Why Works Are A Requirement Of Real Faith

In Hebrew the word for grace is CHESED and means mercy, kindness, or faithfulness. Most Christians readily concede that Yahshua was full of grace, but they forget about the Torah. In the Psalms, however, David writes:

Psa. 119:29. Remove me from the way of falsehood, and GIVE ME GRACE WITH YOUR TORAH.

And again:

[Verse 64] O Yahweh, Your GRACE (CHESED) has FILLED THE EARTH; teach me YOUR TORAH!

[Verse 77] Let your compassions come to me that I might live, for your Torah is my delight.

So we see that Yahweh's grace or favor or compassion towards us is actually the giving of the Torah and the Covenant! He gave us instructions (Torah) to follow because, as Elohim, He knows what is best, and He gave us a promise that He would be with us so long as we obeyed them. Then, as the all-merciful Elohim that He is, He included a means of atonement as part of that Torah, which was the Messiah.

CHESED is actually a split word, in that, depending on how it is used, it can mean completely contrasting things. Besides mercy and kindness, it can also mean shame or reproach, and in one instance (Lev 20:17) it is even translated as "wicked thing". In Romans 6:1,2 the apostle Shaul (or Paul) asks: "What then, shall we continue in sin that grace (CHESED) may abound? Elohim forbid!" His point, from a Hebraic perspective, is that when grace or mercy is misused as license to sin, it becomes a shameful or wicked thing.

Now just as grace (or CHESED) is associated with the Torah, so in the Tanakh, grace (or favor) is accompanied by faith, which is known in Hebrew as EMUNAH.

Psa. 36:5. Your favor (CHESED), O Yahweh, is in the heavens; and your faithfulness (EMUNAH) reaches unto the clouds.

Psa. 89:2. Your mercy (CHESED) is built up for ever: You establish Your trustworthiness (EMUNAH) in the heavens.

Psa. 92:2. You declare Your mercy (CHESED) in the morning, and your faithfulness (EMUNAH) each night.

Psa. 100:5. For Yahweh is good; His favor (CHESED) is everlasting; and His faithfulness (EMUNAH) endures to all generations.

Psa. 98:3. He has remembered his favor (CHESED) and His faithfulness (EMUNAH) toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our Elohim.

This association between favor, faith, and salvation is also mentioned by the apostle Shaul in:

Eph. 2:8. For by favor you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim.

Rom. 3:25b. For in his forbearance, Elohim passed over the sins that had taken place before, [26] to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He is righteous and justifies (or declares right) the one who believes (the words of) Yahshua.

The Naves Topical Bible states that:

"In the Old Testament (KJV), the word 'faith' in the sense of belief occurs only five times. Faith (however) is also communicated by words such as 'believe', 'fear', 'hope', 'LOVE', and 'trust'. Faith is seen in the examples of the servants of (Elohim) who committed their lives to him in unwavering trust and obedience. 'Old Testament' faith is never mere assent to a set of doctrines or outward acceptance of the law, but absolute confidence in the faithfulness of (Elohim) and a loving obedience to His will."

Faith is the result of genuine love, and Yahshua says in:

Jhn. 14:15. If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.

Jhn. 15:10. If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father's commands and stay in His love.... [12] This is My command, that you love one another, as I have loved you.

Accordingly, Shaul (or Paul) says in:

Rom. 13:10. Love does no evil to a neighbor. Therefore love fulfills (the requirements of) the Torah.

As we notice in Hebrews chapter eleven, it was by faith that the patriarchs obtained witness (Heb. 11:2), and in every instance their faith was accompanied by action - by loving obedience to Yahweh's commands.

Heb. 11:4. By faith, Abel offered to Elohim a greater sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, Elohim witnessing of his gifts. And through it, having died, he still speaks.

[Vs. 5] By faith, Enoch was translated so as not to see death, "and was not found because Elohim had translated him." For before his translation he obtained witness, that he pleased Elohim. [6] But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Elohim has to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.

[Vs. 7] By faith, Noah, having been warned of what was yet unseen, having feared, prepared an ark to save his house, through which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to belief.

[Vs. 8] By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he was about to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. [9] By faith, he sojourned in the land of promise as a stranger, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise, [10] for he was looking for the city having foundations, whose builder and maker is Elohim. [11] By faith also, Sarah herself was enabled to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the normal age, because she deemed Him trustworthy who had promised. [12] And so from one, and him as good as dead, were born as numerous as the stars of the heaven, as countless as the sand which is by the seashore.....

[Vs. 17] By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only brought-forth son, [18] of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," [19] reckoning that Elohim was able to raise, even from the dead, from which he received him back, as a type.

[Vs. 23] By faith, Moses, having been born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a comely child, and were not afraid of the sovereign's command. [24] By faith, Moses, having become great, refused to be called the son of the daughter of Pharaoh, [25] choosing rather to be afflicted with the people of Elohim than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time, [26] deeming the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. [27] By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the sovereign, for he was steadfast, as seeing Him who is invisible. [28] By faith, he performed the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the first-born should touch them.

[Vs. 29] By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, and when the Egyptians tried it, they were drowned. [30] By faith, the walls of Jericho fell, having been surrounded for seven days. [31] By faith, Rahab the whore did not perish with those who did not believe, having received the spies with peace.

[Vs. 32] And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to relate of Gideon and Baraq and Samson and Jepthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets, [33] who through their faith (or belief), overcame reigns, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, [34] quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight. [35] Women received back their dead by resurrection. And others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain a better resurrection. [36] And others had trial of mockings and floggings and more, of chains and imprisonment. [37] They were stoned, they were tried, they were sawn in two, they were slain with the sword. They went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in need, afflicted, mistreated, [38] of whom the world was not worthy - wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes of the earth. [39] And having obtained witness through faith, all these did not receive the promises [40] Elohim having provided what is better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

In NO INSTANCE did the patriarchs demonstrate faith (or belief) by sitting back and doing nothing. In EVERY INSTANCE their faith and its results involved either action, sacrifice, or pleasing Yahweh by obeying His commands. Yet when it comes to the apostolic writings, commentators change their tune, stating that "faith has both an active and a passive sense in the Bible." Notwithstanding what the commentators may say, the apostle Shaul (or Paul) confirms in Romans chapters two and three that there is no such thing as a "passive faith" in the Scriptures.

Rom. 2:12. For as many as sinned without Torah shall also perish without Torah, and as many as sinned in the Torah shall be judged by the Torah. [13] For not the hearers of the Torah are just in the sight of Elohim, but the doers of the Torah shall be justified.

Rom. 3:27. Where then is the boasting? It is shut out. By what Torah? Of works? No, but by the Torah of belief (or faith). [28] Therefore we conclude that it is by belief that a man is justified and not by the works of the law.

In these verses Shaul states that:

1) Hearing the Torah does not justify us.

2) The doers of the Torah shall be justified.

3) We are not justified by works.

4) We are justified by faith.

This can only mean one of two things. Either 1) Shaul is hopelessly confused and contradicting himself or 2) faith is an integral part of the Torah, and a prerequisite to truly keeping the Father's commands.

Rom. 14:23. He who doubts...is condemned, because (doubting) is not of faith, and all that is not of faith (or belief) is sin.

What Shaul in fact teaches is that just doing good works does not save us, but at the same time, true faith produces visual results in the form of obedience.

In the Psalms David says:

Psa. 96:13. Yahweh cometh....to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth (EMUNAH).

Psa. 119:30. I have chosen the way of faith (EMUNAH): thy judgments have I laid before my eyes.

Psa. 119:86. All thy commands are faith (EMUNAH): they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

Solomon also states in:

Prov. 12:17. He that professes faith (EMUNAH) sheweth forth righteousness.

Finally the apostle Shaul asks in:

Rom. 3:31. Do we then render the Torah void through our faith (EMUNAH)? May it never be! To the contrary, we establish the Torah.

The Greek word translated "void" is KATARGEO and means:

1) to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, or inoperative

a) to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency

b) to deprive of force, influence, or power

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

a) to cease, to pass away, to be done away

b) to be severed from, to be separated from, to be discharged from, to be loosed from anyone

The Greek verb translated "establish" is HISTEMI and means:

1) a) to cause or make to stand

b) to make firm, to fix, to establish

1) to cause a person or a thing to keep his or its place

2) to establish a thing, to cause it to stand, to uphold or sustain the authority of force of a thing

Therefore rather than teaching against the Torah in this passage or rendering it obsolete, Shaul actually teaches that faith is what causes the Torah to be in continued force and existence!

Matt. 23:23. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you.....have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah: the judgment, and the compassion, and the FAITH (EMUNAH). These need to have been done without neglecting the others.

Gal. 3:10. For as many as are out of (or apart from) the works of the Torah are under the curse. For it has been written:

Deut. 27:26. Cursed is he that continues not in all the words (or commands) of this Torah to do them. And all the people shall affirm it.

The Torah is comprised of two things: commands and continuity. Fulfilling the Torah, in turn, requires faith in the one who gives the commands and loving obedience to His will.

Acts 14:22. (And Shaul) strengthened the beings of the disciples, encouraging them to CONTINUE in the faith, and that through many pressures we have to enter the reign of Elohim.

The Greek word translated "faith" is PISTIS and means "faithfulness, belief, (or) trust, with an implication that actions based on that trust will follow; 'The faith' refers to...(both) belief and lifestyle."

Heb. 10:38. But the just shall live by his faith, but if anyone draws back, my being has no pleasure in him.

In this verse Shaul is quoting the words of Habbakuk's prophecy concerning the man of sin (or lawlessness) and the end times.

Hab. 2:4. Behold, his soul is defiant (or rebellious); it is not upright in him: but the TZADDIK (righteous person) shall live through his EMUNAH (faith).

EMUNAH means "faithfulness, steadiness, trustworthiness"; "firmness, fidelity (or) steadfastness."

Isaiah 7:9b. But if you do not believe (or have faith), you are not steadfast.

Steadfastness in what? Again the apostle Shaul provides the answer.

Acts 2:42. And they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the emissaries, and in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.

What was the teaching of the emissaries?

Acts 24:14. And this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect (i.e. the Nazarenes), so I worship the Elohim of my fathers, believing all that has been written in the Torah and in the Prophets.

Acts 28:23. And having appointed him a day, many came to (Shaul) where he was staying, to whom he was explaining, earnestly witnessing about the reign of Elohim, and persuading them concerning Yahshua from both the Torah of Mosheh and the prophets from morning until evening.

Acts 17:11. And (the Bereans) received the word with great eagerness, and searched the (Tanakh or "Old Testament") Scriptures daily, to see if (the teachings of the apostles) were so.

In the course of the last 1,700 years, Christianity has abandoned the Berean's practice of proving doctrine by the Tanakh, and wandered far from the original Hebraic understanding of faith as exemplified by actions - the type of faith spoken of by Shaul in Philippians chapter two.

Phlp. 2:12. As you always OBEYED.....WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION with fear and trembling.

Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling at what? The answer is found in:

Isa. 66:2. All these My hand has made, and all these that exist - declares Yahweh - Yet to such a one do I look: on him who is poor and bruised of spirit, and who trembles at My Word (the Torah).

Christianity, however, has embraced the Greek-Platonic mindset which defines "faith" as "thought", and thereby assumes one to be "saved" if they merely think a thing to be true. This is the very type of pseudo-faith which Mosheh (Moses) warned the children of Israel against in Deuteronomy 32!

Deut. 32:4. Yahweh is the Rock; His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: an Elohim of FAITH (EMUNAH) and without unrighteousness, righteous and straight is He. [5] A twisted and crooked generation has corrupted itself, Their mark is not the mark of his children.

In the verses which follow, Mosheh (Moses) recalls Israel's frowardness and their lack of faith or steadfastness, as exemplified in their refusal to follow Yahweh's commands.

[Verse 15] But Yeshurun grew fat and kicked.... so he forsook Eloah who made him, and scorned the Rock of his salvation. [16] They moved Him to jealousy with foreign matters, and with abominations they provoked Him. [17] They slaughtered to demons - not Eloah - mighty ones they did not know, new ones which have sprung up lately, which your fathers did not fear. [18] They neglected the Rock who brought them forth, and forgot the El who fathered them.... [20] And He will say, "I will hide My face from them, and see what their end shall be -- for they are a froward generation, children in whom there is NO FAITH (EMUNAH)."

This type of pseudo-faith (or more correctly, FAITHLESSness!) was also warned against on numerous occasions by the disciples of the early centuries.

2 Hermas 10:3b. Those who never sought out the truth, nor inquired concerning the majesty of Elohim, but only believed (or "had faith"; i.e. thought a thing to be true) are involved in the affairs of the heathen. [4] And there is another lying prophet that destroys the minds of the servants of Elohim; that is of those who are doubtful, nor of those that fully trust in Yahweh. Now these doubtful persons come to him, as to a divine spirit, and inquire of him what shall befall them. [5] And this lying prophet having no power in him of the divine Spirit, answers them according to their demands, and fills their souls with promises according as they desire. Howbeit that prophet is vain, and answers vain things to those who are themselves vain. [6] And whatsoever is asked of him by vain men, he answers them vainly. Nevertheless, he speaketh some things truly. For the devil fills him with his spirit, that he may overthrow some of the righteous. [7] Whosoever therefore are strong in the faith of Yahweh and have put on the truth, they are not joined to such spirits, but depart from them. But they that are doubtful, and often repenting (and sinning) like the heathens, consult them, and heap up to themselves great sin, serving idols.

The only means of recourse, as outlined by Ya'aqob (or James) is to return to Yahweh and demonstrate true faith and love towards our Bridegroom by obeying His commands.

Jam. 2:14. My brothers, what use is it for anyone to say he has faith but does not have works? This faith is unable to save him. [17] ...Faith, if it does not have works, is in itself dead. [18] But someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faithfulness without your works, and I shall show you my faithfulness by my works. [19] You believe that Elohim is one. You do well. The demons also believe - and shudder! [20] But do you know, O foolish man, that the belief without the works is dead? [21] Was not Abraham our father declared right by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? [22] Do you see that the faith was working with his works, and by the works the faith was perfected? [23] And the Scripture was filled which says, "Abraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness." And He was called "Elohim's friend...." [26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith (or belief) is dead without the works.

1Tim. 1:5. Now the goal of this command is love from a clean heart, from a good conscience and a sincere faith..... [8] And we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately.... [19] Having faith and a good conscience (resulting from obedience), which some have thrust aside and suffered shipwreck concerning their faith.

Rom. 10:6. The righteousness of faith speaks in this way: [8] "The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it" (Deut 30:14). That is the word of faith which we are proclaiming.... [10] For with the heart one believes (or is faithful) unto righteousness (obedience), and one confesses with the mouth, and so is saved.

This article was published on Friday 16 December, 2016.
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