2019 Study Summary 31: The Power of God unto Salvation
“The Power of God unto Salvation”
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation through Jesus Christ—The wrath of God rests on those guilty of murder, homosexual practices, fornication, and other sins if the guilty do not repent.
God will render to every person according to his or her deeds—Both Jews and Gentiles will be judged by gospel laws.
Man is not justified by the law of Moses—He is justified through righteousness, which comes through faith in Christ, made possible through Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
Abraham’s faith was accounted to him for righteousness—Man is justified by faith, righteous works, and grace.
Man is justified through the blood of Christ—Adam fell, and Christ atoned that man might be saved.
Baptism is in similitude of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ—The wages of sin is death—Christ brings eternal life.
What can I do about my sins?
Paul’s admonition to recognize sins and then do something about overcoming them is a basic principle found in the Bible and in Judaeo-Christian teachings. “SIN AND REPENTANCE – The very fact that Judaism has a doctrine of mitzvot means that it must also take sin into consideration. Performing a mitzvah is doing God’s will; sin is doing something which is against God’s will. In biblical Hebrew there are about 20 different words which denote sin which range from a deliberate act in defiance of what God has forbidden to accidental, unwilling transgression. The Bible is therefore very much aware of sin.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What are the types of sin?
“Sins can be divided into two categories — those of commission and those of omission. The former are more serious insofar as they involve a positive action — doing something which is forbidden. The latter consist of the failure to perform mitzvot. As far as the rabbis were concerned, the three most serious sins are murder, idolatry, and adultery or incest. They ruled that rather than commit these, a person must give up his life. In order to save his life, a person is allowed to commit the other sins.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How do human drives affect sinning?
On the subject of moral cleanness, Judaism is strong in its standard for Jews and non-Jews. Since there is an inclination for sinful drives, a purposeful effort to replace them is necessary. “Feelings of hatred, envy, self indulgence, sexual drives, greed are woven into man’s nature as God created him. But these impulses can be re-directed by the yezer ha-tov, guided and disciplined by the laws of the Torah, so that instead of destructive forces they become creative powers for good. The sages taught that studying the Torah and living according to its commandments are the best way to assure this good. Men then marry, have children, develop commerce, act against injustice and persecution in a spirit of responsibility and high purpose. One need only look at the world around us to see the tragic results when the yezer ha-ra (inclination of evil) is irresponsible and unrestrained.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How does Satan attempt to convince us that he really doesn’t exist?
Three things disappear when God’s true, original religion becomes apostate by man’s manipulations and maneuvering to suit himself; the identity of God, the identity of Satan and the knowledge of life before and after earthly mortality. Even Judaism compromises the identity of Satan. “In its original application in the Bible, “Satan” appears not as a proper name, but rather as a common noun denoting an adversary who opposes or obstructs. Its related verb also has the function of describing the actions of an antagonist in the most general sense. However, in the later books of the Bible (Zechariah and Job), “The Satan” can be found as the accepted name of a particular angel — a prosecutor in the heavenly court. Thus it is “The Satan” who asks for and is given permission by God to test Job’s piety by inflicting upon him a whole series of personal ordeals. He is, however, definitely subordinate to God and unable to act without divine permission.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How can temptation improve us?
“Neither great personalities nor simple folk are immune to the power of the yezer ha-ra, (inclination of evil) which in rabbinic literature, is usually depicted as the influence of Satan. The function of Satan is to tempt all humanity and to test a person’s sincerity. The rabbis taught that one must therefore always be aware of the power of temptation, for the yezer ha-ra can grow and become a bad habit. At first it resembles the thread of a spider’s web, the wise men tell us, — fragile and barely visible. lf not controlled it will become as strong as a stout rope. Judaism places a high value on the good that results from man’s victory over his evil inclinations. “Who is mighty?” ask the sages. “One who subdues his inclinations.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What is one tool against sinning?
“In rabbinic theology, every person has in him a yezer ha-tov and a yezer ha-ra — a good inclination and an evil one. The yezer ha-tov urges man to do God’s will, whereas the yezer ha-ra entices man to sin. Thus life is seen as a constant struggle between these two elements. The rabbis, with great psychological insight, also understood that the first time a person sins, he does feel bad about it, but as he performs that sin again and again, it no longer seems to him to be forbidden. As a result of their view of sin, the rabbis tried to give advice on how to avoid it. A person should always realize that there is a Seeing Eye and a Hearing Ear above him, and that all his sins are recorded. A person should reflect on the destiny of all human beings and realize that ultimately he will have to give account for his sins. Above all, the best protection against the evil inclination is the study of Torah.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What can I do because I have sinned?
“Although Judaism sees sin as a most serious matter, even the sinner is not without hope. One of the most important theological doctrines of both the Bible and the Talmud is that if a sinner repents his bad deeds, God will forgive him. Repentance consists of several stages — firstly the sinner must reflect on his actions and realize that he has indeed done the wrong thing. He must then make up his mind never to do it again, and confess his sin. This confession is not made to any other human being but is made by the sinner directly to God. On this basis the two confessions Ashamnu and Al-Het were introduced into the prayers for the Day of Atonement which is a special occasion for repentance and forgiveness. However, even when a sinner has done all these things, his repentance is still not final until he has been exposed to the same temptation and withstood it. Of course he should not deliberately put himself on that spot again.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God . . . Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus . . . for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearanceof God.” (Romans 3:23-25)
How can repentance be a positive experience?
“Repentance in Hebrew is known as teshuvah, which literally means “return,” and signifies a return to God. A person who repents his sins is known as a ba’al teshuvah. Many rabbis of the Talmud believed that the real ba’al teshuvah is greater even than a person who has never sinned and they furthermore said that when a person repents out of love of God (and not just out of fear of divine punishment), all the sins he had committed are considered to be mitzvot. This is perhaps the most comforting doctrine that Judaism has given to the world.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)