Sunday, July 30, 2006

the Blessedness That Comes Through Faith

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

What then shall we say was gained by[a] Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."

Romans 3:21-4:8


Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

After reading through the rhetoric, I think I got the gist of your article. As long as you have faith in this false prophet you can be as bad as you want and HaShem will forgive you for it, because you have faith. Interesting. It's like a get out of jail free card for any sins. Isn't this a, supposedly, Jewish website? Last time I checked, Judaism never taught that as long as one sins you will be okay as long as you have faith. I think some of that Evengelical Christianity is slipping through. What makes this more fun is ,just yesterday, I was talking to a close friend of mine, who is Catholic , about Messianic Jews and Protestants. She has never heard of you (or Pat Robertson) and I promptly gave her an explanation of your works. Needless to say, she considers your works completely wrong and she does not like Evengelical Christians either. We started talking about the differences between Catholics and Protestants (I actually knew more in some areas then she did)and she said they believe that you can get to heaven through faith alone. Of course she and I laugh. But, in short, that is the point of your article. I wished to say that Judaism teaches that one must have faith and od good deeds. Not one extreme or the other. If a Jew errors against his fellow man then he has to ask that man for forgiveness and then say he will not do it again. It is not enough to pray for HaShem's forgiveness, because you have hurt your fellow man, not G-d. Just want to keep this website as Jewish as possible, seems you ahve been slipping recently.

7/31/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Justification by faith alone is in the Tanakh. That will merit a blog post on its own.

What you hear slipping through is Scripture. All systems that stray from Scripture start adding works to gain our acceptance before God.

That you react the way you do to being declared righteous by faith alone shows me that you understand the good news pretty well. That you react that way means we will want to be as bad as we want and everything will be fine (at least that's what I hear you saying), shows that the good news hasn't affected your heart.

That is the standard and understandable objection. And it is anticipated in Scripture. Scriptures answer to that: Heaven forbid! It is a faith which leads to good works, but we aren't accepted because of the good works.

Moshe, you said previously on this blog that you don't have to be perfect to be accepted before God. We say you do and HaShem has reckoned His righteousness to us, which is why the Messiah is called HaShem Tzidkenu, the LORD our righteousness.

Here you are arguing for some level of goodness in and of ourselves to be acceptable before God. So whatever level of goodness you pick falls short of perfection, according to what you've said earlier. Any level you pick which is acceptable, short of perfection, is arbitrary.

8/01/2006 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

HaShem does not grant get out of jail free cards to anyone. Ever hear of Moshe? He hits a rock and because of this one error Moshe is not allowed to enter the land of Israel. The best and holiest prophet, who reasons with G-d like no other, is punished for this one minor violation. Why? Because MOshe did ot have faith in HaShem that the rock would sprout water and did not follow through on his frustrations very well. He erred in faith and in deed. He is punished, despite his dedication and actions of HaShem's will. A great prophet has higher expectations then a normal person. Minor errors for you and I are disasterous for others. No get out of jail free card for Moshe, despite his faith in HaShem. No. There is no everyhting will be fine as long as you have faith. One must have a fine balance between miztvahs and faith. Again, no extremeties. Moshe knew that line very well, but missed one time.

It is interesting that you mention we can act as bad as we want and everything will be fine. Lets look at Torah, shall we? The sin of the golden calf. Thousands of Jews dies by the Levites who worshipped the calf. HaShem declared he wanted to destroy the Jewish people for thier sins. The Jewsih people complained about meat. HaShem sned sthem thousands of birds and after indulging themselves many died from the illness that spread from the birds. When the Jewsih people complained about water after Miriams death, the result: Moshe's anger followed by his error, which lead to his death. When Korach rose up and challenged Moshe's authority, HasHem had the earth swallow them up; along with other prestigious Jews. Did any of the Jesih people alck belief in G-d. No, but agian faith alone is not enough. The reason for the miztavahs is to prevent Jews from becoming animals who slaughter needlessly. Lets look at Christian history. From the start Jews were persecuted for not following the "Messiah". The pagan Roman empire exploited this break in Jews to justify harrassment in the name of G-d and to counter Jewish philosophy which was becoming dominant. Soon after the power of the church took over, pogroms and cleansings of towns of Jews became a common occurance. Soon mandates spread all across Europe telling lords to convert everybody by force that they come across. This only worked because lords needed a higher authority to justify thier superiority; hence how the church became so powerful. Mutually parasitism. So, the chruch's small armies and the lords go on these animalistic hunts, burn villages and slaughter people in the name of G-d. Lets not forget The Inquisition. Instead of trying to convert small viallges; lets convert and destroy an entire country. Do you need me to go on? These events never would have happened if deeds were just as important as faith. Too much faith makes you blind to reality and hence; you lose your humaneness. Before you comment on Jewish animalisms; keep in mind we were defending ourselves from extermination. Soon after, we went back to the peaceful people we have always been. I don't think the church has such claims.
As for claiming that no matter how good are deeds are they will always fall short; I do not believe that. Before you point out the contradiction with my example of Moshe; he never was seen less in G-d's eyes. HaShem still spoke to Moshe when ever Moshe desired it and allowed Moshe to still be the leader of the Jewish people. To HaShem Moshe was still pefect.

8/01/2006 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

"If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" Psalm 130:3[4]

"But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; WE all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." Jeremiah 31

Moshe, believe it. We all fall short. The original Moshe killed a person to cover his tracks. David was a murderer and comitted adultry. Those with genuine faith, like those two, still sin.

And those who live under grace and use it as a license have severe spiritual problems, and while not being able to see their heart, anyone who does so doesn't have the type of faith some refer to as "saving faith". That type of faith is the faith of demons. That's just head knowledge. That's not trust.

Does the golden calf show faith or unbelief? Did the rebellion against the original Moshe show faith or unbelief? A faith that produces no works is a dead faith.

Your view of Christian history is ill-formed and truncated. You want to make those under the general Christian umbrella as complete bad guys. Many were. Many weren't genuine Christians and were in it for political or other reasons. But you skipped over Jewish persecution of early Jewish believers in Jesus.

"These events would never have happened if works were just as important as faith"? Moshe, you are showing you lack knowledge of Christian history. Roman Catholics, the ones who did the Inquisition, deny justification by faith alone. The light of this teaching wasn't extinguished, but it wasn't clearly taught and understood explicitly in many areas for many years. In many areas, it was denied.

It is counter-intuitive. The good news of God's free grace produces more good works than telling people they need to do all these good things to get into heaven.

But God gets all the glory. No one in heaven will be able to say "I got in because I'm such a good person. I'm here because God is so good." All glory goes to God.

8/01/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

My point is, so what if they denied the faith alone business. They did not practice what they preached. I don't consider burning enire villages a good way to practice good deeds. Judaism teaches that saying you belive in acting in a proper manner is irrelevant. You MUST act in a proper way. It is not enough to say you will.
I will say my knowledge of Christian history is rusty and has holes, but many things I stated, in particular, how the church came into power, are true.

Do you remember why Moshe killed that Egyptian? He witnessed the egyptian beating two Jews. Midrash expounds upon this, by saying these two Jews were disciplianry Jews who were supposed to keep the Jews working by whipping them. (Remind you of any particular event in Jewish histroy?) However, they refused and in punishemnt they got whipped. Moshe witnessed this and used a curse that instantly killed the Egyptian and buried the body so he would not be punished. The reason why this is not wrong, again Midrash, is because if a Jew feels that another Jew's life is in danger, you can "disable" the person causing the danger and it is considered a mitzvah. I use disable loosely here, so one's imagination can figure the rest out. Not once in Torah did HaShem criticize Moshe for that killing. Since I have read nothing, but Midrash and Torah I cannot comment on David, even though I have heard some terrible stories.

See, once again, the difference between Judaism and Christianity becomes appearant. Jews believe in nearly everything they do for a rational reason. (there are many things that have no rational behind them, so Jews just leave it alone and don't bother explaining it) Christians believe in things based on counter-intuition and illogical reasoning.

I like discussing things with you, much more reasonable and logical then these other wackos on this site. Have you read some of the comments on the home page? Rascism running wild, along with blind stupidity.

In fact, I am surprised that you waste your intellect with this organization. You would be more productive speaking to Christians and other gentiles. I would have no problem with that and would not lift a finger in resistance.

May the force be with you.

8/02/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...


We believe things because of revelation and reason. Intuition can go awry. But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

So while we cannot be declared righteous on the basis of our works, faith which produces no works is a dead faith.

8/02/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

You are wrong again. Christians believe things because of blind faith. No other religion in the world comes close to the logical resaoning Judaism brings.

8/07/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...


I'm not sure you know enough about Christian beliefs or Christian history or if you can name any of the major Christian theologians throughout history or even if you have read the New Testament in order to make those comments.

And speaking of blind faith... No one has given me an adequate explanation of why the early followers of Jesus went out and died for what they believed. Nor has anyone on this blog tried to account for the empty tomb.

8/08/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

You are right about the first part of your post. However, would you not agree that most Christian theology requires a strong faith and little need for logical reasoning. I am saying this based on my own interaction with Christians. As for the last part: Have we not been over this? People go out and die for things they believe in all the time. I fail to see how Jesus's followers are different. The empty tomb. Have no idea what you are referring too. I have heard little evidence that Jesus came back after death; if that is what you are referring too. But I know not all the religious literature out there.

8/08/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Dying for something shows sincerity. The point is that the early followers of Jesus were in a position to know better. So when they went out and died for what they claimed to have witnessed, we need to account for that. Why?

Feel free to read the following:

On the other topic, of course faith is needed. But faith and reason aren't opposed to each other. Faith is the foundation of reason. If some believers in Jesus denegrate logic and reasoning, they would be in the wrong. But there is a long and rich intellectual tradition within the Christian faith.

8/08/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

If this rich tradition of reason and logic in Christianity is so appearant, why is it lacking in the followers of Christianity? An average Jew has more reason in his pinky on religious matters then an average Christian. I base this on my experiences with them.

Jews after the sin of the spies knew better then to try to take back the land right away. HaShem had forbidden it. They disobeyed and died for it. That's all the reasoning I need to give any credibilty for thier deaths. There is a precendent. Torah makes it clear life is more important then anything else.

8/08/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

I have no idea of who you are basing your conclusions about. Nor does it matter to the truth of the matter. If you think it does, that would be a logical fallacy. :) Do you know which one? You can consult your pinky finger. :)

If they have a flaw about reasoning skills, that is a flaw. What more can you say about that.

Your thing about the spies doesn't explain the action of the early believers in Y'shua some 1300 years later.

8/08/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

Fine. I give you a point. All I am saying is I have more confidence in Jewish reasoning skills then Christian.
I have no idea how to convince you that Jesus's followers death's are no different then other relgious deaths and therefore have no significance. I have given, what I believe, is an adequate explanation and I will leave you alone on the matter.

8/09/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

What I am trying to get you to do is provide an explanation for why the followers of Jesus did what they did.

Anyone can die for a lie. But they were in a position to know better. They claimed to be eyewitnesses.

8/09/2006 12:29:00 PM  

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