10th Response to Legalism
10th Response to Legalism
We begin again with the common understanding of what legalism is, doing works of the Torah, or law, to gain salvation, as defined by the bone of contention around the First Church Council: Acts 15:1, 15 (NKJV) “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” . . . 15But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.””
Romans 3:19-31 (NKJV) “Now we know that whatever the law [Torah] says, it says to those who are under the law [Torah], that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before Yahweh. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law [Torah] no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law [Torah] is the knowledge of sin. 21But now the righteousness of Yahweh apart from the law [Torah] is revealed, being witnessed by the Law [Torah] and the Prophets [means the entire Tanach], 22even the righteousness of Yahweh, through faith in Yahshua Messiah, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Yahweh, 24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yahshua, 25whom Yahweh set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance Yahweh had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Yahshua. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law [Torah]? Of works [law or Torah of works]? No, but by the law [Torah] of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law [Torah]. 29Or is He the Mighty One of the Jews only? Is He not also the Mighty One of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30since there is one Mighty One who will justify the circumcised by faith [this is the “and so”, or in like manner from Rom. 11:26a] and the uncircumcised through faith. 31Do we then make void the law [Torah] through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law [Torah].”
The Torah never went away, it only changed location, from being written on stones and parchment to being written on our hearts and in our minds. Jeremiah 31:33 (NKJV) “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put My law [Torah] in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Mighty One, and they shall be My people.” Ezekiel 36:24-28 (NKJV) “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your Yahweh.” Notice verse 27, under the New Covenant, we now have the Holy Spirit of Yahweh inside of us. Why? For what purpose do we have the Spirit of Almighty Yahweh inside of us today? So we can walk in His Covenant, following His statutes and judgments, walking with Him in His way. We now have the power within us to love Yahweh and love our neighbor as ourselves, according to the Scriptures. Notice the Torah never goes away, it is only internalized, and we are given the power within to walk in it, not to gain salvation or right standing with Yahweh, but because we have been made righteous and saved.
Do you understand that speaking in tongues, worshiping in the Spirit, raising people from the dead and healing people is all a part of this New Covenant experience? It is loving Yahweh and our fellow man in truth and spirit. John 4:21-26.
Ephesians 2:4-22 (NKJV) “But Yahweh, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Messiah Yahshua, 7that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Messiah Yahshua. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Yahweh, 9not of works [of the law, or Torah], lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua for good works [instructions of Torah teach us what these are], which Yahweh prepared beforehand that we should walk in them [remember Ezek. 36:27 above?]. 11Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands– 12that at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without Yahweh in the world. 13But now in Messiah Yahshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. 14For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law [Torah] of commandments contained in ordinances [Remember, these are the enmity, the hostile, antagonistic code of law that was against us, from Col. 2:14.], so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16and that He might reconcile them both to Yahweh in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity [the code of law, or Torah, that was against us, the curses and death penalty, was put to death on Yahshua’s execution stake]. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of Yahweh, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yahshua HaMashiach Himself being the chief corner stone, 21in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in Yahweh, 22in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of Yahweh in the Spirit.”
James 2:14-26 (NKJV) “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19You believe that there is one Mighty One. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! 20But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of Yahweh. 24You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
James is saying that because Abraham had faith in Yahweh, he obeyed Yahweh with his works of sacrificing Isaac. The same with Rahab, she believed in the Mighty One of Israel, so she worked with Israel, against her own people! New Covenant salvation is an equation: Salvation = Grace + Faith, which produces Works of righteousness (fruit). It is not this equation: Salvation = Grace + Faith + Works of Torah. That was the error of legalism that was corrected in Acts 15 at the First Church Council.
Isn’t it beautiful how James brings perfect balance to Paul’s teaching in Romans 3:28, we are justified by faith apart from the works of Torah, but once we’re justified, our faith produces good works of Torah! In other words, faith brings us into loving obedience to our loving Heavenly Father. Good deeds prove our love for Yahweh. Good deeds are our obedience. Yahshua said in John 14:15 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Grace and faith bring us into the salvation experience of reconciliation with and justification before Yahweh, so that we can now obey Him out of a heart of love, not through fear of punishment or threat of death. Once we’re adopted into Yah’s family, we want to please our new Father. We do that through obedience. Yahshua made us righteous, so now we do righteous things, because that’s who we are. We get a new birth certificate, showing our citizenship in the heavenly Zion. We get new DNA. We get a new ID. We get a new name written in stone. We get new brothers and sisters. We get to walk in the Spirit, not in our flesh. We get to do greater works than Yahshua. And soon, we’ll get resurrected or raptured immortal bodies. Redemption, it’s a wondrous thing. Praise His holy Name forever and ever!
1 Corinthians 3:5-17 (NKJV) “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Master gave to each one? 6I planted, Apollos watered, but Yahweh gave the increase. 7So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but Yahweh who gives the increase. 8Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are Yahweh’s fellow workers; you are Yahweh’s field, you are Yahweh’s building. 10According to the grace of Yahweh which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation [Yahshua HaMashiach], and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Yahshua Messiah. 12Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16Do you not know that you are the temple of Yahweh and that the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in you? 17If anyone defiles the temple of Yahweh, Yahweh will destroy him. For the temple of Yahweh is holy, which temple you are.”
A final warning to those who think they stand, lest they fall: Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! [Torahlessness!]’” Yahweh’s will is revealed in all His eternal covenants with Israel, from Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to David, to the New Covenant believers. Whosoever will are invited to enter this New Covenant, but it is an Israeli, Hebrew Covenant. Yahweh is faithful to keep all His covenants for all eternity. Bless His holy Name forevermore! Replacement Theology is blasphemy!
Gene Benjamin II
February 22, 2013 CE