Righteousness and works scripturally: I did a study about the Torah and how we are not declared right by the works of the Torah but through belief in Yahushua Ha’Mashiach, even we have believed in Mashiach Yahushua, that we might be declared right by belief in Mashiach and not by the works of the Torah; for by the works of the Torah no flesh shall be declared right (Galatians 2:16). We have to believe in our Redeemer and when we do we follow Him and to follow Him means to live like Him (1 John 2:6).
So when we are submitting to Yahuah He requires us to be righteous but we are not declared righteous by the works of the Torah but we do have to perform the works because belief without works is dead (James 2:26). I am to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) and to do my utmost to show myself approved unto Yah (2 Timothy 2:15) but it will not be counted as righteousness. I am to guard the Torah and obey it but if I stumble at one point, I am guilty of all (James 2:10). This was a bit confusing to me so I decided to a study on it.
Let’s dive in.
What is righteousness?
It is righteousness for us when we guard to do all His commands as He has commanded us (Deuteronomy 6:24-25). All Yahuah’s command are righteousness (Psalm 119:172).
- Righteousness is obeying the Torah
What is unrighteousness?
All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Yahushua says in Matthew 7:21-23 that not everyone who says to Him Master. Master shall enter into the reigns of the heavens. Many shall say to Him ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness! Yah hates lawlessness (Hebrews 1:9)
- Unrighteousness is disobeying the Torah
When I was a Christian I was taught that I was not under the law. All I had to do was confess “Jesus Christ” with my mouth and believe in my heart that “God” raised him from the dead and I would be saved. And once saved always saved and the love was unconditional. The law was done away with. If you confess with your mouth the Master Yahushua and believe in your heart that Elohim has raised Him from the dead you shall be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, and so is saved. Because the Scripture says, “Whoever puts his trust in Him shall not be put to shame (Romans 10:9-11).”This was all I had to do and I was saved. So I could just kick back, relax and do what I wanted, right? WRONG! And I knew it was wrong, I felt it. This is why I always felt guilty when I was doing something I knew I was not supposed to. And speaking to some Christians about this they blamed me for “understanding it wrong”. Its either you’re under the law and you obey Him, OR there is no law and you can do what you want. There is no in between. People always look for a grey area; THERE IS NO GREY AREA! With Yahuah it’s BLACK AND WHITE! He makes VERY clear what He loves and what He hates. If you think you can say that you are not to obey the Torah because it is done away with you clearly have not read the Word of Yahuah yourself and I STRONGLY recommend you do.
Now that I am following Yahuah and His commands, His Torah, I can only think of this; if I am not under the law, I am by definition a lawless one and Yahuah hates lawlessness.
What about works?
For if Abraham was declared right by works, he has ground for boasting, but not
before Elohim. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” And to him who is working, the reward is not reckoned as a favor but as a debt. And to him who is not working but believes on Him who is declaring right the wicked, his belief is reckoned for righteousness, even as Dawid also says of the blessedness of the man to whom Elohim reckons righteousness without works: “Blessed are those whose lawlessnesses are forgiven, and whose sins are covered, blessed is the man to whom Yahuah shall by no means reckon sin (Romans 4:1-7).”
Even so Abraham “did believe Elohim, and it was reckoned unto him as righteousness.” Know, then, that those who are of belief are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, having foreseen that Elohim would declare right the nations by belief, announced the Good News to Abraham beforehand, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you,” so that those who are of belief are blessed with Abraham, the believer. For as many as are of works of Torah are under the curse, for it has been written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all that has been written in the book of the Torah, to do them.” And that no one is declared right by Torah before Elohim is clear, for “The righteous shall live by belief (Galatians 3:6-11).”
So is this all that Abraham did? Believe… no it is not. We can read in Genesis 15:6 that he believed and it was counted to him as righteousness and then in Genesis 17:1 we can read that Yahuah tells Abraham to walk before Him and be perfect, and then in Genesis 26:5 Yahuah says “because Abraham obeyed My voice and guarded My Charge: My commands, My Laws, and My Torot (plural for Torah).
Also countless times in the renewed covenant Yahushua mentions over and over again: your belief has healed you (Matthew 9:22); According to your belief it is done to you (Matthew 9:29).
So with believe comes works.
It is something that should flow out of your believe naturally (James 2:10) because when you believe you are submitting to Yahuah (Job 22:21; 1 Peter 5:6) completely to let Him transform you and renew your mind (Romans 12:2). You are letting the Ruach Ha’Qodesh guide you into all truth (John 16:13). When you believe you trust in Him with all your heart and you lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). When you believe the works that Yahushua did shall you do also (John 14:12). When you believe you repent and you bear fruit worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8). When you believe you do so in Spirit and in Truth: The true worshippers shall worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. Elohim is Spirit, and those that worship Him need to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no Torah (Galatians 5:22-23).
Was not Abraham our father declared right by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that the belief was working with his works, and by the works the belief was perfected? And the Scripture was filled which says, “Abraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” And he was called, “Elohim’s friend.” You see, then, that a man is declared right by works, and not by belief alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the whore also declared right by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also the belief is dead without the works (James 2:21-26)
It is indeed true that your works are not counted to you as righteousness so that no one can boast but from what I just read is that our belief without works is dead. Remember that the demons also believe – and shudder (James 2:19). So our belief is shown through our works.
So what works are these?
When you believe in Him the works that He (Yahushua) did shall you do also and greater works than these shall you do…(John 14:12). And these signs shall accompany the ones who believe; In My name they shall cast out demons, they shall speak with renewed tongues, they shall take up snakes, and if they drink any deadly drink it shall by no means hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall get well (Mark 16:17-18). This is what Yahushua says to his disciples before He is taken up into heaven and then Mark 16:20 says this: And they went out and proclaimed it everywhere, while the Master worked with them, and confirmed the word through the accompanying signs.
So when you believe you are permitting the Spirit and, or the Mashiach to work within you. Your belief is counted to you as righteousness. When you don’t believe He does not come near you. He does not force Himself upon anyone. You have to seek Him with all your heart and draw near to Him for Him to draw near to you (Jeremiah 29:13, James 4:8).
But if we are not able to uphold the Torah by ourselves because when we break one law we break all, how then is it possible for us to obey Him?
When you are in Mashiach you are a renewed creature. The old matters have passed away, all matters have become renewed (2 Corinthians 5:17). You can do nothing on your own (John 5:30), but you can do all things through the Mashiach who empowers you (Philippians 4:13).
This is what the Scripture says about this:
And I shall give them one heart, and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, so that they walk in My laws, and guard My right-rulings, and shall do them. And they shall be My people and I shall be their Elohim (Ezekiel 11:19-20).
“And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, and put My Spirit within you. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them. “And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. And you shall be My people, and I shall be your Elohim (Ezekiel 36:26-28).
I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people (Jeremiah 31:33).
“Because this is the covenant that I shall make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahuah, giving My laws in their mind, and I shall write them on their hearts, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people (Hebrews 8:10).
And this is why you do not get to boast. Because it is the Mashiach in you; the Spirit that is put in you IF you believe that helps you maintain Yahuah’s order in your life. The spirit guides you into all truth (John 16:13).
So you have to confess Yahushua Ha’Mashiach with your mouth and believe with all your heart that He was raised from the dead. This will be counted to you as righteousness. And out of your belief should flow works because believe without works is dead. Belief and works go hand in hand and it shall be counted to you as righteousness..
Yahushua even tells you how to do this. He constantly says to Follow Him, and to Follow Him means to live like Him (1 John 2:6). This will please Yahuah because He is well pleased in Yahushua (Matthew 3:17). Yahushua is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) which will be next topic of research.
Extra study material!
- Romans 1:28-32
- Matthew 7
- Galatians 3
- Romans 10
- 2 Thessalonians
- John 14:8-12
- James 2