(Romans, Chapters 1-4)
(Romans, Chapters 1-4)
Paul writes his letter to the Messianic brethren in
But you [the New
According to Isaiah, this would occur during “the favorable year of the Lord [Yahweh], And the day of vengeance of our God [Elohim]” (Isa. 61:2 NASB). Both Jesus and Paul had announced the favorable
year of Yahweh (Lk. 4:18-21, Jesus reading Isaiah 61:1-2a; Paul writing 2 Cor.
6:1-2), and the day of Yahweh’s vengeance was fast approaching as Paul was
writing his letter to the Roman Messianic brethren. Isaiah also describes the
Paul writes his letter to the Roman Messianics just prior to
his journey to
The time of Yahweh’s evil visitation, the time of Yahweh’s
vengeance upon His rebellious, stiff-necked people, is now perceived as very
close. Paul knew he had to go to
Paul writes this letter as a “called apostle” (Rom. 1:1 CV), an apostle (one officially commissioned) as the result of a specific call by the resurrected, exalted Christ. He writes as a Messianic Jew. His Gospel is the Gospel of Yahweh (Rom. 1:1b CV). This Gospel concerns Yahweh’s Son, Jesus the Messiah, Who is the seed of David, thus, the Davidic King promised before by the prophets in the holy scriptures. These holy scriptures refer to the Hebrew Scriptures of the Jews.
As a called apostle of Christ, Paul is a slave of Christ Jesus. He serves only one master. His will is to do the will of his master, Jesus the Messiah. He proclaims and serves Jesus Who has been resurrected from the dead. As the resurrected Messiah, He has the power of His Father Yahweh, which power is associated with “the spirit of holiness” (Rom. 1:4 CV).
When Paul speaks of “Jesus
Christ, our Lord” (Rom. 1:5 CV), he is speaking of Jesus the Messiah of the
Jews. Only as the Gentile Messianics become “fellow-citizens
of the saints” (Eph. 2:19 CV) can they claim Jesus the Messiah as their
Lord. Jesus the Christ is the Lord of
Israel, the New Born-From-Above
Thus, the spirit of holiness is Yahweh’s spirit, which spirit is Christ’s spirit as the Obedient Son fulfilling the will of His Father. As Moses as a servant in the house of Yahweh had shared the spirit given him with the elect 70 elders in accord with the authority of Yahweh his Elohim, so also does Jesus the Christ as Yahweh’s Only-Begotten Son in the New House of Yahweh share the spirit given Him with all those in Him in accord with the authority of Yahweh His Father. This is in fulfillment of the prophetic statement of Moses:
O that all the people of Yahweh were prophets!
That Yahweh would put His spirit upon them! (Numbers 11:29 my translation)
Jesus, however, unlike Moses, shares the spirit of holiness, which became identified with Him as the Obedient Resurrected Son of Yahweh’s Glory, the One “Who is designated Son of God [Yahweh] with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead” (Rom. 1:4 CV).
When Paul declares, “Jesus Christ, our Lord, through Whom we obtained grace and apostleship for faith-obedience among all the nations, for His name's sake” (Rom. 1:5 CV), the “we” refers to the Messianic Jews and the Jewish Apostles. Jesus the Messiah is the Lord of Israel. The members of the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh have had the spirit poured out upon them by which they have obtained grace, the favor of Yahweh making them His holy nation, His holy people, His holy kingdom, His holy kingdom of priests.
This holy kingdom of priests has been assigned Twelve Holy Apostles judging the new spiritual tribes of the New Holy Israel. Paul had been called by Jesus the Messiah as Christ’s Apostle to the nations. Paul, himself, had been shown this grace, this favor, as a circumcised-in-heart Jew, as well as a circumcised-in-the-flesh Jew.
These Messianic Jews had been favored with the responsibility, prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures, of being a light to the nations. Under the Gospel of the New Covenant, this means the responsibility to proclaim the Gospel of Yahweh’s salvation to the uncircumcised nations in order to bring them into the faith-obedience of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. This faith-obedience refers to the obedience to the Law of Christ, the spirit of Yahweh’s Law which had been constricted within the framework of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. In Christ, the spirit of Yahweh’s Law constricted within the framework of the old covenant has been liberated from the framework of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant into the freedom of the New Covenant. The old Sinatic/Mosaic restraints of childhood, minorhood, have been removed, nullified, abolished.
The old constraints, though no longer required for the
salvation associated with the New Covenant, are, however, to be faithfully
obeyed by the Messianic Jews in order to honor the name of Yahweh among the
nations and in order to fulfill the word of Yahweh in Exodus 19:5-6. Under the
New Covenant, Messianic Israel would fulfill the terms of the Sinatic/Mosaic
Covenant which had not been fulfilled by the
In this, they honor the glory of Yahweh still associated with the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of glory, while simultaneously placing their confidence in the New Covenant for covenantal/spiritual life and blessing. The old, dying covenant in its old-age infirmity, though still associated with Yahweh’s glory, is no longer able to provide covenantal life and blessing. It has been superseded already by the New Covenant of Jesus the Messiah.
The Messianic Gentiles, never having been under the
Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, nevertheless are required to keep those laws
associated with the Noahic Covenant and those laws in the Sinatic/Mosaic
Covenant which had applied to the alien gentiles dwelling within the borders of
national Israel. In this way, the Messianic Gentiles honor the name of Yahweh,
the glory of Yahweh associated with the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, and the people
of Yahweh still under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant who have not yet trusted in
the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. Faith-obedience, for these Messianic Gentiles,
means honoring the Jewish Community as the people of Yahweh and the Sinatic/Mosaic
Covenant as reflecting the glory of Yahweh. These Messianic Gentiles are
dependent upon the Messianic Jews for their salvation. Their salvation is
dependent upon their citizenship within the new, covenantal/spiritual
commonwealth of the New Born-From-Above
Faith-obedience among the nations included, within its sphere, the Jews, as well as the Gentiles. Paul always proclaimed the Gospel to the Jew first. His first obligation was to the Jew under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. The Jews were the covenant people of Yahweh. They were those for whom Christ had died in order to redeem them from the curse of the law. The Jews were those whose sins, being counted up by the law, needed to be forgiven by the blood of Jesus the Messiah.
Only as the Messianic Gentiles became associated with the
Thus, both Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles are among those called to faith-obedience among all the nations by the proclamation of the Gospel proclaimed by the Messianic Jewish Apostles and evangelists. Consequently (the Jew being first, that is, having priority over the gentile in the hearing of the Gospel and the Messianic Jew having the greater Melchizedekian priesthood responsibility in the proclamation and teaching of the Gospel), Paul addresses his Roman letter to the Messianic Jews dwelling in Rome who, as a kingdom of Melchizedekian priests, bear the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the Messianic Gentiles among them:
to all [Messianic
Jews] who are in
Only the Messianic Jews were called by Yahweh possessing the status of saints, holy ones. The title saints belonged only to the Jews, the circumcised members of the Southern Kingdom of Judah who were the holy people of Yahweh living under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. The Messianic Gentiles were being called according to their status as gentiles, unholy ones, Ephraimites, the uncircumcised members of the Northern Kingdom of Israel constituted by Yahweh Lo-Ammi, not My people (see Hosea 1:9-10), possessing no covenantal relationship with Yahweh.
Hence, Paul addresses his letter to all the Messianic Jews
Yet the saints [the
circumcised faithful Jews] of the supremacies shall receive the kingdom
Perceiving am I and the same horn [Apostate Israel] is making an attack on the saints [to come shortly after the giving up of Paul to the Roman authorities by apostate Jews in Jerusalem, making Paul a prisoner on behalf of the Lord] and is prevailing against them, till the Transferor of Days arrives [the Parousia of Christ], and adjudication is granted to the saints . . . and the stated time is reached, and the kingdom is safeguarded by the saints. (Daniel 7:21-22 CV)
And the kingdom and the jurisdiction and the majesty of the kingdom under the entire heavens will be granted to the people of the saints [Messianic Jews and those Messianic Gentiles becoming fellow-citizens of the Saints, see Eph. 2:19 CV] . . . (Daniel 7:27a CV)
This same distinction is made by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians where he addresses the Saints (Messianic Jews) and the ones who are also believers in Christ Jesus (Messianic Gentiles), making a distinction between “us” and “you” in 1:3-14 (vs. 3-11, “us,” referring to Messianic Jews and vs. 13-14, “you,” referring to Messianic Gentiles). In this same passage, he metaphorically refers to Messianic Jews using the word “heavens,” while metaphorically referring to Messianic Gentiles using the word “earth,”
to have an administration of the complement of the eras, to head up the all [the spiritual members of the Body of The Christ] in the Christ—both those members upon the heavens [Messianic Jews] and those members upon the earth [Messianic Gentiles]—in Him Whom also our lot was cast . . . (Ephesians 1:10-11a my translation)
Concluding his address to the Saints in
Paul had often intended to visit the brethren in
As a Jewish Messianic, his first responsibility is toward his own elect nation. He would proclaim the Gospel first to the Jews. This is a foregone conclusion. However, as the Apostle of Jesus the Christ to the nations, to the uncircumcised members of these nations, having been authorized to proclaim the Gospel of the Uncircumcision, he is a debtor “To both Greeks [civilized people speaking Greek, Latin, or other languages of the Mediterranean world associated with civility] and barbarians [uncivilized people speaking, according to the civilized people, outlandish languages], to both wise [educated] and foolish [uneducated]” (Rom. 1:14 CV).
As a circumcised, Melchizedekian priest of the Jewish Messiah,
who has been sent to the nations, he is in debt to these foreigners cut off
from the advantages of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. As a priest of the New
Abrahamic Covenant, he is indebted by his special calling as an Apostle to
proclaim the Gospel to all the uncircumcised peoples dwelling within the
territories of the
Shortly after writing this letter, Paul is to learn that
Being a debtor to both Jews and Gentiles, Paul is eager to
make his way to
with fear and trembling, be carrying your own salvation into effect, . . . without murmurings and reasonings, that you may become blameless and artless, children of Yahweh, flawless, in the midst of a generation crooked and perverse among whom you are shining as luminaries in the world, fixing your mind upon the word of life . . . (Philippians 2:12b-16a CV modified)
The period of fiery testing was not far off. The season for
separating the tares from the wheat was soon to be upon them. Paul, in this
letter, would be exhorting the Messianic Jews and the Messianic Gentiles in the
Paul’s purpose in this letter, therefore, is to correct a misappropriation of the teaching of the Gospel due to a corruption, distortion, of the truth of the Gospel and an arrogant boasting in the flesh resulting from a false understanding of ethnic identity on the part of some from among the Jews and some from among the Gentiles. Within the ranks of the Roman Messianic community, Paul had been made aware of false teaching, social conflict, and ethnic strife resulting in licentious and arrogant behavior and thinking threatening the spiritual unity and testimony of the Roman Messianic community. Problems between some of the Messianic Jews and some of the Messianic Gentiles were increasingly causing division and corruption of the truth of the Gospel. Jealousy and strife had been endangering the spiritual welfare of individual members of the corporate Body of The Christ, hence, affecting the spiritual health and effectiveness of the corporate Body as a whole. This amounted to contamination of the holy. If it were not corrected now, it would be corrected by the fiery judgment soon to come, to the detriment, destruction, of those members of the body inflicting the contamination; for surely, “Fearful is it to be falling into the hands of the living God!” (Heb. 10:31 CV).
The letter, thus, is written for the practical edification of the brethren in Christ. It is instruction meant to correct misappropriate and lawless thinking and behaving, as well as to encourage and edify those striving lawfully to walk in newness of life according to the indwelling power of the spirit. The letter is not an abstract theological treatise. Its purpose is practical and educational in direct relationship to the needs of the Roman Messianic community.
Since Paul is writing to believers already in Christ, he should not be read as though he is interested in evangelization. He is interested in making clear to those already in Christ the practical power of the outworking of the salvation already acquired by those who have previously received the Gospel by the hearing of faith. This is evident when Paul declares,
For not ashamed am I of the Gospel. For Yahweh’s power it is into salvation to every man concerned about acting faithfully, both to the concerned Jew first, and the concerned Greek. For Yahweh’s righteousness [justification] is being revealed in its [the Gospel’s] sphere of influence, out of faithfulness into faithfulness, according as it is written: “But the just [righteous] man out of faithfulness shall exercise for himself the functions of life.” (Romans 1:16-17 my amplified translation)
Paul, as both an Apostle and evangelist, is neither ashamed of the Gospel nor shamed by the Gospel. As an evangelist, the Gospel is proclaimed as Yahweh’s power to save, to deliver, the one receiving it. To the believing Jew, it is Yahweh’s power to deliver him from the death of the Sinatic Covenant and the curse of the Mosaic Law. To the believing Greek (as well as all other believing Gentiles) the Gospel is Yahweh’s power to deliver him from the darkness and ignorance of idolatry, from enslavement to the worship and service of deaf, dumb, blind, and powerless gods manufactured by the mind and hands of men.
As an Apostle, the Gospel is taught as Yahweh’s instruction whereby the one in Christ, as a result of having believed the Gospel, is given the power of Yahweh to work out Yahweh’s gift of salvation in the living of a new life in the worship and service of the One, True, Living Elohim. The Gospel is the power of Yahweh to walk in newness of life. The Gospel is the power of Yahweh enabling one to be faithful to the end, thus qualifying one for entrance into the Celestial Allotment.
But this power is only accessible to the one in Christ who is concerned about acting faithfully. To the one in Christ thinking and behaving faithfully in accord with the truth of the Gospel, this Gospel is Yahweh’s power enabling one to go on living continuously in the new state of this salvation. This new state of affairs is true both for the Messianic Jew first and also for the Messianic Gentile.
The Messianic Jew, being first because of his priestly
function, is responsible for the spiritual welfare of the Messianic Gentile. The
Messianic Jew, having had and continuing to have covenantal advantages, is to
serve the spiritual needs of the disadvantaged Messianic Gentile, thereby
exemplifying the Law of Christ. The
Messianic Gentile is to contribute continually to his own maturity in the faith
as well as the maturity of the whole corporate spiritual Body of The Christ. As
he receives of
In writing this letter to the Roman Messianic brethren, Paul is exhorting them to be participating in the power of Yahweh’s salvation revealed in the sphere of the influence of the Gospel. This means, they must be operating, functioning, within the sphere of the Gospel’s influence. Within this sphere of influence, Yahweh’s powerful righteousness is both being revealed and operating. Access to this powerful righteousness comes by faithfully obeying the truth of the Gospel. Thus, in Christ, one is to draw out of Yahweh’s faithfulness the accessible power of salvation, thereby achieving one’s own righteous faithfulness to the glory of Yahweh and one’s Lord. As Yahweh righteously is faithful in the fulfilling of His promises, so he who is righteous, justified, in Christ, is to righteously worship and serve Yahweh, the One, True, Living Elohim of Israel, in faithful obedience to the truth of the Gospel, the terms of the New Covenant, the Law of Christ.
Therefore, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4. Habakkuk had prophesied
during the initial deportation of Judean captives to
Paul, therefore, reminds the Roman Messianic brethren that in the Gospel is being revealed the righteousness/justification of Yahweh which calls for, demands, necessitates their own righteousness/justification as revealed, manifested, reflected in their own lives. The just/justified man in Christ out of his own faithfulness to the truth of the Gospel shall be exercising for himself the functions of the life in Christ: the life according to the truth of the Gospel, the life according to The Cross of Christ, the life according to the indwelling spirit. This life is presently a reality whenever one is living out faithfully the truth associated with the Gospel. Hence, it is crucial that the Gospel be properly understood. Its misappropriation is devastating to the life in Christ, individually and corporately. And Paul is well aware of the fact that some among the Roman Messianic brethren have been misappropriating the truth of the Gospel.
As the Gospel is presently revealing the righteousness of Yahweh to the Jew first and the Greek as well, the indignation of Yahweh is presently being revealed from heaven (from Yahweh) upon all ungodliness and injustice of men, to the Jew first and the Greek also. In the proclamation of the Gospel is being revealed the righteousness of Yahweh. This is one side of the coin. As the proclamation of the Gospel reveals the righteousness of Yahweh, so also simultaneously does it reveal the indignation of Yahweh upon both the Jew first and the Greek also. As the Gospel is Yahweh’s power into the salvation which is His deliverance into the new life in Christ, so also is it Yahweh’s power into the salvation which is the deliverance from His indignation.
Paul, in Romans 1:18-32, uses double entendre to remind the
Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles in
Paul makes it very clear that Yahweh’s indignation is presently being revealed upon “all” the ungodliness and injustice of men (Rom. 1:18a). But he qualifies these men as the ones “who are retaining the truth in injustice” (Rom. 1:18b CV). He is, therefore, referring to all Jews and Greeks (representative of all civilized peoples within the Roman Empire) presently having access to the truth while repressing its influence, thus qualifying them as unrighteous, unjust.
The truth referred to here is the truth associated with the Gospel presently being proclaimed among the nations. This is confirmed in Romans 1:19:
Because that which may be known [neuter, singular, pointing back to “the Gospel” of verse 16] concerning Yahweh [concerning His righteousness] is presently being manifest among them, for Yahweh manifested it [the Gospel revealing Yahweh’s righteousness, v. 17] to them. (my translation)
The righteousness of Yahweh is presently being manifested among the Jews and Gentiles. Those rejecting, repressing, its truth, display their unrighteous condition of ungodliness, manifesting themselves as those opposed to Yahweh’s righteousness. If opposed to Yahweh’s standard of righteousness, on the basis of this standard, these men are unrighteous and, thus, are standing against Yahweh. They are ungodly.
However, Paul also concludes verse 19 by using the past tense manifested. The Gospel is presently
manifesting the righteousness of Yahweh, though having been already proclaimed
in the recent past. By using the past tense, as well as the present tense, Paul
is able to allude to the righteousness of Yahweh revealed by Noah after the
flood of the distant past and the righteousness of Yahweh revealed to
This revelation to the nations began to be repressed with the
construction of the
As a nation,
As the history of the corporate, national, uncircumcised,
non-covenant nations is characterized as opposing, repressing, rejecting,
turning away from the righteousness of Yahweh made known to them by Noah and
made knowable by the very condition and function of the mind and body of
individual men, so also the history of corporate, national, circumcised,
covenant Israel is characterized as rebellious and stiff-necked.
As the nations had fallen into idolatry and its consequential
debauchery in spite of the revelation of Yahweh’s righteousness given to them,
so also had
Paul’s charge against
Paul continues his use of double entendre in Romans 1:20. There, Paul takes up the testimony of creation to Yahweh’s righteousness, Yahweh’s faithfulness revealed in His works. Paul argues,
For His invisible attributes are descried from a creation of a world-order, being apprehended by His achievements [the things made], besides His imperceptible power and divinity, for them [Jews and Greeks] to be defenseless [without excuse], . . . (Romans 1:20 CV modified)
He intentionally avoids using the definite articles before “creation” and “world-order,” thereby allowing the passage to allude to both the creation of the world-order of Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, and the creation of the world-order at Sinai. By doing so, he is able to charge both Jew and Greek as defenseless, without excuse.
Both Jew and Greek have had and continue to have a knowledge concerning the righteousness of Yahweh as a result of the testimony of two distinct creations of Yahweh. Thus, by avoiding the use of the definite articles before these two Greek words in verse 20, Paul is able to kill (declare defenseless, without excuse) two birds (Jews and Greeks) with one stone (see Psalms 19). By referring to “a” creation and “a” world-order, Paul is able to indirectly, by way of an allusion well known to Jews and Yahweh-fearing Greeks, point his addressees to Psalms 19.
The first half of Psalms 19 (vs. 1-6) deals with the testimony of the terrestrial creation of Genesis, chapter 1. This testimony, confirmed by and with the personal existential testimony of Noah who had personal access to Adam and his authoritative testimony, had been given to all the nations, but had been abandoned, repressed, rejected, and, thus, had become unacknowledged due to the ethnic, cultural, religious, and prejudicial abasement of the nations.
This, however, does not deny the fact that many individual gentiles had continued and still were continuing to acknowledge the testimony of the terrestrial creation of the natural world-order. Paul’s charge is made against the collective history of the Jewish nation and the gentile nations, not necessarily against each and every individual within these nations. The ancient world acknowledged collective identity, both collective honor and collective shame. Paul’s addressees would have little or no trouble apprehending his collective conclusion.
According to Psalms 19, the achievements of Yahweh’s terrestrial creation world-order, though actually inaudible, speaking no words, communicate, reveal, the righteousness of Yahweh the Creator:
The heavens are recounting the glory of El, And the atmosphere is telling the work of His hands. Day after day is uttering a saying, And night after night is disclosing knowledge. There is no audible saying, and there are no words; Their voice is unheard. Yet into the entire earth their voice goes forth, And into the ends of the habitance their declarations. (Psalms 19:1-4a CV)
No nation is without access to this knowledge concerning the
glory of El, Yahweh Elohim of Israel. In spite of this, there is no nation
which has not corrupted, shamed, this glory of El. This includes
The law of Yahweh is flawless, . . . The testimony of Yahweh is faithful, . . . The precepts of Yahweh are upright, . . . The instruction of Yahweh is pure, . . . The judgments of Yahweh are truth: they are righteous altogether . . . Your servant is being warned by them; In the keeping of them is great consequence. (Psalms 19:7-11 CV)
As the nations had corrupted the glory of El revealed in the
terrestrial, astrological (the gospel in the stars) creation world-order, so
Paul continues his case against
having known God [Yahweh,
El], not as God [Yahweh, El] did
they [Jews nationally and gentiles
nationally] glorify or thank Him, vain were they made in their reasonings,
and darkened was their unintelligent [senseless,
absurd] heart [of corporate
The historical record of
Among the Messianic Gentiles, as well as among the Messianic Jews, there were those who were claiming such a right to boast, to glory, in their ethnic identity. Such boasting contradicted the truth of the Gospel. Thus, such boasting must be struck down. Hence, everything Paul describes in his characterization of those upon whom the indignation of Yahweh had been and is presently coming applies to both Jews and Gentiles. The only boasting appropriate to the Gospel is the boasting, the glorying in The Cross of the Christ, which is, in fact, the glory of Yahweh revealed in the Gospel, the glory of Yahweh’s righteousness.
Paul convincingly makes his case simultaneously against both
The Messianic Jews in
Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him. (Judges 19:22b NASB)
After some negotiations, the concubine of the Levite guest dwelling for the night with his Benjaminite host is reluctantly given up to these Benjaminite fellow Israelites:
And they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn. (Judges 19:25b NASB)
Just as deplorable is the behavior of the Levite when, in the morning, he finds his concubine on the doorstep of the abode:
When her master arose in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, then behold, his concubine was lying at the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. And he said to her, “Get up and let us go.” (Judges 19:27-28a NASB)
Discovering she is dead, he places her on his donkey and returns home. Wasting no time, he chops her body into twelve pieces, sending each piece to one of the twelve tribes, signifying a call for just judgment of the offending Benjaminites.
Even more deplorable is the response of the dwellers in the
The Messianic Jews at
Hear the word of the Lord [Yahweh],
You rulers of
Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand. (Isaiah 1:2b-3 NASB)
The excruciating words of Yahweh written by the prophet Jeremiah would ring in their ears,
For long ago I broke your yoke
And tore off your bonds;
But you said, “I will not serve!”
For on every high hill
And under every green tree
You have lain down as a harlot. . . .
How then have you turned yourself before Me
Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine? . . .
the house of
They, their kings, their princes,
And their priests, and their prophets,
Who say to a tree, “You are my father,”
And to a stone, “You gave me birth.”
For they have turned their back to Me,
And not their face; . . .
where are your gods
Which you made for yourself? . . .
For according to the number of your cities
Are your gods, O Judah. . . .
Why do you go around so much
Changing your way? . . .
For the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
And you will not prosper with them. (Jeremiah 2:20, 21b, 26, 27a, 28a, 28c, 36a, 37b NASB)
The buzzing words of the psalmist would return to them, stinging their ethnic consciences,
They did not exterminate the peoples
As Yahweh had commanded them. They mixed with the nations,
And they learned their customs.
They served their fetishes,
And these came to be a trap for them. They sacrificed their sons
And their daughters to demons;
So they shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and their daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the fetishes of
And the land was polluted with bloodshed.
Thus, they defiled themselves by their deeds,
And they prostituted themselves by their actions. (Psalms 106:34-39 CV)
Yet they probed and defied Elohim the Supreme,
And they did not keep His testimonies.
They were turned away and treacherous like their fathers;
They were warped like a deceptive bow.
They provoked Him to vexation with their high-places,
And they made Him jealous with their carvings. (Psalms 78:56-58 CV)
Finally, the prophetic words of Moses, who had likened
For the name of Yahweh am I proclaiming: Grant
greatness to our Elohim! The Rock . . . For all His ways are righteous
judgment. The El of faithfulness and without iniquity; Just and upright is He. They
have become corrupt before Him; No longer are they His sons because of their
blemish: A generation perverse and twisted. Is this what you requite to Yahweh,
You decadent and unwise people? . . . Then he [Yeshurun, Jacob/Israel] abandoned Eloah Who had made him And
disgraced the Rock of his salvation. They [apostate
Israelites] made Him jealous with alien gods, With abhorrences they
provoked Him to vexation. They sacrificed to demons, not Eloah, To elohim—they
had not known them before—To new ones that came from nearby [Assyria and
Thus, as Yahweh had given up the nations to a disqualified
mind, so had He given up
The disqualified mind is the result of not acknowledging Yahweh and His righteousness (Rom. 1:28). The disqualified mind produces that which is not befitting the righteousness of Yahweh. The disqualified mind, therefore, does not produce the thought and conduct properly associated with that which is upright in the eyes of Yahweh. Paul sums up the man operating in accord with the disqualified mind as follows:
those who, recognizing [acknowledging] the just requirement of Yahweh [His righteousness, and thus, His righteous standard of measurement], that those practicing such things [as result in the things listed in Rom. 1:29-31] are deserving of death [the death common to all men], not only are producing them, but are endorsing, also, those who are practicing them. (Romans 1:32 my translation)
With this characterization of the man operating in accord with the disqualified mind, Paul declares defenseless, without excuse, any man among the Messianic brethren “who is [thus] judging” (Rom. 2:1a CV), that is, judging in accord with the description of 1:32. The man of recognizes, acknowledges, the just requirement of Yahweh’s righteousness, His righteous standard of measurement. He admits that those practicing such deeds which result in (produce) injustice, wickedness, evil, greed, envy, murder, and strife deserve to die the death common to all men, for they are not worthy of living, since they are not contributing to the welfare of others or themselves.
Such a man, however, is seduced by the disqualified mind into believing that he is not one of these disqualified men practicing unrighteousness. He does not realize that it is possible to be practicing things which in appearance seem righteous, but in reality, in the end, result in, produce, that which is unrighteous, that which is not upright in the eyes of Yahweh. The disqualified mind practicing disqualified thinking produces disqualified, false, unrighteous teaching, which when put into practice (deeds) produces disqualified, unrighteous results.
There are Messianic brethren in
The freedom of the Gospel is, thus, interpreted to mean licentiousness. The disqualified mind concludes that the way to successfully overcome the body of sin is to disregard sin as sinful. By disregarding sin, one is free to put into practice deeds which satisfy the extreme desires of the body to the glory of Yahweh. Grace makes conduct irrelevant. Thus, they judge “the other of another kind” (Rom. 2:1b, heteros, Greek text), those not in Christ, as unrighteous for practicing such deeds, while they judge their own practice of such deeds as righteous, since the freedom of the Gospel uses such practices to produce superabounding grace, righteousness. These are those Messianics to whom Paul refers when later in the letter he is to ask, “What, then, shall we [approved Messianics] declare? That we may be persisting in sin that grace should be increasing?” (Rom. 6:1). Obviously, the answer is No!
However, these Messianics operating in accord with a disqualified mind have been teaching and encouraging other Messianics to follow their thinking and example. Thus, not only are they themselves producing unrighteousness, they are encouraging other brethren to be putting into practice similar deeds, while endorsing others who have already been practicing such deeds. Such disqualified men are to be found among both the Messianic Gentiles and the Messianic Jews.
Not all Messianic Jews are zealous of the Law of Moses. There are those who had been estranged from Judaism. These had been living like the gentiles before receiving the Gospel. Thus, from the perspective of Judaism, they had been considered lawless. Having received the Gospel, these Messianic Jews would be very vulnerable to the licentious interpretation of the Gospel. Here, indeed, is a justification for not keeping the Law of Moses, which, anyway, they had not been keeping prior to their reception of the Gospel.
The Gospel, however, does not teach such lawlessness. The Messianic Jew, according to the truth of the Gospel, is to be faithful to the Law of Moses, though not attributing to it the power to save. Salvation is due, not to works of law, but to the faithfulness of Jesus the Christ. The old Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant could no longer provide covenantal life; only the New Covenant could now provide covenantal life for both Jew and Gentile.
The Messianic brethren condemned by Paul, in one way or another, are practicing deeds which may or may not appear unrighteous, but in fact, are producing the unrighteousness condemned by the Gospel. Acknowledging the righteousness of Yahweh revealed in the Gospel, they are putting into practice deeds which they are seduced into believing are producing the righteousness of Yahweh revealed in the Gospel, but in fact, are producing the unrighteousness associated with Yahweh’s indignation. Hence, what they are practicing in the name of the righteousness of the Gospel is actually producing the unrighteousness of the disqualified mind associated with the indignation of Yahweh:
for in what you are judging another of a different kind [those outside Christ, non-messianics, both Jew and gentile], you are condemning yourself, for you who are [thus] judging are practicing the same [kind of] things [which produce unrighteousness]. Now we [the Apostles and approved Messianic Jews] are aware that the judgment of God is according to truth [the present truth of the Gospel, Rom. 1:18-19] against those who are committing such things [which produce ungodliness and unrighteousness]. (Romans 2:1b-2 CV modified)
These condemned Messianics, operating in accord with a disqualified mind, are rendering a verdict of condemnation against those outside the Christ for practices (behavior, deeds) judged to be producing ungodliness and unrighteousness (injustice) according to the standard of the Gospel of Yahweh’s righteousness. Yet, these same Messianic brethren judging the non-messianics are, themselves, putting into practice similar, but not necessarily exact, behavior producing the same ungodly, unrighteous, unjust results in the eyes of Yahweh. Though the practices of the two groups may not always be exactly the same, the product produced is always exactly the same—ungodliness, unrighteousness. As such, those so judging the non-messianics are simultaneously judging themselves as condemned ones.
Now (since the proclamation of the Gospel) the Apostles and all approved Messianics operating in accord with the renewed mind of the spirit are aware that the judgment of the truth of the Gospel condemns as ungodly, unrighteous, unjust the behavior put into practice by these disqualified Messianics teaching false doctrine produced by a disqualified mind opposing the truth of the Gospel (Rom. 2:2). This conclusion, this judgment, is the very judgment of Yahweh. It is the judgment of the sound teaching of the Gospel. It is the judgment of the sound mind of the spirit, the mind approved by Yahweh. This judgment, this verdict of condemnation is the true verdict of Yahweh and His Anointed Son/King. Hence, this judgment is the truth. To oppose this truth is to stand for the lie.
Paul rhetorically asks this disqualified Messianic man if he thinks he will be escaping the judgment of Yahweh against such unacceptable behavior simply because it is practiced in the name of Jesus the Messiah, in the name of the Gospel, in the name of Yahweh’s grace (Rom. 2:3). He ironically asks this man, “Or are you despising the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, being ignorant that the kindness of Yahweh is leading you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4 CV). Having been saved by the Gospel of Yahweh’s kindness, forbearance, and patience regarding the man’s sins, should not this man understand that Yahweh’s kindness leads one to repent of one’s sins, not to increase their number?!
The salvation of Yahweh delivers one from sins. It does not encourage one to increase one’s sins. The salvation of Yahweh delivers one from unrighteousness to righteousness, from ungodliness to godliness. How then can one so saved, not only return to such sin, such unrighteousness, such ungodliness, but even more deplorably increase the practice of sin?!
Repentance is a turning from sin, not a returning to sin with the purpose or intention of increasing the practice of it in order to, thus, cause grace to abound exceedingly to the glory of Yahweh who condemns such sin. This thinking is absurd. This thinking is the product of a disqualified, debilitated, alien, degenerated mind. This thinking shames both Yahweh and His Ecclesia, as well as the one producing it.
Paul warns these brethren who are thinking and behaving unrighteously that they are accumulating for themselves the indignation of Yahweh to be meted out in the day of Yahweh, the soon-to-come revelation of Yahweh’s just judgment which will begin with His own House, the New Born-From-Above Israel, the Ecclesia. During this eschatological period of judgment, Yahweh will be “paying each one [in the Ecclesia] in accord with his acts [his deeds and their products]” (Rom. 2:6 CV).
He accuses these members of The Body of The Christ, presently disqualifying themselves, as being without excuse. Their hard and unrepentant heart justifying their practice of sin is producing unrighteousness which will surely be condemned by Yahweh’s righteous indignation upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of any man suppressing the present truth of the Gospel in the interest of practicing sin and producing unrighteousness. Paul, thus, calls these straying brethren to repentance. They must turn from their disqualified mind and conduct of the flesh back to the qualified mind and conduct of the spirit, before it is too late.
For when Yahweh comes in judgment of those servants in His Household, He will be accounting worthy of eonian life (entrance into the Celestial Allotment) those “who by endurance in good [skillful as measured by the righteous standard of Yahweh’s Gospel] acts [practices, deeds, producing the righteousness of Yahweh] are [presently] seeking glory and honor and incorruption [in accord with the truth of the Gospel]” (Rom. 2:7 CV). However, He will also be judging “those out of faction [self-ambition] and stubborn, indeed, as to the truth [of the Gospel], yet persuaded [by a disqualified mind] to injustice [unrighteousness]” (Rom. 2:8a CV) deserving of “indignation and fury” (Rom. 2:8b CV).
Paul now turns his attention (
Among both Jews and Greeks, there are numerous examples of those human souls who align themselves with righteousness rather than unrighteousness. In the covenantal history of Israel, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Samuel, David, Jonathan, Uriah, and Daniel are prime examples of men who effected, produced the good (the skillful, the righteousness of Yahweh), thus, by such thought and behavior, revealing themselves as righteous, even though soulish/soilish men. Among the Greeks, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus are prime examples of soulish/soilish men choosing righteousness over unrighteousness.
None of these men had been perfect. But they chose to pursue truth and righteousness, characterizing them as “good” men attempting to put into practice such deeds as would result in righteousness. All nations, societies, and cultures have among them such men. All also have among them men characterized as evil. The character of a nation is determined by the character of the nation’s power-elite rulers, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, and philosophers.
Eschatologically, Paul knows that in the concluding judgment
of the present eon (and in the process of disintegration thereby initiated and
continuing into and during the coming eon) there would be affliction and
distress on every human soul choosing to align himself with the evil by
consciously choosing to practice those deeds producing the unrighteousness associated
with the passing eon. This would apply to both the apostate Jew, first, and to
the Greek (the uncircumcised civilized peoples of the Roman Empire) also (
Calling the sinning Messianics to repentance, Paul reminds them that there is no partiality with Yahweh (Rom. 2:11a). Under the Mosaic Law whoever had sinned lawlessly would be lawlessly ruining himself. His very lawlessness would effect his own ruin since he would be exposing himself to Yahweh’s ever-present indignation against such lawlessness. In contrast, whoever had sinned in the sphere of the interest of law (that is, whoever had sinned while respecting and/or loving Yahweh’s Law) through the judgment of this very law would be corrected, leading the sinner into repentance, thereby avoiding his own ruin, his exposure to Yahweh’s ever-present indignation against lawlessness.
Yahweh’s indignation is against lawlessness. Sin committed by the lawful, those respecting and honoring Yahweh’s Law, will not be effecting their own ruin, since the judgment (rule, verdict) of the law, being respected and honored, will be obeyed, accepted, thus, resulting in repentance and correction, restoring the offender, the sinner, to a righteous relationship with Yahweh. Hence, whoever is characterized as lawful, being covenantally under the law, in his circumcised heart is functioning in the interest of the law, that is, he is voluntarily committed to the interest of the righteousness of the law.
The lawful man never comes under the indignation of Yahweh against unrighteousness and ungodliness, because the lawful man is never accounted by Yahweh as unrighteous or ungodly. If the sinning Messianics at Rome are lawful ones, being in the interest of the Law of Christ, the judgment of the Apostle Paul (representing the judgment of the Law of Christ) will lead them to repentance, thus correcting their error, restoring their righteous relationship to Yahweh and Jesus the Messiah, and avoiding the ruin due to exposure to Yahweh’s indignation.
In Paul’s vocabulary there is a difference between being under law and being in law. There is a difference between lawlessness (anomos) and lawfulness (en nomo). In 2:12-13, Paul writes,
whoever sinned lawlessly [anomos], lawlessly [anomos] shall be ruining themselves [middle voice], and whoever sinned in law [en nomo], through law will be judged [for correction]. For not the listeners to law are just with Yahweh, but the doers [obeyers, respecters, honorers] of law shall be justified [whenever they obey, honor, respect the judgments of the law]. (my translation)
In Romans 3:19, Paul carefully avoids the use of under (hupo) in favor of in (en) when referring to the law, “Now we are aware that, whatever the law is saying, it is speaking to those in (en) the law” (CV modified). Those in Christ are not under law (Rom. 6:14); they are in law; that is, they stand in a proper relation to law; they stand in the sphere of the interest of law; they stand alongside the law, “But we are standing law in its proper place” (Rom. 3:31, literal Greek, my translation).
If, therefore, the sinning Messianics at Rome are not in law, are not standing alongside Yahweh’s Law, are not honoring, respecting the Law of Christ, they are lawless and will be bringing ruin upon themselves. If they refuse to repent, thus refusing to acknowledge their sin, they will be exposing themselves to the indignation of Yahweh about to be poured out in full against Apostate Israel. On the other hand, if they are lawful ones, adult sons of Yahweh standing alongside Yahweh’s Law and honoring the Law of Christ dwelling within them, they will repent in response to the judgment of an Apostolic servant of Christ, having then been corrected and restored to their righteous relationship with Yahweh.
The justified, the righteous, are those who obey the law and who submit humbly to its judgments in relation to committed sin. Those who merely listen to the law, having uncircumcised hearts, upon which the law is not written, are unrighteous, ungodly, who outwardly with the lips acknowledge the law, but in their decadent hearts is written “There is no Elohim” (Ps. 14:1 CV).
Yahweh is not partial; Yahweh is not unfaithful; Yahweh will judge righteously; Yahweh will administer justice, just judgment, whether one is elect or non-elect, covenantal or non-covenantal, Jew or Gentile, Messianic Jew or Messianic Gentile. Those who practice sin and produce unrighteousness, encouraging others to do likewise, shall bring ruin on themselves and others, since they have arrogantly exposed themselves to Yahweh’s indignation believing they are either immune/exempted from Yahweh’s indignation or that such indignation does not exist.
Speaking, then, to the Messianic Jews, Paul declares concerning the Messianic Gentiles practicing and producing the righteousness of the law,
For whenever they of the nations [Messianic Gentiles], the ones not having law [the Mosaic Law] to the interest of the natural [due to the state of uncircumcision] may be doing [producing] those things which the law demands, these, not having law [the Mosaic Law], are a law to their own interest, who are presently demonstrating [displaying] on behalf of their own spiritual [New Covenant] welfare the work [energy, activity, action, purpose] of the law [the Law of Moses as appropriated by the Law of Christ] written in their hearts, their conscience [the sum of their perceptions] bearing joint-witness and their accountings [logical, reasonable conclusions reached by means of the truth of the Gospel] working together as a jury accusing or defending their conduct in the interest of the [soon-to-come] day when Yahweh is judging the hidden things of these [definite article] men, according to my Gospel [the Gospel of the Uncircumcision], through Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:14-16 my translation)
There were among the Messianic Jews at
Even though the Messianic Gentiles in their natural state of uncircumcision have not (as uncircumcised, non-covenantal peoples) been in possession of the Sinatic/Mosaic law, under the grace of the Gospel of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, these brethren now have the work, the purpose, of that law written on their hearts by the spirit of Yahweh. Thus, whenever they may be producing the demands of the law, even though they remain uncircumcised, these Messianic Gentiles are lawfully respecting and honoring Yahweh’s Law to their own spiritual, new covenantal welfare.
As long as the Messianic Gentiles respect and honor Yahweh’s Law, their hearts remain sensitive and repentant, eagerly open to Yahweh’s correctional chastisement when their thoughts or practices fall short of His righteousness. In this, they demonstrate, display, the fact that Yahweh’s Law is written in their hearts. Though they may fall short in thought and practice, Yahweh knows their hearts, extending to them His kindness, His mercy, His compassion, His love.
These Gentile Messianics, though uncircumcised in flesh, are circumcised in heart. Such spiritual circumcision, revealing their complete trust in Yahweh’s faithfulness, irradiates from the heart the glory of Yahweh associated with the Gospel of the New Covenant. Since the work of the law is written in their hearts by the indwelling spirit, their conscience works as a jury accusing or defending their conduct in preparation for the imminent coming of the day of Yahweh’s judgment of His people. This conscience consists of the sum of each of its perceptions and accountings. Each perception and accounting is empowered by The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. Each perception contributes in conjunction with the contribution of the sound mind’s accountings (logical, reasonable conclusions) to the final judicial decision regarding the case at hand.
The judgment referred to here is Yahweh’s judgment of the Ecclesia. Paul had referred to this judgment in 2 Corinthians 5:10 (CV),
For all of us [in Christ] must be manifested in front of the dais [bema seat, throne] of Christ, that each should be requited for that which he puts into practice through the body, whether good or bad.
He alludes to this judgment in 1 Corinthians 3:12-13 (CV), “Now if anyone is building on this foundation [Christ] . . . each one's work will become apparent, for the day will make it evident, for it is being revealed by fire. And the fire, it will be testing each one’s work—what kind it is.” Yahweh’s judgment will be carried out by Jesus His Anointed Son/King. He will be judging the hidden things of both the Messianic Gentiles and the Messianic Jews (see Rom. -12). However, Paul’s interest in the present text (Rom. 2:14-16) is the Messianic Gentiles, “in the interest of the day [soon to come] when Yahweh is judging the hidden things of these men [Messianic Gentiles], according to my Gospel [the Gospel of the Uncircumcision], through Christ Jesus” (Rom. 2:16 my translation).
Yahweh’s judgment of the Messianic Gentiles will be according to the terms of Paul’s Gospel, the terms of the truth of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision associated with the faith of Abram the uncircumcised faithful servant of Yahweh from among the idolatrous, uncircumcised nations. His judgment of the Messianic Jews will be according to the terms of the truth of the Gospel of the Circumcision associated with the faith of Abraham the circumcised faithful servant of Yahweh. The Messianic Jews have a greater obligation as being “called saints” (Rom. 1:7 CV), a kingdom of priests. However, both Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles will be judged according to the hidden motives of the heart, the inner man. The inner motives of the heart as governing principles are a truer guide in assessing, evaluating outward practices and relationships. Practices and relationships will be evaluated on the basis of both their intended and actual product: righteousness or unrighteousness, godliness or ungodliness.
The Messianic Jew, being judged by the truth of the Gospel of
the Circumcision, thus, having a greater obligation of service to Yahweh, is
further scrutinized by Paul. Addressing the Messianic Jews at
These advantages, privileges, should have reminded the Jew of
his obligation to worship and serve Yahweh. Such worship and service obligated
the Jew to serve the salvational needs of the disadvantaged, unprivileged
nations. Some Messianic Jews at
Paul accuses these Messianic Jews at
You, then, who are teaching another [of a different kind, the Messianic Gentiles], you are not teaching yourself! (Romans 2:21a CV)
These Messianic Jews had not taught themselves that which the holy Hebrew Scriptures taught concerning The Messiah of prophecy and the New Covenant prophesied by the prophets. They taught a messiah according to the flesh, a messiah according to the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of death.
These Messianic Jews who taught Thou shall not steal are accused by Paul of stealing the Messianic Gentiles from Jesus the Messiah. These Messianic Jews have been teaching the Messianic Gentiles their need of circumcision in order to enter into the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant and receive the salvation of Jesus as a messiah under and of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. These Jewish Messianics have been denying the essential difference in quality between the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant and the Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant. They have been teaching that the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant is being renewed by the New Covenant.
Therefore, the New Covenant of Jesus is not to be understood as another covenant. It is the purification of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. Hence, the works of law (to be acknowledged only according to the flesh) are required of both Jew and Gentile if one is to partake of the salvation of this Jesus. The gospel of Jesus according to these Messianic Jews is the gospel of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant.
Thus, these Messianic Jews, in denying the Second Man out of
heaven (the Celestial Man), are denying the present spiritual resurrection/renewal
of the body and mind delivered from The Law of Sin and Death. They are denying the existence of the soulish/soilish
man, thereby making unnecessary the intermediary soulish/spiritual man and
the ultimate Celestial Man. In denying this teaching of the Gospel, these
Messianic Jews deny the Celestial Allotment, clinging only to a terrestrial
expectation of a fully restored
Not only are these Messianic Jews guilty of stealing, they are also guilty of covenantal adultery. These Jewish Messianics teach Thou shalt not commit adultery, while committing covenantal adultery against both Yahweh and His Anointed Son/King. They attempt to serve two masters simultaneously, Moses and Jesus.
By acknowledging Jesus only according to the flesh, they perceive Jesus as only another Moses. In doing so, they reduce the New Covenant established by the death and resurrection of Jesus to an extension, a restoration, of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, thereby justifying their service to both Moses and Jesus.
From the perspective of the truth of the Gospel, this is spiritual adultery. Jesus is not another Moses. He supersedes Moses as a Son in the Household of Yahweh. A son is qualitatively greater than a servant in the Household, as Isaac, Abraham’s elect son, is greater than Eliezer his favored servant.
Although these Jewish Messianic seducers abominate idols
(which if brought into the holy sanctuary of
If anyone is corrupting the
Such abominable work will be consumed by the fire of Yahweh’s soon-to-come judgment: “for the day [of Yahweh’s judgment] will make it evident, for it is being revealed by fire” (1 Cor. 3:13b CV).
Finally, Paul accuses these Messianic Jews of transgressing “the law” (Rom. 2:23b). Though boasting, glorying in law, these seducers of both the Saints and Gentile Messianics transgress not only the Mosaic Law, but the Law of Christ. For the truth of the Gospel demolishes the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law, while building out of this demolishment the Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant of law, the Law of Christ unrestrained by the restrictive structure of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant:
For if I am building again these things [the works of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law] which I demolish, I am commending myself as a transgressor. (Galatians 2:18 CV)
Thus, these Jewish Messianic seducers are transgressors of the New Covenant, since they are attempting to rebuild the old covenant while the Gospel is in the process of demolishing, tearing it down. They are transgressors of the old covenant, because the old covenant testifies to the necessity of the demolishment of its own structure and the building of a new covenantal structure. Thus, these Jewish Messianics are denying the testimony of the Law of Moses as well as the testimony of the Law of Christ associated with the Gospel.
Peter had been the victim of this seduction during his visit to Antioch of Syria. Rebuked by Paul, he repentantly had corrected his mistake, his sin, his sinful practice which had not been lawless, though it did produce unrighteousness. His heart being circumcised, he immediately repented of his unrighteous practice, even as David had immediately acknowledged and repentantly confessed his unrighteous, ungodly practices in relation to Bathsheba and Uriah at the rebuke of Nathan the prophet (see Gal. 2:11-18; 2 Sam. 12:1-13).
Using, once again, double entendre, Paul quotes from Isaiah the prophet, applying the prophet’s words to both the ancient and present uncircumcised-in-heart Jew and the present Messianic Jew:
For because of you the name of God [Yahweh] is being blasphemed among the nations, according as it is written [Isa. 52:5]. (Romans 2:24 CV)
As the ancient Jew in relation to the Law of Moses had caused Yahweh’s name to be held in dishonor because of his shameful behavior (polluting the land with his abominations which resulted in his being spewed out of the land by his Elohim [Deut. 29:25-28]), so also the present non-messianic uncircumcised-in-heart Jew is shaming Yahweh’s name due to his arrogant pride. If this is not bad enough, now, since the proclamation of the Gospel, even the Messianic Jew is shaming the name of Yahweh among his fellow Gentile Messianic brethren.
Paul, however, does not refute the benefit of circumcision. The circumcised Messianic has the benefit, the advantage, of the Melchizedekian priesthood, but with the benefit comes a great responsibility to the nations and especially to the Messianic Gentiles. Circumcision is a benefit only if the one circumcised “should be putting law into practice” (Rom. 2:25 CV).
The circumcision of the transgressor of law becomes
uncircumcision. Here, transgressor
refers to one who is characterized as lawless. The transgressor is the
circumcised Jew who disrespects, dishonors, the Law of Moses by concluding that
Yahweh does not distinguish between the virtuous and the vicious, the righteous
and the unrighteous, the godly and the ungodly. The transgressor, the lawless
one, makes this conclusion the ruling principle of his life. He, thus, despises
Yahweh. In his uncircumcised heart, he declares there is no Elohim in
Circumcision is an outward sign in the flesh representing one’s lack of confidence in the flesh as a means of receiving Yahweh’s promises (see Rom. 4:11). Circumcision is a sign pointing to one’s faith and faithfulness in relation to Yahweh’s revelation. If one lacks faith in Yahweh and His promises, one’s circumcision is hypocritical. Such circumcision is not a sign pointing to one’s faith. Such circumcision is counterfeit. Such circumcision represents an uncircumcised heart hiding behind the outward sign of circumcision. Such circumcision becomes a misleading sign.
On the other hand, if one who is uncircumcised in flesh “should be maintaining the just requirements of the law” (Rom. 2:26 CV), his uncircumcision is now being accounted as circumcision. The truth of the Gospel associated with the New Covenant, overlooking the lack of the sign in the flesh, sees the sign as it is manifested in the heart. Circumcision in the flesh is authenticated by circumcision in the heart. The Messianic Gentile lacking the sign of circumcision in the flesh (that is, being in the natural state of uncircumcision) is circumcised in heart, having received the Gospel by his faith, thereby having the law written in his heart by the spirit, which law he now faithfully respects and honors.
Such a Messianic Gentile is no transgressor of law. He lawfully seeks to practice the requirements of Yahweh’s Law, producing the righteousness of Yahweh in his life. If and when he sins, misses the mark of his cherished target (the Law of Christ), his circumcised heart and renewed mind as one new man, sensitive to the correctional discipline of the law, acknowledges the rebuke of the spirit within and repents, turns away from the unrighteous teaching and/or practice, thus, honoring and respecting his Elohim and his Lord.
The Messianic Gentile “discharging the law's demands” (Rom. 2:27a CV) in his state of uncircumcision “shall be judging you [the Jewish Messianic transgressor of the New Covenant, the Law of Christ], who through letter [the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant] and circumcision [in flesh, a work of law], are a transgressor of law [both the Sinatic/Mosaic law and the Law of Christ]” (Rom. 2:27b CV). The faithful Messianic Gentile in Christ, possessing a circumcised heart and practicing and producing the righteousness of Yahweh, shall, by his faithfulness, be Yahweh’s instrument by which He shall be judging the Jewish Messianic transgressor, the lawless one opposing Yahweh, His Anointed Son/King, and the law of the New Covenant. If this Jewish Messianic transgressor does not repent and return to the faithfulness associated with the Gospel of the New Covenant, he will be destroyed by the soon-to-come completion of Yahweh’s indignation against His rebellious, stiff-necked people of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant.
Just because one is an ethnic Jew, circumcised in the flesh, having a form of zealousness for the law and Judaism, does not constitute one an authentic, true, faithful Jew. The faithful Jew is not merely the apparent ethnic Jew easily identified socially and religiously. Circumcision in the flesh is not enough to identify one as a Jew. It is the man within who determines whether the outward, apparent, ethnic marks of identity are genuine or counterfeit.
The authentic, faithful Jew is he whose heart is circumcised “in spirit, not in letter, whose applause is not of men, but of God [Yahweh]” (Rom. 2:29b CV). The true, authentic Jew is he who faithfully receives the Gospel and, in the interest of the poured-out spirit, has the law written in his heart, thereby making him a circumcised-in-heart Jew according to the spirit of the New Covenant, not according to the letter of the old Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant.
This Jew has his applause coming from Yahweh Who sees the heart. This Jew’s applause is not from men (either heteros ethnic Jews of reputable social status or gentiles of high social status) who judge merely by outward appearances, which can be very deceptive. This Messianic Jew, having his applause coming from Yahweh as a result of the righteousness of the inner man, is he who, according to the outward man, is enduring persecution and affliction on behalf of the Gospel and the righteousness of Yahweh.
This Messianic Jew’s applause is perceived by his faith and
faithfulness. Yahweh’s applause is not perceived by those outside the faith.
Outwardly, the true, genuine Jew, the Messianic Jew, is scorned, ridiculed,
persecuted, and afflicted by those who are Jews only in appearance, only in the
outer man, not in the inner man having a circumcised heart in accord with the
Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. Thus, Paul is warning the Messianic Jews at
Try yourselves, if you are in the faith; test yourselves. Or are you not recognizing [acknowledging] yourselves that Christ Jesus is in you, except [unless] you are somewhat [perhaps] disqualified? (2 Corinthians 13:5 CV)
Having described the faithful Jew in Romans 2:28-29, Paul now asks what the prerogative of this faithful Jew is. If uncircumcision can be counted as circumcision, if the uncircumcised shall judge the circumcised, then just what is the priority, the precedence, the higher ranking which sets the Jew apart from the nations? Here Paul specifies “the Jew,” “the circumcision” (Rom. 3:1). His subject is not Jewry in general. His subject is “the Jew” and “the circumcision” described in Romans 2:28-29. This Jew marked by this circumcision has a vital prerogative.
Paul refers here to the faithful Jew in the past and present who is characterized as circumcised in heart. He is not referring to all Jews. To the circumcised-in-heart faithful Jew of the past, Paul attributes the prerogative of being entrusted with the oracles of Yahweh. By this he means the revealed spoken words of Yahweh delivered to the holy nation through the mouth of His servants (Moses, Joshua, David, the prophets). These spoken words of Yahweh had been written down and entrusted to the faithful Jews, one of whose responsibilities, prerogatives, had been to preserve these holy texts.
It had not been the unfaithful Jews who had successfully executed this covenantal prerogative. It had been the circumcised-in-heart faithful Jews of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant who had faithfully carried out this holy responsibility, the ones who had circumcised the foreskin of their hearts according to the admonition of Moses (Deut. 10:16 CV).
Not all Jews act faithfully. Would the unfaithfulness of Jews nullify the faithfulness of Yahweh? Never! exclaims Paul. Yahweh’s word is always true. Men may lie, but never Yahweh. Men may break their word, becoming unfaithful, but Yahweh never breaks His word. Yahweh is always faithful. The prerogative of the Jew is the prerogative of the faithful Jew.
Yahweh had testified to the fact that He would always preserve the faithful from extermination by the unfaithful. When Elijah the prophet complained to Yahweh,
I have been zealous, yea zealous for Yahweh Elohim of
hosts; for the sons of
Yet I will let remain [preserve] in
Though the nation may be unfaithful, Yahweh would always preserve the faithful remnant through whom He would faithfully accomplish His covenantal promises and obligations. His faithfulness would both preserve the righteous faithful ones and judge the unrighteous, unfaithful ones.
The faithful Jew in the present (the Messianic Jew) has been entrusted with the Gospel and the administration of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant. Though some Messianic Jews had acted unfaithfully in relation to this prerogative, Yahweh will preserve and protect the faithful Messianic Jews, assuring the success of their covenantal mission. Just as in the past, the unfaithfulness of some Jews had not negated the faithfulness of Yahweh to preserve a righteous remnant and bring down indignation upon the disobedient transgressors, the lawless ones; so also, now, in the present, some Jews had acted unfaithfully in relation to the truth of the Gospel.
These Jews had claimed that a crucified messiah is no messiah. These Jews had claimed that a new covenant superseding the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant is no covenant from Yahweh. In essence, these two claims had accused Yahweh of being a liar. For these two claims had rejected the truth of the Gospel. If the Gospel is false, Yahweh is false. But since Yahweh is always righteous and true, and faithful, those Jews claiming the Gospel to be false are the false ones, the liars,
That so Thou [Yahweh] shouldst be justified in Thy sayings, And shalt be conquering when Thou art being judged. (Romans 3:4b CV, quoting Psalms 51:4)
Just as Paul himself (as Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of the saints) had in the recent past acted unfaithfully in relation to the Gospel, so there were other Jews acting unfaithfully in relation to the Gospel. Though their hearts are circumcised, they have been deceptively seduced by the false shepherds of Judaism, thereby making these seduced Jews blind to and ignorant of the truth of the Gospel. Presently, they are enemies of the Gospel (Rom. ) and are among those accusing Yahweh of being a liar. But Yahweh is righteous, true, and faithful, while all those accusing Him of falsehood will be proven false themselves.
However, Yahweh Who looks at both the outward and inner man will not fail to rescue those whose hearts are circumcised from such falsehood, even as Saul of Tarsus had been circumcised in heart and had his blind eyes and ignorant mind opened as the result of the revelation of Jesus the Messiah, the exalted Jesus, the Celestial Jesus, the Jesus no longer to be known according to the flesh, the Jesus now to be known only according to the spirit. These Jews, presently enemies of the Gospel but whose hearts are circumcised, must not be treated as enemies. They must be loved and drawn to Jesus the Messiah. They must be treated as Yahweh’s elect. Since the Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles, unlike Yahweh, are not able to look into the heart, Paul exhorts them to treat all Jews as Yahweh’s elect, even though they may be acting as enemies of The Cross of the Christ.
As many Jews during Jesus’ terrestrial ministry had not been able to understand the terrestrial truths of the Gospel of Yahweh, even as Nicodemus (see Jn. 3:12 CV, Greek text) a ruler of the Jews, so also, now, since Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, many righteous Jews still remain blind to and ignorant of the terrestrial truths of the Gospel. If they still could not understand the terrestrial truths of the Gospel of Yahweh, how are they to understand the celestial truths of the Gospel of Yahweh concerning His resurrected Son, unless the righteous, true, and faithful Elohim of Israel would cure their blindness, enabling them to understand both the terrestrial and celestial truths of the Gospel.
For the present, their circumcised hearts remained hardened and their eyes remained blind to the Gospel. But at the revelation of the glory of Christ in all His Messianic brethren (Rom. 8:18), Yahweh would open the eyes of the blind whose hearts are circumcised. Having their eyes opened, they will behold the glory of Jesus the Messiah in His people. Believing into Him, the veil over their hardened hearts will be removed, and they will finally come to understand the terrestrial and celestial truths of the Gospel, even as Saul of Tarsus had come to understand these truths.
Thus, in spite of the unfaithfulness of the larger Jewish National Community, the word of Yahweh is conquering the lie of Judaism. Though Judaism’s unrighteous denial of the Gospel is commending or contributing to the success of Yahweh’s righteousness being revealed in the Gospel, Yahweh is not unrighteous in His bringing upon these Judaistic Jews His indignation. Their unfaithfulness is unrighteousness, and Paul has already made it clear that Yahweh is not partial. His “indignation is being revealed from heaven upon all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who are repressing or retaining a knowledge of the truth [of the Gospel] in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18 my translation).
This should be a warning to all the Messianic Jews and
Messianic Gentiles at
The Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles at
Yahweh’s judgment of the Sinatic/Mosaic world-order is just (
In offering the salvation of
However, in spite of the unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, Yahweh’s indignation is not His last or ultimate word. The faithfulness and righteousness of Yahweh is ultimately revealed in the justice of His mercy, compassion, kindness, and salvation shown and exercised on behalf of the welfare of all humanity. Yahweh’s indignation is never administered just for retribution or vengeance alone. Yahweh’s ultimate purpose for His indignation is the salvation of those whom His indignation affects. Yahweh’s purpose is never in vain. His indignation, working together with His mercy, compassion, and kindness, achieves His purpose of salvation on behalf of all the unrighteous. (This theme is at the heart of Romans and is taken up in chapter 5, verses 12-21.)
Paul himself is a prime example of the truth of Romans 3:4-6:
Yet if the truth of God [Yahweh] superabounded in the sphere of the influence of my lie [falsehood], into His glory, why am I also still being judged as [charged, accused as] a sinner . . .? (Romans 3:7 my translation)
Paul alludes to his persecution of Messianic Jews and
opposition to the Gospel before his encounter with the exalted Jesus the
Messiah on the road to
Paul had been accounted a “sinner,” a Jew missing the mark of the goal, the target, of the law. In spite of the fact that Yahweh used this persecution to successfully advance the cause of the Gospel, Saul/Paul, the executor of this unrighteous persecution, had been judged to be a sinner. His activity had not been justified, excused, honored. This activity had been to his shame as a Jew and as a man.
Paul characterizes this unrighteous activity of his as the product of zealousness for the traditions of his forefathers (relatively recent teachers of Judaism, see Gal. 1:14b) and its concomitant holy hatred of the crucified Jew from Nazareth, “for I myself prayerfully had been wishing myself accursed from this messiah on behalf of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:3 my translation). As Saul of Tarsus (the Jew who before his encounter with the resurrected Jesus the Messiah had been progressing “in Judaism above many contemporaries in my race, being inherently exceedingly more zealous for the traditions of my fathers,” Gal. 1:14 CV), Paul had been prayerfully desiring in the name of Yahweh his Elohim and on behalf of the welfare of his people, Israel, to be accursed from this blasphemous rabbi (Jesus) pretending to be the promised messiah of Israel. From Saul’s perspective, to be accursed from such a blasphemous pretender to the throne of David, from such a contaminating false prophet, meant to be holy unto the One, True, Living Elohim of Israel.
Saul, the fervently holy servant of the Holy Elohim of Israel, had been willing to become contaminated (thus, an accursed thing as a result of contaminating contact with the blasphemous followers of this pseudo-messiah) in his holy pursuit of the destruction of their supposed covenantal contamination of his holy people. David had righteously refused to slay King Saul, the Anointed of Yahweh (1 Sam. 24:1-7; 26:9). Saul of Tarsus, the zealous Pharisee, had righteously sought to persecute (covenantally slay) Jesus, a pseudo-messiah having made a blasphemous claim to the holy throne of David. Saul of Tarsus had perceived himself as another Phineas, acting to restrain the stroke of Yahweh against His people because of the abomination of these blasphemous Jews (see Num. 25:6-9). He had been prayerfully desiring the praise and honor given to Phineas by Yahweh,
Phineas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest,
reversed My fury from the sons of
This clarifies the extreme zealousness of Saul of Tarsus as indicated by his own testimony in Galatians 1:14.
Paul, in Romans 3:8, now judges the misconception of some of the Messianic brethren concerning his understanding of the Gospel. These judges, described in 2:1-2, unintentionally slander, blaspheme, Paul by attributing to him and his teaching their own misappropriation of the grace and freedom of the Gospel. These judges claim that Paul confirms their conclusion that, “We should be producing evil things [unrighteous things] in order that the good things [righteous things] may come” (Rom. 3:8b my translation). Paul responds to this slanderous, blasphemous, abhorrent conclusion by concluding that those who teach and encourage others to emulate their own performance of such lawlessness are bringing upon themselves Yahweh’s condemnation. Those who teach and practice such licentiousness, such libertine antinomianism are deserving of Yahweh’s condemnation. To continue in this unrighteousness is to be given over to the indignation of Yahweh soon to be fully meted out against those opposing the Gospel, “whose condemnation is in the sphere of [Yahweh’s] righteousness” (Rom. 3:8c my translation).
Having established the first prerogative of the faithful Jew,
the Jew circumcised in heart (whose prerogatives are further enumerated in
9:1-5 of this letter), Paul now reiterates his earlier charge against the Jews
as a national entity. The nation has failed to remain faithful to Yahweh. She
has been shown to have acted, and continues to act, sinfully in her covenantal relationship
with Yahweh (Rom. 1:18-32). Therefore, she, like the Greeks, is under sin. Like
The fact remains that not all Jews participate in the privilege of Yahweh’s graciously granted prerogatives:
What, then? Are we [Jews] privileged? Not all of us. For we [Paul, the Apostles, and all faithful Messianic Jews] have previously charged both Jews and Greeks [as national entities, as collective corporate nations, peoples] to be all under sin . . . (Romans 3:9 my translation)
Only the faithful, circumcised-in-heart Jews participate in
the privilege of Yahweh’s graciously granted prerogatives. There are many Jews
Paul now proceeds to prove from scripture that, though many Jews are privileged, many other Jews are not. He begins by quoting from Psalm 14,
according as it is written, that “not one is just, not one. Not one is understanding. Not one is seeking Elohim. All turned away. Together they became useless. Not one is producing kindness. There is not even one. (Romans 3:10-12 my translation)
The subject of this psalm is the decadent one, the one having an uncircumcised heart. In this uncircumcised heart, this decadent one says, “There is no Elohim” who is judging between the righteous and the unrighteous (Ps. 14:1 CV).
Among the decadent ones, there is not even one righteous man. Among these decadent ones there cannot be found one man of understanding. All those who are decadent in heart seek not after the One, True, Living Elohim, since they all turn away from Him, becoming, as a result, useless, spoiled, disqualified in mind and conduct. Not one of these decadent ones produces kindness in his relations with his brothers, thus, denying in his heart that he is his brother’s keeper.
The psalmist in this psalm is speaking about the decadent one
among circumcised Israelites. These decadent ones within national
The psalmist declares that not one is just among the decadent
Israelites. However, the characterization of the decadent one in
The additional scriptural quotations contained in Romans 3:13-18 support the same principle. The subject of those verses is the decadent man, the lawless sinner who destroys both himself and his brothers. These decadent ones need not be in the majority in relation to their people in order to devour, destroy, the welfare of the national or social bodies within which they dwell. Their unrighteous mind and conduct mislead, deceive, and oppress the majority through the administration of unjust political, social, economic, and religious laws and practices, as well as decadent philosophies of life. As a result of such decadent ones, many of their people are ignorantly enslaved to and oppressed by the lies of their false, decadent philosophies and ethical practices, being unaware of the subtle deceit of these decadent ethnic beliefs and traditions which account as light that which, in the eyes of Yahweh, is darkness.
Paul, having established the distinction between the circumcised-in-heart Jew and the decadent, uncircumcised-in-heart Jew, now declares that the circumcised-in-heart Jews (we) “are aware that, whatever the law [the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law] is saying, it is speaking to those in the sphere of the interest of [Greek, en, not upper] this law . . .” (Rom. 3:19a CV modified). The uncircumcised-in-heart Jews, the decadent Jews, the lawless ones, are not in the sphere of the interest of the Sinatic/Mosaic Law. These Jews dishonor and disrespect Yahweh in their hearts. They despise His law.
The circumcised-in-heart Jews, the faithful Jews, respecting and loving Yahweh’s Law, having written it upon their hearts, are the Jews who are aware that the Law of Moses is speaking to them. They are the ones living in the sphere of the law’s interests. They are the ones taking the law’s requirements seriously. They are the ones seeking to fulfill the law. They are the ones committed to obeying the law with all their heart, mind, and soul. All Jews live under (upper) the covenant of law, but not all Jews live in the interest (en, Rom. 3:19 above) of the covenant of law.
The Jews in the sphere of the interest of the Sinatic/Mosaic Law are the Jews not only living under the covenant of law, but the Jews also living in the interest of the law. As Jesus had proclaimed that His interest was the interest of Yahweh His Father, His will was the will of His Father, so also, these faithful Jews possessing a circumcised heart are those Jews whose interest is the interest of the law, whose will is the will of the law. These Jews stand firmly within the sphere of the law’s requirements. These Jews understand the purpose and requirements of the law. These Jews seek after Yahweh the One, True, Living Elohim. These Jews are useful to Yahweh and His people, being committed to the righteousness of the law. These Jews affirm in their thought and conduct their responsibility for the welfare of their brothers.
The faithful, circumcised-in-heart Jews, aware that the law (including the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures) addresses them and holds them responsible to meet its righteous and attainable requirements, also understand with the heart, mind, and soul the essential purpose of the law:
that every mouth may be barred, and the entire [Sinatic/Mosaic] world-order may become under [the verdict of] justification [Greek, upodikos, the justification or righteousness apart from the law which Yahweh accomplished through the promised Messiah, the Seed of the Woman, the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of David] to the interest [purpose, will] of Yahweh. (Romans 3:19b CV modified, amplified)
The faithful, righteous Jew is aware that the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law is not intended to justify the Adamic condition of the Jew who is within the sphere of the law’s interest. The attainable righteousness of the law is addressed to the soulish/soilish man.
The testimony of the Sinatic/Mosaic Law (and the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures) confirms the unjustified, the unrighteous, the sinful condition of Adamic man. Adamic man has missed the mark of life. Adamic man is under the reign of death. This condition is contaminating, making him unrighteous, unjustified in the eyes of Yahweh.
Adamic man is contaminated by The Law of Sin and Death operating in his members. He is continually vulnerable to the influence of this law which seduces him into committing sins of mind and body, producing unrighteousness. Adamic man from the perspective of the Hebrew Scriptures is basically good, but susceptible to sin because of this alien, invading, seductive law activated within him by Adam’s disobedience, whereby he (Adam) sinned, missed the mark of Yahweh, the mark being life.
When Adam sinned, he activated the principle of death, mortality, lying dormant within soulish man. The Sinatic/Mosaic Law does not provide a justification whereby this condition would be counter-altered. This law, however, does bar the mouth of every Jew operating in the sphere of its interest from defending this condition as righteous. All these mouths are being barred by this law in order that the entire Sinatic/Mosaic world-order may come under the justification/righteousness (Rom. 3:19b, Greek, upodikos) of Yahweh by which the condition of Adamic man can be counter-altered.
This counter-alteration is the justification/righteousness of Yahweh apart from the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law. This counter-alteration is the justification/righteousness of Yahweh which comes through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. This is the justification/righteousness of Yahweh which counter-alters the altered condition of Adamic man.
Adam as soulish man had altered his condition (and the condition of his progeny) from soulish man to soulish/soilish man by activating the principle, The Law of Sin and Death. Jesus the Messiah, as the last (eschatos) Adam, died in order that as the Second (deuteros) Man resurrected from death, He would counter-alter the alteration introduced/initiated by Adam: the soulish/soilish man had been counter-altered into the soulish/spiritual man for all those in Christ, but would soon be fully counter-altered into the celestial man at the consummation of Jesus the Messiah’s Parousia.
But Jesus Christ’s death accomplished more than the counter-alteration of those in Him as a result of their being faithful to the truth of the Gospel to the end of the Mosaic Eon. He accomplished, achieved, the counter-alteration of all Adamic mankind, excluding none. (But this truth is revealed in the fifth chapter of this letter to the Roman Messianics.)
The faithful Jew is aware, declares Paul, that “out of works of law, no flesh [circumcised or uncircumcised flesh] at all [under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant] shall be justified [as to the condition of the Adamic man, the soulish/soilish man] in His [Yahweh’s] sight, for through law is the recognition [acknowledgement] of sin” (Rom. 3:20 CV modified). Those Jews in the sphere of the interest of the Law of Moses are made aware of the marks, the targets, the requirements, the terms, of the law. Respecting and honoring the law, they come to recognize its marks, its targets. Recognition of these marks results in the acknowledgement of sin (missing the mark) when the recognized marks are missed in actual thought and conduct. The very fact that the law takes account of sin (counts up sin) communicates to the lawful Jew that all those under the law are assumed to be sinners to one degree or another.
The soulish/soilish man commits sin; he misses the mark even when attempting to practice and produce the righteous requirements of the law. That the purpose of the law is to cause the lawful man to acknowledge sin is revealed in those terms of the law which account a man a sinner for things he has no control over, such as coming in contact with a dead body (even accidentally) or coming in contact with a woman’s menstrual flow of blood. A woman’s menstrual flow is considered unclean, thereby automatically making her a sinner during her period, which period, is natural and beyond her control.
All Jews ethnically aware of the law recognized this sinful condition of humanity as the perspective of the law. This recognition and acknowledgement of sin as seen through the eyes of Yahweh pointed the faithful Jew beyond the law for the obtaining of a justification, a righteousness, which would counter-alter humanity’s condition of sin: the death common to all humans needed to be counter-altered by a justification of life. The alteration of soulish man into soulish/soilish man (in whom death reigns) needed the counter-alteration making the soulish/soilish man the celestial man possessing a justification of immortal life, the right to possess immortal life.
This is precisely that which Jesus the Messiah has accomplished. The Sinatic/Mosaic Law, as well as the whole corpus of the Hebrew Scriptures, had testified to both the need and the achievement of the need. The Gospel being proclaimed by the Apostles and other Jewish Messianic priests is now (in that present generation) confirming the actual accomplishment of the need, the salvation, testified to by the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant and the whole written corpus of the Hebrew Scriptures.
According to Paul, all law testifies to the human condition of death and sin. However, this does not mean men are basically evil. Nor does it mean that sin is practiced and produced in greater quantity than righteousness. Mankind is tainted with death, which makes all men susceptible, vulnerable, to commit sin, that is, make mistakes, miss the mark of Yahweh’s righteous standard.
Because men die the death common to all men, the entire race
(every individual member) had sinned, missed Yahweh’s mark of life, when Adam
had sinned. Therefore, death (the death common to all men) reigns. However, as
Paul makes clear in chapter 5 of the letter, though man is tainted with the
alien Law of Sin and Death, only
death reigns, not sin. Sin only reigns with the establishment of the Sinatic
Covenant. It reigns only over those under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, since
under this covenant, Yahweh counts up (continually takes account of) the sins
Since the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus the Messiah, sin is no longer reigning in relation to all those in Christ. They are no longer under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law. They are now under the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant of grace. Under this New Covenant, Yahweh is no longer counting up sins. The shed blood of Jesus the Messiah has provided the final propitiatory-shelter from the sins committed by those in Christ, those making up the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh.
A righteousness of Yahweh has now been manifested. This righteousness is apart from the law established at Sinai:
Yet now, apart from law [the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law], a righteousness [justification] of God [Yahweh] has been manifested (being attested by the Law and the Prophets), yet a righteousness of God [Yahweh] through Jesus Christ's faithfulness, for all [humanity], and upon all who are believing, for there is no distinction, for all [men] sinned [missed the mark of soulish life when Adam sinned in Eden] and are lacking the glory [purified, uncontaminated, soulish life] of God [Yahweh]. (Romans 3:21-23 CV modified)
There is a righteousness of Yahweh manifested in the
Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law. Possessing this holy law is a privilege
The law allowed
However, the righteousness of the law could not provide a right to immortal life. It could not provide a counter-alteration to the Adamic alteration (from soulish to soulish/soilish). It could (and did), however, result in a righteous relationship before Yahweh. It did provide forgiveness for sins. It did provide an annual propitiatory-shelter for the sins of the nation. It did provide a knowledge of Good and Evil. It did provide terrestrial blessings not attainable by the nations. It did provide a knowledge of Yahweh’s righteousness, Yahweh’s righteous standard. It did provide a recognition and acknowledgement of sin. It did provide a knowledge of future salvation, giving the nation and the faithful members a glorious hope.
The proclamation of the Gospel, however, provided a righteousness of Yahweh apart from the righteousness of the law. This righteousness began to be manifested after the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus the Messiah and continued to be manifested thereafter. Thus, the Gospel had been manifesting and continued to manifest both Yahweh’s personal righteousness, His personal faithfulness to His covenantal promises, as well as His justification of humanity’s right to immortal life. This righteousness glorified both Yahweh and mankind His creation. This righteousness/justification achieved for all humanity a counter-alteration which was now being experienced first by those in Christ.
This righteousness/justification had been testified to by the
Law and the Prophets. It should not have been a surprise to
This is the reason why the Textus Receptus is correct when including
the additional prepositional phrase “epi
pantas” in its Greek text of the Greek Scriptures (Rom. 3:22). Yahweh’s
righteousness apart from the law is revealed to
The righteousness of Yahweh associated with Adam is a secret of the Gospel which had been revealed to Paul in the Gospel of the Uncircumcision. It is because of Yahweh’s verdict of justification of life for all humanity that He is righteous in presently justifying by faith those believing in Jesus the Messiah. These now have the right to partake of His spirit, even while remaining in the Adamic condition (the soulish/soilish body of Sin and Death). Yahweh is, thus, righteous in accounting these faithful children of Abraham dead to sin and alive to Himself. He is, thus, righteous in accounting their faith as righteousness.
Because all humanity, through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, has now, writes Paul, been declared by Yahweh as having a right to immortal life, Yahweh can now (through the present proclamation of the Gospel by His commissioned servants) justify His giving this life to Adamic men on the basis of their faith in Jesus the Messiah. Justification by faith now manifests the righteousness of Yahweh in having, prior to Christ’s faithfulness, justified men on the basis of their faith in His word, in spite of their Adamic condition of death and sin (soulish/soilish man). Though the present faithful Messianics remain in the Adamic condition of sin and death, Yahweh is righteous in accounting them His resurrected sons, in accounting them new creations in Christ.
Being that all humanity is in the Adamic condition of death and sin (soulish/soilish), there is no distinction between those believing into Jesus the Messiah and those not believing, including those who have not even heard the Gospel, since the Gospel is not sent to all humanity. For all humanity had sinned, missed the mark of life, when Adam had sinned in the Garden of Eden (Rom. 3:23).
Paul uses the past tense in Romans 3:23, “for all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God” (CV). He is not saying that all men had personally sinned. This is not his point. Collectively, all humanity, Adam’s progeny, sinned, missed the mark of the life given Adam (soulish life), when Adam, having sinned, activated The Law of Sin and Death which had been dormant within him.
Consequently, all his progeny are now the victims of mortality. All humanity dies the death common to all men, lacking the glory of Yahweh, which is the purified life of soulish man (uncontaminated soulish life). Adam’s life, however, had not been immortal. Adam had the potential of mortality. The glory of Yahweh associated with the righteousness/justification manifested through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ is the glory of immortal life. The faithfulness of Jesus Christ provides a superior life than that possessed by Adam. Adam had been an inferior model of the superior prototype, Jesus the Only-Begotten Son of Yahweh.
If there is no distinction between all humanity and the ones believing into Jesus the Messiah, then there is also no distinction between Jew and Gentile in relation to the proclamation of the Gospel. Both Jew and Gentile, being elected to hear the Gospel, have the opportunity to become justified by their faith in Jesus Christ’s faithfulness. Believing into Jesus the Messiah graciously grants them the right to become members of the Spiritual Body of The Christ, joint-citizens in the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh, faithful sons of the promised Seed of Abraham, having access to the spirit of Yahweh. This spirit empowers them to walk in newness of life as new creations in Christ sharing in the sufferings of The Cross of the Christ and the resurrection life of the Christ.
Remaining faithful to this calling to the end of the Mosaic Eon grants them entrance into and participation in the Celestial Allotment. Having faithfully lived out the new life in Christ (the soulish/spiritual life of the renewed mind and body, the cocoon state of the celestial man), they are to be transformed, metamorphosed, into the mature state of the Celestial Man just prior to entering into their Celestial Allotment.
Because of Christ’s faithfulness, believing into Him results in one’s “being justified gratuitously [freely] to the interest of His [Yahweh’s] grace [elect favor]” (Rom. 3:24a CV modified). This justification is a deliverance, a salvation, a redemption from the Adamic condition (soulish/soilish man) to the new condition of the Celestial Man (soulish/spiritual man, the man empowered by the indwelling spirit of Yahweh and His Anointed Son). No longer under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law, which requires numerous propitiatory sacrifices, those now in Christ under the grace of the New Covenant have only one propitiatory-shelter, the blood of Jesus the Messiah.
The sacrificial death of Jesus the Messiah resulting in His shed blood, in accordance with the purpose of Yahweh, becomes the one and only propitiatory-shelter whereby those in Christ have their sins forgiven. This forgiveness comes through the specific faith in His blood as the Lamb of Yahweh which is taking away the sin of the Sinatic/Mosaic world-order (see Jn. 1:29) and in His blood as the one and only blood sacrifice for the sins of individuals in the holy New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh (Rom. 3:25a).
Those in Christ during the last days of the Mosaic Eon “rinse their robes [those of the righteousness of the new man], and they whiten them [purify, cleanse themselves, as renewed soulish/spiritual men, from polluting sins] in the blood of the Lambkin” (Rev. 7:14b CV); “Happy [Honored] are those who are rinsing their robes [in the blood of the Lamb], that it will be their license to the log [tree] of the life [in Christ], and they may be entering the portals into the city [the new, heavenly Jerusalem, the Ecclesia, the spiritual Temple of living Stones, the New Born-From-Above Israel]” (Rev. 22:14 CV). The appropriate faith in Christ’s shed blood meant trusting continually in His shed blood by appropriately accounting His blood as Yahweh’s one and only worthy cleansing agent against sins.
This ultimate Propitiatory-Shelter is presently displaying
Yahweh’s righteousness, His just decision in “the passing over of the penalties of sins which occurred before [under
the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant]” (Rom.
3:25b CV). Yahweh had accepted the animal sacrifices required by the law as a
means of covering the sins of
Thus, in the then present era of the proclamation of the Gospel, Yahweh, argues Paul, is displaying a vindication of His righteous decision to pass over the sins committed under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant (sins passed over on the basis of the blood of propitiatory animal sacrifices) by proclaiming His redemptive achievement in the crucified death of His Anointed, obedient Only-Begotten Son. In this proclamation, He is shown to be “just and a justifier of the one who is out of Jesus’ faithfulness” (Rom. 3:26b CV modified). Yahweh is just, even when He justifies the ungodly one out of the faithfulness of Jesus. He does not compromise His own righteousness when He declares as just, as righteous, in His sight, those ungodly ones (soulish/soilish Adamic men) who are out of the faithfulness of Jesus.
The faithfulness of Jesus justifies Yahweh’s accounting as just, as righteous, those believing into Jesus. Apart from the faithfulness of Jesus, the act of men believing into Jesus could not justly be accounted by Yahweh as righteousness, as justification, as the right of these men to receive life. Boasting on the part of these men is, therefore, debarred (Rom. 3:27 CV). Such boasting is abolished, eliminated, excluded, not by the principle of the works of the law, but by the principle of faith (Rom. 3:28). Thus, a man is accounted justified not by his performing the works of the law, but by his performing the act of faith.
However, the righteousness of the Sinatic/Mosaic Law, which is out of the works of law (that is, justification on the basis of the requirement of works of law), calls for the performance of works of law. The righteousness, however, of the Gospel, which is out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ (that is, justification on the basis of the requirement of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ) calls for the performance of faith (faith-obedience). The principle of the works of the law is to be associated with the system out of which works of law are required. The principle of faith is to be associated with the system out of which faith is required. This is the meaning of Paul’s testimony in Galatians 2:16b:
we also believe in Christ Jesus [performance of faith] in order that we may be justified [accounted just, righteous in the eyes of Yahweh] out of Christ’s faithfulness [the Gospel, the Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant system of grace] and not out of works of law [the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant system of law], seeing that out of works of law [the old covenant system] shall no flesh [circumcised or uncircumcised flesh] at all be justified. (my translation)
The old covenant system is out of works of law. It, thus, requires the performance of works of law. The New Covenant system is out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. It, thus, requires the performance of faith. The righteousness of the law comes out of its source: out of works of law. The righteousness of the Gospel comes out of its source: out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Apart from its source, the performance of works of law is not accounted as righteousness. So also, apart from its source, the performance of faith is not accounted as righteousness.
Apart from the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, the performance of works of law is not accounted as righteousness by Yahweh. Apart from the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, the performance of faith in Christ is not accounted as righteousness. The righteousness of the law justifies, gives a man the right to covenantal life. It cannot give the law-abiding man performing the works of the law a right to immortal life. It cannot provide the counter-alteration to Adam’s alteration. The righteousness of the Gospel justifies, gives a man the right to immortal life. It provides the man believing into Jesus Christ (thus, performing the act of faith) a justification, a right to the new life of the counter-altered Adamic man.
Thus, though there is a righteousness out of the works of law, though a man can be justified out of the works of law, the justification provided is not of the same essence as the man justified out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Hence, when Paul declares “that out of works of law shall no flesh at all be justified” (Gal. 2:16c CV, see also Rom. 3:20 CV), he is speaking from the perspective of the Gospel, not the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law. The justification of the Gospel is far superior to the justification of the law.
Abraham had been justified, declared to be righteous, just, in the eyes of Yahweh, out of the faithfulness of Yahweh. Abraham had performed the act of believing the word of Yahweh. His act of faith could be accounted as righteousness only out of the faithfulness of Yahweh. Yahweh’s faithfulness was an act of His grace toward Abraham.
If Yahweh had chosen not to extend His grace to Abraham, the faith of Abraham in Yahweh would not have been accounted as righteousness by Yahweh. The value of faith is dependent on the grace, the faithfulness of Yahweh, which is an act of His elective favor. If Yahweh does not give Abraham His promise, Abraham’s faith has no accountability. Abraham’s faith would then not be accountable as righteousness. It would have no effect on Yahweh, since it would not be out of the faithfulness of Yahweh, whose faithfulness manifests, displays, His righteousness.
In the proclamation of the Gospel is being revealed the righteousness of Yahweh. This righteousness of Yahweh is through Jesus Christ. The righteousness being revealed in the Gospel is out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, Whose faithfulness is the faithfulness of Yahweh Himself. Only those elected, favored, to hear the word, the promise of Yahweh being spoken in the Gospel have the opportunity to perform an act of faith which Yahweh was then (at the time of the writing of Romans, not our present time) accounting as righteousness, as a justification of new covenantal life in Christ.
Since 70 A.D., this Gospel has no longer been sent to men. The
justification by faith associated with the promises made to Abraham is no
longer available to men. The Gospel was proclaimed by the Apostles and
Messianic Jews commissioned by Yahweh to proclaim it throughout the assigned
territories of the
Therefore, when Paul declares, “For we are reckoning [accounting] a man to be justified by faith apart from works of law” (Rom. 3:28b CV), he is referring to the men of his own time. He is not referring to men after the Gospel had completed its mission. The righteousness of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant had been out of works of law. The man obediently performing the works of the law was accounted by Yahweh righteous in relation to this covenant. This righteousness, however, had been available to only those under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant.
The righteousness of the New Covenant (the Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant) had been out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. The man favored by Yahweh to hear this Gospel, performing the act of believing into Jesus Christ, was accounted righteous in relation to this New Covenant. His faith, like the faith of Abraham, was accounted as righteousness, justifying his participation in the final fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham. By this man’s faith, Yahweh accounted him among the faithful sons of Abraham. His act of faith in response to the Gospel, not his works of law, accounted him among the children of Abraham having the right to the blessings of the Celestial Allotment.
This justification by faith associated with Abraham had been
offered to the elect men of the generation of Jesus, Peter, and Paul dwelling
within the assigned territories of the
Since the righteousness of Yahweh revealed in the Gospel is not out of works of law, but out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, and since no flesh at all (circumcised or uncircumcised) was then currently being justified in the sight of Yahweh by works of law, then it is obvious that Yahweh was then acting, through Jesus Christ, as the Elohim of both Israel and the nations. He was acting, through Jesus Christ, as the Elohim of Abram/Abraham, the bridge between the uncircumcised nations and the circumcised nation. Consequently, concluding his present argument begun in Romans 3:9, Paul declares,
Or is He [Yahweh] the God [Elohim] of the Jews only? Is He not of the nations also? Yes, of the nations also, if so be that God [Elohim] is One, Who will be justifying the Circumcision out of faith and the Uncircumcision through the faith. Are we [Apostles and Messianic Jews], then, cutting down law through the faith [called for by the Gospel]? May it not be coming to that! No, we are standing law in its proper place. (Romans 3:29-31 my translation)
Yahweh is the One Elohim. He is the Elohim of the Jews, as
well as the Elohim of the nations. His favor toward
If Yahweh first had justified an uncircumcised man on the
basis of faith, and that man was the father of the Jews, no Jew should be
objecting to the present justification of the uncircumcised through the
proclamation of the Gospel presently manifesting the righteousness of Yahweh
through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. The proclamation of this Gospel,
originating from within the Jewish nation, was presently justifying the
The righteousness of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant is out of
works, requiring the performance of works of law. The righteousness of the
Covenant of Promise is out of Yahweh’s faithfulness and is accounted to a man
(a circumcised member of the elect nation
Hence, out of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant comes the righteousness of the law, which is out of works of law; out of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant comes the righteousness apart from law, which is out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Thus, the Gospel of the Circumcision is associated with circumcised Abraham, while the Gospel of the Uncircumcision is associated with uncircumcised Abram. These two Gospels (together making up the Gospel of Christ) come out of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, which faithfulness justifies a man on the basis of faith (not works of law), believing into Jesus Christ.
The uncircumcision (the nations) were presently being
justified through the faith of the
Gospel which had been foreign to them, as they had been, prior to the
proclamation of the Gospel, outside the privileges of the circumcised seed of
Abraham and the Jewish Community as a corporate, holy, elect nation. Whenever
the uncircumcised man, hearing the Gospel, believed into Jesus the Messiah, he
would be accounted a justified, faithful son of Abraham. As such, he now
rightfully entered into the New Born-From-Above
Paul uses the gnomic future tense in verse 30 of Romans, chapter
3, to describe Yahweh’s act of justifying. Whenever a Jew or Gentile believes
into Jesus the Messiah, at that moment, he is accounted justified by Yahweh.
As justified, he is accounted a rightful member of the faithful seed of Abraham,
a rightful member of the
The faith called for by the Gospel does not cut down law. It
neither cuts down the Sinatic/Mosaic law nor any law found among the nations
which affirms the righteous standard of Yahweh, that which is upright in the
eyes of Yahweh. The faith of the Gospel does not lead to antinomianism, as Paul
already had to remind some Messianics in
The faith proclaimed in the Gospel stands law (the Mosaic Law, as well as any law among the nations which is just according to that which is righteous in the eyes of Yahweh) in its proper place alongside Yahweh and Jesus the Messiah. The Law of Moses, standing in its proper place, is now properly perceived as becoming “our escort to Christ” (Gal. 3:24b CV). The Mosaic Law had garrisoned, preserved, protected, the promises made to Abraham. The Mosaic Law had provided a knowledge of Good and Evil as defined by Yahweh.
The Mosaic Law, when obeyed, liberated one from the deceptive
seductions of the lusts of the flesh, thereby guiding the law-abiding man into
the practice and production of righteousness, a service on behalf of the
genuine welfare of the lawful one. Though Sin reigns under the law because the
law counts up sin, he who obeys the law from his heart is liberated from service
to Sin as ruler by the practicing and producing of the righteousness of the law
and through the appropriate sacrifices and ceremonial cleansings provided by
the law to deliver one from slavery to committed sins. The law given to
Paul has concluded that boasting in the flesh is excluded through faith’s law (Rom. 3:27). This law states that no flesh at all (circumcised or uncircumcised) is to be justified in the sight of Yahweh out of works of law (Rom. 3:20). The question now proposed is whether this applies to Abraham.
Judaism understands Abraham to be the first of the elect people of Yahweh identified by the mark of circumcision. Abraham is considered the forefather of all Israelites under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. If Abraham had been justified out of works in the sight of Yahweh, then Paul’s conclusion could be refuted.
However, if Paul can establish that Abraham had not been
justified out of works of law, but by his faith in the faithfulness of Yahweh,
then no Messianic Jew at
Consequently, Paul asks the Messianic Jew at
What, then, shall we declare that Abraham, our forefather, according to the flesh, has found? (Romans 4:1 CV)
The Messianic Jew, by physical genealogy and circumcision, has Abraham as his forefather according to the flesh. The Messianic Gentile cannot make that claim. Paul responds to this question addressed to the Messianic Jews,
For if Abraham out of works was justified, he has something to boast about, but not toward Yahweh. For what is the scripture saying? Now “Abraham believed to the interest of Yahweh and it [this faith] was accounted to him [by Yahweh] for [into] righteousness [justification].” (Romans 4:2-3 my translation)
The scripture, according to Paul, indicates that Abraham had not been justified (accounted just, right) out of works. Abraham had believed to the interest of the word of Yahweh spoken to him. He had not just believed in Yahweh, he had believed the promise of Yahweh. He had believed this promise, conforming his interest to Yahweh’s interest in having made the promise. This is the kind of faith that Yahweh accounts for righteousness. This faith, this commitment to the interest, the purpose, of Yahweh is accounted by Yahweh as righteousness. Abraham is accounted just, right, because he conforms the interest, the purpose, of his life to the interest, the purpose, of Yahweh in electing him. He brings his interest, his purpose, his will into agreement with Yahweh’s interest, purpose, will. Therefore, this kind of faith is righteousness according to Yahweh’s covenantal accounting.
Abraham had believed Yahweh’s promise that he would sire a son who would be his heir. At that time, his only possible heir was his faithful servant Eliezer. He had not as yet sired a son. Thus, he had already been promised and had believed the word of Yahweh, “And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; . . . And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:2-3 NASB). Later, however, he believes the promise of Yahweh concerning a son sired from his own body. Through his own son, his descendants, his seed, would be as numerous as the stars shining in the heaven above him (Gen. 15:1-5).
This promise became Abraham’s expectation, his hope, which he had believed. His expectation is the coming of the promised son within the span of his life. He conforms his thought and conduct to the purpose of Yahweh in promising him a son who would make his name great, his descendants numerous in numbers, and who would bless all the families of the earth. In this, Abraham perceived a grand purpose on the part of Yahweh. Abraham had continued to believe Yahweh’s promise of a son, even though he had not received this son into his old age. In spite of this long delay, Abraham believed Yahweh would give him a natural born son before he would die.
This is the kind of faith called for by the proclamation of the Gospel. The Gospel is calling both circumcised and uncircumcised men to believe into Jesus, that is, to believe the promises of Yahweh through Jesus Christ: present eonian life (the counter-altered life of the spirit) and entrance into the Celestial Allotment at the consummation of the Parousia of Jesus the Messiah to occur within the lifespan of the contemporary generation of Jesus and His Apostles. As Abraham had believed to the interest and purpose of Yahweh involved in his calling and the promises given him, so those believing the Gospel are to believe to the interest and purpose of Yahweh involved in their calling and the promises associated with this calling. This meant faithfulness to the end. This meant a life in which one’s thought and conduct conformed to the purpose of Yahweh in Christ Jesus.
Such a life of justified faith would be a lawful life, not a libertine life. The expectation, hope, of such a life would be the soon coming of the Parousia of Jesus the Messiah as He had promised. As Yahweh had not failed to fulfill His promise to Abraham (giving him a son, Isaac, in his old age) within the allotted time, so Yahweh would not fail to fulfill His promise made through Jesus the Messiah in the allotted time (the present generation of Jesus and His Apostles).
Abraham’s attitude of faith is accounted by Yahweh as a just, a righteous attitude. This faith-attitude makes Abraham just, right, in the sight of Yahweh. This faith-attitude results in a righteous life, well-pleasing to Yahweh, a life in worship and service conforming to the interest and purpose of Yahweh associated with His calling and election.
Abraham’s faith is accounted for righteousness, not his works.
His works merely reflect the genuineness of his kind of faith. The worker’s
wage is a debt owed the worker for service rendered. But Yahweh’s accounting of
Abraham’s faith for righteousness is not according to debt but according to
grace. Before Abraham can produce even one work of faith, Yahweh has already
accounted his faith as righteousness. If Yahweh had not graciously approached
Abraham with His word of promise (grace), Abraham would not have even been in
the position of producing any work of faith. A work of faith is only possible
on the basis of faith being accounted for righteousness. Thus, a work of faith
Now to the worker, the wage is not accounted as a favor [grace], but as a debt. Yet to him who is not working, yet is believing on Him Who is justifying the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. (Romans 4:4-5 CV modified)
Abraham’s faith is accounted for righteousness, even though he is ungodly. However, Abraham is not ungodly because he is immoral or evil. He is accounted ungodly because of his identification with the collective ungodliness of the nations. Abraham is tainted by the idolatry of his culture. His culture has dishonored Yahweh Elohim by its additional worship and service of other, alien gods, represented by idols made by human hands. Yahweh is merely one god among many. The worship and service of Yahweh El, The El Supreme, the Most High El alone, however, did continue to exist in Abraham’s day, as exemplified by Melchizedek, “a priest for the El Supreme [the Most High El]” (Gen. 14:18 CV modified).
Abraham had been tainted, contaminated, afflicted by the idolatry of his culture, but he had continued to worship and serve the Supreme El, the Most High El (see Gen. 14:18-24). Yahweh chooses to favor (grace) Abraham from among those still worshiping and serving Him alone. The line from Noah had not been totally absorbed into the idolatry of the nations. There had still existed those faithful to Yahweh the Supreme El.
Abraham, however, is called and elected to be the special object of Yahweh’s grace. Therefore, his faith is unique, since it is faith in a special covenantal relationship to Yahweh which Yahweh initiates out of His faithfulness to a special promise given only to Abraham. This call and elective promise excluded all others. Yahweh limits this elective calling to the seed of Abraham only, and, yet, not even to all his biological seed.
Therefore, Yahweh’s promised blessings, Yahweh’s accounting of Abraham’s faith for righteousness is not out of debt owed on the basis of service rendered (wages). It is out of Yahweh’s grace. Abraham’s works of faith (faith-obedience) are not out of debt, but out of Yahweh’s grace. These faith-works are credited to Abraham’s account solely on the basis of Yahweh’s gracious Covenant of Promise made with Abraham alone. If one is not associated with this Covenant of Promise, one cannot perform and produce works of faith, since only those within the covenant relationship will have their works of faith credited to their covenantal account with Yahweh.
Thus, works of faith can only be accredited to the account of one who is being justified by faith, the one whose faith is being accounted by Yahweh for righteousness. Ishmael and Esau, as well as Abraham’s sons by Keturah, are examples of those who were excluded by Yahweh from the Covenant of Promise. They were not even eligible to perform and produce works of faith. This, of course, does not mean they could not practice that which is upright in the eyes of Yahweh and produce righteous results in relation to the true welfare of themselves and others. This all men can achieve.
All humans have the capacity to be characterized by the good rather than the evil, and most humans do perform the good in greater quantity than their performance of the evil. Evil is practiced and produced much less than good is practiced and produced. Yet, a meager amount of evil can produce an enormous amount of affliction, distress, misfortune, adversity, and calamity. A little evil can and does do much damage. But, then again, a little good can and does effect much benefit. The world of humans may seem chaotic, but chaos does not characterize the world of humans. Order far exceeds the chaos in the affairs of humans.
Paul now turns to the testimony of David to confirm the principle of faith being accounted for righteousness apart from works of law. He declares that David describes the blessing of the man to whom Yahweh is accounting righteousness apart from works of law. He quotes Psalms 32:1-2.
The subject of this psalm is David’s lawless acts in relation to Uriah and Bathsheba recorded in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12. David had committed both adultery and murder, crimes for which the law demanded the death penalty. Though David had lawlessly disregarded what he both knew and acknowledged as lawless deeds, he had committed these transgressions as a man whose heart is circumcised. He is not the man who says in his heart, “There is no justice with Yahweh” (the implied meaning of Ps. 14:1). Thus, he is not a decadent man. He is not a lawless man.
But he has committed two lawless crimes deserving the death penalty. According to the Mosaic Law, David should have been put to death. He has knowingly acted rebelliously against Yahweh’s Law. He has committed a Cainish crime.
When Yahweh sends the prophet Nathan to confront David about his transgressions, David immediately acknowledges his guilt, thereby revealing his circumcised heart. He is informed by Yahweh of the disastrous consequences coming upon his household, his kingdom, his people, and himself as a result of his blatant transgressions. However, Yahweh graciously chooses not to implement the death sentence against David: “The Lord [Yahweh] also has taken away [remitted] your sin; you shall not die” (2 Sam. 12:13b NASB). Here is an example of the faithful mercies shown to David (see Isa. 55:3; 1 Chr. 17:13; Ps. 89:24, 28; Acts 13:34).
In Psalms 32:1-2, David testifies to this justification, righteousness, apart from works of law. Paul quotes from this text:
Happy [Honored are] they whose lawlessnesses were pardoned and whose sins were covered over! Happy [Honored is] the man to whom the Lord [Yahweh] by no means should be reckoning [accounting] sin! (Romans 4:7-8 CV)
Pardon and covering of sins had been graciously provided by the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law. But such pardon and covering of sins were associated with those Israelites who were, in their hearts, lawful ones, those respecting and loving the Law of Yahweh. These are those whose hearts were circumcised. These were the faithful ones who had not committed sins requiring the death penalty.
But the grace shown David in relation to his adultery and murder exceeded that of the Mosaic Law. It was a justification, a righteousness, accounted to David apart from works of law. There was no work of law to be performed for the transgressions of blatant adultery or murder. These transgressions could not be pardoned or covered under the gracious terms of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law. Yet, Yahweh had justified, had pardoned, these sins of David meriting the death penalty according to the terms of the Mosaic Law. This is extraordinary.
Paul now asks the Messianic Jews at
When Abraham had been declared righteous on the basis of his faith in the word of Yahweh, this accounting of Yahweh occurred when Abraham had been uncircumcised. Therefore, justification by faith apart from the works of law is not dependent on circumcision. Paul argues that circumcision had been given to Abraham as a sign:
And he obtained the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which was in uncircumcision, for him to be the father of all those who are believing through uncircumcision, for righteousness to be reckoned [accounted] to them, and the father of the Circumcision, not to those of the Circumcision only, but to those also who are observing the elements of the faith [of the Gospel] in the footprints of our father Abraham, in uncircumcision. (Romans 4:11-12 CV)
Circumcision (the cutting off of a portion of the flesh) is a sign of the righteousness which Abraham already had while in the natural state of uncircumcision. This righteousness had been accounted righteousness on the basis of Abraham’s faith in Yahweh’s promises, not any work or works of law performed by Abraham. The rite of cutting off a small portion of the flesh is a sign indicating a circumcised heart which trusts in the faithfulness of Yahweh to perform, bring about, fulfill His promises associated with the Covenant of Promise.
The outward sign of circumcision is a seal of Yahweh’s approval of the heart and mind faithfully trusting, expecting His promises to be faithfully delivered. If the heart and mind are not characterized by this faith in Yahweh’s faithfulness, the outward sign of circumcision is hypocritical, deceptive, and valueless in terms of the Covenant of Promise. The validity of circumcision is dependent upon a circumcised heart and mind faithfully trusting in the faithfulness of Yahweh.
Such faith affects one’s thought, behavior, and decisions in the every day affairs of human life. This is referred to as faith-obedience. The man of faith performs faithfully works of faith which reflect his trusting confidence in Yahweh’s promises.
Even when Abraham took Hagar as his concubine in order to sire a son, though in doing this he had sinned (missed the mark of Yahweh’s promise), nevertheless, his action reflected his faith in the promise of Yahweh. It could be that Yahweh would fulfill His promise through Hagar. This had been his belief, his motive. He had acted in faith.
Yahweh forgave Abraham this sin, since Abraham had not been told that the promised son would come through Sarah. Abraham perceived his act as a work of faith. He had not disbelieved Yahweh’s promise. It was because he believed Yahweh that he took Hagar as a concubine wife. Thus, Abraham’s entire life is characterized as faithful. Sin does not necessarily mark one as unfaithful. The motivation and intent of the heart and mind are the determining factors according to the terms of the Covenant of Promise.
Since Abraham had been justified by his faith while he had been uncircumcised and since circumcision is a sign of Yahweh’s seal of approval concerning the genuineness of one’s faith accounted for righteousness, then Abraham qualifies as the father of the Circumcision for both those possessing a circumcised heart through faith in the Gospel (though not being circumcised in flesh) and for those possessing both a circumcised heart out of faith in the Gospel and a circumcised flesh. The prerogative of the one possessing the additional circumcision in the flesh is a prerogative for service, not a prerogative for boasting in the flesh. For the very outward sign of circumcision signifies one’s lack of confidence in the flesh and one’s confidence, trust, in the promises of Yahweh and, in association with the truth of the Gospel, in one’s trust in the indwelling spirit of Yahweh to counter-alter the alien influence of The Law of Sin and Death, thereby renewing the mind and body in the power of Christ’s resurrection life.
Justification through faith (Rom. 3:30b CV and Greek texts) is associated with the Gospel of the Uncircumcision (Abram in the state of uncircumcision). Justification out of faith (Rom. 3:30a CV, Greek texts) is associated with the Gospel of the Circumcision (Abraham as obtaining circumcision). The Covenant of Circumcision had preceded the Sinatic Covenant. Therefore, even though the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant is superseded by the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, the Covenant of Circumcision is still valid. It still has a place and function in relation to the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah.
The Covenant of Promise had preceded the Covenant of Circumcision; nevertheless, these two covenants complemented one another, for the Covenant of Circumcision had been an outward sign of the validity and genuineness of the Covenant of Promise. The hope, the expectation, of the Covenant of Circumcision had been the promises of Yahweh. The rite of circumcision had been incorporated into the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. But the Covenant of Circumcision had been apart from the works of law. Therefore, both the uncircumcised Messianics and the circumcised Messianics were serving Yahweh apart from works of the law.
The circumcised Messianics practiced and produced the works of the law as works of faith in relation to Judaism and the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. These works of law were not to interfere or hamper the relationship of Messianic Jews to Messianic Gentiles. As long as the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant continued to function, the Messianic Jews observed its laws, its ceremonies, its rituals, its sacrifices, its holy days, and its feasts in order to faithfully fulfill Yahweh’s word concerning the holy nation of priests that would keep His covenant of law, the Sinatic Covenant.
They did so, however, not as those under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, but as those under the grace of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant (see Rom. 6:14), who, in the sphere of the interest of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, stood law in its proper place as associated with the truth of the Gospel. The Covenant of Promise and the Covenant of Circumcision were both free from the covenantal obligations of the Sinatic Covenant, yet the members of both covenants respected and honored the Sinatic Covenant in its proper place. Since the Covenant of Circumcision has its proper place within the larger framework of the Covenant of Promise, the Messianic Jews (circumcised members of the Covenant of Promise) obtained the prerogative of priestly service, mediating between the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant and the old, decrepit Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant about to be terminated as a result of old age, the fulfillment of its purpose.
Consequently, all those walking in the footprints of the type of faith exemplified by Abram/Abraham are being accounted by Yahweh as the faithful seed of Abraham, having the right to the promised Celestial Allotment. The Gentile Messianics (the uncircumcised) are to be walking in the footprints of Abram the uncircumcised, while the Jewish Messianics (the circumcised) are to be walking in the footprints of Abraham the circumcised. Both sets of footprints are characterized as “observing the elements [the principles, the truths] of the faith [the Gospel] in the footprints of our [Jew and Gentile] father Abraham” (Rom. 4:12b CV).
The footprints of Abraham, writes Paul to the Messianics at
As Abraham expected the arrival of the promised son, Isaac, during the course of his life, so also the Apostles and Jewish/Gentile Messianics expected the arrival of the Parousia of their Lord and Savior during the course of their lives. Their expectation is an important element of the faith of the Gospel:
I have contended the ideal contest. I have finished my career [course]. I have kept the faith. Furthermore, there is reserved for me the wreath [crown] of righteousness, which the Lord, the just Judge, will be paying to me [for my works of faith] in that day [of the judgment seat of Christ]; yet not to me only, but also to all who love His advent [the final arrival of the Parousia of Jesus the Messiah]. (2 Timothy 4:7-8 CV)
For the grace of Yahweh has appeared [Jesus the Messiah], bringing salvation to [the interest of] all men, instructing us, in order that, having denied ungodliness and worldly [Adamically soiled] desires, we should be living sanely and righteously [justly] and godly in the present age, anticipating the happy expectation, even the advent of the glory of the great Elohim [Yahweh] and our Saviour Jesus Christ, . . . (Titus 2:11-13 my translation)
The promise made to Abraham and his faithful seed is not through law. Paul refers to the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant as the world-order promised to Abraham and his faithful seed:
For not through law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed, for him to be the allottee of the [promised future] world-order [cosmou, the new world-order of the Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant], but through a righteousness [justification] of faith [a faith accounted as righteousness]. (Romans 4:13 my translation)
To belong to this new world-order is to become a potential enjoyer of the Celestial Allotment. It is through or out of faith in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ that one becomes a participant in the new covenantal life of the Gospel.
If only those out of law (out of works of law) are to be enjoyers of the Celestial Allotment, the faith of uncircumcised Abram which Yahweh accounted for righteousness would become void, unfulfilled, invalid, and a failure. The promise on the basis of faith in the faithfulness of Yahweh would become nullified. All Abraham’s uncircumcised faithful seed would be excluded from the Celestial Allotment.
The Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of law, writes Paul, works, energizes, Yahweh’s indignation against sin, since the law counts up sin, takes a continual account, record, of sin as transgression. Abraham was not under law. His sins were not counted up as transgressions. The law is intended to preserve the faithful seed of Abraham. The law reminds the faithful seed of Abraham of its Adamic condition. The law can neither provide a justification for this condition nor a counter-alteration of this condition.
The law allows Sin to reign by counting up transgressions of its righteous requirements. Where there is no law, there can be no transgression, for transgression is a stepping-aside. In order to step aside, there must be something to step aside from. The requirements of law establish a standard to be followed. When one steps aside from that standard, the law recognizes the sin and charges the account of the lawbreaker, the one stepping aside from the standard, with transgression.
The law, in the case of most transgressions, can forgive transgressions through various cleansing rituals or sacrificial propitiatory shelters which cover transgressions, graciously allowing the transgressor to remain in a righteous covenantal relationship to Yahweh. This is the righteousness of the law. Therefore, the law is good and holy. The law does exactly that which Yahweh intends it to do. It was a great advantage, privilege, prerogative of the elect, holy nation.
At Sinai, soon after the covenantal contract had been entered
Therefore, the promise is out of the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah, THE SEED of Abraham, according to Yahweh’s grace (favor), not Yahweh’s covenant of law. The Covenant of Promise is characterized as Yahweh’s pure grace. The terms of this covenant call for faith in the faithful word of Yahweh and works of faith reflecting the genuineness of faith as the product of a circumcised heart and mind.
The Covenant of Promise does not count up sins. Since it is not a covenant of law, there can be no transgression. Sin can and does occur, but sin, not being accounted, is not recognized as transgression. Thus, the Covenant of Promise does not work, energize, stir up continually the indignation of law against sin as transgression. Consequently, Sin cannot reign under the Covenant of Promise. Hence, the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, being the fulfillment of the Covenant of Promise (and, thus, being a Covenant of Promise) excludes the reign of Sin.
Since the promise is out of the kind of faith Abraham displayed and not out of works of law, the promise is “confirmed to the entire seed, not to those out of the law only, but to those also out of the faith of Abraham” (Rom. 4:16b CV). Physical descendance from Abraham is not necessitated for one to be accounted by Yahweh a faithful member of the seed of Abraham. Physical descendance and circumcision, however, though not being necessary, remain a distinct privilege and prerogative.
But Paul’s main concern here is to establish the inclusion of the uncircumcised in the faithful seed of Abraham who are promised the Celestial Allotment. The entire seed of Abraham consists of all those demonstrating the kind of faith and faithfulness exemplified by Abraham in both his uncircumcised state and his circumcised state. The primary qualification for belonging to the faithful seed of Abraham is faith in the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah and faithfulness in obeying the truth of the Gospel in one’s daily affairs as one faithfully anticipates the imminent Parousia of Jesus the Messiah, patiently and faithfully enduring the afflictions and persecutions on behalf of the righteousness of the Gospel to the consummation of the Mosaic Eon.
The proclamation of the Gospel, therefore, confirms the testimony of the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the fact that Abraham is the father of all those believing, trusting, in the word of Yahweh’s faithful promise, whether they be circumcised or uncircumcised. To be accounted a child of Abraham, one must manifest the characteristic faith and faithfulness of Abraham. Paul, then, describes the faith and faithfulness of Abraham in terms of the essence of the present proclamation of the Gospel.
Abraham had believed the promise of Yahweh to make him a father of many nations. Abraham had patiently anticipated the fulfillment of this promise in his siring a son through whom the promise would be fulfilled. In his old age, he continued to faithfully cling to Yahweh’s promise. In faith he had concluded that, even though his body was deadened since Sarah’s womb was no longer capable of producing an egg which Abraham’s sperm could fertilize, Yahweh is the Elohim “Who is vivifying the dead” (Rom. 4:17b CV). Though his expectation of a son had seemed impossible from the perspective of the natural processes of conception, he had firmly believed that Yahweh would open the womb of Sarah making conception possible within her naturally closed womb.
This is the quality of faith and faithfulness which Yahweh accounts as righteousness. As Yahweh had vivified the womb of Sarah, so also He was presently vivifying the soulish/soilish dead bodies of those in Christ and would soon complete the vivifying process in the consummation of this resurrection to take place at the imminent arrival phase of the Parousia of Jesus the Messiah.
In making this connection between the faith and faithfulness
of Abraham in relation to the vivifying of Sarah’s womb and the present
vivification of the spirit in relation to the Gospel, Paul reminds the
us also, to whom it is about to be reckoned [accounted], who are believing on Him Who has roused Jesus our Lord from among the dead, Who was given up [to death] because of our offenses [our deviations, paraptomata], and was roused because of our justifying.” (Romans 4:24-25 CV)
Those in Christ presently remaining faithful to the imminent arrival of the Parousia of Jesus the Messiah would be accounted by Yahweh as the faithful seed of Abraham having the right to the Celestial Allotment as the result of their faith in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, which faith would qualify them for being accounted by Yahweh as justified ones, righteous ones, those having the right to immortal life, the right to the completion of the counter-alteration of the Adamic soulish/soilish man, the life of the Celestial Man.