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Cj – End Notes

End Notes

Galatians from a Jewish Perspective

1. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1985, page 587.

2. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages Xi-Xii.

3. New International Version Study Bible, general editor Kenneth Baker, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2011, pages 1970-1971.

4. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 46-48.

5. GotQuestions.org

6. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 1.

7. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 11-12.

8. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 123.

9. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 746.

10. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 16-17.

11. Galatians for the Practical Messianic, by J. K. McKee, Messianic Apologetics, a division of Outreach Israel Ministries, McKinney, Texas, 2004, page 31.

12. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, page 21.

13. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 7.

14. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 30-33.

15. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, page 24.

16. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 31.

No Other Gospel

17. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 36-37.

18. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 521.

19. Galatians for the Practical Messianic, by J. K. McKee, Messianic Apologetics, a division of Outreach Israel Ministries, McKinney, Texas, 2004, page 37.

20. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 16.

21. Strange Fire, by John MacArthur, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2013, page 222.

22. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga101.mp3

23. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 17.

The Personal Argument: An Independent Revelation

24. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, pages 60-61.

25. Ibid, pages 61-62.

26. Galatians for the Practical Messianic, by J. K. McKee, Messianic Apologetics, a division of Outreach Israel Ministries, McKinney, Texas, 2004, pages 41-42.

27. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 25.

28. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 47.

29. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 33.

30. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, pages 46-47.

31. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, 1998, pages 59-60.

32. The Messiah in the Temple, by Roger Liebi, Christlicher Medien-Vertrieb, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2012, pages 205-206.

33. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, 1998, page 60 paraphrased.

34. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, page 74.

35. Ibid, pages 79-80.

36. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga101.mp3

37. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 31.

38. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 526.

39. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, page 73.

40. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 54-55.

41. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 39.

42. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 263.

43. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 37.

44. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 52-57.

45. Ibid, page 64.

46. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, pages 91-94.

47. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 36-37

48. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 62.

49. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 50.

50. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 69-70.

51. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 527.

52. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, page 113.

53. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 51.

54. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, pages 114-118.

55. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado,1987, pages 10-13.

56. act11.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum

57. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, pages 117-123.

58. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 70-71.

59. Ibid, pages 72-73.

60. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 54-55.

61. Ibid, page 55.

62. Ibid, page 56.

63. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 79-80.

64. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga102.mp3

The Doctrinal Argument: The Failure of Legalism

65. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 61-63.

66. Ibid, page 64.

67. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, page 145.

68. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga103.mp3

69. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1985, page 827.

70. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga103.mp3

71. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 72.

72. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 131-134.

73. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga103.mp3

74. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga103.mp3

75. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 76.

76. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 150.

77. Ibid, pages 145-147.

78. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page ix.

79. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga103.mp3

80. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, page 153-154.

81. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 547.

82. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 79.

83. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 155-162.

84. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 99-100.

85. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 83.

86. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga103.mp3

87. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 99-100.

88. Ibid, pages 102-103.

89. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 86.

90. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1985, page 599.

91. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 87.

92. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga103.mp3

93. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 88-89.

94. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 109.

95. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 183-184.

96. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 554.

97. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 112.

98. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1985, page 600.

99. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 554-556.

100. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 112.

101. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 101.

102. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 91.

103. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 104-105.

104. Ibid, page 107.

105. Ibid, page 108.

106. The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, page119.

107. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 109.

108. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 122-123.

109. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 111-112.

110. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 98.

111. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 124.

112. First Corinthians, by John MacArthur, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, 1984, page 212.

113. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1985, page 524.

114. First Corinthians, by John MacArthur, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, 1984, pages 213.

115. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 99.

116. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 124.

117. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 119.

118. Ibid, page 220.

119. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1985, page 603.

120. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 559.

121. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, page 313.

122. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, page 224.

123. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, pages 315-316.

124. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 225-228.

The Practical Argument: The Effects of Liberty

125. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 135-136.

126. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 561-560.

127. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga105.mp3

128. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 138.

129. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga105.mp3

130. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 136-137.

131. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, pages 122-123.

132. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga105.mp3

133. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page

134. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 148-149.

135. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 146-147.

136. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 150-152.

137. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 151.

138. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, page 361.

139. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 153-155.

140. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 161-163.

141. First Corinthians, by John MacArthur, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, 1984, pages 331-336.

142. Ibid, pages 337-338.

143. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 160.

144. Jewish People of the First Century, by Shemuel Safrai, Fortress, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1976, pages 870 and 877.

145. Through Peasant Eyes, by Kenneth Bailey, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1980, pages 43-45.

146. The Parables of Jesus, by Joachim Jeremias, SCM Press, Ltd, NY, NY, 1954, page 203.

147. Notes on the Parables of Our Lord. By R. C. Trench, D. Appleton and Co, New York, NY, 1881, page 314.

148. Through Peasant Eyes, by Kenneth Bailey, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1980, pages 46-47.

149. The NIV Application Commentary: Judges/Ruth, by Lawson Younger, Jr, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2002, pages 393-395.

150. Poet and Peasant, by Kenneth Bailey, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1980, pgs 148-150.

151. Ibid, pages 153-154.

152. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 167-170.

153. The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, page 202.

154. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, pages 136-137.

155. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 173.

156. The Holy Epistle of Galatians, by D. Thomas Lancaster, The First Fruits of Zion, Marshfield, Missouri, 2011, pages 261-262.

157. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 180.

158. The Jewish Roots of Galatians, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, 1977, pages 391-392.

159. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 569-570.

160. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 181-182.

161. Ibid, page 182.

162. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 170.

163. Ibid, page 172.

164. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 185-186.

165. First Corinthians, by John MacArthur, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, 1984, pages 125-126.

166. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 188.

167. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 172-173.

168. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 189.

169. Ibid, pages 190-192.

170. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1985, page 610.

171. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 153.

172. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, pages 175-176.

173. Be Free: NT Commentary on Galatians, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook Publisher, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1975, page 153.

174. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 194.

175. Ibid, pages 196-197.

176. Ibid, pages 196-197.

177. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 178.

178. Ibid, page 178.

179. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, page 200.

180. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 178.

181. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1985, page 568.

182. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 179.

183. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.ga106.mp3

184. Wuest’s Word Studies: Galatians, by Kenneth Wuest, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1944, page 180.

185. Galatians, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, pages 211-212.

 

2020-02-23T13:25:56+00:00 0 Comments

Ck – Bibliography

Bibliography

Bailey, Kenneth. Poet and Peasant, and Through Peasants Eyes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976.

Baker, Kenneth, general editor. New International Version Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2011.

Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985.

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, 1998.

Fee, Gordon and Stuart, Douglas. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982.

Freeman, James. Manners and Customs of the Bible. Plainfield: Logos International, 1972.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold. Acts mp3

Jeremias, Joachim. The Parables of Jesus. New York: SCM Press, Ltd, 1954.

Liebi, Roger.The Messiah in the Temple, Dusseldorf: Christlicher Medien-Vertrieb, 2012.

MacArthur, John, Acts 1-12. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.

MacArthur, John. First Corinthians. Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1984.

MacArthur, John. Galatians. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1987.

MacArthur, John. Strange Fire. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013.

Safrai, Shemuel. Jewish People of the First Century, Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976.

Shulam, Joseph. The Jewish Roots of Galatians. Jerusalem: Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, 1977.

Stern, David, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Clarksville: Jewish NT Publications, 1992.

Trench, R. C. Notes on the Parables of Our Lord. New York: D. Appleton and Co, 1881.

Walvoord, John and Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the OT. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.

Wiersbe, Warren. Acts 1-12. Colorado Springs: Published by David Cook, 1987.

Wuest, Kenneth. Acts Through Ephesians, an Expanded Translation, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1958.

Younger, K. Lawson, Jr. Judges/Ruth: The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

 

2020-02-21T13:52:10+00:00 0 Comments

Ci – May I Never Boast, Except in the Cross of our Lord Yeshua 6: 14-18

May I Never Boast,
Except in the Cross of our Lord Yeshua
6: 14-18

DIG: How did the Judaizers and Paul view the cross differently? How had the world been crucified to Paul? Why did neither circumcision nor uncircumcision mean nothing? What matters? What principle did Paul want the churches that he had planted to follow? Who, in Paul’s mind, is the “true Isra’el of God?” How has that phrase been misrepresented today? How did Paul bear the mark of Yeshua on his body?

REFLECT: How does verse 14 thrill you? How does it challenge you? In which areas of your life are you knowing the shalom of living by the gospel? In which areas of your life are you forfeiting this peace by living for the world’s approval? If you had to sum up the message of the whole book of Galatians in a few words, what would you say?

Paul closes his letter with a subscription in his own hand and establishes a halachic ruling for his disciples by explaining the difference between the true Jewish believers, the true Isra’el of God, opposed to the false Jewish teachers, the Judaizers.

In contrast to the Judaizers who glorified in human achievement and self-effort as a means to salvation, Paul boasted in solely the cross of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. To the Judaizers the cross was an object of shame; for Paul it was the object of glory. They gloried in the flesh; he gloried in the Savior.

Through Him the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (6:14). The world of which Paul speaks here is the world he knew before he was saved, the world of Philippians 3:4-6, his Jewish ancestry, his Pharisaic traditions, his zeal to keep the 613 commandments of Moshe, in short, the world in which he had lived. To all this now he was dead. Crucified. He had been separated from it by the cross of the Lord Yeshua. It had no more appeal to him nor influence upon him.180

Then Paul gave the reason for glorying in the cross of Messiah. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything – but only accepting Yeshua Messiah as our Lord and Savior by faith alone, thus becoming a new creation (6:15). He was not dismissing being Jewish, nor was he saying that there is no such thing as being Jewish, nor did he mean that distinctions between Jews and Gentiles do not matter, nor did he imply that Isra’el is irrelevant now. But ADONAI does not show favorites when it comes to judging our souls. The only thing that matters is being a new creation. Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (Second Corinthians 5:17).

To be in Messiah is to be a new creation. This new creation is brought about by the Ruach ha-Kodesh, the Agent of rebirth (Titus 3:5) and the Giver of divine birth (John 3:3, 6-8). God’s new creation began at the moment of salvation (see the commentary on The Life of Christ, to see link click BwWhat God Does for Us at the Moment of Faith), and will one day be carried out on a universal scale (Revelation 21:4-5). The old life of slavery to sin and self have passed away (Second Corinthians 5:16; Romans 6:6-14; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). The new life of devotion to Messiah means that one has new attitudes and new actions (Second Corinthians 5:14-15; Romans 6:4; Ephesians 4:23 to 5:2).181

This ruling was supposed to be halachah for Paul’s congregations: Now as many as live by this rule (Greek: kanon, meaning principle) of faith in Messiah – shalom and mercy on the Gentile believers who understand the simple gospel of faith-plus-nothing and on the Jewish believers who believe likewise, even the true Isra’el of God (6:16). The principle here is the cross of Messiah and all that goes with it in the B’rit Chadashah, including, of course, the ministry of the Ruach ha-Kodesh which is so much in evidence in this last section of Galatians. Therefore, those who order their lives by the Ruach’s control, constitute the true Isra’el of God, those who are the spiritual as well as the physical descendants of Abraham (3:7), and are heirs of promise rather than legalism (Galatians 3:18). They are the real Jews, the true Isra’el of faith, like those referred to in Romans 2:28-29 and 9:6-7.182

Unfortunately, the phrase the Isra’el of God has been misrepresented by Replacement theology that the Church is the new Isra’el, which has replaced the Jews, the so-called “Old Isra’el,” and are therefore now no longer God’s people. But neither this verse nor any other part of the B’rit Chadashah teaches this false and antisemitic doctrine (see Ak The Hebrew Roots Movement: A Different Gospel).

In a final warning, Paul says: From now on let no one make trouble for me, for I bear on my body the permanent mark of Yeshua (6:17). The word mark is from the Greek word stigmata, which has many uses. Slaves in the Phrygian temples, which the Galatians were familiar, were attached for life to the service of the temple, were branded with the name of the deity. The name was the stigmata or mark. In Paul’s day there were four different groups that God put marks on their bodies: soldiers put the name of their generals as a mark of allegiance; slaves had marks of ownership; criminals had their crime stamped upon their skin; and worshipers had the mark of the deity they followed branded on their skin. Paul qualified in all four categories because we are told he was a soldier for the Lord, a slave of Messiah, for his gospel of faith-plus-nothing he was treated as a criminal, and he worshiped the Son of God, Yeshua Messiah.183

How and where did he get those marks? Whatever anyone else dares to boast about . . . I dare also. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Messiah? I am more so – I speak like I’m out of my mind – in labors much more, in prisons much more, in beatings more brutal, near death often. Five times from the Jewish leaders I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned (Second Corinthians 11:21b-25a). Paul was an old man before his time, partly because of the sufferings he endured at the hands of his enemies, the Judaizers. He asks that the situation in the Galatian churches not be repeated. The sufferings which he endured for the sake of the Lord Yeshua and the gospel of grace, should deter the Galatians from adding more sufferings to the ones he had already suffered. That is why he sought to save his beloved Galatians, and the Church of Messiah for that matter, from a spiritual catastrophe, the evil effects of works righteousness would bring on the cause of Messiah.184

In his closing benediction, Paul makes a final declaration of grace over legalism, faith over deeds, the internal over the external: The grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen (6:18).

In The Holy War, the English writer John Bunyan (1628-1688) provides a dramatic closing scene between Emmanuel (Messiah) and residents of the town of Mansoul (you and me). Emmanuel has helped beat the Diabolonians (Satan’s army), and now he stands in the town square telling them how to stay free from Satan’s clutches.

Emmanuel says, “I have loved you, Mansoul. I bought you for a price; a price not of corruptible things, as of silver and gold, but a price of blood, my own blood, which I spilled freely to make you mine, and to reconcile you to my father.

“And I stood by you in your backsliding, when you were unfaithful, though you did not know I was there. It was I who made your way dark and bitter. It was I who put Mr. Godly-Fear to work. It was I who stirred up Conscience and Understand and Will. It was I who made you seek me, and in finding me, find your own health and happiness.”

“Nothing can hurt you but sin; nothing can grieve me but sin; nothing can make you fall before your foes but sin; beware of sin, my Mansoul.”

“I have taught you to watch, to fight, to pay, and to make war against your foes; so not I command you to believe that my love is constant to you.”

“I have taught you to watch, to fight, to pray, and to make war against your foes; so now I command you to believe that my love is constant to you.”

“O my Mansoul, how I have set my heart, my love upon you!”

“Show me you love – and hold fast – until I take you to my father’s kingdom where there is no more sorrow, no grief, no pain . . . where you shall never be afraid again . . .”

As Emmanuel rides away in his chariot, Conscience, Understanding and Will discuss the future and how they will have to be alert to keep the Diabolonians at bay. Unless they depend completely on King Shaddai (the Father), Emmanuel (the Son), and the Lord High Secretary (the Ruach ha-Kodesh) they will fail and fall into enemy hands.

“Is this way better than the freedom you had before?” asks Understanding, referring back to the days before Emmanuel had come into their lives.

“The freedom we had before was like . . .” Will struggled for words, “like birds flying through broken windows in-and-out of a deserted house . . . flying aimlessly going nowhere.”

“Do you love him because you have to?” Understanding probing was gentle; their talk was to reiterate their faith, and in their talking they strengthened each other.

“I do not have to love him,” said Will. “I am free. He has always left me free to do as I please.”

“Then?”

“I love him because I want to.” Will said simply. “And I can never love him enough.”

This is essentially the message of Paul’s letter to the Galatian believers and to the believers of every age . . . the message that, because we have trusted in Him, Messiah has set us free. 185

 

2020-04-02T14:14:54+00:00 0 Comments

Ch – The Autograph: See the Large Letters I Am Writing with My Own Hand 6: 11-13

The Autograph: See the Large Letters
I Am Writing with My Own Hand
6: 11-13

DIG: Why did Paul write in inch high letters? What was the false motivation of the Judaizers? Why were the Judaizers trying to force the Galatian Gentiles to be circumcised? What were the Judaizers doing to prevent their own persecution from the Sanhedrin and the Jews in Jerusalem? Were they Torah observant themselves? Why did they want the Galatian Gentiles to undergo circumcision and try to observe the 613 commandments of Moshe?

REFLECT: Who do you need to address in capital letters so they can get the point about Yeshua Messiah? Can you present the difference between the way of divine accomplishment and the way of human achievement clearly to an unbeliever? When was the last time you did so? Is there someone in your life trying to force some form of legalism on you? How can this book of Galatians help you answer them? What and Who are you boasting in?

Paul closes his letter with a subscription in his own hand, in which he addresses the underlying motivations of the Judaizers in chiastic form.

Paul was in the habit of dictating his letters to others, but writing the concluding words in his own handwriting and his signature provided the evidence that he was indeed the author (Second Thessalonians 3:17; Second Thessalonians 3:17-18; First Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18). Tertius, for instance, was the secretary who wrote the letter to the Romans as Paul dictated to him (Romans 16:22). But Paul was so concerned that the Galatians understand the danger they were in that he took the pen away from his secretary and wrote: Notice the large letters – I am writing to you with my own hand (6:11).171

A word about the large letters in which Paul wrote. There were two styles of Greek writing, the literary uncial which consisted of inch-high letters formed singly and with no connection with other letters, and the cursive, using smaller letters in what could be called a running hand (without lifting the pen from the paper), joined together. In addition, there were four classes of penmanship in the style of the manuscripts in the First Century. First, there was the work of a good professional scribe. Second, there was the work of a good ordinary scribe. Third, there was the work of an educated man, but not a professional scribe, writing a careful copy of a running hand. And fourth, there was the running hand of common everyday writing. Paul had dictated his letters to Tertius, Sosthenes, Timothy and Silvanus. These were educated men, but not professional scribes. Therefore, their writing would be that of an educated amateur, written in cursive, that is, small letters joined together by a running hand. That means that Paul’s original manuscripts were in the cursive style of writing, and the part that he wrote in his own handwriting would be in inch-high letters.172

The next question is why he wrote in such large inch-high letters. Paul had contracted an oriental eye disease called ophthalmia, which not only gave him a repulsive appearance, but rendered him almost totally blind (to see link click Bp Until Messiah is Formed in You). This was Paul’s thorn in the flesh (Second Corinthians 12:7). It was therefore necessary for him to write in letters large enough so that with his darkened vision he could see what he was writing. The Ruach ha-Kodesh inspired him to add these closing words to give one more contrast between the Judaizers and the Ruach-filled believers. HE HAD SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO SAY AND HE DID NOT WANT THE GALATIANS TO MISS THE POINT, SO HE WROTE IN ALL CAPS. His willingness to write this entire closing paragraph (6:11-18) with his own hand would certainly appeal to the hearts of his readers.173

Having signaled the beginning of the letter’s end, Paul continued to condemn the Judaizers (see AgWho Were the Judaizers?) who were confusing his disciples by attempting to turn them away from Paul’s gospel of grace, to a man-made gospel, which is no gospel at all (1:7 NIV). These two approaches to salvation are the only two that mankind has ever known. ADONAI’s way is the way of grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). All others, no matter how seemingly different, are the futile attempt at salvation through sinful human deeds. It is as if, on the shelf of world religions, there were hundreds of attractive packages, with a great range of shapes, sizes, claims, and prices. But inside all of them is the same tasteless, nutritionless sawdust of deeds of righteousness. Standing alone, unattractive and repulsive to the unsaved, is the life-saving gospel, which alone contains real food.

God’s way is the way of divine accomplishment; all other ways rely on human achievement. Those who follow the religion of divine accomplishment say, “I cannot accomplish anything in my own power or goodness, and I throw myself on the mercy of YHVH, trusting in the sufficient sacrifice of His Son on my behalf.” Those who follow the way of human achievement, no matter what its packaging might be, say, “On my own merit and in my own power I can make myself acceptable to Ha’Shem and worthy of a place in heaven.”174

Verses 12-13 are in chiastic form (ABCCBA):

A Those wanting to look good outwardly [in the flesh] (6:12a). First, he points out the false motivation of the Judaizers. They were not concerned about pleasing God by inward righteousness, but about impressing other men by outward legalism. It was in regard to such demonstrations of religious pride that Yeshua gave repeated warnings. On one occasion He told a parable designed especially for some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, while holding others in contempt. He told of a Pharisee who stood up proudly in the Temple and thanked God for his own goodness and of a tax-collector who stood some distance away and was too ashamed of his sin to even look toward heaven, as in the customary praying posture for Jews at the time. Instead, he beat his chest and pleaded for mercy. The despised tax collector went down to his home declared righteous, Yeshua declared, whereas the highly respected Pharisee did not (Luke 18:9-14).175

B Are trying to force you to be circumcised (6:12b). To reinforce their own brand of legalism, the Judaizers also tried to force others in the Galatian churches to be circumcised as necessary for salvation. But, like the Pharisees, they would travel over land and sea to make one convert. And when they succeeded, they would make him twice as much a son of Gehenna as themselves (Matthew 23:15). No matter who says they are a believer, no one relies on the flesh and promotes any benefit apart from Yeshua. Messiah accomplished the perfect and complete work of salvation on the cross, and deeds of the flesh, no matter what they are, can add to what our Lord has done for us. Instead, every such flesh-motivated and flesh-oriented activity is an offense to Ha’Shem and brings His condemnation rather than His approval.176

C Only so they will not be persecuted for the cross of Messiah (6:12c). The Judaizers claimed to be believers and follow Messiah. But the Great Sanhedrin (see the commentary on The Life of Christ LgThe Great Sanhedrin), and the Jews in Jerusalem viewed them as part of the Church that preached salvation equals faith-plus-nothing. As such, the Judaizers would have been persecuted by their fellow Jews who had rejected Yeshua as the Messiah. In reality, the Judizers did not believe in grace, but instead, in deeds of the flesh as a means of salvation. Now, to keep from being persecuted by the Jews on the charge that they had embraced salvation in faith in the cross of Messiah, they were attempting to force circumcision, and finally all of the 613 commandments of Moshe upon the Gentiles in the churches in Galatia.

The Judaizers wanted to please their Jewish brothers who still clung to legalism and refused to have anything to do with the visible Church. To do this, they would have to show the anti-missionaries in Jerusalem that they were still obedient to the 613 commandments of Moshe and circumcision, which was the main issue at that time. The Galatian Gentiles had already succumbed to the Jewish festivals of days and months and seasons and years (4:10), neither out of joy in sharing what God has given the Jewish people, nor out of spiritual identification with them, but out of fear induced by Judaizers who had convinced them that unless they did so, Ha’Shem would not accept them. More legalism would be added as the opportunity presented itself.177

C For not even the circumcised perfectly keep the 613 commandments of Torah themselves (6:13a). The Judaizers not only attempted to impose circumcision on the Gentiles in order to placate their Jewish brothers outside the Church and win their confidence in spite of the fact that they were identified with a body of people who taught grace, but also to cover up their own failure to fulfill obedience to the 613 commandments of Moshe.

B Yet they want to have you circumcised (6:13b). The Judaizers were nothing more than legalistic Jews who claimed to follow Messiah. But they were in the churches in Galatia like wolves in sheep’s clothing (see the commentary on Jude ArThese People are Hidden Rocks at Your Love Feasts, Shepherds only Feeding Themselves, Clouds Without Rain). In Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian leaders, he predicted what would happen when he left churches that he had started: I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Even from among yourselves will arise men speaking perversions, to draw the disciples away after themselves (Acts 20:29-30). Therefore, those apostate Judaizers were not coming out of the closet and admitting that they were not really believers. They were deceitful. They were not taking off their sheep’s clothing, so to speak, and revealing that they were really savage wolves. No. Their plan was more sinister. They were “only” asking the Gentile Galatians to undergo full conversion: circumcision and to pledge obedience to the 613 commandments of Moshe to achieve a right standing before ADONAI. In other words, legalism. Their goal was ultimately the rejection of the gospel itself. In their act of forcing, if possible, circumcision upon the Gentiles, they could boast to their Jewish brothers in Jerusalem, and demonstrate how supposedly zealous they were for the Torah after all.178

A So that they may boast about your flesh (6:13c). Since the time when Cain offered his unacceptable offering to YHVH (see the commentary on Genesis BiCain and Abel), mankind has used religion as a cover for sin. As the Judaizers demonstrate, it is possible to be extremely active in a Messianic synagogue or church and yet be morally and spiritually corrupt. Nowhere is hypocrisy easier or more dangerous than in God’s work. And nowhere does it arouse His wrath more than where it is practiced in His name. Of the Torah-teachers and Pharisees who sat on the seat of Moses. Yeshua said: So whatever they tell you, do and observe. But don’t do what they do; for what they say, they do not do. They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and lay them on people’s shoulders; but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them (Matthew 23:2-3). The greatest burden the Torah-teachers and Pharisees put on people’s shoulders was the unbearable burden of salvation by human effort. Because of their hypocrisy, it was no great burden to them, but to the conscientious Jew it was unimaginably frustrating and hopeless. Every person is faced with the choice between boasting in what they have done in the flesh and boasting in what Yeshua Messiah has done for them on the cross (see Ci May I Never Boast, Except in the Cross of our Lord Yeshua).179

Dear Heavenly Father, How much we love You! How wonderful that You are our joy and we can boast in you! You are holy, One [six-winged Seraphim] called out to another, and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is ADONAI-Tzva’ot [Lord of heaven’s angelic armies]! The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). You are the One I can run to when I have a problem. ADONAI is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in Him I take refuge, my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:3). You are always with me to help me. For God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5c). You are Awesome and I love to worship and follow You with all my heart. In the holy name of Your son and the power of His resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T14:11:11+00:00 0 Comments

Cg – The One Who Sows to the Flesh, Will Reap Corruption 6: 7-10

The One Who Sows to the Flesh,
Will Reap Corruption
6: 7-10

DIG: Who ultimately deceived the Galatian believers? Why is it important to declare the whole purpose of God? Who is the supreme deceiver? Can believers be guilty of mocking God? How so? Why does God discipline His children? What does sowing to the flesh refer to? What does sowing to the Ruach refer to? Why does Paul need to remind us that our labor in the Lord is not in vain?

REFLECT: What kind of spiritual crop are you sowing? If we can only reproduce our own kind, how many believers have you won to Messiah? How can you know that you will reap a good crop? How can you sow to the Ruach this week? Who do you know that is sowing a harvest of corruption? Are you praying for them? How can you help them? Are you looking for opportunities to do good to others? Why? Why not? Are there any particular changes the Ruach is moving you to make?

The Galatians who had abandoned grace for legalism were warned that if they did not put themselves under the ministry of those teachers who lead them into grace, they would reap a harvest of corruption.

As he gives the Galatian believers some final spiritual words, Paul employs a well-known law of botany – that a given seed can only reproduce its own kind – to illustrate God’s parallel and equally unbreakable laws in the moral and spiritual realms: Do not be deceived – God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also shall reap (6:7a). It was as if the wayward Galatians were saying to themselves, “It’s not important which teachers we listen to, Paul and the pastors from the Galatian churches, or anti-missionaries from Jerusalem.” Thus, they had already deceived themselves, being led astray (3:1) by the Judaizers into thinking that obedience to the 613 commandments of Moshe, represented especially by circumcision, was necessary for a right standing before God (2:15-21, 3:2-3, 4:8-11).

Mocked (Greek: mukterizo) means to turn up the nose, to ridicule, to ignore, or to sneer. The word when used rhetorically, referred to the betrayal of covert ill-will and contempt by cynical gestures in spite of superficially kind words. It implies an outward profession of respect neutralized by an indirect expression of contempt. The thought which Paul wanted to press home to the misguided Galatians was that it was useless to think that they could outsmart ADONAI by reaping a harvest different from that which they had sown. Paul, therefore, reminded them that they could not outsmart God in doing so, for it would lead to disaster in their lives and discipline from the hand of Ha’Shem.163

The great danger of false teachers of any age, is not only in their evil teachings, but in their being taught God’s truth. A person who teaches false doctrine in the name of the Adversary, or simply on the basis of his or her own authority, seldom has much influence, especially in the Church. It has always been and will continue to be false teachers who claim to teach in the name of God who are the most destructive. But evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (Second Timothy 3:13). During the last days, Yeshua said, such deceptive teachers will multiply greatly in both numbers and influence. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen (Matthew 24:24). That is why it is so important to declare the whole purpose of God (Acts 20:27), not only for the building up of the Church, but also for protecting it against being weakened by false teachers. Believers who are ignorant of Scripture are extremely vulnerable to the schemes of the great dragon. The Word of God is not only our food, but our armor as well (Ephesians 6:10-17).

The supreme deceiver, of course, is the Adversary, who, whenever he speaks lies he is just being himself – for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Our Lord assures His children that the destroyer’s demise is certain, that the ancient serpent, called the devil and Satan, [will be] seized and bound for a thousand years in the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3). But in the meantime he is the great Adversary, whose main purpose is to deceive and destroy. In Galatians 6:7b-10, Paul drives home the point that even believers can become guilty of mocking God (see the commentary on Revelation, to see link click Bc The Church at Thyatira), and that being saved does not exempt them from the inescapable consequences of the basic principles of sowing and reaping. Discipline is not inconsistent with love. It is lack of discipline, in fact, that is inconsistent with love (see the commentary on Hebrews CzGod Disciplines His Children).164

False doctrine is a very serious business. To put a professed believer out of fellowship, to excommunicate him, would be to deliver him over to Satan for the destruction of his fleshly nature, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Yeshua (First Corinthians 5:5). Satan is the ruler of this world, and turning a believer to him, therefore, thrusts the misguided believer back into his own world, apart from the care and support of fellowship of the congregation from which he came. That person has forfeited his right to participation in the Church of Yeshua Messiah, which He intends to guard at all costs. The word deliver (Greek: paradidomi) is a very strong term indicating the judicial act of sentencing, or handing over for punishment. The sentence passed on a believer infecting others in the body with false doctrine is to be delivered over to Satan. Paul excommunicated Hymenaeus and Alexander because of their continued and unrepentant blasphemy. They were spreading a false gospel and Paul delivered them over to Satan to be disciplined and not blaspheme (First Timothy 1:20).165

Believers have only two fields in which they can sow, that of the flesh and that of the Ruach. The flesh refers to the believers’ fallen nature, which awaits the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23). Those who sow to the flesh pander to its evil desires instead of letting the Ruach subdue it. They submit to its passions instead of overcoming it.166

For the one who sows to (Greek: eis, meaning with a view to) the flesh will reap corruption from the flesh (6:7b). Sowing with a view to the fallen nature refers to the act of a person choosing those things which will satisfy the cravings of the totally deprived nature. In this context, these words refer to the Gentile Galatians who, in following the teachings of the Judaizers, catered to the desires of their fallen nature. All false doctrine is adjusted to appeal to the fallen nature of mankind, satisfying his instinct for worship, while at the same time allowing him to go on in his sin. The teachings of the Judaizers catered to the fallen natures of the Galatians in that they made no demand for the necessity of regeneration nor for faith in Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross that paid for sin. In addition, their teachings stressed legalism, a salvation-by-works religion, which glorifies mankind, not ADONAI. This could only lead, Paul says, to corruption in their lives.167

Having provided the scriptural principle supporting his argument, Paul now proceeds to apply it to the Galatians’ specific circumstances. But the one who sows to the Ruach will reap from the Ruach eternal life (6:8). On the other hand, those who choose their course of conduct with a view to fulfilling the wishes of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, are the believers who reap the blessings of eternal life (see the commentary on The Life of Christ MsThe Eternal Security of the Believer) which ADONAI has given. The believer who is preoccupied with the things of God, rather than the fleshly things of this world, will produce the fruit of the Ruach (5:22-23). To sow to the Ruach is the same as to walk by the Ruach (5:16), to be led by the Ruach (5:18), and to be filled with the Ruach (Ephesians 5:18). It is the same as living in Messiah and in His Word, and having His words live in us (John 8:31 and 15:7). It is the same as walking in Messiah (Colossians 2:6) and focusing one’s mind on the things above, not on things of this earth (Colossians 3:2). It is the same as presenting one’s body as a living sacrifice – holy, acceptable to God and not being conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2).168

For those who walk and sow to the Ruach, the fruit of patience (5:22) often seems among the most elusive (see the commentary on Hebrews CyWe Are Surrounded by a Great Cloud of Witnesses). Many believers become discouraged with spiritual sowing because the harvest is often long in coming. In the face of this reality the apostle told the Galatians, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we don’t give up” (6:9). Lose heart (Greek: is from enkakeo) and give up (Greek: is from eklou) both convey the idea of becoming exhausted and giving up. They are the opposite of being steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord – because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (First Corinthians 15:58).

Therefore, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good toward all (Proverbs 3:27). The exhortation is not merely to do good to others when the opportunity presents itself, but to look for opportunities to do good to others. The word do (Greek: ergazomai), which emphasizes the process of an action, carrying with this the ideas of continuity and repetition. It means to labor, to be active, to perform, with the idea of continued action. Good (Greek: agathos) has the definite article in front of it. In other words, Paul was speaking of a particular good, the good. It is the agathos goodness of moral and spiritual excellence that is a fruit of the Ruach (5:22), not simply a goodness limited to physical or temporal things. It is internal goodness produced by the Ruach ha-Kodesh in the hearts of obedient believers, which then finds expression in external goodness spoken by their mouths and carried out by their hands. It is also a good that is to be shown toward all, including unbelievers (First Peter 2:15). One of the best ways to silence the criticism of our faith in Yeshua is for us to do good to unbelievers. Loving concern will do more than any debate. The heart of every believer should be kindness (Titus 2:7-8).

As important as doing good to unbelievers is, however, it is especially to be demonstrated to those who belong to the household of faith (6:10). The first test of our love to God is our love for His other children, our brothers and sisters in Messiah (First John 3:14). If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother (First John 4:20-21).169 Such love only believers can give and receive, since it grows out of having the Ruach ha-Kodesh.

This passage then speaks clearly about our social responsibility, but it should be noted that it is addressed to individual believers. The church is not an agency for social work, although individual believers are charged to minister in this way as they are able and have opportunities. Repay no one evil for evil; give thought to what is good in the eyes of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in shalom with all people. Never take your own revenge, loved ones, but give room for God’s wrath – for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine; I will reply,” says ADONAI. Rather, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing so you will heap coals of fire upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Roman 12:17-21).170

What is so important about winning a race? Is it more than the feeling of pride/joy as you race over the finish line? What about the joy of entering heaven for eternal joy and peace? Isn’t that what should be our greatest joy? Or should we look forward to heaven and also have a deep desire to live our lives here so that we have a gift of thanks to give to our great Savior for all he did to suffer in taking our punishment for sin?

When we do a good deed, we must be careful that it is done with a humble heart to God’s glory. God does not see a man as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but ADONAI looks into the heart (First Samuel 16:7c). Even when someone does something very good, Ha’Shem still looks at the heart and rewards only when the person whose attitude is to honor God. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear. For the day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work—what sort it is (First Corinthians 3:12-14). Someone may do good deeds that make him look good, but God sees to heart to see who the first love is in each person’s heart. In the hearts of all ADONAI’s children, God rules on the throne. Many know about YHVH and delight in His love; but believing is so much more than head knowledge. Receiving/believing means accepting Jesus as Lord/Master of their life. But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12).  What a kind, gracious and loving master you always are! Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we drive out demons in Your name and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’”(Matthew 7:22).

Dear Heavenly Father, Praise You for Your loving, kind heart and that as a father he loves to bless/reward his children who serve him with godly attitudes. We look forward to serving you on earth with such a godly heart that when we get to heaven we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful with a little, so I’ll put you in charge of much. Enter into your master’s joy!” (Matthew 25:21).

Praise You for God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5c). We rejoice that You will never leave us for the gift of Your always abiding presence is Fantastic!

Praise and thank You for being such a wonderful and caring Father. Thank You that: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His mercy for those who fear Him, As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalms 103:11,12).

We want to love You back so we gladly give You control of all that touches our lives. We will not pull away from problems, but will lay them in Your lap thanking You for Your help and glad that You use our trials not to hurt us but to bless us and to bring You glory. These trials are so that the true metal of your faith (far more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire) may come to light in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua (First Peter 1:7). We love to serve You, doing good for Your glory and honor. In Your holy Son’s name and power of resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T14:05:04+00:00 0 Comments

Cf – Bear One Another’s Burdens, and in this way You Fulfill the Torah of Messiah 6: 1-6

Bear One Another’s Burdens, and in this way
You Fulfill the Torah of Messiah
6: 1-6

DIG: What is the reality of sin in our lives? What is the believing Gentile’s obligation to the Torah? What should we do when people sin? How should we restore them? What do we often do instead? What should we do when the sinner gets back on his or her feet? Why? What caution does Paul give us? How do we fulfill the Torah’s true meaning? Is the Torah of Moshe and the Torah of Messiah different, or the same? Explain in your own words. What is the reason that many believers do not bother to help their brothers and sisters who have been caught by sin? What is Paul’s remedy for that? What was Paul asking the wayward Gentile believers in Galatia to do?

REFLECT: When was the last time that sin caught you in a major way as a believer? How did you get to that point? What were the consequences of your actions? Who came alongside you to help restore you? How was it handled? When have you had to confront sin in a fellow believer? At that time were you mature enough in the Lord to handle it biblically? Did you uphold the Torah’s true meaning of loving your neighbor? Was the sinner responsive with fellowship restored, or did they resist with fellowship still broken with you and your congregation? Do you think you bear any responsibility if the sinner will not repent? Why? Why not? What opportunities has God given you to bear another’s burdens? How liberating is it to know that you will only answer for your own load, and not how you lived compared to others?

The Galatian believers were not lawless free agents who could live their lives any way they wanted (just like we are not lawless free agents today), but rather they were held to a standard of the Torah’s true meaning, which the Messiah upholds: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Sin is a reality in the life of every believer. If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us, John warns us. In fact, he goes on to say: If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us (First John 1:8 and 10). For we all stumble in many ways (James 3:2). If we were not subject to sin we would not need the armor of God in order to stand firm against the schemes of the devil and resist when the times are evil (Ephesians 6:11 and 13). Nor would we need to listen to the warning of James about being tempted and dragged away and enticed by our own desire or his admonition to put away all moral filth and excess of evil (James 1:14 and 21).155

Paul continues to work toward answering the question, “What is the believing Gentile’s obligation to the Torah?” This follows on the heels of 5:26 without a break in the thought. He said: Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught [by] a sin. The thought is that of someone running from sin, but sin being faster, overtakes the sinner and catches him. Without the Ruach, the legalists treated such sinners very harshly (see the commentary on The Life of Christ, to see link click Gq The Woman Caught in the Act of Adultery). But, in contrast to them, Paul declares: You who are directed by the Ruach (First Corinthians 2:14-3:4; Ephesians 4:13-14; Hebrews 5:12-14), restore (Greek: katartizete, a word used in secular Greek for setting broken bones and in the B’rit Chadashah for mending fishing nets) such a person in a spirit of gentleness (6:1a). So, the spiritual among the Galatians, namely, those who were still living their lives in dependence upon the Ruach, were encouraged to restore those Galatians who had abandoned that method for the one being taught by the Judaizers (see AgWho Were the Judaizers?).

Here, it is important to note that restoring someone who has been caught by a sin is a delicate process because the Torah also forbids shaming and embarrassing others. The Oral Law (see the commentary on Life of Christ EiThe Oral Law) sums it up in a few words, saying “He who shames his neighbor is as though he shed blood (Bava Metzia 58b). Hence, the commandment applies only to serious moral failings. The only example we have from Paul’s writings was that someone was having sex with his father’s wife (First Corinthians 5:1), but adultery, homosexuality and fornication are also clear violations of Torah’s standards, which are our blueprint for living today (see the commentary on Exodus Dh Moses and the Torah). That is the type of thing we are talking about here, not the nickel-and-dime sins of personality and personal shortcomings that everyone has all the time. If we were to rebuke one another for those types of things, it would never end. Everyone can see everyone’s faults. Paul’s admonition here does not call for pointing out our faults; it calls for bringing correction when some serious transgression surfaces.156

However, when restoring someone caught by a sin, it is the responsibility of the spiritual believer to help the sinner once he gets back on his feet. It is not enough to simply help him turn from sin and then leave him alone. It is immediately after the spiritual victory that the Adversary often makes his greatest counter-attack on God’s children. To be freed from sin is not always to be freed from its temptation. The spiritual believer who truly loves his brothers and sisters in Messiah and sincerely wants to restore them, will continue to spend time with them and make himself available for counsel and encouragement. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have in conquering sin and opposing Satan. Nothing helps one caught by sin more to carry his burden as much as prayer for him and with him.157

Then, Paul issued a warning, when he said: You who are directed by the Ruach, he meant those who were walking out the Torah by the leading of the Ruach ha-Kodesh (see Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh). He told them to look closely at yourself so you are not tempted also (6:1b) because no one is immune from being caught by sin (First Corinthians 10:12). This is a commandment directly from the Torah, “Never hate another Israelite. Be sure to correct your neighbor so that you will not be guilty of sinning along with him” (Leviticus 19:17 GWT).

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you fulfill the Torah’s true meaning, which the Messiah upholds (6:2 CJB). This phrase originates from Moshe’s grievance before God of carrying responsibility for the people alone. Why have You brought trouble on Your servant? Haven’t I found favor in Your eyes – that You laid the burden of all the people on me (Numbers 11:11)? ADONAI responds to Moshe’s complaint by declaring: I will take some of the Ruach that is on you and will place it on them. They will carry with you the burden of the people, so you will not be carrying it alone (Numbers 11:17). Here, the bearing of burdens is specifically associated with God’s sending His Ruach, whose presence is designated to enable the leaders to carry [the people] in your bosom just as the nurse carries an infant – to the land You promised to their fathers (Numbers 11:12).158

In other words, the Torah of Moshe and the Torah of the Messiah are the same. Instead of bringing a new Torah, Yeshua upholds the Torah’s true meaning. In teaching the deeper meaning of the Torah, He fulfilled it, that is, He filled it full (see the commentary on Exodus Du – Do Not Think That I Have Come to Abolish the Torah). He insisted that the Torah not be perverted by the traditions of men (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Fs Why Do Your Disciples Break the Tradition of the Elders?), that God’s original intent be preserved (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ij Is It Lawful for a Man to Divorce His Wife?), that the ruach take precedence over its letter (Matthew 5:21-48 12:1-15; Luke 10:25-37, 13:10-17; Second Corinthians 3:6), and that obedience to it implies both following Him (Matthew 19:21) and being guided by the Ruach ha-Kodesh (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:13). Paul also made these same points in Romans 3:31, 7:6, 12 and 14, 8:3, Second Corinthians 3:6, and Acts 21:20-24. Those who bear one another’s burdens, thereby loving their neighbors as themselves (5:14), are fulfilling the Torah’s true meaning, which Messiah upholds (5:13c). This is not a new Torah, or not a new command. On the contrary, it is an old command, which you have had from the beginning (First John 2:7).159

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is fooling himself (6:3). At first glance this statement seems somewhat out of place. But in light of the call for spiritual believers to restore sinning brothers and sisters in a spirit of gentleness (6:1a), the need for such a warning becomes clear.

One of the main reasons many believers do not bother to help their brothers and sisters who have been caught by sin is that they feel superior to them and wrongly consider themselves to be spiritually something, when in reality, they are really nothing. Like the Pharisees, their concern is not really for the true righteousness that ADONAI gives and that comes only through humility (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Db Blessed are the Poor in Spirit for Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven), but for their own self-righteousness, which has no part in the Kingdom of God. Their desire is not to help the sinner but to judge and condemn him. At best, they leave him to worry and suffer, thinking, if not saying, “I got myself into this mess, and I can get myself out.”

Pride can coexist with fake, superficial humility, but it cannot coexist with genuine love. You can compromise with a lie, but you can’t argue with the truth. And the truth is that pride is the ultimate sin, first on the list of things that ADONAI hates (Proverbs 6:16-17). The believer who thinks he is something when he is nothing needs help in facing his own sin before he can be qualified to help anyone else out of a sin. He first needs to take the beam out of [his] own eye (Matthew 7:5). If he refuses to see his own spiritual need, he is only fooling himself, and is useless in serving our Lord or in helping fellow believers.

As a result, every believer should examine their own actions. Our first responsibility is to examine our own lives, to be sure that our attitudes and life are right in the eyes of God before we attempt to give spiritual advice to others. Then, and only then, if you do something to boast about, at least the boasting will be based on what you have actually done and not merely on a judgment that you are better than someone else (6:4 CJB). ADONAI doesn’t grade on the curve, but by His own absolutes. It is what God has done in and through you on the basis of your faithfulness and obedience that really matters. After an honest examination of our own motives and actions, if there remains any room for boasting, it should be for boasting in the Lord (Second Corinthians 10:12-18).

Paul’s command for each one will carry their own load (6:5) seems contradictory to what he had just said about bearing one another’s burdens in verse 2. However, he uses a different word here. This load (Greek: phortion) refers to anything that is carried, and has no suggestion of difficulty. It was often used of the general obligations of life that people are responsible to bear on their own. For believers, load can refer to the things we have done in the body, whether good or bad (Second Corinthians 5:10; First Corinthians 3:12-15) for which we will give an account before the judgment seat of Messiah (see the commentary on Revelation FoThe Great White Throne Judgment). Therefore, every one of us is accountable to carry our own load, even the light burden which Messiah gives us (Matthew 11:30) until we finally see Him face to face (First Corinthians 13:12).160

Now let the one who receives instruction should fellowship with the one who teaches and should share all good things (6:6). Like verse 3, this verse at first glance does not seem to fit into what Paul is focusing on in this passage. The seeming obvious interruption, and the one that is most common, is that Paul is encouraging congregations to pay their pastors fairly. But although that principle is taught in other passages in the B’rit Chadashah (Luke 10:7; First Corinthians 9:7-14; Second Corinthians 11:7-12), it does not seem to be what Paul is teaching here. He has just been talking about restoring sinners, and in the next two files he talks about sowing and reaping in the flesh or by the Ruach.

Share is from the Greek word koinoneo, which is the basic idea of sharing equally. It is the verb form of the noun commonly translated fellowship. It seems that Paul is talking about mutuality, not one party serving or providing for the other, but both parties sharing together. The most common term used in the B’rit Chadashah for material things that are favorable or good is halos. But here good things translates the plural of the Greek word agathos, which is used in the B’rit Chadashah primarily for spiritual and moral excellence. Paul uses this word in describing the gospel itself, the good news of good things (Romans 10:15). The writer to the Hebrews uses it in the same way, of the good things that have now come of which Messiah appeared as Kohen Gadol (Hebrews 9:11), and of which the Torah was only a shadow (Hebrews 10:1).161

The good things spoken of are defined by the context. In 6:1-4, the Gentile Galatian believers were warned to be cautious in approaching the sinners who were enslaved by legalism (6:1b), lest they also be tempted by the false doctrine of the Judaizers. Therefore, the good things (6:6) refer to spiritual things, since they are compared to the evil things just spoken of (6:3-4). The Judaizers had started the whole mess by adding legalism to Paul’s salvation equals faith-plus-nothing gospel. As a result, the apostle encouraged the wayward believers to go back, take the first step and initiate fellowship with their former teachers. Then, at that point, they would be able to share with them the blessing of grace which their teachers were enjoying.162

Dear Heavenly Father, We love You! Thank You for caring so tenderly for Your children, As a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His Kingdom and glory (First Thessalonians 2:11c-12 NIV). It is wonderful to gaze into Your loving face and to meditate on You and on the eternal joy of our living with you forever in Your holy heaven; but while we are still living on this earth sometimes you call us to battle ungodly paths that the deceitful enemy tries to pass off as good.

It is so much nicer to sit on the sidelines and watch the battle than to have to participate, but we must remember that the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son (Hebrews 12:6 NIV). May you guide us to have such love for you that we gently correct with the goal of restoring our brother. Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught doing something wrong, you who are directed by the Ruach, restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness – looking closely at yourself so you are not tempted also (Galatians 6:1). In your holy Son’s name and power of His resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T13:56:06+00:00 0 Comments

Ce – The Fruit of the Ruach is Self-Control 5: 23b-26

The Fruit of the Ruach is Self-Control
5: 23b-26

DIG: How would you define self-control? Is it white-knuckle time? Why do we have a battle inside of us? How do we win that internal battle when our sin nature wants to do the wrong thing? Does discipline and self-control take all the fun out of life or really give you the freedom to enjoy life?

REFLECT: All of us fight this battle. God gave us needs and desires. But when have you gotten yourself into trouble because of lack of self-control? Well, the Lord had a remedy for that. Let the Ruach take control of your life. Surrender. To use the picture of your life being a car, many believers want Yeshua in the car. Speak into my life. Tell me when I need to slow down, tell me when I need to speed up. Tell me when I need to turn left, tell me when I need to turn right. I want you in the car with me, I just don’t want you driving the car. I’m going to listen to most of the suggestions you make, I’m going to listen. But if I really get the urge to go in a different direction, that’s where I’m going! Who has their hands on the steering wheel of your life?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

The last fruit of the Ruach is self-control (Greek: enkrateia). Enkrateia has reference to restraining passions and appetites. Discipline would be a synonym for self-control. But it’s not like we are clinching our fists with our knuckles turning white controlling ourselves as much as it is allowing the Ruach ha-Kodesh controlling us.

The sages link the lack of self-control to the turning to strange gods, “He who tears his clothes in anger or breaks his vessels in a rage, will in the end worship idols. For such is the way of the evil inclination: today it bids man, ‘Tear your clothes,’ and tomorrow it bids him, ‘Worship idols’ (Shabbat 105b).” As with meekness, however, this fruit does not apply to ADONAI, who obviously does not need to restrain Himself. For I am ADONAI. I do not change, He informs us (Malachi 3:6a). In His eternal being, our Lord Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Perfect holiness possesses perfect control. In His incarnation, however, Messiah was the epitome of self-control. He was never tempted or tricked into doing or saying anything that was not consistent with His Father’s will and His own divine nature. Again, like Yeshua, believers should make every effort, in [their] faith to add self-control (Second Peter 1:5-6).152

Enkrateia is used many times in the Bible. Paul uses this word in First Corinthians 9:25 for an athlete exercising self-control in all respects. He also used enkrateia in the leadership of the local church. Saying that an elder must be beyond criticism – the husband of one wife, clear-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable and able to teach (First Timothy 3:2). The spiritual discipline of self-control is the ability to do the right thing even when something inside of you wants to do the wrong thing. And make no mistake about it, our fallen nature wants to do the wrong thing. And we have to let the Ruach win that battle in us.

Now, some people think that that takes freedom away. That it takes the fun out of life when God holds us back from all these things. The fact is that the opposite is true. When we learn to live the life of discipline and self-control, that is when we really have freedom. In First Corinthians 7:5 Paul talked about self-control with regard to sexual things. Being able to control those desires so that Satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control. So Ha’Shem gives us boundaries in which we are to live our lives. God invented sex. But He put the boundary of marriage on it to protect us, and give us a righteous means expressing our sexual desires. Sex is like fire. Fire in your fireplace or your oven is a good thing. It can warm your house and cook your food. But fire in your living room or your kitchen can destroy your house and kill your family members. Therefore, spiritual self-control is just as necessary as physical boundaries. Real freedom comes with living within the protective boundaries of God’s Word.

Paul pointed out that the Torah has no commandments against such things (5:23b). The Torah finds nothing to condemn such things, and therefore no grounds for condemning those who live in the practice of them; the same idea as is more explicitly brought out in Romans 8:1-4, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua.” It was as if Paul was saying, “Who shall condemn any of God’s chosen ones whose life is characterized by the fruit of the Ruach ha-Kodesh?”

A tree is judged by its fruit (Matthew 12:33-37). To have the fruit of the Ruach is to be like Messiah. How does the Ruach produce these nine fruits in your life? Does He create them instantly? Will you wake up one day and suddenly be filled with these characteristics fully developed? No. Fruit always matures and ripens slowly. God develops the fruit of the Ruach in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you’re tempted to express the exact opposite quality. Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity.153

Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (5:24). This brings Paul’s point full circle, turning to address his Gentile disciples yet again with regard to their loyalty. Here, once more, he reiterates his warning to his disciples not to be persuaded by the counterfeit Judaizers. It is possible for the old nature to counterfeit some of the fruit of the Ruach (see the commentary on Jude As – They are Autumn Trees Without Fruit, Wild Waves of the Sea Foaming Up Their Shame, Wandering Stars), but the flesh can never produce the fruit of the Ruach. One difference is this: When the Ruach produces fruit, ADONAI gets the glory and the believer is not conscious of his spirituality; but when the flesh is at work, the person is inwardly proud of himself and is pleased when others compliment him. The work of the Ruach is to make us more like Messiah, for His glory, not for the praise of others.

The cultivation of the fruit is important. Paul warns us that there must be the right atmosphere before the fruit will grow. Just as fruit cannot grow in every climate, so the fruit of the Ruach cannot grow in every individual’s life. Fruit grows in a climate blessed with an abundance of the Ruach and the Word. If we live by the Ruach, let us also walk (halachah) by the Ruach (5:25). To walk by the Ruach means to keep step with the Ruach, not running ahead or lagging behind. This also involves the Word, prayer, worship, praise, and fellowship with the people of God. There is one simple key to knowing the fullness and power of the Ruach ha-Kodesh in your life; obeying the Lord. As you walk in obedience to the Word of God, the Ruach of God fills you and energizes your life.

Let us not become conceited – provoking one another, envying one another (5:26). It also means pulling out the weeds (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ev The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds) so that the seed of God’s Word can take root and bear fruit. The Judaizers were anxious for praise and vain-glory. In 6:13 Paul charges the Judaizers with boasting in the flesh, an attitude which closely parallels conceit. Unfortunately, their actions had caused divisions within the Galatian churches.

We must remember that this fruit is meant to be eaten, not to be admired or put on display. People around us are starving for love, joy, peace, and all the other graces of the Ruach. When they find them in our lives, they know that we have something they lack. We do not bear fruit for our own consumption; we bear fruit so that others might be fed and helped, and that Messiah might be glorified.154

Dear Heavenly Father, Praise you for being such an Awesome Father! We worship You for being Holy and wonderful. There is nothing that could be added to You to make any better. By walking in obedience to your Word and through the power with Your Ruach, we seek to produce godly fruit in our lives, out of love for You.

Sometimes we get so caught up with the glories of heaven that we forget that right now is our only chance to prepare a gift of thanks for You. We seek to live bearing fruit to Your honor so that when we stand before You we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” as the master said to his servant in the parable that you told. His owner said to him, “You have done well. You are a good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will put many things in your care. Come and share my joy” (Matthew 25:23).

May pleasing You be our greatest goal in life. Please help us to remember to make time to often read and meditate on Your Word, for fruit takes time to mature and giving You our time is so important. We know that when we get to heaven, through the sacrifice of Yeshua our Messiah, no one will ever wish they had spent more time in their business or on more vacations. Please remind us that Only one life to life – Only what’s done for Messiah will last. We love You and delight in serving You. In Yeshua’s holy name and power of resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T13:41:20+00:00 0 Comments

Cd – The Fruit of the Ruach is Gentleness 5: 23a

The Fruit of the Ruach is Gentleness
5: 23a

DIG: Why is the word gentleness difficult to define today? Does prautes mean meekness? Why? Why not? Does the Bible ever say that YHVH is gentle? Do the Scriptures picture Yeshua as being gentle? In what way? Why does gentleness run counter to our culture today? Can you be gentle, yet assertive? How? What are the two things that we need to remember about gentleness?

REFLECT: How are you doing with memorizing the fruit of the Ruach? The first three have one syllable, the second three have two syllables, and the last three have three syllables. When was the last time you responded like King David, Jeremiah, Stephen or Paul? Do you foster a spirit of gentleness in your household? Do you respond with gentleness at your place of work? Do you want shalom? Where does it start?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

Of all the fruit of the Ruach, gentleness (Geek: prautes) is the most difficult word to translate out of all of them because the meaning of it has changed so much over the years. Even in the context of Scripture it often means several things. For example, in Matthew Chapters 5, 11 and 21 prautes is used being submissive to God’s will in our lives, trusting and following Him. Then, there are other times, for example in James Chapter 1, prautes is used to describe a person who is teachable. But usually, when you read First Corinthians 4, Ephesians 4, Second Corinthians 10, Philippians 4 and here in Galatians 5, it means considerate, gentle, and compassionate.

But many people, because of the King James translation, associate this word with meekness, or humility. The problem with the word meekness, is that in the four hundred years since the King James Bible (published in 1611) was written, the meanings of words have changed. For example, Saint Paul’s Cathedral was destroyed in the great fire of London in 1666. The king of England commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild that great structure, and he spent the next thirty-five years of his life doing just that. In 1711 when he finished that work, Queen Ann came to tour the finished facility she said it looked “artificial” and “awful.” And Wren breathed a sigh of relief and thanked her for her kind words! Because in 1711 the word “artificial” meant artistic, and the word “awful” meant awe inspiring. Meek is the same way because today meekness means weakness. Meek people get run over. Meek people can’t make decisions or get anything done. So, it is a negative word today. A better translation of prautes today would be gentleness.

Of the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Ruach, this one and the one following do not apply to HaShem. The TaNaKh never refers to YHVH as being prautes, and in the B’rit Chadashah, only the Son is spoken of as being gentle during His incarnation. Although He was God while He lived on earth as the Son of Man, He was gentle [prautes] and humble in heart (Matthew 11:29, 21:5; Second Corinthians 10:1). And like our Lord, we are to actively pursue gentleness (First Timothy 6:11), and to wear it like a garment (Colossians 3:12).

So, what does the Bible mean when it says we are to be gentle? It is that humble and gentle attitude that exemplifies strength under control. Now that runs against the culture that we live in today. The words gentle and strength don’t seem like they belong in the same sentence. In 1977 Robert Ringer wrote a book entitled Looking Out for Number One, and it became the theme of our culture over the past forty years. And the book said that you need to look out for yourself and put yourself first because nobody else will. Therefore, Gentleness runs counter-cultural to that thought.

Gentleness doesn’t mean that you can’t be assertive, successful or a good leader. Gentleness is the attitude by which we do those things. It points to a person who is strong, but under control. That plays itself out in two ways. First, how we treat people around us. The Bible says that we are to treat them with gentleness. Then, secondly, in the way we respond to how people treat us. How do you react when someone mistreats you? We are supposed to be gentle in the way we treat people, but we are also to be gentle in the way we react to people.

We see four examples (although there are dozens of them) of how people in the Bible demonstrated a spirit of gentleness: How King David reacted to Shim’i (see the commentary on the Life of David Ds Shim’i Curses David); how Jeremiah reacted to the priests, the false prophets and all the people who had heard his prophecy against their evil ways (see the commentary on Jeremiah Cg Jeremiah Threatened With Death); how Stephen reacted while being stoned to death (see the commentary on Acts Ax The Stoning of Stephen); and how Paul responded to those who had deserted him (Second Timothy 4:16).

We live in a world that does express gentleness. The world says, “I don’t get mad. I get even.” The Bible says when we are filled with the Ruach, we are to have a spirit of gentleness. Therefore, we need to remember two things. First, we need to be careful about how we react. We live in a world that is violent. We live in a world that reacts before they think. As followers of Yeshua Messiah, we need to be careful about our actions, and our actions need to be gentle. Since the Ruach ha-Kodesh lives in you, our actions must reflect that spirit of gentleness. But not only that. Secondly, we must be gentle in our words. The common saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is not true. Cruel words can break our spirit. Thoughtless words can break our heart. Angry words can break a relationship. If we can be gentle in our words, then our actions will be gentle.

Paul, in writing to the church at Philippi said: Let your gentleness be known to all people . . . Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise – dwell on these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – put these things into practice, and the God of shalom will be with you (Philippians 4:5a and 8-9). If you want shalom to come to your house, your block, your city, or your country, it starts with you.

Dear Heavenly Father, Praise You for who You are! You the holy, powerful King of the universe, willingly was gentle, laying aside your power and holiness to die in our place bearing our punishment for sins – for Messiah, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed (First Corinthians 5:7c). He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities. The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). Help us to follow Your example of gentleness. In Your holy Son’s name and power of resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T13:36:24+00:00 0 Comments

Cc – The Fruit of the Ruach is Faithfulness 5: 22g

The Fruit of the Ruach is Faithfulness
5: 22g

DIG: How many of the fruit of the Ruach should we have? What does the third grouping of fruit point to? What kind of a culture do we live in? What does ADONAI expect of us? What are the four ways that we can be faithful?

REFLECT: How, as believers, are we supposed to act? As you examine your life, do you really think you have been honest with yourself? Do you speak the truth in love and grace? Do you keep your word? If you were on trial for being a believer, would there be enough evidence to convict? Can God trust you? Semper fi?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stand in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply show us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

When we get to the fruit of the Ruach in 5:22 and 23, the first grouping of three, love, joy, and peace are God-ward, everything flows from that, and are all single syllable words; the second grouping of three, patience, kindness, and goodness are man-ward, how we treat each other, and are all two syllable words; and the third grouping of three, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are in-ward, it’s how we become what ADONAI wants us to be, and are all three syllable words.

Faithfulness (Greek: pistis, meaning faith, trust, belief) is the manifestation of the fruit of the Ruach that pertains to reliability, loyalty, integrity and trustworthiness. Jeremiah declared that mercies of ADONAI will not be consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). Because Yeshua was faithful, He emptied Himself, taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man. He humbled Himself – becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. And because of the Son’s faithfulness, the Father highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:7-9). And just as He was faithful when He came to earth the first time, He will be faithful to come again in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven (Acts 1:11c). In his great vision on Patmos, John saw Messiah seated on a white horse, and the One riding on it is called Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). Be faithful until death, the Lord tells He followers, and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:11).

There are many in the Bible who are called faithful. Several would not be a surprise to you: men like Moshe, Samuel, Abraham, Dani’el, Paul, Timothy and Peter. But there are some people you probably never heard of, like Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), Lydia (Acts 16:11-15), and Onesimus (Colossians 4:9). These are probably not common names, yet the Bible says they were faithful. They were not famous, but they were loyal to the Lord. And ADONAI expects us to be faithful also. In writing to the church at Corinth, Paul writes: This, then, is how you ought to regard us (believers): as servants of Messiah and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (First Corinthians 4:1-2). God is faithful and He expects us to be faithful. What does that mean?

We are expected to be men and women of integrity. We live in a culture with little to no integrity. Think about this for a moment. We live in a culture that actually celebrates the lack of integrity. If a person can cut corners, or do less, in business, in sports, in school, and get away with it, our culture applauds that. But as believers, we are expected to be reliable, loyal and trustworthy to ADONAI. There are four ways that we can be faithful.

First, be honest with yourself. Many times when we compare ourselves with the society around us, it makes us feel better about ourselves by saying, “Well, I’m doing a better job than most people. My morals are a little higher, and my intentions are a little bit better.” So we justify our sin by lying to ourselves, saying, “I’m better than most people. It really doesn’t matter. My behavior is acceptable with God.” Integrity and faithfulness begins when we are honest with ourselves. The most dangerous lies that we tell are the lies that we tell to ourselves. When we convince ourselves are our sin is acceptable because we are better than most people. But God sees it differently. David wrote: ADONAI, You search me and know me. Whenever I sit down or stand up, You know it. You discern my thinking from afar. You observe my traveling and my resting and You are familiar with all my ways . . . Search me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me, and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there be any offensive way within me, and lead me in the way of everlasting (Psalm 139:1-3 and 23-24). Faithfulness begins with being honest with yourself.

Secondly, learn to speak the truth. We live in a culture that does a lot of things with the truth other than speak it. We live in a culture that spins the truth, alters the truth, exaggerates the truth, and shades the truth. People take a little bit of the truth and dress it up to put themselves in the best light. They make themselves feel good because it contains an element of the truth, but it’s not the whole truth. So if we are going to be men and women of integrity, we are not only going to be honest with ourselves, we are going to be honest with others also. Where do you find truth? You find truth in God’s Word, Yeshua said: I am the way the truth and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). But we must speak the truth with love and grace. There are people who are all about love and grace. They just love everybody and think that people should do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25b), or do whatever makes them feel good. They speak with a lot of love and grace, but they don’t speak the truth because that might offend someone. There are other people who speak with truth, but they don’t speak with much love or grace. They would say to someone with an arrogant tone, “If you don’t repent and accept Messiah, you’re going to go to hell.” Their attitude says, “You’re going to hell and you deserve it.” They speak the truth with a gun in their hand. We need to speak the truth in love and grace.

Thirdly, keep your word. Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No” (Matthew 5:37). When you agree to something do you keep your word? Is your word reliable? Can people trust your word? One of the reasons George Washington became president was because of the trustworthiness of his word. There were others at that time who were better educated and were smarter than he was. But nobody had a reputation for keeping their word more than he did. When they needed a commander-in-chief of the continental army, they chose him; when they needed the first president of the United States, it was George Washington. There was a young woman applying for a job, and the person interviewing her said, “If I hire you for this job will you be honest and trustworthy?” And she replied, “Whether you give me this job or not, I am honest and trustworthy.” She was a woman of integrity. Trustworthiness. Faithfulness. Keep your word.

Lastly, be who you are. Now, by that, I don’t mean that whatever rebellious lifestyle you have chosen is just fine, and you need to be who you are. What I mean is this. You are a believer in Yeshua Messiah. At some point in your life, you made a decision to follow Him. No one forced you to do that and now you are a child of God. The Ruach ha-Kodesh lives in you. So act like it. Be who you are. Stop living life with one foot in the world and the other foot in heaven. You cannot live like the world lives (First John 2:15-17). You can’t swim in the toilet and come up smelling like a rose. For some people their “religion” is determined by time and place. If it’s the right time and they’re in the right place they act “religious.” They put on their church clothes, they put on their church mask, they sing the church songs, they raise their hand when everybody else raises their hands, but when it is another time and another place they act like the world. Be who you are. Live your life as a believer every moment of every day no matter where you are or who you are with. Be who you are.

The Bible tells us that ADONAI is faithful to us. Sometimes people ask, “Can I trust God to forgive me or handle my problems?” Let me tell you a bigger question than that, “Can God trust you?” The Bible says that from everyone given much, much will be required; and from the one for whom more is provided, all the more they will ask of him (Luke 12:48b). Can God trust you?

On October 23, 1983 on a Sunday morning in Beruit, Lebanon. There was a multinational peacekeeping force that had been place there by the United Nations that was made up primarily of some soldiers from France and America. Early that Sunday morning before we knew anything about suicide bombers, before 9-11 had happened, two suicide bombers drove two different trucks with the equivalent of 18,000 pounds of explosives into the barracks that held those soldiers. Over 300 people were instantly killed that morning; 241 of them were Americans, 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and 3 army soldiers. It was the largest peacetime explosion in the history of mankind. And only 3 Marines survived the blast. One of them was a lance-corporal named Jeff Nashton.

He was badly injured. His legs were broken, his lungs were collapsed, his skull was fractured, his jaw was broken and had to be wired shut, and he was blinded. He was flown from Beruit to Germany, to an American hospital there where he could receive the best treatment possible. While he was in the hospital, the commandant of the Marine Corps, a man named Paul Kelley, went to Germany to visit him. He was the highest ranking official in the Marine Corps. He was a four-star general. He served on the president’s joint-chiefs-of-staff.

When the nurses and doctors told Jeff who was standing beside his bed, but because he was blind, he didn’t believe who it was. Jeff shook his head from side-to-side as if to say, “No, the commandant of the Marine Corps wouldn’t come to visit a lowly lance-corporal.” So General Kelley took Jeff’s hand and put it on his shoulder so that he could feel the four stars. Then as best he could with the condition that he was in, he struggled to salute his commanding officer. General Kelley took a purple heart and pinned it on Jeff’s bandages and said, “On behalf of the president of the United States, I present to you this purple heart. The corporal couldn’t talk because his jaw was wired shut, but he motioned that he wanted to write something down. A nurse guided Jeff’s pen-held-hand to a note pad that she held. He wrote two words.

Semper fi (always faithful)

That’s a great motto for the Marine Corps, but it’s even a better motto for believers.

Lord, help me to live my life as being always faithful to You, so that one day when I stand before You, I will hear the words: Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into your Master’s joy! (Matthew 25:23).

Dear Great and Faithful Father, How Awesome You are! Your chesed love is both a deep loyal love based on faithfulness in a relationship. We can totally count on Your chesed love in our relationship with You. We have been let down in other relationships – but we can always trust Your care, mercy and love for You are always faithful! How rich is the meaning of your chesed love, three concepts always interacting – strength, steadfastness, and love? Like three cords of love that come together to richly express a strong and loyal commitment to your covenant family; not just an obligation but also full of generosity, not only loyalty, but also merciful.  Praise you for this wonderful, strong faithful chesed love. We desire to always be faithful to You. In the holy name of Your Son and the power of His resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T13:32:20+00:00 0 Comments

Cb – The Fruit of the Ruach is Goodness 5: 22f

The Fruit of the Ruach is Goodness
5: 22f

DIG: What do we mean when we tell our children to “Be good?” Is being “good” enough to get you into heaven? Why? Why not? How is God good? What did ADONAI tell Micah? How does the Bible define goodness? How was the Pharisee doing the right thing, in the wrong way for the wrong reason?

REFLECT: How can you show generosity towards others this week? How are you like God when you show goodness towards others? How can you practice justice this week? How can you love mercy this week? How can you make sure you are doing the right thing in the right way, for the right reason? How can you walk more humbly with your God? What is the only way we can consider ourselves to be good?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

Goodness (Greek: agathosune, Hebrew: tov) has to do with moral and spiritual excellence that is known by its sweetness and active kindness. In fact, kindness and goodness are very similar. And another synonym for those two words would be compassion. The word good or goodness is found about 600 times in the Bible – about 350 times in the TaNaKh and about 250 in the B’rit Chadashah. And you don’t have to go very far in the Bible to see this word used. God saw that the light was good (Genesis 1:4). And every time God created something in Genesis, He saw that it was good. In the second chapter of Genesis is the first time we see the negative attached to it: It is not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). We use the word good all the time.

We tell our children when we are going to the store, “Be good!” Do you know what that means? It really means, “Don’t burn the house down or kill each other while I’m gone.” They really don’t have to do anything, do they? You don’t expect them to clean the house, or wash the car. If they just don’t do any damage then they have fulfilled your expectation to “Be good.” But that’s not what the Bible means when it says to “Be good.” The Bible says that the fruit of the Ruach is goodness. What does that mean?

How is God good? You would say, “God has given me salvation,” “God has forgiven my sins,” “God has given me a wonderful family,” “God has given me life today.” Everything you said about the goodness of God has something to do with what God gives to us. Goodness is tied to the idea of generosity. On the one hand, God is good by virtue of who He is, yes. ADONAI is good to all. He has compassion on all His creatures (Psalm 145:9), do good, ADONAI, to the good, and to the upright in their hearts (Psalm 125:4). But that is not true of us. For us, goodness is not merely an internal virtue, but something we do. And one of the ways we express that is through generosity. Thus, we are like God when we are generous.

How does the Bible define goodness? In the prophets, Micah is asking himself,With what shall I come before ADONAI? With what shall I bow myself before God on high? Shall I present Him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves? Will ADONAI be pleased with a thousand rams, with hordes of rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my belly for the sin of my soul” (Micah 6:6-7)?

Then God answers Micah by saying, “You want to know what goodness is? Let Me tell you.” I have told you, O humanity, what is good, and what I am seeking from you: Only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

We need to practice justice: We need to do what is right. We live in a godless society where it seems that everyone is doing what seems right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25b). Right is right even if nobody is doing it. Noah built his ark in the midst of a godless society (see the commentary on Genesis Ca The Sons of God Married the Daughters of Men). A world of injustice and evil. Satan is still the ruler of this world. But wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it. Goodness is when we do what is right, like Noah.

We are not only to do what is right, but we are to do it in the right way and for the right reason. We are to love mercy (Hebrew: chesed). Used some 248 times in the TaNaKh, the Hebrew word chesed has no English equivalent. Being an expression of relationship, the term means faithfulness, kindness, goodness, mercy, love and compassion, but primarily loyalty to a covenant. YHVH is the One who models chesed. It is a characteristic of Ha’Shem rather than human beings; it is rooted in the divine nature. Chesed precedes the covenant (b’rit), which provides additional assurance that YHVH’s promise will not fail. While the righteous may call for help based on a relationship with El, there can also be an appeal for help based not on any human merit, but rather on the faithfulness of ADONAI to help the undeserving to bring forgiveness and restoration. Again, God models “doing chesed” for us. The chesed of the LORD that is experienced and known by His children comes to define what human chesed can be, ought to be, and sometimes actually is.149

In Messiah’s day, there was a pharisee who went up to the Temple to pray. Obviously, praying is a good thing. It is essential that we pray. The problem, however, was not that he was praying, it was how he was praying. Standing by himself, he prayed out loud: God, I thank you that I am not like other people (Luke 18:11a). He wasn’t in contact with God at all but merely boasted and justified himself. The Pharisee’s reasons for standing by himself are easily understood. He considered himself righteous, and indeed, not like other people, as we see from his description of a tax collector standing far away from him.

The Jewish practice is to pray out loud. This adds high definition to the scene. In essence, the Pharisee is therefore preaching to “the less fortunate unwashed” around him. It’s as if he were thinking to himself, “They have little chance to get a good look at a truly righteous man like myself, so I will graciously offer them a few words of judgment along with some instruction in righteousness.” But his prayer reveals more of himself than he probably intended. Prayer in Jewish piety primarily involves offering praise and thanks to ADONAI for all He has done, and petitions for the worshiper’s needs. This Pharisee does neither. He brags about his own self-righteousness and has no requests. Thus, his “prayer” degenerates into mere self-aggrandizement. As he proceeds it goes from bad to worse.150

For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector. The Pharisees usually displayed a self-conscious pride and superiority toward virtually everyone else. They were offensively contemptible, outspoken, lacking decency and charity, but always with much pious self-assertion. Here, his words were selected because he felt they specifically applied to the tax collector, who is already spotted standing at some distance away from the other worshipers. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. And I pay tithes on my entire income. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven (Luke 18:11-13a CJB). The image of the tax collector in the mind of the Pharisee is in sharp contrast to the reality of the broken, humble man standing some distance away from the assembled worshipers. He does not stand aloof, but at a distance because he doesn’t feel worthy to stand in the midst of God’s people.

But he beat upon his chest. And said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13b). Grace is getting what you don’t deserve (forgiveness) and mercy is not getting what you do deserve (punishment). The tax collector is not offering a generalized prayer for God’s mercy. He specifically longs for the benefits of atonement, or a substitute. Those coming to pray at the time of the evening sacrifice would first see the slaughtering and cutting up of the sacrificial lamb. Then they would notice the priest going into the Holy Place to burn incense.

Both of these were acts that the Israelite was not merely an onlooker, for they were performed in the name of the people (of which the priest was a representative) in order to affirm daily Isra’el’s relationship to ADONAI. After the incense had been burned, the priest announced the blessing with outstretched hands and put the name of YHVH upon the people. It was for the reception of the blessing that the people “bowed themselves” to the ground on hearing the Name. This was followed, in the awareness that God would graciously accept the gift, by the bringing of the sacrificial lamb to the bronze altar.

You can almost smell the pungent incense, hear the sounds of the liturgy, the loud clash of the cymbals, the blast of the shofars, the reading of the Psalms, the singing of the Levitical choir on the steps of the Nicanor Gate, see the great cloud of dense smoke rising from the burnt offering on the bronze altar, and the final prostration of the people. The tax collector is there. He stood at a distance, anxious not to be seen, sensing his unworthiness to stand with the other worshipers. In brokenness he longs to be a part of it all. He desperately wants to stand with “the righteous.” In deep remorse he beats on his chest and cries out in repentance and hope: Oh God! Let it be for me! Make a substitute for me, a sinner! There in the Temple this humble man, acutely aware of his own sin and unworthiness with no merit of his own, longed that the sacrificial lamb on the bronze altar might apply to him. As a result, God had mercy upon him and forgave him.151 And like ADONAI, we are to love mercy.

And finally, ADONAI told Micah to walk humbly with your God. He didn’t merely say walk with God, he said walk humbly with your God. In the Bible humility stands in opposition to pride like that of the Pharisee. We live in a proud arrogant society. People look down on other people. People are narcissistic, thinking that the world revolves around them. But in contrast to the world, we are to walk humbly with our God, knowing that if it wasn’t for God’s grace and mercy we would not be where we are. Everything we have comes from Him.

Practicing justice is a way of loving mercy, which in turn is a manifestation of walking humbly with our God. He is good for us, He is good to us, He is good in us, and He is good through us. The typical unbeliever today believes that going to heaven involves something about being a good person. But the only way we can be good, is because Yeshua lives through us. Saying it another way, no one can be “good” without a relationship with Messiah. It is God living through us that brings about His goodness.

Dear Heavenly Father, Help us to remember the example You set for us – for though You are perfect, You are also humble. You left your holy heaven, emptied Yourself to come to live in the likeness of man (Philippians 2:6-14), willing to be betrayed (Matthew 26:14-16, 45-48), mocked, spat upon, insulted (Matthew 26:29-30,44), denied and crucified (Matthew 26:69-75, 27:34-50).

You gave so much for us, we desire to give love back to You by bearing much fruit including the fruit of goodness. When we stand before You in Heaven, we long for You to say to us “well done” as the master said to his faithful servant in the parable you told. His owner said to him, “You have done well. You are a good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will put many things in your care. Come and share my joy” (Matthew 25:23). We delight in serving You out of love. In the name of Your holy Son and the power of His resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T13:29:41+00:00 0 Comments

Ca – The Fruit of the Ruach is Kindness 5: 22e

The Fruit of the Ruach is Kindness
5: 22e

DIG: Do you think of kindness as weakness, or lack of conviction? Why? Why not? How did Yeshua show kindness or compassion? What is the essence of kindness? What are the three principles that we can learn from the parable of the Good Samaritan? Who was the wounded man’s neighbor? The priest? The Levite? No. The half-breed who loved him enough to show him grace in action.

REFLECT: What does “captured by grace” mean to you? When have you experienced it? Are you afraid to help in unknown situations? Do you have a tendency to overthink situations that come up where you could show kindness? How can you change that? When you show kindness, who receives the blessing?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

Kindness (Greek: chrestotes) means grace in action. It relates to tender concern for others. It has nothing to do with weakness or lack of conviction, but is the genuine desire of a believer to treat others gently, just as our Lord treats us. Yeshua’s kindness is our example. When some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray, the apostles rebuked them. But Yeshua said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:13-14). On another occasion He said: Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). Just as our Lord is kind, His servants are commanded not to be quarrelsome, but to be kind to all (Second Timothy 2:24). And just as He does with all of the other manifestations of His divine fruit, the Ruach ha-Kodesh gives God’s children kindness (Second Corinthians 6:6).

So what does kindness look like? There is probably no better example of kindness in the Bible than that of the good Samaritan (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Gw The Parable of the Good Samaritan). There are three principles that we can learn about kindness from this parable.

First, kindness is not something that we talk about, it’s something that we do. It’s grace in action. Think about all the times that Yeshua showed compassion (a synonym for kindness) for people by doing something. Remember when Messiah fed the masses (see the commentary on The Life of Christ FnJesus Feeds the 5,000) He saw the large crowd and He had compassion on them (Matthew 14:14a; Mark 6:34a)? Remember raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead and He healed a woman that was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Fh Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman)? Yeshua’s compassion, His kindness, always led Him to do something. Kindness is grace in action.

Pastor David Jeremiah writes in his book, Captured by Grace, of a woman named Victoria. She lived in a rural area of the state of New York, and one night she was driving home from her daughters’ music recital. Without warning, something came through the windshield of her car and struck her in the face. It broke almost all the bones in her face. She crashed her car and she and her daughter were taken to the hospital. She had to have multiple facial surgeries and her jaw was wired shut. She was in the hospital for over a month.

When the police investigated, they found out that there were four bored boys out looking for trouble that night. They had been in a little store and bought some things and one of them saw frozen turkeys. He thought how funny it would be to take one of those twenty-pound frozen turkeys and toss it in someone’s direction as they drove down the road and cause them to swerve. After all, what could go wrong? So they decided that would be a funny thing to do. And as they approached Victoria’s car driving toward them on the interstate, one of them rolled down his window and tossed that twenty-pound frozen turkey in her direction. Almost killing her.

When it was discovered who the four boys were, they were arrested. And there was an outrage in the community, and people were saying, “They ought to ‘throw-the-book’ at them.” We have all had those same thoughts. When the trial came, and the jury had heard all the facts, they were found guilty (the boys admitted what they had done). But when the judge gave the sentence of six months in jail (which they had already served), five years on probation and counseling, there was outrage in the community. “That isn’t fair for what those boys had done to Victoria! How could that be an appropriate punishment?”

That was their sentence because Victoria had requested it. She had asked the judge to be lenient. After all this had happened, she had gotten to know the families of the boys and she came to understand that the boy who threw the turkey was truly sorry for what he had done, not merely sorry for getting caught. And on the last day of the trial, Victoria walked across the courtroom to the boy, who was openly weeping for what he had done, and hugged him, saying, “I forgive you. I want your life to be the best that it can be.” The New York Times ran that story the next day, and the headline read, “Captured by Grace.” I suggest to you that the headline could have been, “Captured by Kindness.”

Second, sometimes kindness has to be fearless. In the parable of the good Samaritan, the story involves two other people who passed him by laying there in the road. There was a priest and a Levite. Why didn’t they stop and help the Samaritan who had been attacked by robbers?

Thus the parable gives us a picture of a priest riding by, seeing the wounded man (presumably at some distance), and then steering his mount to the other side of the road and continuing on his way. Priests believed that help offered to such a despicable man in this condition would be against what God Himself demanded because ADONAI detested sinners (Sirach 12:1-7). Not only that, there was the possibility that this sinner in the ditch might not be Jewish, even worse, the man might be dead. If so, contact with him would defile the cohen, who collected, distributed the tithes. If he defiled himself he wouldn’t be able to do any of those things, and his family and servants would also suffer the consequences of his actions.

Another part of the priest’s decision to stop and render aid or avoid the sinner was the fact that he was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. A large number of priests served in the Temple for two-week periods but lived in Jericho. Any priest leaving Yerushalayim on his way to Jericho would naturally be assumed to have fulfilled his period of service and be on his way home. We are told that ritual purification took place twice daily in the Temple by the priests. During the service a gong was struck at the time of the morning and evening offering. At that time the high priest would make all the unclean stand in the Court of the Women in front of the bronze altar.144 The unclean priests were also made to stand there in shame for contracting uncleanness (Mishna Tamid 4, 6). It is easy to imagine the burning humiliation that cohen would feel if he contracted ritual impurity. Having probably just completed his two weeks as a leader of worship in the Temple, would he then return in humiliation and stand in the Court of the Women with all the other unclean sinners? Thus, it’s not hard to understand the priest’s predicament as he suddenly came upon an unconscious man beside the road.

More specifically, the cohen could not approach closer than four cubits to a dead body without being defiled, and he would most certainly have to get closer than that just to evaluate the condition of the man. Then, if he were dead, the priest would probably tear his clothes. And that would have violated the Oral Law (see the commentary on The Life of Christ EiThe Oral Law), commanding him not to destroy valuable things. The priest’s wife, servant and colleagues would have applauded his neglect of the wounded man and the Pharisees would have found him justified in stopping, yet entitled to pass by. Hence, life for him had become organized in a system of do’s and don’ts.145 He was afraid to meet any of these consequences.

Likewise, a Levite followed the priest down from Tziyon to Jericho. When he came to the place, and saw the wounded man, he also passed by on the other side (Luke 10:32). The Levite was a descendant of Levi who policed the Temple and assisted the priests in various sacrificial duties. The Levite knew that there was a priest in front of him and that he had passed the wounded man because one is able to see the road ahead for a considerable distance for most of the 17 miles. Furthermore, a traveler on that road would be extremely interested in who else is in on it. Your life could depend on it. A question put to a bystander at the edge of the last village just before the desert begins; a brief exchange with a traveler coming the other way; fresh tracks on the soft earth at the edge of the road where men and animals prefer to walk; a glimpse in the clear desert air of a robed figure ahead; all of these were potential sources of knowledge for the Levite traveler.

So the Levite knowing this detail is significant to the story because he was not bound by as many regulations as the priest. The Levite was only required to observe ritual cleanliness in the course of his Temple activities.146 Thus, he could give aid, and if the man were dead or died in his arms, the repercussions for him would not be as serious. We are told that the Levite came to the place where the man lay. The Levite, like the priest, could not find out whether or not the wounded man was a neighbor. This may be the reason he approached him. Perhaps he could talk? Failing to find out, he then passed on. So in contrast to the priest, the Levite seems to have crossed the Oral Law (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ei – The Oral Law) prohibition of four cubits and satisfied his curiosity with a closer look. Then he decided against offering aid and passed by to the other side.

The fear of defilement would not have been a strong motive. Fear of robbers, however, may have been. More likely it is the example of the higher-ranking priest that deterred him. Not only could he say, “If the priest on ahead did nothing, why should I, a mere Levite, trouble myself,” but it might also be seen as a kind of affront to his superior.147 More than subtly charging the priest with “hardness of heart” by stopping, the Levite would also be criticizing the priest’s interpretation of the Torah! When the lofty priest interpreted the Torah one way, is the Levite to call his judgment into question? Hardly.

The Levite was of a lower social order than the priest and may well have been walking. In any case, he could have rendered minimal medical aid even if he had had no way to take the wounded man to safety. If he was walking, we can imagine him saying to himself, “I cannot carry the man to safety and am I to sit here all night and risk attack from these same robbers?”148 Like the priest, he was also afraid.

But by taking the wounded man to a large city like Jericho, the Samaritan allowed himself to be identified and ran the grave risk of having the family of the wounded man seek him out to take revenge upon him! After all, who else is there? The group mentality of the Near Eastern peasant society makes a totally illogical judgment at this point. The stranger who involves himself in an accident is often considered partially, if not totally, responsible for the incident. After all, why did he stop? Irrational minds seeking a focus for their retaliation do not make rational judgments, especially when the person involved is from a hated minority. The cautious thing to do would have been to leave the wounded man at the door of the inn and disappear, in which case the Samaritan would be completely protected. But when he stayed at the inn overnight to take care of the man, and promised to return, anonymity was not possible. His courage was first demonstrated when he stopped in the desert (for the robbers were still in the area). But his real bravery was seen in this final act of compassion at the inn. Sometimes kindness needs to be fearless. Sometimes we need to be kind to someone when we really don’t know what the end result of our showing kindness will be. But ADONAI says to us in a soft whisper of a voice (First Kings 19:12), “This is an opportunity to show grace in action.”

Third, kindness isn’t rocket-science. You don’t have to over think being kind. Sometimes we start thinking of all the consequences of taking the time for an act of kindness that we develop paralysis by analysis, and before we know it the opportunity has passed us by. Kindness doesn’t do that. Kindness responds with the prompting of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. The good Samaritan, didn’t over think his response. He went to the wounded man, he bandaged his wounds, he poured oil and wine on his wounds, he put the wounded man on his own donkey, he took him to an inn in Jericho, he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, “Look after him,” and finally, he said, “When I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

Too many times we see a need and we think to ourselves, “Well, how did you let yourself get in this mess! Why don’t you just go out and get a job.” Have you ever thought that? I have. But when we see a need and the Adversary sits on our shoulder and shouts in our ear, “How did you get yourself into this mess,” we need to listen to the angel on our other shoulder whispering, “There but the grace of ADONAI go I.” I need to ask myself if I were in that situation and someone crossed my path that had the opportunity to help me, would I want them to show kindness towards me? Yes! Therefore, I need to show kindness to them. Sometimes you may not feel very appreciated, which should remind us of how God puts up with us. And in showing kindness, sometimes the blessing can be yours more than the other person. Who is there for whom? Am I there for him, or is he there for me? Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, tenderhearted, and humble-minded. Do not repay evil for evil or insult for insult, but give a blessing instead – for it is for this reason you were called, so that you might inherit a blessing (First Peter 3:8-9).

Dear Father God, What an Awesome Father You are! Praise You for Your chesed love, which is both a deep loyal love based on faithfulness in a relationship. I am awed at the richness of meaning for Your chesed love, with three concepts always interacting – strength, steadfastness, and love. Like three cords of love that come together to richly express a strong and loyal commitment in a relationship, chesed love to Your covenant family is not just an obligation but also full of generosity, not only loyalty, but also merciful.  Praise You for this wonderful, strong love. May You transform us to love others in very kind ways, following Your example (First John 4:11-12). In the holy name of Your Son and the power of His resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T13:26:39+00:00 0 Comments

Bz – The Fruit of the Ruach is Patience 5: 22d

The Fruit of the Ruach is Patience
5: 22d

DIG: What is the difference between endurance and patience? Why is ADONAI patient with us? Why are we to model our patience after the Lord? What should patience produce? What would happen if ADONAI fixed all of our problems? What is our great cloud of witnesses and what do they teach us today? What does the second grouping of fruit point to?

REFLECT: Do people have to walk on eggshells around you? Are you longsuffering most of the time? When do you lose your patience? What is your reality right now? What are you going through right now that requires patience? Why shouldn’t that surprise you? What has ADONAI taught you through the trials and suffering of life?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

When we get to the fruit of the Ruach in 5:22 and 23, the first grouping of three, love, joy, and peace are God-ward, everything flows from that, and are all single syllable words; the second grouping of three, patience, kindness, and goodness are man-ward, how we treat each other, and are all two syllable words; and the third grouping of three, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are in-ward, it’s how we become what ADONAI wants us to be, and are all three syllable words.

There are two words in the B’rit Chadashah to describe this idea of patience. One is hupomone, which is a passive word and it means to have a burden placed on you and you have to bear that burden. It may be a health concern. Maybe a family issue. But something has been placed on you and you have to bear it. The word that is generally used to interpret hupomone is endurance. But the word for patience that is used here is a different word (Greek: makrothumia). It is a combination of two words, makro, meaning large, in this context it would mean long, and thumia, meaning fire, in this context it means passion, or anger or temper. So when you put those two words together it means long-tempered, and it has to do with tolerance and longsuffering that endure injuries inflicted by others, and the calm willingness to accept situations that are irritating or painful.

Everybody knows someone who is short-tempered. You never know what’s going to set them off. You walk on egg-shells around them. Well the patience that the Bible describes here is the opposite of that. This is a person, not with a short-fuse, but a long-fuse. So biblical patience is the ability to understand that God is in control. It is the ability to turn loose of the little irritating things of life that really in the big scope of things don’t matter. It is the ability to accept delay or disappointment with grace because you know God is in control and you trust Him.

God Himself is slow to anger (Psalm 86:15). ADONAI is patient so that we will be saved. Now what if God, willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath designed for destruction (Romans 9:22)? Why is He patient? The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some consider slowness. Rather, He is being patient, makrothumia, toward you – not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance (Second Peter 3:9).

Whether you are a patient person or not, the Bible says that we are to model ourselves after the patience of our heavenly Father. as believers should never belittle the riches of God’s kindness and tolerance and patience – not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance (Romans 2:4), they should themselves show those attributes of their heavenly Father. We are commanded to imitate our Lord’s patience (Psalm 103:8). Hebrews 10:36 tells us that we need perseverance, makrothumia, so that, after you have done the will of god, you may receive the promise of His coming (Second Peter 3:4).

Why do we need patience? Newsflash: because life is hard. It’s hard because of physical things. It’s hard because of emotional things. It’s hard because of relationships. It’s hard because of financial pressures. It’s just plain hard. And we need the ability to accept delay and disappointment with grace. We need the ability to let go of the little things that, in the big scope of things, don’t matter very much. We need to have the ability to understand that God is in control because life is hard.

So here’s where you start. You define your reality. Our reality changes as we go through life. What your reality was five years ago, may not be what your reality is today. Your reality right now may not even be what it is tomorrow. You may get a phone call. Something may happen in your life or the life of your family and your reality changes in a second. You may have already experienced that. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve had cancer and you are going through treatment, you’re going through a divorce, your child has rebelled, or maybe you have just lost your job. Your reality has changed, but that’s where you start finding this patience that ADONAI gives to us.

Peter tells us that we shouldn’t be surprised at the fiery ordeal taking place . . . to test you – as though something strange were happening to you (First Peter 4:12). Every one of us is going to have those same kinds of issues sometime in our lives, or someone whom you love will have them. So we shouldn’t be surprised. But what does the Bible say about that?

In the book of Hebrews there was a group of new Jewish believers who were somewhere in the diaspora. But they were undergoing great persecution because of their faith in Messiah. But some Judaizers (see AgWho Were the Judaizers?) came in and confused them with legalism. They said to those baby believers that believing in Yeshua was tolerable, if that’s what they wanted to do, but they needed to return to the Levitical system of sacrifices (see the commentary on Hebrews Cb The Insufficiency of the Levitical Sacrifices). In other words, they needed to return to legalism. And the writer of Hebrews wrote to them saying: Remember the former days when, after you were enlightened [saved], you endured a great struggle with sufferings. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to abuses and afflictions, and other times you became partners with those who were treated this way. For you suffered along with the prisoners and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better and lasting possession. Therefore, don’t throw away that courage of yours, which carries with it such a great reward. For you need patience so that, by having done what God wills, you may receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:32-36). So how do we get that patience?

James says to us: Consider it great joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. Now that’s a strange thing to say. How can you have great joy when you have cancer? Why does your spouse run off with another? When your child is molested? Here is the answer: Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. And let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4).

About ten years after writing to the Galatians, Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, saying: We also boast in suffering (there is that strange concept again) – knowing that suffering produces patience; and patience produces character; and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4). So here is the biblical secret to spiritual maturity. When we face trials and suffering, and we endure with patience, we grow to be who God wants us to be.

Let me ask you a question. What happens when a child grows up and every time they get in trouble, every time they have a problem with a teacher, or coach, or any authority figure, a parent rushes in to fix it? What happens when that child is not able to stand on their own two feet? We teach our children, when you fall down, you get yourself up, brush yourself off, and get going again. What happens when a parent rescues their child all the time? You end up with a spoiled child. They never learn to deal with the real problems in life.

Why would ADONAI do that to us? That’s what we do every time we have a problem. We say, “Lord, I don’t know if You’ve been paying attention, but I’ve got a heart problem. Fix that.” I’ve got cancer, Lord, fix that.” “I’ve got a broken marriage. I’ve got a child in rebellion. I’ve got this problem at work. I’ve got this financial problem. God fix my problem.” If Ha’Shem came to the rescue every time we asked Him to fix our problems, we would be spiritually spoiled children, and we would never be able to deal with the problems of life.

Why would ADONAI do that to us? He wouldn’t. So, He teaches us through the suffering; He teaches us through the trials of life (see the commentary on Hebrews CvFaith Through Trials). We live in a broken world as a result of sin. He teaches us patience through our suffering. Therefore, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us (see the commentary on Hebrews Cl The Hall of Faith). The heroes of our faith didn’t live from trials, they lived through trials. They have been persecuted; they have gone through everything you’ve gone through, now they are in heaven, and they are witnesses that you can make it also. Your patience can produce character which produces hope. Haven’t you gone through something before where God was with you through it? Why would He forsake you now? He won’t! So let us also get rid of every weight and entangling sin. Let us run with patience the race set before us, focusing on Yeshua, the initiator and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2a).

Dear Heavenly Father, Praise You that we can run with patience our life race. Sometimes we get so tired in the running and the next hill/trial looks so bid, but we always have You in us and with us: For God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5c). What a comfort You are!

How reassuring to know that when we feel hurt when something bad happens to us, first we must examine our hearts to look for sin; but if we come up clean we can trust in Your love and wisdom to guide all that touches the life of Your child: Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Praise You that You never get tired, never confused, never preoccupied. You are always on top of all that touches Your child and your steadfast, loyal chesed love is guiding our lives more than we can ever imagine. As we look into Your loving face and nail pierced hands, we can go thru life with patience, knowing that this life is only a breath and soon we will forever spend a joyful eternity with You! For our trouble, light and momentary, is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,  as we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. (Second Corinthians 4:17-18). We love You and long to please You with our lives now, in joyful thanks for Your great love! In your holy Son’s name and power of resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T13:10:12+00:00 0 Comments

By – The Fruit of the Ruach is Peace 5: 22c

The Fruit of the Ruach is Peace
5: 22c

DIG: What does peace mean? How does that relate to Messiah Yeshua? What did Isaiah have to say about the peace that passes all understanding? And the Prince of Peace? How does Dani’el give us an example of the peace that passes all understanding? How does Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael also give us an example of perfect peace?

REFLECT: Do you feel like Dani’el in the lions’ den? Do you feel like Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael in the fiery furnace? What examples does this set for us? What problem are you facing right now that you need the peace that passes all understanding? How can you get it? Is the smell of smoke all over you? Why? Why aren’t you all alone?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

If joy speaks of the exhilaration of heart that comes from being right with ADONAI, then peace (Greek: eirene, meaning tranquility of mind) refers to peace that comes from the saving relationship with God (Psalm 29:11). Some form of this word is found 429 times in the Scriptures. The verb form of eirene means to bind together. Thus, Messiah Yeshua, through the blood of His cross, binds together that which was separated by human sin, sinners who put their trust in YHVH.143 Let’s look at some passages about peace.

Isaiah says: You will keep the believing remnant in perfect peace, those whose mind is steadfast, because the steadfast person trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3). The phrase perfect peace is just a doubling, shalom, shalom. And because the faithful remnant trusted in the LORD, and the mind of the remnant focused on Him in spite of what was happening around them, they will enter the Millennial Jerusalem (see the commentary on Isaiah Fe We Have a Strong City; God Makes Salvation It’s Walls). Principles can be taken out of this verse and applied to us today, but the context dictates that Isaiah has the Jewish believing remnant at the end of the Great Tribulation in mind here (see the commentary on Revelation EvThe Basis for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ).

For to us a child is born, a son will be given to us, and the government will be upon His shoulder. His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, My Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:5). Yeshua is the Prince of Peace (see the commentary on Isaiah CkHe Will Be Called the Prince of Peace), both in the sense that He was supremely peaceful Himself, and in the sense that He gives His peace to those who are His.

Shalom I leave you, My shalom I give to you; but not as the world gives! Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid (John 14:27). Even when He confronted the Adversary face-to-face in the wilderness, Messiah had perfect peace, knowing His heavenly Father was continually with Him and would supply His every need (see the commentary on The Life of Messiah Bj Jesus is Tempted in the Wilderness).

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have shalom. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33)!

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in shalom with all people (Romans 12:18).

Do not be anxious about anything – but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua (Philippians 4:6-7). What does that really look like? How did this peace that passes all understanding play out in the lives of real people in the Bible?

In the book of Dani’el there was a king named Nebuchadnezzar. He was an evil king and did all kinds of despicable things. He had a ninety-foot statue made of his image, and he declared that no one would bow down to or worship anything other than that ninety-foot idol. But three Hebrews named Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael (most people know them by their Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego), continued to do what they had always done, they prayed to their God. Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar ordered Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael to be summoned. When they refused to bow down and worship his idol, he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than it was normally heated and commanded some of the mighty men in his army to tie them up and to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire. But because the king’s order was so urgent and the furnace so extremely hot, a raging flame killed those men who carried them up to be thrown into the fiery furnace. And the three men fell bound into the blazing fire.

When Nebuchadnezzar viewed his decree being carried out from a distance, he was astonished and leapt to his feet. He asked his ministers, “Didn’t I tell you to cast three men bound into the middle of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Surely, O king.” But then he answered saying, “Look! I see four men walking about unbound and unharmed in the middle of the fire, and the fourth has the appearance like the Son of God!”

Later in the book of Dani’el there was another king whose name was Darius. He wasn’t a horrible king and he actually did some things that were good, but the truth is that he really liked Dani’el. His supervisors, however, tried to find ground for a charge against Dani’el regarding the kingdom. They knew Dani’el was a man of prayer, so they went to the king and asked him to issue an edict and enforce a decree that anyone who prays to any god or man for 30 days other than you O king, will be cast into the lion’s den. Thereupon King Darius issued the written decree because of his ego. His supervisors had set a trap for Dani’el for they knew that Dani’el prayed to ADONAI multiple times a day. Eventually, they “caught” Dani’el praying to ADONAI , they had him arrested and brought before Darius. When the king heard this report, he was deeply distressed. But because he had signed a decree which could not be altered, reluctantly, the king gave the order and Dani’el was thrown into the lions’ den. That night the king went to his palace and passed the night fasting – no entertainment was brought before him. He was unable to sleep.

At dawn the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he reached the den, he cried out to Dani’el with a voice of anguish, saying: Dani’el, servant of the living God, was your God, whom you serve continually, able to rescue you from the lions? Dani’el spoke to the king, “May the king live forever! My God sent His angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they haven’t harmed me, because I was found innocent before Him. Nor have I committed any crime against You, O king.”

As a result, not a hair of their head was singed, nor were their robes scorched, nor was there a smell of fire on them (Dani’el Chapter 6). If you had not had a conversation with them, you wouldn’t have even known that they had gone through the fire. But there are those who go through the fiery furnace and they cannot live without you knowing how hard they’ve had it. How they have been mistreated. How many horrible things have happened to them. They go through life and the smell of smoke is all over them. But, when Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael got out of that furnace the smell of smoke wasn’t even on them.
They weren’t worried about what they had been through, they wanted you to know Who
had brought them through it! They wanted you to know that it was God who rescued them.

Sometimes we face struggles in life, and we are tempted to think that God has forgotten us. We may even believe that He no longer loves us. But the LORD’s love for us is as wide as the open arms of Messiah on the cross. And the tender compassion of ADONAI is more dependable and more lasting than the love of a nursing mother for her child. Be comforted: For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations (Psalm 100:5).

God uses a picture to assure Zion that He has not forgotten her, He says: Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands (see the commentary on Isaiah IpZion Not Rejected). This is the opposite of normal practice. Instead of the master’s name being written on the servant’s hands, the servant’s name is written on the Master’s hands. This is a figurative way of expressing that the LORD will never forget Zion. The City is represented as graven on His hands, so that its walls are perpetually in His sight, and thus the people of God, who are figured by the City, are kept in everlasting remembrance. A similar form of speech is frequently used in India to express one’s destiny. It is common to say, in reference to men or things, “They are written on the palms of his hands.” Remembrance of an absent one is expressed by a figure of speech used in this verse: “Ah, my friend, you have long since forgotten Me!” But have I forgotten you? Never! This picture can apply to us today also.

Quite a thought isn’t it? Your name is written on God’s hands. Your name on the LORD’s lips. Maybe you’ve seen your name in some special places. On an award or diploma . . . But to think that your name is on the LORD’s hands and on His lips . . . could it be? Or perhaps you have never seen your name honored. And you can’t remember when you heard it spoken with kindness. If so, it may be more difficult for you to believe that ADONAI even knows your name. But He does. Written on His hand. Your name is whispered by His lips.

When you are thrown into the lions’ den and the fiery furnace of life, you might have caused it, you might not have caused it, it might have been brought about by some circumstance that was beyond your control, but you have found yourself under attack. When your enemies have surrounded you, the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding can be yours by knowing that you can trust your God. He knows who you are and He knows the struggles of your life. He knows where you’ve been, He knows where you are, He knows where you’re going. He has engraved you on the palms of His hands. When you find yourself in the fiery furnace and in the lions’ den, that is when you can find the peace of God that passes all understanding for you are not alone.

Dear Father, Praise You that we can be at peace when we go thru any trial, for You have promised to always be right there by our side. For God Himself has said: I will never leave you or forsake you, (Hebrews 13:5c). Our hearts, resting in your power and strength, will trust and not fear because with confidence we say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6). Even when someone spitefully wrongs us, we praise you that you work it for our good, Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28); even as You did for King David who trusted in You even when the king pursued him with his whole army. David’s love for you grew stronger as he went thru trial after trial and again and You were always faithful to him with a rich, strong, deep and loyal chesed love.

Praise You that we can have peace as we think of the qualifications to enter heaven. We know that no amount of good works can be enough to get us into Your holy heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9); for You are totally perfect and can allow no sin in Your holy heaven. You taught Your firstborn son (Exodus 4:22), the Jews, that the only way they could only approach You was by having their sins’ payment of death paid . . . by transferring their guilt to the lamb, slain in their place. He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, so that it will be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf (Leviticus 1:4). This transfer of sin to a blood slain scapegoat is the same pattern that You use for all to enter Your presence in Your holy heaven – for Messiah, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed (First Corinthians 5:7c).

We do not take this great gift lightly; but we bow in reverence to You and seek to love You back with all our hearts. In Your holy Son’s name and power of resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T13:04:27+00:00 0 Comments

Bx – The Fruit of the Ruach is Joy 5: 22b

The Fruit of the Ruach is Joy
5: 22b

DIG: How are grace and joy connected? How are James 1:2-3 and First Peter 4:10 related to each other? What relationship does joy have with happiness? Where does joy come from? What surprising conclusion did James come to about joy? What is the key to having joy in your life? Why should we be joyful? How can we express our joy?

REFLECT: How has God’s grace in your life brought you joy, either by being fulfilled or by a promise? How have the various colors of trouble in your life been matched by the various colors of grace given to you by God? Are you seeking the joy of ADONAI or the ADONAI of joy? Why should you be full of joy today? How do we express our joy?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

The second manifestation of the Ruach is joy (Greek: chara), and it is linked with the key word in the book of Galatians, which is the word grace (Greek: charis). Those two words sound very similar, chara and charis. The two words come from the same root and are connected because joy flows out of grace. When you understand God’s grace in your life, either a promise or fulfilled, it brings us joy.

ADONAI has promised us some things by His grace that haven’t happened yet. He has promised that one day He is going to return and establish His Messianic Kingdom for a thousand years. He has promised us that one day He is going to take us from this world into heaven. He has promised that to be absent from the body is to be present with Him. We haven’t experienced those things yet, but the promise of those things gives us joy. And then there are those things that have already been fulfilled.

The word joy is used some 350 times in the bible where the word joy, or some variation of the word is used. In the TaNaKh there are 27 different words to describe joy. It is a key element of our faith and you should be able to understand what it means to have the joy of ADONAI.

Do not let what is good for you be spoken of as evil – for the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but righteousness and shalom and joy in the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Romans 14:16-17). Many times people equate the word joy with happiness. But nothing could be further from the truth. Happiness is based on the favorable circumstances of your life. It’s like waves on the beach, happiness comes and goes. And sometimes the waves of happiness are bigger one day than they are at other times. But it is not based on circumstances. Joy is based on God’s grace. Joy is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of a person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. It is God’s gift to believers. Let’s look at some passages about joy.

James (see Ap Yeshua’s half-brother James, Jacob or Ya’alov) makes a very unusual statement: Consider it all joy, my brethren, (when everything goes your way? No!) when you encounter various (Greek: poikilos, meaning of various colors, diversified) trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (James 1:2-3). Consider it all joy when trials come your way in different colors. Trials come in all shades and colors . We have already learned that the overflow of God’s grace is joy. They are connected. So, in First Peter 4:10, we learn that as each one of us has received a gift, we are to use it to serve one another, as good stewards of the various colors (Greek: poikilos) of God’s grace. For every color of trouble that comes our way, God has a corresponding color of grace to match it.

The Talmud asserts that, “When the Torah was forgotten from Isra’el, Ezra came up from Babylon and established it” (Talmud Succ. 20a). Ezra came and read from the Torah, which had a shattering impact upon his audience. Just as the reading of the scroll of Deuteronomy triggered a revival under Josiah (see the commentary on Jeremiah AiJosiah Ruled For 31 Years from 640 to 609 BC), reading of the Torah scroll triggered the need for everyone to repent. They wept as they confessed their sins. Then, Ezra, the cohen-scribe said to all the people, “Today is kadosh to ADONAI your God. Do not mourn or weep!” For all the people had been weeping when they heard the words of the Torah. But Ezra declared: Do not grieve, for the joy of ADONAI, which flows out of His grace, is your strength (Nehemiah 8:9-10). If you realize that you are losing your joy, focus on your relationship with ADONAI. The key is that joy really isn’t a feeling, but like love, it’s a decision. Joy is a choice. We choose to be joyful. The closer we get to the Lord, the more His joy flows from you. We shouldn’t be as interested in seeking the joy of ADONAI, as much as we should be interested in seeking the ADONAI of joy.

Why should we be full of joy? Well, first of all, He saved us. He has forgiven our sins and redeemed us and lives inside of us. That ought to bring us joy. In the parable of the Lost Sheep (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Hs The Parable of the Lost Sheep) there was much joy in heaven because one lost person had been found. We ought to be full of joy because of those who have been delivered from addiction. The chains that had them bound have been broken. They don’t live as slaves to that any more. People have been freed from toxic relationships. People who have been freed from their enemies. He has set us free.

How do we express our joyfulness? First, thank ADONAI for what He has done in your life. That makes you focus on His grace and His blessings and gets your mind off of your trials. Secondly, give of what others have given to you. Tithe, yes, but also use your spiritual gift(s) to minister to others. When you use your spiritual gift(s) you will experience much joy. Give others God’s truth, give them hope. Every believer needs to serve in some way or another.

The Ruach ha-Kodesh says to every age: Rejoice in the Lord always – and again I say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4)! This is not a suggestion. It is not a good idea. It’s not something to do if you get around to it. It is a command. Notice what He didn’t say. He didn’t say, “Rejoice in your wealth.” He didn’t say, “Rejoice in your health.” He didn’t say, “Rejoice in your ability to get things done.” All those things are going to pass away. Look at what He said: Rejoice in the Lord always. Living your life joyfully is not an emotion or a feeling, it’s always a choice.

Dear Great Heavenly Father, How much we love and praise You! You are such a joy to know! It is such a joy and blessing to realize that we are freed from earning salvation by works, and can trust in Your atoning work done for us by Your Son as the lamb of God (John 1:29) sacrificed in our place (Leviticus 1:4), bearing our punishment for sin (Hebrews 9:26). For by grace you have saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves – it is the gift of God. It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boost. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

It is so wonderful to meditate on Your awesome character, Your hesed loving-kindness, Your mercy and grace that opened the door to Heaven by Your giving us Your Son as our sin offering and then clothing us in His righteousness. He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (Second Corinthians 5:21).

It is such a joy and comfort to know that no trail will come upon us without Your knowing about it and that Your presence is with us in the trial: For God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5c). Even if the trial is because of what someone else has done to us, we rejoice that your power is greater than any man’s power and so we rest in your love and strength, so that with confidence we say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).

Your Awesome, Magnificent Love causes us to desire to respond back with our joy and to lovingly offer you ourselves – our time, thoughts, finances, relationships and all that we have. We desire to please You with we have and are – for Your eternal glory. In the name of Your Holy Son and the power of His resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T12:55:00+00:00 0 Comments

Bw – The Fruit of the Ruach is Love Galatians 5:22a and First Corinthians 13:1-8a

The Fruit of the Ruach is Love
Galatians 5:22a and
First Corinthians 13:1-8a

DIG: What does Paul contrast the fruit of the Ruach with? Why is it important to understand that the word fruit is singular? What can the fruit of the Ruach be compared to? What were the four words for “love” available during the B’rit Chadashah times? What does “agape love” look like? What are the nine fruits of the Ruach? What does the first grouping of fruit point to?

REFLECT: How would you define love in a single sentence? Since all of these nine fruits of the Ruach should be evident in you, which one or two would you say you need to work on the most? Can you fake “agape love?” Explain. Do you ever find yourself to be a clanging cymbal? Why? How can you change that? Who can you show love to this week?

When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.

When we get to the fruit of the Ruach in 5:22 and 23, the first grouping of three, love, joy, and peace are God-ward, everything flows from that, and are all single syllable words; the second grouping of three, patience, kindness, and goodness are man-ward, how we treat each other, and are all two syllable words; and the third grouping of three, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are in-ward, it’s how we become what ADONAI wants us to be, and are all three syllable words.

The fruit of the Ruach is love (Greek: agape). We live in a society that is fascinated with love. In our movies we have love stories. It’s in our books, we have novels and romances. It’s also in our music. It just permeates our society. Yet, with that emphasis it is amazing how perverted and distorted the idea of love has become. It’s like we really don’t know what love means. Now, I would agree that love is a hard word to define. It’s hard to come up with a single sentence definition for love. Someone once said, “Love is a feeling that you feel when you feel a feeling that you’ve never felt before.”

Love a hard word to define. And part of the reason for that is in our culture, we only have one word for love. “I love pizza, I love my country, I love my new pair of shoes.” But, oddly, we use that same word to say, “I love my mother.” How can you love pizza and love your mother in the same way? You can’t. But that wasn’t the case in the B’rit Chadashah. They had at least four words that they could use that were the different elements of love. They are all translated love, but they mean different things. The first was the Greek word eros, which is a physical attraction. A sexual attraction. Our word erotic, comes from the word eros. Interestingly, this word is not used in the B’rit Chadashah. The second Greek word was storge, which describes a family love. It is the love that a brother has for his sister, or a parent has for a child. We love each other because we are family. A third word that was available to them was phileo. It described the love that one friend has for another. It was the kind of love that Jonathan and David had for each other. It was not an eros kind of love, it was a phileo kind of love.

The fourth, and primary, word available for love was agape. Interestingly, that word was not used in Greek literature until the time of the Septuagint, or the Greek New Testament. It is a word that comes from the very heart of YHVH. It is a divine love that flows from ADONAI through us as we become conduits of His love. It is the agape kind of love that God has for us (First John 4:16). God’s love has been poured into the heart of every yielded believer through the Ruach ha-Kodesh who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). Agape love is the form of love that most reflects personal choice, not referring merely to pleasant emotions or good feelings, but to willing, self-sacrifice. But God demonstrates His own agape love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah dies for us (Romans 5:8). Yeshua Messiah is the supreme example of this kind of agape love (First John 3:16). For believers, love is not an option but a command. Walk in agape love, Paul declared: just as Messiah also loved us and gave Himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice to God for a fragrant aroma (Ephesians 5:2).

Agape love is the primary fruit of the Ruach. Above all . . . put on agape love, which is the bond of perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14). If you are going to have the other fruit of the Ruach, if they are going to be evident in your life, it starts with agape love. God’s love. Yet, that command cannot be fulfilled apart from the Ruach ha-Kodesh, the source of this and all other expressions of spiritual fruit. It has to flow from God through you. You cannot fake this kind of love on your own. Wouldn’t you like to know what agape love would look like in your life? Let’s look at First Corinthians.

Paul wrote: If I speak with the [languages] of men and of angels but have no love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. The greatest truths spoken in the greatest way fall short if they are not spoken in love. Apart from agape, even one who speaks the truth with supernatural eloquence becomes just so much noise. Paul says that even the gift of prophecy needed to be ministered to in agape. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but have not agape, I am nothing. That spiritual understanding would count for nothing without the supreme spiritual fruit of love. If I give away all that I own (the rabbis taught that people did not ever need to give more than twenty percent, so Paul’s illustration suggested unheard of generosity), and if I hand over my body to be burned but have not agape, I gain nothing (First Corinthians 13:1-3). When persecution of the early Church became intense, some believers actually sought martyrdom as a way of becoming famous or of gaining special heavenly credit. But when sacrifice is motivated by self-interest and pride it loses its spiritual value. Even accepting agonizing death gains nothing if it is not done without divine love. The loveless person produces nothing, is nothing, and gains nothing.141

Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not brag, it is not puffed up, it does not behave inappropriately, it does not seek its own way, it is not provoked, it keeps no account of wrong suffered (First Corinthians 13:4-5). Here we find the most comprehensive biblical description of the fullness of agape love. Paul shines agape through a prism and we see fifteen of its colors and hues, the spectrum, if you will, of love. Each ray gives a facet, a property, of agape love. Unlike most translations, which include several adjectives, the Greek forms of all these properties are verbs. They do not focus on what love is so much as on what love does and does not do. Agape love is active, not abstract or passive. It does not merely feel patient, it practices patience. It does not simply have kind feelings, it does kind things. It does not only recognize the truth, it rejoices in the truth. Love is fully agape only when it acts (First John 3:18).

The purpose of Paul’s prism is not to give a technical analysis of love, but to break it down into smaller parts so that we may more easily understand and apply its full, rich meaning. As will all of God’s Word, we cannot truly begin to understand agape until we begin to apply it in our lives. Paul’s main purpose here is not merely to instruct the Corinthians but to change their living habits. He wanted them to carefully and honestly examine their lives against those divine characteristics of love. To change the metaphor, Paul is painting a portrait of agape love, and Yeshua Messiah is sitting for the portrait.142

Love does not rejoice over injustice but rejoices in the truth; it bears all things, it believes all things, it never gives up hope, and it endures all things. Love never takes satisfaction from sin, whether our own sin or that of others. Doing wrong things is bad enough in itself; bragging about them makes the sins even worse. To rejoice over injustice is to justify it. It is making wrong appear to be right. Isaiah declared: Oy to those who call evil good and good evil, who present darkness as light and light as darkness, who present bitter as sweet, and sweet as bitter (Isaiah 5: 20)! That is turning God’s truth upside down. Love never fails. Throughout all eternity agape will never end. Love, like God’s Word, is eternal (First Corinthians 13:6-8a). The only place you will find agape love, is when the Ruach ha-Kodesh flows through you.

 

2020-04-02T12:50:37+00:00 0 Comments

Bv – Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh 5: 16-21

Walk by the Ruach,
and Not the Desires of the Flesh
5: 16-21

DIG: What is the definition of the faithful life of a believer? What were the Judaizers telling the Galatian believers about the Torah? But what was Paul’s response? Why didn’t Paul pit the Ruach against the Torah? What struggle must new believers be made aware of? How are we now freed from the slavery of sin? Whose responsibility is it to say “No!” to sin? What enables the believer to display the fruit of the Ruach?

REFLECT: Which one of the deeds of the flesh do you have the most problems with? Is your life characterized by the fruit of the Ruach? How? Why not? Which fruit of the Ruach do you have the most problem displaying? Why? The Ruach ha-Kodesh enables us to fulfill the commandment to love, to overcome the flesh and to bear fruit. Examine yourself. How can you see the fruit of the Ruach growing in your life? Who can you help this week by displaying some of your fruit of the Ruach ha-Kodesh?

Paul argues that the surrender of our own fleshly desires to the personal control of the indwelling Ruach ha-Kodesh is the secret of victory over sin and of living a life in which divine love is the motivating impulse. The Ruach will suppress the activities of our sin nature as we trust Him to do so, and cooperate with Him in the process of being conformed into the image of Messiah as seen in the fruit of the Ruach.

Just as Yeshua Messiah is the primary Person behind justification, the Ruach ha-Kodesh is the primary Person behind sanctification. As believers we can no more sanctify ourselves than we could save ourselves in the first place. We cannot live our lives in Messiah by our own resources any more than we could have saved ourselves by our own resources. In its most profound yet simple definition, the faithful life of a believer in Messiah is a life lived under the direction and by the power of the Ruach ha-Kodesh.137

Paul now introduces a statement intended to counteract the erroneous impression held by the Galatians, possibly at the suggestion of the Judaizers (to see link click AgWho Were the Judaizers?) that without the restraining influence of legalism, they would fall back into sin. Instead of the impossible task of perfectly obeying all 613 commandments of the Torah in their own strength, Paul encourages them to govern their lives by the inward power of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. Paul had already commended that type of life earlier: For through the Ruach, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness (5:5). Thus, the secret of victory over sin is found, not in attempted obedience to legalism that has been nullified for justification, but in obedience to a divine Person, the Ruach ha-Kodesh, who at the moment of faith, takes up His permanent residence in us for the purpose of ministering to our spiritual needs. ADONAI doesn’t bless us because we are good; He blesses us because He is good.

Paul instructed the Galatian believers to walk by the Ruach, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh (5:16). The word flesh here refers to our totally deprived nature, the power of which is broken when we are saved. Therefore, the desires of the flesh refer to the evil desires, impulses and passions that are constantly arising from the evil nature as smoke rises from a fire. Our sin nature is not done away with. Its power over us is broken, and we need not obey it. But it is always there, constantly attempting to control us as it did before we were saved. Paul would later write: Do not love the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the boasting of life – is not from the Father but from the world (First John 2:15-16). Nevertheless, we have a strong assurance that if we depend on the Ruach to give us both the desire and the power to do the will of ADONAI we will be able to resist the evil desires of our sin nature.

When he said walk by the Ruach, Paul was giving the Gentile believers halachah instruction, so to speak. Halacha are rules governing Jewish life and comes from the Hebrew word to walk. The rabbis used the term to refer to the legal way to walk out the commandments of the Torah. Using the same semantics, Paul alluded to a prophecy from the prophet Ezeki’el about the far eschatological future in the Messianic Kingdom: I will give you a new heart. I will put a new ruach within you. I will remove the stony heart from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Ruach within you. Then I will cause you to walk in My decrees, so you will keep My rulings and do them (Ezeki’el 36:26-27).

Paul did not pit the Ruach against the Torah. To him, the Ruach ha-Kodesh and the Torah fit hand and glove. He did, however, contrast our human, physical inclination against the leading of the Ruach. The “two ruach’s” are in opposition to each other, and cannot be reconciled, it being impossible to serve two masters – one unclean and the other holy – at the same time.138 For the flesh sets its desire against the Ruach, but the Ruach sets its desire against the flesh – for these are in opposition to one another, so that you cannot do what you want (5:17). Paul would later write about his own experience: What a wretched man I am! I am of the flesh, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I don’t do; but what I hate, that I end up doing (Romans 7:14-16, 24a NIV). Judaism refers to this warfare as the evil inclination struggling with the good inclination.

We must be aware of this conflict. This is especially true of new believers. They go along in the bliss of being a baby believer in Messiah, and then they realize that they have committed some sinful act. Unfortunately, there are some who throw the baby out with the bath weather and give up going to their local messianic synagogue or church. So, we need to teach baby believers that there is a war going on inside of us. Paul is describing the struggle of a believer, not the struggle of an unbeliever. The unbeliever has no choice and only knows how to sin up a storm. We must be careful, however, to notice that Paul puts upon the believer, the responsibility of refusing to obey the desires of the flesh by being led by the power of the Ruach and under His control.

The will of the believer has been freed from the slavery to sin which it experienced before salvation, and is now free to choose the righteous and refuse the sinful. The Ruach ha-Kodesh has been given to us as the Agent to counteract our sinful nature. But He does that for us when we put ourselves under His control, and by an act of our free will, and says in no uncertain terms, “No!” to sin. In other words, we must cooperate with the Ruach in our sanctification. The Ruach is not some outside force that imposes His will upon us. He is God, waiting to be depended upon for His ministry, and expecting us to cooperate with Him in it. Therefore, the choice lies with us. The more we say, “No!” to sin, the easier it is to say, “No!” until it becomes a habit. The more we say, “Yes!” to the Ruach, the easier it is to say, “Yes!” until it becomes a habit. Our will is completely free from the compelling power of our sin nature. We have been given a new nature, a divine nature.

The Gentile believers in Galatia had up to the time of the Judaizer’s entry into their church, lived their lives dependent upon the Ruach, in accordance with the teaching of Paul. The power of the sinful nature had been broken. But when additions were made to the simple gospel of faith-plus-nothing, they had reverted to the slavery of legalism. The Gentile Galatians were still trying to live Godly lives, but they were going about it in the wrong way and were failing.139

But if you are led by the Ruach, you are not under the 613 commandments of the Torah (5:18). The Torah is not only no safeguard against the flesh, but rather provokes it to more sin! As a result, the believer who would refuse being led by the flesh must refuse being led by the Torah also. Being led by the flesh and the Torah are closely aligned, whereas the flesh and the Ruach are utterly opposed to each other. This is the freedom from legalism to which Paul refers in Romans 8:1-4.

Now the deeds of the flesh are clear, this is not an exhaustive list, but it contains some of the basic categories:

Sensual: sexual immorality (Greek: porneia, where we get the English word pornography), impurity (Greek: akatharsia, meaning unclean), and indecency (Greek: aselgeia, which originally referred to any excess or lack of restraint but came to be associated primarily with sexual excess. It refers to uninhibited sexual indulgence without shame and without concern for what others think or how they might be affected or infected) (5:19). These remind us of a lot of what is written about in the Torah. These prohibitions point to Leviticus 18 and 20, and a lot of Deuteronomythe Torah’s prohibitions against adultery, sex outside of marriage, prostitution, homosexuality and promiscuity. That these prohibitions also apply to Gentiles was, in Paul’s opinion, self-evident.

False worship: idolatry and sorcery (Greek: pharmakeia, from where we get pharmacy and pharmaceutical). Many ancient religious ceremonies involved occultic practices in which drugs were used to induce supposed communication with different gods, and pharmakeia thereby came to be closely associated with witchcraft and black magic. A generous amount of the Torah’s 365 prohibitions are concerned with idolatry. With that one word, Paul reminds us of many passages and commandments. In his opinion, it should be self-evident that those prohibitions apply equally to both Jewish and Gentile believers. The deeds of the flesh not only defile us but also our relationship to God.

Relationships: Human relationships were also defiled by certain hostilities which result in strife. This refers to hateful attitudes, which result in hostility towards others, often with little or no provocation or justification. It is the all-too-common sin of unbridled temper. Although jealousy does not necessarily result in outbursts of anger in the way that hostilities result in strife, the first sin in each case refers to wrong attitudes and the second to wrong actions. Selfish ambition, dissension, factions (5:20), and envy applied equally to Jews and Gentiles. They are more specific and ongoing expressions of the general sins that are seen on this list. They represent animosities between people and groups that sometimes continue to fester and grow, long after the original cause of the conflict has passed. Once established, this can become an extremely destructive way of life.

Temperance: Drunkenness, carousing probably had special reference to the orgies that so often characterized the pagan worship ceremonies that many of the Gentile converts of Galatia had participated in. In a more general and universal sense, however, they refer to becoming drunk under any circumstance and to all rowdy, boisterous, and crude behavior.

As already observed, and things like these indicates that Paul’s list of deeds of the flesh is only representative and not exhaustive. Nor were these sins ones that the Galatians believers had only recently been tempted by or fallen into. I am warning you, Paul said: just as I warned you before. These appear to have been sins which were dominant in the culture and by which the Galatians still being tempted.

The high point of the apostle’s forewarning is sobering: Those who practice (Greek: prasso, meaning continual, ongoing action) such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom (5:21). Because the list of sins is so extensive and the warning so severe, this passage has caused many believers to doubt their salvation. What believer can claim never to have committed one of these sins? But the key is the word practice. Scripture always assesses our character on the basis of our common, habitual actions, not our occasional ones. People who habitually practice sin show themselves to be the enemies of God (James 4:4). The lost occasionally does humanly good things, and believers occasionally fall into sin. But the basic character of the lost is to practice evil deeds of the flesh and that of the believer to bear the fruit of the Ruach (First John 3:4-10).140

But it is important for believers to know that this battle against the flesh is a winnable war because greater is He (the Ruach ha-Kodesh) who is in you than he (Satan) who is in the world (First John 4:4b). So day-by-day, hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment, you can win this war. Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body so that you obey its desires. And do not keep yielding your body parts to sin as tools of wickedness; but yield yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your body parts as tools of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under [legalism] but under grace (Romans 6:12-14).

As we live our lives, we make decisions that affect us. Sometimes it’s little things. But sometimes there are BIG things. We live in a culture and a world that wants to drag us down into a black hole of despair. That’s why the Bible says be in the world . . . but not of the world (John 17:13-16). Have you noticed how people talk today? What people write today? And you have to make a decision . . . am I going to think about that. The Bible says we have a choice, that we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah (Second Corinthians 10:5). You see something provocative. You can’t unsee what you’ve seen, but the second look is a choice. These things will take root if we allow them to do that. What are you allowing to come into your heart, mind and soul? Who is watching you do it? There is a battle going on between evil and righteousness, between the flesh and the spirit.

How can we win the battle? Paul tells us that the One working in you is God – both to will and to act for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Do you see those two words will and act? Will means what you think and act means what you do. Many times we have been doing wrong because we have been thinking wrong. We have been feeding the flesh and the things of this world. But God is working in you. The Ruach ha-Kodesh has come to live inside of you. The one you feed the most wins. It’s that simple. And when you give Him the control of your thoughts, of your heart, when you feed the spirit rather than the flesh, the spirit wins. You are the only person who can make that decision for you.

Dear Heavenly Father, We so love You, praise you and worship you! It is such a joy and delight to know that when we battle against the flesh – it is a battle that we can definitely win – as we look to You and rely on Your strength. No temptation has taken hold of you except what is common to mankind. But God is faithful – He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle. But with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape, so you will be able to endure it (First Corinthians 10:13).

Praise You that as glorious as Heaven will be, somehow You reward us when we choose to serve out of a heart full of love for You. For no one can lay any other foundation than what is already laid—which is Yeshua the Messiah.  Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear. For the Day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work – what sort it is.  If anyone’s work built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward (First Corinthians 3:11-14). What a joy to worship and serve You! We look forward not to the accumulation of rewards, to giving the honor of receiving them back to You, similar to how the twenty-four elders in Heaven give you their crowns: The twenty-four elders fall down before the One seated on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever. And they throw their crowns down before the throne, chanting, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, (Revelation 410-11a).

You are the best Father that ever could be and we love You so much! We rejoice in winning temptation battles and producing fruit for You. In Your Holy Son’s name and power of resurrection! Amen

 

2020-04-02T12:48:50+00:00 0 Comments

Bu – Brothers and Sisters, You were Called to Freedom 5: 13-15

Brothers and Sisters,
You were Called to Freedom
5: 13-15

DIG: How does Paul navigate between the dangers of those who set rules to live by, and those who want no rules at all? Can an external set of rules restrain evil? What does Paul say is the answer? Who gives the believer both the desire and power to refuse the wrong and choose the right? What is the antidote against using our freedom from legalism as an excuse for sinning? What is the negative side of that truth?

REFLECT: What experience have you had with legalism in the past? When did you recognize it? Have you overcome it? How have you dealt with it? In your culture how is your freedom in Messiah misunderstood today? How does this misunderstanding lead to sin? How do you personally understand your freedom in Messiah, and also guard against using it as an excuse for your favorite sin? How can you help others understand this? In what situations do you find it hard to love others? How will remembering your hope in Yeshua Messiah increase your love?

Paul warns the Galatians not to use their freedom from legalism as an excuse for sinning, thus, turning their freedom in Messiah into an excuse to sin. Instead, he encourages them to govern their lives by divine love produced by the Ruach ha-Kodesh.

Ours is a day that cries out for liberation. Men, women, and even children are demanding more freedom to do as they please. In the name of personal rights, authority is flouted and restrictions are resisted. Like the Israelites in the days of the judges, sinful people want to do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 21:25; Deuteronomy 12:8).

But is also a day of addiction, not only to alcohol and drugs but also to sexual passions, violence, and many other forms of bondage in which a person eventually becomes powerless to escape. When people choose to persist in a sin, they develop less and less control over it until eventually they forfeit any choice entirely. Except for the extremity of their situations, debilitated addicts are no different from most of the lost in the world today. I tell you the truth, everyone who [habitually practices] sin is a slave to sin (John 8:34). Fallen people are slaves to their sinful nature, an addict who cannot successfully control his sinful thoughts and actions even when they want to. And ironically, the more they insist on their self-centered freedom, the more they become enslaved to sin. However, in the passage quoted above, Yeshua gave the remedy for true freedom: So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). That is the great manifesto of all believers in Messiah and the theme of the letter to the Galatians: freedom in Yeshua Messiah.

Paul had already spoken of our freedom in Messiah (2:4) and presented an analogy illustrating the believer’s spiritual descent from Abraham’s wife Sarah, a free woman (to see link click BqAbraham had Two Sons, Ishma’el by the Slave Woman and Isaac by the Free Woman). He declared that it is for freedom that Messiah set us free (5:1). But because the idea of freedom in Messiah is so easily misinterpreted and misapplied, Paul knew the importance of understanding its true significance. Therefore, here, he briefly explains freedom’s basic nature and purpose.133

The sentence: Brothers and sisters, you were called to freedom (5:13a), is transitional, reaching back to all that has come before it, summing up the whole preceding argument for our freedom in Messiah and looking ahead to what fallows, in that it introduces a completely new aspect of the matter of freedom . . . the danger of abusing it. To those who had a working understanding of the Torah, the teaching of our freedom in Messiah might have meant that there is nothing to stand in the way of the unrestrained indulgence of one’s own sinful impulses. During his ministry Paul frequently had people react to his teaching in this way to his teaching on grace. The questions of Romans 6:1 and 6:15, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so grace may abound?” and “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under [legalism] but under grace?” were asked by someone who did not understand grace.

Paul answers these questions in Romans 6, by showing that the control of the sinful nature over the individual is broken the moment a person believes in Yeshua and is indwelt with the Ruach ha-Kodesh. Such a person would, at that time, hate sin and love righteousness, and would have both the desire and the power to keep from sinning and to do God’s will. Paul teaches in Galatians that the power of the Ruach exercises more control over the believer than obedience to the 613 commandments of the Torah ever did, and who gives the believer both the desire and power to refuse the wrong and choose the right, a thing which the Torah was never able to do. As a result, the believer passes out of the control of a mere legal system into the control of a Person, the Spirit of God.

When Yeshua died and was resurrected, we passed from the Dispensation of Torah to the Dispensation of Grace. The Torah was, and is, still righteous (see Af The Torah or Righteousness), and still valid as our blueprint for living (see the commentary on Exodus Dh Moses and the Torah). The Torah was not abolished (see the commentary on Exodus DuDo Not Think That I Have Come to Abolish the Torah). God knew what He was doing. He did not leave the world without a restraining hand. He ran this world for 2,500 years before the Torah was enacted, and He can run it again. He does not need the help of legalistic teachers and preachers in the Church (see Ak The Hebrew Roots Movement: A Different Gospel) who think they are helping Him control this world by imposing legalism on grace.

Indeed, it is the general ignorance and lack of recognition of the ministry of the Ruach ha-Kodesh that is responsible for the tendency of the Church of adding legalism (baptism, tongues, etc.) to grace. There is a recognition that the flesh was still sinful even though its power over the individual was broken, and, as a result, the feeling that the child of god still needs a restraint, as it should be. But the mistake that is so often made is that the perversion of the Torah, or legalism, is substituted for the restraint of the Ruach ha-Kodesh with disastrous results. Not only does the Torah not restrain evil, but on the other hand, it brings out evil in the believer because our sinful nature rebels against it (Romans 7:7-13). The Ruach ha-Kodesh strove with men before the Torah was given, and He still continues to do so. And moreover, He indwells all believers and has their cooperation in restraining evil. He will restrain evil until the Church is Raptured (see the commentary on Revelation ByThe Rapture of the Church). No pastor or Messianic rabbi ever helps his flock live a holy life in Messiah by putting them under legalism and let them smell the fire and brimstone of the Lake of Fire. A policeman on the street corner is a far more efficient deterrent of breaking the law than any number of city ordinances posed for public notice. To understand the ministry of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, is far more productive in our victory over sin than the imposition of any list of rules. Thus, the controlling ministry of the Ruach ha-Kodesh is the key to holy living. And that is Paul’s point here.134

Only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh (5:13b). Paul warns believers who were tempted to abuse their freedom in Messiah is not a means for satisfying the desires of the flesh, but for opposing it. Flesh here does not refer to the physical body but to the sinful inclination of fallen mankind, the old self, whose supreme desire is to do its own will and to satisfy its sinful appetites. It is a synonym for sinful self-will. Messiah does not give freedom to believers so they can do what they want but so they can, for the first time, do what God wants, because of love for Him. Live as free people, but not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil. Rather, live as God’s slaves (First Peter 2:16). To advocate immorality or corruption in the name of our freedom that we have in Messiah is to deny our Lord, who gives freedom from sin, not freedom to sin. Put on the Lord Messiah Yeshua, and stop making provision for the flesh – for its cravings (Romans 13:14).135

The antidote against using their freedom from legalism as an excuse for sinning, is found in Paul’s appeal: But through love serve one another (5:13c). The Greek word for love here is agape, which refers, not to human affection but to divine love, the love produced in the heart of the yielded believer to the Ruach ha-Kodesh, and the love with which that believer should love other believers. This love is a love whose chief essence is self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one who is loved. Such a love means death to self, and that means defeat for sin, since the essence of sin is self-will and self-gratification. The Galatian believers were rescued from the slavery which legalism imposed, and were brought into a new bondage, that of a loving, glad, and willing service to ADONAI and mankind which eliminates self-will and subordinates all selfish desires to love. This is the secret to victory over the totally deprived nature whose power over the believer was broken at the moment of salvation, when that old sin nature attempts to seduce the believer to use his freedom as an excuse to sin.

Up to this point the apostle had tried to discourage the Galatian believers from once again placing themselves under the bondage of legalism by listening to the false doctrine of the Judaizers. But now he exhorts them to love one another. If they do this, he says, they will fulfill the Torah. For the whole Torah can be [fully obeyed] in a single saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14; Leviticus 19:18; Romans 13:8-10; James 1:27). But how are we to understand this? Paul’s statement becomes clear to us when we understand that the heart of the Torah, and all that it requires, is revealed in love. At the moment of salvation we pass from condemnation to acceptance, from being the enemy of God (James 4:4) to being a child of God. We are adopted into the family of God, not by a set of written commandments, but by the love of God that produces in the heart of the yielded believer both the desire and power to live life by the dominating principle of love. God’s love, which exercises a stronger and stricter control over the heart, and is far more efficient at extinguishing sin than the Judaizers could ever dream of.

Then to reemphasize the need for believers to use their freedom to serve one another (5:13c), Paul stresses the negative side of that truth – in the form of a warning about what happens when believers do not love and serve one another. They become destructive and bite and devour one another (5:15a). The words bite (Greek: dakno) and devour (Greek: katesthio), were commonly used in classical Greek in connection with wild animals in a deadly struggle. We are not specifically told what the deadly struggle was about, but the context dictates that it was the Judaizers who were at the root of all their deadly struggles. By devouring one another, Paul does not mean that they will lose their salvation, but that such infighting, if continued, would destroy the fellowship and witness of the churches in Galatia. So he warned: Watch out that you are not destroyed by one another (5:15b).136

The Ruach ha-Kodesh does not minister in a vacuum. He uses the Word of God, prayer, worship, and the fellowship of believers to build us up in Messiah. When we spend time daily in the Word and prayer, and yield to the Ruach’s working in our lives, we enjoy freedom and build up our fellowship of believers using our spiritual gifts.

Dear Heavenly Father, We love You! We praise You for releasing us from the slavery of trying to follow the law perfectly, of trying to earn Your love by good works. Thank you that chose to make your son became our sin offering. For He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (Second Corinthians 5:21). You clothed us with Messiah, for all of you who were immersed in Messiah have clothes yourselves with Messiah. You made us all sons of God through trusting in Messiah Yeshua (Galatians 3:27, 26).

Your awesome, magnificent love causes us to want to love You back with all we have. This world is just a passing vapor. We will be gone in the blink of an eye and the only thing that matters is what we have done for Jesus with a loving attitude. Thank You that though our salvation is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), You allow us the privilege of serving You and You reward those who choose to honor You with Godlike attitudes. Now if anyone builds on the foundation (- which is Yeshua the Messiah (v. 11) with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear. For the day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work – what sort it is. If anyone’s work built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. (First Corinthians 3:12-14).

Praise You that You have not only freed us from sin’s penalty, but You also freed us from sin’s power and will deliver us from sin’s presence. You also allow us the blessing of serving You and You promise to take all who follow Yeshua as Messiah into your eternal Kingdom (Colossians 1:13) and to the home that You are preparing for Your loved ones. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may also be (John 14:3). In the name of Your Holy Son and the power of His resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T12:46:01+00:00 0 Comments

Bt – A Little Chametz Works Its Way Through the Whole Batch of Dough 5: 7-12

A Little Chametz Works Its Way
Through the Whole Batch of Dough
5: 7-12

DIG: What is Paul’s tone here in verses 7-12? Why does this issue move him so strongly? How did he go from being accepted to an enemy? What went wrong? What is chametz (leaven) a symbol of? How does Paul use it in his letter to the Galatians? What were the Judaizers confusing the Galatians about? What were they saying about Paul? How was the fact that Paul was being persecuted disprove their lies? How was the cross a stumbling block to the Judaizers? How is it a stumbling block to people today?

REFLECT: How is your race going? Have you stumbled lately? Have you gotten up, dusted yourself off, and gotten back in the race? How so? Is there any chametz in your life right now? How about in your family? How about in your Messianic synagogue or church? What should you do when you find it? Is there any legalism in your place of worship? How would you recognize it in the first place? What can you do about it?

Employing a metaphor he was fond of, Paul described the Galatian believers’ experience as a race. They had begun their race well, but someone had blocked them, cut in on them, causing them to break stride and stumble. After exposing the false dangers that threatened the Galatians, Paul now exposes the wicked character of the men who espoused the doctrines.

Paul was fond of athletic illustrations and used them often in his letters. His readers were familiar with the Olympic Games as well as other Greek athletic contents that always included footraces. It is important to note that Paul never uses the image of the race to tell people how to be saved. He is always talking to believers about how to live a godly life. It is important to note that a person had to be a citizen to participate in the Greek games. We became citizens of heaven through faith in Messiah, then the Lord puts us on our course, and we run to win the prize (Philippians 3:12-21). We do not run to be saved; we run because we are already saved and want to fulfill God’s will in our lives.131

You were running a great race (to see link click Bf O Foolish Galatians, Who has Cast a Spell on You)! When Paul first came to them, they received him as an angel from God (Galatians 4:14). They accepted the Word, trusted the Lord Yeshua Messiah, and received the Ruach ha-Kodesh. They had a deep joy that was evident to all, and were willing to make any sacrifice to accommodate Paul. But now, Paul was the enemy. What happened? Who blocked you, cut in on you, from following the truth? This detour doesn’t come from the One who calls you. The doctrine of faith plus works does not come from ADONAI. They had switched from operating in the sphere of faith to operating in the sphere of Torah (5:7-8).

Paul then changed his figure of speech from athletics to cooking. A little chametz works its way through the whole batch of dough (5:9)! Chametz is generally pictured as a symbol of evil in the TaNaKh. During Pesach, for example, no chametz was allowed in the house (Exodus 12:15-19 and 13:7). Worshipers were not permitted to mingle chametz with sacrifices (Exodus 34:25), though there were some exceptions to this rule. Yeshua used chametz as a picture of sin when He warned against the chametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:6-12). And Paul used chametz as a symbol of sin in the church at Corinth (First Corinthians 5). Chametz is really a good illustration of sin: It is small at the beginning, but if left alone, it grows and permeates the whole. It always costs you more than you want to pay, and takes you further than you want to go. The false doctrine of the Judaizers (see AgWho Were the Judaizers?) was introduced to the Galatian churches in a small way, but before long, the chametz grew and eventually took over. But once deeds are added to the simple gospel of faith plus nothing, it is corrupted and there is no end to it.

I am confident in the Lord that you will not think otherwise (5:10a). The Judaizers were saying that Paul was a hypocrite because he taught circumcision in certain cases. In Acts 15, Paul argues against circumcision for Titus (see the commentary on Acts Bs The Council at Jerusalem), but in Acts 16 he circumcised Timothy (see the commentary on Acts BwTimothy Joins Paul and Silas). But Paul never taught that circumcision was mandatory for salvation.

But the one who is confusing (Greek: tarasso, meaning to disturb the faith of someone) you will pay the penalty, whoever he is (5:10b). Whoever this one was, because he stood against ADONAI and His truth, he, along with the other Judaizers, would carry the full weight of their own judgment for disturbing the faith of the Galatians. False teachers often cause many others to follow their immoral ways, and as a result the way of the truth will be maligned. In their greed they will exploit you with false words. But their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction does not slumber . . . the Lord certainly knows how to keep the unrighteous being punished until the Day of Judgment (Second Peter 2:2-3 and 9).

The one who was confusing the Galatians, and the Judaizers were saying that Paul was still preaching circumcision when it suited his purpose. Paul answered this charge by calling attention of the Galatians to the fact that he was still being persecuted, implying that it was because he was against legalism. The implication is clear that Paul at one time, before he was saved on the road to Damascus (see the commentary on Acts Bc Sha’ul Turns from Murderer to Messiah), preached the necessity of circumcision as a means of acceptance with God. There is no evidence that he included circumcision in his preaching after he was saved. It is clear that he made a clean break with legalism as a method of salvation before he started his ministry.

The book of Acts records that fact that he was continually being persecuted by the Jews because of his break with legalism. It was as a Pharisee that he had preached circumcision. As for me, brothers and sisters, if I still proclaim circumcision for Jews, why am I still being persecuted (see the commentary on Genesis ElGod’s Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham)? The word if, is from the Greek ei. It is a contrary-to-fact condition. Paul denied that he was preaching circumcision. The very fact that Paul was being persecuted meant that he was preaching the simple gospel of salvation equals faith-plus-nothing.

The persecution of Paul had its basis in the fact that the cross was an offense to the Jews. What made the cross so offensive to them? If I still proclaim circumcision, then the stumbling block of the cross has been eliminated (5:11). In other words, if circumcision was preached as one of the prerequisites of salvation, then the cross of Messiah would cease to be an offense. The offensiveness of the cross to the Jew lay in the teaching that believers in Yeshua are free from the legalism of perfectly obeying the 613 commandments of Moshe. That was the very point of contention when the Great Sanhedrin (see the commentary on The Life of Christ LgThe Great Sanhedrin) was trying Stephen. Their charge was not that he was worshiping the Crucified One. But that he was preaching blasphemy against the Temple, circumcision, and legalism (Acts 6:13-14). All of which goes to show that the Jew of the first century had perverted the Torah, salvation is, and has always been, by faith-plus-nothing.

The cross still offends people in the world (First John 2:15-16) today for the same reason. Whether Jew or Gentile, all mankind is prone to trust in what they can do for themselves and are offended when told they can do nothing at all to make themselves right before God. To preach the cross invites persecution because it is the supreme offense to righteousness through deeds. But as Peter boldly proclaimed before the Great Sanhedrin: There is no salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12)!

Paul was only human, and he became so upset at the false teaching of those Judaizers that he exploded: I only wish those who are agitating you would castrate (Greek: apokopto, meaning bodily mutilation, to cut off) themselves (5:12)! Paul expresses the wish that the Judaizers would not stop at cutting off the foreskin, but would go on to cutting the whole thing off for all the good it would do! If cutting off a little bit of skin would improve your standing before God, why stop there? Why not cut a lot of skin off! Obviously, he was using exaggeration to make his point that no amount of cutting would result in justification.132

From what Paul has said so far, a question could legitimately be raised. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? But Paul answered his own question: May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it (Romans 6:1-2)? If I am saved by grace, can I do anything I want to? Is that what our freedom in Messiah really means? So to make sure that he is not misunderstood, Paul now deals with this issue of freedom in the next file.

 

2020-04-02T12:36:17+00:00 0 Comments

Bs – Freedom in Messiah is Based on Favor 5: 1-6

Freedom in Messiah is Based on Favor
5: 1-6

DIG: What is at stake here in verses 1-4? What does Paul mean by “a yoke of slavery?” Since merely keeping a set of rules isn’t a relationship with God, what does Paul say about that in verse 6? What is the difference between justification and sanctification? How are we to show our dependency in ADONAI?

REFLECT: How much of a difference does your certain future hope make in your life now? What “spiritual yardstick” does your Messianic synagogue or church use to see who measures up? How does it compare with verse 6? How have you seen our freedom in Messiah abused? How is verse 6 an antidote to those who think their freedom in Messiah gives them the freedom to do anything they want to do? How do you know you are saved?

Paul urges the Gentile Galatians to hold on to the freedom from legalism which Yeshua Messiah had bought for them by His blood on the cross. Furthermore, he argued that Jewish status and circumcision are irrelevant with regard to salvation.

It is for freedom that Messiah set us free- so stand firm and receive it. It’s your choice. And do not be burdened by a yoke of slavery to legalism again, or think that’s going to give you a right standing before God (5:1). It’s as if Paul was saying, “Don’t go back to legalism because you will be worse off than you were to start with. Therefore, Messiah set us free in two ways. First, He set us free from the power of sin. We are sinners by nature and sinners by choice. But now, because of His sacrifice on the cross, we have a choice. Now because of the indwelling of the Ruach ha-Kodesh we can say no to sin. But second, Yeshua has liberated us from legalism. If you think that your salvation is based on what you do, you have a problem. Because you can never do enough. And there is always that voice in the back of your head telling you that you’re no good.

In Judaism, the yoke of mitzvot (a general principle for living seen in Deuteronomy 11:22; Second Kings 17:37; Proverbs 6:20; Matthew 26:10; Mark 14:6) is regarded as a joy to bear. So if the Torah is based on trust and faithfulness (3:5), then, as Yeshua put it : My yoke, the yoke of obedience to the Torah’s true meaning (to see link click Af The Torah of Righteousness), as upheld by Messiah Himself (see the commentary on Exodus Du Do Not Think That I Have Come to Abolish the Torah), is easy (because it is based on faith alone), and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). The yoke of mitzvot becomes slavery only when the Torah is perverted into legalism (see the commentary on The Life of Christ EiThe Oral Law), as the Judaizers (see AgWho Were the Judaizers?) would have the Galatian Gentiles do.

When Paul wrote, a proselyte of the covenant (see the commentary on Acts BbAn Ethiopian Asks about Isaiah 53: the third level were Proselytes of the Covenant) had to (1) immerse himself in a mikveh for ritual purification, (2) offer a sacrifice at the Temple (a requirement which ended when the Temple was destroyed) and, if a man, (3) be circumcised. In other words, circumcision is part of an initiation rite which makes a Gentile part of the Jewish community. At that point he ceases to be a Gentile, becomes a Jew and voluntarily obligates himself to do everything a Jew is expected to do. And what is a Jew expected to do? Obey the 613 commandments of the Torah. In fact, at his initiation, a Gentile convert to Judaism commits to obey the Torah even before he fully understands what his commitment means.126

It is for freedom that Messiah set us free- so stand firm, and do not be burdened by a yoke of slavery to legalism again (5:1). This one verse could be a summary statement for what Paul is about to say in Chapters 5 and 6, but could also be a concluding statement for what he has just said in Chapters 3 and 4. This going back to a yoke of slavery is especially true for people who at one time had been trying to live up to the 613 commandments of Moses, but had been freed from that impossible task, but while intellectually, they know they are set-free, nevertheless, in practice, they find themselves in slavery. This is especially true of Jewish believers who come from Orthodox backgrounds. Even after accepting Messiah as their Lord and Savior, some still feel obligated to continue keeping the various kosher dietary commandments, festivals, fasts, and things of that nature. Now, Jews have the freedom in Messiah to do those things if they want, but it is a whole different story if one feels obligated to do so. The one who thinks those things are mandatory, would still be entangled in a yoke of slavery. Gentiles can have the same issue (see Ak The Hebrew Roots Movement: A Different Gospel).127

Then the apostle turns to those Gentile believers who had been deceived (see Bf O Foolish Galatians, Who has Cast a Spell on You), and says: Listen – I, Paul, tell you that, hypothetically, if you let yourselves be circumcised, thinking you will be justified, Messiah will be of no benefit to you (5:2) because grace and legalism are mutually exclusive (see Bq Abraham had Two Sons, Ishma’el by the Slave Woman and Isaac by the Free Woman). The Judaizers added circumcision to the gospel for Gentiles. They felt that Gentiles could be justified by means of the Torah, which is a different gospel (1:6). Those Gentiles should have known that the power of the Ruach ha-Kodesh came to them on the basis of faith, not deeds. In the Dispensation of Torah, the Ruach came upon believers in order that they might perform a certain service for God, and then left them when that service was completed. He did not indwell them for the purpose of sanctification (see the commentary on The Life of Christ KzYour Word Is Truth). Paul had taught the Galatians that God’s grace guaranteed their eternal security (see the commentary on The Life of Christ MsThe Eternal Security of the Believer), and so they understood that he was speaking of their life-long experience as believers, not their justification, or their standing before ADONAI.128

Again, I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised, that he is obligated to keep all 613 commandments of the Torah (Galatians 5:3). It’s as if Paul were saying to those Gentile believers, “Go home and read all of Leviticus and all of Deuteronomy and see if that’s the way you want to live your life.” This verse continues the argument of verse 2. Not only would the Galatians lose the effectiveness of the Ruach in the living of their daily lives, but they would be assuming the burden of the entire 613 commandments of Moshe. For whoever keeps the whole Torah, but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all (James 2:10). Hence, Paul warned them that acceptance of circumcision would be, in principle, acceptance of legalism. The fact that Paul had to explain this to them implies that the Judaizers had not done so. Because Ha’Shem’s standard was so obviously impossible to attain, the truth of Deuteronomy 27:26 should have driven every Jew to seek His mercy: Cursed is the one who does not uphold the words of the Torah by doing them.

There are three areas that we are said to be free from perfectly keeping the 613 commandments of Moshe. First, we are free from the curse of the Torah (3:10 and 13); secondly, we are free from being saved by the Torah (3:11-12); and thirdly, here, we are free from any obligation to obey any of the 613 commandments of the Torah. You cannot keep part of the 613 commandments, you must keep all of them. And not only keep all of them, but keep all of them perfectly. If you break one, you’re broken them all. For whoever keeps the whole Torah, but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of violating the whole Torah and under a curse (James 2:10).

You who are trying to be justified by Torah (Galatians 5:15; Leviticus 19:18) have been cut off from Messiah; you have fallen away from grace (5:4). This verse does not mean that they would lose their salvation. In Chapters 5 and 6 Paul deals with the practical application of living out the life of a believer (see BrThe Practical Argument: The Effects of Liberty). So, when Paul says: You have fallen from grace, it answers a question. And the question is not grace and Torah, but grace or Torah. In other words, the one who is now a believer and is undergoing a process of sanctification, can operate in one of two spheres. He can operate in the sphere of faith, or he can operate in the sphere of legalism. In both Romans and Galatians Paul has emphasized the fact that our sanctification is accomplished by means of faith. Legalism cannot justify us or sanctify us. When we are adopted into the family of God, we have a choice. We can operate in the sphere of faith and enter into the stream of blessing that YHVH has set up in this world for those who obey His Word. When we do this, our spiritual lives are going to generally go better and we will be blessed. However, there are those who choose to operate in the sphere of legalism, entering the stream of cursing because it is an impossible task. People like this try to live life on their own terms and their spiritual lives will generally not go well without the power of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 129 There is a highway of grace, with the ditch of license on one side and the ditch of legalism on the other. Those Galatian believers had veered off the highway of grace into the ditch of legalism. They are still saved, but not living a victorious life of a believer.

For through the Ruach, by faith, we, the true believers, eagerly wait for the hoped-for righteousness that is based on His grace (5:5). The Judaizers hoped-for righteousness was based on adding imperfect and worthless deeds of the Torah in a vain attempt to complete the perfect and priceless work of Messiah on the cross, which they assumed to be incomplete and imperfect. Believers already possess the complete, imputed righteousness of justification, but the yet-incomplete righteousness of glorification in heaven still awaits us. For I consider the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed to us . . . the creation itself will be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:18 and 21). Here, Paul mentions three characteristics of the godly life, the life that continues to live by grace through which salvation was received (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Bw What God Does For Us at the Moment of Faith). First of all, it is a life lived through the Ruach rather than through the flesh. Second, it is a life by faith rather than deeds. And third, it is a life lived in patient waiting and hope rather than in the anxious uncertainty of the bondage of legalism.

For in Messiah Yeshua, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any meaning, so far as being accepted by God. One is not going to be saved because he is circumcised, and one is not going to be condemned because he is not circumcised. Nothing that is either done or not done in the flesh makes any difference in one’s relationship to ADONAI. The outward is totally unimportant and worthless, except as it genuinely reflects inner righteousness.

Life in the Ruach is not static and inactive, but what matters is trust and faithfulness expressing itself through good deeds done in love (5:6), not the flesh working through self-effort. Believers are created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). But our good deeds are a product of our faith, not a substitute for it. Good deeds are not the purpose of our faith, but the result of our faith. Therefore, we walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good deed, and growing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all the power of His glorious might (Colossians 1:10-11a).

The story is told of an aspiring artist who was commissioned to fashion a large sculpture for a famous museum. At last he had the opportunity to create the masterpiece he had long dreamed of. After laboring over the work for many years, he saw it grow not only in shape, but in beauty. But when it was finished, he discovered, to his horror, that it was much too large to be taken out of a window or door and that the cost of tearing down part of the building in order to remove it was prohibitive. His masterpiece was forever a captive to the room in which it was made. This is the fate of all human effort to work oneself to heaven. Nothing a person does to earn God’s favor can leave the room of this earth where one’s self-made good deeds are created.130

How do you know that you are saved? Is it because you feel saved? There are those who think that if God doesn’t split that ceiling and knock their sock off with a lightning bolt then they won’t believe that they are saved. Friend, feelings are the caboose of your faith, not the engine. The way we know that we’re saved is because ADONAI promised it, and you believed in that promise (see Bl The Promises were Spoken to Abraham and to His Seed). For, “Everyone who calls upon the name of ADONAI shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Messiah alone.

Dear Holy Heavenly Father, We love You! Thank You that the door to Heaven is not opened on the basis of someone’s works, but rather on the basis of Christ’s work as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) sacrificed in our place (Leviticus 1:4), bearing our punishment for sin (Hebrews 9:26). For by grace you have saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves – it is the gift of God. It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boost. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Praise You and thank You dear Father for giving us Your Son as our sin offering and then clothing us in His righteousness. He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (Second Corinthians 5:21).

Your Awesome, Magnificent Love causes us to desire to respond back with our love and so we offer you ourselves – our time, thoughts, finances, relationships and all that we have. We loving desire to please You with all we have and are – for Your eternal glory. In the name of Your Holy Son and the power of His resurrection. Amen

 

2020-04-02T12:27:57+00:00 0 Comments

Br – The Practical Argument: The Effects of Liberty 5:1 to 6:10

The Practical Argument:
The Effects of Liberty
5:1 to 6:10

In 1:11 to 2:21, Paul describes his personal argument, that he received an independent revelation through Yeshua Messiah. Paul declared that he was appointed an apostle by Yeshua before he met the other apostles; when he did meet them he was received as an equal. In 3:1 to 4:31 Paul defends his doctrine of justification by faith alone against the Judaizers (to see link click AgWho Were the Judaizers?) in his doctrinal argument.

Here, in 5:1 to 6:10 the inspired apostle presents his practical argument designed to correct the havoc which the teaching of the Judaizers was causing in the personal lives of the believers in Galatia. In 4:19 Paul expresses the wish that the Galatians would be molded into the image of Messiah; however, as it turned out, the Galatians had left their first love (see the commentary on Revelation Az The Church at Ephesus), which before the coming of the Judaizers had been so obvious. This was the direct result of the Judaizer’s legalistic teachings. The Galatian believers, instead of depending upon the indwelling of the Ruach ha-Kodesh to mold them into the image of Messiah, were depending upon the flesh in an attempt to perfectly obey the 613 commandments of Moshe. Accordingly, Paul’s practical teaching emphasis the ministry of the Ruach, and the Galatians were encouraged to put themselves under His control.125

When we get to the fruit of the Ruach in 5:22 and 23, the first grouping of three, love, joy, and peace are God-ward, everything flows from that, and are all single syllable words; the second grouping of three, patience, kindness, and goodness are man-ward, how we treat each other, and are all two syllable words; and the third grouping of three, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are in-ward, it’s how we become what ADONAI wants us to be, and are all three syllable words.

 

2020-04-02T12:08:12+00:00 0 Comments
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