The Bible is full of inspiration and tells us exactly what we are required to do as believers, as children of Yahweh. It instructs us how our loving Father wants us to have lives filled with love (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:20-21; 1Corinthians 13), joy, peace and Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), to enjoy many blessings and be a part of the coming Kingdom (John 14:23). Yet the Bible is so often misquoted; verses are often taken out of context and misunderstood. The answers are there… if we pray to Yahweh and ask for His help to understand His Word and His Way. If we read the book He provides for instruction and guidance, and if we allow Scripture to explain Scripture, it is amazing what we can discover and learn! (John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 1Thessalonians 5:17-21; 2Timothy 2:15).
One teaching that is based on misunderstandings and misinterpretations is the “saved by grace through faith alone” doctrine and associated misconceptions, such as: “The Old Testament is ‘old’ and therefore no longer relevant; we no longer need to keep Sabbaths and Feasts; Yahshua put an end to observing the law. In conclusion, we no longer need to do anything. All we need to do is have Faith.…”
REALLY? Is this scripturally supported? All we have to do is… NOTHING???
In this article, we will take a look at some New Testament Scriptures that can be erroneously transformed into a “saved by grace through faith alone” doctrine. We will also see what the New Testament actually says about following the Mosaic Laws, and see how we know the Old Testament is still valid.
These are some Scriptures used to “prove” that all we need is to have faith:
1) Matthew 5:17-18: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
2) Romans 3:28: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
3) Galatians 3:13: “Messiah hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”
(Restoration Study Bible, 3rd edition, based on the Old and New Testaments of the King James Version)
(We will look at these verses in more detail momentarily.)
WOW, if everything was done for us then all we have to do is… nothing! WHEW! Wait a minute…
Sometimes it is great to do nothing!!! Yes, it is important to rest and take some down time, but also consider… our residences do not come equipped with self-clean buttons, food does not cook itself (even with slow cookers and instant pots you still have to grow/buy your food and chop, prep, and add the ingredients!), and bills need to get paid. Therefore, we must have some income source; we need to shop for things needed for daily living, etc. We have to “do” things in order to live! Doing means action. We need to make an effort to make things happen. Makes sense, right? If we have to “do” in order to enjoy the blessings our Heavenly Father Yahweh provides now (food, shelter, clothing, etc.), then let us do as we are commanded to because there are bigger blessings yet to come with the Kingdom! (1Corinthians 2:9 and 3:8) Our efforts now to have faith and to obey can lead to eternal life where we will no longer get sick, suffer, die, nor want for anything, and we will live with our Almighty Father Yahweh! (Revelation 21:1-4)
Yahshua’s words as recorded in Matthew 7:21 state, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Master, Master’ will enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, but only those who are obedient to my Father who is in Heaven.” (Weymouth New Testament). Yahshua goes on to say that whoever hears what He is saying and does it is like a wise man who built his house on a rock that remains standing after a rainstorm, versus “a foolish man who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice and builds a house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, New International Version) Did you catch that? Yahshua says “he that doeth the will of my Father,” and “he that hears his words and does them” is like a wise man; not “he that has faith alone.”
There we see the “doing” theme, as Yahshua – the Son of Almighty Yahweh – taught. In addition, consider, did He tell His disciples following Him that all they needed to do, since they started to follow Him, was to have faith? NO! Yahshua sent them out to teach Yahweh’s ways, first to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 10:1-20), then after His death and resurrection, out to the Gentiles (Matthew 28:18-20).
If we need to “do,” by sheer logic that directly contradicts that we don’t have to “do”. In addition, nowhere in Scripture does it say that we are saved by grace and that faith alone is needed. In fact, James 2:14-26 very clearly and plainly states that both faith AND works are necessary. Here are some specific verses from James 2: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (v.17); “You believe that there is one [Elohim]. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!” (v.19); “a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (v. 24) (Holman Study Bible, NKJV edition). If nothing else in that Scripture stands out, then how about verse 24 which clearly says NOT BY FAITH ALONE! The Bible does not contradict itself (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, if we are being clearly told that both faith AND works are required, then logically we see that it CANNOT possibly teach that all you need is faith alone.
Let’s take a look at the Scriptures mentioned previously, often used to “prove” the faith-alone doctrine:
1) In Matthew 5:17-18, Yahshua said He “came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” and that not a thing, “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen of the Law will pass away until all is fulfilled.” (NIV) The Greek word for fulfill is “pleroo”, and it means to make full, to cause to abound, to render perfect, to carry out (taken from footnote in Restoration Study Bible 3rd ed.; see also Strong’s Greek Dictionary No. 4137). Some say that Yahshua fulfilled the Law and it’s done and over with and no longer applicable. If you examine the meaning of the word fulfill, AND look at the broader context of this Scripture (this is part of the Sermon on the Mount; why would Yahshua teach that which was being done away with?), it is clear that Yahshua is saying that He is carrying out the Law. In addition, if you look throughout the Evangels, you will see several examples of Yahshua following the Laws. Yahshua’s earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, went to the temple for Passover observances, and Yahshua went with them (Luke 2:41-42). Yahshua kept the Passover (Matthew 26:17-21; Mark 14:1-18; Luke 22:1-18) AND commanded His disciples to continue to do it in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19-20). When Yahshua healed the leper, He told the man to go to the temple and see the priest, and to give the offering according to what was “prescribed by Moses” (Matthew 8:2-4). Yahshua often quoted Mosaic Law: when He was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:4-10 and Luke 4:4-12), during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:27-48), when answering the Pharisees regarding their question as to why His disciples did not wash their hands before a meal (Matthew 15:3-4), when asked by a scribe what are the most important commandments (Mark 12:28-34), and when asked by someone what to do to gain eternal life, Yahshua answered, “If thou will enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17). Did you catch that? Yahshua clearly said “KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” Does it make sense that Yahshua would teach to keep the commandments if they were to be done away with? Clearly not. Also note: Yahshua quoted other Scriptures as well, which today are known as part of the Old Testament, specifically mentioning Isaiah and Hosea, for example (Luke 4:17-21; Matthew 9:13). He also refers to other Scriptures, such as Psalms (Matthew 21:42), for example. Why would Yahshua continually quote invalid OT Scriptures?
2) Romans 3:28 says, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (RSB). Cherry pickers love this one!!! As mentioned previously, the Bible does not contradict itself. In addition, it is good practice when reading and studying the Bible to look at the verse in context and to read what is before and after the verse (like when one reads any other book and applies context clues for deeper meaning). Therefore, if we read the entire third chapter of Romans, we learn Paul is teaching that Law is necessary because there is sin, and all fall short of the glory of Elohim; however, now through the sacrifice of Yahshua the Messiah, there is hope of being saved, both for Jews and for Gentiles, by having faith in Yahshua the Messiah. And to finish this thought, verse 31 clearly states: “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not: yea, we establish the law.” (RSB) “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” (NIV) Paul makes it abundantly clear that the Law is NOT voided, and two Bible versions are presented here, showing the Law is established, upheld!
3) Galatians 3:13 says, “Messiah hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” (RSB) Wow, the Law is a curse? Again, let us read the Scriptures around this verse for deeper meaning and look for understanding in context. This is a verse that in and of itself may not be easy to understand. However, if we take a look at what it says in the entire third chapter of Galatians, we see mentioned the faith of Abraham, whom had great faith in Yahweh and was obedient. This chapter of Galatians goes on to quote Deuteronomy 27:26 which states that, “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” (NIV) Since we all fall short, as discussed above, and no one but Yahshua the Messiah has followed all the Law perfectly, we must put our faith in Him, who by being hung on a tree became cursed, “being made a curse for us” (see also Deuteronomy 11:25; 21:22-23) and through Him “we find justification from that punishment and an opportunity to obtain grace” (Commentary from Restoration Study Bible v.13, 3rd ed.). If we are part of the body of Messiah, then we are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (v.29, RSB and NIV)
Oh wait, there’s one more… the end of the Law… Cherry pickers love this one too!
Romans 10:4: “For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (RSB)
Well, there you have it…Yahshua ended the law!!! Wait a minute… if we follow the logic presented so far, then we have seen that in Scripture: 1) there are no contradictions; the Bible does not contradict itself and all Scripture is valid; 2) it is recorded that Yahshua taught using the Laws and the Scriptures; 3) it is recorded how the apostles followed and taught the Laws long after Yahshua was resurrected; and, 4) we can search for answers about Scriptures within Scriptures, reading verses before and after and examining related chapters/verses. If we apply these principles, then we see that there must be a deeper meaning to this verse. In addition, as we saw above when examining Matthew 5:17-18, it is useful when studying Scripture to look up words in the Hebrew/Greek dictionaries and to cross-check Bible versions for deeper study. The word for end in Greek is “telos” which means to set out for a definite point or goal; it can also mean the conclusion of an act or state. (Note in Restoration Study Bible, see also Strong’s Greek Dictionary No. 5056.) Since there are two possible definitions, then we must look at Scripture for answers as to which definition applies here. If we apply what we know, that Scripture does not contradict itself, and look at how that same word “end,” (telos), is used in other Scriptures, we can arrive at its meaning in this one. We have seen in other Scriptures such as the need for the Law (Romans 3:31). There are other Scriptures where the word “end,” (telos), is used with the first definition; for example, James 5:11 (“the patience of Job and seen the end of Yahweh” – end meaning goal, for we know that Yahweh is eternal), and 1Peter 1:9 (“the end of your faith” – again, end meaning goal, as the same verse says “we receive salvation of our souls,” for salvation we must have faith, as we discussed). By following principles of Scripture study and looking at context and original language definitions, we see that the first definition applies here as well. Since Scriptures are not contradictory and other Scriptures show the word “end” (telos) meaning “goal,” the same meaning applies here.
In this discussion, we see that the doctrine of being saved by grace through faith alone is NOT scriptural and NOT what the Bible teaches. We clearly see that we must have faith AND obedience (doing what we are taught, following the commandments) in order to have hope for eternal life in the Kingdom. Having faith in Yahweh and in Yahshua the Messiah leads to obedience, and we learn what they teach and what we are required to do by reading and studying the Scriptures, Romans 1:3-5. Obedience means to follow what? The Laws, clearly spelled out in the Torah (the Pentateuch) written by Moses as commanded by Yahweh, as reiterated and illustrated in other books in the Old Testament and as taught and emphasized by Yahshua.
Not only did Yahshua follow and teach the Law, we also see that long after His death and resurrection the apostles (directly taught by Messiah) kept the Sabbath days and the Feasts. The book of Acts of the Apostles show many examples of this, including where the apostles and Jews were gathered and observed the Pentecost (known as the Feast of Weeks in the OT, 1:12-2:4); where Peter said he kept clean food laws (10:14); where Paul kept the Sabbaths and read aloud the Laws (13:14-15; 17:2 and 18:4); and where Paul was determined to arrive at Jerusalem for Pentecost (20:16). The apostles were following the example set by Yahshua. We are reminded that, as believers, we need to follow His example: 1Peter 2:21: “Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps” (RSB).
The Bible quotes in this article are taken from the Restoration Study Bible 3rd edition, which is based on the Old and New Testaments of the King James Version; the Weymouth New Testament (as found on biblehub.com); the New International Version (2011); and the Holman Study Bible New King James Version edition. Please read and study these Scriptures for your own edification. Continue to read and study, have faith and obey Yahweh’s ways, for your well-being and salvation.
~by Judy Stern as published in the Come to the Garden Women’s Blog