Come to Understanding

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,

and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. ó Isaiah 29:24

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,

and caused them to understand the reading. ó Nehemiah 8:8

August 1, 2009

Volume 8 Number 15

Justified Freely

Paul was troubled by a teaching that had slipped in among the Christians in Galatia. Some were teaching the Gentiles that the way to salvation was through the law of Moses, as it was interpreted by the Jewish leaders of the time. He said they had "perverted" the gospel of Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ):

6 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of the Messiah unto another gospel:

7 Which is not another; but there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of the Messiah. -Galatians 1

The churches of Galatia, Paul said, had been secretly infiltrated by "false brethren" who sought to "spy out our liberty" in order to bring believers back into bondage:

4 And that because of false brethren secretly brought in, who came in privately to spy out our liberty which we have in the Messiah Yahshua, that they might bring us into bondage: -Galatians 2

Paul warned the Galatians, saying in effect, "I donít care who tells it to you, this other gospel is not true. It doesnít matter if it is one of us, as one of the apostles, or even an angel from heaven! What they are teaching you is not true. Donít believe it! Let them be accursed!"

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preaches any other gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed. -Galatians 1

The "false brethren" who taught "another gospel" were imitators of true believers. Paul described such people to the Corinthians as those who were actually the servants of Satan, who is able to transform himself into a beautiful "angel of light." Following Satanís example, they can also transform themselves so that they appear as "apostles of the Messiah" and even as "ministers of righteousness:"

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of the Messiah.

14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also are transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. -2 Corinthians 11

The deception by these "false brethren" had been so effective that even those who were among the very elect of the Jewish apostles of the Messiah had fallen into their trap. Among these was Peter, whom Paul blamed directly:

11 But when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. -Galatians 2

Paul reprimanded Peter because, contrary to the truth of the gospel, he was requiring the Gentiles to keep the Jewish laws and traditions as a condition for becoming Christians:

14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, If you, being a Jew, live after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compel you the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? -Galatians 2

The "false brethren" had come to Galatia to steal the liberty that had been offered by Yahshua to those that believed on Him. He had told the Jews that those who believe on Him and continued in His word would know the truth, which would make them free:

31 Then said Yahshua to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;

32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. -John 8

If the truth would make the Jews free, would it also make the Gentiles free? Paul says there is no difference between Jews and Greeks (who were Gentiles), slaves or free men, or males or females. They are all part of the same family of God and are heirs of the promised blessing that was given to Abraham:

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in the Messiah Yahshua.

29 And if you are the Messiahís, then are you Abrahamís seed, and heirs according to the promise. -Galatians 3

Therefore, all who believe on Yahshua and continue in His word shall know the truth. They are thereby made free!

The truth frees us from the bondage of the "law of sin and death," which was fulfilled and replaced by the "law of the Spirit of life in Yahshua the Messiah." If we believe that Yahshua the Messiah offered Himself as the full payment for our repented sins, then we are no longer condemned for them. We are freed from that condemnation and remain so, as long as we repent of the works of the flesh and are led by the Spirit of God:

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in the Messiah Yahshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in the Messiah Yahshua has made me free from the law of sin and death.

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. -Romans 8

When Yahshua offered Himself as the sacrifice for our sins, He fulfilled the prophecy of a new covenant whereby our sins and iniquities are completely paid for and wholly forgiven (see Jeremiah 31:33-34). Since Yahweh no longer even remembers our sins, He accepts no further offering for them:

16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord Yahweh, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. -Hebrews 10

Although we have all fallen short of the glory of God because of our sins, Paul explains that we are "justified freely" by the grace of God. Declaring His righteousness through the shed blood of the Messiah Yahshua, God offers the payment for our sins, which we receive by faith: :

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in the Messiah Yahshua:

25 Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; -Romans 3

Those who are "justified" are "rendered righteous" (see Strongís Concordance). Jeremiah prophesied that a "righteous Branch" would be raised up through whom Godís people would be saved. Coming in the name of Yahweh, He would be called, "YAHWEH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS:"

6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, YAHWEH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. -Jeremiah 23

Those who are "justified freely" are made righteous without paying for it. Abraham was counted as righteous only by believing Yahweh, without making any payment for his righteousness:

3 For what says the scripture? Abraham believed God Yahweh, and it was counted to him for righteousness. -Romans 4

If we try to pay for our righteousness, then we reject the gift offered from God by grace. We vainly offer our works to pay for the debt of our sin:

4 Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. -Romans 4

If we, however, come in faith before God as ungodly sinners, without prideful works, He forgives and covers our iniquities and sins. By His grace, He freely imputes unto us His righteousness:

5 But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

6 Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works,

7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord Yahweh will not impute sin. -Romans 4

If we reject His free gift and try to justify ourselves by performing the works of the law, we have rejected "YAHWEH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." We thereby deny our faith that the shed blood of the Messiah was sufficient for God to "declare His righteousness for the remission of our sins that are past." Therefore, Paul explains, we are "fallen from grace:"

4 The Messiah has become of no effect to you, whoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace. -Galatians 5

When Daniel prayed his great prayer of repentance for his sins and for those of Judah, he said itís not "for our righteousness, but for your great mercies:"

18 O my God, incline your ear, and hear; open your eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by your name: for we do not present our supplications before you for our righteousness, but for your great mercies. -Daniel 9

Likewise, when we come before God, we cannot plead the righteousness of our good works. Instead, we must trust in His great mercies, knowing that, through His righteousness and by His grace, He "justifies freely" those who believe.

 

 

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