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2021 online sermons » Rabbi K.A. Schneider » Rabbi Schneider - Are We Saved by Works or Faith?

Rabbi Schneider - Are We Saved by Works or Faith?


Rabbi Schneider - Are We Saved by Works or Faith?
Rabbi Schneider - Are We Saved by Works or Faith?
TOPICS: The Covenants of Scripture, Salvation

Now today we're in the midst of a series that I've been calling The Covenants of Scripture. I'm not gonna have time to go back and review today. This is now the fourth part in this series. In the previous episodes I've covered the foundations of the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant. In last week's broadcast, I talked about how the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant connected to each other, and I began to talk about the New Covenant. Now the New Covenant is the covenant that Jesus established in his own death, burial and resurrection. Right before Jesus went to the cross, he celebrated Passover with his disciples. When he celebrated Passover, beloved ones, he lifted up the cup of Passover wine filled with red wine. And the red of course was symbolic of his blood. As he lifted up that red wine at Passover, he said to his disciples, this is the cup of the new covenant I've established for you for the forgiveness of your sins. The New Covenant, beloved, satisfies both God's need to have justice, in other words, he has to punish sin, as well as his desire to show mercy.

Now I covered this on last week's show. Very quickly in review, the Bible says that the wages of sin are death. The Lord said in the Hebrew Bible in the Old Testament, the soul that sins, it shall die. We see this all the way back to the very beginning. From the very beginning when Adam and Eve sinned, they died. The Lord said to them, the day that you eat from the tree, you'll die. You see, when human beings sin against God, they bring themselves out of relationship with him; the relationship in connection to the Creator to eternal life gets severed. Sin separates our relationship to life. And once sin takes place and as a result separation ensues, the only thing that's left for the one that sins is to wither away and die. Because whatever is not connected to eternal life will eventually die; anything that is not held up by eternal life eventually gets old and disintegrates.

In other words, you look even at nature and creation and if you built a building, for example, a wood building, 300 years ago and went back to look at that building, unless it was maintained and maintained, it's gonna fall apart and, and deteriorate. The same thing is true with human beings. Unless we're in connection to God, to eternal life, the human body eventually fails. The soul dies separated from God and eternal separation ensues. And so in the New Covenant, when Jesus lifted up that wine, symbolic of his blood, saying this is the new covenant in my blood for the forgiveness of your sin, what he was referring to was the fact that he was gonna go and die in the place of you and I. The soul that sins, it shall die, but rather than you and I having to die, Jesus took our place. He died for you individually, specifically and personally. And when you receive him, you no longer have to die because he died in your place for you. Therefore, God's justice, his need to execute judgement against sin has been satisfied for you because Jesus died in your place.

There is no longer a reason for God to judge you for your sin because Jesus took your sin in his own body on the tree, dying in your place. The New Covenant in addition to satisfying God's need for justice to punish sin, it also satisfies, beloved one, his desire to show mercy for you. Because his justice is satisfied, because your and my sin has been atoned for in Jesus, now God could be merciful to us without compromising his justice. So these principles are foundational to understand the New Covenant. I want you to hear me when I say to you, the New Covenant was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. Jesus said, don't think I've come to abolish the law and the prophets. I've not come to abolish but to fulfill, Matthew, 5, verse 17-18, or to fill full.

So what I want to do now is I want to go to the Hebrew Bible. I want to look in the Book of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and I want to show you how the New Covenant which Jesus fulfilled was prophesied long ago, beloved, in the writings of the patriarchs. Let's go to begin with today to Jeremiah, chapter 31, verse 31-33. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God abides forever. Hear the words of God, Jeremiah, 31, beginning in verse 31: Behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. Now this is the Mosaic Covenant that we studied previously in the Scriptures here. This new covenant in Jesus is not the same as the Mosaic Covenant.

Let's continue on: My covenant, once again, referring back to the Mosaic Covenant, which they broke, although I was a husband to them, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant I will make with them, with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD. I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Now I want you to notice here a few things. First of all the Lord said here that the children of Israel broke this covenant. They broke the Mosaic Covenant. The Lord said, I was a husband to them but they were not able to be faithful to me. Secondly I want you to hear this, in the Mosaic Covenant the law was written on tablets of stone. In the New Covenant it's re-written in the human heart. Thirdly I want you to hear this, that the New Covenant, the Lord said here, is unlike the old Mosaic Covenant. Listen once again: not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, declares the LORD.

So several different factors; number one, the covenant goes from the outside tablets of stone to the inside. Number two, they were not able to keep the Mosaic Covenant, the Lord declares here. And thirdly, the Lord says that this new covenant that he's prophesying about, it's not gonna be like the Mosaic Covenant. Now those are key words for some. The New Covenant, the Lord reveals through Jeremiah, is not going to be like the Mosaic Covenant. The reason I'm wanting to establish this point is that as many in the church are being drawn into the Jewish roots of the faith, which is a tremendous God thing, we need to understand our faith in Jesus from a Jewish perspective. Jesus said to the woman of Samaria in John, 4:22, salvation is from the Jews. Paul, in chapter, in the 11th chapter of the Book of Romans, tells us how it's the writings that God gave the Jewish people that support our faith in Jesus today.

Very important and critical to understand the Hebrew or the Jewish roots of the Christian faith; but the problem is many believers, many Christians, when they start to learn the Jewish roots of their Christian faith, they get so romanced by it, they get so romanced by the Jewish roots that they get led astray, they get seduced, as Paul said, by the beauty of Judaism into a belief system that's no longer biblical, in fact is heretical and Paul spent much of the Book of Galatians coming against it. And this is the doctrine that I'm referring to. It's a doctrine that basically causes people to think that the way to follow Jesus is by keeping the law, by keeping the letter of the Torah, by keeping the Mosaic Law. Many in Paul's day thought it wasn't enough just to believe in Jesus, they thought they had to add to their faith in Jesus adherence by the letter to the Mosaic Law. Paul came against this and he said, did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or did you receive the Spirit of Jesus by simply believing in him? Paul said if you started out in the Spirit, why are you now wanting to add works in your flesh to this?

I'm gonna get into the Book of Galatians in this series. It's very critical for you that are lovers of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, it's very critical that you don't get seduced by these teachers that are out there that are teaching that Christians need to learn the letter of the Mosaic Law and obey the letter of it. Paul said, if you do that you're gonna be cursed, because if you begin to identify with the Mosaic Law, Paul said what's gonna happen to you is you're gonna sever yourself from Christ. Rather than just relying on him and for him to complete the good work that he established in you, instead you're gonna try to perfect your righteousness by the works of the law. And Paul said the result of that is you're gonna bring a curse upon yourself because by the works of the law, Paul said, shall no flesh be justified.

Let me tell you how this subtle deception takes place. There are people out there that call themselves Messianic teachers and what they're teaching is that Jesus was a Jew. Of course, he is a Jew; that Jesus kept the law, which he did. And then what they do is they go on from there and they say since Jesus kept the law and you've received Jesus, the way for you to follow him now, they teach, is by keeping the law. It seems to make sense but it's utter heresy. And yet many sincere Christians, once again, have got so romanced by their study of the Jewish roots of the faith without realizing that they've been brought into this deception. I'm gonna get into the Book of Galatians and I'm gonna show you how strongly Paul comes against this type of theology. The reason, beloved one, that I brought it up right now is because I was making a point to Jeremiah's word here that I just read, when Jeremiah said that the New Covenant that God has established with us in Jesus, he said, listen, it's not like the Mosaic Covenant, that covenant which you broke, declares the Lord.

Listen again, verse number 33 here: But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD. I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and in the 32nd verse he said, it's not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, declares the LORD. So we see once again rooted back in the prophets the prophesy of the New Covenant's coming. Jesus, once again, when he lifted that cup of wine at Passover he said, this is the Blood that Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke of when they were referring to the New Covenant.

Let's look at another Scripture here in the Book of Ezekiel, in the 36th chapter that speak to this same thing before we go on here to the Book of Galatians. Reading once again, Ezekiel, I'm going to 36, verse 25-27: Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and I'll put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes. What the Lord is saying here when he says I'm gonna take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh, if you think about a stone as very callous. A stone doesn't feel anything, right. But flesh, if you pinch flesh, you can feel it. It's very sensitive. So what the Lord was saying here was, beloved children of God, that he was gonna take out our hard hearts; that he's gonna put his Spirit within us and he's gonna give us a heart of flesh, meaning a heart that's sensitive to him. Once again, he's gone from the outside to the inside; going from tablets of stone to putting his Spirit and his law within our heart. And so thus we see the progression of the covenants from the Abrahamic to the Mosaic and to the New Covenant.

As we continue on here today in the Word of God, I want to bring your attention to the Book of Hebrews, chapter number 7. In the Book of Hebrews, chapter 7, we come to a letter now which was actually written to the Hebrew believers. That's why it's called the Book of Hebrews. And what we have revealed there in the 7th chapter, the 22nd verse is that this New Covenant is a superior, the author says, a better covenant. Jeremiah tells us in Jeremiah, chapter 3, that the days will come where we're gonna forget about the Ark of the Covenant because God is gonna be giving us something so much better. And this better thing, beloved one, that the Lord has given you and I is the person, listen, of Jesus himself. I want to conclude my study with you by going to the Book of Galatians today, chapter number 3. We're gonna work through the Book of Galatians today. I'm gonna put it all together for you. We're gonna look at what Paul has to say about the relationship between the Abrahamic, the Mosaic and the New Covenants.

Now I know that this is a bit doctrinal and it's a bit sophisticated, but it's for those of you that love God's Word. And I know that many of you are being stimulated by it. And it's really important to understand God's Word to the best of our ability. We don't all have to be college PhD's, but we do want to understand it to the best of our ability. And I'm trying to make it as simple for us as possible. So we're gonna go to Galatians, chapter 3. We're gonna go through this line by line and I'm gonna begin today in verse number 5. Hear the Word of God. Paul speaking: So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Why was Paul doing this? Why was Paul saying this? Why was he saying to these disciples in Galatians, why did he say to them, did you receive the Spirit and see the miracles happen by receiving the Spirit or was it done through the works of the law?

Listen to that again: So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law or by hearing with faith? The reason Paul is addressing this is 'cause there were many in this city that were adding, once again the Mosaic Law and the works of the Mosaic Law to their faith in Jesus. And they were, they were mixed in their theology and Paul was coming against it. He was saying, listen, you began in the Spirit, continue on in the Spirit. Don't get led into the deception of going back to the Mosaic Law as a way to become righteous before God.

We read in the Scripture, for example, in the Book of Hebrews that for those that have once been enlightened and have tasted of the goodness of God and the age to come, and then have gone backwards, Paul says in the Book of Hebrews, let them not expect anything but a terrifying expectation of judgement, because they severed themselves, Paul says here, to the grace of God. So some of us have heard this Scripture before; to those that have once been enlightened and have tasted the goodness of God and have tasted of the eternal nature of the age to come, and then have gone back, let them not expect anything from God except a fearful expectation of judgement, because they crucify again the grace of God that came to us through the cross of Jesus.

Now when we hear that today, church, in the modern, Western world, most of us, those of you that have heard that Scripture, you think of backsliding, someone that began to follow Jesus and then they turned back and they became a backslider. They went back to the bars, we think. They went back to smoking cigarettes. They went back to being promiscuous. They went back to doing drugs. We think of a backslider. But I want you to know, in the day that that was written in the Book of Hebrews, that warning about going back, Paul wasn't warning about people going back to bars, and cigarettes and all those things. Listen, he was warning people to not go back to relying on the law. He was warning them to not go back to put confidence in their own self-righteousness. He was telling them to continue to follow Jesus and to look in to being justified by his grace not through the works of the flesh.

So Paul was dealing with the same principle here in the works of, in the Book of Galatians because it had become a big problem in the church there. And many of you, beloved ones, that watch my program, you do it because you love the Jewish roots of your faith. This is an awesome thing. God is restoring the church now to this understanding that you have. But be careful against the doctrine that Paul was coming against in the Book of Galatians. It was the doctrine of what Paul and theologians call Judaizers. They were people that were coming to the saints and saying, it's not enough just to believe in Jesus, you've got to go back and keep the Mosaic Law. That's what Paul's addressing. Let's go to the next verse here. He's going now, he's referring to the Abrahamic Covenant. Once again, we're looking at the synchronicities of the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant.

So hear what Paul says in verse 6: Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. So notice, once again, this whole series has been on the relationship between the Mosaic, the, starting out with the Abrahamic; Abrahamic, Mosaic and New Covenant. And that's what Paul's doing here. He starts out in verse number 5 talking about the Mosaic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, correct. And then he goes to the next verse, verse 6, and he talks about the Abrahamic Covenant, and he's showing us how we relate to these covenants; that the Abrahamic Covenant that was based on faith, we relate to; that the Mosaic Covenant that was based on the law and works righteousness, we reject as a way to be right before God. We don't throw out the baby with the bath water because the Mosaic Covenant is a self-disclosure of God that's beautiful, it's holy. But what we reject is the Mosaic Covenant as a way, beloved, to be righteous before him.
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