Tag Archives: Observance of the Law

The works we have to do according to James

 

“2  You must consider it the purest joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, 3 for you surely know that what is genuine in your faith produces the patient mind that endures; 4 but you must let your endurance come to its perfect product, so that you may be fully developed and perfectly equipped, without any defects.
5 But if any one of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask God who generously gives to everyone and never reproaches one with its lack, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith, without a doubt, for the man who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is whirled and swayed by the wind. 7 Such a man, indeed, 8 a person with two minds, unreliable in every step he takes, (1:7A) must not expect to get anything from the Lord.

9 Let the poor brother of lowly station rejoice in his exalted station as a Christian, 10 and the rich brother rejoice in his being on a level with the poor, because the rich will fade away like the flower of the grass.” (James 1:2-10 Williams)

“12 Blessed is the person who endures trial, for when he stands the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.

13  No one must say, when he is tempted to do evil, “I have a temptation from God to do evil,” for God cannot be tempted to do evil, and He never tempts anyone to do so. 14 But anyone is tempted to do evil when he is allured by his own evil desire and enticed by a bait. 15 Then evil desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and when sin is completed, it brings forth death.” (James 1:12-15 Williams)

“19  You must understand this, my dearly loved brothers. Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to get angry; 20 for a man’s anger does not produce the uprightness that God requires.
21 So strip yourselves of everything impure and all the evils prevailing around you, and in humble spirit welcome the message which when rooted in your hearts is able to save your souls.

22 Keep on obeying this message; do not merely listen to it, and so deceive yourselves. 23 Because if anyone merely listens to the message without obeying it, he is like a man who looks in a mirror at his own face, 24 for he looks and then goes off and at once forgets how he looked. 25 But the man who looks at the flawless law that makes men free, and keeps on looking, proving himself to be, not a forgetful hearer but an actual doer of what it requires, will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives himself, his religious worship is worthless. 27 A religious worship that is pure and stainless in the sight of God the Father is this: To look after orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep one’s own self unstained by the world.” (James 1:19-27 Williams)

“1  My brothers, stop trying to maintain your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious presence of God on earth, along with acts of partiality to certain ones. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, dressed in fine clothes, comes to your meeting, and at the same time a poor man clad in dirty clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the man who wears the fine clothes, and say to him, “Sit here in this fine place,” and say to the poor man, “Stand up, or sit there on the floor at my feet,” 4 do you not make improper distinctions among yourselves and prove to be critics with evil motives?” (James 2:1-4 Williams)

“8  But if you really observe the law of the King in accordance with the Scripture, “You must love your neighbor as you do yourself,” you are doing right; 9 but if you show partiality, you are committing sin, because you are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
10 For whoever obeys the whole law, except to slip in a single instance, is guilty of breaking it all.

11 For He who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but you do commit murder, you are just the same as a lawbreaker.

12 You must continue talking and acting like people who are to be judged by the law that treats them as free. 13 For merciless judgment will be the portion of the merciless man; yet mercy will triumph over judgment.

14  My brothers, what good is there in a man’s saying that he has faith, if he has no good deeds to prove it? Such faith cannot save him, can it?

15 If some brother or sister is thinly clad and has no food for the day, 16 and one of you says to him, “Blessings on you, keep warm, eat until you have a plenty,” without giving him the things that are needed for the body, what good does it do?

17 So faith by itself, if it has no deeds to back it up, is dead. 18 But someone may say, “You have faith, and I have good deeds. Show me your faith without any good deeds, but I will show you mine by my good deeds.”

19 Do you believe in one God? Very well; the demons, too, believe that, and shudder. 20 But, O senseless man, are you willing to learn that faith without good deeds is worthless?

21 Was not our forefather Abraham shown to be upright by his good deeds, namely, by offering Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 You see that faith co-operated with his good deeds, and by his good deeds faith was made complete; 23 and so the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham put his faith in God, and it was credited to him for uprightness, and he was called God’s friend.”

24 You see that a man is shown to be upright by his good deeds, and not merely by his faith.

25 Was not even Rahab the prostitute shown to be upright by her good deeds, namely, by entertaining the scouts and sending them off by a different road? 26 Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without good deeds is dead.” (James 2:8-26 Williams)

“13  Who among you is wise and intelligent? Let him show by his noble living that his good deeds are done in humility, which wisdom prompts. 14 But if you cherish bitter jealousy and rivalry in your hearts, stop being proud of it and stop being false to the standard of truth. 15 This is not the kind of wisdom that comes down from above; no, it is earthly, human, demoniacal. 16 For wherever jealousy and rivalry exist, there will be confusion and all sorts of evil practices. 17 The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of compassion and good deeds, free from doubts and insincerity. 18 The harvest of uprightness is grown from the seed of peace by those who are peacemakers.” (James 3:13-18 Williams)

“1  What causes wars and quarrels among you? Is it not your different desires which are ever at war within your bodies?
You desire things and cannot have them, and so you commit murder. 2 You covet things, but cannot acquire them, and so you quarrel and fight. You do not have them, because you do not ask for them. 3 You ask and fail to get them, because you ask with evil, selfish motives, to spend them on your pleasures.

4 You faithless wives! Do you not know that the friendship of the world means enmity with God? So whoever wants to be a friend to the world puts himself down as an enemy to God. 5 Or, do you think that the Scripture means nothing when it says, “He jealously yearns for the Spirit that He causes to dwell in your hearts”? 6 But He gives a greater spiritual blessing. He says, “God opposes haughty people but blesses humble people.”

7 So then, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will fly from you.

8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Get your hands clean, you sinners. Get your hearts purified, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable, mourn, and weep aloud. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you high.

11  Stop talking against one another, brothers. Whoever is in the habit of talking against a brother or of criticizing his brother is criticizing and condemning the law. But if you are in the habit of criticizing the law, you are not a practicer but a critic of the law.
12 There is but one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who has the power to save and to destroy; then who are you that you presume to judge your brother?” (James 4:1-12 Williams)

“7 So be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer keeps on waiting and waiting for the precious crop from his land; how he keeps up his patience over it until he gets the early and the late rains.
8 You must be patient, too; you must put iron into your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is close it hand. 9 Stop muttering against one another, brothers, so as to keep from being judged yourselves.
Look! The Judge is standing at the very door. 10 As an example of ill-treatment and patience, brothers, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord.” (James 5:7-10 Williams)

“12  Above all, my brothers, stop swearing, either by heaven or by the earth, or by anything else. Let your “Yes” mean Yes, and your “No,” No, so as to keep from falling under condemnation.

13 Is any one of you suffering ill-treatment? He should keep on praying. Is anyone in a happy mood? He should keep on singing praise to God.

14 Is anyone sick among you? He should call in the elders of the church, and they should pray over him, and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, 15 and the prayer that is offered in faith will save the sick man; the Lord will raise him to health, and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

16 So practice confessing your sins to one another, and praying for one another, that you may be cured. An upright man’s prayer, when it keeps at work, is very powerful.” (James 5:12-16 Williams)

“19 My brothers, if any one of you has wandered away from the truth, and someone brings him back, 20 you may be sure that whoever brings a sinner back from his evil ways will save the man’s soul from death, and cover up a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20 Williams)

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Part of Dutch version / Gedeelte van de Nederlandstalige versie: De aanduiding door Paulus en Jacobus van de werken die wij horen te doen

Preceding articles

  1. Leading people astray!
  2. Restitution
  3. Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works
  4. Luther’s misunderstanding
  5. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  6. Our life depending on faith
  7. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  8. Is Justification a process?
  9. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  10. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  11. Letter to the Romans, chapter 3
  12. Letter to the Romans, chapter 4
  13. Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans
  14. Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4
  15. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  16. James 2:14-23 — Justified Dynamic Faith & works
  17. James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
  18. James 2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
  19. Paul giving notice of the works we have to do

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Read also other articles as:

  1. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  2. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  3. The way of salvation
  4. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  5. God works faith
  6. Faith is the belief that god will do what is right
  7. Christ’s ethical teaching
  8.  Being Justified by faith
  9. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  10. Faith Requires a Basis
  11. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  14. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  15. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  16. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  17. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  18. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  19. Faith and works
  20. Sharing your faith
  21. Bearing fruit
  22. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  23. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  24. Be holy
  25. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  26. Chief means by which men are built up
  27. Not to play at Christianity
  28. To be established in the present truth
  29. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  30. Love for each other attracting others
  31. Share your faith
  32. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  33. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  34. The longer you wait

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Quotations from Holy Scriptures, Religious affairs

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

In our series looking at “Faith and works” yesterday (January 28) we looked at the letter from Paul to the Romans, chapters 3 and  4. the 4th chapter often being referred to to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Luther’s work

In our previous posting we saw how the German theologian and religious reformer who was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Martin Luther gave enough food for the Antitrinitarians. He is one of the most to go against their idea we still have to do works to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

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It is thanks to his marvellous work of translating of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) that so many more people could read and find out what was really written in the Holy Scriptures, which had a tremendous impact on the church and West European culture.

From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity.

The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification – God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God’s grace. He taught that salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Looking at Paul’s teachings

The blog “Washed, sanctified and justified” also looks at Paul’s teachings in the knowledge that lots of protestants refer to Romans 3:26-28 as their conclusion that a man is justified by faith. Some will say

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Many Christians forget to notice “of the law” which indicates something more and something different than just the “Blood of Christ” or “the Blood of the Lamb“.  The Jewish scholar knew very much the importance of “The Law” or the “Torah” in God’s Plan. And these words are very important to the idea that the apostle Paul is expressing. In the previous articles we have seen that the apostle is speaking of works of the law because that is what he was speaking of in the last chapter.

He didn’t suddenly change subjects. However, he has omitted the words of the law at this point. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Some Catholics may say the Jews did not have ‘Sacraments’, but they had a Covenant and arrangements (or sarcaments in the wider interpretation), also having their own religious signs or symbols and practices as forms of worship.

Paul was very well aware how men of God were justified in the past. Abram (Abraham), born way before God made the covenant with the Israelites, had come in the faith. When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Genesis 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:8; Romans 4:3) He also had not forgotten, like today many Christians do, that Abraham became the father of many, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. (James 2:20-22)

Covenants given to man

The Abrahamic Covnenant may have been interchanged with the Messianic or New Covenant this did not make done with The Law. Too many people forget the terms of the New Covenant.

De Maria in “Romans 4 and the Sacraments” looks further at the misunderstanding of Faith without works.

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We remember from it:

Romans 4 = a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.

  1. Abraham = our father, according to the flesh
  2. if Abraham > justified by works = he hath whereof to glory > not before God.
  3. if Abraham justified himself = more power to him => it is not of God.
  4. Abraham believed God => counted unto him for righteousness.

=>  that means.

  1. him that works = reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt > obey God’s voice + keep His covenant => a peculiar treasure unto God above all people
  2. to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly > faith is counted for righteousness.
  3. Abraham was => did not work for debt
  4. Abraham did work for faith

He also looks at David, one of the circumcised =>  covenant of reconciliation

  • No one can deny David did many works <= all he did was believe in God’s mercy

reconciliation not only offered to Israelites (Abraham not an Israelite + not even circumcised yet) ===> God saw his faith at work => reckoned in uncircumcision to receive sign of circumcision=  seal of the righteousness of the faith

=> = prophecy which showed that even gentiles would be justified by faith.

=> We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul contrasting Old Testament with New Testament.

  • Old Testament = the Law.
  • New Testament = the Faith.

no ministry of reconciliation in Old Testament. ~~~ David’s reconciliation exception = foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

=> Just as it is imputed to the Catholic, who believing the promises of God, approaches the font of grace and submits to the Sacraments, calling on His name.

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

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CatholicBibleTalk

 Romans 4 is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But it is actually a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.  Let’s go through it.

King James Version (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Abraham is our father, according to the flesh. The Apostle asks, “what has he found”?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Now, he asks, “did Abraham justify himself?” If he did, then more power to him, but it is not of God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now, he quotes Gen 15:6Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

and he begins to explain what that means.

4 Now to him that…

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Filed under Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

In the past there have been many discussion about the possibility man being good. When we look at the world today it seems not much has changed. Along all sides we can see people who do not want to share the luck they have with others. This has come to a high point with the refugee crisis. It is understandable that people want to protect their own goods and culture, but often they are too much afraid that their way of living would be in danger by others from far away coming to live in their regions.

Several people are convinced that people who are fleeing from war-zones can not be good and trustworthy people. According to several Christians it is even impossible for a human being to be good from himself and as such no one can be reliable.

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagi...

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagius. The caption says “Accurst Pelagius, with what false pretence Durst thou excuse man’s foul concupiscence, Or cry down Sin Originall, or that The love of God did man predestinate.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The controversial British monk Pelagius in the fifth century had taught that man’s nature was essentially good. This was not to the liking of the Catholic Church leaders who found that because of Adam’s sin all men were born with a strong tendency to sin. It is even for that reason that lots of Christians do say it is impossible for Jesus to be a man. Because he was without sin he should be God, according to them. This naturally is not at all true and makes of God a horrible Creator, having created human beings who can not decide for themselves to do good or bad. Worse it would also mean that God gave man commandments He knew they would never be able to follow.

Pelagius rightly said that an individual had the power to do right by choosing to do right and by beating the body into submission through ascetic practices. Traditional Christianity said that men could defeat their tendencies to sin only by the working of God’s grace in their heart. According to the churchleaders Pelagius‘s ideas meant that Christ‘s death on the cross served more as a moral example than as an atonement able to transform the soul from within by divine force, which meant against going their doctrine of sola fide.

Those who think that Old and New Testaments alike teach us that we cannot change ourselves have not very well read the Holy Book of books. In the many books which form the bible we do have many examples of people who have gone from bad to good but also from good to bad and sometimes returning to good.

Augustinus 1.jpg

Saint Augustine from a 19th-century engraving

The Christian philosopher and theologian St. Augustine or Augustine of Hippo (354-430), best known for “The Confessions” and “The City of God” was responsible for the excommunication of Pelagius.

While in Rome, Pelagius first heard of Augustine through his reading of a prayer from Augustine’s Confessions: “Give what Thou commandest and command that Thou wilt.” To Pelagius, the philosophy expressed in this prayer sounded like the total abandonment of human responsibility and a denial of the ethical dimensions of the Christian faith. If all moral action, thought Pelagius, depends solely on God — both the commanding as well as the ability to obey — God is either an arbitrary tyrant or else man is a creature deprived of free will. Pelagius conducted his teaching along these lines while he was in Rome, and it was to this teaching that an able lawyer, Caelestius, responded, leaving his profession of advocacy and becoming Pelagius’s disciple, companion, and the popularizer of his views.

Caelestius’s Pelagian views continued to spread, and soon Augustine was preaching and writing with intense fervour against this what he called a new heresy, arguing that the whole lump of humanity is infected with sin and that only the grace administered in baptism can wash away the guilty stain.

In spite of these admonitions from the Doctor of Grace, the controversy continued, and it was not long before the articulate bishop of Eclanum, Julian, stepped in to argue the Pelagian cause, forcing Augustine, by the clarity of his logic, into positions regarding the doctrines of grace and predestination that have been burdensome to Western Christendom ever since. {Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004}

Today we still find many who do not want to see that man has a lot in his own hands. Today there are still lots of Christians who think it is impossible for man to live according to God’s Wishes and that he does not have to do any good works to enter the Kingdom of God because it is just impossible for him to do such good works.

According to Augustine it is not possible to lead a sinless life, with (for whatever reason, probably she had to carry the god son according to the Catholic Church) the exception of the Virgin Mary. For Augustine divine grace must precede every virtuous act and today many Christians are also still convinced we are all saved whatever what we have done and whatever we do in our life.

For such Christians who try to put sand in the eyes of searching people, the saying that we need works to enter the Kingdom of God is heresy. For them it is not only possible for man not to sin, they are not able to bring any change in the salvation of themselves.

The caricature of Pelagianism found in many orthodox textbooks and devotional manuals is hardly one that Pelagius would recognize. He never, for instance, denied the need for grace or for infant baptism; he never accepted the position that man can, by his own moral efforts, achieve his salvation. On basic doctrinal issues, Pelagius was certainly orthodox; and on matters of Christian morality his chief concern was to foster among Christian people a right regard for the ethical responsibilities he saw as inherent in the Gospel message. {Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004}

The Christian attitude is a very important issue which was been tackled by rabbi Jeshua (master teacher Jesus Christ) with a lot of delicacy. The Nazarene Jew, who was not afraid to bring others to see they had no right to judge others, told his listeners many parables in which he tried to get them to understand that we must be very careful not to loose the right to enter the Kingdom of God.

Lots of Christians are mistaken to think they do not have to do any good works to enter Gods Kingdom. It is true that they are saved and have nothing to do to get under the Grace of salvation. But what they forget is that, though they received salvation for nothing, they can loose it when they do not work at themselves. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation, 1,500 years after the last books of the Bible were written wanted their flock to believe that Jesus paid the full prize or penalty for our sins, so that nothing had to be done or paid any more. They added their human doctrine, which is nowhere written in the Bible, saying that

Jesus paid the punishment for our sins, he having fully atoned for our sins and by saying “it is finished” he did what no human could do, make up for their sins and made an end to everything what had to be done.

But it was not finished by having to come to God (a work) or to follow God’s commandments (again demanding works).

It is totally wrong to think once new born and/or being baptised, we are cleared and have a free way to enter into God’s Kingdom, or what some are thinking to go to heaven. In case a person has fund Christ and has come to God several works are needed. First of all before finding Christ work has to be done to come to know him and his God. Once a person believes in Jesus Christ, the son of God, that person has to convert to Christianity which again is a work to be done. But once baptised it is not finished. Than the person has to work at his or her character and try to stay on the right track, following God’s commandments, which shall require again some, not to say ‘lots’ of works.

Every Christian must work to control themselves. Once having become a Christian that person should try not to lie, to steal, to betray, to fornicate, to murder and many other things he or she should avoid doing (which demands work). If none of these works are needed for salvation the person could have sex with as many persons or animals as he or she wanted no matter the gender. If no works have to be done a person could also continue to do fraudulent actions, without having to worry.

It is for the reason having so many Christian preachers trying to convince others they do not need to do any works, and because of the reaction by Grow Pastor, Minister to Men, Ken Miller to us, at his article That’s the Spirit!, that we think it opportune to warn people of the lack of understanding of the given grace.

Christ Jesus died for all people, sinners or not. By the works of faith he has done, we received the Grace of Salvation, but when we ignore his calling or his heavenly Father’s calling than we shall not be allowed to enter the Kingdom of god when we did bad things and did not repent about them. It is not by works of justice that we had done, but, in accord with the mercy of God, Him willing to accept the ransom offering of His son. Through Jesus Christ our Saviour we are been justified by his grace and are we allowed to become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

When Saul had become a follower of the Messiah he looked at the work of the master teacher and at the sacraments which were given to those who followed Jesus. The apostle wrote

Romans 3:27-31 The Scriptures 1998+  (27)  Where, then, is the boasting? It is shut out. By what Torah? Of works? No, but by the Torah of belief.  (28)  For we reckon that a man is declared right by belief without works of Torah.  (29)  Or is He the Elohim of the Yehuḏim only, and not also of the gentiles? Yea, of the gentiles also,  (30)  since it is one Elohim who shall declare right the circumcised by belief and the uncircumcised through belief.  (31)  Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.1 Footnote: 1See 7:12.

and gave the Romans to know that they thought or hold that a man is brought into right standing with God by faith and that observance of the law has no connection with it.

Saying that he did not confirm that

“by faith apart from deeds of the law” as meaning, “by faith alone”

but him affirming that we then not through faith make null and void the law; instead, we confirm it. It is by our faith that we shall do certain works according to the faith. Pelagius considered that sacraments are elements believers should keep taking throughout their life. For him it was like it is for us, that faith should be expressed and perfected in works. Submitting to Jehovah His works in the proper disposition, which is that of faith, is an action or a work to be done.

Too many Christians forget the importance of the feeling we should have about what we have done. If we do not feel bad by the wrong things we have done and do not repent for them, for sure the Bible shows us, we shall not receive an entrance in God’s Kingdom. Repentance and teshuvah demands a work. Staying a good person also demands work. All those that say we do not have to do any work of faith, are either forgetting what the Bible tells about it and are insinuating we can do whatever we want and shall still be saved.

On the other hand it is very strange that it are just such preachers who talk so ferociously about salvation and no works needed for salvation, who also preach about damnation in a hell, a place of eternal fire.

Luckily the Bible speaks about the end of our life by death, and that we once we die shall not be able to feel anything any more. No frustrations, no pain, no sorrow any more when we die. Then it shall all be finished, but then it shall also be too late if we did not choose for God and did not work at our own self.

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Salvation and Righteousness
  2. Elul Observances
  3. God’s wrath and sanctification
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  6. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  7. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  8. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  9. Good and bad things in this world
  10. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  11. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  14. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  15. Humbleness
  16. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  17. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong
  18. Being of good courage running the race
  19. Bearing fruit
  20. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  21. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  22. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  23. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  24. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  25. 2014 Religion
  26. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  27. From pain to purpose
  28. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  29. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  30. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  31. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  32. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. No one is saved by the law. Salvation is by faith through Grace.
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. St. Paul Didn’t Say Faith Alone
  4. The Law of Diminishing Returns
  5. A Call to Dare God
  6. The Tangible Presence of God
  7. Devotion for Monday After the Second Sunday in Lent, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)
  8. Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians & The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  9. Did God really say “Prevenient” Grace
  10. Can someone who genuinely loves the God of Israel, prays to Him and trusts him go to hell? The New Testament says…
  11. I was wrong – but I am right – Calvinists preach a false gospel.
  12. The pain of radical grace
  13. The power of grace
  14. Seeing Christ
  15. (12/04/2015) By More Than Believing
  16. Faith Child – Forget the poor!
  17. (01/13/2016) How To Treat Unbelievers?
  18. Repent so that you can understand
  19. Faithfulness
  20. Faith Without Works (Pastor Joe Taylor)
  21. Faith without Works ??? (1 Way to live)
  22. Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life: Faith Alone Does Not Save
  23. The Works
  24. Faith in Action
  25. Put Your Faith Into Action
  26. Fashion advice?
  27. Intentional God
  28. The Sower of Seeds: A Parable of Jesus
  29. Matthew 23:23 [Coming Soon]
  30. Studies in Mark (Pt. 8)
  31. Galatians 5:4 [Unfinished]
  32. Galatians 6:7-9 [Unfinished]
  33. Ephesians 2:8-9
  34. Titus 3:5-7
  35. NT Reading – October 5
  36. James 1:14-20 — Faith that Works!
  37. James, Part 2
  38. The Book that Almost Wasn’t: Faith, Lists, and Works ~ James 2
  39. Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2
  40. Faith Without Works Is Dead
  41. Putting Legs to Their Faith
  42. Are You a doer???
  43. Are You Willing to do more???
  44. Mincing no Words
  45. Epistle for September 6, 2015
  46. Tell it Tuesday w/ B.Parker|How To Pray When Life Isn’t Going Your Way
  47. Tell it Tuesday w/ B. Parker| It’s 2am and No One is Answering…Who To Call?
  48. Childish Thinking
  49. Are You A Weed?
  50. Sneaky Subjectivism
  51. What Future?
  52. Intentional Avoidance, Disconnected Ignorance, or Disinterested Forgetfulness?
  53. We Are All Damaged Goods…
  54. Just Sitting There
  55. The Subnormal Christian Life
  56. 14 How to Work Your Way to Hell
  57. Faith Life Congruence
  58. We pray and plead with you…”Do You Job!”
  59. Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 42 – “Pure Religion”

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52 Comments

Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Elul Observances

For the Jewish community it is the last month of the year. We also are at the turning point having the Summer Holiday being the end of the time to repose and to go into a new school- or academic year and into a new church year.

By the Chosen People of God prior to the Exile the months were designated partly by names and partly by numbers.

Elul (Hebrew: אֱלוּל, StandardElulTiberianʾĔlûl) is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a summer month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar. {Wikipedia}

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: "...

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: “To a good year” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The name of the month (spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed) is said to be an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” a quote from Song of Songs 6:3, where the Beloved is the Most High divine Creator of heaven and earth and the “I” is the Jewish people. In Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word “Elul” meaning “search,” which is appropriate, because at the end of a period (weak/season/ year) it is not bad to take some time free to think about what happened in the past. At the turn over of the season or year it is time to search our hearts and to seriously have an introspection and stocktaking — a time to review one’s deeds and spiritual progress over the past year and prepare for the upcoming Yamim Nora’im or “Days of Awe” of Rosh Hashanah and Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

According to tradition, the month of Elul is the time that Moses spent on Mount Sinai, forty days and forty nights, neither eating bread, nor drinking water, preparing the second set of tablets after the incident of the golden calf (Exodus 32; 34:27-28). He had ascended on Rosh Chodesh Elul, the 1st of Elul of the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE).

Moses was seen by Jehovah as a righteous person, finding beauty in God His eyes. It was to him that God wanted to make all His function cross over upon his face and willing to show beauty, having compassion to whom God will have compassion. Though God cannot be seen, people can feel His presence. Moses, with Christ Jesus, was the only human being ever coming to know God this way. Jehovah taught him the secret of His “Thirteen Attributes of Mercy” (Exodus 33:18-34:8).

Exo 33:17-23 NHEBJE  Jehovah said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”  (18)  He said, “Please show me your glory.”  (19)  He said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”  (20)  He said, “You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live.”  (21)  Jehovah also said, “Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock.  (22)  It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;  (23)  then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

Exo 34:1-8 NHEBJE  Jehovah said to Moses, “Chisel two stone tablets like the first: and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.  (2)  Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.  (3)  No one shall come up with you; neither let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mountain.”  (4)  He chiseled two tablets of stone like the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up to Mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two stone tablets.  (5)  Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah.  (6)  Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, “Jehovah, Jehovah, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth,  (7)  keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation.”  (8)  Moses hurried and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

Moses remained on the mountain for 40 days, until the 10th of Tishrei (Yom Kippur), during which time He obtained God’s whole-hearted forgiveness and reconciliation with the people of Israel following their betrayal of the covenant between them with their worship of the Golden Calf. This was the third of Moses’ three 40-day periods on Mount Sinai in connection with the Giving of the Torah. Ever since, the month of Elul serves as the “month of Divine mercy and forgiveness.”

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses’ hand, on the 10th of Tishri, at the end of Yom Kippur, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him, as a sign that his repentance was complete.
Other sources say that Elul is the beginning of a period of 40 days that Moses prayed for God to forgive the people after the Golden Calf incident, after which the commandment to prepare the second set of tablets was given.

As the month of Divine Mercy and Forgiveness it is a most opportune time for teshuvah, the “return” to God, where we try to come even closer than in other times. This coming closer has to be done by getting in a closer relationship with God by spending enough time in conversation with Him, by prayer. for the Jews it is also a time where they show love for each other. That increased Ahavat Yisrael (love for a fellow Jew) has to happen in the quest for self-improvement and coming closer to God.

Schneur Zalman of Liadi

Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi likens the month of Elul to a time when “the king is in the field” and, in contrast to when he is in the royal palace,

“everyone who so desires is permitted to meet him, and he receives them all with a cheerful countenance and shows a smiling face to them all.”

Is that not a lovely thought that we are given the opportunity to meet that King over the king of kings? From the Hebrew writings we may understand that Jehovah God is willing to listen to everybody who is willing to search for Him.

As we pass through life, we are invariably coarsened and sullied by our errors and misjudgements, or simply by the travails of physical life; but our innermost self, the soul which is created in the “image of God” and should be a “veritable part of God” should be ready to come in front of God. Last year the Christadelphians and Bible Students in Belgium focused on our communication with God. This coming season we are going to look at our being, which has the nephesh or nefesh (flesh) and (psyche), a soul which can only exist because God allows it to exist.

The Jews may bind the small black leather cubes containing parchment scrolls inscribed with the Shema and other biblical passages, around the arm (“hand Tefillin“) and head (“Head Tefillin“) of adult men during weekday morning prayers. But we should not have such touchable symbols to wrap around us to have the connection with the Word of God. The Mitzvah (precepts and commandments as commanded by God) binds us spiritually with our hearts and deeds with the Holy Spirit. Our mind (psyche) or soul which we give into the Hands of God, in these days of ‘turn over’ or ‘turning point’, should now get some interest from us to cleanse and purify it, so that we can come to a daily reunification within ourselves and with God.

The term mitzvah has also come to express an act of human kindness. In these days of passage, going from baby into toddler, toddler going from kindergarten to the lower and later to the junior and higher school. As adult going into a new academic year. It is God Who allows us to climb higher on the ladder, getting more knowledge and wisdom.

Specific Elul customs include the daily sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) as a call to repentance. The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the 1st of Elul until Yom Kippur (on Yom Kippur the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms). (Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24)

In this world there is a lot of distraction, so much noise we often do not hear the right sounds. There is so much that keeps us busy in the time of year we often do not find enough time to have pleasure time for the own family and even less time to spend time together with brothers and sisters of the same faith. How much time do you find to spend with others thinking about the Word of God and discussing what can be found and understood from Bible reading?

Let us take time to repent and to think about what we have done last year and how we are going to enter the new church year. We look forward to enter a new church-year full of enthusiasm, looking for ways to get to know the human soul better and to bring more people to better insight in the Holy Scriptures, in the hope that they may find God and shall be willing to get baptised and to join one of our communities.

Are we willing to let our soul be formed by the almighty God and to be looking forward to the Teshuvah, the God-given ability to access and reconnect to that untouched self, re-establishing our lives upon its foundation, and even redefine a negative past in its purifying light?

We may not overlook the most important aspect of Elul which is to make a plan for your life. Because when the “Big Day”, the Last Day of this time-system comes it shall be too late to make preparations. Everything has to happen before that day, like the marriage arrangements have to be taken before the day of marriage. It is Now that we do have to prepare ourselves to be ready to come before the Judge of the Endtimes. You may be sure that it will be so much easier when you prepare yourself for that day with others; Together the work shall be so much lighter and it will be much easier for each of the meeting to find the right way. Now is the time to prepare yourself for making a good start going into the right direction and finding like-minded people who are willing to unite in the name of Christ, willing to do, like him, the Will of God and not of ourselves or of the world.

Let us hear the trumpet of God and follow His Guidance into a new stadium, preparing ourselves to enter that promised New World, the Kingdom of God, as children of God.

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Find also to read:

  1. Our openness to being approachable
  2. A new school-, academic and church year
  3. The sin of partiality
  4. Let us not fret or worry about next season
  5. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  6. Following a Compassionate Lord
  7. Wishing to do the will of God
  8. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  10. The soul
  11. Is there an Immortal soul
  12. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  13. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  14. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  15. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  16. The thought of losing rekindles the joy of having
  17. Courage is fear that has said its prayers

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  • #BlogElul A time to reflect (otir.wordpress.com)
    The month of Elul is starting tonight.
    Which meansRoshHashanah is in one month.As we prepare for the holiday of Passover in the spring, with spring cleaning among other things, we do prepare for the High Holy Days with a thorough soul cleaning!
  • Elul/Vav (workofheartandsoul.wordpress.com)
    Many Jews also visit the graves of loved ones throughout the month in order to remember and honor those people in our past who inspire us to live more fully in the future. {They leave a pebble or stone on top of the grave!}
  • ABC’s of Elul (jewishpress.com)
    If youhad an important court date scheduled – one that woulddetermine your financial future, or even your very life – you’d be sure to prepare for weeks beforehand.On Rosh Hashanah, each individual is judged on the merit of his deeds. Whether he will live out the year or not. Whether he will have financial success or ruin. Whether he will be healthy or ill. All of these are determined on Rosh Hashanah.Elul – the month preceding Rosh Hashanah – begins a period of intensive introspection, of clarifying life’s goals, and of coming closer to God. It is a time for realizing purpose in life – rather than perfunctorily going through the motions of living by amassing money and seeking gratification. It is a time when we step back and look at ourselves critically and honestly, as Jews have from time immemorial, with the intention of improving.
  • No Spiritual Home – Elul 5775 (lightwavejourney.wordpress.com)
    As a professional Jew, I havepreviously had communities that were easier for meto be a part of spiritually, but I have rarely felt uncomfortable in a community I have worked.  Only one time, I heard a rabbi give a sermon onYomKippurin which he said that Tisha B’Av should be disregarded.  It was the one and only time I almost walked out of High Holy Day services with my family.Judaism is a part of my essence.  I love how it fits into my life, pushes me to think, and creates a cocoon where I can live.I am a God-Wrestler.  I question, I pray, I hope, I vision and I wrestle.  And on the days that I don’t quite know how God fits into my practice of Judaism, I let go and trust the universe.  And throughout it all, I try to live a life of Godliness.  Every place I walk is a sanctuary, so why in this moment should I feel like I have no spiritual home.  The mountains and the desert are seriously my sanctuary.  I love the earth; I love so many special spaces that exude God-like energy.  I used to have a yoga studio that felt like God’s sanctuary.  Today, there is no space that is calling me for the Rosh HaShanah, yet I have to take my kids to services for the High Holy Days.
  • Getting Clean During Elul (beittshuvah.wordpress.com)
    This month is when we traditionally do our inventories of the past year. We set up a balance sheet, listing the things we have done well and the areas where we “missed” the mark.
    +The Big Lie–Elul #8
    While there is a great deal to be sad about: loss, death, disappointment, our own errors, the hurts of others, etc; we have to keep this sadness in proper measure. When sadness is out of proper measure, we descend into despair. Rabbi Nachman calls this type of sadness the worst sin. Sadness/despair allows us to be hopeless and become victims. This sadness and despair allows us to tolerate the darkness that we and others bring into the world. It gives reason to our inactivity, our passivity and our engaging in negativity. This is the sadness that says “nothing will change” “why bother” “I don’t matter”, etc. It allows us to stay stuck and believe that we are powerless and doomed!
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    The Lies I Tell Myself-Elul #7
    in our age of “not taking responsibility, we can acknowledge the feelings another person has of our betrayal while not confessing to our betrayal.
  • #BlogElul 1: Prepare (velveteenrabbi.blogs.com)
    The full moon of Av (on the Jewish calendar), the full moon of Ramadan (on the Muslim calendar), has been steadily shrinking. As surely as waves roll out and then roll back in again, now it’s time for the moon to start growing. Today is new moon, Rosh Chodesh Elul. One month until the Days of Awe.
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    it’s always possible to start paying attention, to become mindful, to dive in, wherever we are. Maybe you haven’t been counting the seven weeks between Tisha b’Av and Rosh Hashanah — nu, no big deal; start now, four weeks before the new year! You can always begin to prepare. It’s always open to you. Start now, as the moon begins to wax, and when it wanes — as it will inevitably do — feel your heart and soul quicken with the approaching Days of Awe.
  • When the King is in the Field (acmsrabbiblog.wordpress.com)
    God has divided time into the holy and mundane.  Sabbath and the feasts are considered holy times, while the rest of the week is mundane where we engage in the normal activities of work and life.  Elul is seen as a time when the holy and mundane merge.  Every day of Elul is a little like Shabbat in the sense that because the “King is in the field”, we are to be more sensitive to the things that we do that keep us from putting God first in our lives. It is a time to restore the sense of awe toward the Holy One. We are to spend extra time in prayer, especially for personal repentance, reflection and renewal, and study of the Word.
  • Ninth of Av (amapofcalifornia.wordpress.com)
    The fast day always fell during summer vacation, so I had to watch for it on the calendar in order to avoid missing the date.  I was aware that it was a day of obligation and that I was expected to fast.
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    The destruction of the Second Temple and the razing of Jerusalem irrevocably changed the face of Jewish life, ushering in the exile (known in Hebrew as the galut) to the Diaspora that continues to this day.  Where we once were unified in the Holy Land given to us by God, our misdeeds resulted in nothing but sorrow and tragedy as we were scattered al arbah kanfot ha’aretz, to the four corners of the earth.
  • The Month Of Elul (A Time To Reflect On Yeshua Our Betrothed Beloved One) (paradoxparables.wordpress.com)
    During the Days of Awe is a good time to do Ritual Mikvah’s of repentance and dedication, of cleansing, in living streams of water, albeit a river or a shower if you can’t avail yourself to a river of moving fresh water. Repent that the times of refreshing may come, Acts 3:19.

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    Do you need a Shofar blast to awaken your spirits and inspire you to begin searching your soul to prepare yourself to come into G-ds presence? If so splash your face with some water, turn on some good worship music and seek His face.
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    Repenting of ones sins, seeking inspiration to live righteously is a just way to live. It would be good to remember those who have inspired us to come this far and continue to move forward.
  • Elul, All, Nothing, or Something (mymorningmeditations.com)
    There is a misconception that many people have about Judaism, what I call “the all or nothing” syndrome. With 613 mitzvot in the Torah, things can seem a bit overwhelming.

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Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs