• Fruits of the Spirit – Meekness
• Thy Kingdom Come
• From Stones to Bones
The Apostle Paul wrote, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law,” Galatians 5:22-23.
As mentioned in the previous installments, these nine attributes form the foundation or bedrock of what it is to be a believer in Messiah. If we desire to emulate and follow in our Savior’s footsteps, then we must adopt and live by the characteristics we find here. It’s not enough to keep the Sabbath and other commandments, but we must go beyond this and change who we are on the inside.
In Matthew 23 Yahshua refers to what He calls the weightier matters – judgment, mercy, and faith. I believe the attributes we see in Galatians 5 would also be considered the weightier matters. And as believers we should always be pursuing them.
Does this mean, then, that commandments like the Sabbath are not important? The answer is obviously no; Yahweh’s commandments are critically important. We know that Yahshua and the apostles, including Paul, faithfully observed the commandments including the Sabbath and Feast days. Is it possible to obey these commandments and yet NOT be found worthy of the first resurrection? Based on the examples of the scribes and Pharisees, I believe this is a real possibility. And for this reason we must not only focus on the outward commandments but also on how we’re to change inwardly.
Let’s now continue with this series on the fruits of the spirit and focus on the next one: Goodness.
The Virtue of Goodness
The Greek word for goodness is agathosune, and according to Strong’s Concordance means “goodness, i.e. virtue or beneficence.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon tells us this word means “uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness.”
As for “virtue,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, this word refers to a conformity, to a standard of right, and to moral excellence. It also refers to strength or courage and to a commendable quality or trait.
I believe virtue here would refer to living according to good works that exemplify righteousness and moral excellence in the context of goodness. In short, it’s doing what is right and living a life that rightly reflects the morality and standards of Yahweh’s Word.
In some ways, goodness can be viewed differently from the other fruits we’ve looked at thus far. Previously we’ve looked at love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and gentleness—attributes that we show to our fellow man. While this is true for goodness, goodness is also something we do individually. Living a moral and virtuous life requires a sense of fidelity to our Heavenly Father apart from how we interact with one another.
Agathosune is found only four times in the New Testament, including Galatians 5. Let’s review the three other instances where this Greek word is found, the first being Romans 15:13-14.
“Now the Elohim of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
Romans was written by the Apostle Paul. In this passage we see him refer to several important attributes, a few of which have been mentioned throughout this series. For example, we find here joy and peace. As a reminder, joy is a sense of happiness we find through the Holy Spirit that is not conditional or based upon our current situation. If we’re going through some sort of trial or tribulation, we should still be able to have a sense of happiness in Yahweh.
This passage also refers to unity within the Messiah’s body and the peace of mind we find through Yahweh’s promises. Peace is somewhat related to joy and for a moment, notice where we find these two characteristics.
Paul says here that the Elohim of hope fills us with joy and peace. So we see that these attributes are from Yahweh through the Holy Spirit.
Paul closes by saying that we should also be full of goodness, i.e., virtue or righteousness. This virtue leads to knowledge and the ability to rightly admonish one another.
Now what does it mean “to admonish”? Strong’s defines this word as, “…to caution or reprove gently.” As we learned in the “gentleness” segment, when we reprove somebody, we should do so with kindness.
Source of Goodness
The second example of agathosune is found in Ephesians 5:2-13. “And walk in love, as Messiah also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to Yahweh for a sweet-smelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah and of Yahweh. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of Elohim upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in Yahweh: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto Yahweh. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”
Paul begins this passage by saying we should walk in love, as Messiah loved us. Yahshua gave His life as a ransom for our sins. During His ministry He said there wasn’t a greater love than to lay down one’s life for another.
As believers, do we have this same sense of love? If we want to be like Yahshua the Messiah, we must exemplify what it means to show love and concern for one another.
Paul also refers to specific sins within this passage. He mentions fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, and other works of the flesh. He says that some within that assembly were in darkness, meaning that they were guilty of some of these sins, but now they are in the light of Yahweh, meaning that they are now walking in goodness and virtue.
We know that goodness and righteousness come from Yahweh’s Word. In fact, without the Bible we would have no way of defining what is good or virtuous.
Worthy of Our Calling
Let’s move on to the last example of agathosune in 2Thessalonians 1:11-12. “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our Elohim would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Master Yahshua Messiah may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our El and the Master Yahshua Messiah.”
Here Paul encourages the Thessalonians that Elohim would count them worthy of this calling. The concept of being found worthy has mostly been lost today. Many would even define this as legalism or trying to earn our salvation. We know that we cannot justify ourselves or earn salvation; this comes only through Messiah’s blood and the washing of water through baptism. But once we’re justified or free from our sin, we must then live a life of goodness or virtue.
What happens if we refuse to live a life of goodness, a life that reflects the morality and righteousness of Yahweh’s Word? We’re going to miss the mark and not be found worthy of our calling.
You know, being found worthy implies that we must act or do something, living a life based on Yahweh’s goodness and virtue. When we do this, we also glorify Yahshua the Messiah.
Walking in Integrity
So by living a life of goodness, not only will we be found worthy of our calling, but we’ll also bring praise and honor to our Savior. And I would hope that we would desire to glorify the One who died for our sins.
Let’s view a few passages on integrity from the Old Testament, beginning with Proverbs 10:9. “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.” (KJV)
The New International Version translates it as, “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”
From both the King James and the NIV we find that walking uprightly is the same as a man walking in integrity. The word “integrity” is essential. It conveys the ideas of honesty and reliability, both of which are important to believers. When we walk uprightly or in a way that shows integrity, our path will be sure. This doesn’t promise health, wealth, and prosperity, but it does promise a direction that provides stability, if nothing else, of right morals and values. Even if we’re going through some trial or tribulation, it helps to know that the life we’re living and the decisions we’re making are based on Scripture. When we live according to Yahweh’s Word, there’s a sense of stability and strength within our lives.
In Isaiah 33:15-16, we find a promise of blessing for those who walk uprightly and in goodness. “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.”
This passage gives a few examples on how to obtain this blessing: We don’t oppress others for personal gain, we refrain from taking bribes, we do no hurt to others, and we remove ourselves from seeing or participating in evil. When we do these things, Yahweh promises that we’re going to dwell on high and He’s going to provide for our needs.
While this passage is multi-layered, much is a prophetic promise pointing to His Kingdom. This is why it’s so important that we as believers live a life of goodness and virtue, that we practice what is right according to our Father’s Word. Many today believe that goodness or virtue is either outdated or never really existed. Many will argue that virtue is subjective and that my virtue is as good as your virtue.
As believers in the Messiah, though, we know better. We know there is a one-core truth and that is Yahweh’s Word. As we read in Malachi 3:6, Yahweh doesn’t change: “For I am Yahweh, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
Lessons from Daniel
We must never deviate from or compromise Yahweh’s Word. When it comes to uncompromising, I often think about three illustrations in the Book of Daniel.
The first is when Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to eat of the king’s meat (Dan. 1:8). Some believe the king’s meat was either unclean or possibly sacrificed to idols. I tend to think the latter was true, but either way we know that something wasn’t right about it. Daniel convinced the prince of the eunuchs to feed them only vegetables and after 10 days to compare their health to the others. And as we know from the story, this was done and “at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat,” (v. 15).
There’s a lesson here for us: Sometimes we must take a stand – whether it’s with our job or even our families. Maybe it’s refusing to work on Sabbath or not attending our family’s Christmas dinner. Like Daniel, when we stand on Yahweh’s Word we’re going to be blessed. Daniel could’ve upset the king by refusing to eat his meat, but in the end he was blessed for standing on virtue.
The second instance is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s conviction when they refused to worship the golden image (Dan. 3). As the account goes, when the people heard the music, they were to bow down and worship this golden image.
But, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship this image, and so the King commanded they be thrown into a fiery furnace, which did not affect them. Yahweh not only protected them from the fire, but one like the son of Yahweh was in the furnace with them. This was likely Yahshua the Messiah in His preexistence. Yahweh divinely protected these three men for their devotion. They showed goodness and virtue in their faith.
In the last incident we see Daniel defying the king’s command and openly praying to Yahweh (Dan. 6:10). Daniel’s enemies convinced the king to enact a law prohibiting anyone from praying to their mighty one for 30 days.
They did this because they knew Daniel would not comply and as we know from the story, he continued to pray somewhat openly to Yahweh with his windows open. After word got to the king, Daniel was thrown into a den of lions, but Yahweh protected Daniel. Just as the fire did not affect Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the lions did not hurt Daniel.
For me, these cases show that Yahweh can do all things and when we choose to walk in virtue and integrity, we will be blessed.
Sometimes we lack the faith to walk in goodness or uprightness; we fear the consequences more than our Creator. But we should never fear doing what is right. Whether it means losing our job, upsetting our family, or even losing our lives, we should always seek to walk in goodness and do what is scripturally right.
Yahshua spoke about this in Matthew 5:15-16. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”
Yahshua encourages us not to hide our goodness, but to allow it to shine so that others can see and benefit from it.
When we are about our daily business, do we show ourselves to be different? One way we do this is by not cursing or using foul language. Recently one of my coworkers apologized to me for swearing in front me. I said or did nothing to prompt that response; he knew from my behavior that I was not one to use that kind of language.
It’s often not what we say but what we do that makes the real impact. Our behavior speaks far louder than anything we can ever say and that’s why it’s so essential we walk in goodness and virtue.
Others notice our behavior and the words we use. After all, we may be the only Bible some will ever read. In other words, the integrity that we show in our lives may be the only exposure to biblical truth that some will ever see. And that’s why Yahshua says to let our lights shine and why we must live a life of goodness, virtue, and uprightness of heart.
Paul also speaks about the importance and blessings of doing good. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith,” Galatians 6:9-10.
What do you suppose Paul’s referring to when he comments, “we shall reap”? He’s indicating the promise of Yahweh’s Kingdom. The fact is, when we live a life based on the Word, we will often receive pushback and even experience trials and tribulations. Paul’s telling us that even though we suffer, it’s worth it; the journey is worth the destination.
I don’t believe we can fathom the greatness of Yahweh’s Kingdom. Not only will we live forever as spirit beings, but we’ll also do so in a kingdom without sin and all the trappings of it. Just as Paul does, I would encourage you to realize that no matter what you’re going through or may go through, it’s all worthwhile.
Paul also declares that we should do good to all men, especially to those in the household of faith or the assembly. According to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, the phrase “do good” implies to act in a way that is pleasant, agreeable, joyful, and happy.
Are we acting in ways that others would define as pleasant and agreeable? Do we bring joy and happiness to those in the assembly? If the answer is yes, that’s great, but we need to ask why and what we can do to improve and do better if the answer is no.
Goodness Begins the Journey
Ephesians 2:10 shows we have a special calling as believers in Messiah. “For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua unto good works, which Yahweh hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
When we are immersed into Yahshua’s name, we rise as a new creature with newness of mind. It’s so important that after baptism we recognize we are a new person in Messiah.
When I counsel for baptism, I stress the idea that after baptism we’re to think and behave differently. We can’t live like we did before, our decisions and actions must be based solely on Yahweh’s Word.
This is what it means to walk unto good works. Our lives should reflect Yahshua the Messiah in all ways. While Yahshua obeyed the commandments, He also showed by example how to live the weightier matters; we must do the same.
Second Peter 1:5-7 shows a progression that begins with faith and virtue. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience holiness; And to holiness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
Another word for virtue is goodness, which also refers to being upright in heart. He goes on to say we should add knowledge to our virtue, temperance to our knowledge, patience to our temperance, holiness to our patience, brotherly kindness to our holiness, and charity or love to our brotherly kindness. Notice that this progression begins with virtue or goodness and ends with love.
The only way you know if the “church” is right is by measuring what they believe against the Word. Below are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
• Are they using and honoring the Names of Yahweh and Yahshua?
• Are they worshiping on the Sabbath (Saturday) and keeping it holy?
• Are they observing the biblical Feast days as we see in the New Testament?
• Are they eating kosher based on Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14?
• Are they applying Yahshua’s living example in their own walk?
Nothing is more necessary than baptism into Yahshua’s Name and the subsequent receiving of the Holy Spirit. As Acts 4:12 states, there is only one name under heaven whereby we find salvation, i.e., Yahshua. Baptism is the only way we become part of Messiah and receive the Holy Spirit, which is necessary for the first resurrection. While it’s normal to be nervous about baptism, that should not stop you. However, before baptism make sure you understand the commitment involved and repent for a life-change.
They seem to be confused over scriptural aspects of the Passover and man-made rituals that developed from them. In the original Passover, Israelites were gathered in their homes and required to slay a lamb. In Exodus 12 we learn that Israel was to roast the lamb and eat its charred carcass with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
This is hardly a feast. It was a solemn memorial, eaten in fear (12:11—where “haste” is the Hebrew chaphaz). Widespread death of firstborn was about to occur; therefore it was a solemn, apprehensive time, just the opposite of a joyful feast or fellowship meal.
Perhaps this group’s practice is a take-off of the Jews’ traditional meal called Seder, meaning “the order of the ritual,” on the 14th prior to their Passover on the 15th. The Seder grew out of the biblical Passover on the 14th, the true Passover time (Ex. 12:6). While the main Passover was kept at the Temple, the Seder was kept as a family prior to it.
The Seder meal had added rituals. Its four cups of wine are a talmudic legacy. After the Temple was destroyed many of its Passover rituals, except for the paschal lamb, were transferred to the home service.
In the New Testament Yahshua instructs the disciples to prepare the Passover lamb and unleavened bread for the memorial service in the large upper room (Luke 22:7). This is the same observance Israel kept in Egypt when they killed, roasted, and ate a lamb and the unleavened bread that went with it.
As they were eating the lamb and bread, Yahshua stood up and gave them new symbols to be used to represent Him: the cup with the fruit of the vine for His blood and the unleavened bread to represent His body. They were NOT eating a regular meal prior to the formal Passover service. They were observing the Passover itself by eating the sacrificial lamb (Luke 22:15). It was all one observance and one activity.
Paul chastises the Greek-influenced Corinthians for having a fellowship meal at Passover (1Cor. 11:20-22).
The Companion Bible says this was a social meal. This custom was Greek and called for each to bring his own food, so the rich ate well while the poor did not. It also led to the exclusion of some.
Paul condemns this, saying they are destroying the spirit of the Passover by this prior meal (vv. 23-31).
The Bible is clear: the Passover is not a time for fellowship meals–not before or after.
From Grace to Obedience
“Guilty” was the jury’s verdict. The judge’s sentence: death by lethal injection. For Adam Sinclair Smith, a convicted murderer, the nightmare of that January day seven years ago had played endlessly through his mind. In a jealous rage he had taken a man’s life. He realized that he deserved the death penalty for what he had done. No amount of agonizing or remorse could change that.
Regardless of how many times he pleaded for forgiveness from the victim’s family, no matter how much he wished he could relive events, one persistent fact remained: Adam deserved to die. The law was the law. He was guilty of a capital crime and would pay the utmost price for his sin. With nowhere else to turn, he sought mercy from the governor.
‘You Have Been Pardoned’
Just minutes before his scheduled execution, Adam heard the most wonderful words ever spoken to a condemned man: “By the grace of the governor of this state, you have been pardoned.”
“I can’t believe it,” he said to himself.
“He pardoned me! I can live!”
Humbly thankful for the gracious pardon, Adam vowed from that point on that he would be a model citizen. And he never was in trouble with the law again.
The foregoing illustrates the concept of scriptural grace and how it works in the believer’s life.
No person on earth is sin-free. Paraphrasing the words of Nathan the prophet to King David, “We are that man.” We all deserve to die for our sins, Romans 5:12; 1John 1:10. We earned our fate and nothing we can do can change that fact. Only the mercy of Yahweh and the sacrificial death of Yahshua can save us.
Being sinless, our Savior was the only one who could pay the death penalty in our stead. Yahweh’s grace in sending His Son to die for us is our only hope for salvation. Like the governor in Adam Smith’s case, only Yahweh and His Son can release us from the death sentence our sins earned.
In Romans 6 Paul explains the operation of Yahweh’s grace. The chapter is a profound study in the transformation that takes place in a True Worshiper under Yahweh’s grace. In the last verse of chapter 5 Paul writes, “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Yahshua the Messiah our Master.”
Few other concepts are as misunderstood as Yahweh’s grace. What does Paul mean in Ephesians 2:8 that we are saved by grace? Is he saying that the statutes of Yahweh are no longer binding in this New Testament era? If so, what of the many passages warning us of disobedience and the necessity to watch carefully lest we fall again into the condemnation of the unrighteous?
Now suppose the condemned man went right out and repeated the crime for which he was pardoned. Wouldn’t his actions violate the spirit of the pardon? Certainly! The governor didn’t save him by his grace so that he would go out and commit serious crimes all over again. Would not the courts and the governor deal with the man much more harshly the next time? Absolutely!
Yahweh’s grace is no different. What’s the point of Yahweh’s grace – His favor on sinful human beings – if once pardoned we deliberately return to sinful ways?
The words, “grace reigns through righteousness,” are key. The New Testament in Modern English translates the phrase, “Now grace is the ruling factor, with righteousness as its purpose and its end.” Grace is not static. It is active and it must work daily in the believer’s life.
Yahweh’s grace has an objective: that we will repent and turn from sin to live uprightly as we follow in Yahshua’s footsteps. Obedience is the mechanism allowing that to take place. That means to obey His laws, since sin is clearly defined as the transgression of the law, 1 John 3:4.
Paul explains further in chapter 6 how grace works in the life of the repentant sinner. “What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Yahweh forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (vv. 1-2)
To accept Yahweh’s grace—His pardon for our sins—and then turn back or continue sinful ways as if nothing happened is to pervert the whole purpose of grace. We make Yahweh’s grace pointless if we accept His pardon only to repeat the sin.
Hebrews 10:26-27 warns of practicing intentional sin: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
Further in the chapter we find this solemn warning: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden underfoot the Son of Elohim, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:29). The word “despite” means, “to insult.” If we continue in sin after receiving Yahweh’s grace, we show contempt for Yahweh.
Slipping up and making a mistake is one thing, willfully returning to sin is another entirely. In Galatians 6 Paul explains the difference.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself lest you be tempted.” “Overtaken” is the Greek prolambano and means, “to be taken off-guard in a trespass.” “Fault” is the word paraptoma and signifies a slip or lapse, rather than a deliberate act.
We have only this option: obey the law, which is righteousness, or don’t obey, which is sin. If we obey, we can’t be blamed.
The next part of the verse reads, “For you are not under the law but under grace.” How clear! Through Yahweh’s grace (His pardon) our former sins will not be held against us. The penalty for breaking the law has been paid by Yahshua’s sacrifice. By trusting in His grace, we will not need to pay the penalty ourselves, which the law demands.
The wages of sin is death, Paul wrote in Romans 6:23. In our case it is Yahshua’s death in exchange for our own. If we continue in sin that has been pardoned, we make a mockery of His sacrifice.
The Upright Not Condemned
Does this passage mean that we are free from the law now and can go out and sin again, as some seem to say? The Greek word for grace is charis and is defined as the divine influence on the heart and its reflection in one’s life.
Simply put, under Yahweh’s grace we now emulate His righteous nature. We begin to think and act as He does. That means refraining from sin, which is the same as adhering to His standard, His laws.
When we come in line with His law by righteous living, the law with its incrimination and penalties for the disobedient has no claim on us. In Romans 8:1-2 Paul explains this concept:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Messiah Yahshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yahshua has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
The critical word is “condemnation,” which results from lawbreaking. When we live according to Yahweh’s statutes, we are innocent of sin and therefore free from condemnation and punishment.
An unintentional slipup is certainly covered by grace for the repentant. But if you continue to repeat the sin, you are mocking the spirit of grace and are subject to Yahweh’s wrath.
Paul continues in verses 3-12 of Romans 6, asking, how can we who have followed Yahshua into the waters of baptism and have buried our old carnal life, continue in our old ways? Particularly since baptism means a putting to death of the “old man.” We must become dead to sin, he tells us in verse 11.
A person who has yielded his life to Yahweh, having put to death his sinful nature, must now live a new life of obedience, Paul explains in verse 13. As he puts it, we become “instruments of righteousness.”
Righteousness derives from a Greek word meaning right or just. The opposite is wrong or sin, which is lawbreaking.
Moving on in verse 14 Paul writes, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law but under grace.” Does he mean that after all he has just said about giving up sin that we are no longer under any obligation to obey Yahweh’s law? How is that possible when the law itself defines what sin is? (‘‘For where no law is, there is no transgression,” Rom. 4: 15.) Let’s examine the verse by segments.
First, for sin not to have dominion over us we have to be out from under it. The only way to accomplish that is by obedience to the law because sin by definition is lawbreaking.
As we have demonstrated, to be free of sin is to be obedient to His law. The same concept is found in Galatians 5: 16, where Paul writes, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
If grace means we are not under obligation to keep Yahweh’s laws, then grace gives the okay to sin! To this the prophet Jeremiah speaks for Yahweh in 7:9-10:
“Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other deities whom you know not; And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’?” Yahweh answers that because of these sins and that kind of attitude, “I will cast you out of my sight,” verse 15.
“But does that mean that I am free to do anything I please under grace?” you may be asking. Let Paul answer that question. The very next verse of this chapter, Romans 6:15, reads,
“What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? Yahweh forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey: whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Under Yahweh’s grace we are expected to live obedient lives, giving honor and worship to Him alone as His special people.
When we sin we are unrighteous. This is shown in verse 20: “For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.”
What ‘Under the Law’ Means
The converse is just as true: to be righteous is to be free from sin. No one can be legally arrested for doing good. No sheriff will arrest me for saving a drowning man. There is no law against doing good.
When you do good, you are not under the condemnation of any law. The demands of the law are already met, therefore, and you have no debt to the law. This is what Paul means by not being under the law. It does not mean the law is no longer in effect. A murderer would not be condemned to die if there were no law against murder. And he would not need a pardon or grace.
Yahweh offers His grace and sent Yahshua to die for our sins for the plain and simple fact that the law is still in effect. Because the law is in force, the penalty for breaking it is real, or else we would have no need to fear sin’s consequences.
Some will argue that Yahshua came to do away with the law and thus we are under grace. This belief falls flat if we can find grace in the Old Testament. Sure enough, in Genesis 6:8 we find, “Noah found grace in the eyes of Yahweh.” Because of grace, Yahweh saved him from the penalty of death by drowning. Exodus 34:5-7 reads like something out of the Book of Galatians. It speaks of Yahweh’s mercy, grace, longsuffering, and abundance in goodness and truth.
If grace existed in the days of ancient Israel, then why does Yahweh command Israel to keep the Ten Commandments? Why should it be any different with us?
We are under grace so long as we do not continue to break the law. Grace is not a permanent condition of the believer but a gift granted by Almighty Yahweh. That gift can be rejected through our rebellion and acts of disobedience. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of Elohim; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled,” Hebrews 12: 15.
Salvation Cannot Be Earned
Being law observant has nothing to do with “earning” salvation. I don’t get any special reward for paying my taxes on time, for keeping the peace, for not robbing my neighbor or mugging a stranger. I’m simply obeying laws. I’m not earning a thing by being law abiding.
Paul writes in the Book of Ephesians, “For by grace are you saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of Yahweh: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” 2:8- 9.
Nothing we humans can do earns us a place in the Kingdom because Yahweh has not defined obedience that way. Obedience simply engenders Yahweh’s favor and demonstrates our faith in and love for Him. Obedience is the criteria by which He judges us worthy for the kingdom. We are judged by our works, Romans 2:6; Revelation 22:12.
Now if I fail to pay my taxes, if I rob a bank, disturb the peace or mug someone, I will come under the penalty of the law. Yahweh says in Galatians 5:19-21 that those who practice sin are also lawbreakers. Unrepentant lawbreakers will not inherit the Kingdom.
Yahweh’s people love and serve Him and want above all else to please Him. In several Scriptures we find that the love of Yahweh is defined as the keeping of His commandments. (See John 14:15, 21; lJohn 2:5; 5:3; 2John 6.)
Only Yahweh can grant salvation and at His own pleasure. Therefore, we want to be sure we have His favor by being obedient to what He commands. “And being made perfect He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him,” we read in Hebrews 5:9.
Lawkeeping is not salvation by works. Rather, it is salvation by obedience. Obedience can’t guarantee me a position in the Kingdom, but disobedience will keep me out of it!
We complete our faith by following through with action. A faith that is sincere is proved by what we do about it. When we obey Yahweh’s commandments and other laws in our daily life, we prove our faith in Him while pleasing Him at the same time.
Yahweh’s grace is a wonderful gift. May we never forfeit that grace through willful disobedience.
Bible Translations Endorse the Sacred Name, but Avoid It.
“In regard to the divine name YHWH, commonly referred to as the Tetragrammaton, the translators adopted the device used in most English versions of rendering that name as “LORD” in capital letters…(New International Version)
This personal proper name, written with the consonants YHWH. was considered too sacred to be uttered; so the vowels for the words ‘my Lord’ or ‘God’ were added to the consonants YHWH, and the reader was warned by these vowels that he must substitute other consonants. (New English Bible).
While it is almost if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced ‘Yahweh,’ this pronunciation was not indicated when the Masoretes added vowel signs to the consonantal Hebrew text. (Revised Standard Version).
Erroneously written and pronounced Jehovah, which is merely a combination of the sacred Tetragrammaton and the vowel in the Hebrew word for Lord, substituted by the Jews for YHWH, because they shrank from pronouncing The Name. To give the name YHWH the vowels of the word for Lord (Heb. Adonai) and pronounce it Jehovah, is about as hybrid a combination as it would be to spell the name Germany with the vowels in the name Portugal-viz. Gormuna.(Emphasized Bible).
Following an ancient tradition begun by the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint) and followed by the vast majority of English translations, the distinctive Hebrew name for God(usually transliterated Jehovah or Yahweh) is in this translation represented by “Lord.” When Adonai, normally translated “Lord,” is followed by Yahweh, the combination is rendered by the phrase “Sovereign Lord. (Good News Translation).
The World English Bible main edition translates God’s Proper Name in the Old Testament as ‘Yahweh.’ The Messianic Edition and the British Edition of the World English Bible translates the same name as ‘LORD’ (all capital letters), or when used with ‘Lord’ (mixed case, translated from ‘Adonai’,) GOD. There are solid translational arguments for both traditions. (World English Bible).
There is yet another name which is particularly assigned to God as His special or proper name, that is, the four letters YHWH (Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 42:8). This name has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore, it has been consistently translated LORD. The only exception to this translation of YHWH is when it occurs in immediate proximity to the word Lord, that is, Adonai. In that case it is regularly translated GOD in order to avoid confusion. It is known that for many years YHWH has been transliterated as Yahweh, however no complete certainty attaches to this pronunciation. ”(New American Standard Bible).
For more info on the Sacred Name of Yahweh, please check out this article: https://yrm.org/scholars-attest-to-the-royal-name-yahweh/
Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry invites you to the 2021 Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) celebration in Holts Summit, Missouri, from the evening of September 22-29. This Feast offers incredible insight into our Father’s plan of salvation for mankind. It represents not only Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness, but prophetically points to the coming Kingdom, when Yahshua the Messiah will govern this earth with His saints, Revelation 20:6.
Don’t delay, dorm rooms are already booked up and the RV spots are nearly gone. There are still plenty of tent sites available.
We look forward to seeing you all at this wonderful feast!