• What JGIG Is:

    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forrest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

    Be sure to click on the many embedded links within the posts here - there's lots of additional and related information for you to access that way, as well.

    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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Jesus’ Gospel? Paul’s Gospel?

Jesus’ Gospel?  Paul’s Gospel?  Are they different?  Or are they complementary?  Is Paul’s Gospel ‘his’, or is it God’s Gospel embraced by Paul?  Are Paul’s writings (and the other apostolic writings in the New Covenant Scriptures) what Jesus alluded to in John 16?

Jesus vs Paul

I was asked this question in an email recently:

“Another question, some at hrm [Hebrew Roots Movement/Torah pursuant folks] say there is the gospel of Jesus vs the gospel of Paul.  Basically they teach that Paul wrote his own gospel even though Jesus clearly stated after his death burial and resurrection there would be more to come(information).”

My response (edited and expanded for this venue):
That’s a great question! In John 16, Jesus says this:

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Jesus is clearly telling His disciples that there is more truth to come that they, on that side of the Cross, could not, would not understand.

The Work of the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and His Perfect High Priesthood all needed to be in place before the fullness of the Gospel of Grace could be explained.

With the implications to the Law and Israel’s relationship with it and with God, when you think about it, it kinda had to be Paul to receive that revelation of the Gospel of Grace.

Paul was a Pharisee of the highest reputation, knowing the Law inside and out.  For him to embrace the Gospel of Grace, which he proclaimed to be ‘his’ Gospel, was huge.  To address that question real quick, Paul, by the end of his letter to the Romans states that it is ‘his’ Gospel, not in an ‘I thought it up and created it’ way, but in an ‘I now embrace this Gospel of Grace as my Good News, applied to my life – the New Covenant, superior to the Old Covenant for which I had such passion’ way.

Note that in Romans 1, Paul says this:

16 For I am not ashamed of >>> the <<< gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.  17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

At the beginning of the letter to the Romans it is ‘the’ Gospel, and the letter to the Romans is a treatise on our

>>> need <<< for the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike, the

>>> supply <<< of the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike, and the

>>> results <<< of the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike.

And Paul expertly weaves the proper use of the Law and the application and superiority of Grace throughoutat the end proclaiming, as a former Pharisee Law-keeper, that this is *his* Gospel – a Gospel that he embraces *himself*, after having gone through the issues of Law and Grace point by point throughout the letter (and also in his other letters).

Now read Paul’s closing comments in Romans 16:

25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations,

>>> according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— <<<

27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

So the Gospel that Paul preached was not a gospel apart from Christ’s, but Paul’s and the other apostolic New Covenant writings were the fulfillment of what Christ said in John 16.

Paul minces no words here when establishing the source and authority for what he was teaching to the Galatians:

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 

12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it,

>>> but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. <<<

13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16

>>> was pleased to reveal his Son to me, <<<

in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

One thing to note here, as well, is that Jesus said that the Spirit of Truth would point to and glorify Christ – not to point to and glorify the Law, but to Christ, which is what Paul and the other apostles do all throughout the New Covenant Scriptures.

God was no longer relating to mankind – nor was He desiring mankind to relate to Him – through the Law, but through the Work and Person of God in the flesh, Christ Jesus.

So Paul (and the others) were not writing their own ‘gospels’; they were carrying out the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in John 16 – they were receiving that further information that could be understood on the side of the Cross where they now lived and we do too – revealing what was actually accomplished at the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and with the High Priesthood of Christ – and writing it down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The point of this post is to show that Paul does not contradict the Gospel of Christ, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, explains it.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  (from John 16)

Paul, in particular, expertly goes back to the Law and the Prophets and shows how the Old Covenant shadows give way to the New Covenant realities in Christ.

So the next time a Law ‘keeper’ tries to tell you that Paul’s Gospel is either ‘misunderstood’ (those who try to twist Paul’s words to support Torah observance for believers) or a ‘different’ gospel from Jesus’ Gospel (those who reject Paul’s writings outright), point them to John 16!

(I found the illustration at a pro-Islam think tank site, btw.  Funny, they use the same arguments that HRMers tend to use!)

Grace and peace to you in our Lord, Jesus Christ!

-JGIG

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Other articles of interest:

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the other testimonies on the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Romans 7:1-6 and Spiritual Adultery

Following is a guest post regarding the exposition of Romans 7:1-6, a passage greatly misused by those in the Hebrew Roots Movement and other ‘Law-keeping’ sects.  At the end of this article, I’ll post an excerpt from Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement  –  An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley, where the HRM view of Romans 7:1-6 is detailed to give contrast to what we see a plain reading of the passage communicating.  Thanks to UGANUL for submitting the following!

Christian Law-Keepers and Spiritual Adultery
An Exposition of Romans 7:1-6

by UGANUL (Under Grace And Not Under Law)

Hebrew Roots, Torah Observant and Seventh Day Adventist believers know well the commandment, “You shall not commit adultery”, number seven of the Big Ten. They also know well Jesus’ expansion of that commandment in His sermon on the mount, in which He proclaimed lust to be adultery in the heart.  Law-keepers love to say things like, “See, Jesus didn’t do away with the law, He made it even more demanding!”

A little rabbit-trail here from my main subject, but every time I hear a statement like that I want to reply, “Yes, and if Jesus had included the fourth commandment in His sermon on the mount, it would have probably gone something like this:”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘The seventh day is a Sabbath (complete rest) to the Lord Your God’, but I say to you, not just one day a week shall you enter into rest, but you shall enter into My rest every day of the week all day long.”

That is exactly the message of Hebrews 4:1-10 and elsewhere in the New Testament. But I digress . . .

Back to adultery.  I think that we can all agree on the fact that there are at least two kinds of adultery:

  1. Physical adultery (actual sexual involvement with someone other than one’s spouse)
  2. Psychological adultery (lust in the heart for sexual involvement with someone other than one’s spouse)

To these two forms of adultery, I believe the Apostle Paul clearly adds a third form of adultery, spiritual adultery, explained in Roman 7:1-6.

The first three verses there set up the basis of comparison with physical adultery:

Romans 7:1-3
1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

That’s all pretty clear; no controversy here.  Paul is speaking to those who know the Law, so probably a good number of Jewish converts to the gospel of Jesus are among the Christians at Rome.  And they (and even those under other forms of civil law) clearly understand that, yes, if a woman is married to a husband, and while that husband is still alive she goes and joins herself to another man, she is clearly an adulteress.

Having set that stage, Paul goes on to apply this truth to those who are followers of Christ:

Romans 7:4
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.adultery 3

What is the “therefore” there for?  Obviously, this verse is an application of the previous three verses.

It is evident, is it not, that on a spiritual level, the Apostle is saying we cannot be joined to both Christ and the Law at the same time.

Otherwise, just like the woman in the first three verses, an individual who seeks to join himself or herself to both Jesus and the Law at the same time commits spiritual adultery, a third kind of adultery.

It seems obvious to me that this article should be concluded right here in the first clause of v. 4 in which we are told that if we are part of the “brethren” in Christ Paul is addressing, then we have been “made to die to the Law”, period, end of argument, end of this nonsense about Christians needing to obey the Law given to Moses.

We believers in Christ have been made to die to the Law!  What is so difficult to understand about that straightforward statement?  But alas, I must be too simple-minded, so I will continue.

There is obviously a huge problem here.  Some 1400 years before the book of Romans was written, Moses recorded the commandments of God for the Israelite people which appeared to be good for all time stretching into eternity.  Now, however, the very Son of God has appeared demanding that we be joined to Him in ways which supersede the Law given to Moses.  E.g., in His sermon on the mount He differentiates Himself from the Law with the refrain, “But I say to you…”, and even overturns some points of the Law such as commanding us to swear no oaths at all when the Law commands its adherents to take oaths to the Lord.  (Compare and contrast Mt. 5:33-37 and Dt. 6:13.)

So, what is the solution to this perceived contradiction between the Laws given to Moses, and the teachings given to us by our Lord Jesus and His Apostles?

Here it is:  Just as in verses 1-3 in which someone has to die in order for the second union to be non-adulterous, so someone has to die here in order for there to be no spiritual adultery – the adultery of seeking to join ourselves to both Jesus and the Law of Moses at the same time.

Now here is where I think God provides an amazing, startling, and totally unexpected solution.  In verse 4, He actually has two people die: Jesus and the believer in Christ!  But He also has those two people raised from the dead, so that they may be joined to each other in a new union that truly bears “fruit for God”.

Implication: The old union with the Law was not getting the fruit-bearing job done.  Only New Life can do that.

In another place Paul reveals,

The letter (speaking of the Ten Commandments carved on tablets of stone) kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

But wait; there’s more!  God tells us why He had to work the plan this way.  He tells us that there is actually a problem with the Law:  It actually causes the flesh to sin, to bear fruit for death!  Romans 7:5 says:

For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.

Almost every translation of the New Testament puts it the same way – that our sinful passions are aroused by the Law to cause us to sin!  Yes, there is something about the Law of Moses and our sinful flesh that is impossible to fit together to bear fruit for God.  The Law of Moses arouses our sinful passions to show us how desperately we need our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now I can almost feel a flood of law-keepers descending upon me saying, “But look down at v. 12, ‘So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.’  The problem isn’t with the commandment; it is with our sinful flesh.”

My dear friend, I am not saying that there is something evil about the Law.

  • By saying that the Law is “holy”, that word signifies that it is set apart for a special purpose, to show us our sin.
  • By saying that the Law is “just”, that word signifies that God is just in condemning us to His wrath.
  • By saying that the Law is “good”, that word signifies that the Law accomplishes the good purpose of showing us that in and of ourselves we can never accomplish all the demands of that law, and it thereby leads us to our need for Christ.

Unbeknownst to the Israelites of Moses’ day and following, they were never going to be able to perfectly keep the Law, and were in effect being set up for failure so that in the fullness of time they would be driven to the grace and mercy and forgiveness in Christ, along with the power and privilege to live a whole new kind of life above sin.

So the Law has a purpose, and Paul explains that purpose in vv. 7-12 (as well as in many other places in the New Testament).  But here is the one thing we must recognize about the Law:  Though the Law of Moses had and has many good purposes, though it is holy (set apart), and though it is good, there is something even more important about it:  It is inadequate.  It cannot produce life, and it cannot bear fruit.  This is why it is so important to tenaciously hold to the truth of Romans 7:6:

But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

I am amazed at the hermeneutical (interpretive) gymnastics that HRM, TO, and SDA apologists use to get around verses in the New Testament, but it is as obvious as the day is long that what this verse really means is, “we have been released from the Law”!

In the Greek it still means, “We have been released from the Law”!  Ok, if you missed it look at the second phrase which indicates action completed in the past with results continuing into the present:  “having died to that by which we were bound”.

Folks, when we were “born-again” or “born from above” (John 3), we were crucified with Christ and raised up with Him (Col. 3 and elsewhere), so that we are now dead to the Law along with everything else associated with our old life. We are new creatures in Christ… “the old things passed away, behold new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17)!

Now there is one more very important death that took place by crucifixion, and sadly this death is often missed by many Christians.  Not only was Jesus crucified (and raised again), and believers in Jesus were crucified with Him (and raised again, Gal. 2:19-21), but there was also something else that was crucified, and this thing that was crucified was not raised from the dead.  For believers, the thing that was crucified was the Law itself!

Check out these two passages from Colossians and Ephesians:

Colossians 2:13-14
13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

What is the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us? Paul makes it even clearer in his parallel passage to this one in the body of his letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 2:14-16
For He Himself [Jesus] is our peace, who made both groups [Jews and Gentiles] into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

Dear friend, do not pass over this passage too quickly.  Observe two very important points:

First, notice in v. 16 what exactly was put to death on the cross.  It was the enmity.  What was the enmity?  Look back up into v. 15, where it tells us exactly what the enmity was:  “…the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances….”

Let’s not get too complicated here.  The enmity is the Law.

Second, as JGIG has pointed out previously, the Greek word translated “abolishing” both here in Ephesians 2:15 and in the text of our exposition at Rom. 7:6 is the word katargeo – G2673.  It’s semantic range includes the following meanings:

to render idle, unemployed, inactive, inoperative; to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency; to deprive of force, influence or power; to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish; to cease, to pass away, be done away; to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from; and finally to terminate all intercourse with.

Given this semantic range, it would seem to me that the translators of the New King James Version were rather mild in saying we have been released from the Law in Romans 7:6, and dead on accurate in their translation of Ephesians 2:15 by saying “abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law….”

Dear friend, if you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you have been

  • released
  • separated
  • severed
  • loosed
  • discharged and terminated from the Law of Moses which has been
  • annulled
  • abolished, and
  • deprived of all force, influence, power and authority over you as a New Covenant believer!

There are many reasons why we have been released from the Law of Moses, but one of the most important is that it is impossible for us to ever obey all its commandments:

James 2:10
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

It is both a Biblical fact and the common experience of every human being outside of Jesus Christ, that none of us, not even Ellen G. White or any other proponent of sinless perfectionism, has ever lived a life completely without sin.

Sooner or later, many Law abiding believers come to the realization of what sadly has taken them a long period of years to finally admit:  That living by the letter of the law is actually and truly an act of the flesh.

You are either walking in the power of your own flesh to keep commandments, many of which, by the way, were never intended for believers in Christ to keep in the same way the Old Testament Israelites were to keep them, or you are walking in the Spirit, being led by Him as “sons of God” into and through a lifestyle of fulfilling the Royal law (James 2:8), the law of love, the “new commandment” Jesus gave to us.  There is no middle ground!

Ok, sorry for the run-on sentence in the previous paragraph; perhaps I was influenced by many of the Apostle Paul’s long sentences.  Dear loved one, let me conclude here by encouraging you from the bottom of my heart:

Galatians 6:7-8
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Whether it is committing adultery or trying to keep all the commandments of the Law of Moses, it is still of the flesh, and will only reap corruption.  Sow to the Spirit, dear friend, and reap eternal life.

Postscript: For those of you Goyim (Gentiles) who are trying to become more Jewish through Torah observance, please take heed to the following New Covenant warning from Romans 2:17-24 about being Jewish:

17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?  22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?  23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written.

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Following is an excerpt of an examination of Jim Staley’s teaching, ‘Identity Crisis’, in which he relays an interpretation common in the Hebrew Roots Movement regarding Romans 7:1-6.  Excerpted from Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement – An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley:

The Misuse of Romans 7:1-6

. . . Staley doesn’t answer the question, but goes into how God divorces and then makes it so that He can remarry Israel.

Around 1:00 he takes Romans 7:4 and actually says that Israel died to Law, but died only to the law of adultery, so that She could be married to another. Romans 7:4 actually says,

4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Those in Christ do not die to a single law, but to THE Law, as Romans 7:4 clearly states.

Did you die just to the Law regarding adultery? If the law of adultery died, like the husband did in the scenario presented in verses 1-3, that might make sense, as the rest of the Law could remain intact, but the Scripture does not say that the law of adultery died, it says that those in Christ died. When someone dies, they die to all laws. So dying to a single law makes no sense in light of Romans 7:6, which says this:

6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The written code, as we know, is the Ten Commandments and the other 600+ specific commands documented by God in Torah.

In Romans 7:4-6, the Law doesn’t die, WE do!

To what?

To the Law.

Why?

To be able to be joined to Another.

To Whom?

To Christ!

Hang on to your hats for this one: If you go back to the Law (which you have died to and been released from in order to be joined to Christ), you commit spiritual adultery (see part 4 on this page).

Whether you view the Law as a husband, as in the example in verses 1-3, as a Schoolmaster/Tutor/Guardian, as in Galatians 3:21-28, or anything else, you cannot be joined to both the Law and to Christ!

. . . we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way
of the written code.

Which brings me to a few rhetorical questions: If you are now dead to just the Law of adultery, does it now matter if you commit adultery? Is adultery no longer a part of the jots and tittles, none of which were supposed to pass away? If you believe that you died just to the law of adultery, what is the ‘written code’ spoken of by Paul — just the Law of adultery? Or maybe the passage is referring to the Oral Traditions? No, that can’t be it, because the Oral Traditions include all of the Law plus other stuff. Silly? Perhaps, but you get the point.

Torah folk that I’ve talked with tell me that if we interpret Romans 7:4 to mean the whole Law then it must be okay to go out and murder, steal, commit adultery, etc. Yet, if we go with that logic and couple it with the HRM interpretation of Romans 7:4-6 (which is standard in the HRM beyond Staley’s teaching), then it must be okay to commit adultery since that’s a law you’ve died to, yes?

Well I certainly don’t believe that! Why? Because I died with Christ:

Galatians 2:20-21
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

The Scriptures tell us clearly that those in Christ have died to the Law — all of it.

In the New Covenant, Grace teaches us and the Spirit leads us (Titus 2:11-14, Galatians 5:18-26). If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under Law (Galatians 5:18), which coincides to being dead to the Law. Not only that, but what does Romans 7:5, which is sandwiched in between verses 4 and 6, say?

Romans 7:5
5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.

I like the idea of being dead to that which arouses our sinful passions! Because as one in Christ, I’m not looking for license to sin, rather for how to sin less and less. The Law does not show us how to accomplish that. The Scriptures say that in us, the Law actually stirs up sinful passions rather than to tamp down sinful passions (Romans 5:20, Romans 7:5-11, 1 Corinthians 15:56).

Living in Grace and by the Spirit does not leave us in a vacuum, floating about with no compass to guide us! Notice in Galatians 5:21 where it says, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

So how does righteousness come? Grace. (See Hebrew Roots Movement – Man’s Righteousness or God’s Righteousness? and Grace or Law? How Then, Shall We Live?, and also Parts 2 and 5 on this page for more on this topic.)

We also know from the Scriptures that the Fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22-23) and that love, which does no harm to its neighbor fulfills the Law (Romans 13:8-10) because someone loving others is not murdering, stealing, committing adultery, bearing false witness, etc.

6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

So we see that in the New Covenant, Grace teaches us and the Spirit leads us (Titus 2:11-14, Galatians 5:18-26). The Fruit of that is Love, which fulfills the Law (Romans 13:8-10). These are foundational Truths to the Gospel that bear repeating in the face of false teaching.

The balance of the article excerpted above can be read here:  Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement  –  An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley

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Other articles of interest:

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the other testimonies on the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Released/Delivered From the Law and Christ is the End of the Law – Getting Greeky About Romans 7, 10, and Ephesians 2

This is a post adapted from a Facebook post at the JGIG Facebook page.  Periodically, I do an ‘Exercise in Discernment’ post on the JGIG Facebook page, and since not everyone is on Facebook (shocking, I know, ha!), I’ve adapted the post here for reference.  Edited and expanded with formatting and links for this venue.

Exercise in Discernment

(Pay special attention to the G2673 – katargeō portion; I had never seen this before!  Very cool!)

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Rhonda, on another [Facebook] page, wrote,

HRH, can you not understand Col 2:16-17? Verses 8,14,20,22, ‘…tradition of men, rudiments of the world, ordinances that was against us, commandments and doctrines of men…’ Do you know the difference between commandments of God and commandments of men?”

What was blotted out and nailed to the cross?  What stood against us?  Convicting us in the sight of God?

SIN.  Law Keepers assert that Christ merely nailed human traditions (Rabbinic laws) added to the Law or just the curses in the Law to the Cross. Jesus accomplished so much more than that.

It was our sin and the Law that was nailed to the Cross, not just man’s additions to or the curses in the Law.

A Hebrew Christian friend of mine wrote this:

“The LOM [Law of Moses] did NOT die on the cross, Jesus did, and through HIS death on our behalf, all believers have DIED as well — The LOM is NOT dead, but WE are DEAD to IT (a crucial distinction) … It is our SINS which Jesus took upon His own head on the cross when He became SIN for us (He did NOT become the LOM) — I think that is a pivotal point to keep in the forefront of our thinking as we read this passage & others relating to it … WHAT is REMOVED in Col.2:11 ???  NOT the LOM (!!!) but our body of flesh, our body of dead works, our body of SIN … The decrees certified against us in verse 14 have been CANCELLED out and taken away (Because our Transgressions were forgiven, having been Nailed to the Cross in HIS Body) and the charges have been dropped against US since they were levied upon Jesus (in our stead) who PAID our DEBT BOND, He Himself being the Surety Forfeited because of our DEFAULT.”

Seeing that human traditions (commandments and doctrines of man) carry no authority to convict man in God’s sight and sin (transgression of God’s Law) does, it could not be just human traditions or only the curses in the Law that were nailed to the Cross.

That assertion simply fails in light of the facts and the context.

Once sin is washed away, the Law is done with us . . . it has led us to the Cross (Galatians 3) and there we become a New Creation!  We are the very righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21)!  We no longer have the same relationship with the Law as we did before the work of Christ in our lives!

Colossians 2:9-15
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.  11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands.  Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having >>> canceled G1813 – exaleiphō <<< the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.  15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Ephesians 2:14-16
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having >>> abolished G2673 – katargeō <<< in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

The Law IS abolished for those IN CHRIST.

Christ IS the end of the Law for righteousness for all who believe (Romans 10:4)!

Oh My!  I just checked this out . . . this is so cool . . . now it gets really interesting . . .

Romans 7:4-6
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.  5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.  6 But now we have been >>> delivered G2673 – katargeō <<< from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

G2673 – katargeō is translated as both ‘abolished’ in Eph. 2:15 and as ‘delivered’ in Rom. 7:6.

Here’s the definition:

G2673 – katargeō

1) to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative

a) to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency
b) to deprive of force, influence, power

2) to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish

a) to cease, to pass away, be done away
b) to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one
c) to terminate all intercourse with one

That’s talkin’ about the Law for those in Christ, folks!

The Law, for those in Christ, is these things:

➞ idle

➞ unemployed

➞ inactive (!!!)

➞ inoperative (!!!)

➞ to cause a person to have no further efficiency

➞ to deprive of force, influence, power (!!!)

➞ to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish (!!!)

➞ to cease, to pass away, be done away (!!!)

➞ to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one (!!!)

➞ to terminate all intercourse with one (!!!)

Rhonda also wrote,

“Rom 10:4 For Christ is the AIM of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. He showed us how it’s done! τέλος is the same word for end, aim, eternal, purpose. Isn’t it amazing how one little word can change the entire sentence? [Isn’t it though?!] You can go with ‘end’, but that will give you the translation that lawless ppl like the most. If you go with ‘aim’, it harmonizes with all of scripture. What translation do you prefer?”

I prefer the translation that is supported by both the original language (in this case, Greek) and by context.

Note this about Rhonda’s approach:  She’s attempting to ‘harmonize’ a New Covenant Scripture by subjecting the New Covenant to the Old Covenant.  The Scriptures are clear:  The New Covenant is a better Covenant built on better promises (Hebrews chapters 4-10).  We are NOT to subject the New to the Old!  It’s folly to subject the superior to the inferior:

Hebrews 7:18-19
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

It brings another perspective to Galatians 5:4 where Paul says,

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

If they’re truly saved, it doesn’t mean that they’ve lost they’re salvation, but that they are making Christ of no effect to themselves in THIS life.  They’re choosing to live by the Law instead of by Grace.  They have fallen from Grace – from the higher reality in the New Covenant of Christ, to the shadows of the Old Covenant in Moses.  Paul also says in Galatians 2:18:

For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

Who makes who a transgressor?  The one who goes back under the Law or God?  When believers put *themselves* back under the Law, *they* are counting their transgressions against themselves.

In Christ, God isn’t counting their transgressions against them:

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

They FEEL all the condemnation and guilt that the Law brings, because that’s what the Law was designed to do, and they’ve put themselves back under it!  But that’s in this life – if they are believers they have been made perfect forever in Christ – that does not change (Hebrews 10).  Foolishness, even rooted in devotion or pride does not change the Work of Christ.  Dear believer, if you have put yourself back under the Law, come back to Grace and to the ‘freedom for which Christ has made you free’!

Back to the Romans 10 passage with a bit of context:

Romans 10:1-4
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.  2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  3 For they being ignorant of >>> God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, <<< have not submitted to the righteousness of God.  4 For Christ is the >>> end G5056 – telos <<< of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

First, to deal with Christ as the end of the Law:

G5056 – telos

1) end

a) termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)
b) the end

1) the last in any succession or series
2) eternal

c) that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue
d) the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose

2) toll, custom (i.e. indirect tax on goods)

End, in this case, simply means end.

End of the Law for those in Christ.

A simple translation for the linguist guys.

But the HRM has to take meaning ‘1d’ to try to force a meaning into the text.  Even then, their attempt falls short, as the Law points to Christ:

>>>>>>>>>> . . . He . . . Christ . . . <<<<<<<<

. . . is the end (the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose) of the Law, not the Law is the end of Christ!

The Law points to Christ, Christ does not point to the Law!

For those in Christ, the Law is abolished, and those in Christ
are released from the Law, having died to it!
(Rom. 10:4, Rom. 7:1-6, Eph. 2, Col. 2)

The second point I wish to make here is that the righteousness that is in Christ – the righteousness we receive – is the very righteousness of God. God’s righteousness is the righteousness that is provided in Christ for all who believe! (Romans 5, 2 Corinthians 5)

The only ‘righteousness’ you could ever hope for through the Law is your own (‘and seeking to establish their own righteousness’, from Romans 10, above), and that would require your perfect obedience, all the time, zero mistakes, which is an impossibility.

God offers you HIS Righteousness!

In Christ!

By Grace!

Through Faith! (Ephesians 2)

Why?

To demonstrate God’s Righteousness! \o/

I hope this short study has helped you to sort out some of the common Scriptures that those in Law-keeping sects try to use to support the keeping of Old Covenant Law.  As one digs deeper and really examines the language and context of the Scriptures, the simple Truths of the New Covenant become clearer and clearer – and Christ Jesus becomes more and more exalted, not only as our Sweet Saviour and Lord, but also as our Perfect High Priest, in Whom we can always do this:

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (from Hebrews 4)

Please also note that it is not through Law that we draw near to God, but by His Grace, faith in His Death and Resurrection, His Free Gifts of Righteousness and New Life, and His Perfect High Priesthood in the New Covenant, by which we draw near to God.

Grace and peace to you!
-JGIG

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Other articles of interest:

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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What About ‘Hyper-Grace’???

What About ‘Hyper-Grace’???

Over the past year or so (starting in 2013), a manufactured label, ‘Hyper-Grace’, has been made popular and applied to the Gospel of Grace.  Personally, I embrace the term, because in my opinion, the Living God coming to Earth as a man to die for our sin and bear the judgement due us, and then to give those who believe the gift of Righteousness and New Life in order to reconcile us to Himself is a pretty Hyper Grace!

That aside, not all believers embrace the term, and many are uncomfortable with the concept of pure Grace.  Rather those who mix Law and Grace use the term as a derogatory label, on which they pile false accusations about what the Gospel of Grace is and how those who walk in Grace live their lives.oh no!

A main instigator in applying the Hyper-Grace label to Grace-embracing believers is Dr. Michael Brown.  Understand that Dr. Brown is a respected theologian, and many take what he says quite seriously, seeing him as a credible source sounding a valid alarm – “Christians are seeing Grace as a license to sin!”, “Hyper-Grace teachings are leading to ‘grace horror stories!’” and the hyperbolic like.

You can do a search with Dr. Brown’s name and ‘Hyper-Grace’ and get a number of video teachings and interviews that he’s done on the subject, as well as an assortment of articles regarding the Hyper-Grace label/concept.  Note the ‘tabloidesque’ flavor to his interviews with Sid Roth, and the unbridled discussion about how this ‘hyper-grace’ can (and in their opinion does) lead to the loss of salvation.

How do you avoid losing your salvation?

By not sinning, of course!

How do you keep from sinning?

By keeping laws/commandments/rules . . . whatever the circle of like-minded folks you surround yourself with deems appropriate as the Biblical standard.

And if you do sin?

Repeated confession and repentance to God for sins that, according to their theology, God will hold against you if you don’t!

This of course, is contrary to contextual Scriptures (John 3:16-18,  Romans 5, 2 Corinthians 5:18-191 John 1:9, 1 John 2:1-2 for starters).

Many of the resources available on the Audio and Text Resources page here at JGIG refute the ‘Hyper-Grace’ hype, giving a Biblical defense for the Gospel of Grace.

Rob Rufus actually recorded a teaching entitled, ‘A Biblical Defense of the Gospel of Grace‘ several years before Dr. Brown made the ‘Hyper-Grace’ label popular.  A video version of the teaching can be viewed, as well:

Paul Ellis, author at the site, Escape to Reality, author of The Gospel in Ten Words, and The Gospel in Twenty Questions (links also in the left sidebar below), took the issue head on in “Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace” – a response to Michael Brown, which garnered a few hundred comments in a good, lively discussion.  One more (of many) good articles found at his site in line with what we’re discussing here: Confession, Conviction, Confusion!

hyper graceWhen Dr. Brown’s book on ‘Hyper-Grace’ came out, D.R. Silva put together a good resource rebutting the common arguments against Grace.  Silva builds a solid defense for the Gospel of Grace in about 68 pages, whereas Brown’s book spends 304 pages trying to refute the Gospel of Grace and expound on its ‘dangers’.

D.R. Silva does reference Dr. Brown in his book, but I think it’s important to note that Hyper-Grace: The Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God is not primarily a refutation of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message (dangerous stuff, that Grace of God!!!), but rather a Biblical defense of the Grace position, taking on the common arguments/accusations leveled by those who mischaracterize the Grace position.

‘Grace is good, But . . . !’ should have been the title for Dr. Brown’s book.  A good audio by Rob Rufus, a teaching recorded several years ago, is available with a similar title:  Grace is Good – No Buts!

Edited to add 4/7/14:

Paul Ellis has published a book entitled, “The Hyper-Grace Gospel: A Response to Michael Brown and Those Opposed to thehyper-grace-gospel Modern Grace Message“, where he also provides an outline of the content, which systematically addresses the false perceptions of the Gospel of Grace as well as responds to specific assertions made by Dr. Brown.  Ellis puts together a definitive, clear presentation first and foremost of the Gospel of Grace.  Highly recommended:

A good video review of D.R. Silva’s book can be found here: Book Review “Hyper Grace – the Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God

So if someone warns you of the ‘dangers’ of ‘Hyper-Grace’, the Audio and Text Resources, Video Resources, and The Gospel pages have lots of materials to support the Biblical Gospel of Grace, and this article has given you a few specific resources (click on the embedded links!) to help you defend the Gospel of Grace with confidence and good humor.  [Added 5/4/14 – And more good humor.]

And Grace \o/..

grace is hyper

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the other testimonies on the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Other articles of interest:

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Believers in the Hebrew Roots Movement: Are They Lost?

I’ve seen the issue titled above come up time after time, from anxious family members and friends of precious believers who have been sucked into the Hebrew Roots Movement, and from heresy hunters who use fear every bit as much as those they strive to refute as they try to retrieve the deceived back into Biblical Christianity.

Here’s how I see it:
The HRM draws both believers and unbelievers into its web.  The Enemy accomplishes keeping the unbeliever away from the Gospel, and he keeps the believer from a fruitful relationship with God in Christ as he keeps them from bringing the Lost to Christ – they are far too busy ‘setting themselves apart’ via Law-keeping and trying to get other believers to be Torah observant for a variety of reasons.

Those in the Conditional Security camp may cringe when I say this, but one of the big ‘hooks’ that those in Law-keeping sects use to get folks into Law-keeping and keep them there is that if you don’t keep the Law, you’re in willful rebellion against God by not keeping His commandments and you are either Lost

  1. not really saved, or
  2. will lose your salvation.

Conditional Security types who believe that one in Christ can somehow lose their salvation open the door to that very subtle deception and unwittingly feed into it.

I firmly believe that believers who get hoodwinked into Law-keeping sects do not lose their salvation, but are neutralized in the Body – sterilized if you will – and will not ‘reproduce’, bringing the Lost into the Body.  Their fruit is mixed, which makes evaluating what they believe on the core issues of the faith important.

I say their fruit is mixed because I’ve interacted with Torah folk who are, up front anyway, loving and joyful.  When you begin to consistently disagree with them regarding believers’ relationship to the Law, however, they become impatient, critical, and controlling.  Their intentions may initially be noble, but the flesh takes over and bears its fruit, produced by the Law under which they’ve placed themselves.  We then begin to see things like idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, and envy.  A few of you Torah folk balking at the idolatry and sorcery charges?  Check out where some of your doctrines come from.

There are some from the HRM who convert to Judaism outright.  And there arises a real sticky wicket:  Are we in a position to judge the heart regarding the salvation/eternal security of one who goes so far as to do something as drastic as that?

Here’s a question worth considering: Are they, by their actions carried out under deception, rejecting the True Christ Jesus in/from/through Whom, in the past, they may have been saved and received eternal life, or are they rejecting the Enemy’s portrayal of a false Messiah cleverly crafted and spun in Law-keeping sects’ doctrines? 

If they were truly saved in their past, what will happen to them

no effectSee – I’m thinking we preach the Gospel regardless – to bring the deceived back to have Christ – the REAL Christ – be of full effect again in their lives, and if they were never saved to begin with, to bring them to Christ for the first time!

That’s the beauty of the Gospel: The Gospel corrects error and brings LIFE, so no matter the ailment, the Gospel is the Cure!

Are we seeing Torah folks’ lives from the perspective of God, Who sees not only where they are, but where they’ve been and where they’re going?  A deeply deceived person will believe and do really dumb stuff.  I’m of the mind and heart to preach the Gospel full preach and let God work out who is saved and who is not – with the understanding that I have but a snapshot of most people’s lives – especially on the internet!

So let this be an exhortation/encouragement for those of you who interact with friends and loved ones who are in the Hebrew Roots Movement and other false belief systems.  Don’t take the responsibility of sorting out ‘who’s saved and who isn’t’ on your own shoulders.  It’s not your deal.  Examine fruit?  Absolutely.  Call out error?  You bet.  Tell someone who may very well be saved but walking in error that they’re going to hell?  No.

gospel-changes-everythingInstead, build them up in who they are in Christ; speak the simple Truths of the Gospel to them – lovingly and clearly to counter the falsehoods with which the Enemy seeks to muddy the waters as he drops the dirt of false doctrines into our streams of faith.  If they’re already saved, the Gospel will correct the error they’re in if they’re willing.  If they’re not already saved, communicating the Gospel to them will give them the opportunity to be reconciled to God in Christ.

Regardless, results are God’s business, not ours.  We are called to speak Truth in Love, not to manipulate in order to get results.

Again, the Gospel corrects error and brings Life – think of how the Apostles dealt with error in the Apostolic writings.  Sometimes they came at error head-on (absolutely appropriate on core issues), but mostly they just preached the Gospel of Grace and told believers who they are in Christ because of that Gospel (Who Jesus is, What He came to do, What that actually accomplished, and who believers are in Him).  Some plant, some water, but God makes those seeds grow!  If you’re not sure how to communicate the Gospel in an effective way, this is a good place to start, especially to those who are in Law-keeping sects:  The Gospel

There are lots of good resources out there, many of which can be found here.  I also encourage you to check out this site, as the author there has a really good way of relating the Gospel in real terms to real people living real lives.  Be sure to check out the Testimonies Page here at JGIG, for accounts of how God has brought those folks out of the Hebrew Roots Movement.

All that to say:  Our focus needs to be on the Gospel.  Understand the Gospel and the errors in false teachings will become very obvious.  Understand the Gospel and speak Grace and Truth into the lives of your friends and family members.  If/when the Torah folk in your lives reject the Jesus/Yeshua we love, try not to take it personally; they’ve been deceived by teachers bringing them a different jesus/yeshua and a false gospel.  Just love them well, pray, pray, pray, lift the emotion of it all Heavenward, giving it to God at His Throne of Grace, and leave the rest to Him.

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Other articles of interest:

A clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

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Hebrew Roots Movement – Man’s Righteousness or God’s Righteousness?

Law-keepers will often quote Romans 2:13 out of context to claim that righteousness can come through the Law. They claim that the keeping of Law does not earn salvation, but that after salvation one’s own righteousness (lack of sinning, in their view) is determined by how well one obeys Old Covenant Laws.  Let’s take a look:

Romans 2:12-13
12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;

filthy rags

What Law-keepers refuse to acknowledge is that righteousness cannot be credited to any account that is not completely faultless according to the Law as it was given.  That means TOTAL obedience, ALL the time (see Ex. 23:13, Deut. 8:1, 12:27-28, Jer. 7:21-26, Josh. 1:6-9 for verification).

Anything short of perfect obedience all the time is a fail.

That’s why in Romans 3:21-26 says this:

But now 

—> the <—

righteousness of God

—> apart from the law <—

is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even

—> the <—

righteousness of God

—> through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.<—

For there is no difference;

—> for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, <—

being justified

***freely by His grace***

through the redemption that is

*** in Christ Jesus,***

whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood,

*** through faith,***

to demonstrate

—> His righteousness <—

because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time

—> His righteousness <—

that

—> He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. <—

Wow!

That is so powerful when it’s taken piece by piece!!!

The only ‘righteousness’ you could ever hope for through the Law is your own, and that would require your perfect obedience, all the time, which is an impossibility.

God offers you HIS Righteousness

IN CHRIST!

BY GRACE!

THROUGH FAITH!

Why?

To demonstrate   \o/ \o/ \o/   God’s   \o/ \o/ \o/   Righteousness!

Wow!

Now check this out in Romans 10:1-4:

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For they

—> being ignorant of God’s righteousness, <—

—> and seeking to establish their own righteousness, <—

—> have not submitted to the righteousness of God. <—

—> For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. <—

Why is Christ the end of the Law? Because the righteousness that is by the Law is

  1. unattainable, for it requires perfect obedience, all the time, and
  2. is not God’s perfect righteousness, but man’s imperfect righteousness (if it could be attained), a righteousness existing only until one’s next sin

Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness – which can only be man’s righteousness, because God’s righteousness is a righteousness apart from the Law – because in Christ we have a superior righteousness

 God’s Righteousness!

i_am_gods_righteousness

2 Corinthians 5:21 says

For He [God] made Him [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us,

——> that we might become the righteousness of God <—–

——> in Him [Christ]. <——

Wow!  I know, I keep saying that, but WOW!  This just really struck me today during a Facebook exchange.  Any righteousness that could be attained through the Law (even if it could be attained) is man’s righteousness; God offers us HIS Righteousness in Christ!  (Wow! That’s HUGE!)

\o/ \o/ \o/    Glory to God!!!    \o/ \o/ \o/

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Other articles of interest:

For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

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Grace or Law? How Then, Shall We Live?

After salvation, how then, shall we live?

Is Grace the best path, or is Law the best path?

tug-o-war1

Many come to sites like JGIG that address issues of Law and Grace thinking that those in the Grace camp preach either easy believism, antinomianism, that Grace is a license to sin, or that we believe/teach all three.

Let Me Address the ‘Easy-Believism’ Misperception First
Some will make a charge of ‘easy believism’ against those who preach the Gospel of Grace, using this single verse from Scripture:

James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.

They then try to equate that belief of demons with faith in Christ.  Demons do understand – they know Who Jesus is – they believe that fact – but they don’t put their faith in His Work.  It is not the same thing at all.  The unspoken accusation here, whether intended or not, is that belief by humans, without the added performance of Law, is no better than the belief of demons.  What a motivator, eh?!Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

Broken people who have been saved by Grace through Faith, in the midst of healing and restoring by the Spirit of God, don’t believe like the demons believe.  They are placing their faith and trust in the God Who came in the flesh to die a horrible death to satisfy the wrath that should have come on them and are instead receiving complete forgiveness that He freely gives, enabling Him to impute to them the Righteousness of Christ, resulting in New Life – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – making them a New Creation in Christ (Romans 5 and 2 Corinthians 5:16-21)!

No, the belief that demons exercise is something quite different indeed.

Now that THAT’S out of the way, let’s move on to the antinomian and license to sin charges.

The Misperceptions that Grace Teaches Antinomianism and/or a License to Sin
This is what the Scriptures say about what Grace teaches:

Titus 2:11-14
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It [grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

You’d think that would be the end of it, but no . . .

Setting aside, for the moment, the fact that a gospel gained by Grace through Faith but not maintained by Grace through Faith from first to last (Romans 1:16-17) is really no gospel at all (Galatians 1:6-9), another huge issue in the Grace/Law debate, for the purposes here, I’ll limit this post to the following:

measuring up

Team Law relies on outward works of the Law as fruit of salvation – performance based evidence.

For Torah folk, whom JGIG tends to address primarily, that means the keeping of Old Covenant Laws: Feasts, days, dietary laws, wearing tzit tzit, etc.  For other team Law folks it may be baptism by sprinkling vs. immersion as proof of salvation or the speaking of tongues as the ‘proof’ or ‘fruit’ that one is truly saved, etc., what to wear, whether or not to go to movies, haircuts, head-coverings, etc., depending on the stream of thought in which one swims.  There are bunches more examples, but you get the idea.

Team Grace sees Grace and the Holy Spirit as that which/Who empowers us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives.  Evidence of salvation lies in the production of the Spirit’s Fruit.  When one is truly saved, Fruit happens.

We don’t produce fruit; we bear fruit.

Fruit is the inevitable outflow of the work of God’s Spirit and Grace in and through us, those being the Fruits of the Spirit as stated in Galatians 5:22-26.  Those Fruits often manifest in the flesh as works of love and service to others, opening up avenues for the sharing of the Gospel with the Lost. One can absolutely be demonstrating the Fruits of the Spirit while not Feast or day keeping, observing dietary laws, wearing tzit tzit, etc.

It’s interesting to note that Spirit-led Fruit tends to look outward with concern for others, having a heart for the Lost, while performance-led fruit tends to turn one’s focus inward, always self-examining to make sure they are in line with whatever system of law they’ve put themselves under. If they have time, they busy themselves examining other Christians, exhorting them to also put themselves under law in order to achieve holiness before God so that they, too, can avoid God’s wrath.  Little time (if any) is left over for the Lost.

Regarding the keeping of Law, let’s take a look at what we see in Galatians:

Galatians 5:16-18
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:22-23
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The first Fruit of the Spirit is love.  The rest of the Fruits, in my opinion, are all elements, or subsets, if you will, of love.  If one is loving (verb), they are, most likely, exhibiting joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  There are no laws against such things.  This echoes Galatians 5:18, “If we are led by the Spirit we are not under law”, after which the Fruits of being led by the Spirit are listed.

A commenter at JGIG’s Facebook page asked this excellent question out of frustration:

Andrea wrote,
“But I can’t love because it is a command – Because I am under grace [and not under law].  Do see how you guys make absolutely NO SENSE?!”

Andrea was referring to the quoting of this passage:

1 John 3:21-24
21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

It’s a great question!  If we’re not under Law, but after the Cross God commands us to love – sometimes referred to as the Law of Christ – what’s up with that?!

Here’s the really cool thing:

Love is a Fruit of the Spirit as well as a command.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

Though love is a command, it’s also a fruit.

Do fruit-producing plants strive to produce fruit?  No . . . the branches bear fruit because they are attached to the vine/tree/plant which nourishes them.  Fruit is the by-product of LIFE, and it takes time for fruit to be produced.  If you are in Christ and are led by His Spirit, love will be a fruit produced in you.  If you are alive in Christ, abiding in Him, allowing His Holy Spirit to live through you, love is an unavoidable by-product of that relationship, fulfilling God’s command to love!that long groove

Commanding the one in Christ to love is like commanding a person who has life in them to breathe because it’s a law.  If a person has life in them, they automatically breathe – it’s something that we just DO.

If we are in Christ, loving others is something that we just DO. 

To command those in Christ to love is a ridiculously-unfair-in-our-favor-win-win-deal!

Here’s the other really cool thing:

We love because He first loved us.  (1 John 4:19)

By resting in the love of Christ and letting Him live His Life through us, bearing His Fruits, God’s command to love is obeyed (John 15:12, 1 John 3:23) and the Law is fulfilled (Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:14).

That is Grace.

And because of Grace and being led by the Spirit, when we love, we are not murdering, stealing, committing adultery, worshipping other gods, bearing false witness . . . do you see where this is going?

Can you begin to see how Jesus is our Sabbath Rest?

Note that fruit does fruit in stagesnot come out fully formed and completely ripe.

Good fruit takes time.

Don’t judge the blossom because it’s not yet a strawberry.

Let me take the example of a morbidly obese person, say, around 300 lbs. or so.  You may look at the person in question and make observations, thinking unkind thoughts about their size, their ‘obvious’ eating habits, their ‘obvious’ undisciplined lifestyle, their ‘obvious’ sin of gluttony, etc.  Please do not misunderstand; I’m not saying at all that obesity is a sin. This is an illustration.

Now let’s take a look at what you don’t see, because you CANNOT see what GOD sees, and you may be greatly misinterpreting what’s going on in someone’s life or how you perceive leadership to be handling a situation.  Be careful how you interpret what you think you see:

Perhaps that 300 lb. person used to be 500 lbs., and with God’s help, they have dropped 200 lbs.  They have good days and bad days, calorically speaking, but they are a work in progress, keeping their eye on the goal, persevering, and relying on God’s Mercy and Grace to see them to the finish line. Some in that position will reach their goal in a relatively short period of time; for others, it will take a lifetime.  For some, it may be a simple case of an over-active love for food.  For others, maybe they have an underlying medical condition.  For still others, it may be a comfort thing, where they are replacing the lack of care and love in their lives with food.  Whatever the issues, God is faithful to progressively address and minister to those issues over time.

Now let’s apply that same concept of what you can and cannot see to all different kinds of situations and sin scenarios.  I won’t detail any here; we all have people and situations familiar to us that we’re thinking of right now.

Here’s the thing:  While some are radically delivered from their addictions and/or lifestyles, for many, though positionally they have been forgiven of all their sins, it can be a life-long process for them to have victory over sinning.

For most, behavior is a manifestation of heart issues, and those things are not dealt with by employing behavior modification techniques.  Those are things that take time to heal – not that God can’t deliver immediately and completely – that can and does happen – but for many, like skittish animals that have been abused, it takes time (for some, a lifetime) for the deeply wounded to learn to trust Who God is, how completely He loves and accepts them, and who they are in Him.

That said, God does save completely:

Hebrews 7:18-26
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’”

22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

As a result, we have unlimited and uninterrupted access to the Grace of God:

Hebrews 4:14-16
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

However the woundedness manifests in sinful behavior, it is God’s desire to see the positional New Creation in Christ in the spirit become the New Creation in this life:

2 Corinthians 5:16-21
16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!

18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

What struck me as I re-read the above portion of Scripture is that God isentrusted committing to us, the Body, this message – that in and through the Work of Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them.  I don’t often look to commentaries, but my sense in reading, “that this is the message of the Gospel that God is committing to us means that it is something that God is entrusting believers with, that we would communicate this Gospel of Grace, this Good News, to others, indicated by the ‘ambassadors’ language following.  I found this, from Barnes’ Notes:

Tyndale renders this: “and hath committed unto us the preaching of the atonement.” The meaning is, that the office of making known the nature of this plan, and the conditions on which God was willing to be reconciled to man, had been committed to the ministers of the gospel.

The Scripture goes on to say that “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.”  What kind of ambassadors of the message of reconciliation are we being?

How can we be proper ambassadors to the world if we, as the Body of Christ, are holding sins against people that God no longer holds against them?

I’m not speaking of Universalism, here, at all.  What I am saying is that all sin was dealt with at the Cross; the sins of the entire world were propitiated for by the Work of Christ:

1 John 2:2
2He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

That being the case, all do need to respond by faith to believe in the Work of Christ and receive that forgiveness and the free gift of righteousness (Romans 3:21-26, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 10:9-15).

By grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), we are then positionally declared justified and righteous not because of anything we have done or ever will do beyond receiving God’s free gift of righteousness, but because of Who Jesus is, His actions as the Last Adam – His Perfect Righteousness – which is imputed to us.

Note that imputed righteousness is preceded by imputed sin.  It doesn’t seem fair: ” . . . as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin . . . therefore as by the offense of one, judgement came upon all . . .”   Neither is imputed righteousness ‘fair’: “ . . .  For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”  (From Romans 5)

threeimputations

We are condemned by the sin of the First Adam (though the Scriptures cover the sin issue from two angles: sin was imputed to you, but by the Law we were all found guilty; no one is righteous).  We who receive the gift of righteousness are declared righteous by the actions of the Last Adam (Christ Jesus).  Not only that, but the result is this:

Romans 5:20-21
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

It’s very convenient for a religious spirit to ‘deal with’ believers sinning by applying the nice, neat, template of Law (an improper use of the Law, as the Law was made for the unrighteous, not believers, who in Christ, are declared righteous).  One can just throw the Law out there and hope that the ‘target’ will ‘get it’ and turn from their evil ways (reduction in sinning) under the threat of ‘or else’.

Note that people sin under Law; people sin under Grace.

Yet according to the Scriptures, Team Law’s approach has the exact opposite of the desired effect (a reduction in sinning):

Law was given to increase sinning:

Romans 5:20
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.

Law stirs up sinning:

Romans 7:7-8
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

Law produces death:

Romans 7:9-11
9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it [the commandment] killed me.

Law produces fruit unto death:

Romans 7:5
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

Law is the power of sin:

1 Corinthians 15:56
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

What do Grace and the Spirit produce (Team Grace)?

Grace teaches us godliness:

Titus 2:11-14
11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It [grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

The Spirit produces life:

Romans 8:5-6
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; (see also Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, and Ephesians 6:14-17)

The Spirit produces the Fruits of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-25
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

How there is even a debate . . . I get it, but I don’t get it.

Law-Perfect-300x210

For those of us who aren’t dealing with the big, obvious sins (other than spiritual pride, arrogance, and judgementalism, that is), we need to be actively aware of the struggling believer’s secure position in Christ in the midst of their condition in the flesh.  That active awareness should translate into gently lifting up those who struggle with their condition in the flesh, establishing them in the reality of their position in Christ, reminding them of the Throne of Grace that they/we can approach in Christ in their/our time of need.  That’s talking about help when it comes to sinning, folks, and the Throne spoken of is not a throne of judgement (from the Law), but the Throne of Grace!

Apparently, the Thessalonians were really good at this:

1 Thessalonians 5:11-24
11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

12Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.  Live in peace with each other.  14And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 

16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt.  21 Test everything.  Hold on to the good.  22Avoid every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

It is important to understand that the Gospel does not place any condition on the wounded and broken except to believe on the One God sent.  The command to love one another is ultimately fulfilled through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as He produces His Fruit through us – we bear that Fruit; it is a by-product of life in Him.  Our sins – past, present, and future, along with the sins of the whole world, were paid for at the Cross, Christ Jesus having taken the wrath of God upon Himself to spare us that wrath.  If we receive that forgiveness, we receive the Life of Christ, sealed with His Holy Spirit, adopted as sons through Christ Jesus and co-heirs with Him, Who then begins His work of healing and restoration in us.

Dear Believer, read through the letters to the early Body of Christ.

Read them out loud.

Discover who God says you are in Christ.

Lift up those areas of weakness and sinning in your life – “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:14-16)

grace always wins

Grace recognizes that for a lot of people, it’s not so neat and tidy; it can take longer for some than for others, for all – a lifetime, and it can be messy.  But where sin increased, grace super abounded, and God is faithful:


May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.

May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it!


Highly Recommended Related Audio Teachings (free downloads)
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Other articles of interest:

For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

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