13th September 2023: Our Daily deLIGHT~4th Day-Spirit of YHVH
Spirit of YHVH
The verses that we will look at today, along with others that sound similar, are among some of the most misunderstood for their meaning in the Bible. How often did we say, or have currently been told that, “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”? This verse is often quoted about the one who desires to be obedient to what is known as the “Old Testament” laws. Many times it is called legalism, and no one wants any part of that. However, when you consider what the definition of legalism really is, would that be a bad thing in the eyes of our Creator? Legalism by simple definition is strict adherence to law or prescription. I don’t recall any verses that tell us that we can half-heartedly obey or adhere to the commandments. I do recall many verses that tell us to love and obey His Word with our WHOLE hearts!!
So when we require what the Word doesn’t require, that would be bondage; otherwise, requiring what it does require is obedience.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 3:2-9;
“2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Messiah, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living Elohim, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[Our obedience to the Word is a letter written on hearts. It’s not written with ink that can fade away with time, but written with the Spirit of the LIVING Elohim that will never fade. What is written? The same words given in the beginning. The only difference is the location moved from stone to flesh/hearts.]
4 Such confidence we have through Messiah toward Elohim. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from Elohim, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new [renewed] covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [Verse 17 of this chapter tells us who the Spirit is and who this renewed covenant is made with. It says, “Now Adonai is the Spirit and where the Spirit of YHVH is, there is liberty.” So this covenant through Yeshua gave us access to our heavenly Father because He is the ultimate sin offering that drew us near through His death and resurrection.]
7 But if the ministry of death [the sin offering which paid the penalty or wages for sin], in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, [It was not the Torah that was fading but the glory that was covering Moses] 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.” [In other words, the glory surrounding what was to be brought near to Elohim through the blood of bulls and goats does not compare to the surpassing glory through the blood and life giving Spirit of Yeshua who laid down His life for the sins of the world in order to reconcile us back to His Father.]
As Paul writes to the congregation in Corinth, using the language that “the letter kills”, he is using an idiomatic expression for what is written with letters in the Torah as the penalty for sin, which is death. The Word never changes so it is remains true today. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of Elohim is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Master.” Paul is teaching that the written Torah has a penalty or wages for sin, but if you receive the renewed covenant, realized through Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection, then the Spirit gives you life eternal and the penalty required has been paid for by Him and you will not die an eternal death. If we don’t receive the payment by receiving Yeshua as Messiah and walking in repentance, then we will receive the penalty of what is written in the letter/law/commandments. One way or the other the wages will be paid. Either by Yeshua through our repentance and receiving Him as Messiah or it will be paid by us…but it will not go unpaid. So these verses are not pitting the Word against the Spirit, implying that obedience to the Word will kill us…i.e. kill our spiritual walk; nor should we think that we can actually walk by the Spirit without the Word. The Spirit is not opposed to the written or “letter” of the law/Word. They cannot be separated as Yeshua, the life giving Spirit, is the Word made flesh!! We must have both the Spirit and the Word.
Deuteronomy 32:45-47b says, “45 When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. [sounds like strict adherence and what is often deemed as legalism], 47 “For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life [connected to the Life Giving Spirit…True worshippers worship Him in Spirit and in Truth…the truth aspect is the letter of the Word. The Spirit aspect is the finished work of Messiah who paid the penalty for sin, which is, by the way, transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Afterward He sent His Spirit back to us in a greater measure on Shavuot/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost.]. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land…”
We pray that the Spirit of YHVH will fill us to capacity and that we have gained a more clear answer to give to those who misquote the verse saying “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” This would be true for the one who dies without Yeshua as Messiah, for the wages of sin is death. But for the one who has received Him as Messiah and walks as He walked (1 John 2:6), there is eternal life because Yeshua paid the requirement of the letter for the penalty of sin when He laid down His life and died!!! HalleluYah He LIVES!!!
Have a blessed and shalom filled day!!
River of Life Tabernacle
Great peace have they who love Your law. Psalm 119:165a