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Matthew 23:23. 1

Understanding Matthew 23:23. 1

Broader Teaching of Jesus on the Law.. 1

Application to the Law of Christ 1


Literal Interpretation of Scripture. 1

Challenges in Literal Interpretation. 1

Application and Understanding. 1

Broader Theological Perspectives. 1

Strict Adherence to God’s Word. 1

Application in Contemporary Context 1

Challenges and Considerations. 1

Understanding and Following Biblical Laws. 1

Cultural and Religious Implications. 1

Challenges and Applications. 1

God’s Laws and Culture as the Standard. 1

Rejection of Pagan Practices. 1

Interpretation of God’s Laws. 1

Implications for Other Cultures. 1

Being Cut Off 1

"Cut Off" through Execution or Exile. 1

National vs. Ethnic Identity. 1

Biblical and Historical Context 1

Theological Implications. 1

Symbolic or Literal 1

Context and Interpretation of Hosea 1:9. 1

Theological Significance. 1

Literal Interpretation of Hosea 1:9. 1

Citizenship in the Kingdom of Israel 1

Theological Implications. 1


Hezekiah’s Outreach to the Northern Remnant 1

The Concept of "Israel" After the Conquest 1

Religious Changes Before the Assyrian Conquest 1

Post-Conquest Religious Landscape. 1

Theological and Historical Context 1

The Samaritans. 1

Continuity and Discontinuity. 1


Restoration through the Messiah. 1

The Concept of the "True Israel". 1

The Body of Messiah. 1

Keeping Commandments. 1

Theological Implications. 1

Title: Righteousness, Faith, and Obedience: Romans 10 and 11. 1

Introduction: 1

Faith as the Foundation: 1

The Inclusivity of Faith: 1

The Importance of Confession: 1

Israel’s Pursuit of Righteousness: 1

God’s Election and Remnant: 1

The Call to Obedience: 1

Conclusion: 1

Title: The Church’s Relationship with Israel: Upholding God’s Righteousness. 1

Introduction: 1

The Church Does Not Replace Israel: 1

1. Covenant Promises: 1

2. Parallel Branches: 1

The Church’s Accountability: 1

1. Adherence to God’s Righteousness (His Laws): 1

2. Cultivating Humility: 1

3. Learning from Israel’s Example: 1

Conclusion: 1

An Explanation of Atonement 1

What All Saints (New and Old) Should Know About Salvation. 1



Matthew 23:23 (KJV) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Understanding Matthew 23:23

Critique of the Pharisees: In this verse, Jesus is addressing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. They are meticulous in tithing even the smallest herbs, yet they neglect the more profound and significant aspects of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Emphasis on Comprehensive Obedience: Jesus is not dismissing the importance of tithing or adherence to the laws. Instead, he is emphasizing that obedience to God’s law should be comprehensive, including both its weightier principles and its specific commands.

Justice, Mercy, and Faithfulness: These elements — often referred to as the "weightier matters" of the law — are seen as central to God’s intentions in the law. They are about how one treats others, embodies righteousness, and lives out one’s faith.

Broader Teaching of Jesus on the Law

Fulfillment of the Law: In Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus talks about fulfilling the law, not abolishing it. He emphasizes that his teachings and actions bring to completion or fulfillment the deeper intentions of the Mosaic Law. i.e.  How each believer should keep the laws as He Jesus did.

Interior Righteousness: Much of Jesus’ teaching, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount, focuses on the spirit of the law — that is, righteousness that goes beyond external compliance to internalize the law’s principles.

Application to the Law of Christ


Balanced Approach: In light of Matthew 23:23, the "law of Christ" can be understood as requiring a balanced approach that values both the ethical and moral principles (like justice, mercy, and faith) and the observance of God’s commands.

Transformation of the Heart: The New Testament teaches that through Christ, believers are enabled to live out the law not just externally, but from a transformed heart — one that naturally inclines toward God’s justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Matthew 23:23 rightly points out that Jesus taught the importance of adhering to both the ethical dimensions and the commands of the law. This comprehensive approach to obedience reflects a deeper understanding of the law, where external practices are integrated with internal principles of justice, mercy, and faith.



A strict adherence to the literal text of the Bible, with the belief that God’s words are clear and unequivocal, leaving little room for interpretation. This viewpoint is focused on the direct and explicit meaning of the scripture as it is written.

Literal Interpretation of Scripture


Direct Meaning: This approach maintains that the words in the Bible should be understood in their most direct and plain sense. It holds that God’s commands and statements are clear and should be followed as they are explicitly stated.

Application of Laws and Commands: Following this approach, laws and commands in the Bible, such as those found in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), are to be adhered to precisely within the spirit or intent of the law during our times.   

Scriptural Examples:

Deuteronomy 4:2: As previously mentioned, this verse is taken to mean that one should neither add to nor subtract from God’s commandments.

Proverbs 4:27: Similarly, this verse is understood as a straightforward injunction to avoid deviating from the path of righteousness.

Challenges in Literal Interpretation


Contextual Understanding: While a literal interpretation emphasizes the direct meaning of the text, it’s also important to consider the historical and Hebraic context in which the biblical texts were written, as these can illuminate the intended meaning of certain passages.

Translations and Variants: Considering that the Bible has been translated into numerous languages over centuries, understanding the original language (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) can be important in grasping the intended meaning of a text.

Uniform Application: A literal approach seeks to apply biblical commands uniformly, but it’s worth noting that some biblical laws were specifically given in a particular historical and Hebraic context, which may raise questions about their application in a vastly different contemporary context.  The contemporary context should be modified to line up with the Hebraic context.

This emphasis is on taking God’s word as it is written, adhering closely to the text of the Bible. This perspective values the clarity and directness of scriptural commands and teachings, applying them in their most straightforward sense. While this approach provides a clear framework for understanding and applying biblical texts, it also acknowledges the importance of context and the original languages in which the Bible was written.

If one understands the historical context, then one can only come to one conclusion do exactly what God says and do not add to or take away from what he says. 

Deuteronomy 4:2 and Proverbs 4:27 emphasizes a literal interpretation of God’s commands, underscoring the importance of strict adherence to the laws as they are given. These verses are often cited to stress the significance of following God’s laws exactly, without deviation or addition.

Deuteronomy 4:2

Text: "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you."

Interpretation: This verse is a clear injunction against altering the divine commandments. It emphasizes the importance of obeying God’s law as it is given, without adding or subtracting from it. This can be seen as a call to preserve the integrity and purity of God’s instructions.

Proverbs 4:27

Text: "Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil."

Interpretation: This verse metaphorically advises staying on a straight path of righteousness and avoiding the temptation to stray into wrongdoing. The "right or left" signifies deviation from the correct and ethical course of action as defined by wisdom and, by extension, God’s law.

Application and Understanding


Literal Fulfillment:  These verses advocate for a literal and exact observance of God’s laws. This viewpoint values precision in obedience and sees the law as clearly delineated instructions for conduct.

Context of Covenant: In the broader context of Deuteronomy, this adherence is part of the covenant relationship between God and Israel, with obedience bringing blessings and disobedience leading to adverse consequences.

Wisdom Literature: Proverbs, as part of the wisdom literature, frequently emphasizes the practical aspects of living a righteous life, often interpreting the law in terms of everyday decisions and moral choices.

Broader Theological Perspectives


Jewish Interpretation: In traditional Jewish thought, these verses underscore the importance of Torah observance and interpreting the Torah to apply it to various aspects of life.

Christian Interpretation: Christians should interpret these verses in light of the New Testament teachings of faith, viewing them as part of the broader moral and ethical framework that Jesus and the apostles taught while understanding the intent of a given law and implanting and enforcing the intent/spirit of that law without discarding said law(s).

The focus on Deuteronomy 4:2 and Proverbs 4:27 highlights a perspective that emphasizes literal adherence to God’s commands. This interpretation underscores the importance of faithfulness to the law as it is given, seeing it as a crucial aspect of the relationship between God and His people.

Emphasizing the importance of strict adherence to God’s commands as presented in the Bible, without adding to or subtracting from them. This perspective is rooted in a desire to faithfully follow the instructions and precepts set forth by God, taking into account the lessons learned from historical context.

Strict Adherence to God’s Word


Biblical Injunctions: As noted, passages like Deuteronomy 4:2 explicitly warn against adding to or taking away from God’s commands. This is a clear directive to follow God’s law as it is given.

Learning from History: Understanding the historical context, especially the consequences faced by Israel for their disobedience and for deviating from God’s commands, reinforces the importance of obedience to God’s word.

Application in Contemporary Context


Literal Application: The application of God’s laws is to be as literal and direct as possible, based on the text.

Universal Principles: While some laws were given in a specific historical context, their underlying principles, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness, are seen as universally applicable.

Challenges and Considerations


From my perspective the Bible and the laws of God should be understood and followed strictly within the context and culture in which they were originally given to Israel. Christian believers, being grafted into this covenant community, should adhere to these laws and teachings within the framework of the Hebrew Israelite culture and context, as established in the Bible.

Understanding and Following Biblical Laws


Original Context: The laws and teachings of the Bible are to be understood and applied as they were originally given to the Israelites. This involves a close study of the cultural, historical, and religious context of ancient Israel.

Christ as the Hebrew Israelite King: Jesus Christ is recognized as a Hebrew Israelite and the King of Israel, and his teachings and practices are seen within the context of his culture and heritage.

Grafting into Israel: Non-Jewish Christians, when they come into the faith, are considered grafted into this Hebrew Israelite community, as described in the Old and New Testament, particularly in Paul’s letter to the Romans. This grafting is seen as an adoption into the original cultural and religious context of the Israelite community.

Cultural and Religious Implications


Cultural Integration:  Christian believers should integrate into the Hebrew Israelite cultural and religious framework rather than interpreting the Bible through the lens of their own cultures.

Adherence to Biblical Teachings: This includes adherence to the laws and commandments as given in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), and the teachings of Jesus, as understood within his cultural and religious context.

Distinction from Other Cultural Practices: This perspective maintains a clear distinction between the practices and teachings rooted in Hebrew culture as presented in the Bible and those from other cultural backgrounds.

Challenges and Applications


Application in Modern Times: A key challenge is how to apply the laws and teachings given in an ancient context to the contemporary world, especially considering the differences in societal structure, technology, and global culture.

Role of Interpretation: While the emphasis is on not interpreting the laws through modern cultural lenses, discerning their application today often requires understanding their original intent and purpose.

In summary, my perspective underscores the importance of adhering to the biblical laws and teachings within the original cultural and religious context in which they were given to Israel. For Christians, this means grafting into the Hebrew Israelite tradition and understanding Christ’s teachings as part of that cultural and historical framework. This viewpoint values the continuity and integrity of the biblical tradition and seeks to maintain a clear connection to the roots of the faith.


God’s Laws and Culture as the Standard


Divine Origin: The culture and laws given to Israel in the Bible are seen as directly ordained by God and thus are viewed as pure, uncorrupted, and reflective of God’s character and will.

Distinctiveness from Other Nations: Throughout the Old Testament, Israel is repeatedly instructed to be distinct from other nations, particularly in their worship practices and ethical standards. This is seen in various laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

Rejection of Pagan Practices


Abomination of Pagan Ways: The Bible often describes the practices of the nations surrounding Israel, especially idolatry and immorality, as abominations to God (e.g., Deuteronomy 18:9-12).

Call to Holiness: Israel is called to holiness, which includes a rejection of the religious and moral practices of other nations.

Interpretation of God’s Laws


Biblical Framework: God’s laws should be interpreted and understood within the framework of the culture and context in which they were given, without the influence of other cultural lenses.

Universal Application: While these laws were given to Israel, the moral and ethical principles they embody are universally applicable, providing a guide for righteous living for all people.

Implications for Other Cultures


Transformation of Cultural Practices: The cultures of the nations are expected to transform in ways that align with the values and principles of God’s laws. This includes abandoning practices that are contrary to biblical teachings.

Assessment of Cultural Practices: Not all aspects of a culture might be in direct conflict with biblical principles. Practices that align with biblical values, such as justice, mercy, and compassion, could be seen as compatible with God’s laws.


In my view, the believers that are in the cultures of the world should conform to the culture and laws that God established with Israel, as recorded in the Bible. This perspective holds that God’s laws are the ultimate standard for all peoples and that the ways of the nations should be assessed and, where necessary, abandoned or transformed to align with these divine standards. The emphasis is on the purity, holiness, and universality of God’s laws as the foundation for all human conduct and society.

Being Cut Off


What it means to be "cut off" from the community of Israel, especially in the context of ancient Hebrew society and identity.  Being "cut off" — through exile or execution — results in the individual or group no longer being considered part of the nation of Israel. They may retain their ethnic identity as Hebrews but lose their national or religious identity as Israelites.

"Cut Off" through Execution or Exile


Execution: In some instances in the Old Testament, being "cut off" is understood to mean execution for certain transgressions, effectively removing the individual from the community.

Exile: In other cases, such as the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles, large groups of Israelites were forcibly removed from their homeland.  this removal would mean they are no longer part of the nation of Israel they would continue to be the children of Israel, but they were not part of a nation.

National vs. Ethnic Identity


Hebrew vs. Israelite: There’s a distinction between ethnic identity (Hebrew) and national/religious identity (Israelite). Those who are "cut off" maintain their ethnic roots but lose their specific national and religious affiliation with Israel.

Assimilation into New Nations: The exiled individuals, while ethnically Hebrew, might assimilate into other cultures or nations (like Assyria), thus altering their national identity.

Biblical and Historical Context


Complex Identity Dynamics: The biblical narrative and historical records show that the identity of the Israelites, particularly after the fall of the Northern Kingdom and the Babylonian exile, was complex. The distinction between ethnic and national identity could be fluid, especially in the context of exile and diaspora.

Continuing Identity Debates: The question of identity for the exiled or "cut off" Israelites has been a subject of theological, historical, and cultural debate. This includes discussions on the "Lost Tribes" and the identity of groups like the Samaritans.

Theological Implications


Loss of Covenantal Status: In a religious sense, being "cut off" could be seen as losing one’s status within the covenant community of Israel. This loss might be physical (through exile or death) or spiritual (through apostasy or sin).

Being "cut off" is a severing of not just physical or communal ties but also national and religious affiliation with Israel. This view underscores the significance of community, covenant, and adherence to the law in defining Israelite identity in the biblical context.

Symbolic or Literal


The scripture where God declares "you are not my people" to Israel is found in the Book of Hosea, which is part of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. This statement is a key part of Hosea’s prophetic message. Specifically, this declaration is found in Hosea 1:9:

Hosea 1:9 (NIV):** "Then the Lord said, ‘Call him Lo-Ammi (which means ‘not my people’), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.’"

Context and Interpretation of Hosea 1:9


-**Symbolic Actions:** The Book of Hosea is known for its use of symbolic actions and names to convey God’s message to Israel. Hosea’s family life, including the names of his children, is used as a symbol of the relationship between God and Israel.

– **Lo-Ammi:** The name "Lo-Ammi," given to Hosea’s son, symbolizes the broken relationship between God and the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It represents God’s judgment on the people for their idolatry and disobedience.

– **Message of Judgment and Hope:** While this statement reflects God’s judgment, the broader context of Hosea includes a message of hope and restoration. Despite the declaration of "not my people," there are promises of future reconciliation and renewal. For example, Hosea 1:10-11 and Hosea 2:23 speak of a time when the people will again be called "children of the living God" and the restoration of unity.

Although God uses symbolism to rely His message to Israel, those symbols became reality for Israel.

Theological Significance


– **Covenant Relationship:** This passage highlights the covenant relationship between God and Israel, where obedience and faithfulness are central themes. The declaration of "not my people" signifies a serious breach in this covenant.

– **Divine Mercy and Restoration:** Hosea’s prophecy, while containing themes of judgment, also strongly emphasizes God’s mercy, love, and the potential for restoration. It reflects the dynamic nature of the relationship between God and His people, marked by both divine judgment and the promise of redemption.

The Book of Hosea, therefore, uses vivid imagery and symbolic actions to convey its message, reflecting the complexities of the covenant relationship between God and Israel and the enduring hope of reconciliation and restoration.

I have a literal understanding of God’s declaration in Hosea 1:9 as a direct statement about the status of the people of Israel in relation to their covenant with God. Accordingly, disobedience leads to a literal, not just symbolic, disowning by God, affecting their status as His people and, by extension, their citizenship in the Kingdom of Israel.

Literal Interpretation of Hosea 1:9


– **Direct Consequence:** The declaration "you are not my people" is seen as a direct and literal consequence of Israel’s disobedience and idolatry. It’s not just a metaphor but a real change in their status before God.

– **Conditional Relationship:** This underscores the conditional nature of the covenant between God and Israel. Obedience to God’s laws and commandments is essential for maintaining the covenant relationship and, by extension, their identity as His people.


Citizenship in the Kingdom of Israel


– **Covenantal Citizenship:** Being a citizen of the Kingdom of Israel is intrinsically tied to being part of God’s covenant. Disobedience to God leads to a loss of this covenantal citizenship.

– **Divine Ownership:** The concept of belonging to God ("my people") and God being their God is central to this understanding. The loss of this relationship implies a loss of their standing as part of the divinely ordained nation.

Theological Implications


– **Divine Judgment and Restoration:** While the statement reflects divine judgment, it’s important to consider it within the broader context of Hosea, which also speaks of eventual restoration and renewal. For instance, Hosea 2:23 foretells the reestablishment of the relationship.

– **Dynamic Covenant Relationship:** This perspective highlights the dynamic and responsive nature of the covenant relationship between God and Israel, contingent upon the people’s adherence to God’s commandments.

The covenant relationship with God is central to the identity and status of the Israelites as His people and as citizens of the Kingdom of Israel. Disobedience leads to a literal loss of this status, reflecting the serious consequences of straying from the covenant.



The identity and continuity of the "Lost Tribes" of Israel.  the remnant that remained in the land after the Assyrian conquest continued to represent the Northern Kingdom, or Israel, despite the mass exile of many of their brethren. This emphasizes continuity and the enduring identity of the tribes, even in the face of dispersion and conquest.

Hezekiah’s Outreach to the Northern Remnant


– **2 Chronicles 30:** King Hezekiah of Judah reaches out to the people of the Northern Kingdom (often referred to as Ephraim and Manasseh, among others) who remained in the land. He invites them to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem, addressing them as Israel.

– **Continued Identity:** This gesture implies that, in Gods view and perhaps in the broader Judean perspective, these remnants still constituted Israel, retaining their tribal and national identity despite the absence of the majority who were exiled.

The Concept of "Israel" After the Conquest


**Complex Identity:** The identity of "Israel" after the Assyrian conquest becomes complex. On one hand, the majority of the Northern Kingdom’s population was exiled and eventually assimilated. On the other hand, the remnant that remained continued to live in the region, albeit under altered circumstances.

– **Cultural and Religious Changes:** Over time, the remnant that stayed in the land experienced significant cultural, especially with the influx of foreign populations and influences brought by the Assyrians.

Religious Changes Before the Assyrian Conquest


Jeroboam’s Reforms: After the split of the united monarchy of Israel into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom, instituted significant religious changes (1 Kings 12:25-33). He set up golden calves in Bethel and Dan and established a non-Levitical priesthood, which were direct violations of the laws given by God.

Continued Idolatry: These actions were part of a broader pattern of idolatrous worship in the Northern Kingdom, which continued through successive reigns and is repeatedly condemned in the biblical narrative.

Post-Conquest Religious Landscape


Assyrian Influence: After the Assyrian conquest (722 BCE), the Assyrians deported many Israelites and brought in people from other regions to settle in the land (2 Kings 17:24). These new inhabitants brought their own gods and religious practices.

Syncretism in Worship: The Bible describes a syncretic form of worship developing among these new inhabitants and the Israelite remnant. They feared the Lord but also served their own gods (2 Kings 17:33). This blend of worship practices was contrary to the exclusive worship of Yah as commanded in the Mosaic Law.

Religious Teaching: A false priesthood was set up by Jeroboam from the poor people in the land.  One of these false priest was brought back to teach the new residents (the Assyrian transplants) how to fear the Lord, but the result was a mixed form of worship, where the people feared God but continued to worship their national deities (2 Kings 17:27-28).

Theological and Historical Context


Continued Disobedience: The continuation of idolatrous practices among the remaining Israelites and the new inhabitants of the land was seen as a continuation of the disobedience that had led to the fall of the Northern Kingdom.

Biblical Condemnation: The biblical narrative, especially in the prophetic books, consistently condemns these idolatrous practices and views them as a primary reason for the fall of the Northern Kingdom and the subsequent suffering.

In summary, the religious situation in the Northern Kingdom both before and after the Assyrian conquest was marked by idolatry and religious syncretism. The practices initiated by Jeroboam and continued by his successors led to a departure from the exclusive worship of Yah, which the biblical texts identify as a key factor in the kingdom’s downfall. The mixed worship practices that continued in the land post-conquest are also noted in the biblical account.

This led to a the remnant continue to worship other gods and in the high places as seen in the Samaritan community during the time of Jesus.

The Samaritans


– **New Testament Context:** The Samaritans, encountered by Jesus in the Gospels, are descendants of this remnant. They considered themselves true descendants of the Northern Israelite tribes and maintained a form of ancestral worship and calf worship among other things.

Continuity and Discontinuity


– **Representation:** The remnant represented the "Lost Tribes" as identified by King Hezekiah suggests a continuity of identity, despite the political and social upheavals.

– **Historical and Theological Interpretation:** It highlights the enduring nature of tribal and national identities even in the face of significant challenges.  The remnant who remained in the Northern Kingdom after the Assyrian conquest continued to represent the "Lost Tribes" of Israel show the identity and continuity of these tribes.  Despite the mass exile, the identity of the Northern tribes was maintained by those who remained.  Those that had been taken into exile never to return, were cut-off and no longer to be considered as Israel although they were still Hebrew for a while.



Regarding the role of the Messiah (Jesus Christ) in the restoration of Israel and the inclusion of both Jews and Gentiles in the Kingdom of God. My view is primarily derived from the New Testament, especially from the writings of the Apostle Paul.

Restoration through the Messiah


– **Messiah as the Fulfillment:** Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is seen as fulfilling the promises made to Israel. He brings restoration and reconciliation, not only for the Jewish people but also for Gentiles.

– **Faith and Repentance:** The central tenet is that faith in the Messiah, repentance and keeping the commandments are necessary for both Jews and Gentiles to be part of the Kingdom of God.

The Concept of the "True Israel"


– **Inclusion of Gentiles:** Paul’s teachings, especially in Romans, elaborate on the idea that Gentiles who have faith in Christ are grafted into the "olive tree" (representing Israel). Thus, they become part of the people of God.

– **Reconciliation of Jews:** Paul also discusses that the of Jews who were "cut off" (branches that were broken off) due to unbelief being grafted back into the olive tree upon accepting Christ and thus rejoining the assembly of God’s people.

The Body of Messiah


– **Unity in Christ:** The New Testament teaches that believers in Jesus Christ, both Jews and Gentiles, form one body – often referred to as the Body of Christ or the Church. Eph Chapter 2

– **Kingdom of Israel   The Kingdom of Israel is recreated as a physical and spiritual kingdom encompassing all who have faith in Jesus, transcending ethnic and national boundaries.

Keeping Commandments


– **Moral and Ethical Living:** Alongside faith in Christ, there is an emphasis on moral, ethical living, and keeping of the commandments of God as given to Israel. This includes living according to the clarification given by Jesus (remember He did not delete one law) and the apostolic writings.

Theological Implications


– **Expanded Covenant:** The New Covenant established through Jesus Christ as an expansion and fulfillment of the promises made to Israel, now extended to include all who believe, regardless of ethnic background.

– **Continuing Role of Israel:** The role and significance of Israel in God’s plan, continues as promised to Israel.

Messiah is the only person responsible for the restoration and expansion of Israel, with the Kingdom of God encompassing both believing Jews and Gentiles, united through faith in Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit and adherence to God’s commandments. The kingdom of Israel relies on  spiritual reconciliation and unity as key aspects of the Kingdom in the New Testament context.

Title: Righteousness, Faith, and Obedience: Romans 10 and 11



The biblical books of Romans, particularly chapters 10 and 11, offer profound insights into the relationship between faith, righteousness, and obedience. These chapters address the key question of how both Israel and the Gentiles can attain righteousness in the eyes of God. In the context of this discussion, it is crucial to explore the role of God’s laws and commandments in determining righteousness.


Faith as the Foundation:

Romans 10 begins by highlighting the centrality of faith in Christ as the foundation of righteousness. Verse 4 states that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." This means that faith in Christ fulfills the righteous requirements of God’s law. It is through faith that individuals, whether Israelites or Gentiles, are justified and declared righteous.


The Inclusivity of Faith:

Romans 10:12 emphasizes the inclusivity of faith: "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him." Faith in Christ is accessible to both Israel and the Gentiles, offering them the path to righteousness. This inclusivity is a central theme in Romans, highlighting God’s desire for all to be saved through faith in Christ.


The Importance of Confession:

Romans 10:9 underscores the role of confession in the process of salvation: "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." This confession is an outward expression of faith and signifies one’s allegiance to Christ as Lord. It aligns with the idea that faith leads to righteousness.


Israel’s Pursuit of Righteousness:

Romans 10:1-3 reveals the zealousness of Israel for righteousness. However, it points out a critical error: "For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness." Here, Israel’s pursuit of righteousness through their own efforts, apart from faith in Christ, is seen as a stumbling block.


God’s Election and Remnant:

Romans 11 delves into the concept of God’s election and the existence of a remnant. It emphasizes that God has not rejected Israel entirely but has preserved a remnant according to grace. This remnant attains righteousness through faith in Christ, aligning with the overarching theme of faith as the means to righteousness.


The Call to Obedience:

While Romans 11 emphasizes God’s mercy and the potential for restoration, it does not diminish the importance of obedience. It is crucial to note that faith in Christ should lead to a life characterized by obedience to God’s commandments. Jesus Himself affirmed the significance of God’s laws (Matthew 5:17-19), and the apostles continued to teach the relevance of obedience in the context of faith.



Romans 10 and 11 underscore the central role of faith in Christ as the foundation of righteousness for both Israel and the Gentiles. However, this faith should lead to a life of obedience to God’s commandments, guided by love for God and one’s neighbor. The fulfillment of the law through faith does not negate the importance of keeping God’s commandments but rather reinforces the significance of living in accordance with His will. In this context, righteousness is achieved through faith, but faith should manifest itself in obedience to God’s righteous standards.


Title: The Church’s Relationship with Israel: Upholding God’s Righteousness




The relationship between the Church and Israel has long been a subject of theological discussion and debate. Some theological viewpoints suggest that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan, while others maintain the distinct roles of both entities. This paper aims to present an overview of why the Church does not replace Israel in God’s divine plan and underscores the significance of the Church’s accountability in adhering to God’s righteousness, which is epitomized by His laws.


The Church Does Not Replace Israel:


1. Covenant Promises:


One of the primary reasons the Church does not replace Israel lies in the unchanging nature of God’s covenant promises. Throughout the Old Testament, God made specific, unbreakable promises to the nation of Israel, including blessings, the land, and a future restoration. These promises are reaffirmed in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul emphasizes in Romans 11 that God’s gifts and calling to Israel are irrevocable. This affirms that God’s covenant with Israel endures, and the Church does not supersede Israel in receiving these promises.


2. Parallel Branches:


In Romans 11, Paul employs the metaphor of an olive tree to illustrate the relationship between Israel and the Church. He refers to the natural branches (representing Israel) that were broken off due to unbelief and the wild branches (symbolizing Gentile believers) grafted in through faith in Christ. This imagery highlights that both Israel and the Church have a place in God’s plan. Branches can be both broken off and grafted in based on faith and obedience, indicating a parallel existence.


The Church’s Accountability:


1. Adherence to God’s Righteousness (His Laws):


Just as Israel faced the temptation to establish their own righteousness apart from God’s laws, the Church can similarly be enticed to rely on its own systems, doctrines, and traditions. To maintain righteousness, the Church must wholeheartedly adhere to God’s righteous standards as manifested in His laws. God’s righteousness is synonymous with His laws, and our righteousness is determined by our adherence to those laws.


2. Cultivating Humility:


To prevent the establishment of its own righteousness, the Church must practice humility and remain submissive to God’s righteous standards as revealed in His Word. This encompasses a commitment to obeying God’s commandments, leading a life of holiness, and seeking His guidance through prayer and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.


3. Learning from Israel’s Example:


The Church can draw valuable lessons from Israel’s historical example of disobedience and self-righteousness. Israel’s failure to uphold God’s righteousness resulted in severe consequences, including exile and judgment. By heeding this cautionary tale, the Church can remain steadfastly accountable to God’s righteousness and evade similar pitfalls.




In conclusion, the Church does not replace Israel in God’s plan, as God’s covenant promises to Israel remain unwavering. Nevertheless, it is imperative that the Church remains accountable to God’s righteousness, which is epitomized by His laws. By recognizing the parallel existence of Israel and the Church and internalizing the significance of adhering to God’s righteousness as defined by His laws, the Church can fulfill its role in God’s divine plan while upholding humility and obedience before Him.

The concept of Christ’s death as an atonement for the remission of sins that are past refers to the understanding that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross accomplished the forgiveness of sins committed before His crucifixion. This concept is primarily based on passages from the New Testament, particularly in the writings of the Apostle Paul.


An Explanation of Atonement


Atonement: Atonement, in Christian theology, refers to the act of reconciliation between humanity and God, accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It involves the idea that Jesus paid the penalty for human sins, thereby satisfying God’s justice and making it possible for humans to be forgiven and reconciled to God.


Sins That Are Past: The phrase "sins that are past" refers to sins committed by individuals before they came to faith in Jesus Christ. It specifically addresses the sins of their past life, prior to accepting Christ as their Savior.


Remission of Sins: "Remission" means the forgiveness or pardon of sins. It signifies the act of having one’s sins wiped away or canceled.


Scriptural Basis: The concept of Christ’s death providing atonement for past sins is found in several passages in the New Testament. For example, in Romans 3:25-26 (NIV), it is written:


"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."


This passage highlights that God, in His forbearance, had not fully punished sins committed beforehand (sins of the past). Instead, He provided a means of atonement through Christ’s sacrifice.


Application: This concept underscores the idea that through faith in Jesus Christ, individuals can receive forgiveness and remission of their past sins. It does not negate the need for ongoing repentance and forgiveness for sins committed after one’s faith in Christ.


In summary, the concept of Christ’s death as an atonement for the remission of sins that are past emphasizes the central role of Jesus’ sacrifice in providing forgiveness for the sins individuals committed before they accepted Him as their Savior. It is a foundational aspect of Christian theology related to salvation and reconciliation with God.


What All Saints (New and Old) Should Know About Salvation


Christ’s Atonement: According to Romans 3:25, when someone comes to Christ, their past sins are forgiven through His atoning sacrifice on the cross. This marks the beginning of their journey of faith, where they experience the cleansing of their sins.


Ongoing Confession: New believers should continue to confess their sins and turn away from them as they become aware of them. This confession reflects a heart of humility and repentance, recognizing the need for God’s forgiveness in their daily walk with Him (1 John 1:9).


Understanding Willful Sin: It is crucial for newcomers to grasp the gravity of willful or deliberate sin, as emphasized in Hebrews 10:26-30. This passage underscores the importance of not persisting in known sin after coming to faith, as there is no atonement for such deliberate disobedience.


Respect for Christ’s Sacrifice: New believers should be taught to honor and respect the sacrifice of Christ. Willful sin, especially after understanding the truth, is regarded as a rejection of His grace and leads to severe consequences.


Repentance and Transformation: True repentance involves a change of heart and a turning away from sinful behavior. It means that newcomers, having experienced Christ’s forgiveness, will desire to live in obedience to God’s commandments and will actively seek transformation by the Holy Spirit.


Fear of Eternal Judgment: The passage in Hebrews warns of a "fearful expectation of judgment" for those who persist in willful sin. Newcomers should understand the seriousness of this judgment and the potential eternal consequences.


Holiness and Growth: Believers should be encouraged to pursue holiness and growth in their faith. This includes studying God’s Word to understand His commandments and striving to live in obedience to His standards.


Grace and Mercy:  All saints should understand that grace and mercy where extended to you when you came to Christ.  You shall receive mercy for your ignorant sins that you confess after you have come to Christ.  You received grace when God forgave all of your wilful sin when you came to Christ.  You do not continue to receive grace after that point.


Discipleship and Support: It is beneficial for new believers to have mentors or a supportive community that can help them navigate their faith journey, answer questions, and provide guidance in living a righteous and obedient life.


In summary, newcomers to Christ must realize that true repentance involves a complete change of heart and lifestyle. If they have genuinely repented, they will not continue in commit willful sin, as this would mock God’s grace and forgiveness. Instead, they will strive to live in obedience to God’s commandments, cherishing His grace while understanding the serious consequences of persistent rebellion.