Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, March 10, 2023

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

Faith Is Inclusive – Romans, part 43

Romans 4:13 For the promise to Abraham or to his seed—to become heir of the world—was not through law, but through the righteousness based on trust. 14 For if those who are of the Torah are heirs, trust has become empty and the promise is made ineffective. 15 For the Torah brings about wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there a violation. 16 For this reason it depends on trust, so that the promise according to grace might be guaranteed to all the offspring—not only to those of the Torah but also to those of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

This is a big “bite” of Scripture today, but it is all fairly straightforward and easily understood.  Paul makes two main points.  First, being Abraham’s seed depends on trust.  And secondly, being Abraham’s seed is inclusive of those with Torah and those without it.

Yeshua was speaking with some Judeans who were not His followers when the discussion became adversarial.  John 8:39 “Abraham is our father,” they replied to Him. Yeshua said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.”  These Judeans wanted to kill Yeshua.  But that was not Abraham’s response.  Yeshua told them exactly that, later in the same discussion.  John 8:56 “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; he saw it and was thrilled.”   

Abraham had righteousness based on trust, and so must the true seed of Abraham.  Trust is another word for faith.  And what do we know about faith?  The only way to know if we have faith is to have our faith tested.  Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen. To withhold faith until we have the reality is like saying to a fireplace, “Give me fire and I’ll give you wood.”  It’s “Afuch,” Hebrew for “upside down.”

Also, faith is inclusive, you don’t have to be Jewish to have it.  Paul has put a lot of his attention on the inclusiveness of faith, but it didn’t start with him.  It didn’t start with Isaiah either, but he definitely prophesied over it.  Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine, for your light has come! The glory of Adonai has risen on you. 2 For behold, darkness covers the earth, and deep darkness the peoples. But Adonai will arise upon you, and His glory will appear over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, kings to the brilliance of your rising.

Nations coming to the light of God is always dependent upon faith.  Hebrews 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  May we show forth His light.

Lastly, these verses from 1 Peter have within them the expectation of inclusiveness.  1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 Once you were “not a people,” but now you are “God’s people.” You were shown “no mercy,” but now you have been shown “mercy.” And on that happy thought, “Shabbat Shalom.”

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Fri 10 Mar-2023 17th of Adar, 5783

Ex 34:1-9 Isa 9 Pr 7 Ac 7:1-29 (Heb 13)