For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
As they readied to enter the Promised Land, Moses addresses this second generation of Israelites from Egypt. He reminds the people of all that happened during the last forty years of wondering. He debriefs them on all the lessons learned and on how not to repeat the same errors. Knowing that he will not enter the land, this was Moses’ departing address. Promises of wealth, prosperity, fertility and military victories fill this address, promises that all hang on one phrase, “Because you listen to these rules and keep and do them” (Deuteronomy 7:12).
From this we can define the role of Torah in our lives. Our fathers in the desert had already experienced salvation from Egypt and entered a relationship with El-Elyon, the Almighty God on the Mount. They had been chosen not for their goodness and works but because of the promises God made to their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Deuteronomy 9:5). The Hebrew word translated as ‘grace’ is ‘chesed’, which means: covenant loyalty. We have a God who, unlike man, keeps His promises and doesn’t repent from them. The covenant was ‘cut’; they were the redeemed on their way to the land God calls His Own. The Torah was simply the contract on how to live and prosper in that Land. If they kept it, they would prosper in it, if they disobeyed it, He would take them out. Was it good news or bad news?
It was both. If our success is to be measured by our obedience we are all doomed as we are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). As human, not only do we need to be shown the way, but we also need someone to walk it for us, and we have it: Yeshua our Mashiach. True, some people seem more virtuous than others. Some rationalize stealing in business while others keep their integrity; some lie while other’s word is as good as gold; some easily break promises (especially in marriage) while others wouldn’t dare; some are proud while others humble; some use bad language while other’s mouths are clean. All these virtues though have nothing to do with any personal goodness of our own. They are solely the results of the indwelling of the Spirit of the Almighty within us, which is given to us though the atonement of our Adon Yeshua. This was the promise that was given to the people at the Mount that He will walk ‘within’ us. Take that Presence away from us and we are again as wicked as the most wretched criminal on the planet.
When Yeshua walks within us, He is the shield that in a way ‘blinds’ the Father to our iniquities. In the Name of His virtuous sinless life we are redeemed and it is because none of our own works. No matter how much we try to obey Torah, because of our wicked human nature we will always fail. We need the atonement of the Righteous One, of the Tzaddik Yeshua as they say in Hebrew, to intervene between us and the Father. All Abba sees then is the atonement of the Master for us, and it is this grace which then gives us the ability to perform the ‘good works’, the obedience of Torah ( Titus 2:11-14; Eph 2:10).