What good thing must you do?

Money rain

Matthew 19:16, What good thing. Yeshua’s answer to the rich young ruler when he asks him what he must do to have eternal life might, in a cursory reading, appear that Yeshua is promoting a works based salvation. However this is not the case. Yeshua cleverly shows the young man that he is incapable of obtaining eternal life through good works, for man isn’t capable of perfectly following the Torah. In the case of the young man, he thought himself to be perfectly righteous, when in reality, Yeshua showed him that he was covetous, and therefore still an unrighteous sinner thus disqualifying himself from reward of eternal life. Yeshua, on the contrary, instead of promoting a works-based salvation model, instructs the young man to deal with his sin by selling his possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor, and then becoming a follower of him. The lesson here is that salvation and eternal life can come only as we turn from our sin and become a follower of Yeshua.

What Yeshua is really saying when he answers the young man’s question in verse 21 is this: “If you want to be perfect [Gr. teleios meaning “brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness”],” turn from sin by obeying the Torah more completely, but also follow the Messiah by becoming his disciple. Remember, to hear and to obey (Heb. shema) the Messiah was a command of the Torah as well (Deut 18:15), and to not believe in him is sin (John 16:9 cp. 3:18). So according to the Bible, to be spiritually perfect or complete one must, as Yeshua said, love him by keeping his (Torah) commandments (John 14:15). It is the Torah that shows us how to love Elohim (and our fellow man as well).

Yeshua makes a similar point in his exchange with a scribe in Mark 12:28–34. While extolling the virtues of Torah-obedience, and commending the scribe for his understanding of the deeper heart issues of Torah-obedience, Yeshua makes an interesting concluding statement. He tells the scribe, “You are not far from the kingdom of Elohim (v. 34) as if to tell him, “You’re on the right spiritual track with regard to your Torah-obedience, and you’re heading for the kingdom, but that alone won’t get you into the kingdom. You must also become a disciple of Yeshua.

 

What is man and what is he to do?

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Genesis 3:23, To till/work [Heb. abad] the ground [Heb. adamah] from which he was taken. Adam means “man, mankind, ground, land, and is a cognate to adom meaning “red,” and relates to the ruddiness of man’s complexion. According to The TWOT, this word has to do with the man as being created in Elohim’s image, the crown of his creation.

In this verse, Elohim commissioned Adam to work or to serve the earth/adamah.

In a homiletic sense, this command of YHVH could be construed to mean that Adam/man who is spiritually rough and ruddy, yet who is created in the image of Elohim, has been commissioned to work on himself to work on and to conquer his [base] sin nature and to bring himself into conformity with the image of YHVH.

Another facet of this idea could be that through the experiences and struggles of hard work, man will learn to overcome his fallen sin nature and rise to the higher calling of becoming like Elohim in nature. In a sense, hard work is part of man’s redemption process.

In a most fundamental sense, YHVH created man to serve or take care of the earth. Therefore, agriculture and horticulture are the professions that are the closest to YHVH’s original purpose for man.

 

Where are you?

La decisin correcta

Genesis 3:9–13, Where are you? Elohim asks Adam and Eve direct and specific questions, but instead of taking personal responsibility and answering the questions, they defend themselves, make excuses, justify themselves, blame shift, and accuse others including blaming Elohim. When confronted with their sin, humans have been doing this ever since—defending self and ego at all expenses. This is the result of the taint of sin and this behavior has been passed on from one generation to the next. The Spirit-led person must counter this proclivity of the soul to justify, excuse and obfuscate one’s sin.

Furthermore, when YHVH asked the first humans where they were after they had sinned, he wasn’t asking them where they were physically. Being omniscient, he knew this already. Instead, he was asking them them, “Where are you spiritually in your relationship with me in regards to obedience to the instructions in righteousness I gave you to obey?” This is the same questions the Creator is still asking men to this day.

 

Are You Feeding from the Tree of Knowledge (through your “smart phone”)?

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Are you addicted to your smart phone (and computer)? Think about it for a minute. Maybe, in reality, you’re addicted to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Everywhere I go I see it…and so do you. People walking down sidewalks, smart phone in hand, hunched over their device. Just the other day, I saw four mom’s crossing a busy street on their way to pick up their kids from school. The eyes of three of the four were glued to their smart phones. They didn’t even look up see if traffic was coming!

“Smart  phone” may be the oxymoronic label of the day…don’t you think?

At our finger tips, we have all the knowledge of the world—both good and evil. Sounds like the biblical tree of the knowledge of good and evil to me.

Remember the tree in the Garden of Eden that Elohim told Adam and Eve not to eat from? The same tree that the serpent hid in and lured the first humans into eating from?

We don’t know what kind of fruit it was. The Bible doesn’t tell us. Tradition tells us, however, that it was an apple. Hmm. Apple. The most popular “smart” phone on the planet has as its logo an apple with a bite out of it. Now connect the dots.

Look, I love my Apple I-Phone, my Apple I-Pad and my Apple computer. I don’t exactly live in a cave and grunt my way through life. But do these things master us or do we master them? Do you spend time with your electronic devices that you should be spending with YHVH? Are you spending more time feeding from the tree of knowledge or the tree of life?

I know, no one reading this is guilty of the concerns I’m positing. Each of us has a myriad justifications why the shoe doesn’t fit me. We’re all right in our own eyes. But what does YHVH think about it? We can’t fool him. He sees through our human machinations and excuses.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed YHVH and ate from the tree of knowledge instead of being faithful to his instructions in righteousness, they sinned. This was their first step on the proverbial downward spiral, slippery slope away from the Creator. Do you really think the devil has stopped attempting to deceive humans away from Elohim? Do you really think that in these modern times he’s going to take you to an actual tree that is labeled “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”? Get real. He’s smarter than that. But I can’t think of anything that fits the bill better than a beautiful device you can hold in your hand, that you can get in any color you want, and that has an apple logo on it (or whatever logo it may be) that more qualifies.

When Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree, they fell into idolatry. Anything we put above Elohim becomes an idol to us. When our phone or laptop becomes more important to us than our Bible—there’s a problem.

 

Are you emboldened to sin?

homme d'affaires ddaigneux

Deuteronomy 29:16–19, Emboldened to sin. As we pass through the spiritual wilderness of the world around us (verse 16) on our way to the Promised Land of our eternal inheritance, it’s easy for us sin-oriented beings to justify our personal rebellion, our sinful habits, our lustful and materialistic thoughts on the basis of carnal rationalizations.

Delusions are tempting.

It is all too easy to fall prey to such excuses as, “Everyone around me is doing it,” or, “It feels like it’s okay to do,” or, “If it feels good, do it,” or “YHVH’s laws don’t apply to me … that was for the people back then, not for us today,” or, “That’s not what the church I belong to teaches,” or, “Surely YHVH doesn’t expect us to keep his commandments … they’re too hard to do … we can’t really do all that stuff today,” or, “We’re under grace today … that stuff has been done away … Jesus fulfilled it … nailed it to the cross,” etc. Do these statements square with YHVH’s words of truth?

If we have fallen prey to such excuses to disregard the Creator’s commandments, we have, in reality, emboldened ourselves to continue sinning.

The question each person needs to ask themselves is, “Do what I believe and practice square with YHVH’s Word?” Is YHVH pleased with our excuses or our obedience?

What did Yeshua say would be an identifying mark of those who would love him? (Read John 14:15.)

 

How to Really Get Clean on the Inside

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Hebrews 9:13–14, Purifying the flesh…cleansing your conscience. The Levitical sacrificial system was never able to atone for sin in the full sense. These sacrifices were effective only temporarily in that they had to be continually repeated. These sacrifices never mitigated YHVH’s judgment against sin. The Levitical sacrifices simply covered over sin, so that the sinner could stand before Elohim without being consumed by his righteous judgments.

Only Yeshua’s death could satisfy Elohim’s judgment against sin. Only his atoning sacrifice could thoroughly wash away our sins, remove the death penalty, which is the wages or penalty of sin, and cleanse the sinner of a guilty conscience or spirit of man so that one could “serve the living Elohim.” Sin can contaminate the spirit of man, which houses the conscience of man (2 Cor 7:1). Only the blood of Yeshua can miraculously cleanse our flesh and spirit and bring us to perfect holiness in the fear of Elohim (Ibid.) This Yeshua did in a spiritual sense in the spiritual temple in heaven, which is greater than the physical temple on earth, which was a mere copy or shadow of the one in heaven (Heb 8:3–6).

The cleansing the temple system offered was physical and external, while the one Yeshua offers through the heavenly temple gives internal cleansing.