Balance: that’s what “justice” is. That’s why scales are used to represent the ‘justice system’ in many countries.
In the Kingdom of G-d, it is no different.
One side of the scale is for mercy, the other side is for judgment.
Being a Messianic Jew, we have found that many of those who claim to trust in Messiah for salvation actually do trust in their own “tzedaka”, or “righteousness.”
Tzedaka is a judicial term, meaning “justified.”
Most people confuse this term with salvation. It is not salvation. It affects salvation, as long as one remains true to the faith of Messiah Yeshua.
Being “justified” is to have the scales of justice balanced.
On the one side of the scale is our sin, which deserves judgment. And it is there the moment we are born, because we all inherit Adam’s sin, our innate iniquity, and we continue to add ‘weight’ to that side of the scales as we live our lives.
On the other side is nothing, until we come to trust Messiah. Every man is destined to endure just punishment for His sins. The only remedy is the one the Creator offered. The B’sorah [Good News] of the Son of G-d, Yeshua the Nazarene, is this: that He was sent here by G-d to become a sin offering, died as that sin offering being executed on a tree, and was raised from the dead by His Father, יהוה, and is now seated at His right hand. He did this because everyone sins. If we ‘trust’ in that good news, believing that it is sent from G-d, and we act on it, and ‘turn’ from sin [the things the TORAH says are wrong behaviors], THEN we are ‘justified,’ HE puts HIS RAKHAMIM, His MERCY on the empty side of the scale, according to how much ‘sin’ is on the other side. People who have erred more trust more and love more! Because they do experience more of HIS mercy, because they need it. His ‘Khesed”, or “loving compassion” is all the SAME toward every one of us. He loves none of His children any less than the greatest of us.
And, AFTER He has shown us MERCY in place of ‘judgment’, then He goes further: HE GIVES us ‘KHEN’, or “Grace”, by giving us His Ruakh! “LIFE”, the very power that raised Yeshua from the dead, and that is a life that is eternal, which actually begins to work in our physical bodies too! If we have actually trusted these simple truths, turned from our own ways and moved toward Him in obedience, then He promises us that HE will raise us from the dead too!
We demonstrate the reality of this by loving Him. Yeshua tells us that loving Him means doing the mitzvot [commandments] of G-d. And this is where so much confusion has come into the congregation of G-d. This is where things get all ‘out of balance’ again, because of men! Men go monkeying with the scales of justice!
On the one side, there are those who take away the justice altogether, saying that since they have been shown mercy, there is no fear of judgment. This is true, but ONLY if we ‘continue in Him’, and OBEY HIM.
Then, on the other side, and this is where many Messianic folks get confused, and so there is much distortion these days in the Messianic community, there are those who think that the MERCY of Abba is NOT ENOUGH to justify them! Oy!
That thinking is INDEED “falling away from Khen/Grace!” If we put ANY measure of trust in OUR OWN WORKS, then we are considering the blood of Yeshua NOT powerful enough to justify us. Period.
This is the galatian error, and the synagogue of Satan.
Where is the ‘balance’ then? Ya’akov [James], the brother of Yeshua, says it best. “For as the body without the Ru’akh is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” Yeshua clearly taught that those who did not trust are ‘dead in their sins.’ The ‘scales’ are still tipped against them, and they do not have the Ru’akh of Elohim. That is death. So, if one genuinely puts TRUST completely in the ‘khatat’ or sin offering that Messiah Yeshua became for all mankind, it WILL be accompanied by works.
But, anyone who trusts in the WORKS to ANY DEGREE is FALLEN FROM GRACE. All that Ya’akov said was “Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” He did NOT put any weight on the works for ‘justification!’ The ‘works’ of the Torah, then, are the evidence of the trust that the heart has received and the mouth has confessed.
“You have ceased to adhere to Mashiakh [Messiah], you who seek JUSTIFICATION by the Torah [works]; you are FALLEN FROM GRACE. For we through the Ru’akh wait for the hope of tzedaka [righteousness/justification] by TRUST.”
So, we are indeed supposed to begin to seek G-d and ‘do the works that are fitting for repentance’:
“I did not disobey the heavenly vision; but I preached first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the villages of Judah, and then to the GENTILES, that THEY might REPENT and turn to Elohim and DO WORKS WORTHY OF REPENTANCE.”
That is the balance. We need both to understand and appreciate with abundant gratitude His Mercy toward us, AND, to FEAR His judgment [hebrews 10:24-31], love Him, and do the works that make our repentance ‘worthy’, WITHOUT trusting in those works, even for a moment.
Shalom. Relax. “Go and sin no more.”