August 28, 2009

Justification- not by the works of Torah (don't get scared away by the title)

This is an email/article that we recieved yesterday. I thought it was great, the way that this man puts it all together. The Torah Defence Force is a Michael Rood newsletter/program. Click on the picture to get to the site.

Situational Training Report!

Shalom, TDF troops! Thank you once again for your time, determination, and participation in last month's Situational Training Exercise. In last month's STE, "Corporal Nathan Kneebow" was confronted by his long-time friend "Steve Stronghold" with the grenade from Galatians: "No one is justified by the law." Mr. Stronghold, aware of the Corporal's Torah-observant lifestyle, was intent on convincing Corporal Kneebow that keeping "the law" is unnecessary because it is not the means of our justification, implying that the Corporal was obeying "the law" to be justified.
Your objective was to provide the Corporal with a sound defense that would dodge the misinterpreted grenade of Galatians, "No one is justified by the law," as expressed and implied by Mr. Stronghold.
Colonel Klump's "STE" response:

Before we begin to "dismantle" Mr. Stronghold's argument, we must first define the terms and rationale that clearly separate the mindset and motivation of Mr. Stronghold from those of Corporal Kneebow. Mr. Stronghold declared that no one is justified (declared righteous) by keeping the law. On this point we agree. We are, in fact, declared righteous by the merit of Yeshua, who kept "the law" perfectly. It was Yeshua who was "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Let us remember that the Bible defines sin as "the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). By faith, we become members of the body of Messiah, and, as such, Messiah's righteousness has been imputed to all who believe. Thus, we are justified or declared righteous by Yeshua's deeds, not our own.

However, Mr. Stronghold's ultimate goal is that of salvation. He would define salvation as "going to heaven." Simply put, Mr. Stronghold believes justification by Yeshua's death on the cross is the minimum requirement to escape the judgment of hell and to enter heaven. Mr. Stronghold's faith stops at Yeshua's death and resurrection. Furthermore, Mr. Stronghold sees the cross of Yeshua as his "paid in full," one way ticket to heaven. This is in stark contrast to Corporal Kneebow's biblical approach to the matter.

The Corporal's goal is to become a citizen in the Kingdom of YHWH. Having been genuinely touched by the love of YHWH as displayed in the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, Corporal Kneebow embraced the cross to become a member of the body of Messiah. Now Corporal Kneebow, like Yeshua, seeks to demonstrate his love for YHWH by putting his old, selfish man to death and submitting to the Word of YHWH, living as an obedient "law"-abiding citizen of the Kingdom. Corporal Kneebow realizes that salvation is not the goal but the starting point of his faith and walk. If the head (Yeshua) kept the law perfectly, we should expect no less from the body! To be a good citizen of the Kingdom means to keep the laws of our King!

The Corporal agrees with Mr. Stronghold that our justification to enter the Kingdom is to be found in the merits of Yeshua. Corporal Kneebow believes that to be found "justified" before the eyes of YHWH, we must be "in" Messiah. To be in Messiah we must pick up our cross, crucify our rebellious flesh, and as did Yeshua, submit our lives wholly to the Word of YHWH! Therefore, the Corporal's motivation is not to get a "paid in full" ticket to heaven in order to escape hell. Rather, his motivation generates from already being a citizen of the Kingdom; therefore, he willingly submits himself to the unchanging "laws" of the Kingdom as they were received by Moses and taught by Yeshua.

We will address the scriptural motivation for obedience a little later on, but for now, let us turn our attention back to Mr. Stronghold's approach to the Corporal and explore his erroneous logic, which leads to a dead-end path of lawlessness!

The problems with Mr. Stronghold's approach:

1) The Corporal never claimed that his salvation or justification came through his obedience to the Torah.

2) Mr. Stronghold falsely assumes Corporal Kneebow is seeking salvation by obedience.

3) Mr. Stronghold does not understand the renewed covenant or the purpose of the Holy Spirit.

We see that Mr. Stronghold's approach to the Corporal is presumptuous and misinformed. This type of attack happens every day to those who live in willing submission to the Word of YHWH. Those who live in the flesh instead of the spirit cannot grasp the concept of inspired love resulting in obedience. Primarily concerned about their own salvation, they see obedience as an impossible means of justification. Clearly for Mr. Stronghold, justification leading to salvation is the final goal. Once this end has been achieved, there is nothing more to do. However, for Corporal Kneebow, justification through Messiah is just the beginning of a new life lived according to the will, Word, and covenant of YHWH!

Mr. Stronghold's dead-end path to lawlessness:

Mr. Stronghold's argument that salvation or justification by faith somehow removes the righteous revelation of the Torah is known as the heresy of "antinomianism."

The heresy of antinomianism (anti=against, nomos=law) teaches that "the law" has been done away with. However, the Scriptures define sin as the transgression or violation of the law.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (KJV)

Without the Torah defining sin, we would not know what is and what is not an offense to YHWH. Shaul (Paul) understood this very point when addressing the Romans.

Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Elohim forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (KJV)

To do away with the Torah is to do away with the very revelation of YHWH which distinguishes between sin and righteousness. If the law has been done away with, there is no sin. If there is no sin, there is no need for faith, righteousness, or Yeshua. No one can be judged, and nothing will be restored. Antinomianism allows sin to continue to reign, ultimately leading to death.

It is the law that makes us aware of sin. Without sin or the means to judge it, there would be no need for Yeshua; therefore, his life, death, and resurrection would all be in vain!
I do agree with Mr. Stronghold's assessment that "No one is justified by the law." The Scriptures are very clear on this point. I would encourage the Corporal to agree with Mr. Stronghold and show him the texts which affirm that obedience to the Torah is not, nor has it ever been, a means for justification. Rather, it declares our need for the Messiah.

Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of Elohim: for if righteousness come by the law, then Messiah is dead in vain. (KJV)

Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of Elohim, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (KJV)

Shaul taught in his letters that we are not justified by our ability to keep the Torah. He taught, rather, that we are justified by grace through faith.

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Yeshua Messiah, even we have believed in Yeshua Messiah, that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (KJV)

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.(KJV)

Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto Elohim. (KJV)

The High Priest also understood that justification did not come by his ability to keep the Torah, as Mr. Stronghold suggests. He too offered a sacrifice - not just for the people but for himself as well.

Leviticus 9:7-8 And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as YHWH commanded. 8Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. (KJV)

Hebrews 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. (KJV)

Yeshua, our High Priest, conquered the "sting of death," which is sin (1 Corinthians 15:56). Therefore, he alone is worthy to be our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, justifying through his blood all those who believe.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (KJV)

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (KJV)

Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Yeshua also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. (KJV)

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and YHWH has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (KJV)

Mr. Stronghold's assumption that the Corporal was obeying "the law" to be justified creates several problems. First, justification or being declared righteous is not a new concept derived and promoted only in the renewed covenant. Salvation has always been by faith in the provision of YHWH. In chapter eleven of Hebrews, the author lists those of old who heard their calling and responded by faith. Those listed lived long before the birth of Messiah or the writing of the Scriptures, yet we are assured that they too will be in the Kingdom, showing all who would come after them that justification does indeed come by faith!

Let us now address the erroneous concept that keeping "the law" is unnecessary, as implied by Mr. Stronghold. Earlier, I shared a few thoughts that the Corporal could point out to his friend Mr. Stronghold, all of which should cause Mr. Stronghold to retreat from his position that it is unnecessary to keep "the law."

That said, let us put on the whole armor of Elohim and give the Corporal the ammunition necessary to defend himself and give Mr. Stronghold the scriptural reasons for obeying the Torah.
The children of Israel received YHWH'S law corporately after they were redeemed, delivered, and saved from Egypt. While we may rightly say that Israel's faith in YHWH'S provision of the lamb saved them, it is clearly understood that the "saving work" was an act of "grace" on YHWH'S part. It was Elohim who redeemed and delivered Israel from the bondage of Egypt with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

Exodus 6:6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am YHWH, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments. (KJV)

YHWH went on to say:

Exodus 19:4-5 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself. 5Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine. (KJV)

The people responded:

Exodus 19:8 All that YHWH has spoken we will do. (KJV)

The renewed covenant affirms this blueprint.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. (KJV)

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of Elohim after the inward man. (KJV)

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify Elohim in your body, and in your spirit, which are Elohim's. (KJV)

Through studying and obeying the Torah, we receive divine revelation, insight, and understanding of our relationship with YHWH. The feast days and the care of the poor, the widows, and the orphans are but a few examples of the selfless instructions written in the Torah. However, to gain an understanding of the Almighty, these laws must not just remain written instructions; they must become living words brought to life by those who obey them from the heart.

Psalm 119:97 Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. (KJV)

Psalm 49:3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. (KJV)

Psalm 111:10 The fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth for ever. (KJV)

By obeying the laws of YHWH, we become a light to others. We are to be a light to the world. By our obedience to the Torah, we illuminate the very character of YHWH to the world.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (KJV)

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. (KJV)

Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (KJV)

Deuteronomy 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as YHWH my Elohim commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. (KJV)

Deuteronomy 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. (KJV)

In conclusion, Mr. Stronghold should clearly understand that both the Corporal's motivation and our own for obedience to the Torah is not for justification; rather, it is out of love for the one who redeemed, delivered, and saved us! As John said:

1 John 4:19 We love Him, because he first loved us. (KJV)

Until next month, Respect all, fear none, but ONE!
Colonel Ken Klump


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