God has done for us. He loves us, even though we were sinners and rejecting Him. Yeshua died for each of us!   He gave His life to suffer and die, and then rise again, so we could be forgiven. He demonstrated this love toward us while we were yet sinners, in rebellion to God. What an amazing God we serve!

Romans 5:6-11

 6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Praise God that He came in the person of Jesus Christ to save us sinners! If He would do that for us while we were yet sinners, than surely those of us who truly submit to Him and follow Him will be saved from His wrath and reconciled to Him.

Take time to give thanks and praise to our heavenly Father for His love and grace to make a way for us to be forgiven, despite our faults and mistakes. What a glorious Father!

I invite you to pray with me:

Father, thank You for making a way for me to be reconciled to You even before I was submitted to You! Thank You for Your love for each of us as Your children. Help us to be grateful and not take it for granted. Amen. 

Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ


Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Can We Truly Have Peace and Rejoice During Difficulties?

How many of us naturally maintain a peaceful attitude even in difficult times? Some of us, some of the time? How many of us actually rejoice in our tribulations? Anyone… anyone? Not many, I suppose. However, this is precisely what Paul tells us about living a life submitted to Yeshua. What an amazing statement!

Yeshua is the only way to the Father. We come to know the Father through Yeshua and we can be reconciled with the Father by accepting Yeshua as Lord, asking forgiveness and repenting from our wrong ways. Yeshua was without sin and took our punishment. He died on the cross and rose from the dead. Because of His sacrifice, we can be forgiven and live in right relationship with our heavenly Father. A healthy relationship with our Father powerfully transforms our lives, if we embrace it.

In part, our peace comes through justification by faith. We don’t have to earn forgiveness from our sin by living to some perfect standard, constantly striving for perfection. We should still do our best to obey God, because we love Him!

Romans 5:1-5

      1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Since submitting my life to Yeshua and making Him lord of my life I have certainly felt the Holy Spirit lead me to become better and better at living in peace regardless of circumstances. I still have a way to go. Sometimes I still allow circumstances to deflate my peace. I am definitely not yet exulting in my tribulations yet, but I am less frustrated by them.

Paul’s attitude is inspiring considering the truly difficult things he faced for his faith in Yeshua… beatings, jail, whipping, shipwrecks, stoning, and on and on. He points out how our heavenly Father can even use bad circumstances to help us get better and better at honoring and glorifying Him no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves in.

I encourage each of you to join me in prayer asking our Father to help us as disciples of Yeshua to rejoice even in tribulation, recognizing how He can use those circumstances to build our character and strengthen our hope in Him.

Father, thank You for Your written word to lead and guide us. Thank You for justification by grace that we don’t have to try to achieve it ourselves through our actions. Please forgive our sin. Help us to have peace consistently and to rejoice in our tribulation as it helps grow our character to become more like You want us to be. Amen. 

Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ


Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Yahweh Is a Good Father; Let Us Honor Him

As we celebrate Father’s Day, it is good to also focus on our Creator and Father in addition to celebrating good earthy fathers. Take time to prayerfully and thoughtfully reflect on who He is and what He has already done for You.

Respect and honor who God is. Take a few moments and be still before God. Contemplate the character of God:

  • The Great I Am
  • Creator of All
  • All Knowing (omniscient)
  • All Powerful (omnipotent)
  • Present In All Places at All Times (omnipresent)
  • Unchanging (immutable)
  • Eternal (without beginning or end)
  • Incapable of Making a Mistake (flawless)
  • Infinite (without limit or boundaries)
  • Holy (worthy of devotion as one perfect in goodness)
  • Just (behaving according to what is morally right and fair)
  • The Beginning and the End (Alpha and Omega)

In Ephesians  1:18-19 Paul prays “…that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”

Reflect on the greatness of God’s power toward you as God the Father. He is Father, Provider, Shelter, and Protector.

Honor and glorify His name. God’s name is to be separated from the world. To do this, we must separate from the world and focus on God. Focus on the Biblical names for God.

Focus on God’s character, praise Him and be thankful. His character should be reflected in our character.

  • Compassionate
  • Gracious
  • Humble
  • Pure (in body and mind)
  • Merciful
  • Giving (in time and resources)
  • Slow to anger / Patient
  • Filled with love
  • Truthful
  • Forgiving
  • Kind
  • Faithful
  • Wise
  • Servant’s heart
  • Disciplined (self-control)
  • Joyful
  • Holy (set apart from sin; set apart for God’s purpose)
  • Just (e.g. justice)

Consider picking one or more of God’s characteristics, starting with the one you understand the least, and study its meaning including study of application in scriptures. This activity will renew your mind in that area and, in turn, transform your character to be more like God and our Lord Jesus Christ. After completing this, consider doing for the other character traits over time, perhaps one a week.

I invite you to pray with me:

Father, thank You for being such a wonderful Father. Thank You for caring for me even when I may not understand why I experience certain things that may be difficult. You are worthy of praise. You are the model for the father I should strive to be. Please help me (and/or pray for fathers in your life here) to become more like You. Amen. 

 Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

My Entire Lifetime Is but a Moment to You

It is very easy to get wrapped up in our own earthly lives and put more importance in them than is due. Our lives on this earth are brief, our days numbered… our entire lifetime is but a moment to Yahweh. We should take care to keep in mind our significance is best appreciated in the eternal impact we can have by helping others to find Christ rather than the worldly accomplishments we value so much and work so hard for.

Psalm 39

For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.

1I said to myself, “I will watch what I do

and not sin in what I say.

I will hold my tongue

when the ungodly are around me.”

2But as I stood there in silence—

not even speaking of good things—

the turmoil within me grew worse.

3The more I thought about it,

the hotter I got,

igniting a fire of words:

4“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.

Remind me that my days are numbered—

how fleeting my life is.

5You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.

My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;

at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Interlude

6We are merely moving shadows,

and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.

We heap up wealth,

not knowing who will spend it.

7And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?

My only hope is in you.

8Rescue me from my rebellion.

Do not let fools mock me.

9I am silent before you; I won’t say a word,

for my punishment is from you.

10But please stop striking me!

I am exhausted by the blows from your hand.

11When you discipline us for our sins,

you consume like a moth what is precious to us.

Each of us is but a breath.

Interlude

12Hear my prayer, O Lord!

Listen to my cries for help!

Don’t ignore my tears.

For I am your guest—

a traveler passing through,

as my ancestors were before me.

13Leave me alone so I can smile again

before I am gone and exist no more.

Take time to prayerfully consider your priorities. Do not just list what you say is important and a priority. It is easy to say that God is number one. Instead, write down how you spend your time, energy, money, and talent. Is most of it spent honoring God and furthering His kingdom? or building your own through work or even family in which you place your value? Do you stand up for the values God reveals to us in the Bible? They are unchanging over time regardless of public opinion. Or do you change your view of what is right and wrong based on what people think today… and then change it again with them tomorrow to “get along” or “be tolerant”. God is not tolerant of rebellion to do things our own way! God calls out right and wrong clearly and it does not change over time.

If God is truly our priority than our lives should reflect it… as brief as they are. Do not put off to tomorrow submitting to and obeying God, but rather get started right away. The only things that will really matter at the end of our lives is whether or not we submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior personally and the impact we had to further God’s kingdom while we were on earth.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Celebrating Good Fathers

Good fathers should pursue after Christ and be spiritual leaders in their family. They should put YHWH first, their wife next and then the children in their priority list and then actually live their lives according to that standard. YHWH has said much about what it means to be a good father. It need not be a mystery.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Psalm 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Luke 11:11-12 “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?

Joshua 24:14-15 “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Perhaps some scripture does not explicitly call out “fathers”, but as in Joshua 24:14-15… he demonstrates the role of a good father as a strong leader for his family committed to serving YHWH even if others refuse to do so. Psalm 127:3-5 shows a good father feels blessed to have received the gift of children.

There are many more such scriptures. I encourage you to do an internet search for “Bible scriptures about good fathers” and invest time to dive deeper. In fact, YHWH gives us the metaphor to think of Him like a Father and He is perfect. Thus we can learn a lot about being a good father from studying how He relates to His people.

Good fathers are not perfect… there is only one perfect Father. On behalf of all those fathers out there who are trying to lead, protect and provide for their families, we appreciate your grace and forgiveness when we get it wrong, and we welcome your prayers and encouragement on our behalf so we may become better and better at what YHWH has called us to be… fathers.

I invite you to pray with me:

Father, thank You for the righteous fathers that are trying to lead their families in Your ways. Please help and encourage fathers to lead and love their families actively. Help fathers reflect Your character traits and be a light to others that do not know You and  godly example to their children. Amen.

 Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Justified By Grace, Through Faith; Not Justified by Works

Though it has been discussed for thousands of years, many still find themselves confused by understanding how we are to be reconciled to Yahweh in order to receive forgiveness of sin and salvation… to be with Him forever in heaven when we leave this world. It is not by good works, not by always doing and thinking what is right… for that is impossible for man. Yahweh offers us justification by grace. To receive grace is to receive something which is undeserved. He made a way that we could be forgiven of our sins by sending Yeshua to die for our sins. We must have faith in Jesus, accepting Him as Lord and Savior. Then we are to ask for forgiveness, and repent… that is to turn away from our way of doing things and turn toward Yah’s way. When we truly have faith that believes Yeshua is Lord, and disciple ourselves after Him, we will do good works naturally, consistent with obedience to Yah’s instructions.  Good works come naturally and are the evidence of our faith.

As a quick reference, justification means to be declared “not guilty”. In this context it refers to God declaring us not guilty of our sin due to faith.

Romans 4

Justification by Faith Evidenced in Old Testament

      1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

      7“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

      8“BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”

      9Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

      13For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

      16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17(as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

It is easy to say, “I believe in Yeshua” and then to assume we have a right relationship with Yahweh. It is easy to attend a church once a week and then continue living our lives unchanged by the message that the Bible actually teaches. Each of us should ask ourselves, “Do I truly desire to obey Yah’s instructions? Do I change my behavior and attitudes to disciple after Yeshua or do I fit in with the world? What is the objective evidence of my faith?”

These questions should not be approached defensively from a posture of disbelief that someone would ask you these things. You should not accept just a simple statement of “I accept Yeshua” or “I am a Christian” from even yourself. If there is no evidence of your changing your life to disciple after Yeshua and obey all of Yah’s instructions, as best you understand them, then you have reason to be concerned.

If I believe in gravity, I seek to understand all the places and ways in which it may hurt me. I do not simply ignore some places where I may fall off a roof or ladder and pay attention to others. I pay attention to all of them… because I believe in gravity. The same principle applies to our relationship with Yahweh through Yeshua. If you truly believe, you will wholeheartedly seek to understand and then apply all of His instructions in your life… not just the ones that feel comfortable because they are culturally accepted.  If Yeshua is the way to the Father, why would we not follow Him fully, including His example to obey all of the Father’s instructions?

I invite you to pray with me:

Father, thank You for justification by faith though grace! Thank You that I do not need to earn forgiveness, because I cannot. Please help me to have a thankful heart and help me to have a passion to follow the example of Yeshua in living out Your law even though I do not do so for justification or for salvation. I do so to follow the example of my Messiah because of my faith and because I love You. Amen.

 Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ


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