Thursday, October 29, 2009

By Our Works Faith is Manifest

Noah is the first person in the Bible described as being “righteous.” Abraham was also considered righteous before God. What is righteousness and how does one obtain it? Paul tells us that we have all fallen short. Look at Romans 3. We often quote only verse 23, but there is more to the passage than just that.

Romans 3:21-31 MKJV 21 But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law (Torah), being witnessed by the Law (Torah) and the Prophets; 22 even the righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness through the passing by of the sins that had taken place before, in the forbearance of God; 26 for the display of His righteousness at this time, for Him to be just and, forgiving the one being of the faith of Jesus. 27 Then where is the boasting? It is excluded. Through what law (Torah)? Of works? No, but through the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law (Torah). 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only, and not also of the nations? Yes, of the nations also, 30 since it is one God who will justify circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make the Law (Torah) void through faith? Let it not be! But we establish the Law (Torah).

The entire next chapter (Romans 24) is about Abraham being justified by faith. Right after Paul quotes Psalm 32:1&2 he goes on to the central theme of chapter 24 in verses 9-12.

Romans 4:9-12 NIV 9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Further, Paul tells us that the Torah is powerless to bestow righteousness on us. In that sense, there is no “righteousness of Torah.” Yet Paul talks about the righteousness of the Torah being fulfilled in us as we walk by faith.

Romans 8:3-4 MKJV 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; 4 so that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Again in Phil 3:9, He says of himself, “… (that I may) be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the law (Torah), but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith.”

Paul is saying “righteousness of Torah” cannot be obtained by his own actions or works. Isaiah tells us that all their righteous acts are as dirty rags but nevertheless salvation is possible.

Isaiah 64:6 MKJV 6 But we are all as the unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as a menstruous cloth. And we all fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

So, the righteousness of God can only be obtained by faith. So, what faith did Noah have? What righteousness did Abraham have? Gen 6:9 says that Noah walked with God. Enoch walked with God, Abraham walked with God. Righteousness through faith is evidenced by a relationship with God and obedience to His Word.

Hebrews 11:7-10 MKJV 7 By faith Noah, having been warned by God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out into a place which he was afterward going to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he went. 9 By faith he lived in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs of the same promise with him. 10 For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

James 2:20-24 MKJV 20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Do you see how faith worked with his works, and by the works faith was made complete? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God." 24 You see then how a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

So, the righteousness of Torah is fulfilled in us as we walk out our faith. Faith requires action and actions without faith are worthless! If we have faith in the saving blood of Yeshua, then our actions, our works, will prove it out! Faith and works are two sides of the same coin, so to speak. The works side is obedience. Yeshua said in John Chapter 14

John 14:10-15 MKJV 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself, but the Father who dwells in Me, He does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you may ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.

Our works are obedience to Him. In Jewish culture and thought, works are not miracles, signs and wonders, but are mitzvot. Mitzvot means to fulfill the positive commandments of the Torah. When both Paul and Yeshua were speaking of works, both were speaking of mitzvot. So If we love Him we will keep His commandments. Our faith must be in Him and our actions, our works, must be in Him. They go hand in hand. Just as Noah was faithful to God and showed it through obedience to God’s commandments to him. And just as Abraham was faithful by doing the commandments that God also gave to him. So we show our faith by obedience of the commandments given to us. We work out our faith through obedience, through works and it is credited to us as righteousness.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be Blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Brenda and I are going to Israel next June 19th to 29th. You can join us in the land promised to Abraham for a special tour where you will see the promised Messiah of Israel like you have never seen Him before! We will visit places off the beaten path and follow in the foot steps of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Join us as we also explore the people, culture, politics and conflict that is today’s Israel and a special Sabbath day in Jerusalem. For details on the tour visit .


  1. You quote Romans which is about foregiveness and I want to comment on that.

    How to live in order to enable the Creator in His loving kindness to provide His foregivness is outlined in the Jewish Bible ; and was also taught by the first century Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth (the Mashiakh; the Messiah).

    You will find Ribi Yehoshuas teachings here:
    Anders Branderud

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    Please review my post dated June 3rd. "How Yeshua (Jesus) views the Torah. It illustrates a foundational concept that virtually all Christians misunderstand.

    Shalom and Be Blessed.


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