Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, January 10, 2022
Law and Grace – part 1
The Rabbi’s Reflections” (which I have been writing almost daily for 4 1/2 years) is a daily snapshot of what is on my mind after prayer and reading the Scriptures on any given day. What’s on my mind today? You’re about to find out. The subject is huge and will not be contained or explained in only one RR.
I have only one question today (and perhaps for the next several days, (“Aval, Ze Chashuv” in transliterated Hebrew, meaning) “but, this is important.”
What does the Bible say about the Law of God in the dispensation of Grace?
The question itself needs some amplification. First, the question contains both words,“Law” and “Grace.” They are not mutually exclusive although many people treat them as if they are. One of the first descriptions of Yeshua uses both. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth. And, what is truth? Psalm 119:160 Truth is the essence of Your word, and all Your righteous rulings are eternal. Furthermore; Yeshua, Himself, prayed to the Father… John 17:16 “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 “Make them holy in the truth. Your word is truth.”
Let’s start with some good definitions. God’s “Law” is His righteous standard for human beings. Some laws are conditional in various ways, others are universal. But the Law itself does not change and cannot be changed. (More on this later.)
Grace is… well, grace is grace.
Rabbi Trail: It’s a little like trying to explain grits because no one has ever seen one. What is one grit anyway? We know grits when we see them, but a grit alone is almost invisible. Can you really tell a grit from the sand in the sea or the salt in the salt shaker? For that matter, can you tell a grit from a cream of wheat? It boggles the mind. And while we’re at it, tell those Yankees to keep their cream of wheat up north and out of our southern grits. End RT.
The standard definition for grace used in most churches is “unmerited favor.” I refer you to Jerry Miller’s book “Grace Beyond Reason” https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Beyond-Reason-Untapped-Intends/dp/1954533098 for a more exhaustive description of Grace. I like pastor Doug Wead’s definition I heard almost 40 years ago. As I remember it, he said that grace is like a two-sided coin. On one side, grace is the God-given desire to do His will. On the other side of the coin is the God-given ability to do His will. To have the desire without the ability would be frustrating.
And how do we know God’s will? We read about it in His testament (will and testament). The last book of the Bible is called “Revelation,” but really, the entire Bible is the revelation of God’s desire for our lives. Two verses prove my point. Deuteronomy 4:40 You must keep His statutes and His mitzvot (commandments), which I am commanding you today, so that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and so that you may prolong your days in the land that Adonai your God is giving you for all time.” And Psalm 19:8-11.
Psalm 19:8 The Torah of Adonai is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony of Adonai is trustworthy, making the simple wise. 9 The precepts of Adonai are right, giving joy to the heart. The mitzvot of Adonai are pure, giving light to the eyes. 10 The fear of Adonai is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of Adonai are true and altogether righteous. 11 They are more desirable than gold, yes, more than much pure gold! They are sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Another fundamental point is that the Law was never given for salvation. Jacob 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole Torah but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. Where did Jacob (James) get that? Was it from thin air? No, it’s in the Torah itself.
Deuteronomy 27:9 Then Moses and the Levitical kohanim spoke to all Israel, saying, “Be silent and listen, O Israel—this day you have become a people for Adonai your God. 10 Therefore listen to the voice of Adonai your God, and do His mitzvot and statutes that I am commanding you today.”
And the last curse in a long list is… Deuteronomy 27:26 ‘Cursed is the one who does not uphold the words of this Torah by doing them.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’ This is followed by the blessings of obedience found in Chapter 28.
What does it mean to “know Yeshua?” Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’”
God always intended to send His Son for salvation (in case you missed it, Yeshua’s name means “salvation”). The Law shows us how much we need the Savior. The difference of having the Savior changes everything. It is no longer me, striving to attain God’s righteous standard in the flesh, but the Savior living in me, by grace, giving me the desire and the ability to do God’s will.
Romans 8:4 so that the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Ruach.
Let’s pick this up tomorrow.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Mon 10-Jan-2022 8th of Sh’vat, 5782
Ex 14:9-14 2 Sa 23 Ps 90 Lk 15 (Php 4)
Memory Verse: Romans 4:20 Yet he did not waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God. Rather, he was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that what God has promised, He also is able to do. 22 That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
11 1/10 Monday: Genesis 18-19
12 1/11 Tuesday: Genesis 20-21
13 1/12 Wednesday: Genesis 22
14 1/13 Thursday: Genesis 24
15 1/14 Friday: Genesis 25:19-34; 26