Tag Archives: Teshuvah (Repentance + Return to God)

Scattering of peoples who delight in wars

Rabbi David Krishef understands the need for military action or war and might

“even cheer when a really bad guy is taken down.”

Lovers of God should hate war and should do everything to avoid such horrible thing. Often it are arrogance and greed that lead up to conflicts which even can result in war.

We may never forget that war inevitably leads to the death of innocent people. All over the world we can see how people not only die from the violence itself that war brings, but we also see how many die from war related problems, like famine and diseases.

Rabbi David Krishef  writes

Soldiers sent to do a job suffer death and injury. Civilian casualties are virtually certain, no matter how carefully the rules of war try to minimize them. The destruction of the infrastructure, such as rail lines, roads, water treatment facilities, and businesses, destroys the economy and takes years, even decades, to rebuild. In the meantime, people suffer and die, not because they are supporters of the evil regime but because they happened to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time. I want my elected representatives to abhor war.

File:20151030 Syrians and Iraq refugees arrive at Skala Sykamias Lesvos Greece 2.jpg

Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive from Turkey to Skala Sykamias, Lesbos island, Greece. Spanish volunteers (life rescue team – with yellow-red clothes) from “Proactiva open arms” help the refugees

When we can live in area’s where there is no war we should be happy to be blessed in that way. But we also should feel with those in pain and in affliction of political unrest and civil war. We also should do our utmost best to avoid any serious trouble and fighting.
We ourselves should also not only recognize transgressions from others but also from ourself. To do so one has to be willing to take responsibility for the mistakes which happen every day.

Admitting one’s errors is the first step towards teshuvah (repentance) and atonement. {Psalm 51}

No matter how materially blessed we may (or may not) be, we should remember and identify with those less fortunate than ourselves. No matter what happens in the world of politics and military action the righteous person shall always see the downfall of the wicked and the world shall be struck with awe.

Let us also watch out for three things, so we will not come into the clutches of transgression

– know what is above you: (1) An eye which sees, and (2) an ear which hears, and (3) a book, in which all your actions are written down.” Pirke Avot 2:1 {Divre Harav – April, 2017}

and take at heart Psalm 37

“The humble shall inherit the earth.” (37:11)

The rabbi writes

In the short run, the kind of assertiveness that edges towards arrogance gets results, but one can get the same results from being confidently humble. An example: An arrogant person will push his way to the front of a group of people to get what he wants before someone else who has been waiting longer. A confidently humble person will recognize those who have been waiting and let them go first and insert himself into the queue in the proper order. The arrogant person cultivates resentment and fear; the humble person cultivates love and respect.

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Read the rabbi his notes:

on  Psalm 37 + Psalm 51 + Psalm 52 + Psalm 68Psalm 70

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Additional reading

  1. Facing daily events and exclaiming “Good grief!”
  2. Love will cure more sins than condemnation

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1 Comment

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Uncategorized, World affairs

Facing daily events and exclaiming “Good grief!”

When waking up every day we may be lucky to wake up, to face the day again. In the day we may perhaps encounter lots of things which surprises us and sometimes we call out ‘good grief’

The young Garrick Sinclair “Ricky” Beckett, a U.S. Army veteran honourably discharged as a professional saxophonist in the Army Bands, currently attending Concordia University-Ann Arbor in the Pre-Seminary programme with a major in Christian Thought and a minor in Theological Languages looks at a popular cartoon figure.

He writes

As he hears some bad news, Charlie Brown exclaims, “Good grief!” We often think of this as an oxymoron. Grief can’t possibly be good! {Good grief}

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the word grief we think of sorrow and distress, even of great mourning and affliction. When having bodily pain or when our mind is being hurt we can be grief stricken. Deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death or by trouble or annoyance grief comes over us. Grievance overmans us when there is a cause of such suffering or a deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. We can come to grief but than it means we fail in something we’re doing, and may be hurt.

Mary Bringle also noticed

Even the cleverest boy could come to grief alone, in the night. {Collins dictionary on Come to grief}

In Dutch ‘grief’ is ‘verdriet’ and is connected to ‘lijden (suffering), ‘bedroefd zijn’ (grow sad, being sad, be sorry, sorrow) maar ook tot ‘afkeer’ (aversion, distaste, disgust, revulsion,repulsion, repugnance, loathing, abhorrence, abomination, scunner). When ‘come to griefwe founder, break down, collapse, fall through, flop (informal), be defeated, fall short, fizzle out (informal), come unstuck, run aground, bite the dust, and even feel that we go up in smoke, come to naught, not make the grade (informal)go down like a lead balloon (informal). In any case it looks like it turns out badly, us falling flat on our face, meeting with disaster. Stuck with grief we may be found lacking or wanting, facing a spiritual miscarry or misfire.

Some people sayGood grief‘ when they are surprised or shocked. When we face something that’s actually worth grieving over, we’re often overwhelmed.

From a ‘sukkelstraatje’ (being in trouble/in dire stratis) we can become ailing (sickly) with a ‘sukkelpartij’ (sucker party) receiving ‘zielspijn’ (agony, heartache, profound sorrow) or ‘zieleleed’ (sadness). That ‘zielesmart’ or ‘zielsverdriet’ (anguish, heartache,profound sorrow, misery, unhappiness),  ‘Weedom’ (woe), ‘hartenpijn’ ‘hartenleed’ (heartache, heartfelt grief, heartfelt sorrow, heartbreak), agony consumes us with grief.

We do know we have to cope with it, we have to conquer it or go over such grief.

It’s rather ironic that our culture views grief as a bad thing while it encourages grief over a lot of things. It is encouraged that we grieve over minimum wage, to grieve over what the White Man did to black people centuries ago during slavery, to grieve over what the government did to the indigenous peoples of America… {Good grief}

The savoury on our daily bread is not always pleasant. we may try to begin every day with gratitude, because all we have, has been given to us. This body, heart and mind, friendships, opportunities, challenges, family,… it is all given to us. But honestly we are not always pleased with the confrontation with it.

We may value family where we practice love and sharing.  We may value work where we share our passions and gifts. And most of all we would like to have a good health and value it.

img_4537As we align with gratitude, values, dharma,  and who we are as limitless conscious existence, every action we take becomes a contribution to the whole. {Why Are We Here?}

Getting up we notice we face the day and can fill it with words and deeds.

this world we touch but in words

words insulated in plated metal

this world we hold but in teeth

teeth estranged from heart’s palate {This World, A Seat}

Sometimes it looks like every day again we do have to start all over again, going back to these “manifold temptations,” which tour around our face. Every day there are so many things we do have to face, so many experiences we have to go through.

It can be anything in this life that tends to trouble us or haunt us that can bring grief over us.

something that hurts you at the most sensitive and delicate core of your soul, heart, and mind — things that tend to make you miserable.  How do we get past these things? {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

Facing each day we have to open our eyes and look at all things, seeing them in perspective, trying to understand what is really going on and what sort of place it deserves.

The danger is to just endure our troubles with groans and whines and complaints and not do anything to discover the remedy to the situation.  We come into the danger of thinking, “Why is God doing this to me?” {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

With “Ricky” Beckett we urge you not to think “why” these things happen to us, but rather to think what.

 Instead of thinking, “Why me,” think instead, “What can I learn from this?  What does God want to teach me?”  And then how:  “How will this make me grow closer to God?”  In short, other than the sinful condition of the world we live in, that is why we suffer — to learn something from God and to grow closer to Him, and then the “why” may reveal itself to you as God works out His progressive revelation in your life.  That’s the short answer, but now let’s discuss the longer answer. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

Each day again, and again, we should be prepared to learn and to continue our road, up to a better world for us.

We are living in this world and walking on our paths under the eye of our Heavenly Father.

Say to yourself,

“There is a definite plan and purpose for my life.  God has examined me and has adopted me into His family.”

Why does He do this for us?  So that He may bring us into perfection (which is not acquired during this earthly life).  That is His objective — that you may “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29), as Jesus Christ will say, “Here I am with the children God gave Me” (Hebrews 2:13).  If we do not believe and recognise this fundamental concept of ourselves as Christians, then we are bound to go astray and misunderstand these troubles that happen to us as God’s children. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

These days lots of people take some time to think about the death and remember the dead.

When death and disaster occur, we are so grief stricken that we don’t know what to do. While all this is going on, we avoid grieving over our sin, which the thing we should grieve the most. It is good to grieve over this because our sin alienates us from God. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). We should grieve greatly over this because the end of our sin is death. But fear not! The Romans verse continues, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Godly grief is good grief, for it leads us to repentance. Godly grief, or good grief, causes us to recognise our need for forgiveness—our need for Christ. By repentance we exercise faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).

Let us always remember that God may permit all these things we have to face, to happen to us and to the people around us, not for the purpose of making us suffer and watching us squirm, as some would like to believe, but rather in order to chastise us, which He enacts due to our complacency and for our failure.

In 2 Peter 1:5-7, the apostle writes that Christians are to discipline themselves and to supplement attributes to their faith, not merely to be content with minimal faith but for it to be forever increasing.  There are Christians who do not take heed of this exhortation and instead are indefatigable with their complacency and indolence.  As I understand New Testament doctrine, if we do that we should not be surprised if we start to experience troubles — that God perhaps begins to chastise us by shaking us off our shiftless butts. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Chastisement}

We ourselves are also not free from bringing grief to others. We must recognise that we too can do things wrongly. We too can bring pain to others and give them heartache or grief. Many Christians are convinced that as re-born people they cannot sin. But they are mistaken.

First John 3:9-10 says,

“Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.  This is how God’s children — and the Devil’s children — are made evident.”

 Now, it is easy to misinterpret this passage.  It is not saying that God’s children are incapable of sinning.  After all, even though we’re God’s children, we still sin.

St. John is saying that the one “born of God” — that is, baptised in the Holy Spirit — does not make it his life’s trade to sin.
The child of God does not make it his life’s priority to live in sin, as the children of the Devil do (e.g. the homosexual lifestyle, a murderous lifestyle such as ISIS or serial killers, etc.).

God’s children are not free from acts of sin, but the child of God does not commit to be a servant of sin, but rather a servant of God and His holiness.  Christians are not impeccable; they are simultaneously saint and sinner (simul iustus et peccator).  Sin lives within us, but the Christian is justified by faith (Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24).  John is not speaking of sinless perfection but of a life imputed with Christ’s righteousness.

We can and shall have moments of weakness and shall sin. Afterwards we should repent, which is doing a work of faith. Only when we do such works of faith shall we be able to enter the Kingdom of God. When not willing to see what we have done wrong and not wanting to repent over the wrongdoing we shall not be allowed to enter through the small gate. The teshuvah or repentance is a necessary ingredient to come to God.

Knowing that God may have a particularly great task set for us we should wonder what we can do in the world God has prepared for us. Facing that world, where we are so many times tested, we should not mind having ourselves tested, when we are standing straight in our shoes, going for the One True God.

jonah-beach-whale-168772-printSo, one may have to pass through a certain trial because of some great task ahead that God has planned for them.  Think of any biblical character that had to endure such a trial.  The first person that comes to mind for me is Jonah.  He was running from God’s calling to preach to Nineveh, and as we know he was swallowed by a great fish; and upon repentance and accepting his calling, God saved his life by having the great fish spit him out onto the land to fulfill his calling.  Maybe a drastic example, but perhaps not as drastic as you might think.  Consider any whales of doubt you might have in your life and what God is doing to bring you through those doubts, or what you ought to let Him do. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – God to Prepare Us}

Facing each day lying in front of us we best remember that we are given the opportunity to be here and that God knows what’s best for us and what we need to experience in order to get us where He wants us to be. Therefore let us give ourselves in His Hands and be thankfull that He was willing to accept the ransom offer from His son.

As our Heavenly Father, God may see the need for trials and prescribe the necessary tools that are destined to make us grow in Him for our own good. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – God to Prepare Us}

With the knowledge that worldly grief produces only death because the world has no hope for a relief from their grief, we do have a better prospect in the hope given to mankind.

Worldly grief abandons the person who grieves. Godly grief is guilt over sin, which this guilt leads to repentance as the sinner recognises the necessity for forgiveness in Christ, which leads to salvation because the repentance we perform is exercised by this faith gifted to us, and it is through this gift of faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). {Good grief}

Perhaps we leave it to others to say ‘good grief’ when they see our endurance and come to see we want to present to the world a good example of a loving person, whatever happens to him.

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Preceding

Our existence..

Facing our existence every day

Are you right down in the dumps? Stop digging!

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Additional reading

  1. A world in denial
  2. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  3. Dealing with worries in our lives
  4. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  7. Isaiah prophet and messenger of God
  8. Suffering
  9. Offer in our suffering
  10. Suffering – through the apparent silence of God
  11. Suffering continues
  12. Suffering leading to joy
  13. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  14. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  15. Profitable disasters
  16. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow
  17. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  18. Every athlete exercises self control
  19. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  20. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  21. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  22. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  23. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  24. Written to recognise the Promissed One

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Further reading

  1. Day By Day
  2. Grief
  3. Throw-back Thursday: Grief is a fickle foe
  4. Book Mark: Notes on Friends’ Grief
  5. Grief From Across The World 
  6. The Well of Grief
  7. The unspoken grievance
  8. The Five Stages of Grief
  9. Sad
  10. Memories…and Grief
  11. Deviant Deflections – Unrequited Love
  12. When part of you is missing
  13. No one tells you about the guilt..
  14. Monday Morning Grievance: The New Copier
  15. After Suicide
  16. How To Go On
  17. God I miss you. 
  18. Letter to you, my little one…
  19. That feeling 
  20. Heart Holes
  21. Waiting For The Dutchman
  22. Old Unfinished Post: The 5 Stages of Relationship Grief
  23. Grief embraces love
  24. 1 a.m. on the Borderline
  25. Inside the glacier of my mind
  26. Beautiful Reminders
  27. Beyond the grey clouds
  28. The Mercy of the Morning
  29. Here’s to better naked tomorrows
  30. It Is God’s Gospel
  31. (11/04/2016) Works of the Spirit?
  32. Forgiveness and Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ
  33. Does Working with Others Lead to Better Results than Acting as an Individual? L 41
  34. Leading by example
  35. Jesus Models Friendship
  36. Saints
  37. Mercy in giving
  38. 1 Timothy 4:12 (31.10.16)
  39. The stories we tell
  40. Eulogia
  41. “Conformity To The Will Of God”
  42. Advice… L38
  43. If You Really Love Me
  44. Life Changing Moments While Young
  45. Good Advice for Us in Today’s World
  46. Love as a god

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Peter Forbes comments:

4:2      In questioning Abraham’s righteousness Paul develops the point that he made in Rom 2:13 showing that the law does not bring righteousness.

4:3Abraham believed God …‘ the quotation is from Gen. 15:6. Righteousness is imputed by God on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Gen. 15 predates the giving of the law. This is the thrust of the argument in verses 4:4,5 and circumcision – the implications of this are developed in Rom.4:9-13.

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:6-8 The appeal to Psalm 32:1-2 which is a Psalm that David wrote after Nathan had spoken of God’s forgiveness for David’s adultery [2 Sam.12:13] continues the theme of forgiveness from ch. 3:4 We should take great comfort from the fact that God was willing to forgive the repentant David.

4:7  Notice the subtle but important difference between the language of  Psa 32:1 – and Paul’s words here. Whilst the Psalm has ‘he’ whereas Paul here says ‘they’. Paul generalises from the Psalm. The Psalm has specific relevance to David’s situation. Paul says that specific application of forgiveness actually extends to all who follow David’s example of repentance.

4:11 Whilst Israel seemed to see circumcision as the ultimate test of Jewishness Paul clearly says here that it is a sign of what has already been seen in Abraham – that is his faith in God which was counted for righteousness.

4:18against hope believed in hope‘ tells us that Abraham had to have faith in the promise of the seed as it was humanly speaking impossible.

4:23 The implication from ‘now it was not written for his sake alone …‘ is that Abraham had a written copy of the promise.

Cliff York comments

Romans 4 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, for he too was saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in the Scripture that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must then be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

It is clear from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. This then is Paul’s point to those who prided themselves on their pedigree and/or on the very private mark they received in their flesh whilst they were too young to effectively protest otherwise. It is, therefore, plain that this circumcision was not necessary in order to that justification which is by faith.

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It is truly fascinating to reflect on the great wisdom of the Father as one reads the 3 portions of Scripture each day, and often there runs a “Golden Thread” through them all. For example, one of the Golden Threads evident today, is the concept, that we can only be Justified by the Grace of God. Paul deals in great detail with the subject, of course, in Romans, Joseph in his life revealed how great a force faith in God is the life of each of His saints – Genesis 47:12, and the Psalmist captured the same beautifully in the closing verse of Psalm 50Whoso offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”

John Wilson comments

Prayer of David, psalm 51

Prayer of David, psalm 51 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom 4:7  As we read from Psa 32 the other day, and as we read from Psa 51 tomorrow, we can clearly see, and appreciate that the confession of sin is not seeking forgiveness, it acknowledges the righteousness of our Heavenly Father. We must also be aware of the fact, that our failings can not be forgiven unless we are prepared to acknowledge them.

Rom 4:17  “I have made thee a father of many nations.” Paul is quoting from Gen 17:5  Sarah was still barren at this time, but we see that this is written in the past tense. This was foreordained. There is a difference between pre-existence and being foreordained. The seed of Abraham, both Isaac and Christ were foreordained.

4:21 All promises that have been made by God, he is able to perform, certainly different from promises made by man. God never forgets a promise, while man frequently forgets, God’s promises are priceless, while promises of man are often times useless, God’s promises are always right, while mans are often wrong.

Michael Parry comments

Paul; the writer to the Hebrews; James; and Peter all talk about Abraham. He was the patriarch of the physical Jewish nation and also father of the faithful (4:16).
He was given the promises before the Law (Gen 17:5-8) – even before his circumcision (Gen 17:24).  The particular seed of his promise was Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16).  However, God still has a covenant with the Jewish nation and the land of Israel even though they have not (yet) accepted Christ.  It is a mistake to believe, as some groups do, that any prophetical reference or future application concerning the Land and people of Israel is purely spiritual and not physical.

Rob de Jongh comments

For many of us the intricate arguments of scripture are too much to grasp. That’s why we’re given Abraham as an example. All we need to do is read about his life, emulate what we see, and we will obtain the same promises as him. Rom 4:3, 11-12, 16, 20-25.

 

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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

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Testimonies to observe, inspired by God
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  7. A secret to be reveiled
  8. Gone astray, away from God
  9. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  10. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  11. Two states of existence before God
  12. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  13. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  14. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  15. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  16. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  17. Atonement and the race been bought
  18. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  19. Fixing our attentionSelf inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  22. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  23. Hope by faith and free gift
  24. God’s love – Equal and unconditional for all believers
  25. True richesBeing Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  26. If you have integrity
  27. Honor your own words as if they were an important contract
  28. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  29. Our openness to being approachable
  30. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  31. Is your mind thirsty?
  32. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

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Further readings

  1. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:1-12
  2. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:12-25
  3. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  4. Faith-full Father Abraham
  5. Paul’s Scriptural Argument
  6. Paul’s Argument of Maturity
  7. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  8. Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 1:16-4:25
  9. Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25
  10. May 23 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalms 135; Romans 4
  11. Devotional # 90. Galatians 3:15-29
  12. A Promise
  13. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  14. “It’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it.” ~Apostle Paul
  15. The relevance of  God’s Word today
  16. Righteousness of Faith
  17. Could Abraham have remained childless?
  18. Would Your Faith Save You?
  19. It’s not about you
  20. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  21. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  22. Nullify the Torah?
  23. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  24. Under The Law
  25. Scriptures on Righteousness- Joseph Prince
  26. Righteous and Right-ness
  27. Greater Love Hath No Man
  28. Jesus Christ has done enough
  29. Verse of the day – Righteousness of the Law
  30. Grace words for today Devotional
  31. It is in difficult times that we choose to continue to do what is right while everything else seems wrong that we grow
  32. Getting wisdom
  33. Moral Image
  34. Incredible Peace
  35. It Is God’s Presence in Us
  36. Strength In Your Hair Or Your Faith?
  37. Daily Inspiration, January 28th
  38. You Have on Different Clothing Now
  39. Christ: A Place In God
  40. The Privilege
  41. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  42. Experiencing Revival Part 3: Obedience
  43. Righteousness Pt 10
  44. Kingdom Come
  45. You Christian, shouldn’t carry guilt, or seek ongoing forgiveness to stay “right” with God.
  46. Exodus 4-6 Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son
  47. The Myths and Facts of Circumcision
  48. The Question of Circumcision II
  49. God confronted even Moses for not keeping the covenant
  50. What is so important about this Commandment?
  51. Experience the change in status from “Children of the flesh,” and of the world : to “Children by promise,” and in the World -Guy#2:03
  52. Surrender: Circumcision of the Heart
  53. Is your heart circumcised today?
  54. Only Jesus Christ – no if’s, no but’s (1)
  55. Yes’s and No’s
  56. entering in…as chosen ones

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Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

The Christadelphian Agora comments

Reading 3 – Rom 3:9,10

“What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’ ” (Rom 3:9,10).

“Our guilt is great because our sins are exceedingly numerous. It is not merely outward acts of unkindness and dishonesty with which we are chargeable. Our habitual and characteristic state of mind is evil in the sight of God.

“Our pride and indifference to His will and to the welfare of others and our loving the creature more than the Creator are continuous violations of His holy law. We have never been or done what that law requires us to be and to do. We have never had delight in that fixed purpose to do the will and promote the glory of God. We are always sinners; we are at all times and under all circumstances in opposition to God.

“If we have never loved Him supremely, if we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence” (Charles Hodge).

Peter Forbes comments:

3:2  If the Jews had a benefit simply because the Word of God was committed to them how do we view that same word? Do we feel privileged simply because we can read Scripture freely in our own tongue?

3:3 Paul (2Tim 2:13) develops the principles of this verse for the benefit of Timothy. – We have noted before that David’s Psalm (32) is used by Paul to speak of the way in which God forgives. Reflecting on what David had done – committed adultery and murdered a man – we probably cannot think of two more evil crimes. But it is these two crimes which God forgave which forms the basis of Paul’s encouragement to us.

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834)...

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 The quotation ‘that thou mightest be justified …‘ from Psalm 51:4 marks the beginning of an appeal to the repentance of David after his adultery with Bathsheba – see the title of the Psalm. This incident in David’s life, as terrible as it was, marks the magnitude of the Father’s forgiveness towards a repentant sinner. More notes on this in Romans 4.

3:4‘that thou … art judged’ is a quotation from Psa 51:4 That Psalm is a Psalm speaking specifically of David’s sin with Bathsheba. Paul highlights that the Psalm, though specifically speaking to David, actually has a general application to all.

3:5 This is the first of a number of occasions when Paul asks a question which he then answers himself. The others are Rom 4:1,  6:1, 7:7

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most...

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul, a Hellenistic Jew, was very influential on the shift of Christianity to Gentile dominated movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:7-8   The “lie” that Paul is thinking about is the charge laid on him by others that he said “Let us do evil that good may come”.

3:8  The charge laid on Paul is similar to the hypothetical question he asks in Rom 6:1.

3:9     The teaching of Paul that we ‘are all under sin’ is quoted by Paul later – Gal 3:22–This is one of many times where Paul quotes elements of this letter to the Romans to other churches. Thus we see that Romans seems to be a letter that many of the other churches were aware of.

3:19 The phrase ‘every mouth may be stopped’ echoes the sentiments of Psa 107:42 thus demonstrating that the teaching that all men are sinners is not confined to the New Testament but is a clear Old Testament teaching.

3:23,24 These adjacent verses are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as the mind of man is concerned. One has to recognise the situation outlined in v 23 before one can be in the state described in v 24. Justification is only available to those who recognise their own personal need for salvation.

3:25-26        We should reflect carefully on the fact that God’s righteousness is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our God is not a vindictive cruel God. Rather, as shown by the way He responded to Jesus’ obedience, He is merciful – which we should appreciate anyway because of the way in which He describes Himself –Exo 34:6-7

3:31   To the Jew the idea that the Law of Moses was no longer the route to pleasing God (if it ever was) was a major problem. So they needed to know that ‘faith’ did not remove the need for obedience

Peter Cresswell comments

English: manuscript of the Epistle to the Roma...

manuscript of the Epistle to the Romans (fragment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 – Here we see a principle that we cannot ignore.  Let God be true is a clear instruction to us not to make God into what we think He should be – not to impose on Him what we feel are the qualities of a god, but instead to open our minds to let Him show us what he really is in truth.  We are still on the theme from the previous chapters which tell us how to avoid being like those whose worship is distorted.  Let us take heed, as through this we can be justified by faith, as we are being prepared to learn next.

3:20 tells us that the law can’t save because by it there is knowledge of sin.  This shows us that the law is inextricably tied up with the original curse – that we should know good and evil.  At the end this curse will be removed and we will know only good.  We do well to remember that this knowledge of good and evil is a curse, not a privilege.  One day, those who are saved, will leave it far behind.  One could argue that by God’s grace, we already have – 5:21, 6:7 – but in that day it will be actual.  Evil will no longer be remembered or contemplated or come into mind.  We must ask ourselves: Are we ready to leave behind the choice to do evil, without looking back, or do we still consider it a privilege?

Cliff York comments

Romans 3:9 – “for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” – in chapters one and two. Paul painted a word picture, first of the Gentile world – Romans 1 – then the Jewish world, which was even worse, for they had access to God’s righteousness – Romans 2.

v12-18 – Paul describes the cadaver of sin. As Paul’s scalpel opens up the body of sin, first the throat, then the tongue, lips, mouth, feet, and eyes are laid bare and examined – Hebrews 4:12-13. And Paul’s conclusion is given in v23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  What does this tell us? We all need Jesus Christ. No-one will be in God’s Kingdom who has not entrusted his life and his salvation to the only name given among men whereby they might be saved – Acts 4:12.

John Wilson comments

Rom 3:25  “to declare his  righteousness.” Christ, the bearer of the sins of the people. Not that Christ might be punished for others, but that God’s righteousness might be declared for others to see that they might be forgiven.

David Simpson comments

Rom 3:9-20 has at least 7 quotations from the Psalms, and one from Isaiah. Then in Rom 4 we can find 7 times when Abraham’s name is written.  There is no doubt, is there, where the Gospel’s foundation is laid?

Valerie Mello comments

Rom 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

A reader writes: “even though our Lord did not commit one single sin – even of omission, he still Came Short of the glory of Yahweh – by his very mortality that he inherited by his birth of a mortal woman – meaning he had to make atonement by his death for his ‘falling short’ of the glory of Yahweh by reason of his birth by a mortal woman who, wonderful as she was, still possessed a sin-prone nature herself.”

My reply: In Rom 1, Paul pointed out mankind’s refusal to acknowledge God and God’s truth and how God gave mankind over to their lusts and the practice of sin. Then in Rom 2, Paul describes God’s judgment on both the Gentiles and the Jews. In Rom 3, Paul sums up his argument and makes it clear that all of mankind is under sin and that “every mouth will be silenced and the whole world will be held accountable to God.” With regard to God’s judgment there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, rich or poor, priest or beggar, businessmen or drunk, churchgoer and atheist, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It does not say or imply that Christ because of his human nature fell short of God’s glory!

In Rom 3:22, we read that the righteousness of God is by faith in Jesus Christ to “all” – that is, mankind in general, Jews and Gentiles, “unto all and upon all that believe: for there is no difference” (cf. vv. 21,23). To fall short of the glory of God is to be in need of righteousness, a righteousness imputed to us by God through Christ (2Cor 5:21).

In Matt 5:20, we are warned that our righteousness must exceed those of the Pharisees. What Jesus is telling us is that it is not enough to submit to mere outward conformity as characterized by the Pharisees, but that it must be of both inward and outward conformity. Obeying the Law was more than just abstaining from killing, or stealing, etc., it also dealt with our inward being. So it is with us under the Law of Christ, and we can only exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees if we submit to Christ. Our own righteousness will never be good enough no matter how hard we try (cf. Isa 64:6).

Jesus was the only one who could lead a perfect life to the law of God in thought, word, and deed. Jesus’ mission was not simply to die on the cross. He had to be the Lamb without blemish, without sin. He had to live a life of perfect obedience, which he did and became the righteousness of God and, thus, could not have fallen short of God’s glory. Irrespective of Christ’s human sin-prone nature, he did not fall short, but continued in all things that were written in the book of the law to do them, otherwise, how could his righteousness be imputed to us, irrespective of our human nature (cf. 1Pet 5:10)? Christ was the perfect sacrifice and we can be made perfect only in him. We are to be Christ-like (cf. 2Cor 3:18).

Christ’s passive obedience (Isa 53:7) pays our sin debt and his active obedience of a sinless life gives us the perfection required by God if we submit (cf. Matt 5:48). What is required of us is active and passive obedience to Christ. Jesus came to undo what Adam did in committing and omitting, by which his character was tarnished and sin entered the flesh and passed on to his descendants – his sin was imputed to us (Rom 5:17-19). This was man’s fall from glory and made him in need of glory.  Man was created in God’s image for God’s glory (1Cor 11:7; Isa 43:7). Christ came to restore for us what Adam lost. We must have Christ’s righteousness, active and passive, transforming us from sinners who fell short of the glory of God to saints of God who fulfill the glory of God in Christ, or God will not accept us.

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Preceding articles

Elul Observances

To find ways of Godly understanding

Luther’s misunderstanding

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

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Continue reading: Additional comments to the 4th Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Creation of the earth and man #4 Of the Sabbath day #2 Days 1,7,8 and 50
  2. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  6. The seven last sayings of Christ discussed in the new edition of the Christadelphian
  7. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  8. God’s wrath and sanctification
  9. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  10. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  11. Atonement and the race been bought
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. 138) Cheap Grace
  14. Christianity without the Trinity
  15. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #2
  16. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  17. Growth in character
  18. Love is like playing the piano
  19. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  20. He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass
  21. Forgiveness always possible
  22. A man who cannot forgive others
  23. Answering a fool according to his folly
  24. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  25. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  26. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  27. Breathing to teach

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Further readings

  1. The creation of Earth and Man, the fall of Man, the cursed Earth, the redemption of Man, the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of Man, the New Earth
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. Joseph and the justification of evil/sin
  4. Law and Grace
  5. Justification, Sanctification and Perseverance – By Grace through Faith
  6. Justification is by faith
  7. Why Justifying yourself is Destroying you!
  8. Are Good Works Necessary for Salvation?
  9. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  10. Theories of Atonement: Recapitulation Theory
  11. Practical Theology
  12. Michael Horton Differentiates Law and Gospel
  13. Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A Third Way?
  14. Why the Law? Part 2
  15. The Justified Dead
  16. It’s not about you
  17. Reflective Paragraphs Week 4 – Romans 3
  18. Romans 3
  19. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:1-8
  20. Romans 3:9
  21. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:9-20
  22. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:21-31
  23. “And where does that leave our proud religious claim of having a corner on God? Canceled.” ~~Apostle Paul
  24. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  25. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  26. Nullify the Torah?
  27. Under The Law
  28. Psalm 57 – As a Deaf Adder; A Sermon Preached at the Amarillo Primitive Baptist Church – Sunday, October 18, 2015
  29. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  30. Confessions of a Hypocrite
  31. You are without excuse
  32. Are we good?
  33. More Fashionable Fig Leaves
  34. Elihu – A Word for young leaders
  35. Salvation & Obedience
  36. Would Your Faith Save You?
  37. Let Go of the Ladder
  38. The Playing Field Is Level!
  39. My Utmost For His Highest: The Nature Of Reconciliation
  40. Obedience apart from Christ won’t justify
  41. That One Sin!
  42. The Only Martyr
  43. we’re all “heirs according to the promise” – but we all fall short
  44. Everybody needs Jesus
  45. Rub Your Eyes (Rondel Grande)
  46. Romans Devotional- Day 25
  47. The Anatomy Of God
  48. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 1
  49. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 2
  50. Is just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned the true meaning of justification?
  51. My Sinfulness
  52. If you love yourself….
  53. Good Behavior
  54. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  55. PT. 9 (The end) You are justified in Christ
  56. Day 11: I Declare My Righteousness Is In Christ Jesus
  57. Subjected For Our Sake.
  58. Guilt & Shame Misapplied
  59. God Glories in Making You Righteous
  60. Our Comforter is our Peace
  61. We Distinguish…(Part 5) — Active/Passive Obedience
  62. We Distinguish…(Part 6) — Moral/Ceremonial/Civil
  63. Those Who Practice Such Things Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God
  64. Do I seek approval?

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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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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