Whose faith do you want to have? Shaul/Paul understood that mere adherence to a set of standards was not congruent with faith in Messiah. Salvation is not determined by works, heritage, tradition, or a single prayer you utter. As we are called from the nations to return to being biblical Israel, it is the faith and fidelity of our father, Abraham, which we must have.
Romans 4:1 What, then, shall we say…. Avraham Avinu/Abraham our father (‘Abraham our father’ – to the Romans – i.e scattered Israel) , to have found, according to flesh? 4:2 for if Abraham ‘by works was declared righteous’, he hath to boast—but not before God;
What does ‘ex ergon dikaiothe’/ ‘dvar tzadakah’ mean?
That being this text limited to יהוהs declaration of forgiveness and innocence upon the guilty sinner; as Traditional Christianity teaches.
The reality is deeper, this text delves into the covenant membership reality of Abraham and his subsequent heirs!
Romans 4:3 for what doth the writing say? ‘And Abraham did believe God, and it was reckoned to him—to righteousness; (Genesis 15:6). This is hearkening back to the Gen. 12 promise of nationhood and covenantal blessing. But why; what happened? Abraham’s faith in יהוה was primary: Genesis 26:5 Abraham obeyed me and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my ‘torotai.’ Abraham had emunah/faith, faith that went far beyond any sort of adherence to a necessary required code of conduct. Abraham’s life is exemplified in, ‘Abraham believed יהוה.’
Natural byproduct of belief Vs. Unnatural byproduct of unbelief!
Deuteronomy 30:10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of יהוה thy Elohim to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thouturn unto יהוה thy Elohim with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
Psalms 32:1 By David An Instruction. O the happiness of him whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered, O the happiness of a man, To whom יהוה imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Proverbs 17:15 Whoso is justifying the wicked, And condemning the righteous, Even both of these are an abomination toיהוה .
Abraham understood all that was accounted to him came from belief in the promises of יהוה, ‘He rejoiced to see Yahusha’s day’ in the covenant between the pieces and new it was only the work of Yahusha in the covenant that brought about the availability of permanent forgiveness.
We have to be able to differentiate between the multiple components of justification/tzadakah, righteousness – forensic, covenantal-corporate, positional and individual!
Psalms 106:30 And Phinehas standeth, and executeth judgment And the plague is restrained. And it is reckoned to him to righteousness, To all generations—unto the age. (re: Numbers 25:7).
This isn’t a verdict of innocence attributed to an individual, personal righteousness, because the next verse has, ‘v’dor ad-olam’ which draws our attention to the clan of Phinehas being reckoned as YHWH’s own – covenantal-corporate/clan.
Romans 4:4 and to him who is working, the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt; 5 and to him who is not working, and is believing upon Him who is declaring righteous the impious, his faith is reckoned—to righteousness.
Romans 4:6 even as David also doth speak of the happiness of the man to whom Elohim doth reckon righteousness apart from works 7 ‘Happy they whose lawless acts were forgiven, and whose sins were covered;:8 happy the man to whom the Lord may not reckon sin.
Romans 4:9 Is this happiness, then, upon the circumcision, or also upon the uncircumcision—for we say that the faith was reckoned to Abraham—to righteousness?10 how then was it reckoned? he being in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
Romans 4:11 and a sign he did receive of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith in the uncircumcision, for his being father of all those believing through uncircumcision, for the righteousness also being reckoned to them,
Romans 4:12 and father of circumcision to those not of circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of the faith, that is in the uncircumcision of our father Abraham.
Genesis 15 is the covenant, where Yahusha said, ‘Abraham, your father, was glad that he might see my day; and he saw, and did rejoice.’ (John 8:56). The cutting of the covenant and the passing through. Later, the token entrance sign to the covenant is given (Ch. 17).
The Pauline point; All Israel were to enter the covenant, both male and female by passing through the cutting of pieces, later symbolized through the cutting of the organ.
As Yahusha didn’t pass through the cutting of Joseph’s organ as seed – and the covenant was broken at Exodus 32 how did Yahusha get the covenantal restoration rights granted to him?
V.17 of Genesis 15. He’s the burning torch; and Yahusha’s circumcision is for all to enter covenant by faith through his crucifixion and resurrection.
Colossians 2:11, in whom also ye were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh in the circumcision of the Messiah.
Romans 4:13 For not through law is the promise to Abraham, or to his seed, of his being heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith; 14 for if they who are of law are heirs, the faith hath been made void, and the promise hath been made useless;
The dichotomy to which Paul is speaking is this: Through the BoL no promise was made to Abraham and his seed. The promise came through ‘pistis’ ‘covenantal faith and fidelity.’ If they who are of the BoL were to be heirs, then the faith of Abraham to which the promise was made would be void and useless.
Romans 4:15 for the law doth work wrath; for where law is not, neither is transgression.
For the BoL did work wrath, for where there was no BoL there was no Golden Calf transgression.
Galatians 3:17, and this I say, A covenant confirmed before by Elohim to Messiah, the BoL law, that came four hundred and thirty years after, doth not set aside, to make void the promise, 18 for if by BoL law be the inheritance, it is no more by promise, but to Abraham through promise did Elohim did grant it .19 Why, then, the BoL law? on account of the transgressions (at Golden Calf) it was added, till the seed might come (through his covenant cutting, no glandular limitation here!) to which the promise hath been made, having been set in order through messengers/elohim in the hand of a mediator.
The promise was received by faith in the BoC Torah realm, apart from and 430 years before the BoL! Shaul assumes the truth here in Romans of what he clearly demonstrates in Galatians 3:17.
That is; that since the BoL came 430 years after the promise, the promises can in no way be dependent on the BoL. Meaning the BoL is not congruent with faith in Messiah, yet the Torah of Abraham is!
Exodus 32:10 and now, let Me alone, and My anger doth burn against them, and I consume them, and I make thee become a great nation. 11 And Moses appeaseth the face of יהוה his Elohim and saith, ‘Why, O יהוה, doth Thine anger burn against Thy people, whom Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a strong hand? 12 why do the Egyptians speak, saying, For evil He brought them out to slay them among mountains, and to consume them from off the face of the ground? turn back from the heat of Thine anger, and repent of the evil against Thy people. 13 ‘Be mindful of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou hast sworn by Thyself, and unto whom Thou speakest: I multiply your seed as stars of the heavens, and all this land, as I have said, I give to your seed, and they have inherited to the age.
The Golden Calf breach, subsequent relenting of genocide and imposition of the BoL is undeniably connected back to Abraham and the inheritance promises!
Romans 4:16 Because of this it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, for the promise being sure to all the seed, not to that which is of the law only, but also to that which is of the faith of Abraham,
Being born a descendent of Abraham does give Jews certain benefits, but automatic salvation isn’t one of them. This was a world view that Shual and Yahusha were up against.
Matthew 3:9 – And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that Elohim is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
John 8:33 – They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
The world to which Abraham was actually looking for was the Melchizedik world to come, the eternal covenant state: Heb. 11:10 For Abraham looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is יהוה .
Romans 4:17 who is father of us all (according as it hath been written—’A father of many nations I have set thee,’) before Him whom he did believe—God, who is quickening the dead, and is calling the things that be not, as being.
Romans 4:18 Who, against hope in hope did believe, for his becoming father of many nations according to that spoken: ‘So shall thy seed be;’19 and not having been weak in the faith, he did not consider his own body, already become dead, (being about a hundred years old,) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb,
Romans 4:20 and at the promise of God did not stagger in unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, having given glory to God,
Giving glory to יהוה is the hallmark of faith.
Romans 4:21 and having been fully persuaded that what He hath promised He is able also to do: 22 wherefore also it was reckoned to him to righteousness.
Romans 4:23 And it was not written on his account alone, that it was reckoned to him,24 but also on ours, to whom it is about to be reckoned—to us believing on Him who did raise up Jesus our Lord out of the dead,25 who was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised up because of our being declared righteous.
Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I give a portion to him among the many, And with the mighty he apportioneth spoil, Because that he exposed to death his soul, And with transgressors he was numbered, And he the sin of many hath borne, And for transgressors he intercedeth.
Yahusha was handed over because we’re sinners and raised up for the sake of our justification, forensic righteousness, the redeemed being made forensically righteous.
James reminds us how faith flows into works.
James 2:19 – Thou believest that there is one Elohim; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed Elohim , and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of Elohim. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
“James” tells is that these works that we will be judged by, are the works of Royal Torah connected to Abraham, not a law that came 430 years later disconnected to Abraham!
James 1:25 – But whoso looketh into the perfect law [Torah] of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
James 2:12 – So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law [Torah] of liberty.
And Shaul: Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yahusha unto good works, [Torah] which Elohim hath before ordained that we should walk in them.