In this study I would like to look at sin and its relationship with HaShem’s people.

 

So, I have a question for you:

 

Are HaShem’s people allowed to sin? If they do sin, is there a punishment for their sin?

 

I would like to explore the issue of sin in greater detail. Strong’s defines the Hebrew word for sin as:

 

2403 chatta’ah, khat-taw-aw’; or chatta’th, khat-tawth’; from 2398; an offense (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or explanation; also (concr.) an offender:-punishment (of sin), purifying (-fication of sin), sin (-ner, offering).

 

--------------- Dictionary Trace -----------------

2398 chata’, khaw-taw’; a prim. root; prop. to miss; hence (fig. and gen.) to sin; by infer. to forfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causat.) lead astray, condemn:-bear the blame, cleanse, commit [sin], by fault, harm he hath done, loss, miss, (make) offend (-er), offer for sin, purge, purify (self), make reconciliation, (cause, make) sin (-ful, -ness), trespass.

 

The first use of sin (chatta’ah) is found in:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 4:3-7 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to HaShem. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock[1]. HaShem looked with favor on Abel and his offering, But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then HaShem said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

 

So, shortly after Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden, Cain is warned that he will sin if he does not do what is right. This, in my mind, presumes that he knows what is right. Since we are 2500 years before Sinai, HaShem must have communicated His laws to man even though that communication is not recorded in the TaNaK.

 

Israel’s first king, Saul, defined sin for us in:

 

I Shmuel (Samuel) 15:1-3 Shmuel (Samuel) said to Saul, “I am the one HaShem sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from HaShem. This is what HaShem Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”. . .

 

I Shmuel (Samuel) 15:24-25 Then Saul said to Shmuel (Samuel), “I have sinned. I violated HaShem’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship HaShem.”

 

In this quote we have Saul acknowledging his sin of not obeying what Samuel verbalized, from HaShem. In this case, his sin was disobeying HaShem’s oral word. Daniel also defined sin for us in:

 

Daniel 9:8-11 O Lord, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; We have not obeyed HaShem our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.

 

Daniel is acknowledging, here, that He, and all Israel, have failed to obey HaShem’s written word given at Sinai. James also defined sin for us in:

 

Yaaqov (James) 2:8-10 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

 

James is acknowledging that the law is more than the letter. He calls “favoritism” sin. So, we sin if we do not also keep the spirit of the law. The word he uses for “law” is “nomos” which is the ordinary way of referring to the law of Moses. To further belabor the point: John defined sin as:

 

I Yochanan (John) 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is the transgression of the law.

 

Again, the word he uses for “law” is “nomos” which is the ordinary way of referring to the law of Moses.

 

So, sin is defined as being disobedient to HaShem, whether He delivered His command in person (as He did with Cain), verbally through His prophets (as He did with Saul), or His written word as delivered on Mt. Sinai. HaShem also made it clear that we sin when we do not keep the “spirit” of the law. Mashiach also illustrated this point in:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

 

And again He said:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 

We have already seen that sin is not just the transgression of the written law of Moses (Torah). I would like to look at a few more scriptures that emphasize that point.

 

The TaNaK, the old testament, also emphasizes that Gentiles are responsible for their sin, even before the law of Moses was given:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 15:12-16 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then He said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

 

From this we learn that HaShem’s standards apply to Israel and to Gentiles, and that sin existed before the written Torah was given.

 

Mashiach also indicates that sin does not just involve transgressions against HaShem:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 

HaShem does not forgive us if we do not forgive our brother. So, when we transgress the Torah, we must hasten to repent and to beg our brother for forgiveness before we beg HaShem for forgiveness.

 

Joseph lived two generations before Sinai. He talks of sin in:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 39:6-9 So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, And after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

 

Here Joseph calls adultery sin two generations before the giving of the Torah!

 

Sin applies to all who disobey HaShem’s commands. HaShem does not show partiality to the great:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 10:13-17 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and HaShem made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; They invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail--everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against HaShem your God and against you. Now forgive my sin once more and pray to HaShem your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”

 

So, Pharaoh knew what sin (chatta’ah) was months before the Torah was given. It is also clear that HaShem punished his sin.

 

Some folks have said that we no longer need to obey HaShem’s written law, the law of Moses (Torah). Their argument is based on:

 

Galatians 3:21-25 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Yeshua Mashiach, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Mashiach that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

 

and:

 

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

 

There are several other passages that are used to “prove” that we do not need to obey the law. I would like to focus on the above two passages to illustrate the relationship we have to the law since we have already seen what sin is.

 

In the Galatians 3 passage, we see that that we are prisoners of sin and that we are held prisoners by the law. This illustrates the relationship between the two. Further, we see that the issue is “life”, or justification. So, being under the supervision of the law will not bring life, only faith will bring life. It is also plain that we require the law to lead us to Mashiach. This assumes that you are following the law before you receive Mashiach by faith.

 

To examine Galatians 5, we will need to put this passage in context:

 

Galatians 5:13-23 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

First I would like to point out that law and sin are both prominent in this passage. Since we already know that disobeying the law is sin; it is obvious that the “acts of the sinful nature” are acts which are contrary to the law. I doubt that many of HaShem’s people would see these acts as something that they should do. So, whatever “under the law” means, it obviously does not mean that we are free to commit the “acts of the sinful nature”. Most commentators agree that the entire book of Galatians is concerned with justification by faith and not by the works of the law. This simply means that the law can not save us, only the right faith can save us.

 

The same man who wrote Galatians also wrote Romans (Paul). If we look at Romans, Paul will give us more insight into “under the law”:

 

Romans 2:12-15 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, Since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

 

Paul also confirms what we learned previously, that we know what HaShem’s law is whether we have the written, and oral, Torah or not. Paul also shows that HaShem will hold us accountable for sin, which is disobeying HaShem. We can see clearly that the issue is sin, not the law of Moses. The law of Moses is but one definition of sin. Sin also defines who will perish. All who sin, without faith, will perish. Paul also shows that only those who obey the law will be declared righteous. This seems to assume that we obey because of our faith.

 

Paul, in Romans chapter six, goes on to further refine “under the law”:

 

Romans 6:11-18 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Mashiach Yeshua. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

 

Here, Paul indicates that being “under the law” implies that sin is your master. This use of the phrase, “under the law”, seems to show that obeying the law is different than being “under the law”. Sin, which is disobedience to the law, is not to be our master. Sin should not be a part of the life of HaShem’s people. Paul commands us not to sin. To put it another way, Paul is commanding us to obey the law!

 

Paul is a deep theological thinker. His words are HARD to understand. Peter tells us this in:

 

II Tzefet (Peter) 3:15-17 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

 

Peter specifically mentions that Paul’s words are misunderstood by those men who sin (lawless). The error is to not obey the law!

 

Paul makes a big deal, in his writings, of the importance of the law.

 

Romans 3:29-31 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, Since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we establish the law.

 

Paul emphasizes the law because it is one of the fundamental definitions of sin. We are constantly encouraged to avoid sinning. This means that we are being encouraged to obey the law. Consider:

 

I Shmuel (Samuel) 14:34 Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against HaShem by eating meat with blood still in it.’” So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there.

 

II Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles) 19:10 In every case that comes before you from your fellow countrymen who live in the cities--whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees or ordinances--you are to warn them not to sin against HaShem; otherwise his wrath will come on you and your brothers. Do this, and you will not sin.

 

Psalm 4:4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. <Selah>

 

Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 5:6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the [temple] messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 3:18 When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.

 

Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

 

Romans 6:13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

 

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, And do not give the devil a foothold.

 

HaShem also said that there would be punishment for those who sin:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 32:34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

 

Psalm 89:30-33 If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, If they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; But I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.

 

Hoshea (Hosea) 10:9-10 “Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel, and there you have remained. Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah? When I please, I will punish them; nations will be gathered against them to put them in bonds for their double sin.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 32:33-34 HaShem replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 26:40-42 “‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers--their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, Which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies--then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 5:7 And must confess the sin he has committed. He must make full restitution for his wrong, add one fifth to it and give it all to the person he has wronged.

 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Mashiach Yeshua our Lord.

 

I Timothy 5:20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

 

Mishlei (Proverbs) 3:12 Because HaShem disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 12:6 Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

 

Mashiach used some very graphic language to describe how bad sin is:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 5:29-30 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

 

This graphic language illustrates that our failure to obey the Torah has severe, eternal, consequences.

 

HaShem has said that His laws will endure forever. We can see this in:

 

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 5:29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

 

Psalm 119:111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.

 

Psalm 119:152 Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.

 

Since the law will last forever, HaShem has made it possible for us to live forever in obedience to His law. When HaShem renews His covenant with us, we will no longer sin:

 

Yirimiyah (Jeremiah) 31:31-34 “The time is coming,” declares HaShem, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares HaShem. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares HaShem. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know HaShem,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares HaShem. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

 

Those who sin and teach others to sin will be called least in the kingdom of heaven:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 5:17-19 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

So, from Mashiach’s own mouth we hear that He does not want us to sin or teach others to sin.

 

I have heard it said that the Law of Moses applies only to Israel. The following passages are addressed to churches recognized as being “Gentile“ in makeup. Clearly they also sinned and were continuing to sin:

 

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Mashiach died for us.

 

Galatians 2:11-17 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinnersKnow that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Yeshua Mashiach. So we, too, have put our faith in Mashiach Yeshua that we may be justified by faith in Mashiach and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. “If, while we seek to be justified in Mashiach, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Mashiach promotes sin? Absolutely not!

 

Romans 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

 

From the above verses it is apparent that they also “knewHaShem’s law. See also Romans 1.

 

I have heard it said that the law was “nailed to the cross”:

 

Colossians 2:13-17 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Mashiach. He forgave us all our sins, Having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let  any (Gentile) man condemn you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the body of Mashiach.

 

Whatever “nailing it to the cross” means, the fact that we are not to be condemn for observing the law is indicative that the law has not been abolished. This whole passage is referring to the Mashiach’s work of atonement. Forgiving sins does not mean that there is no more sin, else Mashiach would not have said:

 

Yochanan (John) 8:10-11 Yeshua straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Yeshua declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 

Some say that they have the righteousness of Mashiach and have no sin or consequence. They quote:

 

II Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

However, if we were to look at that passage, in context, they would see that sin does matter and it does have a consequence. Note:

 

II Corinthians 5:10 - 6:1 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Mashiach, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Mashiach’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Mashiach in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Mashiach, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Mashiach and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That God was reconciling the world to himself in Mashiach, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Mashiach’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Mashiach’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.

 

I have heard it said that HaShem’s law can be divided into the “civil”, “ceremonial”, and “moral”. Those who make this distinction say that HaShem’s people only have to obey the “moral” law. This seems to contradict Matityahu (Matthew) 5:17-19. This also makes for some rather awkward theology. For example: what scriptures outline those laws which are “ceremonial”? Which scripture outlines those laws which are “civil”? The issues become even thornier when those same folks observe such “ceremonies” as baptism, communion, and tithing.

 

I have heard it said that HaShem’s people only have to obey the “laws” given by James in:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 15:19-21 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

 

This seems hard to understand because they were not commanded to love HaShem, to love their neighbor, or even abstain from murder! All of which produce sin if disobeyed. Verse 21 seems to imply that they will learn the law of Moses, in the synagogue, on Sabbath. What is the point of learning the law if we do not obey it? Obedience is the whole point of learning.

 

I have heard it said that we only have to obey those laws which are stated in the “New Testament”. After I heard this, I asked this person to become a “Berean”:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 17:10-11 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

 

So, here’s the picture: Paul has just spent three years being taught by Yeshua. He shows up in Berea and begins to teach them what he has learned.

 

Paul says, “You only have to obey the laws found in the New Testament”.

 

The Bereans ask, “What is the New Testament?”

 

Paul replies, “It is a collection of writings, some of which I will compose in a few years”.

 

The Bereans would stop listening at this point because they would not be able to prove that what Paul was saying was true.

 

This same illustration could be applied to eating any thing, keeping Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath, or any doing any other sinful thing. Obviously a law that lasts forever would not become void a mere two thousand years later. And certainly the Bereans would not be able to look in the TaNaK, the old testament, to verify that it was true.

 

HaShem’s people are promised His Spirit as a “down payment” to those who obey him:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 5:30-32 The God of our fathers raised Yeshua from the dead--whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

 

One of the most sobering scriptures is found in:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you who violate the law!’

 

Here HaShem says that “many” who believe that they are doing HaShem’s will, will be sent away because they sin by violating HaShem’s law. Sin has a consequence.

 

One of the last scriptures to be written was penned by John:

 

I Yochanan (John) 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

 

So, at the end of the Apostolic era, sin was still defined as disobedience of HaShem’s commands. John did not qualify his statement with “civil”, “ceremonial”, or “moral”. He did not qualify this statement with “New Testament” only. In fact, he followed the same line that HaShem had in the beginning. He did not say that this applied just to “Jews“ or just to “Gentiles“.

 

From this study, we can see that we do not obtain the righteousness that leads to salvation by observing the Torah. Never the less, we are required to obey the Torah. It is the keeping of Torah that sanctifies us. We become a holy, a separate people because of our obedience to the Torah, the law.

 

The Bottom Line:

 

HaShem’s people ought not to sin. If they sin, they will be punished. HaShem’s people ought to obey HaShem’s law so that they do not sin. Disobeying HaShem is sin.

 

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:5-9 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as HaShem my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the HaShem our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

 

GLOSSARY:

 

TaNaK: A collection of writings commonly known as the “Old Testament”. This word is an acronym for: Torah Neviim and Ketuvim, the Law the Prophets and the Writings.

 

Torah: The first five books of the Bible: Bereshit (Genesis), Shemot (Exodus), Vayikra (Leviticus), Devarim (Deuteronomy), and Bamidbar (Numbers). The word also means instruction or law.

 

Sabbath: The seventh day of HaShem’s week. From sun down Friday to sundown Saturday.

 

Sin: Disobeying HaShem’s laws, whether written or oral.

 

Yeshua: The Mashiach’s Hebrew name.

 

* * *

 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com

 



[1] The midrash Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer (ch.21) relates: Kayin enjoyed working the ground and Hevel enjoyed shepherding sheep. This one gave the fruits of his labor to the other one to eat, and the other one gave the fruits of his labor to the first one to eat. When the night of Pesach arrived, Adam said to his sons, “On this night Israel is destined to offer Pesach offerings. You, too, should offer offerings before your Creator.” Kayin brought the leftovers of his meal--flax seed, while Hevel brought the best of his flocks--lambs which had never been shorn. Kayin’s gift was despised by HaShem and Kayin’s gift was found to be desirable, as is written (verse 4), “HaShem turned to Hevel and to his offering.”