Month 6:28, Week 4:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year:Day 5940:176 AM|
TESHUVAH 28/39, 2Exodus 1/40
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 22 September 2014
Me, The Sinner
Continued from Part 27
Defining the Relationship With Messiah
A saving relationship with the Master Yah'shua (Jesus) can be defined in many different ways, and is so depending what Christian or Messianic tradition you adhere to. But the overriding message of the Besorah (Gospel) is that a true relationship with the Saviour is, first and foremost, about walking with Him in emunah (faith), and second, doing so in a consistent, habitual tavnith (pattern) of teshuvah (repentance) - of changing direction back to the Derech (Way) of Chayim (Life).
Shackleton and Nebuchadnazzar
We can measure walking that way using the Torah as a reference manual but that is only one part of the spiritual journey. Ernest Shackleton, the famous Antarctic explorer, tells how he and his party of explorers, when at the extremity of their strength, repeatedly sensed that there was an extra member in the expedition whom they could not see and so not count. Have you ever had that experience? Frequently when at table sharing a meal with my family I have sensed an invisible Person with us. Nebuchadnazzar, you will recall, was baffled to see four persons walking in the blazing fire when he knew full well he had only cast three in (Dan.3:24-25).
A number of you have bewailed not being able to sense the Master any longer and were evidently challenged by my last Sabbath sermon that challenged you to look at your problem differently. It is true that the theological teaching that Yah'shua (Jesus) is always walking alongside us can sustain us only so long and that the soul absolutely must have close contact in order to be at shalom (peace) and to thrive. Equally, though, you have to remember that we don't always sense His presence until we are at the extremity of our strength like Shackleton, or when we are in the fire like the three, for then we perceive Him more clearly. Why? Because it often takes a desperation that causes us to be revolted by the carnal nature, to the point of Job-like self-despising, because we can penetrate and get past that fleshy mist and into the pure light of the Ruach (Spirit) wherein the Master dwells and can be directly experienced.
Impacted Like a Crater
It surpises believers who have tasted the New Birth and its exhilaration that they can subsequently find themselves in what appears to be the very same condition of alienation from Elohim (God) that they knew before they were saved. And yet the emunah (truth) is that while we may feel something akin to what it was like before we were saved, it isn't the same thing at all. Though salvation can, and is, undone by persistent, habitual sinning without teshuvah (repentance) over a long period of time, our original meeting with the Master can never be fully erased. It happened, we were impacted, and that impact remains like a crater on the moon in our very being.
Maintaining the Redeemed Man
At that moment of penetration, the Divinity who became Man for us, who lived like us in mortality, and died for us without breaking a single mitzvah (commandment) of Torah, healed and restored that manhood lost at the Fall which still resides in the fleshy nature we wear in mortality. He took all of us into Himself and then returned it to us in the form it was originally in. Thereafter it always was, and yet remains, our task, to keep that redeemed manhood in pristine condition by not yielding to the temptations of the flesh, and making teshuvah (repenting) if per chance we do. That is why teshuvah (repentance) leading to Torah-obedience and the daily instructions of the Ruach (Spirit) to us personally are essential to the maintenance of that initial salvation.
Have Mercy on Me
Our Divine Companion is always with us but we don't always see or sense Him until we are on the ice or in the fire of affliction. David was the first recorded in Scripture who pled:
The Canaanite woman likewise begged Yah'shua (Jesus):
"Have mercy on me, O Elohim (God)" (Ps.51:1; 57:1; 86:3; cp. 41:4,10; 86:16; 119:132).
Have You Thus Cried Out?
"Master, Son of David, have mercy on me" (Matt.15:22, NIV).
So did blind Bartimaeus (Mk.10:47-48), and the blind man of Jericho (Lk.18:38-39), and the peninent tax collector whom the Pharisee disdained (Lk.18:13) who acknowledged that he was a sinner. Have you also thus cried out? Notice that each petition begins by confessing Elohim's (God's) glory and ends by a free acknowledgement that we are sinners - sinners by virtue of the Fall, sinners through our personal acts of wrong-doing.
Not 'A' Sinner
Interestingly, the passage about the repentant tax collector is almost universally mistranslated - the man never said that he was "a sinner but the Greek makes plain that he declared that he was "the sinner"!
Only one Messianic version that I know of gets this translation right, the Messianic Renewed Covenant, Field Edition (2003):
"Now the tribute collector, standing afar off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his chest, saying, 'Elohim (God) make a propitiatory shelter (sukkah, covering, tabernacle) for me, THE sinner!'" (Lk.18:13, CLNT).
Justifying 'The' Sinner
"Elohim (God), make propitiation for me, the sinner" (Lk.18:13, MRC).
In judging this confession Yah'shua (Jesus) declared:
No Mininising the Offense
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before Elohim (God). For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:14, NIV).
Understand this: when you sin, you are not one of many sinners who can minimise the offence by hiding in the mass to find comfort in the knowledge that millions of others are the same. No, no! When you sin, you become, from the perspective you and your Elohim (God), not a sinner but THE sinner as though you were the only person in Creation who sinned and it was that sin that sent Yah'shua (Jesus) to the Cross to die for you! Grasp that emet (truth) and you will begin to understand what true teshuvah (repentance) actually is.
You are The Sinner
When you sin, you and the only one, without the comfort of comparing with others or hiding in the mass of sinners. True penitance results when you finally come to understand that.
You, and you alone, are the one sinner, and for you, and you alone, Yah'shua (Jesus) died. Until everyone sees that they, alone, are the solitary sinner in everything in and around them, they will neither understand nor know how to make teshuvah (repent).
Continued in Part 29