Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works
Yeshua said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16)”. The words spoken by the Master should be understood within the Judaic matrix in which they were spoken. In the mouth of a Jewish Rabbi, to ‘shine your light’ means to practice Torah commandments (Psalms 119:105), and the expression ‘good works’ often employed by the Master and other apostles comes from the Hebrew original ‘mitsvot’, referring to ‘ commandments’. It is the plural of ‘mitsvah’ found the in the term ‘bar-mitsvah’: ‘son of the commandment’.
In essence, Yeshua is telling us is to practice Torah in front of men that it may cause them to glorify the Father which is Heaven. This amounts to the same statement made by Moses, “Keep them (the commandments) and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples … all this law that I set before you today Deuteronomy 4:6-8)? Practicing Torah commandments therefore is God’s evangelism program. When we show love, forgiveness, compassion, generosity and care, which are all Torah commands, we show God’s true nature to the world. When we observe the Sabbath, He gives us rest form our labor so we can spend time with Him in the company of family and friends. When we eat according to His diet it shows that He cares that we feed ourselves properly; it also show a disciplined mind as we must remember that the first sin was all about disobedience to a certain ‘food’ (Genesis 3:6). Celebrating the festivals reminds us of His goodness for us, past, present and future, and managing our finances according to the Word benefits the whole community.
Today, whenever we talk about obedience to God’s commandments many start screaming ‘legalism’. The question is “What is the difference between obedience and legalism?” The price of our redemption may have been paid by someone else, but it doesn’t absolve from obeying the rules of the Kingdom outlined in the Torah. Attempting to express the gratitude of the redeemed towards their Redeemer, the apostle Paul said that the works of Torah obedience should be practiced, but out of love, not out of duty (Galatians 5:6).
We are His Bride. As we enter His household and Kingdom it behooves to start behaving like it. This reminds me of a queen who when she publicly disobeyed her husband, for the sake of the people present he had to banish her from the kingdom, cause if the queen herself did not obey her husband neither will the common folks (Esther 1). Unlike worldly kings, God is a covenant-keeping God and he does not retract from His covenant with His people. Therefore in regards toward His everlasting and gracious compassion towards us we should learn to do His will and obey His commandments out of love.
May we learn to live in a manner that the world will glorify our God!