The Law and The New Covenant
This week (Nov 25) on Shabbat Night Live, we explore why words matter, especially when it comes to the Scriptures. One of the most important distinctions is the difference between justification and sanctification.
Steve Siefken shares why knowing the difference helps us to understand what the Messiah’s role was and what we are obligated to do in return.
Watch the episode — included on this blog post.
While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section, and let’s get some discussion going!
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) How does the notion of the “practice” of law apply in a diverse way to our attempts to learn and obey the doctrine given to us by YeHoVaH? How does this term convey the inherent need of believers who are constantly vulnerable to temptation to review, discuss, and contemplate the strictures of divine Law as well as to acknowledge our failures to do so through lapses into sin?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) Conversely, how do the words of Yeshua regarding the process of sanctification through adherence to the Law serve to restrain those believers who would overinterpret scripture through disingenuousness or self-interest? How does the simple brilliance of “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15) recall the covenantal nature of our worship of YeHoVaH as well as our need for constant vigilance against weakness of spirit?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) How does Paul’s distinction in Romans 2:13 between those who hear and those who do the Law serve to underscore the apostolic nature of all who worship YeHoVaH? How does this discussion emphasize not only the importance of obedience and refraining from sin, but also the prospect of dedicating one’s works, whether personal deeds or professional livelihood, to the greater witness of the divine plan for salvation?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) How does the discussion in James 2:8-12 serve as a warning against a failure to recognize the comprehensive nature of the Law by making false or irrelevant distinctions? How does this rebuke underscore the awareness of this aspect of human nature within the ancient world, not unlike those Greek philosophers who warned against the dangers of sophistry in legal and political contexts?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 32:00) As with the words of Yeshua quoted earlier, how does the workaday language of Acts 21:24, even allowing for the vagaries of translation, admonish the faithful to pursue a dynamic of belief, perseverance, and works of obedience in their chosen identity as subjects of YeHoVaH? How does the exhortation to “walk orderly” convey both a range of life choices and an indelible sense of responsibility for the believer?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 37:00) Similarly, how does the lingering controversy over interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-10 also dramatize the reluctance of many believers to adopt a disciplined and informed code of conduct that reflects adherence to the Law, as well as a fervent practice of worship? Why is it essentially impossible to construe this well-known passage as a statement of freedom from works in favor of salvation through belief or identification?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 40:00) How has the word of YeHoVaH been misunderstood and even summarily dismissed owing to many years of emphasis upon Paul as his representative by much of the evangelical community? How do both the parsing and the outright rejection of his epistles through personal interpretation reflect an unwillingness to recognize the complexity of his historical context in the progress of the divine plan?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 43:00) How does a recognition of Paul’s identity as a student of the Law, who was taught by the eminent but overlooked figure of Gamaliel, serve to enlighten today’s believers over the nature of his “persecution” of Yeshua’s followers? How does this legal dimension underscore our contemporary fear of erosion of civil liberties through weaponized agencies like the FBI or the IRS within our ostensibly free society?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 48:00) How does the conclusion of James regarding the Gentiles in Acts 15:19-21 create a precedent for today’s faithful who must recognize this as an incipient opportunity to learn the Law as a vital prerequisite for salvation? How does this in turn obligate all latter-day followers of YeHoVaH to become diligent “students of the law” in their study of scripture and their witness to unfolding divine revelation within their own lifetimes?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 52:00) Similarly, how might the inherent confusion of meaning owing to English translation in Paul’s reference to “ordinances” (Colossians 2:14-15) potentially mislead believers into a careless dismissal of all strictures of the Law? How does a failure to discern the distinction between sacred and secular law serve to deprive the scripture student of the equally important distinction between the contexts of the first century and the present day?