The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans (chapter 10) testified about the zeal of a group of monotheistic Believers. While zeal is a very good trait to possess, Paul says theirs was not based on the true knowledge of the source of righteousness: “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God. For Messiah is the Goal of the Torah as a means to righteousness for everyone who keeps trusting” (10:2-4). The zealous Believers, of whom Paul spoke, thought that self-righteousness, found through obeying the Law, would save them: “Moses wrote about the righteousness that is based on Torah (Romans 10:5): ‘The man who does these will live by them’”.
There is a “righteousness of faith” that far surpasses the Law; which is why Habakkuk said, “The just shall live by faith” (2:4). Jesus stressed this when he said, “Unless your righteousness EXCEED that of the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law, you shall in no way enter the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 5:20). Self-righteousness will not save; “Our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). So what is this “righteousness of faith”? It means you can not save yourself by your Righteous deeds—obey the Law of God; but obey out of faith and love for God, not as a means to save yourself. Some people despair at this, but I have very Good News! To receive God’s GIFT of righteousness, trust in the Messiah.
Speaking of the Messiah, the apostle Paul says: “But how can they trust in the one whom they have not heard of; or if they have heard of him, have not trusted? Then Paul says, “How blessed are those who bring this Good News (Gospel/Evangel) to them” (10:15; Isa. 52:7). Jesus said: “The harvest is great; yet the workers are few” (Matt. 9:37). The Gospel declares that Jesus is the Righteousness of God (2Peter 1:1), sent from God, to cover your iniquities: “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29; Exod. 12:21; Num 28:8; Isa. 53:5-7).
Jesus chose to be the Lamb of God, the Supreme Sacrifice for your sins, out of love for YOU—knowing you could not save yourself through doing the Law, “For all have sinned, and fall short of the Glory of God. The LORD has laid on him (Messiah) the sins of us all” (Isa. 53:6; Ecclesiastes 7:15-20). Therefore spread the Great News! “Beautiful are the feet who bring this Good News” (Nahum 1:15/2:1). Blessed, and just as beautiful, are those who embrace his gift; this undeserved, imputed righteousness (Romans 5:1,9). Jesus chose to be given for your benefit. “There is none righteous; no, not one” (Psalm 14:30).
“If righteousness comes by the Law, Jesus Christ came and died in vain” (Gal. 2:21). Although he died, his body did not see corruption-as foretold (Psalm 16:10). “After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered what he had said” (John 2:22, Suras 3:55-58; 4:158). In this, it proved Jesus was whom he said he was: the righteous son of God whose mission he chose “as a Lamb to slaughter” out of his love for you. He submitted himself as a replacement to cover YOUR sins, since you could not save yourself by the deeds of the Law.
There exist some factions within Christianity, and other religions, who although they believe in the One God, they believe their deeds “might” save them. As they go through this earthly life—very zealous for God—they have no assurance of salvation and eternal life. Mounting one deed upon another; they hope all of their good deeds will outweigh all of their bad deeds in the End. This theology is a mindset that actually stems from a very, very ancient Egyptian belief, where the Ma’at (order out of chaos) feather was put onto a scale in the Judgement—representing the good vs. evil deeds of their heart. If the scale tipped in the deceased person’s favor they entered the Duat (Heaven).
Jesus’ apostle Paul says this hard saying: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will go up into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Messiah down).” As based upon what Paul said earlier, it could also be worded: “‘through self-seeking righteousness to gain heaven, rather trusting in the Messiah’s Righteousness, is seeking to save yourself”; and this lessens Messiah’s divine status (“brings him down”).
Jesus’ divine mission was before, “hidden” (Rom. 1:16-17; Sura 3:50). But “For in the Gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed”. And the Gospel reveals this: “For God so loved the world that He sent His only son, that whosoever believes on him shall have eternal life” (John 3:16).
No other human was born in such a way as Jesus—of a virgin—not even Adam, whom God formed from the earth: “and (God) simply says ‘Be’ and (he) was. (Suras 3:47; 19:20, 35; Luke 1:26-27; Matt. 1:18-21). Created so uniquely in this way, makes Jesus God’s Only Son. However, since Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) came into the world, born of a woman, he was therefore called ‘the Son of Man’. (Luke 9:18-26). And he had this mission: “The Son of Man came to save lives” (John 3:17).
Perfect in all his ways; unlike any other man; Jesus “the Holy, One Son of God” was now revealed in bodily form (Matt. 6:16; Psalm 2:12). In ancient days, one called Agur lamented: “I am the most ignorant of men…I have not learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One…who has gone up to Heaven and come down?…What is His name and the name of his son, if you know.” (Proverbs 30:2-4).
Jesus was formed in the womb of a woman, with the very Breath of God (Holy Spirit; Ruach ha’Khodesh), but Adam was formed of the dust of the earth. Adam was a being who took his first breath because the Breath of God (wind/air/Holy Spirit) breathed that life into him. (Genesis 1:27; 2:7). While Adam was “like” Jesus, walking the earth as human beings; Jesus and Adam were merely “similar” (Sura 3:59)—but in no way equal since Jesus lived a sinless life (2 Cor. 5:21). Through the first man, Adam, sin entered the world; yet through the Son of Man, Jesus, the penalty of our sin was paid in full: that “whosoever believes on him should HAVE eternal life (John 11:25-26). This is the Great News; Glad Tidings (Sura 48:8). Jesus had a specific mission to accomplish: his very life is the Gospel (Good News for a hurting world). And afterwards, God took him to Himself (Acts 2:24; Suras 5:46; 4:158; 3:55-58).
Jesus’ very existence and purpose surpasses that of any “man”—and as the first century historian, Flavius Josephus, would say, “If it be lawful to call him a man. He was the Christ, whom Pilate condemned to the cross; but he arose on the third day and was seen among them as the divine prophets had foretold: these and ten thousand of the other wonderful things about him” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 18.3).
Now, “Whosoever believes on him has eternal life” (John 3:16)…WHO_SO_EVER… God loves the entire world; and is very patient with you. He is compassionate (Neh. 9:17). “He wants no one to perish, but to come to repentance. His Mercy is everlasting” (2 Peter 3:9; 2 Chron. 30:9; Psalm 100:5). Jesus is the Mercy sent down; decreed from the beginning (Sura 19:21; 1John 1:1-4).
God, in seeing the righteousness of His Only Son, the fully-submitted Son of Man Jesus Christ, now puts Believers’ sins behind His back. No longer does He gaze upon them, for they are “As far as the east is from the west“ (Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:9-10, 18). This promise is extended to all who trust in Christ Jesus, the willing Gift of God. And that promise is all-inclusive; Who-so-ever…. “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the LORD is Lord of all—richly generous to ALL who call upon Him (Romans 10:12). And “Everyone who calls upon the LORD shall be saved” (Joel 2:32).
God gave us a Gift that we can not buy, beg, borrow or steal. One cannot devise their own way into Heaven: You “cannot enter the sheep gate through another way” (John 10:1). Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep…I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep not of this fold, whom I must bring also; and there will be one flock (John 10:14-16). Trust in his righteous mission.
This is such good news: Jesus is the Gift from God; the Mercy and Compassion revealed; the Power displayed— a righteousness given for all who believe it (Psalm 86:15; Sura 19:21). Truly this is the Greater Light of the world, as first spoken on day one of creation. God’s Spirit hovered over the waters and He said, “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3-4). And it was.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God…In Him was life, and the life was the light of the world…and John (the Baptist) testified about the light, so that everyone would believe…The true light coming into the world” (John 1). “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). Illuminating the world, this Good News needs only to be preached and then hopefully embraced by the populace. Yet, as Isaiah laments, “Adonai (LORD), who has believed our report?” (Isa. 53:1).
Even today the world rejects the Good News of the Light given. Why? Because the world…”fears that light will expose their dark deeds” (John 3:19). Indeed, human beings know deep down inside that their deeds and sins fall far short of the Glory that their Creator intended, before sin entered the world. They either struggle with it, ignore it, or embrace the truth.
But there is no escaping the law of nature: “The soul that sins (everyone) shall die; and afterwards the judgement” (Eze. 18:4, 20). It’s merely a choice of how one is judged. Again, if you trust in Jesus, this is Good News; for he will be there to judge in the End (Rev. 22:12-16; Sura 4:159).
Jesus said “I come not to remove the Law, but to fulfill it” (Matt. 5;18; Sura 3:50). The only things left to fulfill are the things of the End. But the Good News is: He fulfilled the sacrifice necessary to cover your sins—prior, current, and future ones—perfectly. Follow the Law to live a healthy life in obedience, out of love for the Gift of Righteousness.
Will you live your life depending on your own merits & deeds to get you into Heaven—or will you live by the rule of righteousness through faith? If you trust in God’s gift to you: through His perfectly submitted Only Son, Yeshua (Jesus Christ), the Messiah you have assurance. Believe in him and follow the commands of God out of genuine gratitude.
This kind of trust and faith will find you, if you seek Him. Would HE deny a request such as that? “Ask and it will be given; Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open unto you” (Matt. 7:7). Fear not, to ask and come out into the light. “God is Light; in Him is no darkness at all” (1John 1:5). Come out into the Light, then watch for His assured Reward” (Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13).
Remember that in the End, when the “New Jerusalem” dwellers look around in “Heaven”, there will be “no need for the sun or moon to shine on it for the Glory of God is its light; and the Lamb is it’s lamp. And the nations (of Heaven) will walk by it’s light” (Rev. 21:23-24).
Now, “the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). Let that imputed Gift of Light shine on others. @achadpeace
peace, سلام، שלום