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Watch 2022 online sermons » Rabbi K.A. Schneider » Rabbi Schneider - The Relationship Between Faith and the Law

Rabbi Schneider - The Relationship Between Faith and the Law

Rabbi Schneider - The Relationship Between Faith and the Law
Rabbi Schneider - The Relationship Between Faith and the Law
TOPICS: Journeying Through the Book of Romans Season 3, Faith, Law

What is faith? And how can we be justified by faith? Listen, again. Paul said, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law". Faith, beloved, is truly taking a hold of God in trust and an expectation that He'll do what He said He's going to do. You see, when you trust somebody, when you have faith in somebody, your heart is open to that person. If you don't trust somebody, your heart is closed to that person. So when we have faith in God through Jesus, what happens is our heart is open to receive the ministry of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, and to enter into a relationship with God. So it's faith, an open heart that believes in God, trust Him in goodness and in love, it's faith that opens us to receive all that God is and all that He's done for us.

So, Paul, once again said, "We maintain that a man comes into a right relationship with God by faith, not based on his own goodness, not based on his own efforts, but based on confidence in who He is". Let's continue on. "We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law". And then he goes on to say, "is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also". And he just continues with this concept that the entire world only has one way to enter into right relationship with the Lord, and that is through faith. And then finally, the last verse in chapter 3, "Do we nullify the law through faith"? Because Paul just went on saying, you know, "No man will be justified by the works of the law. That all have fallen short of the glory of God".

So it sounds like we should just throw the law away, which unfortunately, many Christians have done over a hundreds of years. Because the Brit Chadasha (the New Testament) teaches that by the works of the law shall no man be justified, the church has understood that mean where the law is irrelevant now, there's no place for it. They kind of throw it away. But Paul says something very different than that. Listen carefully with me the last verse in chapter 3. Paul says, "Do we nullify the law through faith"? Get these next words. "May it never be"! In other words, just because we can't be justified through the law, it doesn't mean we throw it away. Paul said, "May it never be", he said, "on the contrary, we establish the law".

The law, beloved children of God, whether you're a Jew or a Gentile, is a self-revelation of Hashem. The law reveals to us who God is. The law reveals to us God's holiness, His compassion. The law shows us God's heart for the oppressed and the underdog. In the law, for example, the Lord told the children of Israel, when they harvest their fields, to leave the four corners of the field unharvested for the poor, and the aliens and the foreigner. See, God's law is a self-revelation of who He is. Just because we can't earn God's righteousness by keeping the law, it doesn't mean we throw the law away. This is why Jesus said, this is why Yeshua said, "Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, for I've not come to abolish, but to establish".

Now think about Jesus' words there in the book of Matthew that I just quoted and compare it to what Paul said. Yeshua said, "Do not think I've come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, for I've not come to abolish but to fulfill". Now listen to what Paul said here. "Do we nullify the law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish law". It's the same thing that Yeshua said. Beloved, through studying the Law, we gain a self-revelation as to who Hashem is, and it helps us to be able to discern good from evil, wrong from right, good from bad. And in that discernment, we are trained how to follow the Spirit in Messiah Jesus, not as those that are under the law, not as those that are trying to work out our salvation in terms of earning salvation through the Law, but understanding the Law gives us glimpses into God's character and nature.

And as we know God's character and nature, it gives us better discernment and clarity as we're being led by the Spirit. You see, the New Testament tells us that those that are mature have been trained by the Spirit to be able to discern good from evil. And Yeshua said, "Everybody that knew the Law, everybody that knows the Law," Jesus said, "that becomes a disciple of His, will be like the owner of a mansion that's able to bring forth out of his mansion treasures, old and new". So don't make the mistake of thinking that the Law has no relevance. Beloved, there's tremendous value. There are tremendous riches and nuggets of truth that we can discern and receive through knowing God's Law.

When we receive Messiah Jesus, listen again, "Do we therefore nullify the law through faith?", he said, "May it never be! On the contrary, we establish it". The other thing that's being said here is that when we receive the Spirit through Messiah Jesus by faith, we then receive the power to carry out the deeds of the law or the works of the law or the principles-is a better word-of the law, not as those that are trying to do it in the flesh, but those that are doing it from the inside out because Messiah Jesus is in us. You see, the highest call of the Law is to honor God, to love God, to fear God. And when the spirit of the Son lives in us, that becomes natural to us. And so we actually establish the Law through faith. Because when we receive the Son of God who perfectly kept the Law, we begin to do those ethical things that are in the Law as part of our character, because the character of Messiah Jesus is imparted into our soul. And we become transformed into His likeness.

So I hope all that makes sense. We need to appreciate, beloved, the revelation of the Hebrew Bible. Paul said, "Don't become arrogant against the Jewish people or what God has given them, because it's what God has given you through the Jewish people that is now supporting your faith, our faith, in Messiah Jesus". Well, let's go down now to the third verse of chapter 4. I'm not going to cover every verse because many of the verses simply are speaking about the same things that I'm explaining to you. But let's go down to verse 3 of chapter 4. "For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God". We're talking about faith again. "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness".

The whole point Paul is really stressing here is: salvation is by grace through faith. And this is the same thing even the church in the Middle Ages didn't really understand this. Because the church in the Middle Ages was telling people that you can go to heaven by doing certain things and even by buying what the church called that the time indulgences. What is that? It's the same thing that Paul was coming against here - was people trying to earn salvation through their own deeds. But Paul's saying, no, salvation has always been by coming in to a right relationship with God, by loving Him, trusting Him, believing in His Word as he spoke it to you. Whether it was through the Holy Spirit in Abraham's life, or whether it was by the Law in the life of Jewish people, it's believing God and loving Him that brings us into relationship with Him.

And he continues on about Abraham who came into relationship with God. Again, not because he kept the law, because there was not yet no law when God spoke to Abraham. And Abraham believed God it was accounted to him as righteousness. And listen to this now because this is important. Abraham now becomes righteous before God because he believed God when God spoke to him. And now we hear here that God spoke to Abraham, listen, before Abraham was circumcised. We know that circumcision is part of the covenant with the Jewish people. Abraham's descendants were circumcised. But Abraham, listen now, entered into a right standing with God before he was circumcised, because Abraham heard God's voice and obeyed it before he was circumcised. And thus he became righteous before God by stepping into obedience through faith before being circumcised.

And so we read here in verse 11, "he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of 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, and 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. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be the heir of the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith".

So what is happening here is Paul is helping us to understand that Abraham, in a sense... Abraham is the father of all believers, all that are truly righteous before Hashem, whether they're Jews or Gentiles, because Abraham entered into the relationship that he had with God while uncircumcised. And so in that respect, he's the father of all the uncircumcised that believe. And then After he believed, he was commanded to get circumcised and became the father of the Jewish people. And so he's the father of everyone that believes. Whether you're a Jew or a Gentile, he's the father of us all. And by the way, when we read the Brit Chadasha (the New Testament) we really read about three primary covenants.

This is an interesting sidestep here that you'll want to get. You might even want to write this down. The New Testament talks about three primary covenants. It talks about the Abrahamic covenant that we've been talking about today, and then it talks about the Mosaic Covenant, and then it talks about the new covenant. Once again, there are three primary covenants that the New Testament (the Brit Chadasha) highlights: the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, and the new covenant. What's the difference between them and how do they relate to each other? The Abrahamic covenant, beloved ones, is the foundational covenant and it was never eradicated or done away with because the Abrahamic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant was based on faith.

Remember, Abraham is not circumcised, he hears God's voice, he obeys God in the book of Genesis, and the Lord then says to Abraham, "Abraham, because you've done this thing, because you obeyed my voice and offered up Isaac, your only son, to me," he said, "I'm going to bless you. You're going to be the father of many nations", and now listen to this, Church, "and through your seed," God said to Abraham, "all the nations of the earth shall be blessed". And so the Abrahamic covenant was entered into by faith, and the promise made to Abraham was that through his seed... And the book of Galatians tells us that that seed was Jesus, because Jesus was a descendant of Abraham's lineage. "Through your seed Abraham, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed". Jesus is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant in the book of Galatians 3.

Then there's, secondly, the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant, the Bible tells us was a temporary covenant that God gave the Jewish people to keep them together as a nation to prepare the world for Messiah's return because it kept the Jewish people together as a nation so that Messiah could come through their lineage in a pure form. But it was based on, the Mosaic covenant, if you keep it perfectly, you'll be blessed. If you break it, you'll be cursed. We find that no one was able to keep it. And so the Mosaic covenant was temporary. It kept Israel in place until Yeshua came.

Now that Yeshua is here, we're no longer trying to earn our salvation. As the book of Deuteronomy taught, "If you do these things, I'll bless you. If you don't, I'll curse you". We're no longer trying to relate through God to obedience to the Mosaic covenant. But now, the Mosaic covenant has been replaced by or renewed by the new covenant in Messiah Yeshua, who is the final, everlasting, and what scripture calls the eternal covenant. Jesus lifted up the glass of wine at Passover. He said, "This is my blood shed for you and the covenant for forgiveness of sins". Beloved, what a fascinating, powerful word. Join me next time as we continue this study in the Word of God.
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