Philippians 1:11, The fruits of righteousness which are by Yeshua the Messiah.
What is righteousness? Scripture equates righteousness with as having something to do all of YHVH’s Torah-commandments.
My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. (Ps 119:172)
In this verse in Paul’s epistle to the saints in Philippi, Paul refers to “the fruits of righteousness by Yeshua the Messiah.” What does this mean? Let’s discuss this and discover what it has to do with us.
First, let’s establish an important fact. It is impossible for any human to obey YHVH’s high standards of Torah-righteousness on his own strength as Yeshua’s encounter with the rich young ruler proves (Matt 19:16–22). When the young man asked Yeshua what he must do to have eternal life, Yeshua seems to set the man up for a fall when he declares, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Yeshua is not being disingenuous here. Were one to keep the Torah perfectly without sinning, hypothetically, one would not fall under the death penalty for violating the laws of Elohim (i.e. sin). Presumably one could earn eternal life by one’s own good works. But no man has ever accomplished this superhuman feat except the superhuman Yeshua! Continuing, when the young ruler proudly declares his perfect Torah obedience, Yeshua shows him that he was, in fact, violating the Torah in at least one area—covetousness and greed. Yeshua shows him how to come into Torah compliance, and then admonishes him to come and to follow him. What Yeshua is teaching here is that it’s impossible to keep the Torah perfectly without factoring Yeshua, the Living Torah, into the equation. The point that we can’t keep the Torah without Yeshua directly intervening in our lives, I hope to conclusively demonstrate below.
One way that Yeshua helps his followers to obey the Torah is by sending them his divine Spirit as an internal spiritual force into our hearts to nudge and lead us into Torah-obedience.
What’s more, Yeshua also gives his people the divine gift of his grace to accomplish the same thing. His grace removes the guilt, stain and penalties for our past sins, and with a clear conscience and a clean spiritual slate before YHVH, minus the past baggage of sin weighing us down, we are able to go forward under the power of YHVH’s Spirit to walk in accordance with his Torah. Praise Yeshua! An illustration of this would be a runner who trains wearing a backpack filled with rocks. Once the weight is removed from his back, when he runs, he feels as if he were flying through the air.
Our faith in, love for and continual abiding in Yeshua is the key to receiving his systemic spiritual empowerment to walk a life that mirrors Yeshua. Paul invites us to imitate Yeshua as he himself imitated Yeshua (1 Cor 11:1). The word Christian means “one who follows what Christ did and taught.” One follows Yeshua by abiding in him as a branch abides in or is attached to a vine (John 15:4–5). A branch that is attached to a tree naturally, through no effort of its own, receives energy from the tree and produces fruit. The energy of life just naturally flows into the branch. When we abide in Yeshua, we will naturally produce the fruit of the Spirit. Love is the first and foremost fruit out of which all the other fruits subdivide. How do we walk in love toward YHVH and love toward our neighbor? The biblical answer is simple: by keeping his Torah commandment, which show us how to love. As Paul tersely declares, “Love is the fulfilling of the Torah-law” (see Rom 13:8–10).
Our abiding faith in Yeshua automatically attaches us to that spiritual tree that is a spiritual picture of him; it is the tree of life, which leads to eternal life in the kingdom of Elohim. As we abide in him, we will produce fruits of righteousness, which is adherence to the Torah of Elohim. Yeshua extends his grace to us, and our faith in Yeshua, and Yeshua living in us produces righteousness leading to eternal life (Rom 5:21).
As sap flows from a tree into its branches, when one is connected to Yeshua spiritually, the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua flows out of Yeshua, who is the tree of life, into us energizing us spiritually (John 15:1–8). To be detached from Yeshua puts a person under the power of unrighteousness or Torahlessness,which is sin and eventually leads to eternal death. Not only does Yeshua free those who put their trust in him and abide in him from the wages of sin (or Torahlessness), which is death, but his life in his disciples now fulfills the righteous requirements of YHVH’s Torah-law. That is to say that he empowers us no longer to walk according to the sinful inclinations of our flesh, but according to the Spirit of truth (or Torah, Rom 8:1–4, 10). It is for this reason that Paul could exuberantly proclaim that “if Elohim is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31), and, “In all things we are more than conquerors through him [Yeshua] who loved us” (Rom 8:37).
Having previously been an unloving, even hate-filled, legalistic Torah-keeping Pharisee, Paul knew that it was impossible to fulfill the righteous requirements of the Torah by his own strength. Before coming to faith in Yeshua, he had tried to keep the Torah by his own strength and failed. He learned that he could serve Elohim only through the power of the Spirit of Elohim, not in the old manner through human will and determination. The Spirit-empowered mind is able to keep the Torah, something the natural flesh man is incapable of doing. Obedience is only possible through faith in Yeshua and the gift of his Spirit (Rom 7:6, 25 cp. 8:6–8; 9:30–33).
In many other places, Paul indicates that without Yeshua it is impossible to fulfill the righteous requirements of the Torah. For example, he states that he is in no way promoting Torahlessness (Rom 3:31), but a Torah-obedience through Yeshua’s empowerment. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 9:21, Paul declares that he was “under the law toward Messiah.” Was Paul advocating legalism here? Obviously not. He was promoting the concept of the saint living in accordance with YHVH’s Torah-standards of righteousness through a spiritual relationship with Yeshua the Messiah. This is NOT what the mainstream church teaches, however! How often have you heard Christians including pastors and Bible teachers tell us that we are no longer under the law? Yet this is totally contrary to what Paul is saying in this verse.
In Philippians 1:11, Paul declares that the Spirit of Elohim working in us produces righteousness (i.e. conformity to the Torah, note Ps 119:172) by our faith in Yeshua through love (Gal 5:5–6). What’s more, we’re saved through faith in Yeshua who is the Living Torah-Word of Elohim (as was Abraham when he had faith in the preincarnte Yeshua and obeyed his word). As a new spiritual creation in Yeshua, we produce and walk in good works (i.e. Torah-obedience) through faith in Yeshua, the Living Torah (Eph 2:6,10). Or stated another way, we’re a new man or new creation in Yeshua who lives in or through us (Gal 2:20; 2 Cor 5:17); we’ve been renewed in the spirit of our mind for true righteousness and holiness (i.e. Torah-obedience, Eph 4:22–24). Elsewhere, Paul encourages us to be filled with the fruits of righteousness (or Torah-obedience, Ps 119:172) through Yeshua (Phil 1:11). He further tells us that Yeshua redeemed us from Torahlessness (or sin, 1 John 3:4) and is working to purify for himself his own special people who are “zealous for good works” (i.e. Torah-obedience, Tit 2:14), and is making us complete in every good work do to his will” (Heb 13:21).