Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, March 2, 2023

Shadow and Substance – Romans, part 38

Romans 3:29 Is God the God of the Jewish people only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. 30 Since God is One, He will set right the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then nullify the Torah through faithfulness? May it never be! On the contrary, we uphold (establish) the Torah.

I want to wrap up my commentary on Chapter 3 today by dealing with the last verse.  Paul asks a question and then answers it himself.  But why would he have to say this in the first place?  Could it be that he is correcting an error?  I would say, “Yes.”  There is a tendency to spiritualize away the following of God commands in the Torah, but Paul is warning against it.

We need to receive that warning and incorporate it into what we learn is a new and better way.  1 Corinthians 12:31b And still I show you a far better way.  In 1 Corinthians 13, we learn that “far better way” is the way of love.  Still, God gave Moses 40 chapters of biblical instruction concerning the building and operating of the Tabernacle, the Aaronic priesthood and the sacrificial system.

Does all that amount to nothing, now that Yeshua has come and fulfilled the type and shadow, or is there still something God wants us to know and appreciate about His instructions?  Remember, in the real world, the shadow never leaves the reality.  When we stand before Yeshua, His shadow falls on us as evidence we are close to Him.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that the person belonging to God may be capable, fully equipped for every good deed.

Some people actually do propose that love cancels commandment.  Paul is proposing that our faith establishes commandment.  To understand this, let’s back up for a moment and start with a question.  In what do we have faith?  Answer: The promises of God.  Where do we find the promises of God?  Answer: In the Torah.  How can faith in the promises of the Torah cancel the promises of the Torah?

You might respond, “Gosh, Rabbi, when you put it that way, of course not.”  Anyone who believes otherwise has to take a leap of faith that God never intended.  Consider this verse… Galatians 3:24 Therefore the Torah became our guardian (schoolmaster) to lead us to Messiah, so that we might be made right based on trusting (faith). 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian (schoolmaster).  I have heard it taught, “Since we now have the Savior, we no longer need the Torah.  This is exactly what Paul is addressing at the end of Romans 3.

However; we must remember Yeshua is the Word….  John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  This leads us to another silly question…. How can faith in Yeshua, Who is the Word, be against the Word?  Furthermore; Yeshua commands us to obey the Torah.  John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.… 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”

There is a natural tension between faith and practice.  Paul expressed it this way…. 1 Corinthians 9:27 Rather, I punish my body and bring it into submission, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.  May we all have faith, and may that faith increase to show the goodness of God.  Let’s agree with Jacob…Jacob 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.  And let us all say, “Amen.”

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Thu 2 Mar-2023 9th of Adar, 5783
Ex 29:19-37 Isa 1 Pr 1 Ac 1 (Heb 7)